Opinion | Bills to either remove or restrict vaccine exemptions have been filed across the U.S. in 2019. One of the most striking was New York’s A2371, which eliminated the religious exemption to vaccination in one day, with no public hearings. Soon after, New York state health officials eliminated the ability of doctors to grant medical exemptions to schoolchildren, too.1
The bill’s sponsors justified its passage by bringing up the more than 800 cases of measles reported in New York City from September 2018 to June 2019, although reportedly no schoolchildren with religious vaccine exemptions had developed the disease.2
Measles continues to be a Trojan Horse for legislators to increase vaccine mandates and eliminate vaccine exemptions, but mandatory vaccination laws built around measles fearmongering aren’t aimed only at measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination.
Once a policy or law is put in place, like the elimination of the religious exemption to vaccines that occurred in New York, it applies to all vaccines, not just MMR. It’s a slippery slope, one that could significantly increase mandates for everyone to use all federally recommended vaccines already on the overloaded vaccine schedules for children and adults, as well as new vaccines that will be added in the future.
New York Bill May Require HPV Vaccine to Attend School
A new bill introduced in New York, S298/A2912, would require children to receive the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to attend public school or daycare, even though HPV is a disease that cannot be transmitted in a school or other public setting. Albany Update reported:3
The repeal of New York’s religious exemption made one thing clear: Most New York lawmakers believe that decisions about child vaccination should be made by the state, not by parents. This message raises a troubling question: Will the Legislature look to take further steps to mandate child vaccinations? What might those steps look like?
One possible move the Legislature might make is to pass a law mandating the vaccination of children against the human papillomavirus (HPV).
There are three FDA licensed HPV vaccines, but only Gardasil 9, which is manufactured by Merck, is available in the U.S. The U.S. CDC recommends two doses of Gardasil 9, which is approved for females and males aged nine to 26 years.4 HPV is a sexually transmitted disease (STD)—one of the most common STDs in the U.S.
There are more than 200 HPV types,5 but most are not harmful. According to the American Cancer Society,6 about 75 percent of HPV types may cause noncancerous warts on the hands, chest, arms and feet, while about 16 HPV types7 are considered high-risk and may increase the risk of certain cancers, including of the cervix.8 However, in 90 percent of cases, HPV infection of the cervix clears and goes away on its own without complications that can lead to chronic HPV infection and cancer.
Further, in developed countries, pap screening programs have reduced the incidence of cervical cancer significantly. As noted by the National Vaccine Information Center, “After Pap smear tests that screen for cancerous conditions became a routine part of gynecological health care for American women in the 1960s, U.S. cervical cancer cases dropped by 75 percent.”9
HPV Vaccine Associated With Serious Adverse Reactions
New York’s proposed bill to make HPV vaccination mandatory for children to attend school or daycare has been met with backlash from parents for multiple reasons. Opponents have raised issue with the notion of requiring children to get a vaccine for a sexually transmitted disease, for starters. Albany Update explained:10
[R]equiring parents to vaccinate their children against a sexually transmitted disease is a troubling prospect … A mandated vaccination for a sexually transmitted disease implicitly assumes that young people will be sexually active with multiple partners. This assumption is both untrue and damaging; it sends young people message that sexual promiscuity is expected, or even encouraged.
HPV vaccine is also associated with serious adverse reactions. When Merck’s Gardasil vaccine was first approved in 2006, thousands of reports of seizures, Guillain–Barré Syndrome (GBS), facial paralysis, disabling fatigue, blood clots, muscle pain and weakness were reported. When Gardasil 9 was approved in 2015, the number of recommended doses was reduced from three to two, but adverse event reports continued. According to NVIC:11
Using the MedAlerts search engine, as of May 31, 2019, the federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) contains more than 62,393 reports of HPV vaccine reactions, hospitalizations, injuries and deaths and, includes 503 related deaths, 6,286 hospitalizations, and 3,018 disabling conditions. Nearly 47 percent of the reported serious adverse events occurred in children and teens 12-17 years of age.
