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Do Vaccines Work?
How do vaccines work anyway?
What's herd immunity?
What happened during the pre-vaccine era?
How does our immune system work?
An alternative hypothesis for vaccine-induced injury
Are we better off with vaccination?

How Do Vaccines Work Anyway?

The argument is pretty simple.  Inject a weakened form of the disease germ into the body.  Our bodies respond by making antibodies.  If we encounter the actual disease at some point in the future, the antibodies will still be there to destroy them. For an illustration, click HERE.

Courtesy of the CDC:

Each child is born with a full immune system composed of cells, glands, organs, and fluids that are located throughout his or her body to fight invading bacteria and viruses. The immune system recognizes germs that enter the body as "foreign" invaders, or antigens, and produces protein substances called antibodies to fight them. A normal, healthy immune system has the ability to produce millions of these antibodies to defend against thousands of attacks every day, doing it so naturally that people are not even aware they are being attacked and defended so often (Whitney, 1990). Many antibodies disappear once they have destroyed the invading antigens, but the cells involved in antibody production remain and become "memory cells." Memory cells remember the original antigen and then defend against it when the antigen attempts to re-infect a person, even after many decades. This protection is called immunity.

Vaccines contain the same antigens or parts of antigens that cause diseases, but the antigens in vaccines are either killed or greatly weakened. When they are injected into fatty tissue or muscle, vaccine antigens are not strong enough to produce the symptoms and signs of the disease but are strong enough for the immune system to produce antibodies against them (Tortora and Anagnostakos, 1981). The memory cells that remain prevent re-infection when they encounter that disease in the future. Thus, through vaccination, children develop immunity without suffering from the actual diseases that vaccines prevent.

What's Herd Immunity?

The basic idea behind herd immunity is that a certain, very high threshold of the population must be vaccinated or the disease will penetrate the protective cordon or "firebreak" of sorts, and put all of society at risk.  It's not enough to have immunity., because all vaccines don't work with all people all the time, and not all people can be reached or safely vaccinated.  Our public health officials therefore tell us that we need something in addition to the antibodies. We need herd or community immunity.  Straight from the Department of Health & Human Services:

A concept of protecting a community against certain diseases by having a high percentage of the community's population immunized. (Sometimes referred to as "herd" immunity). Even if a few members of the community are unable to be immunized, the entire community will be indirectly protected because the disease has little opportunity for an outbreak. However, with a low percentage of population immunity, the disease would have great opportunity for an outbreak.

The importance of vaccination and the imperative of herd immunity have prevailed as conventional wisdom since the start of the mandatory childhood vaccine programs of the 1960s and 1970s.  The CDC offers more information on Immunization Basics and Why Immunize?

What Happened During the Pre-Vaccine Era?

It's instructive to study history.  Humans haven't always vaccinated.  Here's what we know.  The numbers of people dying from infectious diseases was plummeting, consistently and meaningfully, over the entire 1900s. Almost all of the decline occurred before vaccines were introduced for widespread use in the 1940s.  This chart  uses data from the CDC's Vital Statistics of the United States to tell the story:

The reasons for this sustained, significant decline were clearly understood at the time.  Our country was in the process of making huge investments in our sanitation and hygiene infrastructure.  Indoor plumbing facilitated running water and flush toilets.  We covered cesspools, cleaned the stables and streets and put sewers underground.  We protected our water source from pollution and sewer contamination.  We became aware of the importance of nutrition and sanitary food habits.  The era of antibiotics was launched with the invention of penicillin in 1928.  All of these developments significantly reduced contagion, morbidity and mortality.

How Does Our Immune System Work?

The human body is exceedingly complex.  As much as we flatter ourselves, in medicine and society, that our knowledge reaches ever greater heights, there remain many mechanisms and processes that we don't fully grasp. The immune system is one of those areas.  There's an entire portion of our immune system that has nothing to do with antibodies.  It's called cell-mediated immunity.  What is the impact of vaccination on that part of our immune system?  Hum.  I'm not sure we know.  Should we care?

