Monthly Archives: March 2019

An Updated Analysis of the Health Risks Part 3

by Gary Null, PhD, and Martin Feldman, MD

Rotavirus Vaccine
In 2006, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended vaccination of all infants at two, four, and six months of age with a new vaccine designed to prevent rotavirus gastroenteritis. RotaTeq (Merck & Co.) is a live, oral vaccine that contains five reassortant rotaviruses developed from human and bovine strains.1 The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also recommended routine use of this vaccine in infants in 2006.2

The RotaTeq vaccine will almost certainly draw comparisons with a previous oral rotavirus vaccine, RotaShield, which was released by Wyeth Laboratories in 1998. The ACIP and AAP recommended universal use of RotaShield for healthy infants. A year later, however, RotaShield was removed from the market after the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) received reports of bowel intussusception—an obstruction in which one segment of the intestine telescopes inwardly into another—in babies who had received RRV-TV, as RotaShield was called. By the end of 1999, 121 reports of intussusception in infants administered RRV-TV had been received by VAERS.3 (Of the first 15 reported infants who developed intussusception, eight required a surgical reduction.)

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) points out that RotaShield was rhesus-based. By contrast, the parent rotavirus strains of the newly released RotaTeq are human and bovine.4 RotaTeq was not associated with an increased risk of intussusception compared with placebo in a trial involving more than 70,000 children.5 The CDC does note, however, that children who have already had this bowel obstruction should not get the rotavirus vaccine, because anyone who has had intussusception is at an increased risk of getting it again.6

An estimated one million US infants were vaccinated with RotaShield following its approval. This vaccine’s history is made worse by the fact that prelicensure trials demonstrated that RotaShield caused bowel intussusception at rates 30 times higher than those expected. This is what emerged from an analysis of prelicensure trial data by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.7

If it was already known that the vaccine could cause a potentially lethal condition, why did the FDA approve it? Why had nobody warned doctors to watch for this complication? These and other questions prompted the AAPS to request a Congressional investigation of the vaccine approval process. As Dr. Jane Orient, executive director of the AAPS, wrote in a letter to Representative Dan Burton, “The situation with the rotavirus vaccine may be a clue to a far more serious problem with the vaccine approval process.” Dr. Orient makes the important point that “Decisions about vaccines given to children should be made by parents in consultation with the child’s attending physician, not mandated by a small group of ‘experts’ with minimal accountability.”8

Meningococcal Vaccine
In its first year on the market, the new meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4) was potentially associated with an increased risk of Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), a rare neurological disorder that causes increasing weakness in the limbs. The meningococcal vaccine (Menactra) was recommended by the ACIP in May 2005 for routine vaccination of adolescents, college freshmen who live in dormitories, and other high-risk individuals.9

By September 2006, 17 confirmed cases of GBS in recipients of MCV4 had been reported to VAERS (all affected individuals had recovered or were recovering).10Although this association does not necessarily mean the vaccine caused the illness, the CDC has reported that the timing of the onset of GBS symptoms—within one to five weeks of vaccination—is of concern. As of October 2006, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and CDC were monitoring the situation, and the CDC continued to recommend the vaccine for adolescents and others.11

Smallpox Vaccine
The smallpox vaccine was given to infants in the US until 1972. At that time, the global incidence of this disease was well under control, and routine vaccination against smallpox ended. According to the National Network for Immunization Information, it was believed then that the risk of serious adverse events from the smallpox vaccine, including death, outweighed the risk of contracting the disease itself in the US.12 The World Health Organization (WHO) certified that smallpox was eradicated worldwide in 1980.

After the terrorist threats of 2001, the US developed a plan to reintroduce the smallpox vaccine, if necessary,13 to counter a potential attack using the virus as a biological weapon. In State of Immunity, author James Colgrove reports that the Bush Administration announced an ambitious plan in 2002 to vaccinate emergency personnel, health care workers, and adults in the general public on a voluntary basis. The administration failed to win the support of the program from health care providers, however, and less than a year later, the smallpox vaccination plan was ceased.14 Approximately 39,000 civilian health care and public health workers received the smallpox vaccine in 2003.15

Although this vaccination program failed, the proposal to immunize Americans against a biological attack with smallpox should cause us to take a closer look at this vaccine. (The old smallpox vaccine is stockpiled in the US, and new smallpox vaccines are in development.16)

An Unknown Virus 
The modern smallpox vaccine does not contain the smallpox virus itself, but rather a virus called “vaccinia” whose origins are unknown. The CDC states, “The vaccinia virus is the ‘live virus’ used in the smallpox vaccine. It is a ‘pox’-type virus related to smallpox. When given to humans as a vaccine, it helps the body to develop immunity to smallpox. The smallpox vaccine does not contain the smallpox virus, and it cannot cause smallpox.”17 The University of Florida College of medicine information page adds this: “Vaccinia is the virus that was used for vaccination against smallpox. Its exact origin is unknown, however, as it does not appear to be related to any other known pox virus. Some people think that it is a recombinant of smallpox and cowpox, while others think that it may be a derivative of horsepox, a virus that no longer exists (if it ever did).”

Adverse Effects of the Vaccine
The CDC reports that while the smallpox vaccine is safe for most people, serious and life-threatening reactions do occur in rare cases. Serious reactions include a rash or outbreak of sores in one area of the body (the virus may be spread from the vaccination site to other parts of the body or to other people); a widespread vaccinia rash that occurs when the virus spreads from the vaccination site through the bloodstream; and a toxic or allergic reaction to the vaccine. Life-threatening reactions to the smallpox vaccine include eczema vaccinatum (a serious rash involving widespread infection of the skin in people with conditions such as eczema or atopic dermatitis), progressive vaccinia (an infection of the skin with tissue destruction that often leads to death), and postvaccinal encephalitis (inflammation of the brain).18

Another potential complication of the smallpox vaccine is myopericarditis, or inflammation of the heart. The CDC says that while the link between the smallpox vaccine and this condition is not proven, data from recent smallpox vaccinations are “consistent with a causal association” between the two.19 In 2005 the FDA added a new black-box warning to Dryvax (the smallpox vaccine produced by Wyeth) regarding the increased risk of cardiac problems experienced by some recipients of the smallpox vaccine.20

What might the consequences of mass smallpox vaccination be? That was the question addressed in a 2002 article. Using historical data on adverse reactions to the vaccine, the authors estimated that, after excluding high-risk people and their close contacts, a vaccination strategy targeting people one to 29 years old would result in approximately 1,600 serious adverse events and 190 deaths. Vaccination of people from one to 65 years old would result in approximately 4,600 adverse events and 285 deaths. The researchers note that the smallpox vaccine “has a higher complication rate than any other vaccine currently being used.” They conclude that a mass vaccination campaign would have to be careful to exclude high-risk people and their contacts to minimize the complications, but that this approach would leave some people susceptible to the disease.21

In a 2006 paper, researchers estimated the expected frequencies of post-vaccinal encephalitis and death from smallpox vaccines containing two different strains of vaccinia virus: the New York City Board of Health (NYCBH) strain and the Lister strain. They note that other studies of the consequences of smallpox vaccination commonly have used an incidence of approximately one death per million vaccinations. However, these analyses “may give serious underestimates of the number of deaths resulting from vaccination.” This study estimates that vaccination with the NYCBH strain (stockpiled in countries such as the US) would lead to an average of 1.4 deaths per million vaccinations. Vaccination with the Lister strain (stockpiled in countries such as Germany) would lead to an average of 8.4 deaths per million vaccinations.22

Activists Speak Out on Vaccine Dangers
Those who take issue with universal immunization point out that the programs do not distinguish between children who may benefit from a certain vaccine and those who may be hurt by it. Infants are given blanket immunization regardless of their previous or current state of health and their varying susceptibilities to side effects. Ideally, the vaccination system should be much more selective, with parents being given complete information, so they can decide whether the risks associated with a particular procedure outweigh its potential benefits. Just as different races may suffer disproportionately from allergies and food sensitivities, studies indicate that they may experience different reactions to vaccines.

People engaged in the fight against government-mandated vaccines share their concerns here about several vaccination issues.

Provocation Disease
One of the most hazardous and insidious effects of vaccination lies in its potential to induce other forms of disease, a phenomenon known as provocation disease.23-27 The mechanisms that cause this to happen are unclear, although many scientists believe that latent viruses—those already existing in a person—may be stimulated by vaccinations and that this process may be enough to activate a particular illness. Vaccination, therefore, may not be the sole cause but rather the final trigger of an illness.
In his book Vaccination and Immunization: Dangers, Delusions and Alternatives,28 Leon Chaitow states that there is no way of knowing when such latent or incubating situations may be operating, and therefore no way of knowing when a vaccine may produce this sort of provocation.29 He warns that provocation of a latent virus is a potentially dangerous possibility with every vaccination procedure.

Many diseases thought to be caused at least partially by vaccinations do not surface until years later, by which time it is difficult to prove a connection. Two examples of conditions that may be provoked by vaccines are as follows:

  • Allergies According to Dr. Harris Coulter, co-author of A Shot in the Dark,30 and other experts,31 vaccines and allergies are clearly connected. “What does allergy mean? It means that your body is ready to react very, very quickly when exposed a second time to a substance to which it is allergic. If you are allergic to ragweed, [a small amount] of ragweed will start you sneezing. Now, if you vaccinate a person against pertussis or some other bacillus, you are making that person ‘allergic’ to that bacillus. That’s what being vaccinated actually means. It means you are ‘allergic’ to that bacillus, in the sense that your body will react very, very rapidly if exposed to that bacillus a second time.”
  • Immunosuppression and Autoimmune Disease The body needs to experience a full inflammatory response to create immunity, and vaccines do not allow this to happen. Instead, a chronic condition is created that can set the stage for autoimmune disease. Autoimmune diseases such as Guillain-Barre syndrome and thrombocytopenia have been associated with vaccinations.32In Immunization: The Reality Behind the Myth, author Walene James suggests that vaccinations may induce autoimmune disorders because “live viruses, the primary antigenic material of [some] vaccines, are capable of surviving or remaining latent in the host cell for years, without provoking acute disease.”33Live virus vaccines include those for chickenpox, measles, mumps, rubella, and oral polio.34

    Cynthia Cournoyer, author of What About Immunizations?, believes a key principle involved in the many negative effects of vaccines is that the immune system can tolerate only so many challenges, especially before it is given a chance to develop to maturity. “Every child,” she writes, “is born with a finite ability to combat disease. This is his total immune capacity. Once a child experiences a particular disease, permanent immunity is extremely efficient, using probably three percent to seven percent of the total immune capacity of an individual. In the case of routine childhood vaccination, it is likely that as much as 30% to 70% of total immune capacity becomes committed.”35

    Cournoyer proposes that this effect on immunity may substantially reduce a child’s immunological reserves. “Far from producing a genuine immunity, a vaccine may actually interfere with or suppress the immune response as a whole, in much the same way that radiation, chemotherapy, and corticosteroids and other anti-inflammatory drugs do.”36-38Cournoyer continues, “Although the body will not make antibodies against its own tissues, viruses becoming part of the genetic make-up may cause cells to appear foreign to the immune system, making them a fair target for antibody production…. Under proper conditions, these latent pro viruses could become activated and cause a variety of diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus erythematosus…and cancer.”39

  • Temporary Immunity of Vaccines Vaccines provide only temporary immunity, whereas the contraction of an actual disease confers permanent immunity most of the time. Viera Scheibner, a retired research scientist, writes that “generations of children with this inadequate immunity would grow into adults with no placental immunity to pass on to their children, who would then contract measles at an age when babies are normally protected by maternal antibody….”Perhaps the most unfortunate thing about the idea of eliminating infectious diseases by vaccination is that indeed there is no need to do so. As pointed out by the group of Swiss doctors opposing the US-inspired policy of mass vaccination against measles, mumps, and rubella in Switzerland, ‘We have lost the common sense and the wisdom that used to prevail in the approach to childhood diseases. Too often, instead of reinforcing the organism’s defenses, fever and symptoms are relentlessly suppressed. This is not always without consequences…'”40-42

    Lastly, Scheibner states, “There is no need to artificially immunize our children and ourselves. The body has proper, natural mechanisms to create immunity to diseases. The diseases themselves are the priming and challenging mechanisms of the maturation process leading to the competence of the immune system….”43

Economic and Legal Issues
Cynthia Cournoyer has noted that vaccines are the only products in the US that are legally mandated to be used by every person born.44 Barbara Loe Fisher, cofounder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), Vienna, Va., has advocated the right of individuals to make informed, independent vaccination decisions for themselves and their children for two decades. She paints an ominous picture of things to come: “As consumers, we can bring very little economic pressure on the system to have that product improved or removed, because all of us are required by law to use it. It’s a dream for the pharmaceutical industry involved in making vaccines, because there’s no way anybody can say no. It’s a stable, ready-made market, and the enactment of the compensation law in 1986 has removed almost all liability for drug companies….”

Fisher cautions that state health departments may develop electronic systems to monitor the vaccination status of each child. “…If we don’t act now, the public health infrastructure is going to get more power to intrude in our lives, intrude in our health care choices. It all comes down to whether or not we, as individuals, are going to fight for the right to make informed health care choices, including vaccination choices, for ourselves and our children, and whether we are going to hold the drug companies and government health officials accountable for the injuries, deaths, and chronic illnesses caused by the vaccines they produce, sell, and promote for mass use.”45

The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 created a no-fault compensation program through which plaintiffs can seek compensation for injuries from vaccines recommended for routine administration. The law also provided, however, that evidence of gross negligence would be needed to seek punitive damages against vaccine manufacturers.46 The NVIC said in 2003 that it and other parent groups “have been critical of how adversarial the system is and how difficult it is to get an award.”47 Through fiscal year 2001, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program had paid $1.3 billion in total awards (petitioner’s awards and attorney’s fees) for approximately 1,660 compensable petitions.48

The compensation program is funded through an excise tax on vaccines. As a result, consumers foot the bill for any injuries or deaths that may result from medical procedures they are required by law to undergo.49-51 Alan Phillips, co-founder of Citizens for Healthcare Freedom, notes: “[Pharmaceutical companies] have been allowed to use gag orders as a leverage tool in vaccine damage legal settlements to prevent disclosure of information to the public about vaccination dangers. Such arrangements are clearly unethical; they force a non-consenting American public to pay for vaccine manufacturers’ liabilities, while attempting to ensure that this same public will remain ignorant of the dangers of their products.”52,53

Vaccine critic Randall Neustaedter adds: “When lawsuits leveled at drug companies began wiping out profits gleaned from the pertussis vaccine, the manufacturers simply stopped production of the vaccine. The United States government stepped in to pay these vaccine-damage claims. Only then did the drug companies agree to resume vaccine production….”54

Right to Refuse Vaccination
All states have laws mandating the vaccination of children before they enter school, but these laws also allow for various types of exemptions to compulsory vaccination. Parents may seek exemptions on behalf of their children. According to the NVIC, all 50 states allow exemptions based on medical reasons, 48 states allow exemptions for people who have a sincere religious belief opposing vaccination, and 18 states allow exemptions based on philosophical, personal, or conscientiously held beliefs.55

The ease of obtaining a vaccination exemption may depend on the type sought and the requirements of the individual’s state. In the journal Pediatrics, researchers say that “in many states, it is easier to claim a religious or philosophical exemption than to adhere to mandated immunization requirements.”56 On the other hand, Kurt Link, MD, states in The Vaccine Controversy that exemptions are often very difficult to obtain and that less than two percent of people who apply for a vaccination exemption obtain one. Link says that parents who are denied an exemption and try to defy the vaccination mandate may have their children excluded from school, may be charged with criminal child abuse or neglect, and may have their children taken into state custody.57

Potential Downside to Exemptions
Parents who refuse vaccinations for their children should be aware of other potential consequences as well. The literature shows that unvaccinated children may be at greater risk of contracting diseases covered by routine vaccines. In the Pediatrics article,58 the authors cite research showing that “exemptors” were 22 times more likely to contract measles than were vaccinated people and six times more likely to contract pertussis.59 In addition, unvaccinated people account for the majority of recent cases of tetanus.60 A study published in 2006 also found that states allowing personal-belief exemptions and states with easier exemption processes were associated with a higher incidence of pertussis.61

Another consideration is that pediatricians may dismiss patients who refuse to be vaccinated. In a survey of 1004 members of the American Academy of Pediatrics published in 2005, 39% said they would dismiss a family for refusing all vaccinations, and 28% would dismiss a family for refusing select vaccines.62

Varying State Laws
According to the NVIC, parents who want to exempt a child from mandated vaccination must know what types of exemptions the law in their state allows and the type of proof that may be required. In many states offering philosophical or personal-belief exemptions, for example, a parent must object to all vaccines, not particular ones. With medical exemptions, some states will accept without question a letter from a physician saying that one or more vaccines would be detrimental to the health of the patient, while the health departments in other states review such exemptions and may decide one is not justified. With religious exemptions, says the NVIC, state laws differ regarding the definition of the exemption and the proof needed of one’s religious beliefs opposing vaccination. In fact, the NVIC does not provide or recommend a prewritten waiver for religious exemptions. If a prewritten waiver does not meet your state’s requirements, you may draw attention to your child and, if challenged on the exemption, end up in litigation with your state or county health department in which you must prove your religious beliefs.63

Another website, Vaccination Liberation, provides links to exemption forms ,and information by state and to sample exemption letters ( Joseph Mercola, DO, provides an article on how to legally avoid vaccinations on his website ( Dr. Mercola’s newsletter has covered other vaccination topics as well.

