Vaccination: immunity from persecution

By Elizabeth Willmott Harrop

15 April 2010

VaccinationImmunization is one of the most successful and cost-effective public health investments in least developed countries. However, vaccination is not 100 per cent effective and known side-effects mean it can breach the right to health and the right to life, as well as the right to education, as unvaccinated children can be routinely excluded from school in some jurisdictions.

In more developed countries, the pharmaceutical and political lobby persuade parents to vaccinate their children, not by using scientific evidence, but by instilling fear and loathing of non-vaccinators into other parents. The main advantage of vaccination has become “immunity from persecution”.

Every time there is a measles outbreak in New Zealand, schools, parents and politicians, cheerleaded by the Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC) demand that non-vaccinated children be excluded from school. Why? Because they allegedly spread the disease. Yet IMAC does reluctantly admit that vaccination is not 100 per cent effective and studies have shown that vaccinated patients are highly susceptible to diseases they are supposedly vaccinated against. Examples:

1. Sweden abandoned the whooping cough vaccine in 1979 due to its ineffectiveness. Of over 5,000 cases in 1978, 84% had been vaccinated three times.  (British Medical Journal 12 September 1981: Whooping cough in adults, B Trollfors, E Rabo 283:696-697)

2. “Although more than 95% of school-aged children in the US are vaccinated against measles, large measles outbreaks continue to occur in schools and most cases in this setting occur among previously vaccinated children.”  (Journal of the American Medical Association 21 November 1990: Risk Factors for Measles in a Previously Vaccinated Population and Cost-effectiveness of Revaccination Strategies, Eric E. Mast et al)

The US government’s National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP), part of the US Department of Health and Human Services “lists and explains injuries/conditions that are presumed to be caused by vaccines” including anaphylactic shock, chronic arthritis and death. Yet parents who do not wish to support pharmaceutical companies at the expense of their children’s health are branded irresponsible.

International human rights law enshrines the right to health, for example, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Article 24, states “States Parties recognize the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health”.

In more developed countries, where communicable diseases are not a common cause of death among children, this is not compatible with vaccination, due to the multiple side effects. These are recognised not only by concerned parents but by government bodies and the pharmaceutical industry itself.

  • The USA’s VICP covers 12 vaccines and in the period 1989–2010 paid compensation to 2,428 vaccine victims totaling $1,840,643,000. During the 21 years October 1988 to November 2009, 13,192 claims have been filed, 1,019 of which concern the death of the victim. As of February 2009, there were over 5,600 cases filed with VICP, alleging a causal relationship between vaccinations and autism disorders.
  • Meanwhile in the UK, Carol Buxton received £85,000 government compensation after it was confirmed that the brain damage suffered by her daughter Hannah, 2, who later died after a violent fit, was linked to her MMR vaccine.
  • In 2011, the Wake Forest University School of Medicine in North Carolina started examining 275 children with regressive autism and bowel disease. Of the 82 tested so far, 70 prove positive for the measles virus. All are vaccine strain and none are wild measles.

The vast majority of lives which are saved are in the developing world, because immunisation is, according to the World Health Organization, “one of the most cost-effective health investments”. However were cost not a factor, lives could equally be saved through nutrition and sanitation programmes.

Article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989 concurs and states: “1. … the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and to facilities for the treatment of illness and rehabilitation of health…(c) To combat disease and malnutrition, including within the framework of primary health care, through, inter alia, the application of readily available technology and through the provision of adequate nutritious foods and clean drinking-water…”

Where the pro-vaccine lobby would say “Diseases can be effectively eliminated by the use of vaccinations” I would say “Diseases can be effectively eliminated by the use of adequate nutrition and sanitation and by providing a basic standard of living codified by the various UN human rights conventions, with vaccination used as a last resort”.

It comes down to the priorities of the international community and individual governments. And the corporations which are in partnership with these.

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Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC)

USA National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

Liberty & Humanity

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