There was fuss in the media last month about a little study of 26 vaccinated Florida pre-schoolers, who got sick with B. pertussis whooping cough or had pertussis-like symptoms during a five-month period in 2013.1 All of the children, aged one to five years attending the Tallahassee preschool, had received three to four doses of pertussis vaccine (DtaP) according to the CDC recommended schedule. Nervous doctors and media pundits selling vaccine orthodoxy warned that vaccine critics would make a big deal out of it.2
Let’s examine the evidence to see if it is logical to make a big deal out of kids in a preschool classroom infecting each other, plus infecting other kids in their homes with whooping cough, even though all of them had been vaccinated.
Pertussis Vaccine Only 45% Effective in Vaccinated Preschoolers
The study, conducted by CDC and Florida public health officials, was published inEmerging Infectious Diseases on January 15, 2016 and revealed that pertussis vaccine effectiveness among children attending the preschool was estimated to be 45%. The average number of days from last vaccination to onset of pertussis symptoms in the pre-schoolers was 22 months, with seven children having been vaccinated within the previous year.
During their investigation, public health officials found that “it was apparent that many physicians were hesitant to provide a diagnosis of pertussis and did not test for this disease, given the recent vaccination history of the patients and despite reporting of an ongoing laboratory confirmed pertussis outbreak.” They added that, “pertussis vaccination should not dissuade physicians from diagnosing, testing, or treating persons with compatible illness for pertussis.”
The fact that doctors are not bothering to check to see if vaccinated kids are infected with and transmitting pertussis should come as no surprise to public health officials and medical trade associations like the American Academy of Pediatrics. They have spent decades carefully teaching pediatricians and other vaccine providers to believe that vaccines are nearly 100% effective and safe, and that anyone who believes otherwise is an ignorant fool, a danger to the public health, and in need of re-education or punishment.34 5
Pediatricians Failing to Diagnose Pertussis in Vaccinated Children
The Florida study’s authors pointed out the obvious: the failure of pediatricians and other vaccine providers to diagnose pertussis infection in a vaccinated child is not helpful. “The spectrum of illness for pertussis in vaccinated children can vary widely and is often mild, with few classic symptoms of pertussis. Hesitation by providers in reporting presumptive pertussis delays public health response to prevent continued transmission of pertussis in the community,” they said.
It is understandable why pediatricians do not want to admit to themselves, much less admit to parents, that a vaccine they insist children and pregnant women get to prevent pertussis actually does not do that most of the time. Why should pediatricians suspect that a fully vaccinated child with either no symptoms or few symptoms is infected with and transmitting pertussis, when the CDC and AAP have taught them to believe vaccine orthodoxy is the truth and nothing but the truth? The media dutifully reinforces vaccine myths by not questioning vaccine orthodoxy, either.6
CDC and AAP officials have only themselves to blame for pediatricians sticking their heads in the sand when the message they have put out for 50 years and still put out is “Pertussis, or whooping cough, can be prevented with vaccines.”7 Clearly, for the recently vaccinated pre-school children in Florida up to date on their DTaP shots, the pertussis vaccine prevented whooping cough less than half the time!
If a car seat belt failed more than half the time, it would pulled off the market.
Tdap Fails to Protect California Adolescents After One Year
On the heels of the Florida toddler study, a Kaiser Permanente study published inPediatrics concluded that Tdap vaccine effectiveness was only 69% among 1200 California adolescents given Tdap during pertussis outbreaks between 2010 and 2014 in that state.8 Vaccine effectiveness waned to less than 9% after four years. And, despite a Tdap adolescent coverage of more than 90% in northern California, they had the highest incidence of pertussis of any age group in 2014.
