Washington Post Lies about Safety of Giving Multiple Vaccines at Once

The Washington Post tries to reassure parents that getting their child many vaccines at once is perfectly safe by claiming every vaccine on the CDC's routine childhood schedule has been studied for safety when given along with every other vaccine on the schedule. But that is a recklessly irresponsible lie.

Note: There is a follow-up to this article. Click here to read about what happened when I confronted Lena H. Sun about her lie.

“Why it’s a bad idea to space out your child’s vaccination shots” is the headline of a Washington Post article written by Lena H. Sun. This article serves as an illuminating example of why it’s a dangerously bad idea to take advice about vaccination from the Washington Post (or any other mainstream media source for that matter).

Sun’s purpose in writing is to address the concern of many parents that “too many vaccines might overwhelm their child’s immune system” in order to persuade them that they have nothing to fear and that they should strictly follow the CDC’s vaccine schedule.

To the question “Isn’t getting all these shots hard on the immune system of such young children?”, Sun answers with a firm, “No.”

Sun’s declaration is utterly absurd and totally irresponsible. To begin with, what does Sun even mean by vaccines being “hard on” the immune system? The whole point of a vaccine, after all, is to stress the immune system in order to stimulate an immune response. It’s at best a meaningless statement, if not a patently false one.

Sun’s statement also ignores the fact that the immune response to vaccination varies by individual and that some children are genetically predisposed to vaccine injury. (More on that below.)

The Meaningless Comparison Underlying the Post’s Claim

Moreover, to support her assertion, Sun quotes Dr. Kristen Feemster, the research director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, saying that “what a vaccine is giving your baby is really a small, small part of the bacteria or virus that these vaccines are protecting against”.

To make this seem insignificant, Feemster points out that babies are exposed to tens of thousands of different bacteria by the end of their first week of life, with each bacteria having “anywhere from 2,000 to 6,000 little proteins that our body could respond to if they do cause infections”.

Vaccines, by comparison, have much fewer proteins, “Just enough to help our bodies make an immune response so that we’ll have immune memory—then we’ll be able to recognize a bacteria or virus when we are actually exposed and make antibodies for protection right away.”

Feemster is here invoking her colleague Paul Offit, a specialist in infectious disease at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia who frequently serves as the mainstream media’s go-to “expert” on vaccines. Instructively, Offit once sat on the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), which makes recommendations about public vaccine policy, where he advocated that the CDC recommend use of the rotavirus vaccine. He subsequently profited handsomely from the sale of the patent for the rotavirus vaccine RotaTeq, manufactured by Merck.

With the same aim in mind of convincing parents that their child receiving multiple vaccines at once poses no risk, Offit has noted that “A baby’s body is bombarded with immunologic challenges—from bacteria in food to the dust they breathe.”

This is certainly true, but it’s also a non sequitur fallacy. It does not follow from the fact that babies are naturally exposed to tens of thousands of bacteria and viruses on a routine basis that therefore receiving many vaccines at once is insignificant in terms of the stress placed on the immune system.

For starters, humans have ten times more bacterial cells in our bodies than human cells. And this is fine because we generally live in symbiosis with these bacteria. In fact, bacteria in our gut benefit us in many ways and even perform vital functions for our immune systems. They are not only not harmful to us, but we depend on them for good health.

Furthermore, while children may be “bombarded with immunologic challenges”, they are bombarded naturally. They have an innate immune system designed to deal with potentially pathogenic invaders. The argument presented by Sun completely ignores the fact that injected vaccines are intentionally designed to bypass that innate immune system. (More on that below, too, with respect to the use of aluminum as a vaccine ingredient.)

The way Feemster characterizes how a vaccine works is also quite puzzling, given her job title. She is certainly aware that, contrary to what she tells the public, vaccines generally stimulate an antibody response at the expense of lost immune memory. Vaccines are intended to stimulate humoral immunity, or the production of antibodies that fight the target pathogen, in a way that tends to skew the immune system away from a cell-mediated response that would confer the “immune memory” Feemster is referring to.

For example, receiving the influenza vaccine might stimulate a protective antibody response for the handful of target strains included in the shot, but it does not confer a strong cell-mediated response; natural infection with an influenza virus, on the other hand, confers both an antibody response and a robust cell-mediated immunity that confers protection not only against that particular strain, but also against other strains of influenza—and there are hundreds of known strains, not to mention many other non-influenza viruses that cause influenza-like symptoms that the vaccine offers no protection against.

This is how, as studies have shown, getting an annual flu shot might actually increase your chances of getting the flu over time. (You probably haven’t read about these studies in the Washington Post.)

