I don’t really know how to open the debate out into something sensible. Something scientific, something questioning and positive. Screeching at people that they simply don’t understand ‘science’ is not a good approach. In addition, yelling that they are ‘killing thousands of children’ is not a way to conduct a debate.
My feelings about the vaccine debate
by Dr. Malcolm Kendrick
No-one can question anything. Such as, why do inoculations produce antibodies in some people, and not others? Kind of interesting you would think – but no. Question not, the mighty vaccination.
This is strange, because it is has been clearly established that vaccination does not work in many people:
‘An outbreak of measles occurred in a high school with a documented vaccination level of 98 per cent. Nineteen (70 per cent) of the cases were students who had histories of measles vaccination at 12 months of age or older and are therefore considered vaccine failures. Persons who were unimmunized or immunized at less than 12 months of age had substantially higher attack rates compared to those immunized on or after 12 months of age.
Vaccine failures among apparently adequately vaccinated individuals were sources of infection for at least 48 per cent of the cases in the outbreak. There was no evidence to suggest that waning immunity was a contributing factor among the vaccine failures. Close contact with cases of measles in the high school, source or provider of vaccine, sharing common activities or classes with cases, and verification of the vaccination history were not significant risk factors in the outbreak.
The outbreak subsided spontaneously after four generations of illness in the school and demonstrates that when measles is introduced in a highly vaccinated population, vaccine failures may play some role in transmission but that such transmission is not usually sustained.’1
We are told that if you reach a measles vaccination rate of 95%, in a population, you cannot get an outbreak. Seems that is wrong. You can get an outbreak in a 98% vaccinated population. Wouldn’t it be nice to know why?
It does seem weird that measles is the chosen battleground for the vaccine furies. I am not entirely sure why. You would think the highly vocal pro-vaccinators would point to smallpox, or polio – or suchlike. Although, to be frank, I look at smallpox and wonder. I wonder how the hell we managed to eradicate this disease so quickly and simply. The entire world successfully vaccinated in a few years – with a perfect 100% record. No vaccine failures, all populations in the entire world vaccinated? Quite some feat.
An alternative explanation is that some diseases naturally come and go. Measles, for example, was an absolute killer three hundred years ago. Captain Cook introduced it to South Seas islands. The mortality rate was enormously high in native populations that had never been exposed to it before. Gradually the death rate attenuated. In most of the Western World measles was becoming a ‘relatively’ benign disease by the time vaccination came along.
If we look back in history, the black death wiped out half the population of Europe. What was it? It was almost certainly not the plague, although many people claim that it was. From the descriptions of those who died from it, it seems it was possibly a form of Ebola (haemorrhagic fever).
‘The Black Death of the 1300s was probably not the modern disease known as bubonic plague, according to a team of anthropologists studying these 14th century epidemics. “The symptoms of the Black Death included high fevers, fetid breath, coughing, vomiting of blood and foul body odor,” says Rebecca Ferrell, graduate student in anthropology. “Other symptoms were red bruising or hemorrhaging of skin and swollen lymph nodes. Many of these symptoms do appear in bubonic plague, but they can appear in many other diseases as well.”
Modern bubonic plague typically needs to reach a high frequency in the rat population before it spills over into the human community via the flea vector. Historically, epidemics of bubonic plague have been associated with enormous die-offs of rats. “There are no reports of dead rats in the streets in the 1300s of the sort common in more recent epidemics when we know bubonic plague was the causative agent,” says Wood.’ 2
Of course, we cannot be sure what the Black Death was. We do know that it came, it killed, it went. It also appeared to leave a legacy of people with CCR5 Delta32 mutations. People with this mutation cannot, it seems, be infected by the Ebola virus (or, indeed HIV). Ebola and HIV both gain entry to cells using the CCR5 protein, and if it is missing, the virus cannot get in. [Yes, you can cure HIV by giving bone marrow transplant from a donor with the CCR5 Delta 32 mutation – little known fact].
Why would we have this mutation far more commonly in areas of Europe than, in say, Africa – where the Black Death did not occur? Unless it provided a survival advantage at some point, against a virus that was (or was very like), Ebola.
Looking back at smallpox, did vaccination get rid of it? Or did vaccination simply apply the final push to see off a weakened opponent?
The plague itself – where has it gone?
