I have often heard it said that people who oppose vaccines do so based on hearsay, conspiracy theory, and a lack of science to back their claims. At times throughout my personal journey into researching vaccines, vaccine safety, and the diseases they were designed to protect against, I wondered if those oft-repeated sayings were actually true.
Was I being influenced by the rare but possibly just coincidental stories of children dying or regressing into autism within days or even hours of being vaccinated?
Was I being coaxed into believing that vaccines were dangerous, when in fact the science had long ago proven that vaccines were safe and effective?
Was I really just gullible to believe that an increased childhood vaccine schedule over the past 30 years had anything to do with the modern day epidemics of autism, asthma, severe allergies, chronic ear infections, and SIDS, along with a myriad of other neurological and developmental delays in children?
If so, who exactly were the people I was seeing so much about? What would they have to gain from lying or misguiding the public?
In those days, not so very long ago, I was torn. I often heard that "anti-vaxxers" were just crazy; that they were science deniers and liars to boot. I frequently saw them being painted as either completely ignorant or as nut-job psychopaths. Everything I knew sang the praises of vaccines and their effectiveness. It is widely known throughout the world that the smallpox vaccine eradicated smallpox, and that the polio vaccine eliminated polio. We had to assume that the measles and whooping cough vaccines had all but wiped out those diseases, because... well, they aren't as prevalent as they once were. Not only did it seem logical, but it was science; and you'd have to be crazy to argue with science, right?
In the midst of researching vaccines, based on a negative vaccine reaction in my own daughter, I almost shrugged off the "anti-vax" movement altogether and joined the side that wasn't perceived as insane.
Lord knows it would have saved me a lot of grief.... or so I thought.
But... no matter what I did, I couldn't shake this nagging feeling in the back of my head that the AV'ers had a point. The more I read up on the topic, the less comfortable I felt with simply taking the advice of the six o'clock news or a Walgreen's pamphlet. I began to question the current vaccine schedule, the ingredients lists, and the historical statistics we've all seen. I didn't know it at the time, but I was suffering from a mind numbing case of common-sensitis. My brain could not get around the fact that even though they were called crazy or one-in-a-million, parents of alleged vaccine-injured children were out there in force, and the ever increasing number of heartbreaking stories available on the internet in numerous forums was mind blowing.
It was only when I let my common sense, critical thinking, and (guided)intuition take over my thought process, that I began to really see a much bigger, darker picture. Within months, I was completely and unexpectedly obsessed with the vaccine topic. I couldn't read enough about it, or save enough links. I spent literally thousands of hours researching a wide variety of topics centered around the vaccine arena; and by the time I created a Facebook group(The Vaccine Gamble) and began writing about it here, I had seen more than enough to cement my new found opinions in cold, hard stone for life.
I began to collect information and organize hard data into files. I printed over 2,000 hard pages of peer reviewed studies, empirical data, historical statistics, every vaccine package insert on the market, CDC and WHO information(conflicting info), essays and journals by respected doctors, scientists, and researchers, corporate money trails, and actual stories of vaccine injuries. The collection of material I gathered(and continue to gather) would be enough to stifle even the most ardent of vaccine supporters. It was the confidence I needed to move forward as a voice in the vaccine arena.
It was comforting to know that I wasn't the only one. I learned much of the information I craved from AV powerhouses like Dr. Suzanne Humphries, Dr. Tetyana Obukhanych, Dr. Russell Blaylock, Dr. Andrew Moulden, Dr. Mayer Eisenstein, and many more. Other infamous AV personalities really stretched my mind further, including Marcella Piper-Terry, Shawn Siegel, Mary Tocco, Christine England, and Dr. Toni Bark, among many others. Their work seemed flawless; always backed by data and stats, as well as logical, well researched, and well written. They were the treatment I needed for my common-sensitis.
