I’m often asked the question about vaccines and I can make some observations and raise more questions.
There’s interest, a lot of growing enthusiasm for the Hygiene Hypothesis.
The Hygiene Hypothesis:
A lack of early childhood exposure to infectious agents, symbiotic microorganisms and parasites, increases susceptibility to allergic diseases by suppressing the natural development of the immune system.
Societies where the children are still getting their typical infections, Measles, Mumps,
Rubella, Chicken Pox. As babies and toddlers, these society’s as adults have much less autoimmunity and the presumption is that there’s some important messaging that happens between these early childhood infections that we get from bacteria, viruses and parasites that speak to our immune cells that may help regulate a healthy immune response so later in life there’s less autoimmunity.
That’s a very important hypothesis. We may be altering the maturation process of our immune cells and increasing the risk of autoimmunity.
We have some other issues that I have concerns about, the vaccines are most effective when we use a live agent but when you use a live agent there will be some individuals whose immune functions are so compromised that that live vaccine could kill them or seriously harm them. So science has in the interest of not creating harm now used a killed infectious agent but our bodies know it’s dead, we don’t really mount much of an immune response.
So again, scientists wanting to help, decided that we have to give something that’s irritating to the immune system to get it to react to this dead infecting agent. These irritating compounds are generally fairly toxic. We usually had to use some mercury components, some aluminum components but whatever components we use will have some toxic effects.
Our vaccines are studied in their clinical trials one at a time or in a small number of vaccines at a time but when their scheduled there are many more vaccines clump together and I don’t know that we’ve had studies that look at these adjuvants that are added to a killed vaccine that had really identified how much adjuvant is safe in a single day or is safe in a lifetime. I think those are un-resolved questions.
Another factor that I worry about; it’s my recollection during medical school that I had read, the government decided that vaccines made such good public health policy that they would indemnify the vaccine makers from liability because of the public health benefits and that we needed to have the vaccines produced so we created more financial incentives to decrease the financial risk for vaccine production.
The unintended consequences of that is the development of vaccines that have less immediate public health benefit in terms of mortality. As we start creating vaccines for diseases that are not fatal but are inconvenient. Most of these vaccine studies are short term, immediate safety, we don’t have any vaccine studies that look over the life span of the human.
So I think there are unknowns, there certainly are public health benefits I will not disagree with but I think there are these public health risks that have not been adequately measured and quantified.