The following is the second half of a two-part article on pertussis. Click here to read the first half of the article.
When there are a lot of people with silent asymptomatic pertussis infections, it is impossible to know who is a carrier and who is not, which means that reported cases of pertussis are just the tip of a very big iceberg. It also means that articles blaming whooping cough cases on unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children are nothing more than wishful thinking and scapegoating.1
Bottom Line: Both natural and vaccine acquired immunity is temporary2 and while vaccination may prevent clinical symptoms, it does not block infection, carriage or transmission. If vaccinated people can get silently infected and transmit infection without showing any symptoms—even after getting four to six pertussis shots—then pertussis vaccine acquired “herd immunity” is an illusion and always has been.
So the big question is: Why has more than a half-century of pertussis vaccination failed to produce true herd immunity like public health officials insist it theoretically can if only more and more pertussis shots are given to more people more of the time?3 4
Extremely Reactive DPT and Less Reactive DTaP both Have Low Efficacy
The answer is simple and the emerging scientific evidence is compelling: the B. pertussis microbe has evolved over the past 65 years to evade whole cell and acellular pertussis vaccines, which drug companies have marketed and medical doctors have aggressively promoted in a crusade to kill a species of bacteria they still know very little about.5 6 A review of the medical literature reveals that the experts are unhappy with how much they still don’t know about the B. pertussis microbe7 and are arguing with each other about if, when, how and why pertussis vaccines have consistently failed to do the job of achieving herd immunity to prevent B. pertussis whooping cough from circulating in highly vaccinated populations around the world.8 9 10
The inconvenient set of scientific facts they have to work with are these:
- FACT: The efficacy of whole cell pertussis vaccine in the DPT shot was measured to be between 30 and 85%, depending upon the type of DPT and vaccine manufacturer,11 12 13 14 15 and protection lasted two to five years.16
- FACT: After a low of about 1,000 cases of pertussis were reported in the U.S in 1976,17 it was obvious all through the1980s and 90’s that whole cell pertussis vaccine in DPT shots was not preventing infection or transmission.18 19 20 21 22 Pertussis cases increased in highly vaccinated populations in cycles of three to five years—just like before DPT vaccine was widely used in the 1950s.23 24 25 26 27
- FACT: The whole cell DPT vaccine used until the late 1990’s in the U.S. was an extremely reactive vaccine. DPT vaccine reactions like fever, pain, and irritability were experienced by between 50 and 85% of children and seizures and collapse/shock reactions followed one in 875 DPT shots.28 29 Brain inflammation was reported following 1 in 110,000 DPT shots with permanent brain damage after 1 in 310,000 DPT shots.30 31 Finally, in 1996, the marginally effective and extremely reactive whole cell DPT vaccine was replaced with a far less reactive but marginally effective acellular DTaP vaccine.32 Similar to whole cell pertussis vaccines, acellular pertussis vaccine efficacy in clinical trials was measured to be between 40 and 89%, depending upon the DTaP vaccine manufacturer.33 34 35
- FACT: Acellular pertussis vaccines do not prevent infection,36 37 just like whole cell pertussis vaccines do not prevent infection. In the 21st century, pertussis outbreaks and cyclical increases have continued,38 39 40—even after a pertussis booster shot was added to the schedule for all adolescents and adults in 2006.41 42 By 2010, the Tdap pertussis booster shot was found to be only about 66% effective in providing temporary immunity for teenagers and adults.43
Pertussis Microbe Evolved to Evade Both DPT and DTaP Vaccines
Eighteen years ago, in 1998, molecular biologists and other basic science researchers began warning that the B. pertussis microbe started to evolve to evade whole cell pertussis vaccine after DPT shots were given on a mass basis to children in the 1950’s.44 45 46 47 For the past two decades, these bench scientists have been publishing hard evidence that over the past 65 years, B. pertussis bacteria have efficiently adapted to both whole cell and acellular pertussis vaccines.48 49 50
New Pertussis Strains with More Toxin Causing More Serious Disease
In a fight to survive, the B. pertussis microbe has created new strains that produce more pertussis toxin to suppress the human immune system and cause more serious disease. Today, the pertussis strains included in the vaccine no longer match the pertussis strains causing whooping cough disease.51 52 53 54 55
Bottom line: There is compelling scientific evidence that B. pertussis bacteria have evolved to survive vaccine pressure. Now, there are more virulent pertussis strains that are more efficiently transmitted by vaccinated children and adults with waning immunity.
As one research scientist commented in 2009, “An important question is whether other childhood vaccines also select for pathogens that are more efficiently transmitted by primed hosts, resulting in increased virulence.”56
War on B. Pertussis Bacteria & Vaccine Policies Not Driven By Hard Science
The crusade by public health officials to kill the B. pertussis microbe by adding more and more doses of ineffective vaccines to the child and adult schedule—now even invading the once sacred place of the womb and insisting all pregnant women be vaccinated57 58—is a cautionary tale. As we witness a bacterial species efficiently adapting in an effort to survive a war that has been declared on it, what has become painfully clear is that the history of mass vaccination has not been driven by hard science transparently shared with the people.59 60 It has been driven by the politics of a public health profession working a lucrative government-industry public private partnership to protect failed vaccine policies, while ignoring the hard science.61 62
We, the people, are not going to pretend the science doesn’t exist. It is up to each one of us to inform public health officials and legislators that it is their responsibility to show us the science and give us a choice when it comes to vaccines, especially when no vaccine manufacturer, no public health official and no doctor is liable in a civil court of law when vaccine reactions and failures lead to injury and death.63
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