Propagating the Myth of Pertussis Vaccine Herd Immunity

Specifically mentioned in Sun’s article is the pertussis vaccine. She writes that, “If a 2-month-old doesn’t get a recommended vaccine dose to protect against pertussis, the baby could get this highly contagious disease”, more commonly known as whooping cough.

The logical corollary of this statement, and the conclusion Sun and her editors intended for readers to draw, is that if a child is vaccinated, the child therefore can’t get the disease—which is false.

There are a number of highly salient facts about the pertussis vaccine that Sun doesn’t divulge, but which parents need to know in order to be able to make a truly informed choice about whether or not to vaccinate.

For one, while the media likes to blame pertussis outbreaks on parents who choose not to vaccinate their children, the truth is that the vaccine has been a startling failure. The immunity conferred by the vaccine is short-lived and wanes within two to four years.

Furthermore, vaccination does not prevent transmission of the disease; vaccinated individuals can still carry and spread pertussis. This actually makes vaccinated individuals a greater threat to infants because vaccinated individuals are less likely to show symptoms of infection. (An infected but asymptomatic vaccinated child is more likely to infect an infant sibling than a symptomatic unvaccinated child since in the former case the family will not take any steps to quarantine the infected child away from the vulnerable baby.)

Moreover, mass vaccination with the pertussis vaccine has caused “genetic drift” so that now the dominant strain in circulation in the US lacks a key antigen component of the vaccine, pertactin (PRN), and, consequently, the strain is vaccine resistant.

When CDC researchers examined data from pertussis outbreaks in Washington and Vermont, they found “85% of the isolates were PRN-deficient and vaccinated patients had significantly higher odds than unvaccinated patients of being infected with PRN-deficient strains.”

Those aren’t my words. That’s from the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

A CDC-financed study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases in January 2015 expanded this research to six additional states (Colorado, Connecticut, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, and Oregon). The researchers found that “Vaccinated case-patients receiving at least 1 dose had a significantly higher odds of having PRN- B. pertussis compared with unvaccinated case-patients”.

So there you have it again from CDC study published in a leading journal in the peer-reviewed medical literature.

(For more on all that, see my article “The Ugly Untold Truth about the Pertussis Vaccine”.)

So, to sum up, the CDC knows that the vaccine is not only ineffective at preventing the spread of pertussis, but that vaccinated individuals are themselves at greater risk for infection with what is now the dominant strain in circulation thanks to mass vaccination—yet it continues to recommend that policy remain on course anyway!

But it’s those who dare to question public vaccine policy, who dare to speak heresy against the vaccine religion, who are dubbed “anti-science” by the mainstream media….

10,000 Aluminum-Containing Vaccines at Once?

Here’s the stark reality: While it’s the “anti-vaxxers” the establishment media wants us to believe are “anti-science”, the CDC’s public vaccine policy is upheld by unscientific claims.

For instance, the CDC claims that receiving many vaccines at once poses no risk, a claim for which it relies upon the arguments of Paul Offit, who is famous for claiming that infants can “safely get up to 10,000 vaccines at once” (in the words of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, paraphrasing Offit in a newsletter for parents in September 2006).

In a paper published in the journal Pediatrics in January 2002, Offit argued that every infant has “the theoretical capacity to respond to about 10,000 vaccines at any one time”.

His argument was the same one presented by Sun in her Washington Post article, that vaccines contain a relatively small number of antigens. The Hepatitis B vaccine, for example, Offit claims, contains just “1 antigen”.

As I’ve written previously, that is an incredibly audacious lie.

In her article, Sun argues as though the only ingredient in the vaccine parents need to be concerned about is the target antigen, the virus or bacterium the vaccine is intended to prevent the disease of. However, there are numerous other ingredients in vaccines that are cause for concern.

The HepB vaccine, for example, contrary to Offit’s bald-faced lie, contains aluminum, which is by definition an “antigen”. (An antigen is defined by the CDC as a foreign substance in the body capable of causing disease, and the whole reason for including aluminum in the vaccine is to stimulate an even stronger immune response to the vaccine.)

Aluminum is also a known neurotoxin capable of causing great harm.

The government, of course, claims that the aluminum in vaccines is harmless despite the safety studies that would be necessary to be able to make that judgment never having been conducted.

On its website, the CDC boldly proclaims aluminum adjuvants to be “safe vaccine ingredients”.

So how has the CDC determined this?

“Vaccines containing adjuvants are tested for safety in clinical trials before they are licensed for use in the United States”, the CDC web page states.

