The Myth Of Vaccine Safety

A few days ago, The Washington Post published an op-ed piece by a medical ethicist who thinks that all doctors who have concerns about vaccines should lose their licenses. Last week, it was parents who don’t vaccinate their children should be jailed or sued. There are case reports where not vaccinating has been used as proof of neglect for CPS to remove children and terminate parental rights. Whatever you think about vaccination, think hard before you endorse the idea that the government should be able to mandate a profitable but invasive medical procedure without informed consent. This is a very dangerous precedent to set and one you may not be happy about when vaccines are mandated for adults to protect our “herd immunity”. It is not about the measles. It is about your freedom to choose what goes into your body and your child’s body.

Although we keep hearing from the media and the medical establishment that vaccines are unquestionably safe, the supreme court has deemed them “unavoidably unsafe” as recently as 2011. Pharmaceutical companies are indemnified by the government against liability and pediatricians also cannot be sued for vaccine injury. Rather, there is a special vaccine court that compensates the very few patients who can prove their injury beyond a shadow of a doubt. The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has paid out over 3 billion dollars to date.

We keep hearing about the overwhelming proof that vaccines and the MMR in particular is safe. Anyone who questions this is being ridiculed. Concerned parents are stupid and concerned doctors don’t understand the science. Well, here is the science, from the most recent Cochrane Review of the entire literature on the subject. Cochrane Reviews are systematic reviews and meta-analyses which interpret the research and are generally recognised as the highest standard in evidence-based health care.

Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Feb 15;2:CD004407. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD004407.pub3.

Vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella in children.

Demicheli V1, Rivetti A, Debalini MG, Di Pietrantonj C.

Partial Abstract


Mumps, measles and rubella (MMR) are serious diseases that can lead to potentially fatal illness, disability and death. However, public debate over the safety of the trivalent MMR vaccine and the resultant drop in vaccination coverage in several countries persists, despite its almost universal use and accepted effectiveness.


To assess the effectiveness and adverse effects associated with the MMR vaccine in children up to 15 years of age.


For this update we searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library 2011, Issue 2), which includes the Cochrane Acute Respiratory Infections Group’s Specialised Register, PubMed (July 2004 to May week 2, 2011) and (July 2004 to May 2011).


The design and reporting of safety outcomes in MMR vaccine studies, both pre- and post-marketing, are largely inadequate. The evidence of adverse events following immunisation with the MMR vaccine cannot be separated from its role in preventing the target diseases.

The full paper is behind a paywall, but I’ve read it in its entirety. The authors screened approximately 5000 papers, found 139 possible for inclusion and ended up with 31 papers that met their criteria. They rated 26 of 31 as having high or moderate risk of bias, most commonly selection bias. They concluded that there was no data to support efficacy, “We were disappointed by our inability to identify effectiveness studies with population or clinical outcomes. Given the existence of documented elimination of targeted diseases in large population by means of mass immunisation campaigns however, we have no reason to doubt the effectiveness of MMR.” So we believe it, because we all saw it happen, not because there is a study which shows it to be true.

They state that there is no evidence for an association between MMR and autism, but the only included study which could possibly answer the question, comparing vaccinated to unvaccinated children, is Madsen 2002. One of the co-authors of that paper is Poul Thorsen, on the OIG’s most wanted list for fraud. Thorsen is a co-author of 22 papers on autism and 5 papers on vaccine safety that still stand and are widely referenced by other authors. Even if including a paper co-authored by Thorsen doesn’t bother you, their note on the Madsen study concludes: “The follow up of diagnostic records ends one year (31 Dec 1999) after the last day of admission to the cohort. Because of the length of time from birth to diagnosis, it becomes increasingly unlikely that those born later in the cohort could have a diagnosis.” They noted the general absence of studies with unvaccinated controls. The reason given is that it would be unethical to have unvaccinated controls.

