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Just this week, the New York Times published an article stating that the problem of surging whooping cough cases has more to do with flaws in the current vaccines than with parents' resistance. Could the truth about vaccines be going mainstream?
So, you're trying to grow a plant. You take it inside, in a little pot. You feed it fertilizer, put it under lights, and when it starts to wilt, you prop it up with all sorts of sticks and tape, and when one fails, you add more. Eventually it dies. All it wanted was sun, fresh air, clean water, and the magic of natural soil. I think of this pathetic image when I reflect on the absurdity of our vaccination program. If it were only absurd, and not deadly, my reflections would be just that. Instead, I am here to speak to pregnant women about how to arm themselves with knowledge, to warn them so there are no regrets.
As I have declared, I take pregnancy interventions, epigenetic exposures, and maternal health very, very seriously. After my fellowship-level training in psychiatric treatment of these women, I understand, all too well, how flawed and nearly impossible to achieve, safety data is for pharmaceutical products in pregnancy. Passive reporting systems and industry-maintained registries don't cut it. I'd like to take you on a brief tour of one particular product that your OB may recommend, coerce, or bully you into, and then your child's pediatrician will take the torch and do the same for your tiny baby: the diptheria, tetanus, pertussis vaccine, also known as DTaP.
As of 2012, every woman, regardless of any individual considerations or risk/benefit, is recommended the DTaP vaccine after 20 weeks of gestation.
Here's how we got into this situation
Pertussis incidence was waning on its own until a 1980 mandate to vaccinate in 42 states. Since this time, and since the introduction of the seemingly "less dangerous" acellular pertussis vaccine (the whole cell vaccine was so clearly toxic that seizure activity and fevers drove parents away from vaccination, and it still took almost 50 years to change the product) was introduced in 1996, ten years after pharmaceutical companies were granted immunity through the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (i.e. ten years after there stopped being any incentive to produce safe vaccines).
Because of subsequent increasing incidence, more and more boosters were added to compensate for "waning immunity" and now children get 6 doses by 6 years old. Another stick thrown under that failing plant was the "cocooning" strategy which recommended that women and household members be vaccinated immediately after birth to "protect" the vulnerable newborn. This practice has been abandoned because of inefficacy and concerns for active spread to these infants. Now, the proposed solution is vaccinating before delivery. Seems to make sense, right? Vaccinate the mom so the antibodies pass to the baby before she's born, and then she'll be protected for a little while until we can start her lifelong vaccination program. The problem is that this idea, quaint as it is, has no basis in evidence and discussions in the literature have repeatedly pointed to this quandary:
And, even from the horse's mouth, the CDC claims:
Unfortunately, all the "unknowns" and "likely"s and "uncertain"s and a frank admission that In prelicensure evaluations, the safety of administering a booster dose of Tdap to pregnant women was not studied. do not stop the CDC from their recommendation that:
"women's health-care personnel implement a Tdap vaccination program for pregnant women who previously have not receivedTdap. Health-care personnel should administer Tdap during pregnancy, preferably during the third or late second trimester (after 20 weeks' gestation). If not administered during pregnancy, Tdap should be administered immediately postpartum."
We'd like our herd immunity back
The wisdom of the immune system is such that infection educates the body in ways that we do not completely understand (it's more than just antibody production!), and then passive exposure from infected individuals in the community, serves to continually reeducate and "boost" the potential response that keeps reinfection at bay.
Vaccines don't do this, have never done this, and will never do this. DTaP is a perfect example.
In the case of infants, they would inherit natural antibodies and then pass them onto their newborns for years of protection – by evolutionary design. The assumption that vaccine-induced antibodies that pass through the placenta would pass for protection has never been demonstrated, and, in fact, is just that – an assumption. We have also seen shifts of the burden of disease to more vulnerable populations, and in many cases, this population is the newborn, exactly who we were intending to protect.