Fisher of the NVIC offers advice for two particular vaccination situations in her book The Consumer’s Guide to Childhood Vaccines64:

  • Newborns Hospitals generally require parents who are delivering a baby to sign a form agreeing to have the newborn treated by medical personnel. Fisher warns that by signing this document, you may also give consent to have your baby vaccinated with hepatitis B. Fisher states, “Read any consent form you sign carefully. If you do not want your newborn vaccinated shortly after birth, you have the right to sign it after writing in an exception, such as, ‘I do not consent to have my child given any vaccinations prior to discharge from the hospital.’ Bring this to the attention of the person admitting you and the nursery supervisor and ask to have it printed on the outside of your chart. Some parents take the extra precaution of not leaving the newborn alone with hospital personnel without being able to observe the baby.”65
  • Sick children Staff in hospitals, clinics or emergency rooms often ask about the vaccination status of children. Fisher states, “You don’t have to provide them with written proof. A verbal answer is satisfactory. However, if you are being questioned closely and feel that you are being pressured into vaccinating your sick child without your consent, you should understand that you have the right to refuse to give permission to have your sick child vaccinated if you believe vaccination at the time will endanger your child’s health or life. You may choose to reassure medical personnel that you will consult a private pediatrician for further guidance about vaccination.”66

The point is that individuals need the freedom to choose. They should not be forced in one direction or another. Fisher stresses this: “Our organization does not tell a parent what to do.67 I want to make that clear. We are an information clearinghouse, and we believe in education. We believe that parents should take the responsibility for making their own decision. In this society, we ought to have the right to make the right decisions without being bullied and harassed and threatened into vaccinating if we do not believe that it is in the best interest of our child.”

Alan Phillips adds, “I don’t advocate that people do or do not vaccinate. I say that there’s a lot of information that people should investigate before they make a decision one way or the other. We’re so steeped in what I would now call the myth of vaccination that it seems nonsensical and counterintuitive to even raise the question. In fact, the first time that I raised the question with a pediatrician I got yelled at. While I think that was unprofessional of the pediatrician, it does demonstrate the degree to which assumptions about vaccinations are held.”68

Dr. Dean Black, author of Immunizations: Compulsion or Choice, states, “As a parent, there might be times I choose to immunize my child. Maybe I would find scientific evidence to back its validity in a case where a disease is so fraught with risk that I dare not expose my child. Maybe then I would choose [to vaccinate]. But I would do so having thoroughly thought about it….What I believe we cannot tolerate as a free nation is to have government bureaucrats come in and say—based upon false statistics—if you don’t immunize your child, you will suffer penalty of law. That, to me, is a gross injustice that simply has to be changed.”69

Holistic Health
Fisher believes that if we are concerned about our health and our freedoms, we should be worrying about the future. “I truly believe that unless the public wakes up to what is happening, and starts standing up for their right to be fully informed about vaccines and their right to make informed independent vaccine decisions, the day will come when we won’t have that right. We will be forcibly vaccinated by law without exception.”70

Fisher urges everyone to stop being complacent, to start becoming informed about vaccines and diseases, and to act. Specifically, she states, “You are going to have to work to amend your state’s laws. If you would like to be better informed and to help get the truth out, please join our grassroots vaccine safety movement.”

Fisher believes that alternative healthcare modalities in the US will play an important role in the vaccine safety movement.71 “Those who are looking into…osteopathic medicine, naturopathic, homeopathic, vitamin therapy, etc., are looking for ways to boost the immune system through more natural means in order to be able to naturally deal with viruses and bacteria that they come in contact with. This is a very important movement.”

Dr. Black agrees. He sees vaccinations as a shortcut for people in our society who have not taken full responsibility for their health. “It’s a way of saying, don’t look at the more natural holistic way of helping the body. Medicine believes disease is the enemy… Medicine fights disease. Natural health care works with it… Medicine believes symptoms are evil. Natural health care believes symptoms are the body’s efforts to rid itself of disease.”72

Curtis Cost, author of Vaccines Are Dangerous: A Warning to the Black Community, adds, “…parents do not need to be terrified into believing that the only way to protect themselves and their children from disease is through vaccines. We know that if parents breast-feed their babies, the risk of death and disease is dramatically reduced because the breast milk contains all the natural nutrients that the mother will naturally give to her child as she breast-feeds. We know that diet has a tremendous effect on disease. If you are not eating a proper diet, your risk of getting various diseases is much greater. So we need to focus on taking control of our health…to focus on eating more organically grown fresh fruits and vegetables, on drinking pure water, and on exercising. These actions build up the immune system.”73

It stands to reason that our approach might be better directed at bolstering natural immunity, by strengthening the body’s own disease-fighting capability, than trying to manipulate a carefully balanced system which may or may not tip to the detriment of the future individual. The old adage, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” describes the credo of the vaccine industry. The problem is that we do not yet know a single silver-bullet remedy for all childhood illnesses that are known to cause no harm to the future adult.

Organizations and Websites

Association of American Physicians and Surgeons
1601 N. Tucson Blvd., Suite 9
Tucson, AZ 85716-3450
Tel: 800-635-1196
Opposes vaccine mandates that violate the medical ethic of informed consent.

Gary Null’s Website
Provides information on optimizing health through nutrition, lifestyle factors and alternative medicine.

Immunization Action Coalition
1573 Selby Avenue, Suite 234
St. Paul, MN 55104
Tel: 651-647-9009
Provides educational materials on vaccination for health professionals and the public to help increase immunization rates and prevent disease.

The Institute for Vaccine Safety
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
615 N. Wolfe Street
Room W5041
Baltimore, MD 21205
Provides independent assessment of vaccines and vaccine safety; works to prevent disease using the safest possible vaccines.

National Immunization Program
(Including the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices)
NIP Public Inquiries
Mailstop E-05
1600 Clifton Road, NE
Atlanta, GA 30333
Tel: 800-232-4636
(Dec. 2007: Page redirects to
A website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with information on vaccines, vaccine safety, diseases, other immunization topics, and resources.

National Network for Immunization Information
301 University Blvd.
CH 2.218
Galveston, TX 77555-0351
Tel.: 409-772-0199
Provides up-to-date, scientifically valid information about immunization to help the public, health professionals, and policymakers make informed decisions.

National Vaccine Information Center
204 Mill Street, Suite B1
Vienna, VA 22180
Tel.: 703-938-DPT3
Oldest and largest parent-led organization advocating reformation of the mass vaccination system.
MedAlert, a service of the NVIC, has organized information from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System for online searching (go to

Thinktwice Global Vaccine Institute
P.O. Box 9638
Santa Fe, NM 87504
Provides information on childhood vaccines and others to facilitate informed decisions; supports the right to accept or reject vaccines.

Vaccination Liberation
P.O. Box 457
Spirit Lake, Idaho 83869-0457
Opposes compulsory vaccination laws; provides information on vaccinations not often made available to the public.

Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS)
P.O. Box 1100
Rockville, MD 20849-1100
Tel: 800-822-7967
Cooperative program of the FDA and CDC that collects reports on adverse events occurring after vaccinations.

Vaccine Information and Awareness Website
Works to ensure freedom of choice for parents regarding vaccination.
For information on exemptions, go to

Vaccination News
P.O. Box 111818
Anchorage, AK 99511-1818
Provides a wide range of news and views on vaccinations and vaccination policy.

Provides information on vaccines, adverse events, vaccine critics, diseases targeted by vaccines, medical politics, and more.

Vaccination Exemption Information

Vaccination Liberation:

Vaccine Information and Awareness website:

National Vaccine Information Center:

Joseph Mercola, D.O.:

Books, Videos, and DVDs

The Consumer’s Guide to Childhood Vaccines
by Barbara Loe Fisher
National Vaccine Information Center, 1997

Evidence of Harm: Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic
by David Kirby
New York: St. Martin’s Press; 2005

Immunization: The Reality Behind the Myth
by Walene James
2nd Edition
Boston: Bergin & Garvey; 1995

Reverse the Aging Process Naturally
by Gary Null and Martin Feldman, M.D.
New York: Villard Books: 1993

A Shot in the Dark
by Harris L. Coulter and Barbara Loe Fisher
New York: Avery Publishing Group; 1991

State of Immunity: The Politics of Vaccination in Twentieth-Century America
by James Colgrove
University of California Press: 2006

Vaccination and Immunization: Dangers, Delusions & Alternatives
by Leon Chaitow
Wappingers Falls, New York: Beekman Books; 1994

The Vaccine Controversy: The History, Use, and Safety of Vaccinations
by Kurt Link, M.D.
New York: Praeger Publishers; 2005

The Vaccine Guide: Risks and Benefits for Children and Adults
by Randall Neustaedter
Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books; 1996, 2002

The Virus and the Vaccine: Contaminated Vaccine, Deadly Cancers, and Government Neglect
by Debbie Bookchin and Jim Schumacher
New York: St Martin’s Press; 2004

What Every Parent Should Know About Childhood Immunization
by Jamie Murphy
Earth Healing Products;1993

“Vaccines: The Risks, the Benefits, the Choices” (DVD)
by Sherri J.Tenpenny, DO

“Vaccines: What the CDC Documents and Science Reveal” (DVD)
by Sherri J.Tenpenny, DO

“Building the Immune System Naturally” (VHS)
by Gary Null

“Supercharge Your Immune System” (VHS)
by Gary Null

“Total Health” series, Steps 1 – 7 (DVD or VHS)
by Gary Null

About the Authors

Gary Null, PhD
2307 Broadway
New York, New York 10024 USA
646-505-4660/ Fax 212-472-5139

Gary Null, PhD has authored more than 50 books on health and nutrition and numerous articles published in research journals. He holds a PhD in human nutrition and public health science from the Union Graduate School. Null maintains a website at that presents information on how to optimize health through nutrition, lifestyle factors, and alternative medicine.

Martin Feldman, MD practices complementary medicine. He is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Neurology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.