Yes, I do look at the official history of vaccination with a jaundiced eye. The greatest successes… Well, it seems inarguable that vaccination has created enormous health benefits. Polio and smallpox – gone. But has this been entirely due to vaccination – possibly? I am yet to be convinced.
A second look at vaccination – answers that cannot be questioned
by Dr. Malcolm Kendrick
This is… I am not sure what it is. The evidence clearly says one thing, yet we are told we must believe that this evidence is simply an ‘urban myth.’ I feel as though I have been transported to Wonderland, or some scary totalitarian state, where the truth cannot be spoken. […]
However, it seems that we are trapped within a paradigm where it is impossible to suggest that any vaccine, for any disease, may be associated with/cause any degree of harm. In such an environment, objective scientific research becomes impossible. ‘As vaccine can harm no-one, we cannot try to find out who may be harmed. Thank you, comrade.’
As you can probably tell, I find this all very worrying and deeply, deeply, disturbing. If science has any purpose it is to seek the truth – however much that upsets the current status quo. When I see, what I believe to be important and valid questioning being crushed, I find it almost physically painful.
If that questioning results in the finding that vaccines truly do not cause any adverse effects, then that is fine. I would be more than happy with that outcome, although it currently seems inarguable that vaccines do cause adverse effects. However, as I see it, we currently have a situation whereby:
- Pharmaceutical companies do their own safety testing on vaccines (somewhat like Boeing did on the 737 Max 8). The regulatory authorities have been, effectively, side-lined.
- Many safety studies have only lasted days, with little or no research on any long-term effects. In fact, as far as I can establish, there has been no long-term safety research [see under Pandemrix]
- Some vaccines have been proven to cause neurological damage
- The preservatives and adjuvants in vaccines have not been studied for safety
- There has never been a randomised controlled clinical study on the efficacy of any vaccine – beyond looking for a raised level of antibodies
- Some/many people can suffer from the diseases they have been vaccinated against – and this is not monitored in any way.
Any of these things should be a very large red flag. […]
What is being said here is that there is no uncertainty that vaccines work, so there is no need for a randomised controlled trial. The counter argument to this is simply to turn the argument inside out. Without an RCT, how do you know that vaccines work? Where is your evidence? Or does ‘just knowing that it works’, count?
Medicine is littered with examples of interventions that were considered so inarguably beneficial that no trials were ever done. Strict bed rest following an MI, the radical mastectomy, x-ray screening for lung cancer, PCI in the non-acute setting. […]
Personally, I find it extremely worrying that people, and the entire medical profession, appear willing to accept that all vaccines, for all conditions, are entirely effective and have no adverse effects…. Even when it has been demonstrated, beyond doubt, that they do.
* * *
This topic came back into the corporate media again recently. One of the Democratic candidates, Marianne Williamson, had dared to as questions about vaccinations. She didn’t deny they had their place. She didn’t even deny that sometimes they should be mandatory for public health. As Dr. Kendrick has no problem in being vaccinated, neither has Williamson. She has vaccinated her own daughter.
Claims that she is an anti-vaxxer are simply false or dishonest. All she is doing is pointing to inconvenient facts, as did Dr. Kendrick in this piece. And the facts don’t quite add up, within the explanatory framework that presently is accepted as Gospel Truth. She questions the often unscientific and undemocratic approach that so often determines public policy. What makes this questioning attitude dangerous? And dangerous to which interests and agendas?
Here is what I wrote about Williamson and vaccines:
Those in the mainstream are looking for reasons to attack her. For example, some misrepresent her as an anti-vaxxer (Jo Ling Kent, Marianne Williamson says she supports mandatory vaccines – but ‘when they are called for’). In explaining her actual position, she states in no uncertain terms that, “I understand that many vaccines are important and save lives. I recognize there are epidemics around the world that are stopped by vaccines. I also understand some of the skepticism that abounds today about drugs which are rushed to market by Big Pharma.” There is no way to fairly call her an anti-vaxxer. What she is mainly questioning is the anti-democratic role big biz plays in public policy and wants to ensure the best scientific evidence possible is available to promote the public good. She is a principled anti-corporatist and pro-democrat. As she put it in her own words, “I want you to rail against the chemical companies and their GMO’s — not support them. I want you to decry the military industrial complex — not assure them you’re their girl. I want you to support reinstating Glass-Steagall — not just wink at Wall Street while sipping its champagne” (An Open Letter To Hillary Clinton).