DeStefano 2004 is also included. One of the authors of that paper was reportedly granted official whistleblower status and immunity, alleging that the authors manipulated data to cover an association between the vaccine and autism in African American males vaccinated before the age of 36 months. Those authors are collectively responsible for a lot of the “indisputable” science we are hearing so much about. From a few months ago: The Fox Guarding The Henhouse.

Here is a compilation of abstracts, 86 Research Papers Supporting the Vaccine/Autism Link, but the media keeps telling us there is no evidence that vaccines can cause autism.

Why has there never been a well designed study comparing vaccinated to unvaccinated children? Rumor has it that Amish children don’t get autism. Why isn’t the CDC doing everything it can to figure out if that’s true and, if so, why? The NIH just canceled the National Children’s Study after wasting over 1.2 billion dollars.

Vaccines have not been a cause célèbre for me. My interest grew from the realization that vaccines grown in murine and avian cells contain infectious animal retroviruses that are supposed to be unable to cross the species barrier, but the evidence that they can’t is rather flimsy. Here are blogs I wrote about vaccines and biologicals in early 2011 when I was considering the risks of attenuating viruses in animal cells and realizing the temporal relationship between the first yellow fever vaccine in 1932 and the first ME/CFS cluster in 1934, as well as the first cases of autism described by Leo Kanner in 1935.

This led to thinking about how vaccines are made, what exactly is in them, the evidence for safety/efficacy and their possible impact upon various immune profiles. The furthest I have ever gone as a doctor is to say that I don’t think that ME/CFS patients or their offspring should be vaccinated. I don’t think I’ve ever explicitly said publicly that autistic children shouldn’t be vaccinated, but I will now, as it seems a no brainer to me, even if you don’t believe that vaccines can cause autism. Neuroimmune disease patients are in a state of persistent immune activation which needs to be reduced with anti-inflammatory strategies. Vaccines do the opposite, on purpose. In addition, they are less likely to be effective in the presence of a preexisting inflammatory state.

The argument goes, thimerosal was removed from vaccines 10 years ago (except for the multi-dose vial flu shot), but the rate of autism has continued to climb, so vaccines are safe. This is scientific sleight of hand, not science. It is the type of argument used commonly by our so called experts to brainwash people into concluding that vaccines are all safe and any number of vaccines can be given with impunity. We ruled out one thing, so it’s all fine. Data by country shows a strong correlation between more vaccines before the age of 1 year and higher infant mortality. The US is 34th in the world and gives the most vaccinations: Infant mortality rates regressed against number of vaccine doses routinely given: Is there a biochemical or synergistic toxicity?

The US childhood immunization schedule requires 26 vaccine doses for infants aged less than 1 year, the most in the world, yet 33 nations have better IMRs. Using linear regression, the immunization schedules of these 34 nations were examined and a correlation coefficient of 0.70 (p < 0.0001) was found between IMRs and the number of vaccine doses routinely given to infants. When nations were grouped into five different vaccine dose ranges (12–14, 15–17, 18–20, 21–23, and 24–26), 98.3% of the total variance in IMR was explained by the unweighted linear regression model. These findings demonstrate a counter-intuitive relationship: nations that require more vaccine doses tend to have higher infant mortality rates.

Here’s something not being discussed in the measles/vaccine debate. Take a look at the current table of vaccine excipients: Vaccine Excipient & Media Summary. Notice how many contain aluminum, a known neurotoxin, implicated in ASIA (autoimmune syndrome induced by adjuvants). Here is a PubMed search which brings up 75 papers since 2008, specifically on this subject. There are a few hundred on aluminum and neurotoxicity. Here are two papers about ASIA and CFS/fibromyalgia, one suggesting a link with autism and a recent review paper about aluminum adjuvant biopersistence and delayed neurotoxicity:

The FDA says that the amount of aluminum in vaccines is GRAS (generally recognized as safe). The argument goes that since children are exposed to aluminum in the environment anyway, giving them a little more in their vaccines is safe. Then there is MSG, formaldehyde, animal and human cells, adventitious viruses, the list goes on and on, each deserving of concern in its own right. The GRAS designation should be another blog entirely…

