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Population cohort and ecologic studies have become today's norm for determining vaccine efficacy and support the belief that vaccination has safely reduced the spread of infectious diseases and saved millions of lives. Never a gold standard for scientific inquiry, population studies now make up the bulk of vaccine advocates' clinical arsenal to discredit more factual biological research favoring the arguments of vaccine opponents. A recent paper published in the November 2013 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, "Contagious Diseases in the United States from 1988 to the Present," is the first of what will inevitably turn into a flurry of future studies to persuade legislators and the public that vaccination should be mandatory for assuring the health of the nation. The study was spawned from a new project launched at the University of Pittsburgh, Project Tycho, named after the renowned 16th century astronomer and mathematician Tycho Brahe and mentor of Johannes Kepler. Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, the Project is an enormous multi-tiered undertaking to store mortality data for 56 infectious diseases between 1888 and the present for future data-mining and analysis, and to strategize future policies to increase vaccination rates.
The paper's authors make the extraordinary claim that "103 million cases of childhood diseases (95% of those that would otherwise have occurred) have been prevented since 1924; in the past decade alone, 26 million cases (99% of those that would otherwise occurred) were prevented" from vaccination. Always the obedient slave to CDC and Big Pharm demands, the New York Times chimed in, stating that this is "one of the kind of analysis that can be done when enormous data sets are built and mined." If this analysis is factual, it can be heralded as one of the most significant achievements to support the miracles and benefits of vaccines. On the other hand, if the University of Pittsburgh researchers' analysis is scientifically unreliable and perhaps even found deceptive under sound empirical review, then the paper is one of the most misleading propaganda scams published in a peer-reviewed medical literature in recent years. This wouldn't be the first time the NEJM failed to perform diligent and satisfactory peer-review of papers submitted for publication. In the past, the prestigious journal has been rife with publishing duplicitous science articles that are best described as medical racketeering.
What is most important is to review the data that the Pittsburgh scientists depended upon in order to reach their conclusions. A review of the Project Tycho website and its database reveals an absence of the most critical information necessary for making any historical determination about a vaccine's effectiveness let alone how many deaths were prevented. The Projects sole accomplishment is to store vast amounts of data (200 million keystrokes) of mortality statistics, including time and location, for 56 infectious diseases over a 125 year period. Scientific data pertaining to vaccination statistics for eight vaccine-specific contagious diseases noted in the NEJM paper is nonexistent. There is no record for the number of people vaccinated for any of the targeted diseases in any given year or location. There are no records for the number of deaths among unvaccinated persons. Nor are there any records of deaths caused by an infectious disease that may have been caused by a vaccine's infectious agent or in a data set of the population where the vaccine was ineffective and did not provide protection. In fact, the Project contains no data regarding vaccination data at all!!
In addition, the data makes the a priori assumption that the cause of reported deaths due to the infectious diseases that are tracked over the course of 125 years is accurate. Of course, for the majority of this period accurate biological diagnostic technologies to determine an infectious cause of death were either not in existence or were not routinely performed.
So how did the Pittsburgh scientists derive their conclusions? To understand their modus operandi, the reader is asked to lay aside the most basic principles of the scientific method and critical thought. Rather it would be better to cast our minds back 500 years and adopt an irrational bias that finds more in common with alchemical and magical beliefs than modern science.
Without the crucial data for making even rough estimates for the number of vaccinated and non-vaccinated individuals for any given year in order to make an appropriate calculation, the study's method is really quite simple. "We estimated the numbers of cases of polio, measles, rubella, mumps, hepatitis A, diphtheria and pertussis that were prevented by vaccines," the paper states, "by subtracting the reported number of weekly cases after the introduction of vaccines from a simulated counterfactual number of cases that would have occurred in the absence of vaccination" (italics our emphasis). A dictionary's definition for "counterfactual numbers" would be a number that relates to something that has not happened or a case that doesn't exist. In other words, it is a magically conjured number relying upon mathematical algorithms with no genuine correspondence to the reality of infection rates. Moreover, the paper states it relies on a "quantitative history," which translates merely into simple plain numbers of death counts without qualifying what those numbers actually represent in any significant, qualitative way (eg., vaccinated vs. non-vaccinated, margin of errors for misdiagnosing causes of death, the rising number of cases of people contracting infections they have been vaccinated against, etc).
The fact that mortality rates for most of the eight "preventable" infectious diseases under investigation were already declining rapidly before the introduction of vaccines is also ignored categorically. What the Pittsburgh team overlooks is the rapid declining numbers of deaths before the release of specific vaccines.
An excellent example is the mortality rates due to measles. Before the advent of the measles vaccine in 1963, death rates had already dropped 98.6 percent for the period while mortality records were kept. This steady decline started to plateau to less than 1 per 100,000 in 1944 and gradually diminished during the remaining years, aside from an abnormal spike in 1990 after the measles vaccine became part of the standard vaccination schedule. In 1959, the rate was approximately 1 in half a million, approaching zero, before the vaccine's 1963 release. Since the study ignores any potential reason for the 98.6 percent drop in measles mortality before 1963, there is no rationale to conclude the measles vaccine prevented any deaths whatsoever. Given the many decades of decline prior to the vaccine, whatever the cause(s) for this downward movement, it very likely would have continued to where measles mortality rates are today without a vaccine ever being developed. For example, there was never a vaccine developed for Scarlet Fever, however, in the UK it declined from being one of the more deadly infectious diseases with a mortality rate of 160 per 100,000 around 1860 to almost zero by 1940. Likewise, pertussis was already rapidly declining before the vaccine became widely used in the late 1940s.
In what has now become a standardized assault against parents who either delay or withhold vaccinating their children, the Pittsburgh authors want us to believe that non-vaccinated children were responsible for the recent increase in pertussis cases. However, putting aside the pertussis vaccine's litany of serious and life-threatening risks, data regarding its efficacy is gradually revealing this vaccine as one medicine's major debacles. What the authors fail to question is whether the vaccine itself might be responsible for this escalation. Dr. Ruiting Lan and his colleagues at the University of New South Wales have identified a new vaccine-resistant genotype of pertussis (ptxP3) that has increased dramatically. It was responsible for about 30 percent of whooping cough cases before the 2008 epidemic to 84 percent of whooping cough cases in Australia today.[6,7] This new and more deadly strain according to the CDC is now being reported in the US and there is a growing body of research pointing to recent whooping cough outbreaks being directly linked to the vaccine.[8,9] This alone may account for the increase of whooping cough cases being referred to in the NEJM paper and a reason why vaccinated children are coming down with the infection as well. The foremost question scientists should be concerning themselves, rather than investing millions of dollars to play computer games with Magical Numbers, is to determine whether the DPT vaccine is responsible for the emergence of a vaccine-resistant pertussis outbreaks.