1. Parashar UD, Alexander JP, Glass RI. Prevention of rotavirus gastroenteritis among infants and children. 
MMWR. 2006; 55(RR12):1-13.
2. American Academy of Pediatrics. Pentavalent rotavirus vaccine implementation for 2006. Posted Nov. 6, 2006.
3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Surveillance for safety after immunization: Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS)—United States, 1991-2001. 
MMWR Surveill Summ. 2003; 52(No. SS-1):1-24.
4. Parashar, op. cit.
5. US Food and Drug Administration. FDA approves new vaccine to prevent rotavirus gastroenteritis in infants. Press release, February 3, 2006.
6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Rotavirus vaccine: what you need to know. April 12, 2006.
7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. RotaShield (rotavirus) vaccine and inusssussception: Q&A. Available at: (
8. Devitt M. CDC calls for suspension of childhood rotavirus vaccine. 
Dynamic Chiropractic. 1999;17(21). Available at: Accessed September 21, 2007.
9. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Update: Guillain-Barre syndrome among recipients of Menactra meningococcal conjugate vaccine – United States, June 2005 – September 2006. 
MMWR. 2006; 55(41):1120-1124.
10. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Frequently asked questions about Guillain-Barre syndrome and Menactra meningococcal vaccine. Last modified October 20, 2006.
11. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Update: Guillain-Barre syndrome among recipients of Menactra meningococcal conjugate vaccine – United States, June 2005 – September 2006. 
MMWR. 2006; 55(41):1120-1124.
12. National Vaccine Information Center. Vaccine information: smallpox. Last updated October 13, 2005.
13. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccines timeline. Available at: Accessed September 21, 2007.
14. Colgrove J. 
State of Immunity: The Politics of Vaccination in Twentieth-Century America. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press; 2006:245-247.
15. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Adverse events following civilian smallpox vaccination – United States, 2003. 
MMWR. 2004; 53(05):106-107.
16. National Network for Immunization Information, op. cit.
17. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smallpox fact sheet: The live virus smallpox vaccine. Page last reviewed February 21, 2006. Available at: Accessed September 21, 2007.
18. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smallpox Fact Sheet: Reactions after smallpox vaccination. March 28, 2003.
19. Ibid.
20. National Network for Immunization Information, op. cit.
21. Kemper AR, Davis MM, Freed GL. Expected adverse events in a mass smallpox vaccination campaign. 
Eff Clin Pract. 2002; 5(2):84-90.
22. Kretzschmar M, Wallinga J, Teunis P, et al. Frequency of adverse events after vaccination with different vaccinia strains.
 PLoS Med. 2006; 3(8) [Epub ahead of print].
23. Landrigan PJ, Witte JJ. Neurologic disorders following live measles-virus vaccination.
 JAMA. 1973; 223(13):1459-1462.
24. Pollock TM, et al. Symptoms after primary immunisation with DPT and with DT vaccine. 
Lancet. 1984 July; 21:146-149.
25. Hirtz DG, et al. Seizures following childhood immunizations. 
Journal of Pediatrics. 1983; 102(12):14-18.
26. Goldwater PN, et al. Sudden infant death syndrome: a possible clue to causation. 
Medical Journal Aust. 1990; 153:59-60.
27. Denborough MA, et al. Malignant hyperpyrexia and sudden infant death.
Lancet. 1982 Nov 13: 1068-1072.
28. Chaitow L. 
Vaccination and Immunization: Dangers, Delusions & Alternatives.Beekman Publishing; 1996.
Gary Null Report, November 15, 1994.
30. Coulter HL, Fisher BL. 
A Shot in the Dark. Garden City Park, NY: Avery; 1991.
31. Merritt HH. 
Textbook of Neurology. 6th Edition. Philadelphia: Lea and Febiger; 1979:160.
32. Molina V, Shoenfeld Y. Infection, vaccines and other environmental triggers of autoimmunity. 
Autoimmunity. 2005; 38(3):235-245.
33. James W. 
Immunization: The Reality Behind the Myth. Massachusetts: Bergin & Gervey; 1988.
34. Link K. 
The Vaccine Controversy: The History, Use and Safety of Vaccinations. Westport, Conn.: Praeger Publishers; 2005:14.
35. Cournoyer C. 
What About Immunizations? 6th edition. Nelson’s Books; 1995:34.
36. Ibid.
Immunization. Special Edition. Santa Fe, NM: Mothering Publications; 1984.
38. Moskowitz R. 
The Case Against Immunizations. Washington, DC: National Center for Homeopathy.
39. Cournoyer, op. cit., p. 35.
40. Scheibner V. 
Vaccination: 100 Years of Orthodox Research Shows that Vaccines Represent a Medical Assault on the Immune System. Victoria, Australia: Australian Print Group; 1993:88-89.
41. Black FL, et al. Inadequate Immunity to Measles Immunity in Era of Vaccine-Protected Mothers. 
Bull WHO. 1984; 62(92):315-319.
42. Lennon JL, Black FL. Maternally derived measles immunity in era of vaccine-protected mothers. 
Journal of Pediatrics. 1986; 108(1):671-676.
43. Scheibner, op. cit., p. 199.
44. Cournoyer, op. cit., p. 160.
45. “Interview with Barbara Loe Fisher.” 
National Vaccine Information Center Newsletter Website.
46. Colgrove J. 
State of Immunity: The Politics of Vaccination in Twentieth-Century America. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press; 2006:215.
47. National Vaccine Information Center. Press release: Parent coalition for vaccine injured children calls on congress to slow down compensation bill. March 18, 2003.
48. National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program: monthly statistics report, September 30, 2002. US Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration. Available at: Accessed September 21, 2007.
Dec. 2007: Link doesn’t work. Statistics reports now online:
49. Cournoyer, op. cit., p. 156.
50. The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 Public Law 99-690, The Compensation System and How it Works. National Vaccination Information Center; 1990.
51. Vaccine injury compensation program statistics. 
NVIC News. August 1994;10.
52. Phillips A. Vaccination: dispelling the myths. 
Nexus. October-November 1997.
53. National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, Health Resources and Services Administration, Rockville, MD.
54. Neustaedter R. Do vaccines disable the immune system? Internet document. Available at: Accessed September 21, 2007.
55. National Vaccine Information Center. Legal exemptions to vaccination. Available at: Accessed September 21, 2007.
56. Smith PJ, Chu SY, Barker LE. Children who have received no vaccines: who are they and where do they live? 
Pediatrics. 2004; 114(1):187-195.
57. Link K. 
The Vaccine Controversy: The History, Use and Safety of Vaccinations. Westport, Conn.: Praeger Publishers; 2005:170.
58. Smith, op. cit.
59. Feikin DR, Lezott DC, Hamman RF, et al. Individual and community risks of measles and pertussis associated with personal exemptions to immunization.
JAMA. 2000; 284:3145-3150 [cited by Smith].
60. Fair E, Murphy TV, Golaz A, et al. Philosophic objection to vaccination as a risk for tetanus among children younger than 15 years. 
Pediatrics. 2002; 109(1) [cited by Smith].
61. Omer SB, Pan WK, Halsey NA, et al. Nonmedical exemptions to school immunization requirements: secular trends and association of state policies with pertussis incidence. 
JAMA. 2006; 296(14):1757-1763.
62. Flanagan-Klygis EA, Sharp L, Frader JE. Dismissing the family who refuses vaccines: a study of pediatrician attitudes. 
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2005; 159(10):929-934.
63. National Vaccine Information Center. Legal exemptions to vaccination. Available at: Accessed September 21, 2007.
64. Fisher BL. 
The Consumer’s Guide to Childhood Vaccines. Vienna, Virginia: National Vaccine Information Center; 1997.
65. Fisher, op. cit.
66. Fisher, op. cit, p. 48.
67. Gary Null Interview with Barbara Loe Fisher, April 11, 1995.
68. Gary Null Interview with Alan Phillips, December 17, 1997.
69. Gary Null Interview with Dr. Dean Black, April 7, 1995.
70. Gary Null Interview with Barbara Loe Fisher, April 11, 1995.
71. Ibid.
72. Gary Null Interview with Dr. Dean Black, April 7, 1995.
73. Gary Null Interview with Curtis Cost, December 17, 1997.

An Updated Analysis of the Health Risks Part 2

by Gary Null, PhD, and Martin Feldman, MD


Diphtheria Toxoid
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the incidence of diphtheria was reduced to zero by 2004, from an estimated average of 21,053 cases per year in the 20th century.1 But as with other infectious diseases, much of the decline in mortality from diphtheria had occurred before the vaccine was used. This mortality rate fell from 40 deaths per 100,000 in 1900 to approximately 16 per 100,000 in 1920, when the diphtheria vaccine was introduced in the US.2

Pertussis Vaccine
Despite high levels of childhood vaccination coverage for pertussis (whooping cough), the largest outbreak of this disease in four decades has occurred in recent years. There were 25,827 reported cases of pertussis in 2004 (the actual incidence could be higher due to underreporting), compared with a low of 1,010 in 1976.3

According to the CDC, the reported rate of pertussis per 100,000 population increased from 1.8 in 1994 to 8.9 in 2004. The 2004 rate was the third consecutive annual increase in the incidence of pertussis. The CDC notes that two-thirds of reported cases of pertussis now occur among adolescents and adults due to the waning of vaccine-induced immunity. This waning occurs five to ten years after receipt of the vaccine. 4

Similar trends in pertussis were noted nearly 20 years ago in a 1988 report. After the US mandated whooping cough vaccination in 1978, the incidence of the disease in the next eight years trebled. The highest incidence was in infants less than one year old. However, the highest relative increase was in adolescents and adults.5

In 2006, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) addressed the rise of whooping cough among adolescents by recommending that they receive another dose of pertussis vaccine. The Tdap vaccine (which also contains tetanus and diphtheria toxoids) is now recommended for all children age 11 to 18 and replaces the tetanus-diphtheria booster previously given to adolescents. The Tdap booster adds to the five doses of diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus that children already receive before their seventh birthday.6

Several research papers suggest that immunization programs have not yet brought pertussis under control. A 2006 article reports that pertussis “has reemerged worldwide as a cause of substantial morbidity and mortality in infants, children, and adolescents, despite high vaccination rates.”7 Another report, published in 2005, states that an increased incidence of pertussis “has been observed worldwide since the introduction of widespread vaccination.” These researchers say that there has been “a general shift in the age distribution of pertussis toward older groups” and that “despite high coverage rates for primary immunization in infants and children, pertussis continues to be a global concern, with increased incidence widely noted.”8

On the other hand, the merit of the pertussis vaccine is indicated by a 2006 paper. This research evaluated state-level rates of nonmedical exemptions (those based on religious or personal beliefs) to mandatory vaccination from 1991 to 2004 and the incidence of pertussis among people 18 and younger from 1986 to 2004. The study found that an increased incidence of pertussis was associated with state policies granting personal-belief exemptions and the easier granting of exemptions.9

Replacement of the whole cell pertussis vaccine. The US made a major vaccine substitution in the 1990s when it replaced the diphtheria, tetanus, and whole cell pertussis vaccine (DTP) with a diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis vaccine (DTaP).10 The whole cell vaccine has been associated with serious adverse reactions (such as seizures and encephalopathy).11

Studies have since found a decline in the number of adverse reactions to pertussis-containing vaccines. An analysis of reports made to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) from 1991 to 2001 found that the overall reporting rate decreased substantially after use of the acellular petussis vaccine compared with the whole cell version (12.5 vs. 26.2 reports per 100,000 net doses distributed).12

An analysis of VAERS data from 1995 (when the whole cell vaccine was in use) to 1998 (when the acellular vaccine was predominant) found that the number of reports concerning pertussis fell from 2071 in 1995 to 491 in the first half of 1998. Events categorized as “nonfatal serious” fell from 334 in 1995 to 93 (first-half ’98). However, the decrease in reports involving deaths was modest, from 85 deaths in 1995 to 77 in 1997 and 41 in the first half of 1998.13

Recent comparisons of the whole cell and acellular pertussis vaccines confirm that the older version caused more adverse reactions. One study of VAERS evaluated the number of emergency room visits, life-threatening reactions, hospitalizations, disabilities, deaths, seizures, infantile spasms, encephalitis/encephalopathy, autism, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and speech disorders that began within three days of receipt of pertussis-containing vaccines. The study found statistical increases for all of these events, except cerebellar ataxia, following whole cell vaccination compared with acellular vaccination.14 In Japan, an analysis of two decades of use of the acellular vaccine showed that while neurological illnesses were rare with both types of pertussis vaccine, the incidences of encephalopathy/encephalitis and status epileptics/frequent convulsions, febrile seizures/provocation of convulsions, and sudden deaths were significantly lower with the acellular than the whole cell vaccine.15 A study in Canada reported a 79% decrease in febrile seizures and a 60% to 67% decrease in hypotonic-hyporesponsive episodes following the introduction of the acellular vaccine there.16

Other research has associated the whole cell vaccine with neurological complications, including convulsions, hypotonic-hyporesponsive episodes, paralysis, and encephalopathy.17,18,19,20,21,22 Sadly, the DTP vaccine also has been associated with SIDS, the unexpected death of an infant for which autopsy cannot reveal a determining cause. In 1982 William Torch reported that his investigation of 70 SIDS cases (which was triggered by a report of 12 such deaths occurring within three-and-one-half hours to 19 hours of DPT vaccination) found that two-thirds of the victims had been vaccinated from a half-day to three weeks prior to death.23

Torch reaffirmed a link between DTP and SIDS in 1986, when he presented 11 new cases of SIDS and one of near-miss syndrome occurring within 24 hours of DTP injection24 Analysis of these and more than 150 cases of DTP post-vaccinal deaths reported in the literature—about half of which were sudden or anaphylactic—led Torch to conclude: “Although many feel that the DPT-SIDS relationship is temporal, this author and others maintain a casual relationship exists in a yet-to-be-determined SIDS fraction.”25

Other researchers also have uncovered a relationship between DTP and SIDS.26,27However, the CDC reported in 199628 that several studies conducted in the 1980s did not find an association between DTP vaccination and SIDS.29,30

Pertussis vaccination and asthma. A 1994 study found that children immunized against whooping cough were five times more likely to suffer from asthma than those who did not receive the vaccine.31 Another study of almost 2,000 children born between 1974 and 1984 showed that vaccination against whooping cough was associated with a 76% increased risk of developing asthma and other allergic diseases later in life.32 On the other hand, a study published by the CDC of more than 160,000 children did not find an association between the DTP vaccine and the risk of asthma.33 A 2006 report from the Netherlands also found that receipt of the DTP/polio vaccine in infancy was not related to reported atopic disorders at primary school age.34

Tetanus Toxoid
The literature includes articles on neurological reactions to the tetanus vaccination35-40 and other adverse reactions.41-43


Three types of polio vaccines have been used throughout the world: 1) the OPV, or oral polio vaccine (Sabin vaccine), consisting of live attenuated poliovirus; 2) the IPV, or inactivated polio vaccine (Salk vaccine), consisting of killed poliovirus and given by injection; and 3) the eIPV, an enhanced potency inactivated polio vaccine, consisting of killed poliovirus with high viral antigen content.

In the United States, the IPV (enhanced potency version) has been recommended for routine childhood vaccination against polio since 2000. Before that, the live attenuated OPV was the polio vaccine of choice for more than three decades. This vaccine, however, actually caused polio—vaccine-associated paralytic poliomyelitis (VAPP)—in a small percentage of recipients.44 The risk of VAPP “became more difficult to justify” as polio was controlled worldwide and importations of wild poliovirus to the US became less likely, according to an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association.45

As a result, in 1996 the government recommended a sequential schedule using both IPV and OPV for the childhood polio vaccination series. The ACIP then recommended the all-IPV schedule in 2000.

According to the CDC, the overall risk for VAPP is approximately one case in 2.4 million OPV doses distributed, while the first-dose risk is one case in 750,000 doses distributed. The OPV has caused the only indigenous cases of polio reported in the US since 1979. Between 1980 and 1998, 144 cases of VAPP were reported.46 Another VAPP case occurred in 1999, and in 2005, a case of imported VAPP was reported in the US after an unvaccinated American woman traveled to Central America and was exposed to an infant vaccinated with OPV.47 In late 2005, four cases of vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) involving a poliovirus strain used in the OPV were identified in unvaccinated children in an Amish community in Minnesota. The source of these infections is not known, since the OPV has not been used in the US since 2000.48

During the time that the trivalent OPV was used in the US (from 1963 to 1999), an inactivated polio vaccine was available. The original IPV, developed by Jonas Salk, was used to immunize American children from 1955 to 1962. According to the JAMA article, the OPV became preferred to the IPV because it provided better intestinal immunity, was able to indirectly vaccinate susceptible contacts through transmission of vaccine polioviruses, was easier to administer, and cost less.49

Although IPV does not cause VAPP, the severity profiles of reports to VAERS on IPV and OPV in infants up to six months of age were “remarkably similar.” Among the most frequent symptoms reported for IPV were fever, SIDS, convulsions, agitation, apnea, and stupor. Reports of fatalities in 1998 per 100,000 doses distributed were somewhat higher for IPV than for OPV. Of 142 fatalities reported for both IPV and OPV in 1997-1998, 89 indicated SIDS.50

Polio vaccine and Guillain-Barre syndrome. GBS is a disease that involves the nervous system and is characterized by muscle weakness, numbness, loss of reflexes, and paralysis.

In Finland, in 1985, there was an increase in the incidence of GBS a few weeks after the implementation of a nationwide campaign using OPV.51,52 And in Brazil, an analysis of 38 cases of paralysis diagnosed as GBS led in all cases to the isolation of the vaccine strains of the poliovirus. All patients had been vaccinated with the OPV months or years before the onset of symptoms.53 In contrast, two other studies failed to find a correlation between GBS and the OPV.54,55

Vaccine viruses also have been isolated from patients with paralysis diagnosed as transverse myelitis (TM), and in patients with facial paralysis (FP).56 Most individuals with TM and FP had received the OPV months or years prior to the onset of disease, indicating that the virus may remain latent and revert to virulence later in time.

Polio vaccine and SV40-related cancers. Research conducted in the past few decades has revealed that several types of cancer may be associated with the receipt of polio vaccines more than 40 years ago that were contaminated with a monkey virus.

In 1960, it was discovered that the Salk IPV was contaminated with SV40 (simian virus 40), which was derived from the monkey cells used to grow the vaccine viruses. The SV40 survived inactivation with formaldehyde, the method used to kill the poliovirus for use in the vaccine. More than 98 million Americans were vaccinated during the time period (from 1955 to 1963)57 that injectable and oral doses of the polio vaccine were contaminated with SV40. These people today have SV40 sequences integrated into their genetic code.