From the CDC website: “In the decade before 1963 when a vaccine became available, nearly all children got measles by the time they were 15 years of age. It is estimated 3 to 4 million people in the United States were infected each year. Also each year an estimated 400 to 500 people died, 48,000 were hospitalized, and 4,000 suffered encephalitis (swelling of the brain) from measles.” That’s roughly a 0.1% risk of encephalitis and there is a great deal of literature showing that high dose vitamin A at the onset of illness mitigates that risk significantly. The most recent numbers show that the current risk of autism, aka encephalitis/encephalopathy, is 20 times that, higher in some places. We are faced with an epidemic of allergic, neuroimmune and autoimmune disorders. The prevalence of chronic illness in our children is greater than 50% (2011). 16% have a developmental disability (2008). 11% have ADHD (2011). 2% have autism (2013). It is an emergency. Measles is not. I am not saying that vaccines are the only cause of this disaster, but there are many reasons to think they are contributory. Instead of mandating more vaccines, we should be trying to understand which children are at risk: Personalized vaccines: the emerging field of vaccinomics.

Being concerned about vaccines is not the same as discounting the dangers of infectious diseases. Not trusting the CDC and the pharmaceutical companies is not anti-science, but prudent, since they have earned our mistrust in spades. They have lied and been wrong so many times. Why believe them now? The drug companies regularly pay out billion dollar settlements for fraud convictions. Merck is currently embroiled in lawsuits brought by whistleblowers: Massive Fraud In Merck MMR Vaccine Testing. The incestuous relationship between the CDC and the vaccine manufacturers is epitomized by Julie Gerberding, former director of the CDC, now head of vaccine safety at Merck.

There are a few egregious examples that make it clear how little the vaccine program is worrying about the health of children.

1. Giving newborns who have no risk of infection a hepatitis B shot is insane. The series often wears off by the time the child is at risk. Here is a paper showing evidence of an association between the hepatitis B series and autism: Hepatitis B vaccination of male neonates and autism diagnosis, NHIS 1997-2002.

Findings suggest that U.S. male neonates vaccinated with the hepatitis B vaccine prior to 1999 (from vaccination record) had a threefold higher risk for parental report of autism diagnosis compared to boys not vaccinated as neonates during that same time period. Nonwhite boys bore a greater risk.

2. Chicken pox was a benign illness when contracted in childhood. This vaccine is another example of setting people up for waning immunity when they are older. Also shingles used to be prevented by being around infected children, but now a zoster vaccine is needed for older adults to keep the virus in check, even if they had the natural infection. The attenuated virus can cause shingles just like the wild type. The incidence of shingles has risen since the vaccine was introduced, in children and adults, though there is data suggesting this trend was already in effect from reduced immune competence in the general population prior to introduction of the vaccine. Decreased varicella and increased herpes zoster incidence at a sentinel medical deputising service in a setting of increasing varicella vaccine coverage in Victoria, Australia, 1998 to 2012. Here is a paper stating that the Varicella vaccination program is a failure. Review of the United States universal varicella vaccination program: Herpes zoster incidence rates, cost-effectiveness, and vaccine efficacy based primarily on the Antelope Valley Varicella Active Surveillance Project data. Safety data for the Varicella vaccine is even thinner than for the MMR and the excipients are particularly noxious. if we are going to decrease the number of vaccines we give to our children, this one might be a good place to start. Every adult who was vaccinated will need boosters for life, but if we let the wild type disease come back in children, we might also get rid of the need for the zoster vaccine.