On the flip side, as I studied the "science" behind vaccines and their alleged benefits, which was far more prevalent around the internet and easy to access, I found myself questioning more than learning. Many of the studies in favor of vaccinations, which are often trumpeted by pro-vax zealots such as Dr. Paul Offit, Senator Richard Pan, Dr. David Gorski, Dorit Reiss, and many others leave much to be desired and to doubt. Many of these studies, I found, actually call for more research or specifically state that "a causal link had not been found"(which of course doesn't prove it doesn't exist). Many of the studies that supposedly "prove" vaccines are safe or don't cause autism were actually funded by the very pharmaceutical companies that produce them. I began to see a pattern when reading these studies. Typically if a study claimed that vaccines were more beneficial than risky, there was some sort of financial conflict of interest. Since the vaccine industry is a huge, multi-billion dollar industry, conflict of interest is a pretty big deal. Concealing damning evidence of a product that can potentially kill a person in favor of keeping the public from a massive outcry seems to be the only option for the fully operational, tax-free drug giants like Merck, Glaxo Smith-Kline, and Pfizer. The more I looked at the zealots trumpeting the great success and accomplishments of vaccines, the more I discovered that they themselves actually had substantial financial and/or pharmaceutical conflicts of interest. On the other hand, the majority of those warning the dangers of vaccines have absolutely no financial ties or conflicts of interest. Many of them don't make a dime for speaking out against vaccines, and started doing it because they felt it was necessary; to warn others of a danger they might not be aware of. I discovered that about 75% of those that speak out publicly against vaccines have experienced a vaccine injury, and are still dealing with the lifelong effects in their children or those near to them.
Dr. Paul Offit, probably the most well known vaccine zealot, is renowned for stating that vaccine injuries are "one-in-a-million", and that a child can actually handle 10,000 vaccines at once. Both statements are so far from any shred of legitimacy that it should be enough to immediately dismiss anything else he says going forward. Add to that the fact that he became a multimillionaire from selling the patent to the Rota-virus vaccine he co-invented, and you really start to see a clearer picture of just the type of people who are paid to influence the masses.
But enough about the weak, over-hyped vaccine science and obvious denial-ism of the pro-vax "extremists".
What I really set out to write about today was an event I experienced recently that changed the lives of many who attended; it is well worth writing about.
On Sunday May 3rd, 2015, an event was held near Michigan's capitol city that would effect how everyone who attended it viewed the entire vaccine debate. The featured speakers were Mary Tocco and Dr. Tetyana Obukhanych, PhD, Immunology. I had admired both since I began researching, so I was first in line to help raise funds to get them to MI, and then to buy tickets when the event came to fruition. I couldn't wait to meet them; especially Dr. Tetyana, who is one of the most brilliant and respectable people I'd studied.
I would not be disappointed.
Mary Tocco opened the seminar in the morning slot. I'd downed a half a pot of coffee before the event, but promptly realized I wouldn't need the assistance of caffeine to keep me attentive. She dove right into the vaccine topic and I could tell immediately that the crowd was in for a treat. Not only do she and I share similar backgrounds and a similar back story, but she also has Michiganian roots. She's been studying vaccines and speaking publicly for over 20 years, and you could tell. She's a very gifted speaker, and has somehow defied age and laughed at it in the face. I guess that's just a fancy way of saying that she's the complete package as a public speaker. Factual, charming, funny at times, energetic, poised, and controlled. I left with the impression that if everyone in the country was forced to watch a Mary Tocco presentation live, the pharmaceutical companies would go bankrupt within months. She is a powerful speaker, and had the room buzzing the entire morning. She covered a wide variety of vaccine discussion aspects, like:
>The impact of sanitation and clean water in the civilized world and the role it played in reducing many of the diseases we still vaccinate for today.
>The timeline of viruses and how they were discovered, to vaccine developments and natural disease declines before vaccine introduction, based on historical graphs and morbidity rates.
>Recommendation of the book - "Dr. Mary's Monkey" (about the polio vaccine development and the corruption involved), and how the inventor of the Polio vaccine, Jonas Salk, actually admitted that the vaccine was responsible for most cases of Polio in the 60's, which led to the Federal Regulation to call for all polio vaccines to be pulled from the market in 1961. It never happened.