Animal studies have demonstrated the ability of SV40 to integrate its DNA into that of the host cell and induce malignancy. Unfortunately, studies show that the virus retains these same properties in humans and is associated with increased rates of certain cancers.58 Integration and replication of SV40 has been documented in 13% to 43% of non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas,59,60 47% to 83% of mesotheliomas (malignant tumors of the lining of the lungs),61,62 11% to 90% of different types of brain tumors,63-66 50% of osteosarcomas,67 more than 33% of other types of bone tumors,68,69 and 28% of bronchopulmonary carcinomas.70

A continuing concern is that SV40 may be transmitted from person to person. The virus has been detected in people born in the 1980s and 1990s, decades after the tainted polio vaccine was no longer in use.71 SV40 is now present in children, as noted by Kurt Link, MD, in his 2005 book The Vaccine Controversy, and the CDC takes this as evidence that SV40 is a naturally acquired infection unrelated to exposure to the contaminated polio vaccine. But as Dr. Link states, it is more likely that people infected by the vaccine have transmitted SV40 to others or to their offspring (such as through semen). The implication, he says, is that “any SV40 problems may not, as had been hoped, fade away with time. There is even now, ironically, work being done to provide a vaccine against SV40.”72

It should be noted that other research indicates there is no association between SV40 and an increased risk of rare cancers such as ependymomas, osteosarcomas, and mesotheliomas. One study compared rates of cancer after 30 years in birth cohorts who were likely to have received SV40-contaminated vaccine as infants and children with rates in people who not unexposed. Age-specific cancer rates were not significantly elevated for those exposed to the tainted vaccine.73 Another study found no increased number of cancer deaths among 1,073 people who received SV40-contaminated vaccine,74 and a 35-year follow-up found no deaths from the types of tumors that have been linked to SV40.75


Another example of changes to the US vaccination protocol was the addition in 2006 of a second dose of varicella (chickenpox) vaccine to the childhood immunization schedule. This dose is recommended for universal vaccination of all children at ages four to six and for any child, adolescent or adult who previously has received only one dose. The first dose of the varicella vaccine was recommended for children in 1995.76

The ACIP recommended the second dose at four to six years of age “to further improve protection against the disease.”77 The fact is, outbreaks of varicella have occurred despite increasing coverage with the first dose of the vaccine. In a survey of 59 jurisdictions (states, large cities, and US territories) by the CDC, 45 jurisdictions were notified of at least once varicella outbreak in 2004, and 13 were notified of six or more. Data obtained on 190 outbreaks in 2004 showed that two-thirds occurred in elementary schools.78

Varicella outbreaks may occur even in highly vaccinated communities, and vaccinated children are still at risk of contracting the disease.79-81 According to the CDC, 11% to 17% of vaccinated children have developed chickenpox—so-called “breakthrough varicella”—in recent outbreaks of the disease among vaccinated schoolchildren.82 In three studies, rates of infection in vaccinated individuals ranged from 18% to 34% anywhere from five to ten years following immunization.83-85

In other recent studies of chickenpox outbreaks, vaccine effectiveness against varicella of any severity ranged from 44% to 87%. Effectiveness was as high as 97% for moderate or severe illness.86-91 Research also shows that people with breakthrough varicella tend to have milder illness than do unvaccinated people who contract the disease,92 although the vaccinated individuals can be just as infectious.93

VAERS received 6,574 reports of adverse events for the varicalla vaccine from March 17, 1995 to July 25, 1998. Approximately four percent of reports concerned serious events (such as anaphylaxis, thrombocytopenia, pneumonia, and convulsions) and deaths.94

The dangers of adult chickenpox. In most cases chickenpox is a benign, self-limiting disease in children, and the natural immunity derived from contracting the disease is permanent. Vaccine-induced immunity, on the other hand, lasts only an estimated six to ten years. The temporary nature of vaccine-induced immunity can create a more dangerous situation by postponing the child’s vulnerability until adulthood, when death from the disease is 30 times more likely.

The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), Vienna, Va., advises parents to seriously consider not using the chickenpox vaccine in healthy children. According to Barbara Loe Fisher, cofounder and president, “The case/fatality ratio in healthy children is one death per 100,000 children. In adults, it rises to 31 deaths per 100,000. So it basically is an experiment. That is really what happens with most of these vaccines that they bring out. They really don’t know what the long-term effect is going to be.” Dr. Link, however, cautions that if most children are immunized according to the current US policy of universal vaccination, “it may be unwise to try to avoid vaccination because of the hazard of later acquiring varicella as an adult.”95

The temporary immunity provided by the vaccine is a particular concern for pregnant women. Normally, 90% of adult women are immune to varicella and transfer this immunity to their babies during pregnancy. But the immunity induced by vaccination, which lasts only five to ten years, may be gone by the time a woman enters her reproductive stage, leaving pregnant women at risk of contracting the infection and transmitting it to the fetus. Fetal varicella syndrome is characterized by multiple congenital malformations and is often fatal for the fetus.96 In addition, children born to women whose vaccine-induced immunity has faded are unprotected during the first year of life, when their immune system is still developing, and may suffer fatal complications if exposed to the infection.

Another potential problem in the coming years is an increase in the rate of shingles due to widespread use of the varicella vaccine. As Dr. Link explains, the varicella zoster virus causes both chickenpox and herpes zoster (shingles). The virus could lie dormant for many years and later become active and cause shingles due to a reduction in immunity. One report states that mass vaccination with varicella “is expected to cause a major epidemic of herpes zoster.”97 And while some research has not found in increase in the rate of shingles, reports Dr. Link, it will be years before we know whether the vaccine virus is too weak to be activated or the immunity produced by the vaccine is too weak to control the virus.98

It is of interest that the FDA approved the first vaccine for herpes zoster in 2006. Zostavax is a live vaccine licensed for use in people age 60 and older. In a study of approximately 38,000 people, the vaccine reduced the incidence of herpes zoster by about 50% overall. Effectiveness ranged from 64% for people age 60-69 to 18% for those 80 and older.99


The hepatitis B vaccine became commercially available in the US in 1982 and was recommended for certain high-risk groups of people. However, when vaccination programs aimed at these groups did not stem an increase in hepatitis B infections, the ACIP recommended universal immunization of infants against this disease in 1991.100

An analysis of reports made to VAERS over 11 years—from 1991 to 2001—found that hepatitis B was the most frequently mentioned vaccine in 1991-1995 reports and the second-most commonly mentioned (after varicella) in 1996-2001 reports.101

An earlier study found that 12,520 adverse reactions to hepatitis B were reported to VAERS from 1991 to 1994, with 14% of these reactions involving newborns and infants.102 Approximately one-third of reactions involved an emergency room visit or hospitalization, according to the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS). There were 440 deaths, about 180 of which were attributed to SIDS.103

Dr. Jane M. Orient, executive director of AAPS, has stated that according to a federal government study, “Children younger than 14 are three times more likely to die or suffer adverse reactions after receiving hepatitis B vaccines than to catch the disease.”104

In adults, hepatitis B vaccination was associated with serious autoimmune disorders in one analysis of VAERS data and a review of the literature, published in 2004. These disorders included arthritis, pancytopenia/ thrombocytopenia, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, myelitis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, and optic neuritis. In adult use of the hepatitis B vaccine, there were 465 positive re-challenge adverse events.105

Other articles associate the hepatitis B vaccine with complications of the nervous system106-110 and joints111-116 and other adverse effects.117 The Institute of Medicine stated in 2002 that “the epidemiological evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship between the hepatitis B vaccine in adults and multiple sclerosis.” (The evidence was inadequate to accept or reject a causal association with other demyelinating conditions.)118 A case-control study published by the CDC in 2003 also found that the hepatitis B vaccine is not associated with an increased risk of multiple sclerosis or optic neuritis.119 However, a case-control study published in 2004 concluded that its findings “are consistent with the hypothesis that immunization with the recombinant hepatitis B vaccine is associated with an increased risk of MS, and challenge the idea that the relation between hepatitis B vaccination and risk of MS is well understood.”120

The purpose of vaccinations is to reduce the risks of complications associated with the diseases they are designed to prevent. Complications from a vaccine should not outweigh those derived from the disease. And yet, according to Dr. Philip Incao, who has studied vaccinations and the immune system for three decades, in the case of hepatitis B, “…the conclusion is obvious that the risks of hepatitis B vaccination far outweigh its benefits.”121

Are vaccine-induced antibodies only temporary? Vaccine supporters claim that the development of an antibody response to a vaccine virus equals protection against the disease. So we now vaccinate children against hepatitis B to prevent them from contracting the disease later in life. But for this to occur, the level of antibodies that are supposed to be protective must remain high for very long periods of time.

A study published in 2004 reports that antibodies to hepatitis B surface antigen (anti-HBs) had disappeared by five years of age in most of the low-risk children studied who were vaccinated from birth against hepatitis B.122 A study in the Gambia found that fewer than half of vaccinees had detectable anti-HBs 15 years after vaccination and that vaccine efficacy against infection among 20- to 24-year-olds was 70.9%. A positive finding was that hepatitis B vaccination in early life can provide long-lasting protection against carriage of the hepatitis B virus—a major risk factor for liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma—despite decreasing levels of anti-HBs.123

One study of adult hepatitis B vaccination evaluated the persistence of anti-hepatitis-B antibodies in 635 homosexual men immunized against the virus. After five years, antibodies no longer existed in 15% and had declined sharply—below levels deemed to be protective—in another 27%. Hepatitis B developed in 55 men, and two became carriers of the virus.124 Another study found that after three years, 36% of individuals who initially responded to the hepatitis B immunization lost anti-hepatitis-B antibodies.125

Why then are we needlessly vaccinating millions of children if by the time they’ll be adults and might be exposed to the virus, they won’t have the antibodies that are supposed to protect them? And, in any case, are these antibodies offering protection against the disease?


In recent years, two of three diseases targeted by the MMR vaccine—measles and rubella—have been virtually eliminated in the United States. The last major resurgence of measles occurred in 1989-1991, when more than 55,000 cases and approximately 120 deaths were reported. The ACIP recommended in 1989 that a second dose of measles-containing vaccine be added to the childhood vaccination schedule, and the incidence of measles began to fall in 1992. A record low of 37 cases were reported in 2004.126,127 In 2000, a panel of experts convened by the CDC determined that measles was no longer endemic in the US.128 Similarly, the incidence of rubella fell to nine cases in 2004, and it was determined that rubella is no longer endemic in the US.129

Despite this success, concerns remain about adverse effects of MMR vaccination. The Institute of Medicine has found evidence that this vaccine can cause anaphylaxis, thrombocytopenia, and acute arthritis.130,131 Other research has associated the vaccine with adverse effects on the nervous system132-137gastrointestinal tract,138 and joints.139-141

Meryl Dorey, editor of the Australian publication Vaccination? The Choice is Yoursand president of the Australian Vaccination Network, points out that the MMR vaccine is associated with Guillain-Barre paralysis, multiple sclerosis, and aseptic meningitis, a swelling of the lining of the brain that can be fatal. The CDC has noted that while cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome following MMR vaccination have been reported, the IOM has found the evidence “insufficient to accept or reject a causal relationship.”142

Measles Vaccine

Vaccine failures. A study published in 1994 evaluated all US and Canadian articles reporting measles outbreaks in schools and found that, on average, 77 % of these infections occurred in vaccinated people. The authors concluded, “The apparent paradox is that as measles immunization rates rise to high levels in a population, measles becomes a disease of immunized persons.”143 The New England Journal of Medicine has reported that 60% of all measles cases among American schoolchildren between 1985 and 1986 occurred in those who were vaccinated.144 Other studies confirm a high percentage of measles among vaccinated subjects.145,146

Vulnerabilities related to the measles vaccine. Natural immunity to measles—derived from contracting the disease—is permanent and is transferred from mothers to babies in utero through the placenta. Babies born to mothers who have had the disease are protected from the infection during their first year of life by the presence of a high concentration of natural antibodies circulating in their blood. Measles vaccination, on the other hand, induces lower antibody titers than does natural infection. Neutralizing measles antibodies passed by vaccinated women to their newborns disappear rapidly, leaving the babies susceptible to the infection in their first year of life, when they are more at risk of complications.

This difference in infants’ immunity levels is reflected in a 1995 study. Researchers found that 71% of nine-month-olds and 95% of 12-month-olds had no detectable neutralizing measles antibodies in their blood. All infants with detectable measles antibodies at nine or 12 months had mothers born before 1963, before the vaccine era.147

Research confirms that antibody response to the vaccine virus is only temporary. One study shows that four years after MMR vaccination, measles antibodies fell below the putative protective levels in 28% of children and were no longer present in another three percent of vaccinees.148 Experimenting with high-potency vaccines produced even poorer results.149

Jamie Murphy, author of What Every Parent Should Know About Childhood Immunization, argues that rather than preventing measles, the vaccine may simply suppress it, only to have it manifest as other forms of disease with age.150 He asserts that quite a few diseases are associated with the measles vaccine, including “encephalopathies (brain damage), aseptic meningitis, cranial nerve palsy, learning disabilities, hyperkinesis, and severe mental retardation….”151 Several studies have documented that measles vaccination produces immune suppression that contributes to an increased susceptibility to other infections.152,153 One study links measles vaccination to Crohn’s disease.154

Problems with vaccine testing. In a response to information provided by the World Health Organization, author and lecturer Trevor Gunn has identified shortcomings in the testing of vaccines and the rationale for mass immunization, particularly with regards to measles.155 One problem is that vaccine studies use seroconversion, or antibody presence in the bloodstream, to indicate effectiveness. When UK health authorities say that the measles vaccine is 90% effective, they do not mean that it reduces the incidence, severity, or death rate of the disease by 90%, but rather that 90% of recipients produce a certain level of antibodies to the viral agents. However, the level of serum antibodies does not correlate with the body’s ability to fight illness. People with low antibody levels may demonstrate immunity, while people with higher antibody levels may have no immunity.

Given this disconnect, says Gunn, we must “place a greater reliance on obtaining efficacy results of immunisation from population studies.” These studies measure the level of disease protection in populations after they’ve been inoculated, using cohort groups matched for age, population, and disease exposure similarities, and so forth. Although WHO quoted references to a number of population studies in its communication with Gunn, the author says that all of the studies were conducted in developing countries. Thus, the results cannot be “directly extrapolate to developed countries,” where people may fear that the risks of vaccination outweigh the risk of contracting a disease such as measles.

In addition, notes Gunn, population studies referenced by WHO show the difficulties of vaccine testing. One study, for example, suggests that measles vaccination reduces childhood mortality by 30%. However, the control group was not non-vaccinated, but rather included children who did not seroconvert and thus were assumed to have no immune response to the vaccine. In this case, we would not know whether deaths in the control group were due directly to the vaccine, to its lack of effectiveness, or to lack of natural immunity provided by the measles itself. In another group in this study, 15 of 123 did not have antibody conversion after vaccination, so their results were excluded as well. Three of this group actually died. We do not know the cause of these deaths, or whether the remaining 12 in the group were prevented from getting the disease.156 In another study, the cohort group was cherry-picked for people who did not have a history of measles. This group may have been less likely to die from measles in general or may be heartier in general than the people who were selected against in the study.157

Mumps Vaccine

Although mumps infection is a largely benign disease when contracted during childhood, it becomes more dangerous in older children and adults, who are more susceptible to severe neurological, testicular, and ovarian complications from the infection. It is alarming to see that vaccination is clearly shifting the occurrence of this disease from young children toward those who are older.158

A large outbreak of mumps occurred in the United States in 2006, with 5,783 cases being reported to the CDC in less than ten months (from January 1 to October 7). The median age for the mumps patients was 22 years, and the highest age-specific rate was among people 18 to 24 years of age, many of them college students.159

Questions about efficacy. The resurgence of mumps raises concerns about vaccine failure. Although the CDC does not know the vaccination history of all the 2006 cases, it has reported that 63% of 1,798 patients in Iowa (which had the highest number of cases) had received one or two doses of the MMR vaccine.160

Other mumps outbreaks have occurred in highly vaccinated populations in the US and Europe.161-163 The populations in several of these studies had virtually complete vaccination coverage. In a high school population with more than 95% coverage, 53 of 54 students who got the disease were vaccinated.164 In a Tennessee school with 98% coverage, 67 of 68 students who got mumps were vaccinated. Thus, mumps cases in this instance were attributed mostly to vaccine failure.165

Perhaps the boldest statement on the efficacy of the mumps vaccine comes from the authors of an epidemiological study conducted in Switzerland. They found a fivefold increase in the number of mumps cases from 1990 to 1993, especially in vaccinated children. Among the authors’ conclusions was: “The Rubini [mumps] strain vaccines, which are the most commonly used in Switzerland, seem to have played an important role in the clear increase in mumps cases since 1990.”166

Urabe strain and meningitis. Another strain of mumps virus used in vaccines has been associated with the development of aseptic meningitis.167 The Urabe strain is not used in vaccines in the US, but it has been used in Canada and the United Kingdom in the past. This strain of mumps virus was identified as the cause of aseptic meningitis in 1989 in patients who developed meningitis 21 days after injection. The virus isolated from these patients was identical to that used in the vaccine.

