In a recent letter to the editor published in the medical journal The BMJ titled “We DO need a broad look at vaccination policies and programs,” Allan Cunningham, MD wrote that he agreed with a letter to the journal from Bernadette Pajer of Informed Choice Washington regarding the need to thoughtfully review the effect of vaccination policies on the American public.1 2 3
Dr. Cunningham said, “Bernadette Pajer is absolutely right to criticize the medical community for failing to step back and examine the overall impact of immunization programs on public health.”1
Cunningham noted that while he believed vaccines have contributed to the decline in the incidence of infectious diseases such as measles and polio, he suggested that it was important to include an evaluation of the “possible longer term beneficial or adverse non-specific effects” of the current recommended vaccine schedules. He said, “As immunization schedules have expanded, our ignorance of overall risks and benefits have also expanded.”1
Cunningham appears to be concerned that the science behind vaccines and their effects may not be as settled as many public health officials and physicians believe. He cited the alleged link between vaccines and autism. “I doubt that vaccinations are a major cause of our increase in autism, but without properly controlled trials we can neither prove nor exclude causation, contrary to what we hear endlessly from vaccine authorities,” said Cunningham, who cited a landmark study by public health epidemiologist Dr. Andrew Mawson comparing the health outcomes of vaccinated versus unvaccinated children.1
“A recent survey of US home-schooled children found that neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism, were 3 to 4 times as frequent in vaccinated vs. non-vaccinated children: P<0.001. Partially vaccinated children had intermediate risks,” said Cunningham.1 4
According to Claire Dwoskin, founder of the Children’s Medical Safety Research Institute (CMSRI), “the [Mawson] study concluded that vaccinated children were much more likely to have been diagnosed with a chronic illness (including allergies and learning disabilities) when compared to unvaccinated children. In addition, 7.5 percent of the 666 children in the study had been diagnosed with a neurodevelopmental disorder (NDD).”5
Cunningham also cited so-called “mystery diseases” and how little consideration has been given to the possibility that there could be an association with vaccines or the vaccine schedule. He pointed out…
There are other “mystery diseases” like SIDS and Kawasaki disease that have been associated with vaccinations and dismissed by vaccine authorities, again without properly controlled trials. The latest mystery disease is acute flaccid myelitis/AFM. It afflicts mainly children as they return to school in September. A role has been suggested for vaccinations via “provocation paralysis.” So far, public health authorities have not investigated the possibility.1
Cunningham specifically cited the case of six-year-old Jonathan Daniel Ramirez Porter of Ferndale, Washington who died of an “AFM-like illness with encephalitis” on Oct. 30, 2016. “He had received several vaccinations, including a flu shot, 14 days before the onset of his fatal illness, wrote Cunningham.”1 6
Cunningham’s views coincide with those of Barbara Loe Fisher of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), who has often stressed the problem of a shortage of methodologically sound epidemiological and biological mechanism studies that clearly demonstrate the safety of childhood vaccines.
In 2013, Fisher said that the Institute of Medicine (IOM) had “repeatedly pointed out the astonishing lack of quality scientific studies to support the safety of the CDC-recommended numbers of doses and timing of vaccinations for children 0 to 6 years old in the child vaccine schedule. The committee confirmed there are large knowledge gaps, especially about children with increased biological susceptibility to suffering vaccine reactions and injuries.”7 8
Corrections: The headline for this article was originally “BMJ Editorial Questions Lack of Vaccine Safety Studies,” and the article began, “In an editorial published in the medical journal The BMJ… ” Both were inaccurate. The comments by Allan Cunningham, MD were, in fact, a response to an editorial titled “Measles: neither gone nor forgotten” in The BMJ.9 Dr. Cunningham’s comments were also in reference to a BMJ letter to the editor by Bernadette Pajer, rather than her testimony to the Board of Health of Washington State, as was originally stated in this article. 2
1 Roy We DO need a broad look at vaccination policies and programs. The BMJ Nov. 8, 2018.
2 Pajer B. Wild vs Artificial Exposure to Measles Are Not Equal. The BMJ Nov. 6, 2018.
3 Informed Choice WA. InformedChoiceWA.com.
4 Mawson AR, Ray BD, Bhuiyan AR, Jacob B. Pilot comparative study on the health of vaccinated and unvaccinated 6- to 12-year-old U.S. children. J Transl Sci 2017; 3:1.
5 Dwoskin C. First of Its Kind Survey Shows Vaccinated Children Get Sicker. The Vaccine Reaction Aug. 19, 2017.
6 Hurley D. More cases reported of a mysterious polio-like illness that killed a 6-year-old. The Washington Post Nov. 3, 2016.
7 Fisher BL. IOM Issues Report on Safety of the Child Vaccine Schedule: When Will the Real Science Begin? NVIC Newsletter Jan. 16, 2013.
8 Cáceres M. Safety of Childhood Vaccination Schedule Still Unproven. The Vaccine Reaction Jan. 10, 2018.
9 Bedford H, Elliman D. Measles: neither gone nor forgotten. The BMJ Sept. 25, 2018.