>The number of vaccines given 30 years ago compared with today, which should be a huge red flag when we consider that the current schedule has never been studied for negative effects, and that in the last 30 years, we've seen dramatic increases in a myriad of neurological disorders and autism, increasing as the vaccine schedule increases.
>Dr. Gregory Poland admits that the measles vaccine is a dud.
>St. Judes Children's Hospital warns people to avoid those recently vaccinated with a live virus vaccine, for risk of virus transmission.
> A very large list of peer reviewed literature that warn of a plethora of issues with vaccine ingredients and schedules(I'll include some in a video at the end of this blog).
> The U.S has the second worst newborn death rate in the modern world.
> 70% of SIDS deaths occur within 3 weeks of DTaP administration.
> A child's immune system can take up to seven years to develop fully.
> Immune dysfunction, hypersensitivity, auto-immunity, inflammation: these are all things going wrong in certain children as we learn more about negative reactions to vaccines.
> Adjuvants are foreign to the human body when bypassing the digestive tract; aluminum hydroxide, aluminum phosphate, potassium, peanut oil, and glycerol are all used as adjuvants and injected into our bodies. Our bodies do not know how to respond to these foreign ingredients that have bypassed the digestive tract, and sometimes attack them, creating future allergies to some foods like peanuts.
> Referenced the "Aspen study", of which 100 premature infants were given vaccines with reduced levels of aluminum, and another 100 premature infants were given normal amounts. Look the results up; I'll only say the study clearly demonstrates the dangers of aluminum.
> The unscientific approach of "one size fits all" with vaccines is an approach unique to vaccines. Why?
> A sick medical system that is designed to keep you sick.
> The problem with general public ignorance and political corruption.
>Many other points, always backed by extensive research and scientific studies.
>She also announced that she is collecting information on her website and compiling vaccine injury stories. If your child was injured by vaccines, you can email her at Mary@marytocco.com, and submit your information.
By the time Mary was done speaking, I'd been personally re-assured that one of the best decisions I'd ever made was to stop vaccinating my kids. I'd already learned much of the information she presented, but she really expressed it in a way that was hard to forget. I had filled up three pages of notes in my binder, and had taken over 30 minutes of video.
And that was before Dr. Tetyana even took the floor.
After a break for lunch, during which I introduced myself to both of them and chatted with each briefly, Dr. Obukhanych, PhD in immunology from Rockefellar University(NY), Harvard Medical School(post doctorate training), and Stanford University, took the floor.
Petite in stature and wielding a naturally quiet demeanor, she doesn't strike you as someone who would be good at speaking publicly, but she soon puts any doubts you may have had to shame. Once you get used to the strong Ukrainian accent and subtle sense of humor, she leaves you in awe at the amount of knowledge she has about the human immune system. She's an expert at dismantling the popular theory of "Herd Immunity", and the surrounding misinformation and common errors in understanding it. She gives great insight into the human body and how "Mother Nature" designed it to function best at naturally warding off diseases. There are many things we now know that can naturally fight off illness or even prevent it. Vaccines are not one of them.
Dr. Tetyana(as she's affectionately referred to, probably to avoid having to pronounce her last name) is an immune system expert, but even she admits that there is still much to be discovered within the human immune system. Biological science is not a finished book by any means, and we continue to make new discoveries constantly. She contends that this is a reason we cannot fully rely on our previous "accomplishments", such as vaccines, as the solution to disease eradication. In fact, her stance is that viruses, in many ways, are actually more beneficial to us than not , and if you heard her explain why, you'd probably agree. She also points out that all vaccination is doing is allowing viruses and bacteria to evolve to outsmart the vaccine, and we can see it happening with some of the new strains outpacing the vaccines.
Dr. Tetyana's presentation was titled: "The Virus: Enemy or Ally?"
As my pen was flying about a mile a minute(she doesn't allow unauthorized video or pictures of herself), she went into great detail, with the assistance of well designed slides, on how our immune systems work.