3. Your government wants you to have a flu shot, even though it admits that this year’s shot doesn’t work. The current CDC recommendation is “Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every season.” Pregnant women, sick people, no matter the health status of the patient. Only people allergic to the shot or one of its components shouldn’t get it. Even this year, everybody should get it, because gosh, so much money was spent making all those millions of shots and who knows, they might help a little. And they are perfectly safe, except that they can cause wheezing, Guillain Barré Syndrome and have not been studied in immunocompromised persons. There are several choices for the flu shot, but here’s an example of the safety data. The FluMist package insert: “Data on safety and shedding of vaccine virus after administration of FluMist in immunocompromised persons are limited to 173 persons with HIV infection and 10 mild to moderately immunocompromised children and adolescents with cancer.” 10 immunocompromised children. How many doses went up the noses of children with preexisting conditions? And then there is this: Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine Enhances Colonization of Streptococcus pneumoniae and Staphylococcus aureus in Mice.

The people making these decisions don’t care about your children. They are lying to you about the quality or even the existence of safety data.

I am the last one to say that the question of whether to vaccinate or not is a simple one. I delayed vaccinating my children until they were 3 months old and I didn’t give them hepatitis B shots until later. They had the chicken pox at 5 years and 6 months old, so my son may not be immune. I allowed them to be given hepatitis B shots at school when my daughter was 9 and my son was 4. He got very sick after the first dose, missed school for 2 months and I never allowed him to be vaccinated again. He lived in a dorm at college for 2 years and not a day went by that I didn’t worry about the decision to forgo the meningococcal vaccine. He is now doing research in Okinawa for a semester and I worry about Japanese encephalitis, for which there is a vaccine. But he has a mother and a sister with ME/CFS, a father with POTS and other things in his risk profile that worry me with respect to vaccines. Without a crystal ball, you can never know what is the safest thing to do. If you guess wrong, either way, it is 100%.

Resource: National Vaccine Information Center

Suggested reading:
Vaccine Epidemic by Louse Kuo Habakus and Mary Holland
Dissolving Illusions by Susanne Humphries and Roman Bystrianyk
Plague by Kent Heckenlively and Judy Mikovits
The Big Autism Cover Up by Anne Dachel

Recommended documentaries:

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16 thoughts on “The Myth Of Vaccine Safety

  1. There are no studies investigating the risk benefit ratio of MMR let alone any establishing a favourable profile. It is also recognised that a diagnosis of autism does not preresent a unitary illness with a single pathogenesis and pathophysiology. Therefore any future work needs to take account of this and not simply include children just because they carry the same diagnostic label. It is clear that vaccines could account for the mitochondrial dysfunction,immune activation and activated microglia seen in many children with an autism diagnosis.Hence there is a need to create homogenous trial cohorts where children are only recruited if they display one or more of these empirical abnormalities. I just cant believe that this kind of good science has not yet been done.Its time for the spin to stop and the science to start.

  2. Fabulous piece. As a physician, I too have serious concerns about vaccine safety. Concerns that are rooted in SCIENCE a deep familiarity with the available scientific data on this issue. Here are few more references that you may want to include about the risks of flu vaccination:

  3. Thank you for this post. By far the single best look at what is going on with vaccines I’ve read since the California outbreak in December. I did plenty of research in 2003 when my first child was born and 2008 when I had my second. So far we’ve done no vaccinations. I worry all the time about the decisions I’ve made and yet every time I go back and do the research again, I can not be compelled to think there is evidence my children would be safer vaccinated. My thoughts on this may change, I am open to that, in the mean time I’m doing the best I can to keep my children healthy so they can fight whatever comes their way.

    • Thanks for your thoughtful post. Your cautionary approach to child rearing is an inspiration to mothers who want the best for their children.
      When a person is exposed to an infectious agent, the best defense to ward off symptoms is a healthy functioning natural immune system. Even if the person comes down with symptoms, with rest, hydration and nourishment the body will eventually take care of the infection and the person would have attained life-long immunity against the infection. Very few people die of infections, unless unhygienic, malnutrition and stressful situations are present.
      Please continue to eat a healthy diet, drink pure water, exercise and minimize toxin exposure. This way your body and precious children’s bodies would be kept healthy and strong to ward off any infections.

  4. May I point out one additional sleight-of-hand that almost everyone misses?

    We are told that the rate of autism continued to go up after thimerosal was removed from vaccines on the pediatric schedule.