In a February 5, 2016 Kaiser Permanente press release, the study’s lead author basically called routine Tdap booster shots for all adolescents a failed disease control strategy. Dr. Nicola Klein said,
Because Tdap provides reasonable short-term protection, it may contain whooping cough more effectively if it is administered to adolescents in anticipation of a local outbreak rather than on a routine basis at age 11 or 12.9
The California legislature should take note since they passed a law last year denying a school education to children who have not gotten a Tdap booster shot at age 11 or 12 years old.10
Another Study: Siblings Major Source of Pertussis for Infants
It is interesting that the media attention being given to the small DTaP Florida pre-school study and the Tdap Kaiser Permanente adolescent study has overshadowed a much bigger story about pertussis vaccine failure that was revealed in a study published in October 2015 in Pediatrics.11 That study conducted by public health officials evaluated reported pertussis cases in the U.S. between 2006 and 2013 among children under age one and revealed “the emergence of siblings as the major reservoir of infection.” The researchers concluded that infants are more likely to get whooping cough from their brothers and sisters than from their mothers.
When a source of pertussis infection was known (in 44% of infant cases), it was 36% from siblings; 21% from mothers; 10% from fathers; 15% from grandparents, uncles and aunts; and 11% from other sources.
Study authors also concluded that:
- Increasing Pertussis Incidence: “Despite high or increasing coverage with pertussis vaccines, the incidence of disease has been slowly increasing in a number of countries, with notable epidemic peaks in recent years;
- Most Pertussis In Vaccinated Children: Most pertussis in the US is occurring among “recently vaccinated children and adolescents;”
- Shift Began in 2008 with Tdap: “We observed the beginning of the shift from mothers to siblings in 2008, three years after the introduction of Tdap in the US for routine use among adolescents and adults;”
- More Tdap Useless: “Additional doses of Tdap are unlikely to reduce the overall burden of pertussis;”
- Cocooning Doesn’t Work: “Revaccination of adult cocoon members is unlikely to halt transmission of disease to infants if siblings are the predominant reservoirs of infection;”
- Pertussis Transmission Without Symptoms: “Even in settings where all household contacts are up-to-date with pertussis vaccinations, asymptomatic transmission of pertussis may occur, further impeding the success of the cocooning strategy;”
- Infection Sources Often Unknown: “A source of infection is identified less than half the time, suggesting either infection by someone outside the household or asymptomatic transmission of disease.”
Children and Adults Transmitting Pertussis With Few or No Symptoms
The inconvenient truth about pertussis vaccine is that a lot of children and adults transmitting pertussis don’t have classic symptoms and are not being lab tested and this was a major problem for study researchers trying to identify the source of pertussis infection in infants under age one. They said,
Potential sources who were asymptomatic or had mild illness without cough may have also been missed in our study as we relied solely on parent report without laboratory testing of household members or other infant contacts.
The other problem for study researchers was that they didn’t know if people with cough symptoms had pertussis or another type of respiratory bacterial or viral infection. They admitted, “…. additionally without laboratory confirmation, we were unable to determine if B. pertussis was the actual cause of cough illness in the identified SOIs (sources of infection).”
Pertussis Vaccine Acquired Herd Immunity Is A Myth
Vaccine orthodoxy dictates that if 90% or more of people in a community get vaccinated, the community will be protected from infectious disease. The federal government’s Healthy People 2020 Immunization Goals confirms that vaccine orthodoxy tenet.12
However, the CDC now quietly admits on its website that “the bacteria that cause pertussis are always changing at the genetic level” and there is “waning immunity” from the vaccine and that ”an increase in reported pertussis cases began to rise in the U.S. in the 1980’s,13 when more than 94% of kindergarten children had received 4 to 5 whole cell pertussis-containing DPT shots.14 Today, 94% to 98% of kindergarteners have 4 to 5 acellular pertussis-containing DTaP shots,15 plus 88% of children aged 13 to 17 years have gotten an additional Tdap booster shot.16
Clearly, six doses of pertussis vaccine given to children between two months and 16 years of age cannot prevent pertussis infection and asymptomatic transmission of infection by vaccinated persons. Pertussis vaccination does not prevent fully vaccinated children and adults from transmitting the infection to infants under two months of age, who are the ones most likely to die from complications of pertussis.
Pertussis vaccine acquired herd immunity is a myth.