The Urabe strain of the mumps virus was removed from Canadian vaccines in 1989168 because of a meningitis outbreak. The strain was removed in the UK in 1992. According to Trevor Gunn, when laboratory and hospital reports were cross-linked to vaccination records there, “the [perceived low risk of meningitis from this particular vaccine] rose to between one in 4,000 and one in 21,000.”169 Despite these vaccine withdrawals, a mass immunization campaign targeting children one to 11 years old was carried out in 1997 in Salvador, Brazil, with a Urabe-containing MMR vaccine. An outbreak of aseptic meningitis followed, with 58 cases diagnosed.170

Rubella Vaccine

A study published in 1981 found that 15 years after receiving rubella vaccination, one in 11 children lost protection and became susceptible to re-infection.171 This is worrisome because rubella infection is especially dangerous when contracted during pregnancy, since the fetus may develop malformations if exposed to the virus. Again, the lack of permanent immunity offered by vaccinations is creating serious problems down the line.
Viera Scheibner, a retired research scientist, notes that in a 1991 report on the adverse effects of pertussis and rubella vaccines from the Institute of Medicine, “the evidence indicated a causal relationship between RA 27/3 rubella vaccine and acute arthritis in 13% to 15% of adult women. Also some individuals were shown to go on to develop chronic arthritis.”172


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143. Poland GA, Jacobsen RM. Failure to reach the goal of measles elimination. Apparent paradox of measles infections in immunized persons. Arch Intern Med 1994; 154(16):1815-1820.
144. Markowitz LE, Preblud SR, Orenstein WA, et al. Transmission in measles outbreaks in the United States, 1985-1986. N Engl J Med 1989; 32:75-81.
145. Edmonson MB, Addiss DG, McPherson Jt, et al. Mild measles and secondary vaccine failure during a sustained outbreak in a highly vaccinated population. JAMA 1990; 263:2467-71.
146. Gustafson TL, et al., Measles outbreak in a fully immunized secondary-school population. NEJM 1987; 316(13):771-4.
147. Maldonado YA, et al. Early loss of passive measles antibody in infants of mothers with vaccine-induced immunity. Pediatrics 1995; 96(3 Pt 1):447-450.
148. Miller E, et al. Antibodies to measles, mumps and rubella in UK children 4 years after vaccination with different MMR vaccines. Vaccine 1995; 13(9):799-802.
149. Whittle H, et al. Poor serologic responses five to seven years after immunization with high and standard titer measles vaccines. Pediatr Infect Dis J1999; 18(1):53-57.
150. Murphy J. What Every Parent Should Know About Childhood Immunization. Boston; Earth Healing Products; 1993:114.
151. Gary Null Interview with Jamie Murphy, April 7, 1995.
152. Auwaerter PG, Hussey GD, Goddard EA, et al. Changes within T cell receptor V beta subsets in infants following measles vaccination. Clin Immunol Immunopathol 1996; 79(2):163-170.
153. Ward BJ. Changes in cytokine production after measles virus vaccination: predominant production of IL-4 suggests induction of a Th2 response. Clin Immunol Immunopathol 1993; 67(2):171.
154. Thompson NP, Montgomery SM, Pauder, et al. Is measles vaccination a risk factor for inflammatory bowel disease? Lancet 1995; 345(8957):1071-1074.
155. Gunn T. Response to W.H.O. evidence for vaccine safety and effectiveness.
156. Aaby P, et al. Child mortality related to seroconversion or lack of seroconversion after measles vaccination. Pediat Infec Dis J 1989; 8(4):197-200.
157. Clemens JD, Stanton BF, Chakraborty J. Measles vaccination and childhood mortality in rural Bangladesh. Am J Epidemiol 1988; 128(6 ):1330-1339.
158. Hersh BS, et al. Mumps outbreak in a highly vaccinated population. J Pediatr 1991; 119(2):187-193
159. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Brief report: Update: Mumps activity—United States, January 1—October 7, 2006. MMWR 2006; 55(42):1152-1153.
160. Ibid.
161. Cheek, JE, Baron R, Atlas H, et al. Mumps outbreak in a highly vaccinated school population. Evidence for large-scale vaccination failure. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 1995; 149(7):774-778.
162. Briss PA, Fehrs LJ, Parker RA, et al. Sustained transmission of mumps in a highly vaccinated population: assessment of primary vaccine failure and waning vaccine-induced immunity. J Infect Dis 1994; 169:77-82.
163. Vandermeulen C, Roelants M, Vermoere M, et al. Outbreak of mumps in a vaccinated child population: a question of vaccine failure? Vaccine 2004; 22(21-22):2713-2716.
164. Cheek JE, op. cit.
165. Briss PA, op. cit.
166. Zimmermann H, et al. Mumps epidemiology in Switzerland: results from the Sentinella surveillance system 1986-1993. Sentinella Work Group. German. Soz Praventivmed 1995; 40(2):80-92.
167. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Update: vaccine side effects, adverse reactions, and precautions. MMWR 1996; 45(RR-12):1-35.
168. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccines timeline. Last modified April 29, 2005.
169. Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology. Vaccines and their future role in public health, July 1995, and Dawbarns, Solicitors, Kyngs Lynn, MMR and MR Factsheet.
170. Dourado I, Cunha S, Teixeira MG, et al. Outbreak of aseptic meningitis associated with mass vaccination with a urabe-containing measles-mumps-rubella vaccine: implications for immunization programs. Am J Epidemiol 2000; 151(5):524-530.
171. Hillary IB, et al. Persistence of rubella antibodies 15 years after subcutaneous administration of Wistar 27/3 strain live attenuated rubella virus vaccine. JAMA1981; 245(7):711-713.
172. Howson CP, Fineberg HV. Adverse events following pertussis and rubella vaccines. summary of a report of the Institute of Medicine. JAMA 1992; 267(3):392-396.

Vaccination: An Updated Analysis of the Health Risks – Part 1

by Gary Null, PhD, and Martin Feldman, MD

A major controversy is brewing in the United States as people question whether the vaccines we give to children are safe and effective. In this three-part series, we explore the vaccine controversy to help separate the myths from the facts. We have conducted an extensive review of the scientific literature to examine the safety and efficacy of vaccines and the health effects of these often-mandated medical procedures.

e? Do the manufacturers and physicians who provide them support conjecture or sound scientific practice? Our society rarely looks at the safety and efficacy of the products of medical manufacturers that have enormous power to influence the decisions of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).1-8 Although the public rarely hears of the tragedies and side effects associated with vaccines, we do hear that vaccines promise to prevent a new condition (such as cervical cancer and genital warts9).

The reality is that we are inundating the developing baby’s body with a growing list of vaccines,10 often overwhelming the immune system with resultant negative effects. A full picture of the effects of immunization has not emerged due to a deep-seated under-reporting of the adverse events associated with vaccinations.11-13

Our Acceptance of Vaccines
Public health officials have long put forth the basic assumptions that vaccinations are safe and effective.14-16 The public and our legislators have, by and large, accepted these assumptions as true. We think of vaccinations as panaceas and look to science to develop new ones for many illnesses. Vaccines are now in the Research and Development (R&D) pipeline for diseases such as chlamydia, herpes simplex type 2, hepatitis C, West Nile virus, Epstein-Barr virus, and others.17 The World Health Organization (WHO) notes that intensive efforts also are underway to develop effective vaccines for malaria, tuberculosis, dengue, and other diseases.18

Jamie Murphy, author of What Every Parent Should Know About Childhood Immunization, attributes society’s acceptance of vaccinations largely to state laws that dictate children must receive vaccines to attend school.19 Each state determines which vaccines it will mandate for daycare and school entry, and state officials often rely on the recommendations of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and other advisers in the process of mandating specific vaccines.20

The Growing Roster of Childhood Vaccines
The CDC’s 2007 recommended immunization schedule includes more than two dozen doses of vaccines, targeting 14 diseases for children under the age of two. These diseases are diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, Haemophilus influenzae type b, pneumococcal, polio, hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella, varicella, influenza, hepatitis A, and rotavirus. The CDC recommended the latter two – hepatitis A and rotavirus – for routine vaccination of children in 2005 and 2006, again expanding the vaccination protocol for young children.21

By contrast, vaccines for seven diseases were included in the CDC’s first childhood immunization schedule in 1983. The vaccines (for diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, measles, mumps, and rubella) were recommended for children up to 18 months of age.

In addition to the vaccines received in the first two years of life, children aged four to six receive vaccines for diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella (chickenpox). This second dose of chickenpox vaccine is new, recommended by the ACIP for all children in 2006.

Recently Approved Vaccines
As noted, a new rotavirus vaccine (RotaTeq) was recommended by the ACIP for all infants in 2006. In addition, the government has recommended several vaccines for adolescents in the past few years: a diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine; a meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4); and the first human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine (Gardasil), which is approved for females nine to 26 years of age. Gardasil is designed to protect against HPV types 16 and 18, which cause approximately 70% of cervical cancers, and types 6 and 11, which cause about 90% of genital warts.22 For adults, the FDA approved in 2006 the first vaccine to prevent herpes zoster, also called shingles. This vaccine (Zostavax) is approved for people 60 years of age and older.

Types of Vaccines

Four main types of vaccines are used in the US, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. As described by Kurt Link, MD, in his book The Vaccine Controversy, these types are as follows:23

Live Virus Vaccines 
These vaccines contain an attenuated strain of the wild virus that causes a disease. Live viruses can trigger a strong and long-lasting immunity, but they may cause serious infections and even death in people who are immune-compromised and sometimes may cause serious infections in people who are apparently healthy. Live virus vaccines include measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox, and oral polio (the live polio vaccine is no longer used in the US).24

Killed Whole Vaccines
This type of vaccine cannot cause an infection, because the infectious organism has been killed with heat or substances such as thimerosal or phenol. Multiple initial doses and booster doses are needed to stimulate and maintain immunity. This category includes vaccines for pertussis, polio (the inactivated version), and anthrax.25

Purified Vaccines 
These vaccines contain relatively pure chemical components of an infectious microbe and cannot cause an infection. The hepatitis B vaccine, in particular, is manufactured with a recombinant technology in which the hepatitis surface antigens are produced in yeast cells. Like killed whole vaccines, purified vaccines may require multiple doses and boosters to sustain immunity. In addition to hepatitis B, purified vaccines include pneumococcal pneumonia and haemophilus influenza.26

In this case, a toxoid causes the body to produce antibodies against toxins secreted by a type of bacteria, not against the organism itself. Diphtheria and tetanus are examples of toxoid vaccines.27
As noted by Dr. Link, today’s vaccines not only contain material from animals, such as monkeys, chicks, horses, and cattle, but also toxins and chemicals such as formaldehyde, aluminum salts, and antibiotics. In the future, we hope to have DNA vaccines that are free of impurities. With these purified vaccines, genetic material from a microbe will be inserted directly into a person’s cells, prompting them to produce the vaccine and mobilizing a long-lasting immune response. (Theoretically, there is a downside: if vaccine DNA is integrated into a person’s genetic makeup, the adverse effects could include cancer and autoimmune diseases.)28

Challenging Our Assumptions

As the list of vaccines used in the US grows, we must take a close look at our assumptions and ask: are we seeing the full picture? The reasons we should challenge our beliefs about vaccination include the following:

Vaccine Safety Issues 
Significant adverse effects have been reported with every type of vaccine.29,30These reactions may occur soon after vaccination or several months to years later.31 Delayed reactions are more insidious and less obviously linked to vaccination and thus necessitate large-scale epidemiological studies to be proven.

The recent history of immunization demonstrates the perils associated with vaccines. In 1999, a vaccine for infants was removed from the market due to its serious adverse effects. RotaShield was approved by the FDA in 1998 for the prevention of rotavirus in infants but was withdrawn after reports to Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) and a subsequent review showed the vaccine was associated with intussusception, a bowel disorder.32 In 1991, an experiment with a high-titer measles vaccine in infants was halted when studies found an increased mortality rate among female recipients compared with those receiving the standard measles vaccine.33 And in the past few decades, some studies have found that an increased risk of certain cancers is associated with polio vaccines given to children from 1955 to 1963 that were contaminated with a monkey virus.34

The CDC recently studied the safety of immunization by analyzing reports made to VAERS during the first 11 years of the system’s operation, from 1991 to 2001. There were 128,717 reports made, 14.2% of which described serious adverse events that “by regulatory definition include death, life-threatening illness, hospitalization or prolongation of hospitalization, or permanent disability.” The CDC concluded that reviews of VAERS reports and studies based on those reports during the 11-year period “have demonstrated that vaccines are usually safe and that serious adverse reactions do occur but are rare.”35

It should be noted that VAERS is a passive surveillance system and that only an estimated one-tenth of reactions are reported (by some estimates, this figure is even greater).36,37 The result is that reported data greatly underestimate the real incidence of vaccine-associated complications. Furthermore, associations are not made when adverse events occur long after the time of vaccination.38 Indeed, a 1998 study in the Lancet and a recent review claim that no link exists between the MMR vaccine and subsequent long-term health events such as autism or bowel obstruction.39,40

One would think that before injecting children worldwide with hundreds of millions of doses of vaccines, enough clinical trials would be performed to determine exactly what the effects of this large-scale human experiment would be. Lack of funding is not the problem. Each year, Congress appropriates more than $1 billion41,42 to federal health agencies to develop, purchase, and promote the mass use of vaccines in the US, but not to fund independent researchers to investigate vaccine-related health problems.