    Nobody ever seems to notice that the official autism rate as announced by the CDC is always based on data on TWELVE-YEAR-OLDS.

    So, while we are told that the autism rate continued climbing from 2000 to 2012, we were never told that the autistic children counted in that data were born from 1998-2000– PRECISELY THE YEARS WHEN THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN INJECTED WITH THE MOST THIMEROSAL.

    And that doesn’t even take into account the addition of many more aluminum-adjuvanted vaccines, especially after 2000.

  5. I in my naive years believed the CDC until I received vaccines in the military. Within hours of a vaccine, I became deathly I’ll and was immediately prescribed ciprofloxacin. Within 3 days, the vomiting and diarrhea subsided. Within a week, I began to develop food allergies and severe fatigue which persisted and still continue today. In 2006 after 15 years of giving energy vaccines by the military which they did not disclose what they were, nor did they place the type of vaccine in my military record, nor in all of the service members I served with. In 2006 and 2007, I was informed by three doctors. One as from Duke Hospital, one was a doctor whom was on the discovery channel and one ex chief of staff of the Durham VA hospital that they were informed we were test subjects for thr anthrax vaccine one doctor whom was the chief of staff showed me an article regarding the anthrax vaccine and how the genotype studied by government funding to Duke revealed this vaccine negatively effected certain genotypes. For the people thst believe the CDC and refuse to truly research performed by many credible scientist, there is no hope to convince you, I spoke to a lobbyist in 2007 whom worked for big pharma as a lobbyist. He showed me his credentials and explained he could no longer in good concious play the game. Everyday, he was provided a list of websites to target with arguments to sidetrack the opponents. If he couldn’t side track the people targeted, His job was to side track them and get them arguing against someone else. Be aware all of the studies funding thr Pro vaccine movement are paid by big pharma. Over 90 present of privately funded research reveals data thst poses the dangers. As a lobbyist from Phillip Morris and one for the big pharma told me, their job if reading 100 points on their findings on vaccines is to find one statement wrong and then discredit it. Therefore, The masses associate one error in the paper and then discredit the entire paper. It is a fact that non vaccinated childrennare much healthier in life with much fewer illnesses. Consider this, the government told the public for 15 years gulf war syndrome does not exist until 15 years later as the same happened with agent orange. If one truly researches famous scientist all over the world, they will begin to see a pattern. It has also been proven in many studies that people thst become anti vaccine believers are much more informed than people whom disagree. If you believe mainstream media, there is no hope in convicing you. It is also a fact that many people whom write and discredit anti vaccine beliefs are paid lobbyist to do so. It is just the vaccines but thr number given in a short amount of time. If one researches the Japanese vaccine studies and policies, they will see a major difference in their conclusions on safety as do the russians. If one believes vaccines are safe, why did the vaccine producers lobby so hard so thst you cannot sue them and won. I recently viewed a paper included in the box of vaccines from Merke that said there is no evidence the flu vaccine will prevent the flu. If one cannot critically think and do their own resesrch, there is no hope. Unfortunately, one day some of these people will find out themselves, but it will be to late. If the general population is vaccinated, why do they worry about us not being vaccinated for they are protected they believe. Over my dead body will they ever stick a needle in me for a vaccine and there are millions of us. After 10 years of research, I am convinced the masses have been duped. Ignorance is bliss and if you believe your media is not full of it without taking months to seek answers from people whom were lead scientist for these firms, then whom is the fool. Go ahead and pic your manipulated studies which data is cherry picked and one day you will look back when the data is revealed and realize whom was blinded. There is much proof coming forward that shows people recently vaccinated become carriers for a specific time frame. I am not here to convince anyone but it is crazy for you to intimidate and discredit people whom have spent hundreds to thousands of hours reading well known scientist and doctors whom have the data. Otherwise, take your opinion based on special interest and vaccinate your family and kids for you know they are protected. Given this info, stop your intimidation focused on us whom choose to question and research. These people are the same people whom believe we are fighting for freedom. Ignorance is bliss I am an honorably discharged veteran with perfect evaluations whom was honorably discharged. Open your eyes. Go to conferences of scientist at conferences whom don’t skew the data. I know it is to much work for most. Also, of you believe the cdc is to help us, do you know they are a large producer of germ warfare for the DOD?

