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An Objective Book about Other Childhood Vaccines

Today's decision by the CDC to add COVID shots to the schedule of childhood vaccines has some people concerned about the rest of the vaccines on the schedule. Contrary to fact-checker claims, adding COVID shots to the schedule means children will be required in about a dozen states to get a COVID shot to attend public school. Indiana isn't one of them--our childhood vaccination law doesn't mention the CDC and such a requirement could run afoul of our ban on COVID vaccine passports. But even freewheeling Indiana has some vaccine requirements and this kerfuffle has people wondering how safe those vaccines are. 

There's a book called Vaccines: Truth, Lies and Controversy by Peter C. Gotzsche, DrMedSci and co-founder of the Cochrane Collaboration, about the safety and efficacy of all those vaccines, including COVID and others. Cochrane was founded to "to organise medical research findings to facilitate evidence-based choices about health interventions involving health professionals, patients and policy makers" (Wikipedia). Dr. Gotzsche is no pharma fanboy--he's called big pharma "organized crime." Likewise, he calls the CDC a "treasure trove of misinformation" (page 74). Nevertheless, he considers the evidence along with the risks and benefits of various vaccines, coming out in favor of some (polio, for one) and suggesting a pass on others (like flu). 


There's a long chapter on measles vaccines and autism. The short version is that the research was conducted with an eye towards a lawsuit and profits from a replacement vaccine. The Lancet finally retracted the research paper after it was found to be fraudulent; the head researcher was stripped of his medical license. Dr. Gotzsche says the study's findings were never replicated and three Danish studies--two involving hundreds of thousands of children and another involving 956 autistic children--found no link between an ingredient in the measles vaccine and autism.

Vaccine cheerleaders, or "fundamentalists," might be shocked to read that in the Philippines in 2018, the rollout of Sanofi's vaccine for dengue fever led to criminal charges of "reckless imprudence resulting in homicide" after side effects and deaths from the vaccinations. "Some of the parents of the dead children had no prior knowledge of their children being vaccinated, and some families also filed charges." The Philippines revoked the product's license. Sadly, the experience set off a wave of vaccine hesitance there that led to a massive measles outbreak that killed more than 355 people.

Dr. Gotzsche's rule of thumb for taking a vaccine: if it's "part of the official vaccination program in some countries but not in others of similar standing, then it is not important to get yourself or your child vaccinated." (page 7) By that standard, COVID vaccines are off the menu for kids: Sweden, Denmark, and Norway have either stopped or aren't recommending COVID shots for young kids.

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