“Gardasil has distinguished itself as the most dangerous vaccine ever invented,” stated Robert F. Kennedy Jr., chairman and chief legal counsel for Children’s Health Defense. In “The Plaintiff’s Science Day Presentation on Gardasil,” Kennedy revealed Merck data showing Gardasil increases the overall risk of death by 370%, risk of autoimmune disease by 2.3 percent and risk of a serious medical condition by 50%.
According to Kennedy, National Cancer Institute (NCI) data show the mortality rate for cervical cancer is 1 in 43,478 (2.3 per 100,000), and the median age of cervical cancer death is 58. To eliminate that one death, all 43,478 must pay $420—the average cost of the three Gardasil injections.
Kennedy said that a recommendation by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for all children to get HPV vaccinations has provided Merck with an annual revenue of $2.3 billion.
New York City Requires Flu Shots for Preschoolers
In June 2018, the New York Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that the New York City health department has the right to require annual influenza vaccinations for children attending child care and preschool. Now, children aged 6 months to 59 months must get a flu shot every year or they cannot attend child care or preschool.
As with HPV, the influenza vaccine has serious adverse effects, including potentially lifelong health problems such as GBS and chronic shoulder injury related to vaccine administration (SIRVA). Flu shots may also increase your risk of contracting more serious influenza infections. Research suggests those who have been vaccinated annually may be less protected than those with no prior flu vaccination history.12
Research presented at the 105th International Conference of the American Thoracic Society in San Diego also revealed that children who get seasonal flu shots are more at risk of hospitalization than children who do not. Children who had received the influenza vaccine in previous years had three times the risk of hospitalization as children who had not. Among children with asthma, the risk was even higher.13
There’s also the potential for vaccine strain influenza virus shedding by recently vaccinated persons, which has taken on renewed importance with the reintroduction of the live virus vaccine FluMist during the 2018/2019 and 2019/2020 seasons. While the CDC states that the live vaccine strain influenza virus in FluMist is too weak to actually give recipients vaccine strain influenza, research has raised some serious questions.
MedImmune, the company that developed FluMist, is aware that the vaccine sheds vaccine-strain virus. In its prescribing information, they describe a study on the transmission of vaccine-strain viruses from vaccinated children to nonvaccinated children in a day care setting.
In 80% of the FluMist recipients, at least one vaccine-strain virus was isolated anywhere from one to 21 days following vaccination. They further noted, “One placebo subject had mild symptomatic Type B virus infection confirmed as a transmitted vaccine virus by a FluMist recipient in the same playgroup.”14
Type A and B Influenza virus infections can be silently spread from person to person with few or no symptoms, whether a person has been vaccinated or not.15 One study revealed not only that influenza virus may be spread via simple breathing (i.e., no sneezing or coughing required) but also that repeated vaccination increases the amount of virus released into the air.16 According to the CDC, for the past 14 flu seasons, the influenza vaccine has been less than 50 percent effective.17
Measles Hype and Fearmongering Taking Away Civil Liberties
The CDC recommends that children get two doses of MMR vaccine; the first dose is given between the ages of 12 and 15 months, and the second dose between four and six years. The second dose was recommended starting in 1989, “in response to instances of primary vaccine failure of one dose.”18
Measles outbreaks in the U.S. over the past decade highlight increasing instances of vaccine failure, and there have been recent calls for a third “booster” dose of MMR. As of Oct. 3, 2019, the CDC reported that 1,250 cases of measles had been confirmed in 31 states since January 2019—the largest number reported since 1992.19 No deaths have occurred.20
Further, before the measles vaccine was developed and recommended for use by all children in the U.S. in the 1960s, virtually all children got measles. The number of cases were vastly underreported because there were relatively few complications in developed countries like the U.S. It’s likely that upward of 3.5 million children (an entire birth cohort) may have been infected annually, with 380 related deaths.21
Authors of one study in The Lancet Infectious Diseases reported that when measles infection is delayed, negative outcomes are 4.5 times worse “than would be expected in a prevaccine era in which the average age at infection would have been lower.”22 Meanwhile, in the majority of cases, measles infection resolves on its own without complications.