She supports mandatory vaccinations when they meet the criteria of the highest standards of the scientific method, if and only if the best evidence strongly supports a public health concern that is proven beyond a reasonable doubt to be remedied only through this drastic course of action. Otherwise, if the evidence is weak or still under debate, if big pharma is unduly influencing government decisions, then we are morally forced to defend democratic process and individual liberty, personal conscience, and bodily autonomy. It is the forever difficult but not impossible democratic balance between public good and private good. A mandatory vaccination is justified in many cases and maybe not in others. She is not promoting denialism. After all, she has vaccinated her own daughter. Science isn’t a dogmatic belief system that is forever settled. Instead, science is an ongoing process. To act like it is otherwise is anti-scientific.
* * *
Scientists have found plague in human bodies going back many millennia. Yet in most of those cases there was’t any large-scale plague going on in the concentrated populations of the time. Why is the same infectious disease highly infectious sometimes and not so much at other times?
* * *
After finishing this post, I remembered another angle I’ve written about in the past. Vaccinated or not, some populations seem more prone to certain infectious diseases than others. Why? Weston A. Price argued that it had to do with populations with high levels of nutrition in their diets versus populations that were malnourished. Of course, even a healthy person can die of an infectious disease, but the point is they have a much greater probability of not dying because they have a stronger immune system. Also, many healthy people can carry an infectious disease without ever showing any symptoms of it. So, an entire population of healthy individuals could all become infected, never show symptoms, and their immune systems would simply fight it off as if they were never infected.
We know so little about this. But what is becoming clear is so many of the diseases of civilization relate to a weakened or overactive immune system. And we now understand some of the mechanisms for this. For example, those exposed to a diversity of microbes in childhood have a more well functioning immune system as adults and, failing that, the consequences may be extensive (The Literal Metaphor of Sickness). There are many contributing factors. One thing that is clear is that it isn’t simply a matter of being exposed. Humans constantly are carrying microbes, cancer cells, etc that can turn deadly and yet most of the time they don’t. Getting sick is actually the exception, indicating something is wrong with the body. We become sick because something already weakened our body’s defensive systems. An important factor is the fact that our high-carb diet keeps us out of ketosis and autophagy, which are important for healing and maintaining health. In a 1948 trial, US naval surgeon Dr. Benjamin Sandler found that a low-carb diet was effective for treating polio (Afifah Hamilton, The History of Polio, thoughts on a lecture by Tim Mason PhD).
The modern diet and lifestyle is pro-inflammatory in so many ways (besides high-carb: too many omega-6s and too few omega-3s, lack of traditional food preparation to lessen plant anti-nutrients, food additives, farm and industrial chemicals, general stress of urbanized life, extreme levels of poverty and inequality, et). And chronic inflammation messes up normal functioning and gets expressed in many disease conditions, such as autoimmune conditions. Whereas these other factors are inflammatory and damaging, ketosis is anti-imflammatory and autophagy is healing. After three days of fasting, every cell in our immune system is replaced with new cells by way of eliminating old cells and growing new ones from stem cells. One might note that fasting was a common practice among traditional societies, as was ketogenic diets — in fact, common in almost every society in the world until the modern era (Fasting, Calorie Restriction, and Ketosis; Spartan Diet; & The Agricultural Mind).
The challenges to vaccine dogma overlaps with the challenges to diet dogma (The Creed of Ancel Keys; Dietary Dictocrats of EAT-Lancet; Failure of Nutritional Knowledge in Science and Practice; Scientific Failure and Self Experimentation; Clearing Away the Rubbish; Most Mainstream Doctors Would Fail Nutrition; Highly Profitable Conflicts of Interest; Dietary Dogma: Tested and Failed; & Blue Zones Dietary Myth). This has forced many changes in dietary opinion, both among the public and in institutions (Low-Carb Diets On The Rise; Weight Watchers’ Paleo Diet; Slow, Quiet, and Reluctant Changes to Official Dietary Guidelines; American Diabetes Association Changes Its Tune; Official Guidelines For Low-Carb Diet: & Obese Military?). And has led to new understandings about health (Ketogenic Diet and Neurocognitive Health; Gundry’s Plant Paradox and Saladino’s Carnivory; & Caloric Confusion). It is part of a larger paradigm change (Essentialism On the Decline; Diets and Systems; & Coping Mechanisms of Health) that has been suppressed for far too long (Cold War Silencing of Science; & Eliminating Dietary Dissent).