Among the pertinent facts the CDC doesn’t tell you there are that:

  • These clinical trials are conducted by the vaccine manufacturers themselves.
  • The safety studies typically aren’t placebo-controlled studies. For example, in some cases, the “placebo” used is another vaccine or another aluminum-containing injection.
  • These are very short-term studies designed to look for certain predefined adverse reactions, not to identify vaccine damage for which symptoms might not become manifest until many years later. They are most certainly not designed to assess the safety of aluminum as a vaccine ingredient, and the FDA has waived the requirement that manufacturers provide safety studies showing that the use of aluminum as an adjuvant in vaccines is safe.
  • When the CDC adds a vaccine to its routine childhood schedule, it confers legal immunity to vaccine manufacturers against vaccine injury. It means that the vaccine manufacturer cannot be sued in the event the child is killed or permanently damaged by the vaccine. While proclaiming vaccines to be “safe”, the government manages a National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, the purpose of which is to shift the financial burden of paying damages for vaccine injury off of the pharmaceutical companies and onto the taxpayers. To date, well over $3 billion has been awarded to families of individuals who have been killed or injured by CDC-recommended vaccines.
  • Among the recipients of vaccine injury awards have been families with children who developed autism after vaccination. When one such case became public in 2008, then CDC Director Julie Gerberding acknowledged that in genetically predisposed children, vaccines can cause damage, and that symptoms of vaccine injury “can be symptoms that have characteristics of autism.” (Incidentally, Gerberding left her CDC job to become president of the vaccine division at the pharmaceutical giant Merck.)

(For more details on just what a farce it is for the CDC to claim that aluminum in vaccines is safe solely on the basis of the vaccine industry’s own studies, see my report “5 Horrifying Facts about the FDA Vaccine Approval Process”.)

The industry’s own studies aren’t the only support the CDC offers on its web page to reassure the public that it is safe to inject children including infants with aluminum-containing vaccines. The CDC also states that “Aluminum salts, such as aluminum hydroxide, aluminum phosphate, and aluminum potassium sulfate have been used safely in vaccines for more than 70 years.”

That’s the CDC’s way of acknowledging that the safety of aluminum as a vaccine ingredient has never been properly studied.

Understand this: What the CDC is saying here is that aluminum as a vaccine ingredient has been accepted as “safe” for more than 70 years. The logic underlying this CDC statement is that since it has been used for 70 years and regarded by public health officials as safe throughout this time, therefore it must be safe.

That’s it. That’s all the CDC is saying. That’s the non sequitur fallacy upholding their claim. They do not cite a single scientific study to support their claim. This is natural, since no such studies exist.

To be fair, although the CDC cites not even a single scientific study on that web page to support its claim, it’s not that there’s no science underlying the government’s claim that aluminum is safe. It’s just tremendously bad science.

The principle argument underlying this claim that is used by public health officials is that the aluminum in vaccines is rapidly eliminated from the body.

But that is a lie.

The truth is that aluminum particles can not only remain for a very long period of time at the injection site, but can be taken up by macrophages and carried through the bloodstream to other areas of the body, including the brain, where the neurotoxin accumulates.

Just last month a study was published in the Journal of Inorganic Chemistry by some of the leading researchers in the field of aluminum toxicology that reviewed the three studies the government has relied upon to support its claim that aluminum in vaccines is safe. (See “Critical analysis of reference studies on the toxicokinetics of aluminum-based adjuvants”, available here.)

Even the strongest of these studies (Mitkus, et al, Vaccine, 2011) was such bad science that it is described by the authors of the new review as “nonsense”. Specifically, among other serious problems with the study, it illogically drew a conclusion about the safety of injected aluminum on the basis of research looking only at ingested aluminum.

The FDA, the agency relying on the Mitkus, et al, study, is perfectly well aware that this is reflective of nothing less than scientific fraud. Here’s the FDA in its own words (Federal Register, March 17, 2003), with respect to aluminum in food or pharmaceutical products:

“Generally, when medication and nutrition are administered orally, the gastrointestinal tract acts as an efficient barrier to the absorption of aluminum, and relatively little ingested aluminum actually reaches body tissues. However, parenterally administered drug products containing aluminum bypass the protective mechanism of the gastrointestinal tract and aluminum circulates and is deposited in human tissues.

The FDA went on to note how “difficult” it is to identify aluminum toxicity in infants—something it never bothered to even try to do before approving aluminum-containing vaccines like the HepB vaccine, which is administered routinely according to the CDC’s recommendation on the first day of life, regardless of whether the mother is even a carrier, despite it being a sexually transmitted disease for which most infants aren’t even at risk.

Incidentally, the US has the highest day-one infant mortality rate of any industrialized country.

Incidentally, another recent study found that aluminum levels in the brains of autistic children were consistently and “extremely” high. (See Mold, et al, “Aluminum in brain tissue in autism”, Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology, November 2017.)

Here’s a thought: let Paul Offit, along with everyone at the CDC and FDA, get 10,000 aluminum-containing vaccines at once and see how well they survive before advising parents that this would be a perfectly harmless thing to do to their children.

