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May 12, 2020

[Regarding forced vaccination laws, the relevant principle is Freedom of Association, which I discuss here.  In a truly democratic society--unlike our current fake democracy that is a dictatorship of the rich--the egalitarians in each local community would democratically decide if being vaccinated would or would not be a condition for associating with others in this or that place, such as a school or workplace, or even if this decision would be made democratically only by the people who associate at a given place.]

The overall benefit of vaccinations is far more controversial than most people--including most physicians--realize. For a detailed book length explanation of this read Dissolving Illusions by Suzanne Humphries and Roman Bystrianyk. The immune system is extremely complex (on the same order of complexity as the brain), with components of it that are not even known to exist yet (since new ones keep getting discovered). There is not even a known way to tell from laboratory measurements of a person's blood or tissue if a person's immune system is better or worse from some intervention. Using vaccines to fiddle with the immune system in the hope of reducing the harm caused by a germ has been historically fraught with unexpected consequences, sometimes worse than the harm the vaccine is intended to prevent.

One problem, for example, is antibody-dependent enhancement: a vaccine against one germ making it easier for another germ to infect a person. A vaccine against a flu-causing coronavirus may have antigens that increase the ability of the covid-19 coronavirus to infect a person. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA reports:

"Researchers need to understand in particular whether the vaccine causes the same types of immune system malfunctions that have been observed in past vaccine development. Since the 1960s, tests of vaccine candidates for diseases such as dengue, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) have shown a paradoxical phenomenon: Some animals or people who received the vaccine and were later exposed to the virus developed more severe disease than those who had not been vaccinated (1). The vaccine-primed immune system, in certain cases, seemed to launch a shoddy response to the natural infection. “That is something we want to avoid,” says Kanta Subbarao, director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza in Melbourne, Australia."

Read about one example of this: the swine flu vaccination in 1976 increased the risk for Guillain-Barré Syndrome.

CNN reports "Dengue vaccine found to worsen disease symptoms."

This problem was reported in PLOS regarding the SARS-CoV vaccine for the earlier flu:

An early concern for application of a SARS-CoV vaccine was the experience with other coronavirus infections which induced enhanced disease and immunopathology in animals when challenged with infectious virus [31], a concern reinforced by the report that animals given an alum adjuvanted SARS vaccine and subsequently challenged with SARS-CoV exhibited an immunopathologic lung reaction reminiscent of that described for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in infants and in animal models given RSV vaccine and challenged naturally (infants) or artificially (animals) with RSV [32], [33].

Additionally, there is the problem known as "original antigenic sin" that is described here:

"The concept of "original antigenic sin" was first proposed by Thomas Francis, Jr. in 1960. This phenomenon has the potential to rewrite what we understand about how the immune system responds to infections and its mechanistic implications on how vaccines should be designed. Antigenic sin has been demonstrated to occur in several infectious diseases in both animals and humans, including human influenza infection and dengue fever. The basis of "original antigenic sin" requires immunological memory, and our immune system ability to autocorrect. In the context of viral infections, it is expected that if we are exposed to a native strain of a pathogen, we should be able to mount a secondary immune response on subsequent exposure to the same pathogen. "Original antigenic sin" will not contradict this well-established immunological process, as long as the subsequent infectious antigen is identical to the original one. But "original antigenic sin" implies that when the epitope varies slightly, then the immune system relies on memory of the earlier infection, rather than mount another primary or secondary response to the new epitope which would allow faster and stronger responses. The result is that the immunological response may be inadequate against the new strain, because the immune system does not adapt and instead relies on its memory to mount a response. In the case of vaccines, if we only immunize to a single strain or epitope, and if that strain/epitope changes over time, then the immune system is unable to mount an accurate secondary response. In addition, depending of the first viral exposure the secondary immune response can result in an antibody-dependent enhancement of the disease or at the opposite, it could induce anergy. Both of them triggering loss of pathogen control and inducing aberrant clinical consequences." [emphasis added]

Read here, for example, how original antigenic sin relates to influenza virus vaccination:

"Human immunity against influenza viruses is complicated, indeed. Although protective antibodies can be readily produced in response to vaccination or infection, it has long been observed that early exposure to a specific influenza strain can prevent optimal antibody responses against variants of that strain that are encountered later in life. This phenomenon, called “original antigenic sin,” is addressed in a recent paper by Huang and colleagues, who studied how early exposure to an H1 subtype influenza virus may decrease immunity against current H1 viruses in adults born before 1982."