Dr. Link points out that different people will react to the same vaccine in different ways. Each person’s reaction depends on a variety of factors, including his or her genes, history of infections and vaccinations, and general health. “The same vaccine will be totally ignored immunologically by one individual, but create immunologic chaos in another,” he writes. Reactions also differ for the very young and very old.43

The people who suffer adverse reactions to vaccines often are infants and children; 45% of reports to VAERS concern children age six and under.44 The problems incurred as a result of vaccination go far beyond sore arms and transitory fever. Adverse events such as anaphylaxis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, brachial neuritis, thrombocytopenia, poliomyelitis (caused by the oral polio vaccine, no longer used in the US), acute encephalopathy, and hypotonic/hyporesponsive episodes have been linked to vaccines.45-48

Some research also has suggested that sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is associated with vaccinations.49-51 A study by FDA researchers of reports to VAERS from 1991 to 1994 found that most of the reported deaths were attributed to SIDS. The researchers concluded, however, that “the peak age of deaths at ages one to three months could be expected on the basis of prior studies showing that sudden infant death syndrome deaths peak at that age.”52 Similarly, the CDC’s study of VAERS data from 1991 to 2001 found that the majority of deaths reported were ultimately designated as SIDS. This report also concluded that the age distribution and seasonality of the infant deaths reported to VAERS matched those of SIDS. The CDC cites other research discounting an association between vaccinations and untimely deaths of infants.53,54 Critics have noted, however, that a comparison with the background rate of SIDS among vaccinated populations, rather than comparable unvaccinated groups, is not meaningful.55

Unsound Principles of Vaccination 
When children contract a disease such as measles or mumps, they generally develop a permanent protection against that disease. Such is not the case with vaccines. As Jamie Murphy observes, “The medical profession does not know how long vaccine immunity lasts because it is artificial immunity. If you get measles naturally, in 99% of the cases you have lifelong immunity. If you have German measles, you will have lifelong immunity [with rare second infections]…. However, if you get a measles vaccine or a DPT vaccine, [it does not give you 100% assurance that] the vaccine will prevent you from getting the disease.”56

The Vaccine Controversy notes that by vaccinating infants and children, we shift upward the age at which people may become ill from an infectious disease. “Mild illnesses of children can be devastating in the adult,” the author states. “This is an issue far from resolved.”57 Widespread outbreaks of pertussis and mumps in the past few years bear out the notion that waning immunity from childhood vaccines can leave adolescent and adults vulnerable to infection.58,59

Walene James, author of Immunization: The Reality Behind the Myth,60 believes the full inflammatory response is necessary to create real immunity.61 James summarizes the work of Dr. Richard Moskowitz, past president of the National Institute of Homeopathy, as stating: “Vaccines trick the body so that it will no longer initiate a generalized inflammatory response. They thereby accomplish what the entire immune system seems to have evolved to prevent. They place the virus directly into the blood and give it access to the major immune organs and tissues without any obvious way of getting rid of it. These attenuated viruses and virus elements persist in the blood for a long time, perhaps permanently. This, in turn, implies a systematic weakening of the ability to mount an effective response, not only to childhood diseases but to other acute infections as well.”

Studies of vaccines show that they prompt the body to produce antibodies to a particular antigen, called seroconversion. However, as Alan Phillips, co-founder of Citizens for Healthcare Freedom, writes in “Vaccination: Dispelling the Myths,” it is not clear whether the production of antibodies constitutes immunity. “For example, a-gamma globulinemic children are incapable of producing antibodies, yet they recover from infectious diseases almost as quickly as other children….Natural immunization is a complex phenomenon involving many organs and systems; it cannot be fully replicated by the artificial stimulation of antibody production….[Our] immunological reserves may thus actually be reduced, causing a generally lowered resistance.”62,63

Phillips also questions so-called “herd immunity,” in which the immunization of enough people in a community confers protection to all. “There are many documented instances showing just the opposite – fully vaccinated populations do contract diseases. With measles, this actually seems to be the direct result of high vaccination rates…,” he states.64,65

The Natural Evolution of Disease 
A CDC fact sheet states that vaccination programs in the US have significantly reduced or eliminated many infectious diseases. However, this communication does not discuss factors besides vaccination that coalesced to improve public health in the twentieth century.66

A working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) makes the following points about the rates of mortality in the twentieth century:67

Mortality rates declined steadily and rapidly throughout the century. As stated by David Francis in a summary of the research, “Except for a ten-year period between 1955 and 1965 when the mortality rate was essentially flat, mortality rates have declined at the relatively constant rate of approximately one to two percent per year since 1900.”68 If vaccines are responsible for the decline of disease, then shouldn’t mortality rates have fallen more rapidly in the latter half of the century when more and more vaccines were required?

In the mid-twentieth century, the continuing decline in death from infectious diseases was due more to medical measures such as penicillin, sulfa drugs, and antibiotics. As Francis states, “These help the elderly as well as the young, thereby reducing mortality across the age spectrum. By 1960, 70% of infants could be expected to survive to age 65.”69 Vaccinations were not mentioned in this paragraph.

In one analysis of health trends among Americans in the twentieth century,70 the authors state that nearly 85% of the “spectacular” reduction in child mortality occurred before World War II, and nearly 90% of the decline in child mortality from infectious diseases occurred before 1940. Few antibiotics or vaccines were available during that time. The major declines in child mortality in the first third of the century, they say, have been credited to public health measures involving water treatment, food safety, organized solid waste disposal, and education regarding hygienic practices. Housing improvements and less crowding in cities also played a part.71

Given the factors involved in declining death rates, are vaccinations the magic bullets we believe them to be? Dr. Harris Coulter, an expert on the pertussis vaccine and co-author of A Shot in the Dark,72 concludes otherwise.73 Regarding infectious diseases of the past, he states, “The incidence of all of these infectious diseases was dropping very rapidly, starting in the 1930s. After World War II, the incidence continued to drop as living conditions improved. Clean water, central heating…these are the factors that really affected people’s tendencies to come down with infectious diseases much more than vaccines. The vaccines might have added a little bit to that downward curve, but the curve was going down all the time anyway.”

Toxic Vaccine Ingredients and Processes

Walene James cautions parents to consider the content of vaccines that enter a child’s body without benefit of the digestive or liver functions. She says there are three main types of vaccine ingredients:

  • Cultured bacteria and viruses
    The medium of cultivation may include “dog kidney tissue, monkey kidney tissue, chicken or duck egg protein, chick embryo, calf serum, pig or horse blood, and cowpox pus.”
    James notes that these foreign proteins, which are injected directly into the body, contain the genetic material of animal cells. Live viruses in a vaccine may pick up the genes of these cells and implant alien genetic material into the human system.
  • Stabilizers, neutralizers, carrying agents, and preservatives 
    These include toxins such as formaldehyde (a carcinogenic material used to embalm corpses) and aluminum phosphate.

This last category also includes some thimerosal, the mercury preservative that has been removed from vaccines commonly given to young children (with the exception of the influenza vaccine, which may still contain mercury). Thimerosal also may be found in some vaccines used in children above age six and in adults, such as DT, Td, TT, and influenza vaccines. According to the FDA, all new vaccines licensed since 1999 do not contain thimerosal as a preservative.74

In What Every Parent Should Know About Childhood Immunization, Jamie Murphy seconds the views of James: “What could formaldehyde, aluminum, phenol…or any number of other deadly chemical substances used in vaccines possibly have to do with preventing disease in children? The fact that they are needed at all in the vaccine formula argues that the product is toxic, unstable, and unreliable with or without their presence.”75

The Use of Thimerosal in Vaccines
One aspect of vaccination that has fueled considerable controversy is the use of thimerosal (which is approximately 50% ethylmercury by weight) as a preservative. This substance was contained in vaccines for many decades before the US Public Health Service (PHS) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued a statement in 1999 urging its removal.76 Although the PHS agencies and AAP said this step was being taken as a precautionary measure – not because the mercury in vaccines had caused harm – the fact remains that as more vaccines were being mandated for children, the cumulative level of mercury to which some infants were exposed through vaccination exceeded that deemed safe by a federal guideline.77,78

Thimerosal has since been eliminated from or reduced to trace amounts in all the vaccines routinely given to children age six and younger, reports the FDA. The only exception for this age group is the influenza vaccine, for which a limited supply of a preservative-free version was available in 2006.79 (Trace amounts of thimerosal may remain in some vaccines given to children, because it is used in the manufacturing process, not from its use as a preservative). With the new vaccines (excluding influenza), the maximum cumulative amount of ethylmercury an infant would be exposed to in the first six months of life through routine vaccinations is now < 3 mcg. This exposure is down from a maximum of 187.5 mcg previously.80

While this change is certainly welcomed, we should ask why a neurotoxin such as mercury was allowed to be used in vaccines in the first place. Mercury exposure has been associated with nerve cell degeneration,81 adverse behavioral effects,82and impaired brain development.83 It also has been linked to degenerative chronic conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. The developing fetal nervous system is the most sensitive to its toxic effects, and prenatal exposure to high doses of mercury has been shown to cause mental retardation and cerebral palsy.84

At the center of the debate over the use of mercury in vaccines is whether this substance has contributed to an increased incidence of autism in the US. An analysis of VAERS and the Vaccine Safety Datalink found that mercury exposure from thimerosal-containing vaccines (TCVs) was a significant risk factor for neurodevelopmental disorders (NDs).85 Other research, as discussed by David Kirby in Evidence of Harm, has suggested an association between mercury in the body and autism.86-89 However, a number of population studies have found that there is no association between TCVs and the incidence of autism spectrum disorders.90-92 The Institute of Medicine determined in a 2004 report that “the body of epidemiological evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship” between TCVs and autism and between the MMR vaccine, in particular, and autism.93

Concerns about the safety of mercury in vaccines continue. In 2006, Washington State passed a law banning the use of thimerosal in vaccines given to young children and pregnant women. This law made Washington the seventh state – after Iowa, California, Delaware, Illinois, Missouri, and New York – to limit the use of mercury in vaccines. More than a dozen other states have introduced similar legislation.94

A study published in 2006 provides the first epidemiological evidence that the number of neurodevelopment disorders has decreased in the US as thimerosal was removed from vaccines. This study analyzed certain NDs – including autism, mental retardation, and speech disorders – reported to VAERS from 1991 to 2004. It found “significant reductions in the proportion of NDs reported to VAERS as thimerosal was [beginning] to be removed from childhood vaccines in the US from mid-1999 onwards.”95

A continuing concern is the use of thimerosal in vaccines that may be given to children age seven and older (such as some flu and tetanus-diphtheria vaccines) and to adults who are elderly or immune-compromised. The CDC recommended in 2004 that children six to 23 months of age receive the flu vaccine each year, and in 2003, it approved the “first live attenuated influenza vaccine licensed for five- to 49-year-old persons.”96 As late as the 2004-2005 flu season, however, two types of influenza vaccines were still on the market: some contained thimerosal as a preservative, and some were preservative-free. The CDC said then that the amount of preservative-free flu vaccine would continue to increase as the capabilities of manufacturers grew.97 However, one wonders how many children are still suffering the effects of mercury-toxic injections from past flu seasons.

The FDA, for its part, says that with the maximum cumulative exposure to mercury for children under six months reduced to less than 3 mcg, “an infant could receive a thimerosal-containing influenza vaccine at six and seven months of age.” The FDA reasons that the maximum exposure from routine vaccinations would be 28 mcg, which is “well below the EPA calculated exposure guideline for methylmercury of 65 micrograms for a child in the 5th percentile body weight during the first six months of life.”98

Vaccine Failure and Waning Immunity 
The medical literature documents many cases in which vaccines have failed to protect recipients from the targeted disease, either due to primary failure (a lack of seroconversion) or secondary failure (the waning of protection over time). In recent years, for example, large outbreaks of pertussis and mumps among both fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people have brought these two “vintage bugs,” as Newsweek referred to them in 2006, back into the news.99-103

Pertussis is the only vaccine-preventable disease that is increasing in the US.104 It is re-emerging even though estimated rates of childhood vaccination coverage with three or more doses have exceeded 90% since 1994.105 Reported cases of pertussis reached 25,827 in 2004, compared with a low of 1,010 in 1976106 – two years before the DTP vaccine was mandated for school admission. This represented the largest pertussis outbreak in more than 40 years, and the actual incidence is likely higher due to underreporting. The majority of reported cases are now occurring in adolescents, who the CDC says become susceptible to pertussis some six to ten years after receiving their childhood vaccines,107 and in adults. But younger children who have been vaccinated against pertussis may be affected as well.108

The re-emergence of pertussis is not limited to the United States. Canada, Australia, and some European countries also have experienced a resurgence of this disease. A 2005 report concludes that “pertussis is far from being controlled in Europe.”109 Another analysis from the same year states that “an increased incidence of infant, adolescent, and adult pertussis has been observed worldwide since the introduction of widespread vaccination.”110

Like pertussis, mumps also has had a resurgence in the US. The largest outbreak of mumps since the late 1980s occurred in 2006, when 5,783 cases were reported to the CDC between January 1 and October 7. Although the CDC does not have complete data on vaccination status in this nationwide outbreak, vaccination coverage for 1,798 patients in Iowa, where the outbreak started, was 49% for two doses of the MMR vaccine and 14% for one dose. The vaccination status of 30% of these patients was not known.111 Other outbreaks of mumps have occurred in vaccinated populations.112,113

Another vaccine that may fail to protect recipients during an outbreak is the varicella (chicken-pox) vaccination. Numerous studies have found that vaccinated schoolchildren are still at risk of contracting this disease.114,115 In an outbreak of 25 cases of chickenpox at a daycare center, the authors concluded that “vaccination provided poor protection” (44% against varicella of any severity) and that “breakthrough infections in vaccinated, healthy persons can be as infectious as varicella in unvaccinated persons.”116 In other studies of chickenpox outbreaks, the numbers of vaccinated people among infected individuals were: 29 of 54 cases,11726 of 83 cases,118 43 of 49 cases,119 18 of 21 cases,120 and 14 of 41 cases.121Vaccine effectiveness against varicella of any severity in these studies ranged from 59% to 87%.

The Use of Unproven Vaccines 
A contentious area of vaccination is the use of experimental vaccines in the US military, particularly with personnel of the Gulf War of 1990-91, without their informed consent. Approximately 150,000 service members deployed to the Gulf received the anthrax vaccine.122 Some Gulf troops also received the botulinum vaccine. In addition, the anthrax vaccine has been given to hundreds of thousands of military personnel since 1998,123 when the Department of Defense (DOD) began a mandatory mass vaccination program to inoculate all 2.5 million members of the military against a potential attack with anthrax.124

Although the FDA licensed the anthrax vaccine in 1970, it was not approved for inhalation exposure. The DOD’s mandatory anthrax vaccine program was ruled illegal in 2004 when a federal judge said the FDA had not followed its licensing regulations for the vaccine. The DOD was directed to “stop giving the experimental vaccine to military personnel without their voluntary, informed consent,” according to the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), which recently launched the Military and Biodefense Vaccine Project to provide information on related vaccines. However, the FDA issued a Final Order in December 2005 stating the anthrax vaccine was safe and effective, and the DOD’s anthrax vaccination program was again made mandatory in October 2006.125

The NVIC reports that when the FDA issued its Final Order in 2005, it “failed to provide evidence the vaccine was effective against inhalation (weaponized) anthrax and failed to address published research studies and 5,000 adverse event reports received by FDA demonstrating that anthrax vaccine is causing serous health problems.”126

The anthrax vaccine is one possible cause of what is commonly referred to as Gulf War syndrome, the collection of chronic symptoms (such as fatigue, joint pain, headaches, skin rashes, and cognitive problems) that have been reported by veterans of this war. According to the Institute for Molecular Medicine, which studies chronic diseases, it is likely that a variety of exposures are responsible for the illnesses experienced by veterans with Gulf War Illness. These exposures include chemical mixtures, such as organophosphates, antinerve agents, and possibly nerve agents; radiological sources, including depleted uranium ammunition and possibly fallout from destroyed nuclear reactors; and biological sources, such as bacteria, viruses, and toxins.127 (It should be noted that the Institute of Medicine stated in September 2006 that there is no unique cluster of symptoms that comprise a Gulf War syndrome.128)

Regarding vaccines, a study of Kansas Gulf War veterans found that veterans who were vaccinated during the war but were not deployed to the region “may experience some of the same health problems” as veterans who served in the war. Among nondeployed veterans, 12% of those who received the vaccines had Gulf War illness, compared with four percent who did not receive the vaccines.129 This researcher cites other studies that have found that vaccines against biologic warfare agents (such as anthrax and plague) and multiple routine vaccines in Gulf War veterans were associated with multisymptom illness as classified by the CDC.130,131