In a topic that is at times quite difficult to grasp without significant formal training, she navigates the subject with ease, breaking it down quite simply and in terms that the average parent can understand. That said, please take my following "quotes" from her loosely, as they are only based on notes I took and are my words and not directly hers. She offers live online classes, where you can register at: www.naturalimmunityfundamentals.com. If what I include here interests you, I encourage you to sign up for yourself. What I am going to write pales in comparison to hearing it come from her.
Dr. Tetyana explains that there are two branches in our very own anti-viral immune defense: The containment, which is the "Innate Branch", and the clean-up, which is the "Adaptive Branch".
The innate branch features "Interferon", which is our body's way of containing a virus and not allowing it to get any farther in replication. Vitamins A and C are crucial partners to our interferon; V-C produces more Interferon, and V-A stimulates it. *This is why vitamin A is such an effective supplement to ward off viral diseases like the measles; because it inhibits virus replication and doesn't allow the disease to get any worse than a mild case.* We can easily see this by studying 3rd world countries and their morbidity/mortality rates. Many of them do not have unlimited access to vitamin rich food or clean water, and their disease morbidity and mortality is far worse than a country like the U.S.
The Adaptive Branch features "T-Killer Cells" and "Antibodies". Everyone reading this is no doubt well aware of what antibodies are, but few know about t-killer cells. T-Killers lie dormant until there is a virus present to fight. At that point, they go into overtime, fighting virally infected cells. The mucous produced by your body during an illness is basically dead viral cells that the T-Killers have taken behind the woodshed and soundly wholloped. It's a sign that your body is functioning as it is supposed to. Another sign that your T-Killer Cells are hard at work is viral rash. The body rash that accompanies a bout of the measles, for instance, is actually a good thing. It means your immune system is working overtime to overthrow its nemesis, the virus.
Antibodies come in at the last stage of disease. They work to ensure that your body will be able to resist that particular illness in the future. We are familiar with antibodies because they are what the body is supposed to build after a vaccine is administered. The idea is that if we can build artificial immunity through antibodies, we never have to go through all the trouble of a virus working to get past the Interferon and T-Killer Cells in the first place(AKA get sick). It sounds like a logical concept; one that I struggled with in the past. However, the concept is fatally flawed, and it's not obvious unless you have someone explaining the immune system to you in a way you can easily understand.
First, the concept of vaccine immunity relies on the vaccinee having an immune response to the vaccine. While many people do have a positive antibody response, and gain some sort of immunity for a few years, many others do not, and are just as susceptible to disease as they were before being vaccinated. Dr. Tetyana recounted that she had received two rounds of MMR vaccine as a child(obtaining her vaccination records as an adult), and still contracted measles. This was due to her later finding that she was what is referred to as a "low responder". Several peer reviewed studies have shown that about 50% of the population, for a reason they scientists don't yet know, do not respond well to vaccines, and their artificial immunity wanes anywhere from immediately(they may not have a response at all) to three years. Even the other 50% percent only retain their artificial immunity for 10 years if they're lucky, which is why so many more "booster" shots have been added to the schedule, after scientists originally said vaccines would grant lifetime immunity. At this point, it seems that vaccines aren't for everyone; yet we still give them universally, and in increased numbers.
Second, the concept of vaccine immunity relies on the premise that vaccines aren't harmful, or are at the very least overwhelmingly safe to inject. However, since we know that hundreds of peer reviewed writings do give cause for concern regarding the ingredients of vaccines, and that we can see for ourselves that hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of vaccine injuries have occurred, we know that vaccines aren't always "safe", if in fact they ever are. There is still no proof that vaccines don't contribute to the current epidemics of autism, ADHD, severe allergies, auto-immune issues, chronic illness, etc, so there is no way to rule it out. We do know that tens of thousands of children have suffered severe reactions or died immediately following vaccinations, so it certainly seems that vaccines can be quite dangerous to some.
"Science" may not have yet discovered just how dangerous they can be and to whom, but that certainly doesn't mean there isn't cause for major concern. We need to remember just how much money is at stake(untold billions of dollars), and that much of the research available is conducted with apparent financial conflicts of interest. We also need to remember that there have been zero studies done on the current, increasing vaccine schedule for safety or long term effects. There have also been zero studies in the U.S that compare the health of the unvaccinated to that of the fully vaccinated, even though "anti-vaxxers" have been demanding a comprehensive study for decades.