Read here about a study introduced by the authors with the statement, "Receiving influenza vaccination may increase the risk of other respiratory viruses, a phenomenon known as virus interference...This study aimed to investigate virus interference by comparing respiratory virus status among Department of Defense personnel based on their influenza vaccination status. Furthermore, individual respiratory viruses and their association with influenza vaccination were examined." The study found:

"Examining non-influenza viruses specifically, the odds of both coronavirus and human metapneumovirus in vaccinated individuals were significantly higher when compared to unvaccinated individuals (OR = 1.36 and 1.51, respectively) ." [NOTE: the "coronavirus" mentioned here is not the SARS-CoV-2 virus that is believed to cause Covid-19 disease.]

Read here about how the oral polio vaccine has caused people to get polio recently in Africa.

Read here the journal article titled, "Increased Risk of Noninfluenza Respiratory Virus Infections Associated With Receipt of Inactivated Influenza Vaccine." Read the discussion section to see how the issue is complex!

People older than 70 may remember what happened when the first polio vaccine was administered to a population extremely frighted of that disease:

"In April 1955 more than 200 000 children in five Western and mid-Western USA states received a polio vaccine in which the process of inactivating the live virus proved to be defective. Within days there were reports of paralysis and within a month the first mass vaccination programme against polio had to be abandoned. Subsequent investigations revealed that the vaccine, manufactured by the California-based family firm of Cutter Laboratories, had caused 40 000 cases of polio, leaving 200 children with varying degrees of paralysis and killing 10." [Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine]

Postscript October 9, 2023: See this video interview of Professor Dalgleish, an extremely top notch authority on vaccines, discuss the above issues with respect to Covid-19.


The point here is not that vaccines are always more harmful than beneficial. The point is that a particular vaccine may or may not be--overall--more beneficial than harmful. It is not as simple as the mass media claim it is to know that a particular vaccine is more beneficial than harmful with great confidence, and it is virtually impossible to know the answer with certainty. Getting vaccinated means taking a gamble, one that it might make sense to take (I, personally, have--for better or for worse--been vaccinated for most of the various influenzas), but still it is a gamble for all that. People who choose not to be vaccinated do not deserve to be portrayed the way the establishment typically potrays them--as stark raving mad idiots.

It is also important to keep in mind that there is a public health, as opposed to purely personal health, reason for getting vaccinated (assuming the vaccine is not personally harmful): the more people who are immune to a contagious disease, the harder it is for that disease to spread. If one is personally immune to a disease, then one will not spread the disease to somebody else. One may not care if one, personally, gets the disease, but still care very much about wanting to prevent OTHERS from getting it, especially others who, for some medical reason, should not be vaccinated or who may suffer greater harm than oneself because of their age or pre-existing illnesses, etc., or simply because getting the disease earlier rather than later means not having the benefit of better treatments that are discovered as time goes by.

What does it Take to Know a Vaccine is Safe?

Vaccines for different diseases are different, and the only way to know--at least with great confidence though not certainty--what effects (plural!)--a particular vaccine causes is to have a LARGE (many thousands of human subjects enrolled) RANDOMIZED DOUBLE BLIND (neither the subjects nor the physicians administering the vaccine know if it is vaccine or placebo) CLINICAL TRIAL and follow the subjects for a LONG time (MANY years) to compare the vaccine arm and the control arm of the trial not only for infection (yes or no) by the germ in question but also death by any cause and OTHER morbidity (i.e., illness). Such trials have not been, and are not, done. Small trials of short duration have been done, often not very scientifically. This is why we don't know with any high degree of confidence--never mind certainty--what the total effect is of vaccines in use today. We hope a vaccine does more good than harm, so we use it. But it is not unreasonable for people to be skeptical. (Science = skepticism, by the way.)

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