Here is what I previously wrote about Weston A. Price:
This isn’t only about agriculturalists versus hunter-gatherers. The distinction between populations goes deeper into culture and environment. Weston A. Price discovered this simple truth in finding healthy populations among both agriculturalists and hunter-gatherers, but it was specific populations under specific conditions. Also, at the time when he traveled in the early 20th century, there were still traditional communities living in isolation in Europe. One example is Loetschenatal Valley in Switzerland, while visiting the country in two separate trips in the consecutive years of 1931 and 1932 — as he writes of it:
“We were told that the physical conditions that would not permit people to obtain modern foods would prevent us from reaching them without hardship. However, owing to the completion of the Loetschberg Tunnel, eleven miles long, and the building of a railroad that crosses the Loetschental Valley, at a little less than a mile above sea level, a group of about 2,000 people had been made easily accessible for study, shortly prior to 1931. Practically all the human requirements of the people in that valley, except a few items like sea salt, have been produced in the valley for centuries.”
He points out that, “Notwithstanding the fact that tuberculosis is the most serious disease of Switzerland, according to a statement given me by a government official, a recent report of inspection of this valley did not reveal a single case.” In Switzerland and other countries, he found an “association of dental caries and tuberculosis.” The commonality was early life development, as underdeveloped and maldeveloped bone structure led to diverse issues: crowded teeth, smaller skull size, misaligned features, and what was called tubercular chest. And that was an outward sign of deeper and more systemic developmental issues, including malnutrition, inflammation, and the immune system:
“Associated with a fine physical condition the isolated primitive groups have a high level of immunity to many of our modern degenerative processes, including tuberculosis, arthritis, heart disease, and affections of the internal organs. When, however, these individuals have lost this high level of physical excellence a definite lowering in their resistance to the modern degenerative processes has taken place. To illustrate, the narrowing of the facial and dental arch forms of the children of the modernized parents, after they had adopted the white man’s food, was accompanied by an increase in susceptibility to pulmonary tuberculosis.”
Any population that lost its traditional way of life became prone to disease. But this could often as easily be reversed by having the diseased individual return to healthy conditions. In discussing Dr. Josef Romig, Price said that, “Growing out of his experience, in which he had seen large numbers of the modernized Eskimos and Indians attacked with tuberculosis, which tended to be progressive and ultimately fatal as long as the patients stayed under modernized living conditions, he now sends them back when possible to primitive conditions and to a primitive diet, under which the death rate is very much lower than under modernized conditions. Indeed, he reported that a great majority of the afflicted recover under the primitive type of living and nutrition.”
The point made by Mailer and Hale was earlier made by Price. As seen with pre-contact Native Alaskans, the isolated traditional residents of Loetschenatal Valley had nutritious diets. Price explained that he “arranged to have samples of food, particularly dairy products, sent to me about twice a month, summer and winter. These products have been tested for their mineral and vitamin contents, particularly the fat-soluble activators. The samples were found to be high in vitamins and much higher than the average samples of commercial dairy products in America and Europe, and in the lower areas of Switzerland.” Whether fat and organ meats from marine animals or dairy from pastured alpine cows, the key is high levels of fat soluble vitamins and, of course, omega-3 fatty acids procured from a pristine environment (healthy soil and clean water with no toxins, farm chemicals, hormones, etc). It also helped that both populations ate much that was raw which maintains the high nutrient content that is partly destroyed through heat.
Some might find it hard to believe that what you eat can determine whether or not you get a serious disease like tuberculosis. Conventional medicine tells us that the only thing that protects us is either avoiding contact or vaccination. But this view is being seriously challenged, as Mailer and Hale make clear (p. 164): “Several studies have focused on the link between Vitamin D and the health outcomes of individuals infected with tuberculosis, taking care to discount other causal factors and to avoid determining causation merely through association. Given the historical occurrence of the disease among indigenous people after contact, including in Alaska, those studies that have isolated the contingency of immunity on active Vitamin D are particularly pertinent to note. In biochemical experiments, the presence of the active form of vitamin D has been shown to have a crucial role in the destruction of Mycobacterium tuberculosis by macrophages. A recent review has found that tuberculosis patients tend to retain a lower-than-average vitamin D status, and that supplementation of the nutrient improved outcomes in most cases.”As an additional thought, the popular tuberculosis sanitoriums, some in the Swiss Alps, were attractive because “it was believed that the climate and above-average hours of sunshine had something to do with it” (Jo Fahy, A breath of fresh air for an alpine village). What does sunlight help the body to produce? Vitamin D.
