Apr 29, 2017

Let the EVIDENCE speak: Did Vaccines Save Us?

There is a perception out there that vaccines saved us from the deadly diseases of the 19th and 20th centuries. But did they?
Please review the evidence below.
You will see that in developed nations, mortality from these diseases declined dramatically before vaccines came in, with the trend heading downward (smallpox and polio excepted, they have different stories). This was largely even before antibiotics were widely used.
Vaccine protagonists argue we can see the worth of vaccines better by looking at graphs showing disease incidence (morbidity), rather than by looking at mortality. However death rates give us the most accurate picture of what is going on—incidence data only includes reported cases, and many cases of disease are never reported, but deaths usually are.
Also, although incidence data show declining disease rates after introduction of some vaccines, this is not significant if those diseases had become mild in the vast majority of cases anyway, due to improvements in the health of populations.
If the slope of a mortality graph is pointing downwards for a long time with no vaccine, it’s reasonable to expect it would continue to go down if not interfered with, and that serious side effects of the disease would be declining too.
England and Wales measles mortality 1839 to 1978.

US measles mortality 1900 to 1988.

(Record of mortality in England and Wales for 95 years as provided by the

Office of National Statistics, published 1997; Report to The Honourable Sir George Cornewall Lewis, Bart, MP, Her Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for the Home Department, June 30, 1860, pp. a4, 205; Essay on Vaccination by Charles T. Pearce, MD, Member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England; Parliamentary Papers, the 62nd Annual Return of the Registrar General 1899 (1891–1898))
Whooping cough (pertussis) mortality Australia 1870 to 1970
Diphtheria mortality, in England and Wales. Diphtheria vaccination began in 1920, and became widespread in the 1940s.

Diphtheria mortality UK vs USA. An early form of the diphtheria vaccine in limited use from 1920, widespread vaccination early 1940s (UK), late 1940s (USA).

Mumps mortality in England and Wales, 1901 to 1999 (mumps vaccination started 1988, in MMR)

England and Wales mortality for measles, scarlet fever, whooping cough (pertussis), diphtheria and smallpox, 1838 to 1978. Note – there was no vaccine for scarlet fever.

United States mortality rates from various infectious diseases from 1900 to 1965. Notice the diphtheria and typhoid graphs almost match each other, despite the fact there was no widespread use of a typhoid vaccine. There was no vaccine for scarlet fever.
(Vital Statistics of the United States 1937, 1938, 1943, 1944, 1949, 1960, 1967, 1976, 1987, 1992; Historical Statistics of the United States— Colonial Times to 1970 Part 1; Health, United States, 2004, US Department of Health and Human Services; Vital Records & Health Data Development Section, Michigan Department of Community Health; US Census Bureau, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2003; Reported Cases and Deaths from Vaccine Preventable Diseases, United States, 1950–2008)
Massachusetts tuberculosis, diphtheria, typhoid, measles, and smallpox mortality rates from 1861 to 1970 (although US national records did not begin until 1900, records in some cities began earlier, and give us a chance to see what was going on before 1900). There was no widespread use of a vaccine for typhoid.

(Historical Statistics of the United States—Colonial Times to 1970 Part 1, Bureau of the Census, p. 63)
FRANCE measles mortality rate. Note – measles vaccination rate was less than 20% in 1983 and less than 40% in 1989.
US influenza and pneumonia mortality rates 1900 to 2002, vaccination was introduced early 1970s
Note – Influenza and pneumonia are bundled together, because influenza leads to pneumonia, and the exact cause of death cannot be determined (when your country or state health authorities declare X thousand people died from influenza, know that pneumonia deaths are included in that figure).
Above graph magnified, 1960 to 2002, includes vaccine coverage in blue
This is what US investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson wrote in 2014:
“An important and definitive “mainstream” government study done nearly a decade ago got little attention because the science came down on the wrong side. It found that after decades and billions of dollars spent promoting flu shots for the elderly, the mass vaccination program did not result in saving lives. In fact, the death rate among the elderly increased substantially.”
Read it here: Govt. Researchers: Flu Shots Not Effective in Elderly, After All
And flu pandemics?
In 2011 Professor Collignon, professor of microbiology at the Australian National University and director of infectious diseases at Canberra Hospital, had this to say, regarding Australia’s 2009 swine flu episode:
“What was a bit surprising when we looked at some of the data from Canada and Hong Kong in the last year is that people who have been vaccinated in 2008 with the seasonal or ordinary vaccine seemed to have twice the risk of getting swine flu compared to the people who hadn’t received that vaccine.
“Some interesting data has become available which suggests that if you get immunised with the seasonal vaccine, you get less broad protection than if you get a natural infection.
“It is particularly relevant for children because it is a condition they call original antigenic sin, which basically means if you get infected with a natural virus, that gives you not only protection against that virus but similar viruses or even in fact quite different flu viruses in the next year.
“We may be perversely setting ourselves up that if something really new and nasty comes along, that people who have been vaccinated may in fact be more susceptible compared to getting this natural infection.
Tetanus mortality England and Wales 1901 to 1999. Vaccine widespread in late 1940s.
Note – The numbers of farm labourers fell by half after the second world war, and the increase in mechanisation reduced the chances of the types of  injuries likely to result in tetanus.
Tetanus mortality England and Wales 1901 to 1999. Vaccine widespread in late 1940s.
From the CDC (US gov):
“Tetanus is not contagious from person to person. It is the only vaccine-preventable disease that is infectious but not contagious.”
A marked decrease in mortality from tetanus occurred from the early 1900s to the late 1940s. In the late 1940s, tetanus toxoid was introduced into routine childhood immunization”
Meningitis in Australia

The Hib vaccine was introduced to reduce bacterial meningitis – bacterial meningitis can be caused by a wide variety of bacteria but the Hib bacterium was the predominant one found in bacterial meningitis cases at the time. The Hib vaccine has indeed reduced the incidence of Hib infections, but has it reduced meningitis deaths? Or have other bacteria simply taken over?

Meningitis all ages in Australia, 1907 to 2007Meningitis Australia under fives. Note – the Hib vaccine greatly reduced most Hib infections in just 2 years, so the meningitis occurring after 1995 has been caused by other bacteria (there are unlimited species and strains of bacteria that can cause this type of infection).
Meningitis Australia under fives, 1960 to 2006
Australian graphs are from Fooling Ourselves: on the fundamental value of vaccinesby Greg Beattie
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