  6. Its incredibly difficult as a parent to face the dogmatic ideals of today’s medical principles. Often I feel as if I am introducing the possibility of the world being round to a society that is transfixed by the unwavering belief that it is, without a doubt, flat. I am relieved to know that there are teams of people, scientists, MDs and parents alike who dedicate so much time and energy in the unraveling of information that generally goes unnoticed by the general media, and therefore the general populace.
    I live in an area of the world where vaccination rates are very high, and I am now left feeling concerned about how my non-vaccinated child will ever get his much wanted natural immunity from the wild chickenpox virus or measles. I am concerned about Tetanus, and other diseases if we travel outside of North America. But still, I remain concerned about all the things that the medical community does not know because of the rigorous empirical testing that the current childhood vaccine regimen has not undergone. I feel as if I am caught between a rock and a hard place, and with my child I am choosing to venture out into the far-off blue horizon hoping that my gut, my instincts, and my basic knowledge of life, biological evolution, and the biosphere will show me that indeed the world is round, and worth exploring.
    Thank you for this avenue of informative discussion. Continue asking uncomfortable questions. That is the only way we will ever get to the truth.

  7. Regarding the Seneff paper (Aluminum and Glyphosate Can Synergistically Induce Pineal Gland Pathology: Connection to Gut Dysbiosis and Neurological Disease)

    …”Glyphosate disrupts gut bacteria, leading to an overgrowth of Clostridium difficile. Its toxic product, p-cresol, is linked to autism in both human and mouse models. p-Cresol enhances uptake of aluminum via transferrin…”

    So here are two studies that use different strategies to lower p-cresol. The first is crowding out the bad bacteria with good, and the second is starving the C Difficile by making carbs harder to come by via a diabetes type II drug (popular in Far East and appears safe – common side effect of diarrhea might be a good sign if your eliminating bad bugs) … the potential to use both as a combo treatment seems to be worth considering (from my medically ignorant viewpoint).

    – From pubmed 8283290 (Lactobacillus strain GG supplementation decreases colonic hydrolytic and reductive enzyme activities in healthy female adults)…
    “The effects of yogurt containing viable Lactobacillus strain GG (L. GG)…on bacterial metabolites in urine (phenol, p-cresol) were studied in 64 females…

    …Urinary excretion of p-cresol decreased significantly in groups receiving L. GG”.

    – And this…
    Acarbose treatment lowers generation and serum concentrations of the protein-bound solute p-cresol: A pilot study

    “…Nine healthy volunteers…were treated with Acarbose for 3 weeks. Dose was gradually increased to reach 300 mg/day after 1 week…Urinary excretion of p-cresol, reflecting its colonic generation rate, was significantly lower after treatment (before: 29.93 mg/day (6.79–75.19); after: 10.54 mg/day (1.08–30.85); P=0.031).

    Thanks again for another great blog, and all the great info via your twitter,

  8. Whoever authored this isn’t named as far as I could tell, yet the Facebook post claims it’s a physician who trained at Albert Einstein. Anyone who is an active physician associated with a university or hospital has full online access to this article, so there’s no reason that they couldn’t post the entire abstract, esp. if they were able to read the article. Instead, they decided to select the parts that support their own bias.
    They conveniently leave out the part of the abstract findings that says ‘MMR vaccine is unlikely to be associated with autism, asthma, leukemia, hay fever, diabetes, gait disturbance, Crohn’s disease, demyelinating diseases, bacterial or viral infections.’

    In contrast, the article states that ‘Mumps, measles, and rubella are serious diseases that can lead to potentially fatal illnesses, disabilities, and death. Existing evidence in SAFETY AND EFFECTIVENESS OF MMR vaccine SUPPORTS CURRENT POLICIES OF MASS IMMUNIZATION’.