As an additional perspective, James C. Scotts’ Against the Grain, writes that, “Virtually every infectious disease caused by micro-organisms and specifically adapted to Homo sapiens has arisen in the last ten thousand years, many of them in the last five thousand years as an effect of ‘civilisation’: cholera, smallpox, measles, influenza, chickenpox, and perhaps malaria” It is not only that agriculture introduces new diseases but also makes people susceptible to them. That might be true, as Scott suggests, even of a disease like malaria. The Piraha are more likely to die of malaria than anything else, but that might not have been true in the past.
As with Sapir and Whorf studying linguistic relativism, there were those like Weston A. Price who traveled the world to study the diet and health of traditional communities. Much that conventional medicine assumed to be true about disease was easily refuted by even the most casual knowledge of non-WEIRD societies, in particular isolated hunter-gatherers. People didn’t get sick simply by coming into contact with tuberculosis, a parasite, or whatever. They didn’t get sick because of a single gene or a single anything else. Human bodies are systems that are part of larger complex sociocultural systems and natural ecosystems.
Western essentialism had multiple strategies in dealing with these challenges. The non-WEIRD could be dismissed out of hand and so ignored as irrelevant and wrongheaded. Failing that, the non-WEIRD could be kept at a distance by either demonizing or romanticizing the other. Yet it turns out that not only are these others relevant to us and our society but also are not fundamentally (i.e., essentially) different than us. Teach someone a new language and they will think in similar patterns to anyone else who learns that language. Change someone’s diet and they too will experience the same health results. Genetics, race, language modules, etc don’t explain the differences nor explain them away.
In discussing Weston A. Price in his book Primal Nutrition, Ron Schmid clearly asserts that “a racial difference this was not”. There is an old racist argument that non-whites are essentially a different species or sub-species that is of hardier stock (like a mule), that Westerners made an evolutionary bargain of exchanging genetics of physical health for the genetics of intellectual and social superiority; hence, supposedly why non-whites make good slaves/workers and whites make good masters/bosses; an inventive if bizarre rationalization for Western sickliness.
Schmid was specifically writing about Price’s travels throughout the African continent. There was no reason to turn Africans into some strange other, an oddity that doesn’t apply to us, as Price found the same patterns of diet and health in early twentieth century rural communities in Europe. About Africa, Schmid writes (pp. 44-45):
“Price’s most indelible impression: the contrast between the rugged resistance of the natives to their harsh environment and the fragility of foreigners.
“A racial difference this was not, for when the natives abandoned primitive foods for refined foods, they developed dental decay and became susceptible to infectious processes to which they were previously immune. These included malaria, dysentery, and tick-borne diseases such as sleeping sickness. The immunity experienced when eating native foods extended to chronic disease; an interview with the doctor in charge of a government hospital in Kenya revealed that in his several years of service among native people eating the native diet, he had seen no cases of appendicitis, gallbladder problems, cystitis, or duodenal ulcer.
“In several tribes studied, no evidence of tooth decay was found, nor a single malformed dental arch. Several other tribes had nearly 100 percent immunity to decay, and in thirteen tribes no irregular teeth were found. Where some members had moved to cities and adopted modern foods, however, extensive decay was found. Children born of these individuals often showed narrowed dental arches with crowding of the teeth.”
This leaves us with two related conclusions. First, specific diseases aren’t essentialist, that is to say all of these diverse health conditions are overlapping and tied together by common causes to be found in diet and lifestyle. Second, the diseased state in general isn’t essentialist, that is to say it isn’t an inherent and inevitable fact of human genetics and biology.
That these healthy indigenous people also had very different cultures and languages brings us to the further point that it was a difference not only of degree but of kind. It is our essentialist thinking that is at the heart of our sickly minds and bodies. Essentialist thinking is at best a powerful tool and at worse a dangerous weapon, destroying and denying all differences in seeking universal and ultimate truths, the dark impulse behind monocultural hegemony.
* * *