It should not surprise us to realize that our immune system is working all the time, overt time.  And thank goodness.  We are surrounded by pathogens and toxins in numbers that boggle the mind and yet, for the most part, we are not an oozing, pus-filled, disease-ridden mess.  Something must be working.  It is.

The normal first line response to airborne and ingested germs and pollution is secretory IgA (sIgA) which is secreted by the mucosal aspect of our immune system.  Think about it.  Mucosa... mucus passages.  It starts in our nasal and oral passages and continues down through our esophagus through to our gastrointesintal tract. This is a big part of the reason it is often quoted that 70% of the body's immune cells are found within the gut.

So... we are always breathing and eating stuff that could be hazardous to our health and our immune system is helping to keep us in balance.  Note that I said breathing and eating.  The normal port of entry for the bad guys is through your nose and your mouth.  Injecting pathogens and toxins directly into the body is unnatural.  Cave men did not inject themselves with germ-filled syringes.  Our greatest numbers of people have not evolved and adapted over time by incorporating vaccinations into our bodies.  All these vaccines we've been giving our children and each other, in ever increasing numbers - it is a great big public experiment.  Look around.  Decide if you like what you're seeing.  Are we well?

An Alternative Hypothesis For Vaccine-Induced Injury?

Here's an alternative hypothesis for what could be happening with all this atypical manipulation of the immune system.  We are in general agreement that the level of pollution in our air, water and food is high and unacceptable and that it contributes towards illness and disease.  It's also reasonable to say that toxins clog our excretory organs and make it more challenging for the body to sustain health. We take an average child or person with unprecedented body burden of chemicals and we inject yet more toxic material plus live viruses and bioengineered bacteria in toxoid and conjugated forms.

Does the body summon the antibody posse and evacuate the baddies?  Maybe.  Hopefully.  Is it possible that sometimes, something goes wrong?  Could it be that it gets more difficult for the body to consistently and repeatedly mount an artificially-induced immune response?  Could it be that the body does not typically enounter two, three or eight different types of pathogenic material at once, as it does when we typically inject a twelve- to fifteen-month old baby with diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella, polio, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, chicken pox, haemophilus influenzae type b, pneumococcus and influenza?  Doesn't this sound like an awful lot of vaccines at one time?

What if the virus is not evacuated?  What if it circulates around the body, crosses the blood brain barrier or enters the cells of certain organ systems?  Is it possible that the body could still be attempting to mount an antibody response and create antibodies to attack the virus?  If the virus is in our cells, could the body create auto-antibodies that begin to attack... us

    - If it attacks our GI tract, could it cause food allergies, Crohn's, or colitis?
    - If it attacks our pancreatic islet cells, could it cause diabetes?
    - If it attacks our respiratory tract, could it cause asthma?
    - If it attacks our joints, could it cause rheumatoid arthritis?
    - If it attacks our skin, could it cause eczema, psoriasis or scleroderma?
    - If it attacks our brain, could it cause Alzheimer's, autism, ADD, MS, ALS or Parkinson's?

Could some of the autoimmune disease that we are seeing today be explained by vaccines? Dr. Philip Incao describes the phenomenon in his attached article: "The repeated use of vaccinations would tend to shift the functional balance of the immune system toward the antibody-producing side (Th2) and away from the acute inflammatory discharging side (the cell-mediated or Th1).  Most vaccinations cause a shift in immune function to the chronic autoimmune or allergic response."

Are We Better Off With Vaccination? 

It's certainly worth asking the question.  What do we have to show for the billions of dollars we've spent on public health during the past six decades?  If vaccines save lives, then surely, as the number one vaccinating country in the world, we must have superior infant and early childhood morality, right?  No.  It's sadly not true and the numbers are shocking.

Today, America ranks 42nd in infant mortality, behind every developed country except Poland and a lot of developing countries, too.  Does it make sense to you that 1 in 143 American babies dies before age one?  Are we sure that we are better off giving our children so many shots?

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