    Clear case of ‘spinning’ this Cochrane review to fit their own prejudice and biases.

    • This blog has been shared and republished far and wide. The most common criticism seems to be that I didn’t publish the whole abstract or didn’t read the whole paper. I am very sensitive to accusations of cherry picking, since that’s what I am accusing vaccine safety scientists of doing, so I will elaborate.

      As I said in the blog, I read the paper in its entirety, all 47 pages, as well as some of the papers reviewed. I didn’t post the entire abstract, because it was too long and not really contributory to the point of the blog, which is the lack of credible safety data, as stated in the author’s conclusion. Also for some reason, there are two abstracts, one on PubMed and a different one in the paper itself, but you will see the same sentence in the conclusion of both abstracts below.

      Here is a link to the PubMed abstract I posted in part. The title of the paper above is a live link. Here is the whole abstract:
      Mumps, measles and rubella (MMR) are serious diseases that can lead to potentially fatal illness, disability and death. However, public debate over the safety of the trivalent MMR vaccine and the resultant drop in vaccination coverage in several countries persists, despite its almost universal use and accepted effectiveness.
      To assess the effectiveness and adverse effects associated with the MMR vaccine in children up to 15 years of age.
      For this update we searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library 2011, Issue 2), which includes the Cochrane Acute Respiratory Infections Group’s Specialised Register, PubMed (July 2004 to May week 2, 2011) and (July 2004 to May 2011).
      We used comparative prospective or retrospective trials assessing the effects of the MMR vaccine compared to placebo, do nothing or a combination of measles, mumps and rubella antigens on healthy individuals up to 15 years of age.
      Two review authors independently extracted data and assessed methodological quality of the included studies. One review author arbitrated in case of disagreement.
      We included five randomised controlled trials (RCTs), one controlled clinical trial (CCT), 27 cohort studies, 17 case-control studies, five time-series trials, one case cross-over trial, two ecological studies, six self controlled case series studies involving in all about 14,700,000 children and assessing effectiveness and safety of MMR vaccine. Based on the available evidence, one MMR vaccine dose is at least 95% effective in preventing clinical measles and 92% effective in preventing secondary cases among household contacts.Effectiveness of at least one dose of MMR in preventing clinical mumps in children is estimated to be between 69% and 81% for the vaccine prepared with Jeryl Lynn mumps strain and between 70% and 75% for the vaccine containing the Urabe strain. Vaccination with MMR containing the Urabe strain has demonstrated to be 73% effective in preventing secondary mumps cases. Effectiveness of Jeryl Lynn containing MMR in preventing laboratory-confirmed mumps cases in children and adolescents was estimated to be between 64% to 66% for one dose and 83% to 88% for two vaccine doses. We did not identify any studies assessing the effectiveness of MMR in preventing rubella.The highest risk of association with aseptic meningitis was observed within the third week after immunisation with Urabe-containing MMR (risk ratio (RR) 14.28; 95% confidence interval (CI) from 7.93 to 25.71) and within the third (RR 22.5; 95% CI 11.8 to 42.9) or fifth (RR 15.6; 95% CI 10.3 to 24.2) weeks after immunisation with the vaccine prepared with the Leningrad-Zagreb strain. A significant risk of association with febrile seizures and MMR exposure during the two previous weeks (RR 1.10; 95% CI 1.05 to 1.15) was assessed in one large person-time cohort study involving 537,171 children aged between three months and five year of age. Increased risk of febrile seizure has also been observed in children aged between 12 to 23 months (relative incidence (RI) 4.09; 95% CI 3.1 to 5.33) and children aged 12 to 35 months (RI 5.68; 95% CI 2.31 to 13.97) within six to 11 days after exposure to MMR vaccine. An increased risk of thrombocytopenic purpura within six weeks after MMR immunisation in children aged 12 to 23 months was assessed in one case-control study (RR 6.3; 95% CI 1.3 to 30.1) and in one small self controlled case series (incidence rate ratio (IRR) 5.38; 95% CI 2.72 to 10.62). Increased risk of thrombocytopenic purpura within six weeks after MMR exposure was also assessed in one other case-control study involving 2311 children and adolescents between one month and 18 years (odds ratio (OR) 2.4; 95% CI 1.2 to 4.7). Exposure to the MMR vaccine was unlikely to be associated with autism, asthma, leukaemia, hay fever, type 1 diabetes, gait disturbance, Crohn’s disease, demyelinating diseases, bacterial or viral infections.
      The design and reporting of safety outcomes in MMR vaccine studies, both pre- and post-marketing, are largely inadequate. The evidence of adverse events following immunisation with the MMR vaccine cannot be separated from its role in preventing the target diseases.