The Post’s Big Lie about the CDC’s Childhood Vaccine Schedule

Lena Sun’s Washington Post article is indicative of the sheer laziness, not to mention intellectual dishonesty, of journalists in the mainstream media. Sun, like most mainstream media journalists, has virtually no understanding of the countless legitimate reasons parents choose not to vaccinate their children. Sun not doing the research that these parents are doing, as she should be.

Sun’s article epitomizes how the mainstream media cover the vaccine issue only in the most superficial way, barely even scratching the surface. Rather than seriously addressing parents’ concerns and properly informing the public, the media misinform by mindlessly regurgitating the government and vaccine industry’s propaganda.

Sun and her editors at the Washington Post are not only lazy, but recklessly irresponsible. This is epitomized by the Big Lie she tells in the article.

In her effort to persuade parents that they have nothing to be concerned about their child receiving multiple vaccines at once according to the CDC’s schedule, Sun writes: “The effectiveness of the vaccine schedule is tested extensively to ensure that the vaccines in the combination don’t interfere with one another and can be easily handled by the infant and the child’s immune system. No new immunization is added to the schedule until it has been evaluated both alone and when given with the other current immunizations.

Sun’s intent is to get parents to believe that every vaccine on the CDC’s schedule has been studied for safety when given along with every other vaccine on the schedule.

That is just another outrageous lie.

The truth is precisely the opposite: no vaccine on the CDC’s schedule was ever studied for safety along with every other vaccine on the CDC’s schedule prior to licensure by the FDA; and no post-licensure studies have ever evaluated the long-term safety of the CDC schedule as a whole.

I confronted Sun about her lie on Twitter:

She had no comment, but Plum Remson appropriately interjected with the rhetorical question of whether the Washington Post would publish a correction:

The study referred to in Plum Remson’s tweet is titled “Combining Childhood Vaccines at One Visit Is Not Safe”, by Neil Z. Miller and published in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons in 2016. As Miller correctly points out, “Although CDC recommends polio, hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, rotavirus, Haemophilus influenza type B, and pneumococcal vaccines for two-, four-, and six-month-old infants, this combination of eight vaccines administered during a single physician visit was never tested for safety in clinical trials…. The safety of CDC’s childhood vaccination schedule was never affirmed in clinical studies. Vaccines are administered to millions of infants every year, yet health authorities have no scientific data from synergistic toxicity studies on all combinations of vaccines that infants are likely to receive.”

In a 2013 report on the safety of the CDC’s childhood vaccine schedule, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) observed that “existing research has not been designed to test the entire immunization schedule”, and that “studies designed to examine the long-term effects of the cumulative number of vaccines or other aspects of the immunization schedule have not been conducted.”

Needless to say, we can expect no correction from the Washington Post for lying to parents that every vaccine on the CDC’s schedule has been studied for safety when given along with the other vaccines on the schedule.

This bald-faced lie demonstrates the Post’s callous disregard for the truth about vaccines and its willingness to serve as nothing more than a propaganda mouthpiece of the government and vaccine industry.

The lack of seriousness with which the Post treats the issue of vaccines is further illustrated by a video that is routinely featured with any articles about vaccines, including Sun’s. This video simply chants the dogma that science has proven vaccines to be safe and effective. It’s a ridiculous piece of propaganda that absurdly claims to provide viewers with “Everything you need to know about the vaccine debate” in one minute.

(See this previous post of mine where I illustrated just how utterly idiotic this is — just in case you’d like even more demonstration than I’ve already given you about how patently stupid it is to claim you can know “everything you need to know” to make an informed choice about vaccination in just sixty seconds).

The mainstream media is just insulting your intelligence with this mindless crap.

The media, rather than treating this issue seriously, routinely misinform the public about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, including, as seen here, by outright lying. Lena H. Sun’s propaganda piece in the Washington Post is symptomatic of this disease of recklessly irresponsible journalism.

Fortunately, an increasing number of parents are doing what mainstream journalists refuse to do, which is to do their own research into the medical literature in order to immunize themselves against the vaccine propaganda emanating from the government and establishment media.

For further related reading, see in particular my posts:

CDC Lies About the Risks of Vaccination of Preterm Infants

On the Crime of Heresy Against the Vaccine Religion

American Academy of Pediatrics Refuses to Back Vaccine Claims with Science

The Atlantic’s Shameless Big Lie About Vaccine Safety

Also listen to my must-listen interview with C.Jay Engel of Reformed Libertarian about how the public is systematically misinformed by the government and media about vaccine safety and efficacy.

There is a real discussion to be had about vaccines. It’s past time the mainstream media started having it, rather than committing to not only keeping the public un-informed, but dangerously mis-informed.

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