Thursday, January 6, 2011

AC Mnookin 5150

Yesterday I had the great pleasure to come across, in both print and on TV, vaccination's newest fan boy: Seth Mnookin. Mnookin, a former music critic, has just written The Panic Virus: a forthcoming book exploring the controversy surrounding vaccinations and autism. I’d just finished reading a Newsweek article he’d written when I noticed that CNN’s Anderson Cooper was hosting a segment on the topic of Mnoonkin’s book: vaccines and autism. The article, and appearance with Cooper, found Mnookin reciting a number of vaccine establishment talking points (if these guys were in high school they’d all get kicked out for copying each others work) Chief among these talking points was that vaccination rates are "plummeting" and this is causing, throughout the country, enormous suffering and death.

There’s only one problem with Mnookin's scenario: vaccination rates are today incredibly high.

In September 2010 Anne Schuchat, M.D., director of CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases stated
it's encouraging to see immunization rates remaining high...Nearly all parents are choosing to have their children protected against dangerous childhood diseases through vaccination," 
As a result of a mismatch between reality and expedience the establishment has found it necessary to create a scenario in which a decline – no matter how small - in one segment of the population has the power to offset high levels of compliance in the larger population

These small declines - significant statistically but miniscule in terms of actual numbers - are purported to be taking place in "enclaves" of affluent and well educated. The "enclave" claim serves not only the purpose of perpetuating the myth that vaccination rates are collapsing but that those responsible for the non-existent collapse are somehow strange, different and weird. Not like the rest of obedient America

One particular result of the imagined disintegration of vaccination rates is, according to Mnookin, a pertussis outbreak which occurred in California in 2010.

But when we step outside of the world of fantasy and into the one of reality we find it’s The Enclaves of Affluence thesis that disintegrates. Here’s why:

The brunt of the epidemic was borne, not by the affluent, but by Hispanic Americans, a group whose median income is about half that of non-hispanic whites. According to ABC News
Three-quarters of hospitalizations occurred in infants younger than 6 months, and of those, three-quarters were Hispanic
And nine of the ten deaths in California were in Hispanic children. This even though the group comprises only 37% of the state's population

Additionally The New York Times in a story entitled "Vaccination Is Steady, but Pertussis Is Surging" reports

The rise in pertussis doesn’t seem to be related to parents’ refusing to have their children vaccinated for fear of potential side effects. In California, pertussis rates are about the same in counties with high childhood vaccination rates and low ones. And the C.D.C. reports that pertussis immunization rates have been stable or increasing since 1992.
Nothing about enclaves, pockets of non-compliance or increasing exemptions

What then are the real reasons for this recent outbreak? They're quite simple and, unlike the enclave argument, have actually evidence supporting them.

The Vaccine Isn’t Very Good
An initial series of five shots administered between the ages of 2months and 6years is followed by a booster at ten or eleven. Then a single adult vaccination that may, according to Dr. Mark Sawyer, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at the University of California San Diego, eventually be given every ten years. That is until at some point our public health masters simply hook up to a pertussis vaccine IV

So what is it that we get for all these injections? Well according to Michael Sicilia, a spokesman for the California Department of Public Health “the pertussis vaccine isn't perfect and its protection wanes after about five years.”

And even five years of protection may be an overly optimistic assessment. According to The San Diego Union-Tribune

Health officials launched the study after realizing that a significant number of 7- to 10-year-olds who got the recommended five-dose series of pertussis immunizations between the ages of 2 months and six years are coming down with whooping cough this year. 
Unfortunately this “protection” pales in comparison to natural immunity. According to a study appearing in PLOS Pathogens:
Our results support a period of natural immunity that is, on average, long-lasting (at least 30 years) but inherently variable. 
In light of the above, it’s not surprising that between 66 and 75% of cases were in the vaccinated

Adults Don’t Want It 
Normal adults, not just those living in enclaves, don't want the pertussis vaccine. According to the CDC just 6-14% of adults have received it.

San Diego public health officials claim:
...we need 90 percent of the population to be vaccinated to have sufficient group immunization... based on our surveys in San Diego, we believe that just 10 percent of adults have had the booster. 

A Million Unreported Cases Each Year 
It been long known that every year there are several million cases most of which go undiagnosed. According to a 2003 commentary appearing in Pediatric by leading pertussis expert James D. Cherry, MD:
There are about 1 million cases of pertussis in adolescents and adults in the United States each year and about 13% of all prolonged cough illnesses in adolescents and adults are attributable to B pertussis infection.
It's hard to have herd immunity when the herd has pertussis.

The Normal 5 Year Cycle
Pertusis epidemics occur in cycles of approxamately five years. The last epidimic in 2005 lead to eight deaths in California: almost the same number as 2010. For the country as a whole, it appears overall deaths in 2010 will fail to exceed 2005's total

Mom's with Vaccine-Induced "Immunity"
If you contract pertussis at ten and therefore obtain at least thirty years of natural immunity, it's unlikely your baby will contract the illness from you. If on the other hand, your vaccine-induced immunity was obtained at eleven, your five years of protection will have expired by the time you have children.

So based on the evidence, it seems Mnookin's borrowed thesis is not a viable theory but rather a simple contrivance designed to do nothing more than push more and more unwanted vaccine on a skeptical public

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