      As I said, the abstract above is different from the one in the paper itself, so here is that one:

      Public debate over the safety of the trivalent measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, and the resultant drop in vaccination rates in several countries, persists despite its almost universal use and accepted effectiveness.
      We carried out a systematic review to assess the evidence of effectiveness and unintended effects associated with MMR.
      Search methods
      We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library 2004, Issue 4), MEDLINE (1966 to December 2004), EMBASE (1974 to December 2004), Biological Abstracts (from 1985 to December 2004), and Science Citation Index (from 1980 to December 2004). Results from reviews, handsearching and from the consultation of manufacturers and authors were also used.
      Selection criteria
      Eligible studies were comparative prospective or retrospective trials testing the effects of MMR compared to placebo, do-nothing or a combination of measles, mumps and rubella antigens on healthy individuals up to 15 years of age. These studies were carried out or published by 2004.
      Data collection and analysis
      We identified 139 articles possibly satisfying our inclusion criteria and included 31 in the review.
      Main results
      MMR was associated with a lower incidence of upper respiratory tract infections, a higher incidence of irritability, and similar incidence of other adverse effects compared to placebo. The vaccine was likely to be associated with benign thrombocytopenic purpura, parotitis, joint and limb complaints, febrile convulsions within two weeks of vaccination and aseptic meningitis (mumps) (Urabe strain-containing MMR). Exposure to MMR was unlikely to be associated with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, autism or aseptic meningitis (mumps)(Jeryl-Lynn strain-containing MMR). We could not identify studies assessing the effectiveness of MMR that fulfilled our inclusion criteria even though the impact of mass immunisation on the elimination of the diseases has been largely demonstrated.
      Authors’ conclusions
      The design and reporting of safety outcomes in MMR vaccine studies, both pre- and post-marketing, are largely inadequate. The evidence of adverse events following immunisation with MMR cannot be separated from its role in preventing the target diseases.

      I also did not post the author’s embarrassingly illogical conclusion, which looks like they didn’t even read their own paper:

      “Implications for practice
      Existing evidence on the safety and effectiveness of MMR vaccine supports current policies of mass immunisation aimed at global measles eradication in order to reduce morbidity and mortality associated with mumps and rubella.”

      Reading the paper in its entirety shows with glaring clarity that there is almost no credible safety data at all for the MMR vaccine. One important thing I forgot to say is that a true placebo is almost never used in these studies. Rather MMR is compared to measles vaccine alone or “vaccine diluent” which isn’t defined, but may contain an adjuvant?

      It’s not that I am such a fan of Cochrane reviews, but at least they are non-profit and non governmental. If you have read a lot of them, the overwhelming impression is that there isn’t much evidence for many things doctors believe are true. That is certainly the case for this review.

      I didn’t spend time on the lack of associations with various diseases, because it is meaningless, given that the review establishes the studies to be inadequate or obviously biased.

      The usual excuse given for not having a control group is that it is unethical not to vaccinate, but again, illogical, with over 1 million children in this country who have vaccine exemptions. The excuse for not doing a vaccinated vs unvaccinated study is that unvaccinated children have other advantages, like better diets and healthier lifestyles. I kid you not.

      Our children deserve better.

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