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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

RE: Anti-vaxxers are a threat to all of us

By Amanda Mitchell

February 20, 2019
Wednesday AM

If you are up-to-date on your immunizations, what ‘vaccine-preventable’ disease would you need to fear acquiring from an ‘anti-vaxxer?’ Rich Manieri says that if you don’t vaccinate you risk infecting other people and if you vaccinate you won’t contract the disease vaccinated for. (Manieri 2019) So the very reason Rich Manieri suggests that all vaccine exemptions should be removed is the exact same reason no one should feel threatened by the unvaccinated. Most importantly, you have to have the disease to spread it in the first place and to assume all unvaccinated people carry a disease is highly discriminatory and dangerous. 

Vaccinated populations can acquire diseases, even ‘vaccine-preventable’ diseases, and spread it. By believing otherwise, puts the risk of spreading disease higher. The CDC, for example, disclosed a case from the USS Ardent in which they concluded, “… influenza outbreaks can occur in highly vaccinated populations, especially in confined settings.”(2014) The CDC also has another study on their website about pertussis in a fully vaccinated population were recently vaccinated individuals were spreading the disease. (Srugo et al. 2000) Their exact words were, “We also observed that DPT vaccine does not fully protect children against the level of clinical disease defined by WHO.” Another recent study on the CDC website had a measles outbreak in a vaccinated population with patient zero having three doses of a measles-containing vaccine. (Avarmovich et al. 2018) Avarmovich and co-authors concluded, “This outbreak highlights the importance of a thorough epidemiologic and laboratory investigation of suspected cases of measles, regardless of vaccination status…” 

Vaccine failure is not due to the unvaccinated, but the failure of the vaccine itself. And over the years, there has been widespread failure of the DTaP vaccine to prevent pertussis and this has been attributed to mutations. (Schnirring 2014) We think that making a new vaccine and increasing uptake will help eliminate disease, but in reality and much like the overuse of antibiotics, we are spearheading the likelihood of increased superbugs. There is also epigenetics to contend with and whether vaccination can cause changes in DNA methylation. One study by Janjanam et al. found a positive outcome of lowered asthma, later in life, related to changes in DNA methylation after the tetanus vaccine. (2016)  If there can be changes in DNA methylation triggered by vaccination, no one can guarantee that all changes caused by vaccination will have a positive effect in the human body or on offspring. 

Vaccines have an apparent correlation with lowering disease outbreaks, but this does not mean that they will be effective for everyone. There is no way to tell who will acquire the disease and who won’t, even with vaccination status. Look at the outbreaks of measles in the past. Do you remember the Disneyland measles scare and the child from Alaska that was touted to have gotten the disease from this incident? According to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services,  they stated, “On suspected AK measles: child rec’d measles vax on 1/13, can cause PCR test to be positive. Thus high potential not a true case of measles.” (Herriman 2015) This is the same child that had the symptoms of measles and tested positive for measles with the PCR, but as soon as they found out that the child was vaccinated, they reclassified it as not a true case of the measles. I would say that this is the mentality that ‘anti-vaxxers’ are up against. Blind faith. It’s not that vaccines have not had a positive side, it’s that any negative side to vaccination is minimized, covered up and ignored. And anyone who dares say anything negative about vaccination is labeled, vilified, bullied, threatened, harassed and worse. Being an ‘anti-vaxxer’ is not a desired place to be in our current society and it comes with some heavy burdens and oppressive discrimination both professionally and personally. 

As for medical safety, I have concerns that doctors are not taught about vaccination injuries or that they may not understand how the studies for each vaccination was conducted. Let’s use the Infantrix vaccine as an example. According to the vaccine insert by GlaxoSmithKline, there is risk involved that an infant could develop sleep apnea, seizures, encephalopathy, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and more. Most side effects are minimized. However, the pamphlet states, “There is the possibility that broad use of INFANRIX could reveal adverse reactions not observed in clinical trials.” (2018) The CDC’s vaccine information statement for the DTaP vaccine mirrors some of the side effects, but I want to focus on these: fever, fussiness, tiredness, poor appetite, vomiting, seizures, lowered consciousness, permanent brain damage, and death. (2018) Some of those are serious side effects that can happen, but we don’t know who they will happen to. On top of that, encephalitis in children can present with some or all of the following symptoms: fever, headache, irritability (fussiness), tiredness, poor appetite, vomiting, and seizures. Many of the encephalitis symptoms are the same symptoms from the DTaP vaccine which are considered normal and mild. How can any doctor guarantee that my child will not have brain trauma from the vaccine especially when the DTaP vaccine symptoms are the same as encephalitis and when encephalitis is a listed side effect of the vaccine? It is not so clear cut as to say vaccines are ‘safe’ and do not cause injury. And much like the reclassified case of measles due to bias, not many doctors will be unbiased when presented with health problems that may or may not be vaccine-related. There are parents that see a clear change in their child after vaccination that a doctor might write off as a ‘coincidence.’  Even the CDC and manufacturer vaccine inserts acknowledge the risk that a doctor may ignore, but parents are asked to blindly follow medical authority and overlook any risk to their child for a vaccine that can fail. Many ‘anti-vaxxers’ are people that idolized vaccination at one time, but personally had a bad reaction or know someone that had a bad reaction to a vaccine.

Try being on the other side of the issue for one day and you will find those like Rich Manieri stirring up hate and fear for those who do not vaccinate for whatever reason. Those like Rich Manieri seek to take away our rights to protect ourselves and give ownership of our bodies to others to do with as they see fit. Those like the Boston Herald’s editorial staff have gone so far to say it should be a ‘hanging offense’ (2017) to question vaccination, leaving no doubt that it is increasingly being encouraged that ‘anti-vaxxers’ should be denied basic rights, dehumanized and killed if necessary. How far will you let the extreme discrimination and hate go towards your fellow man? 

I call on our State to expand protections for the unvaccinated minority and to end the encouraged practice of vaccine and medical based discrimination.  Thank you for your time.


Amanda Mitchell
Fairbanks, Alaska

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The text of this letter was NOT edited by the SitNews Editor.


Received February 17, 2019 - Published February 20, 2019

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