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12. Froeschle J. (Connaught Laboratories, Swiftwater, Pa.) Testimony to the Institute of Medicine, 1992. Available at: Accessed July 27, 2007.
13. Kretzschmar M, Wallinga J. Frequency of adverse events after vaccination with different vaccinia strains. 
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14. Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention. Vaccines: a safe choice for parents. Available at: Accessed July 27, 2007.
Dec. 2007: Now:
15. Barnett A, McVeigh T. UK babies given toxic vaccines, admits Glaxo. 
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17. Initiative for Vaccine Research, World Health Organization. New vaccines against infectious diseases: research and development status. April 2005; updated February 2006
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19. Murphy J. 
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20. Edwards KM. State mandates and childhood immunization. 
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21. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recommended immunization schedules for persons aged 0-18 years – United States, 2007. 
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22. US FDA. FDA licenses new vaccine for prevention of cervical cancer and other diseases in females caused by human papillomavirus. News release. June 8, 2006.
23. Link K. 
The Vaccine Controversy: The History, Use, and Safety of Vaccines. Westport, Conn.; Praeger Publishers; 2005:12.
24. Ibid, p. 13-14.
25. Ibid, p. 15.
26. Ibid, p. 16.
27. Ibid, p. 16-17.
28. Link, op. cit., p. xi, 150.
29. Howe CJ, Johnston RB, Alexander ER, eds. 
Research to identify risks for adverse events following vaccination: biological mechanisms and possible means of prevention. National Academies Press. Available at: Accessed July 27, 2007.
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30. Chance T. Shots all around., August 18, 2006. Available at:,1713,BDC_
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31. Ward BJ. 
Vaccine adverse events in the new millennium: is there reason for …concern? p.208. Available at:
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32. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Surveillance for safety after immunization: Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) – United States, 1991-2001. 
MMWR Surveill Summ. 2003; 52(1):1-24.
33. Garenne M, et al. Child mortality after high-titre measles vaccines: prospective study in Senegal. 
Lancet. 1991; 338(8772):903-907.
34. Vilchez RA, Kozinetz CA, Arrington AS, Madden CR, Butel JS. Simian virus 40 in human cancers. 
Am J Med. 2003; 114(8):675-684.
35. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Surveillance for safety after immunization, op. cit.
36. Connaught, op. cit.
37. The anthrax vaccine: new questions, weak data., Dec. 11, 2005. Available at:
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38. Vaccine long-term studies. Available at: Accessed July 27, 2007.
39. Peltola H, Patja A, Leinikki P, et al. No evidence for measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine-associated inflammatory bowel disease or autism in a 14-year prospective study. Research letter. 
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40. Demicheli V, Jefferson T, Rivetti A, et al. Vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella in children. 
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41. American Immunization Registry Association. Update on FY 2007 Labor HHS Appropriations Bill: CDC Immunization Funding (Section 317). Available at:
42. Remarks by Tommy G. Thompson, Secretary of Health And Human Services, before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education March 20, 2003, p. 2. Available at: Accessed July 27, 2007.
43. Link, op. cit., p. 164.
44. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, op. cit.
45. Stratton KR, Howe CJ, Johnston RB Jr. Adverse events associated with childhood vaccines other than pertussis and rubella. Summary of a report from the Institute of Medicine. 
JAMA. 1994; 271(20):1602-1605.
46. Howson CP, Fineberg HV. Adverse events following pertussis and rubella vaccines. Summary of a report of the Institute of Medicine. 
JAMA. 1992; 267(3):392-396.
47. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Update: vaccine side effects, adverse reactions, contraindications, and precautions. Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). 
MMWR. 1996; 45(RR-12):1-35.
48. Centers for Disease Control. Update: Guillain-Barre syndrome among recipients of Menactra meningococcal conjugate vaccine – United States, June 2005-September 2006. 
MMWR. 2006; 55(41):1120-1124.
49. Torch WC. Diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus (DPT) immunization: a potential cause of the sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). 
Neurology. 1982; 32(4).
50. Baraff L, et al. Possible temporal association between diphtheria-tetanus toxoid-pertussis vaccination and sudden infant death syndrome. 
Pediatric Infectious Dis. 1983; 2(1):7-11.
51. Ottaviani G, Lavezzi AM. Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) shortly after hexavalent vaccination: another pathology in suspected SIDS? 
Virchows Arch. 2006;448(1):100-4. Epub 2005 Oct 18.
52. Braun MM, Ellenberg SS. Descriptive epidemiology of adverse events after immunization: reports to the Vaccine Advers Event Reporting System (VAERS), 1991-1994.
 J Pediatr. 1997; 131(4):529-535.
53. Fleming, PJ, Blair PS, Platt MW, et al. The UK accelerated immunization programme and sudden unexpected death in infancy: case-control study. 
BMJ.2001; 322:822-825 [cited by CDC].
54. Institute of Medicine. 
Adverse Effects of Pertussis and Rubella Vaccines: A Report to the Committee to Review the Adverse Consequences of Pertussis and Rubella Vaccines. Howson CP, Howe CJ, Fineberg HV, eds. Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 1991:125-143 [cited by CDC].
55. Sandy Gottstein (Mintz), president of 
Vaccination News. Institute of Medicine testimony, January 16, 1993.
56. Gary Null Interview with Jamie Murphy, December 18, 1997.
57. Link, op. cit., p. xi.
58. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pertussis – United States, 2001-2003. 
MMWR. 2005; 54(40):1283-1286.
59. Kancheria VS, Hanson IC. Mumps resurgence in the United States.
 J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2006; 118(4):938-941.
60. James W. 
Immunization: The Reality Behind the Myth. Massachusetts: Bergin & Gervey; 1988.
61. Gary Null Interview with Walene James, April 6, 1995.
62. Phillips, Alan. Vaccination: dispelling the myths.
 Nexus. October-November 1997.
63. Briss PA, Fehrs LJ. Sustained transmission of mumps in a highly vaccinated population: assessment of primary vaccine failure and waning vaccine-induced immunity. 
J Infect Dis. 1994; 169(1):77-82.
64. Ibid.
65. Auwaerter PG, Hussey GD. Changes within T cell receptor V beta subsets in infants following measles vaccination.
 Clin Immunol Immunopathol. 1996;79(2):163-170.
66. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What would happen if we stopped vaccinations? Last modified November 19, 2003.
67. Cutler D, Meara E. Changes in the age distribution of mortality over the 20th century. NBER Working Paper No. 8556. October 2001. Available at: Accessed July 27, 2007.
68. Francis DR. Why do death rates decline? 
NBER Digest. March 2002.
69. Ibid.
70. Guyer B, Freedman MA, Strobino DM, et al. Annual summary of vital statistics: trends in the health of Americans during the 20th century. 
Pediatrics. 2000; 106:1307-1317.
71. Ibid.
72. Coulter, Harris L. 
Vaccination, Social Violence, and Criminality. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books; 1990.
73. Gary Null Interview with Dr. Harris Coulter, April 6, 1995.
74. US Food and Drug Administration. Thimerosal in vaccines and frequently asked questions. Last updated September 25 and 29, 2006. Available at:
75. Murphy, op. cit., p. 5.
76. Thimerosal in Vaccines: A Joint Statement of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Public Health Service. 
MMWR. 07/09/1999; 48(26):563.
77. US Food and Drug Administration. Thimerosal in vaccines. Updated September 25, 2006.
78. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Mercury and vaccines (thimerosal). Modified October 12, 2006. Available at:
79. US Food and Drug Administration. Thimerosal in vaccines. Updated September 25, 2006. Available at:
80. US Food and Drug Administration. Thimerosal in vaccines: frequently asked questions. Last updated September 29, 2006. Available at:
81. Sakamoto M, et al. Widespread neuronal degeneration in rats following oral administration of methylmercury during the postnatal developing phase: a model of fetal-type minamata disease. 
Brain Res. 1998; 784(1-2):351-354.
82. Echeverria D, et al. Neurobehavioral effects from exposure to dental amalgam Hg(o): new distinctions between recent exposure and Hg body burden. 
FASEB J. 1998; 12(11):971-980.
83. Myers GJ, et al. A review of methylmercury and child development. 
Neurotoxicology. 1998; 19(2):313-328.
84. Myers GJ, et al. Prenatal methylmercury exposure and children: neurologic, developmental, and behavioral research. 
Environ Health Perspect. 1998; 106 Suppl 3:841-847.
85. Geier DA, Geier MR. A two-phased population epidemiological study of the safety of thimerosal-containing vaccines: a follow-up analysis. 
Med Sci Monit.2005; 11(4):CR160-170.
86. Kirby D. 
Evidence of Harm: Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic: A Medical Controversy. New York; St. Martin’s Press; 2005.
87. Holmes AS, Blaxill MF, Haley BE. Reduced levels of mercury in first baby haircuts of autistic children. 
Int J Toxicol. 2003; 22(4):277-285.
88. Bradstreet J, Geier DA, Kartinel JJ, et al. A case-control study of mercury burden in children with autistic spectrum disorders. 
J Am Phys Surg. 2003; 8(3):76-79.
89. James SJ, Cutler P, Melnyk S, et al. Metabolic biomarkers of increased oxidative stress and impaired methylation capacity in children with autism. 
Am J Clin Nutr. 2004; 80(6):1611-1617.
90. Hviid A, Stellfeld M, Wohlfahrt J, et al. Association between thimerosal-containing vaccine and autism. 
JAMA. 2003; 290(13):1763-1766.
91. Stehr-Green P, Tull P, Stellfeld M, et al. Autism and thimerosal-containing vaccines: lack of consistent evidence for an association. 
Am J Prev Med. 2003; 25(2):101-106.
92. Madsen KM, Lauritsen MB, Pedersen CB, et al. Thimerosal and the occurrence of autism: negative ecological evidence from Danish population-based data. 
Pediatrics. 2003; 112(3 Pt 1):604-606.
93. Immunization Safety Review Committee. Immunization safety review: vaccines and autism. 2004.
94. A-CHAMP (Advocates for Children’s Health Affected by Mercury Poisoning). State legislation to ban mercury in vaccines. Available at: Accessed July 27, 2007.
95. Geier DA, Geier MR. An assessment of downward trends in neurodevelopmental disorders in the United States following removal of Thimerosal from childhood vaccines. 
Med Sci Monit. 2006;12(6):CR231-239. Epub 2006 May 29.
96. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccines timeline. Last modified April 29, 2005. Available at: Accessed July 27, 2007
97. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Availability of thimerosal-free vaccines. Last modifed May 11, 2004. Available at:
98. Thimerosal in vaccines: frequently asked questions, op. cit.
99. Carmichael M. Health: “Vintage” bugs return. 
Newsweek, May 1, 2006. Available at: Accessed July 27, 2006.
Dec. 2007: Use
100. Khan FN, Lin M, Hinkle CJ, Franklin P, Luther R, et al. Case-control study of vaccination history in relation to pertussis risk during an outbreak among school students. 
Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2006; 25(12):1132-1136.
101. Schafer S, Gillette H, Hedberg K, Cieslak P. A community-wide pertussis outgreak: an argument for universal booster vaccination. 
Arch Intern Med. 2006; 166(12):1317-1321.
102. Kancheria VS, Hanson IC. Mumps resurgence in the United States.
 J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2006; 118(4):938-941. Epub 2006 Aug 28.
103. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Mumps outbreak at a summer camp – New York, 2005. 
MMWR. 2006; 55(07)175-177.
104. Brooks DA, Clover R. Pertussis infection in the United States: role for vaccination of adolescents and adults. 
J Am Board Fam Med. 2006; 19(6):603-611.
105. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pertussis – United States, 2001-2003. 
MMWR. 2005; 54(40):1283-1286.
106. Pertussis Outbreak Digest 2004. Available at: Accessed July 27, 2007.
Not live as of Dec. 2007)
107. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pertussis – United States, 2001-2003. 
MMWR. 2005; 54(40):1283-1286.
108. Khetsuriani N, Bisgard K, Prevots DR, Brennan M, Wharton M, et al. Pertussis outbreak in an elementary school with high vaccination coverage. 
Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2001; 20(12):110801112.
109. Celentano LP, Massari M, Paramatti D, et al. Resurgence of pertussis in Europe. 
Pediatr Infect Dis. J 2005; 24(9)761-765.
110. Tan T, Trinade E, Skowronski D. Epidemiology of pertussis. 
Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2005; 24(5 Suppl):S10-18.
111. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Brief report: Update: Mumps activity – United States, January 1-October 7, 2006. 
MMWR. 2006; 55(42):1152-1153.
112. Cheek, JE, Baron R, Atlas H, et al. Mumps outbreak in a highly vaccinated school population. Evidence for large-scale vaccination failure. 
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1995; 149(7):774-778.
113. Briss PA, Fehrs LJ, Parker RA, et al. Sustained transmission of mumps in a highly vaccinated population: assessment of primary vaccine failure and waning vaccine-induced immunity.
 J Infect Dis. 1994; 169:77-82.
114. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Outbreak of varicella among vaccinated children – Michigan, 2003. 
MMWR. 2004; 53(18):389-393.
115. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Varicella outbreak among vaccinated children – Nebraska, 2005. 
MMWR. 2006; 55(27):749-752.
116. Galil K, Lee B, Strine T, et al. Outbreak of varicella at a day-care center despite vaccination. 
N Engl J Med. 2002; 347(24):1909-1915.
117. Lee BR, Feaver SL, Miller CA, et al. An elementary school outbreak of varicella attributed to vaccine failure.
 J Infect Dis. 2004; 190(3):477-483. Epub 2004 Jun 29.
118. Haddad MB, Hill MB, Pavia AT, et al. Vaccine effectiveness during a varicella outbreak among schoolchildren: Utah, 2002-2003.
 Pediatrics. 2005; 115(6):1488-1493.
119. Lopez AS, Guris D, Zimmerman L, et al. One dose of varicella vaccine does not prevent school outbreaks: is it time for a second dose? 
Pediatrics. 2006; 117(6):e1070-1077.
120. Tugwell BD, Lee LE, Gilette H, et al. Chickenpox outbreak in a highly vaccinated school population. 
Pediatrics. 2004; 113(3 Pt 1):455-459.
121. Galil K, Fair E, Mountcastle N, et al. Younger age at vaccination may increase risk of varicella vaccine failure.
 J Infect Dis. 2002; 186:102-105.
122. Deployment Health Clinical Center. Environmental exposures: anthrax vaccine. Available at: Accessed July 27, 2007.
123. National Network for Immunization Information. Vaccine information: anthrax. Last updated March 11, 2005.
124. Nass M. The anthrax vaccine program: an analysis of the CDC’s recommendations for vaccine use. 
Am J Public Health. 2002; 92(5):715-721.
125. Vaccine safety advocates oppose Pentagon’s return to mandatory vaccination of US Military Personnel. National Vaccine Information Center. Press release, October 16, 2006.
126. Ibid.
127. Gulf War illnesses research. Institute for Molecular Medicine. Available at: Accessed July 27, 2007.
128. Institute of Medicine. 
Gulf War and Health: Volume 4. Health Effects of Serving in the Gulf War. Released September 12, 2006.
129. Steele L. Prevalence and patterns of Gulf War illness in Kansas veterans: association of symptoms with characteristics of person, place and time of military service. 
Am J Epidemiol. 2000; 152(10):992-1002.
130. Unwin C, Blatchley N, Coker W, et al. Health of UK servicemen who served in the Persian Gulf War. 
Lancet. 1999; 353(9148):169-178.
131. Hotopf M, Davis A, Hull L, et al. Role of vaccinations as risk factors for ill health in veterans of the Gulf War: cross sectional study.
 BMJ. 2000; 320(7246):1363-1367.

