Informed Choice Washington – Advocacy Group — May-2019

If every case of measles matters, why is Public Health ignoring vaccine failure?

75 cases of measles in 2019 stirred up Washington democratic (and one republican) legislators so much they voted to remove the personal exemption which a small number of parents were using for their children to avoid the controversial MMR vaccine.

Was fear of measles spreading in the community, and the removal of the human right to medical freedom, warranted by the facts on the ground?

The CDC now reports that “Among the 30 patients identified after February 1, 26 (87%) were known contacts in quarantine and under active surveillance, decreasing public exposures by implementing effective social distancing strategies.”[1]And yet the Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Washington on February 4th, printed cartoons showing anti-vaxxers welcoming the grim reaper. Other articles followed that implied measles had been spread in the general community. Was the Columbian aware that the majority of new cases were caught in quarantine, likely being passed sibling to sibling? Had Clark County health officials told them this pertinent fact?[2]

Carlson A, Riethman M, Gastañaduy P, et al.  Notes from the Field: Community Outbreak of Measles — Clark County, Washington, 2018–2019. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2019;68:446–447. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6819a5external icon

What is driving the media messaging of fear of measles?

Before the MMR vaccine and before the Brady Bunch measles episode in 1969, the same paper reported the following: “MEASLES INCREASE SEEN HERE,” on July 2, 1957 (and quoted again this year on February 3rd), and assured readers that a nine-fold increase in measles cases shouldn’t cause any concern:

“Measles cases reported so far to the (Clark) County Health Department this year total 288 — nine times the incidence of measles outbreaks reported in the county last year at this time — there is no epidemic and no cause for alarm, County Health Officer Dr. Morris Chelsky assured residents Monday.”

In 1957, Clark County’s population was 91,260 – making for a case rate of 0.3%, more than 20 times greater than for this year’s 71 cases. Yet there was no epidemic and no cause for alarm prior to the vaccine. So why is Public Health now ringing the alarm bell? What has changed? 

The answer lies in vaccine failure.

1. Prior to the vaccine, measles in the U.S. had become a mostly benign infection among age-appropriate populations (ages 5-19)[3].

2. Prior to the mass vaccination program, the US had natural herd immunity, which is not an absence of measles, but measles constrained to mostly age appropriate populations by the superior immune protection of wild infection: children younger than 1 were protected by maternal antibodies and the entire population aged 15 and up had lifetime immunity.

3. Mass vaccination campaigns has made babies under age 1 susceptible to measles because of inferior maternal protection, and everyone else susceptible to varying degrees due to primary (never responded to vaccine) and secondary (waning of protection) failure[4]

4. Tertiary failure — the emergence of a new sub-genotype of measles that is not neutralized by antibodies generated by the current measles vaccine[5].

5. Studies show a 3rd dose of MMR cannot extend protection[6].

6. Mass vaccination campaigns have lowered the quality of immune globulin products because the vaccinated donors have inferior antibody levels — this is a problem because higher quality immune globulin is needed to protect newborns and the immune-compromised at times of outbreak[7][8].

7. Measles infection does occur in those who have had 2 MMRs. A study of Chinese children through age 19 recently found that 26% of children with two doses of measles containing vaccine still contracted the disease.[9]Further, vaccinated individuals may nevertheless develop modified measles with symptoms that aren’t immediately recognized as measles, and unknowingly the infection.[10]

The CDC irresponsibly uses the term “presumption of immunity” about those with 2 doses of MMR. It is clear we are headed into an age of measles outbreaks in population groups more likely to have adverse outcomes. Vaccinating the few percent of individuals who are saying no to the flawed MMR won’t do anything to prevent this—it will only increase the susceptible pool in the future. Clearly, better and faster point-of-care diagnostics are needed, as are safe and effective treatments of measles.

Vaccination status does not equate to immunity and immunity should never be presumed if we are to care about every case. Besides vaccine failure — the MMR suffers from the risk of injury and death — the extent of which is unknown because we lack an active reporting system. Per the Harvard-Pilgrim study, VAERS collects less than 1% of all vaccine adverse reactions, and doctors are not trained how to spot or assess most vaccine injuries. Even reactions found on the Federal Vaccine Injury Table are not recognized or reported.

The public is being sensitized to cases of measles, yet there is no Public Health messaging or administration policy working to prevent vaccine injury or death to those susceptible to poor vaccination outcomes.

HB 1638, the Washington bill passed into law that removed the personal exemption to the MMR, will do nothing to prevent the emerging measles problem. Even 100% vaccination rates would not solve the problem. The solution lies with utilizing other Public Health tools such as improved surveillance and notification; increased education about primary and secondary vaccine failure, modified measles, prodromal stage of measles, Vitamin A and D and other important nutrients to lessen severity of viral infections, in order to protect those susceptible to poor measles outcomes — those who ironically have been made susceptible by the vaccine program itself.


[1]https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/68/wr/mm6819a5.htm?s_cid=mm6819a5_w

[2]https://www.columbian.com/news/2019/mar/13/clark-county-measles-outbreak-rises-to-72-cases/

[3]https://physiciansforinformedconsent.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/PIC-FAQ-MMR-vs-measles.pdf

[4]https://www.informedchoicewa.org/community-immunity/

[5]https://mayoclinic.pure.elsevier.com/en/publications/antigenic-drift-defines-a-new-d4-subgenotype-of-measles-virus

[6]https://academic.oup.com/jid/article/213/7/1115/2912150

[7]https://www.informedchoicewa.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/FDA-immune-globulin-supply-2017.pdf

[8]https://academic.oup.com/jid/article/216/8/977/4084678

[9]Masters, N. B. et al. Assessing Measles Vaccine Failure in Tianjin, China. Elsevier, http://sci-hub.tw/https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31078327. 2-May-2019.

[10]https://jameslyonsweiler.com/2018/12/15/for-health-officials-and-school-boards-asymptomatic-measles-infection-is-real/

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