Despite a three-decade 94% or greater pertussis vaccination rate among U.S. children with both whole cell DPT and acellular DTaP vaccines—a coverage rate that well exceeds the government’s Healthy People 2020 Immunization Goal of 90% coverage—B. pertussis whooping cough is circulating, often silently circulating, throughout our population without being diagnosed. And it has been doing that for a long, long time.17
The Solution? Vaccinate Pregnant Women
So what is the solution that public health officials have come up with? It is irrational and completely unscientific but here it is: vaccinate all pregnant women. After confirming the ineffectiveness of pertussis vaccine to prevent infection and asymptomatic transmission among vaccinated children, the public health official authors of the October 2015 Pediatrics study nevertheless concluded that,
Strong support of vaccination during pregnancy is needed to maximize the protection of infants in the first critical months of life.
How sad that instead of simply informing the public that the pertussis vaccine is a failure, health officials desperately clinging to vaccine orthodoxy are pushing pertussis vaccine risks on vulnerable pregnant women and have been dong that since 2011, without proving safety or effectiveness first.18
Whooping cough increase related to current vaccine
The move to an artificially created vaccine for whooping cough is behind an increase in cases of the deadly disease in the US, a new study suggests.
The findings highlight the need to do similar research in Australia where whooping cough cases have spiralled upward in the past decade, co-author Associate Professor Manoj Gambhir, from the University of Monash, says.
In 2012 the US saw the highest number of pertussis (whooping cough) cases since 1955.
At the same time there has been a shift in the age group reporting the largest number of cases from adolescents to 7 to 11 year olds.
In the paper, published today in PLOS Computational Biology, Gambhir and colleagues use mathematical modelling of 60 years of pertussis disease data to determine what best explains this increase.
Their research finds the level of protection of the currently used acellular vaccine is lower than that of the previously used whole-cell vaccine.
Gambhir says the original whole-cell vaccine developed in 1942 was very effective.
Following introduction of vaccination, the reported disease incidence in the US dropped from 150 cases per 100,000 each year before 1940, to the point of near elimination in the mid-1970s when there were just 0.5 reported cases per 100,000 population.
“Now in the past decade we have seen a rise from that low to about 10-20 cases per 100,000,” says Gambhir.
Gambhir, who led the study with Dr Thomas Clark at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in Atlanta, Georgia, and Professor Neil Ferguson, of the Imperial College London in the UK, says while the number of cases remains low the trend is upward.
“It’s the sort of five-year by five-year rise that is the concern because the worry is it could go back to those levels at which we would start seeing infant deaths,” he says.
New vaccine to blame
Gambhir says in 1991 researchers developed a new vaccine to address public concerns that the whooping cough vaccine caused a reaction in some children.
This vaccine, known as acellular pertussis vaccine, used particular components of the bacteria that were believed to generate the immune response, but was essentially artificially created.
Gambhir says the impact of the change in vaccine has taken time to show in the data.
“You didn’t see an immediate increase [in whooping cough],” he says. “It has taken cohorts of children to have all of their doses to be the new vaccine for the increases in disease to manifest themselves.”
Gambhir says the efficacy of the acellular vaccine is still high – around 80 per cent protection for the first three doses – but there has been a “significant drop” when compared with the older whole-cell vaccine (90 per cent protection).
He says current global research into new pertussis vaccines needs to continue, however their study also suggests changes to the current schedule of pertussis vaccinations and further booster doses may be required.
Gambhir says while there is debate over vaccination in the media, they did not find a drop in the overall level of whooping cough vaccination in the US.
“It could be the case as an alternative explanation to some of this that there are small clusters of people who refuse vaccine and they tend to live together and socially network together in which case among those small clusters there may have been a rise in disease and that may have been caused by their refusal to vaccinate,” he says.
However he says this cannot account for the generalised rise in the disease.
Australian whooping cough rates
Gambhir is working with colleagues at the University of Melbourne who are tracking the disease in Australia, where the annual rate of whooping cough has hit more than 100 cases per 100,000 in the past decade.
While Gambhir says more sensitive testing in Australia would account for some of the increase, “it is quite urgent we come up with some explanations of what is going on here”.
Their work will also feed into a collaboration with the World Health Organisation on examining whooping cough figures in the US, UK and Australia to determine if the same trends are evident in each country.