Tranquility in Tandem with Vipassana – a harmonised approach to buddhist meditation – Meditation on Emptiness or non-self

The 12 link dependent origination graphically illustrated how we go through samsara – from birth to death to rebirth. To break free from samsara all we needed to do is to break one of these links. Buddhistic spiritual path , if our intention is to be free from samsara, is to break one of these links. We could of course just follow the advice of Buddha and follow the precepts well so that we will have a peaceful life and a good rebirth.

The more important goal for a buddhist is to seek liberation from samsara. For this to happen meditation is essential. In order for meditation to progress fruitfully we must also lead an ethical life.

One of the links that practicing buddhist try to break is the avidya or the “ignorance” link. Avidya do not mean a lack of knowledge but rather knowledge that are inaccurate or wrong. So whatever knowledge we have of the world is not correct or a poor representation of what is real.

Because of our delusions we are not able to see the true nature of reality and i.e. it is empty or devoid of inherent existence particularly our SELF. It exists only because other things exist. We depend on them to continue to exist. When all these collapse , so will we. We cannot exist by ourself.

The meditation on emptiness lead us to realise emptiness or non-self. This realisation breaks the link of ignorance and we are said to have entered the stream. We will take at most 7 lifetimes to break free from samsara.

In the 4th frame of reference “mind qualities” in the satipathana sutta one of the objects of meditation was “Investigation of the nature of reality (dhamma vicaya)” . This essentially is the meditation on emptiness.

The tibetan emptiness meditation used the 4 point analysis and you can look it up. You can try to use the script that they recommend or follow your own.

Zen particularly Thich Nhat Hanh’s meditation on interbeing is also a very good script to follow. Personally I like this because of the inherent beauty and gentleness of the approach.

It is important to remember that in vipassana the fruit that we hope to attain is DETACHED OBSERVATION of whatever vipassana objects that we choose.

A number of aspects of vipassana meditation requires us to observe our “thoughts”. So a good practice is to practice observing our thoughts.

Thoughts arise, remain and fall away dependent on causes and conditions. Even when we are not doing anything these thoughts will continue to arise , remain and fall away. So a simple preliminary practice is to just observe these thoughts either with eyes close or open does not matter. We only need to be relaxed and observe – don’t engage with it, don’t say hello to the thoughts, don’t say goodbye, just observe.

You then try to familiarise yourself with the meditative script either using the tibetan, Thich Nhat Hanh or your own. Familiarise it until it is like a nice song that got stucked in our consciousness that gets played over and over again.

One of the fruits of vipassana meditation is to be able to generate a single line of thoughts that is continuous. This is the access meditative state that provide the necessary conditions for insights to arise.

While sitting comfortably , put your concentration on the third eye/ajna and then observe your random thoughts. Shortly after initiate your emptiness meditation script and let it run. You need to just observe the flow of the script and in time insights will start to emerge that is not in the script.

In time liberating insight will arise – when you least expect it. Whatever that you expect is not it. It is your mind’s projection.

Try it.

** this is given in good faith. May all be able to gain much and progress **

Vaccine Failure – a small sampling

Mumps outbreak — all vaccinated:

Measles outbreak in a fully immunized school:

Measles outbreak among the vaccinated:

Mumps outbreak in Netherlands linked to those vaccinated:

98% vaccinated in pertussis outbreak:

Vaccine-related polio outbreak in Syria 2017:

More vaccine failure — pertussis outbreak in vaccinated children:

Click to access 15-0325.pdf

Largest measles epidemic in North America in the last decade occurred in 2011 in Quebec where 1 & 2 dose vaccine coverage among children 3 years of age were 95%-97%:

Hib outbreak — 363/443 (82%) were vaccinated:

The Emerging risks of live virus & virus vectored vaccines:

Even the CDC suggests that the vaccinated are an asymptomatic reservoir for infection:
Pertussis Infection in Fully Vaccinated Children in Day-Care Centers, Israel

Mumps outbreak in Netherlands linked to those vaccinated with the MMR twice:

Measles outbreak in a fully immunized population:

49% of children vaccinated STILL got pertussis:

Click to access pertuss-surv-report-2016.pdf

How a pro-vaccine doctor reopened debate about link to autism


A world-renowned pro-vaccine medical expert is the newest voice adding to the body of evidence suggesting that vaccines can cause autism in certain susceptible children.

Pediatric neurologist Dr. Andrew Zimmerman originally served as the expert medical witness for the government, which defends vaccines in federal vaccine court. He had testified that vaccines do not cause autism in specific patients.

Dr. Zimmerman now has signed a bombshell sworn affidavit. He says that, during a group of 5,000 vaccine-autism cases being heard in court on June 15, 2007, he took aside the Department of Justice (DOJ) lawyers he worked for defending vaccines and told them he’d discovered “exceptions in which vaccinations could cause autism.”

“I explained that in a subset of children, vaccine-induced fever and immune stimulation did cause regressive brain disease with features of autism spectrum disorder,” Dr. Zimmerman now states. He said his opinion was based on “scientific advances” as well as his own experience with patients.

For the government and vaccine industry’s own pro-vaccine expert to have this scientific opinion stood to change everything about the vaccine-autism debate — if people were to find out.

But they didn’t.

Dr. Zimmerman goes on to say that once the DOJ lawyers learned of his position, they quickly fired him as an expert witness and kept his opinion secret from other parents and the rest of the public.

What’s worse, he says the DOJ went on to misrepresent his opinion in federal vaccine court to continue to debunk vaccine-autism claims.

Records show that on June 18, 2007, a DOJ attorney to whom Dr. Zimmerman spoke told the vaccine court: “We know [Dr. Zimmerman’s] views on the issue. … There is no scientific basis for a connection” between vaccines and autism.

Dr. Zimmerman now calls that “highly misleading” and says he’d told them the opposite.

Vaccine safety advocate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., of Children’s Health Defense, describes the DOJ attorneys’ alleged cover-up and misrepresentations as “one of the most consequential frauds, arguably in human history.” He has filed a fraud complaint with the DOJ inspector general against the DOJ attorneys involved. (The inspector general’s office said it cannot comment on investigations or potential investigations.)

As a backdrop, it helps to understand how vaccine injury claims are handled in the United States.

Congress created the special vaccine court in 1988, in consultation with the pharmaceutical industry. In this special court, hearings are private and vaccine makers don’t defend their products — the federal government does it for them, using DOJ lawyers. Money for victims comes from us, not from the pharmaceutical industry, through patient fees added to every vaccine given.

Rolf Hazlehurst is the parent of one autistic child whom Dr. Zimmerman states got autism from vaccination. A criminal prosecutor, Hazlehurst told congressional staffers at a briefing in 2013 that “if I did to a criminal in a court of law what the United States Department of Justice did to vaccine-injured children, I would be disbarred and I would be facing criminal charges. I think that scared the hell out of them.” An upcoming House Oversight hearing on the topic was abruptly cancelled.

Dr. Zimmerman’s opinion mirrors that of another pro-vaccine medical expert — the late Dr. Bernadine Healy, former director of the National Institutes of Health. And it lines up with what the head of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Immunization Safety, Dr. Frank DeStefano, told me in 2014. When asked about vaccines triggering autism in certain susceptible children, DeStefano acknowledged it as possible.

“I guess that, that is a possibility,” said DeStefano. “It’s hard to predict who those children might be, but certainly, individual cases can be studied to look at those possibilities.”

No known studies have been attempted. However, vaccine court cases show that some children whose autism was triggered by vaccine had unknown pre-existing susceptibilities including Tuberous Scleroris (TS) and mitochondrial disorder. The U.S. vaccine court has paid $4 billion to dateincluding for injuries in which children ended up with autism but when the plaintiff’s alleged the brain injury using the term “encephalopathy” rather than “autism.”

When asked, the DOJ, the CDC and the pharmaceutical lobby group PhRMA had no comment about Dr. Zimmerman’s affidavit. The primary attorney named in Dr. Zimmerman’s affidavit as having misrepresenting his opinion no longer works for the Justice Department, and did not answer repeated requests for comment for a recent “Full Measure” program on the controversy.

The CDC website currently makes no mention of Dr. Zimmerman’s opinion, his published findings or similar studies, or numerous cases in which the government has paid damages in vaccine court to children who — according to the vaccine court and medical experts — got autism as a result of their vaccine injuries. The CDC states unequivocally that “vaccines do not cause autism.”

Scientists say it’s entirely possible to identify conditions most likely to make children susceptible to vaccine injury and to devise a safer vaccination policy to protect them, while continuing a robust vaccine program for the rest.

For the sake of children, Congress should re-examine both sides of the medical science in this case.

Sharyl Attkisson is an Emmy Award-winning investigative journalist, author of The New York Times best-sellers “The Smear” and “Stonewalled,” and host of Sinclair’s Sunday TV program, “Full Measure.” Follow her on Twitter @SharylAttkisson.



Tranquility in Tandem with Vipassana – a harmonised approach to buddhist meditation.

Tranquility in Tandem with Vipassana – a harmonised approach to buddhist meditation.

Yuganaddha Sutta: In Tandem

This sutta described how a person could gain arahanthood by one of these 4 methods. The four are :

1. Developed insight preceded by tranquility. These are your jhanayika

2. Developed tranquility preceded by insight. These are your vipassanayika.

3. Developed both tranquility and insight in tandem.

4. Developed niether tranquility nor insight.

1 and 2 are very controversial. Very thick books had been written to argue that their method is best and that vipassana method is wrong if they do not develop tranquility.

I am not joining the debate 🙂 . Suffice to say that vipassana obsession with avoiding the bliss that came from tranquility can some times be harmful. The newsreport of a thai monk cutting off his penis because the bliss he felt during meditation was a distraction is a serious delusion amongst the community. Concentration and mindfulness are 2 inseparable qualities of the mind and both are mutually supportive and complementary.
My interest is in (3) ; the development of both tranquility and insights in tandem. This too has it’s share of controversy. In other sutta it was detailed how mogallana went into jhana state and then used that jhana state for insights and he progressed from first jhana to the fourth and each time went from jhana to insight and not in tandem.

There are also a very small school of thought that felt that both tranquility and insight could be developed simultaneously and the sutta basis is the Atthakanagara Sutta (
) .

The commentary work on the suttas had basically ignored this approach.

Before we continue we must first know and understand that many techniques that are currently being taught is not found in the sutta. Many of these works came from the commentaries and the techniques designed by people of old had became a tradition. Some of these techniques would be like the objects used in kasina meditation, naming and labelling of vipassana etc. could not be found anywhere in the sutta.

What is being disclosed is given in good faith and metta and like the above is not found in the sutta. Use it if you think it will benefit yourself. Ignore it if you think this is pure bunkum.

When Buddha was asked what’s the difference between concentration and awareness he gave an example. He said that if you were to take a cup and fill it to the brim and walk along a road and you must not spill a drop of it. You would be looking at the water level intently and that’s concentration. AT THE SAME TIME you would also notice the road and the obstacles on the way and that’s awareness. Both of these faculty actually worked together at the same time. If you wanted a scriptural support for what I am about to offer you can try looking this up 🙂 (eerrh…I forgot which sutta this came from – do post and let me know if you find it )
Concentration meditation requires that the practitioner chooses an appropriate object for concentration . The practitioner then applies his mind in a single-minded fashion on the object without deviating to other physical or mental objects that invade the consciousness. Every time we get distracted and noticed it we bring our mind back to the object of concentration. Some techniques also progressively make this object smaller and smaller.

The choices available for meditation objects are many. Amongst the theravadin the kasina meditation is perhaps much prized and revered. So for this technique we should use a tiny ball of light between the eyebrow. The chakra or energy center stimulated is the ajna chakra. This is quite a safe chakra to use compared to others. The ajna chakra is also where our inner guru resides as it is a center of insights and wisdom. When the ajna is opened you will understand many dharma , not only buddhadharma. When your ajna opened, in buddhism you would have entered the stream and you would know and understand buddha dharma without doubt.

The ball of light could be white, gold or purple colour. Purple is the natural colour frequency of the ajna. A possible fruits of using this object other than bliss would be kasina – the natural light within inner being. If the spontaneous kasina arose you can drop the ball entirely and just concentrate on this kasina. You would be considered as one of the “fortunate ones” by the theravadins.

After stabilizing the ball of light you can increase your meditation further by imagining a second ball much smaller within the outer ball. After stabilizing this let go of the outter ball of light. Repeat to get a finer and finer state of mind. But this is not essential for this tandem approach. Don’t need to if you don’t want to. This can actually help you develop jhana quickly.

Awareness/mindfullness or vipasanna meditation also requires a meditation object. The 4 foundation of meditation specifies 4 references whereby objects could be chosen from. The 4 references are

a. body
b. feelings
c. perception
d. mental formation

Within each of these references are numorous recommended objects of attention that could be used. The keyword here is “attention” as opposed to concentration. We are not supposed to be fixated with the object like in concentration meditation but to be aware of the events arising from the field of attention. We should just let it arise, remain and fall away without us engaging with it. Whenever we engaged with what arosed from within the field of attention by giving commentaries or opinion or preferences or aversion more objects and events will arise.

The jhana in tandem with vipassana approach to meditation uses both the concentration object and the vipassana object simultaneously. As an example if we were to choose the front of ajna chakra as concentration object and breathing as the vipassana object within the body reference then what we do is to place our concentration on the ajna and just be aware of our breathing. We don’t need to wet the tip of our nose or focus on our belly. Our breathing apparatus is actually quite large and it is not difficult to “know” that we are breathing. We don’t need to note it or label it to “know” that we are breathing. It is actually self-evident if we try it for even a shortwhile.

Another useful object to use within the body frame of reference is the visual field. Visual field was not included by the Buddha. The tibetan mahamudra like to use this. What you do is to look for a wide open space like sitting on the side of mountain overlooking a huge lake. Then you do what you did before. Put your concentration on the ajna and open your eyes wide and take in the visual field. Whatever changes or movements within your view you just remain aware of it. Don’t comment, don’t choose etc. Just watch !!

A third object that can be used is the aural field. In tibetan buddhism the aural capacity is the last to go when we die. So while we may be comatose , just about to pass away and all those wonderful relatives were to argue in front of you it could cause distress for you. The method is the same. Concentrate, close your eyes and just listen. Whatever that came up don’t joint the “conversation” in your mind. Just observe – let it rise , remain and fall away. Don’t invite them to stay by keeping a distant detachment from it.

Then there is walking meditation. Concentrate on your ajna and then walk naturally without trying to control it’s pace. If you play the script in your mind of up,up,up,up…fwd,fwd,fwd…down,down,down,down it is not awareness of your body but the script within perception. Using the perception frame of reference as a vipassana object requires further explanation and will not be covered here.

The second frame of reference is feeling. Within this frame there are 3 sensations and i.e. pleasant, neutral and unpleasant. We can choose one sensation such as eating delicious food. We can be aware of the pleasant sensation or if the chilli was too hot the unpleasant sensation. What is important here is not to chase after the pleasant sensations. If you find it delicious you kept eating it faster and faster. Just relax and let the pleasant sensation sink it and be aware of it. You really do not need to say “delicious, delicious” to know that it is delicious 🙂

Even sexual encounter could be used for this practice and the mahamudra uses such an approach.

There are certain things to take note of. If you feel sore at the point between the eyebrow it is alright. Just don’t use concentration but instead continue using the vipassana object. If your concentration is strong you may experience headaches. What you can do is to visualise the ball of light just above the head. You may be able to feel the energy flowing upwards. This will relieve the headache. If this happened then you need to pull back from using this for a shortwhile. Do some yoga or taichi.

In this technique you could switch between concentration and awareness or use both at the same time. It is having the best of both worlds… need to fight or argue over who is best 🙂 .

Hope whoever reading this would try it and may you find much success in your spiritual practice.