As discussed in a special report published in May by NVIC on “The Science and Politics of Eradicating Measles,” the once common childhood disease was not feared the way it is today; getting measles was considered a normal part of passage through childhood—one that helped the immune system mature and provided durable immunity that mothers could pass on to their newborns to protect them in the first year of life.23
Unfortunately, with the waning effectiveness of MMR vaccine, protection is not lifelong, leaving older children and adults potentially vulnerable. As pregnant women no longer have natural immunity to pass on to their newborns, very young infants are also more susceptible to the disease.
Despite this, with each new reported measles case there have been increased calls for vaccine mandates across the board. Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder and president of NVIC, stated:
This year, the fearmongering about measles has reached epidemic proportions in America. A day doesn’t go by without media outlets publishing angry articles and editorials spewing hatred toward a tiny minority of parents with unvaccinated children, who are being blamed for measles outbreaks.23
The remedy is always a call to track down, persecute and punish any parent whose child is not vaccinated. Some state and federal lawmakers are reacting to the relentless fearmongering by proposing to severely restrict the medical vaccine exemption and eliminate all religious and conscientious belief exemptions in state vaccine laws.23
These exemptions, which help prevent vaccine injuries and deaths, also protect parental rights, civil liberties and the ethical principle of informed consent to medical risk taking.23
MMR and HPV vaccines, along with annual flu shots, are only a few in a long list of current and future vaccines you and your children may be mandated to get if things keep going the way they are going. What’s next after MMR, flu shots and HPV?
Drug companies are fast tracking more than a dozen new “priority” vaccines for children, pregnant women and adults, including respiratory syncytial virus, streptococcus A and B, HIV, herpes simplex virus, gonorrhea, E. coli, shigella, salmonella, tuberculosis, malaria and more, and industry will likely lobby governments to mandate all of them.
This article was reprinted with the author’s permission. It was originally published on Dr. Mercola’s website at www.mercola.com.
Note: This commentary provides referenced information and perspective on a topic related to vaccine science, policy, law or ethics being discussed in public forums and by U.S. lawmakers. The websites of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) provide information and perspective of federal agencies responsible for vaccine research, development, regulation and policymaking.References:
1 Associated Press. NYS issues stricter rules for vaccine medical exemptions. August 17, 2019.
2 National Vaccine Information Center July 2, 2019.
3 Albany Update, Protect Parental Rights. Stop Albany’s HPV Mandate!
4 NVIC, HPV Disease and Vaccine Information.
5 Virology Volume 340, Issue 1, 15 September 2005, Pages 95-104.
6 American Cancer Society.
7 Journal of the National Cancer Institute July 9, 2015.
8 World Health Organization. HPV and Cervical Cancer.
9 NVIC, HPV & HPV Vaccine Quick Facts.
10 Albany Update October 20, 2019.
11 See Footnote 4.
12 Clin Infect Dis. (2014) 59 (10): 1375-1385.
13 Science Daily May 20, 2009.
14 NVIC, The Emerging Risks of Live Virus & Virus Vectored Vaccines.
15 The Lancet. Three-quarters of people with seasonal and pandemic flu have no symptoms. March 16, 2014.
16 PNAS January 30, 2018 115 (5) 1081-1086.
17 CDC. Past Seasons Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Estimates.
18 PLoS Med. 2016 Oct; 13(10): e1002145.
19 CDC. Measles Cases and Outbreaks. October 11, 2019.
20 MMWR May 3, 2019.
21 NVIC.org History of Measles in America and Other Countries.
22 The Lancet, Infectious Diseases August 2015; 15(8): 922-926.
23 NVIC. The Science and Politics of Eradicating Measles. May 25, 2019.