Understanding vaccinations is completely overwhelming for any normal parent. The abbreviations and names are difficult to pronounce, let alone remember. It’s just damn confusing. My daughter is five and I never really bothered to even try and understand what each vaccination was or what disease it helped you not get. That is until about six months ago when my home daycare had a pertussis outbreak. I write about that hell extensively here, and it was one of my most popular posts generating quadruple the amount of views I normally get. I can only guess that this was because people were like, “Holy shit. Isn’t that one of those diseases we vaccinate against?” Yes it is. I then immersed myself with all things related to the pertussis vaccine. I read everything I could get my hands on during the six weeks we had that cough. I still read about it. We all made it through with no complications. What I was left with was a mountain of information on one vaccine.
The pertussis shot is a really interesting place to start if you want to dive into the topic of vaccine history. It was originally called DTP and was introduced in the 1940’s. Nearly 50 years later parents discovered that some babies were suffering devastating neurological damage from the shot. These parents of children who suffered successfully sued manufacturers driving the vaccine maker out of the market. In the 90’s a new, more diluted version was created that we use today called the DTaP. Recently, this newer version has been under intense scrutiny because there have been so many outbreaks in highly vaccinated populations. Scientists are faced with a huge dilemma of fixing this problem. The Bordetella pertussis bacteria is a beast of a thing to try and understand. Scientists will have to spend years to try and develop a new vaccine and the cost would be in the hundreds of millions. The companies that benefit from the current vaccine would not be happy. At all.
This leads me to the topic of industry. Vaccine industry?? Yes, industry. As in making a boat load of money for every single shot given to every single baby in this country. Every day. So here’s the deal. It actually goes back to those parents who sued the DTP manufacturers and won. After that, the Bush administration responded to this “threat” of the vaccine supply by enacting into law The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act in 1986. The NCVIA is still in effect today and protects vaccine makers from financial liability due to vaccine injury claims. In other words we protect the vaccine manufacturers from going out of business. So basically parents cannot sue the maker of any particular shot if their baby has a bad reaction to it. Instead, they are directed to a program that was established two years later in 1988 called the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. This is also know as “vaccine court.” To date, the VICP has paid out over $2.8 billion dollars in compensation to parents or families of vaccine injured persons. This may seem like a lot over a period of 27 years, but it’s more like a drop in the bucket compared to what these companies make every single year.
Although the vaccine industry is much smaller than the pharmaceutical industry, the profits they generate are in the billions. There are five top vaccine makers. To give you an example of one of them, GlaxoSmithKline makes about $5.37 billion per year. What bothers me the most about this whole other side of the vaccine debate is this. In order for vaccine manufacturers to be protected by the NCVIA law (the one where you can’t sue them) their vaccine must be included in the current mandated vaccination schedule. Isn’t there something called conflict of interest?? So when you take your baby to get her shots, every single shot administered is protected by a law. A law that ensures a vaccines net worth. Does this sound right to you? In fact around forty cents for every shot is a “tax” that helps fund the payouts for vaccine court.
If only we could go back to the 80’s, and back to a time where a grassroots collective of parents could stand together and create a difference. It was parents who demanded that mercury be removed from all baby shots. Eventually vaccine manufacturers listened (finally) and in 2001 Thimerosal was removed from all childhood vaccinations with the exception of the flu shot. We can still make a difference but sadly in this country normal people don’t stand a chance against multi-billion dollar companies. Especially when those companies are protected by law. It is these same companies that push to have their shots on the current vaccine schedule. The CDC is know for “getting cozy” with big pharmaceutical companies.
This brings me to my last point. Another amazing thing about the 80’s was the vaccine schedule. This schedule had three times LESS the amount of vaccinations. This picture sums it all up. Why so many shots?? The United States has more vaccines on their current schedule than any other first world nation. Parents must exercise caution. Especially because there are over 300 more vaccines coming down the pipeline. I write about alternative vaccine schedules here. It can be quite the task deciding which shots you feel are absolutely necessary and which ones you are ok skipping. Dr. Sears came up with something he calls the “selective” vaccine schedule. I highly recommend this. I think that there can be too much of a good thing.