pertussis vaccine photo

Leslie Manookian writes about whooping cough for Nourishing Our Children.

In recent years the United States has experienced pertussis (whooping cough) outbreaks and epidemics in states across the nation. While the official advice of government, health care workers, and vaccine makers has been a resounding, “go get vaccinated or re-vaccinated”, is that really the best course of action for now and the future?

To answer the question of whether pertussis vaccines were ever the best course of action, it is useful to examine their history. The whole-cell pertussis vaccine was declared effective in 1939. (Interestingly, autism was first documented in 1943.1) The whole cell pertussis vaccine was combined with diphtheria and tetanus (DPT) in the late 1940’s and began to be used more widely during the 1950’s. From early on, severe neurological complications including seizures, mental retardation, and death were not infrequently reported.2

By the late 1970’s, the cases of severe reactions to DPT including seizures, brain inflammation and death, were mounting and the scandal reached a tipping point when CBS aired an investigative report called “DPT: Vaccine Roulette”, which explored whether the vaccine was more dangerous than the disease. Many parents realized the shot had caused their children’s brain damage and sued the vaccine manufacturers. Juries awarded the families of injured children many millions in compensation.

In Britain and the US, health officials conducted investigations into the DPT shot and concluded that the pertussis component of the vaccine was indeed causing brain damage in some children.3,4 The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 1 in 1750 children suffered convulsion and collapse or shock responses to the whole cell DPT vaccine but it was not until 1995, that a new pertussis vaccine was introduced. This new pertussis vaccine (DTaP) is an a-cellular vaccine, meaning that it does not contain whole cells of pertussis, and is believed to be less reactive. That said, it still causes many of the same reactions that the whole cell version caused such as high temperatures over 105 F, seizures, persistent crying, and episodes of collapse like shock.5

Safe and Effective?

Aside from the very severe potential neurological side effects, there is also evidence linking pertussis vaccines to a variety of immune and autoimmune conditions such as allergies, asthma, eczema, and diabetes. 6,7,8 While health officials reassure the public that vaccines are safe, science continues to mount casting doubt on this reassurance. To make matters worse, CDC states the following about the effectiveness of pertussis vaccines: “The findings of efficacy studies have not demonstrated a direct correlation between antibody responses and protection against pertussis disease.”9 What this means is that there is no direct connection between producing antibodies in response to the vaccine, and obtaining immunity! Given the goal of vaccinations is to provoke the production of antibodies which supposedly provide us with immunity from a disease, this is a rather startling admission.

Having reviewed the history, safety, and efficacy of vaccines, let’s fast-forward to today and take a look at the pertussis outbreaks we have been experiencing across the country. In January, Vermont declared a statewide emergency for a whooping cough epidemic. An examination of the data shows that most of those contracting whooping cough in Vermont and elsewhere have been fully vaccinated (60%-90% in most cases). In fact, people have been vaccinated 5 and 6 times and yet they have still contracted pertussis. This illustrates an important point about vaccines, namely that while they are touted to provide life long immunity, that is not the case in practice. Vaccine induced “immunity” wanes, sometimes very quickly, over time. Papers published in the medical literature show that protection from the pertussis vaccination wanes so rapidly that within a few years, as few as one in four 8-12 year olds will have any protection from the 5 doses of pertussis they have received in their life.10 What has been the response of public health departments? Just get vaccinated more. But it is only natural to question the wisdom of obtaining only temporary “immunity’ from a vaccine while exposing recipients to more chemicals, more potential for autoimmune disease, more potential for brain inflammation, and more potential for other chronic health problems.

Is the pertussis vaccine causing the recent outbreaks?

But there is something else going on in these outbreaks that casts further doubt on the wisdom of pertussis vaccines, namely the possibility that the vaccinations could actually be causing the outbreaks. First, let’s consider what pertussis vaccine does. In theory, it protects against a pathogen called b. pertussis, which causes the symptoms of whooping cough. But there are other pathogens very similar to b. pertussis that can cause whooping cough and the pertussis vaccine does nothing against those pathogens. One of those pathogens is b. parapertussis. Scientists have found that mice injected with pertussis vaccine grow 40 times as much b. parapertussis in their lungs as they would absent the vaccine. The vaccine literally promotes this other cause of whooping cough.11 While health authorities and doctors decry the outbreaks of whooping cough, rarely do they actually verify which pathogen is responsible for the outbreak. The study in mice suggests the culprit may in fact be b. parapertussis, a pathogen against which the pertussis vaccine does not protect. Worse still, this is yet another example of the law of unintended consequences: by attempting to beat nature by vaccinating against pertussis, we may have actually encouraged the proliferation of another bug and by repeatedly vaccinating with pertussis vaccine we may only be making matters worse.

While protecting ourselves against disease may be a noble idea, vaccinations have severe consequences that are often overlooked or dismissed by those with financial or ideological conflicts of interest. But information is out there for anyone to read. You just have to look. And much of it is contained in the Catalogue of Science at the website for our documentary on vaccines, The Greater Good. I hope you will explore this and other vaccine issues further so that you may make educated and informed choices for you and your family.

Have you or any of those near and dear experienced pertussis?  What are your thoughts about the vaccine?

See our discussion related to this post on Facebook. We recommend The Greater Good via our Amazon affiliation.

Guest Author

Writer / Producer, Leslie Manookian was a successful Wall Street business executive and is now a documentary film producer and activist. Manookian chose to leave Wall Street at the height of her career in order to pursue a more meaningful path. Her career in finance took her from New York to London with Goldman Sachs. She later became Director of Alliance Capital in London running their European Growth Portfolio Management and Research business. While living and working in London, Manookian learned of the vaccine debate and determined that one day she would make a documentary exploring the issue. The award winning documentary The Greater Good is the result of 11 years of  work. She has been featured in dozens of TV, radio, print and internet interviews as well as appearing at numerous conferences discussing vaccine issues. She has been featured in a cover article in Barron’s as well as in other financial publications. She has served on the board, managed or consulted for many organizations in her community and successfully led the charge to defeat a proposed coal plant in her state and helped secure legislation providing consumer access to raw milk. She holds an MBA from the University of Chicago and a BA from Middlebury College.

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