Dr. Obukhanych makes clear just how important vitamins are to the immune system; particularly vitamins A, C, and D3. She also demonstrates how chiropractic adjustments actually activate the Adaptive Branch of your immune system, and are important to overall health. It becomes clear after listening to her that fever(below 105) is actually a vital part of the body's ability to stimulate the immune system, by promoting biological action of Interferon, therefor keeping the problem from getting worse. As someone who firmly believes that life on earth came to be by Intelligent Design, and not by chance, learning about the intricate ways your body fights illness only re-affirms my beliefs. Biology has always fascinated me, but learning things I didn't know before about the human immune system did nothing short of amaze me.
She closes her presentation illustrating some points that are foreign in today's medical culture. First, she points out that according to scientific findings, childhood infections actually decrease the risk of some chronic/terminal illness in adulthood.
Measles, for example, lowers the risk of hay fever and asthma(Rosenlund et al. (2009) Pediatrics 123:771-778).
Varicella(Chicken Pox) lowers the risk of hay fever, asthma, and atopic dermatitis(Silverberg et al. (2012) Pediatrics 23: 50-58) and brain tumors(Wrensch et al. (1997) Am J Epidemiol 145:594-597).
Mumps lowers the risk of ovarian cancer(Cramer et al. (2010) Cancer Causes Control 21: 1193-1201).
And this is only the beginning of what scientists can discover about the benefits to certain viral infections that we vaccinate so readily for. That is, if they keep looking.
The last point she makes is that there has been quite a paradigm shift in our culture. What now reigns supreme is the "Public Health Model", which attempts to eradicate viruses through mass vaccination(and a heavy marketing scheme). However, the "Personal Health Model", which uses the immune system as an interface for peaceful coexistence with viruses(who don't gain anything from killing us, since they depend on us to live), is actually a better and more effective model, although it is far from popular in our medically dictated culture.
Dr. Obukhanych gives us an insight into the world of her peers, who mostly raise eyebrows and look the other way when they see her. She is now a black sheep in the scientific community, who has forsaken her roots as a vaccine apologist and embraced the "anti-vax" mentality, owing her critical thinking skills and common-sensitis to opening her eyes to a bigger picture that many can't seem to grasp. She is despised by some zealots, but even they cannot seem to find anything to combat. Her courage is admirable, and quite contagious. She is a valuable asset to AV'ers everywhere who need so desperately to be "validated" by those with medical and scientific degrees. Her work, along with the work of others like I mentioned earlier, continues to open more and more eyes on a daily basis. The AV movement is gaining steam, and at this rate will reach the ears of everyone in the country in only a few years. The trick is getting the general public, who have been put under a brilliant marketing spell, to snap out of it and consider our side. It will be an uphill battle all the way. There are many who have decided they will trust the medical industry with their lives at any cost, no matter the conflicting, well researched information readily available should they choose to look for themselves.
However, there is a real danger that currently looms in this country and in many others: Mandatory Vaccination. If certain zealots have their way, the exemptions that so many AV'ers cling to will be wiped out, and there will be hefty penalties for those who continue to refuse to have their children vaccinated. The scariest part is how logical their arguments sound to those who don't know any better. Using the unproven and even unscientific theory of herd immunity as their backbone, as well as doctored statistics and data cherry-picking, they are continuously successful in convincing the public, doctors, and media that vaccines are necessary to fight disease. We cannot allow this lie to continue to be accepted, and we cannot allow our state governments to have their way with mandatory vaccination.
I highly encourage anyone reading this blog to research the work of both Mary Tocco and Dr. Tetyana, and if you have a chance, they're worth seeing in person. They are both informational powerhouses that boast a massive compilation of peer-reviewed literature questioning the safety and efficacy of vaccines. One thing has become abundantly clear to me, as well as the millions of others who have researched the topic for themselves: Vaccines, at least based on the current schedule and ingredients, are certainly an immunological fail.