Vaccination: An Examination of Its Dark Side

By Coen Vonk
Immunisations, including those practiced on babies, not only did not prevent any infectious diseases, they caused more suffering and more deaths than has any other human activity in the entire history of medical intervention. — Viera Scheibner, PhD

This statement runs so counter to what we are told in the media and by public health and medical personnel that we might be inclined to dismiss it out of hand. Meanwhile, the list of vaccines continues to grow, with proponents often seeking government mandates for universal immunization. But ongoing medical research indicates that vaccination is not a straightforward issue. Especially in the last two decades awareness of severe side effects has increased and numerous books and articles on the subject have appeared. A skeptical view can no longer be dismissed as that of religious or alternative-lifestyle fanatics, for it is becoming clear that there are well-founded medical reasons, supported by solid research, to reexamine the prevalent use of vaccination. I will bring forward some of the concerns that scientists and activists have raised, in the hope of stimulating readers to investigate the question and reach their own conclusions.

Most people believe that diseases such as smallpox, diphtheria, typhus, tetanus, and polio have been eliminated in the Western world because of vaccination. Few realize that these and other diseases had been in decline for a hundred years. According to the British Association for the Advancement of Science, cases of childhood diseases fell by 90% between 1850 and 1940, before mass vaccination started. Smallpox declined both in European countries with vaccination programs and those without them. Tuberculosis declined greatly in Europe and America without a vaccine, though poverty and incomplete treatment can allow it to reappear. Diseases like bubonic plague and scarlet fever have largely disappeared without any vaccination program. A recent World Health Organization report found that the present decline of such diseases in many third world countries is largely due, not to vaccines and improved medical care, but to the same factors that caused declines in the West: improved standards of hygiene, sanitation, diet, and standard of living.

Nor is there a correlation between non-vaccinated people and epidemics. The relation between having antibodies in the body and not catching the corresponding disease has not been scientifically demonstrated. Tests have shown that people with low antibody counts may resist a disease and those with high antibody counts may contract it. In fact, vaccinated people have been shown to contract the disease in question — even in populations with 100% vaccination rates. Australian scientist Viera Scheibner, who since 1986 has researched some 30,000 pages of medical papers on vaccination, writes:

I have not found a single paper which would demonstrate that in epidemic situations only unvaccinated children contracted the diseases. Even during vaccine trials many children contracted the diseases against which they were vaccinated, often within a few days. — Vaccination: 100 Years of Orthodox Research Shows that Vaccines Represent a Medical Assault on the Immune System, p. xix

Proponents of vaccination now realize that it is unlikely that infectious diseases such as measles will be completely eradicated by immunization programs, and have started to use less sweeping arguments. They say that vaccines at least reduce the severity of diseases, but many childhood diseases can be more severe when contracted later in life, while new strains of disease have emerged in response to vaccines. For example, Dr. Scheibner writes:

Not only diseases like whooping cough can affect seriously both vaccinated and unvaccinated children (based on hospital admissions), but there is a new disease — atypical measles — which is an especially vicious form of measles only affecting vaccinated children and with a considerable mortality rate. — Ibid., pp. xix-xx

Proponents emphasize that vaccines are safe and that serious side effects are rare. But numerous medical papers and magazines report on dangerous effects, and even deaths, directly related to some vaccines. Proponents who admit the dangers hold that the risks are not as great as those of epidemics. It is becoming increasingly apparent, however, that the side effects are severe and widespread, for as American family physician Stephanie Cave writes:

beginning in the early 1980s, some parents and medical experts in the United States and elsewhere around the world noticed what appeared to be a connection between serious adverse health effects, including death, and vaccines. As the years passed, more and more parents, doctors, and even government officials began to see an alarming increase in the number of children with autism, learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, juvenile diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), asthma, and other medical conditions. — What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Children’s Vaccinations, p. xiii

We will now look at some of the most striking dangers that have been linked to vaccines. Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) refers to infants who have suddenly stopped breathing and died from unexplained causes. Most deaths occur between the ages of two and six months. This mysterious syndrome — also called cot or crib death — kills from 7,000 to 10,000 infants each year in the U.S. alone. In the early 1980s some doctors suspected a possible relation between SIDS and vaccination, but little research was available. In 1986 Dr. Scheibner started her pioneering research into SIDS using a respiration monitor (Cotwatch) which recorded the breathing pattern of babies on computer printouts. She discovered that “typical cot deaths are deaths due to exposure to non-specific stress syndrome, provoked by any injury, insult or noxious substance including upper respiratory tract infections, overtiredness or vaccine injections” (Vaccination, p. 62). Thus vaccination is not the only cause of SIDS, but she concluded that it is the “single biggest cause” (ibid., p. 262), as vaccines led to severe breathing stress in infants, who in some cases died, and a clear clustering of these deaths on critical days after vaccine injections. Her field research with the Cotwatch is supported by her extensive literature study which shows that numerous other researchers have suggested there may be a relation between diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP) vaccination and SIDS. Among many other observations the following is striking:

When Japan moved the vaccination age to two years, the entity of cot death in that country disappeared [Cherry et al. (1988)], while the amount of adverse reactions in 2-year-olds remained the same or increased. At the present time [1993],  Japan has the lowest infant mortality in the world, followed by Sweden. In contrast to this, the US infant mortality is so high that it puts that country in 20th place. — Ibid., p. 43

Autism is now very much in the news. A decade ago Dr. Stephanie Cave became alarmed as more and more autistic children showed up in her office, and was prompted to action:

Although the children came from different social and family environments, their histories were the same in one frightening way: They had all been healthy and developing normally — physically, emotionally, and mentally until age fifteen to eighteen months. Then, the parents reported, their once happy, friendly babies disappeared, as if their inner spark had gone out. Suddenly the children lost speech, would not maintain eye contact, were highly sensitive to touch and noise, and were intentionally injuring themselves. The parents were horrified and frightened. And I did not know what to tell them.
But then as I studied the medical charts, I realized that all the children had one thing in common: All of them had deteriorated within weeks of receiving several vaccines simultaneously. It was then that I began to document my cases and read about other similar instances reported by doctors around the world. I discovered I was not witnessing an isolated pocket of cases . . . but that I was verifying a phenomenon that was happening around the globe.

.  .  .

Autism used to be a rare condition, affecting 1 out of 10,000 infants. Now in some states it is diagnosed in 1 out of every 150 children. Between 1992 and 1997 the incidence of autism increased more than 300 percent. — What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Children’s Vaccinations, pp. xiv, xv

To some researchers the incidence of autism seems to increase with every added vaccine in the immunization program, but it is still unclear what exactly causes late-onset autism. Autism probably has a genetic component, but genetics would not account for a large increase in less than a decade. Doctors too may be diagnosing more children as “autistic” instead of simply “mentally retarded.” There are indications that other factors, such as the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (MMR), may also be involved. Significantly, however, comparison of the characteristics of autism with mercury poisoning show striking similarities. Between 1991 and 1992 the U.S. started to vaccinate all day-old babies with the hepatitis B vaccine, and Dr. Cave argues that many cases of autism are in fact a form of mercury poisoning. The hepatitis B vaccine, actually required only by the 1% of babies born to mothers who are hepatitis B positive,

contained 12.5 micrograms of mercury (thimerosal), which is more than twenty-five times the EPA “safe level” of 0.1 microgram per kilogram of body weight per day. This toxic dose was followed by not one but two more doses: one at one to two months and another at six months of age. In addition, infants and children were also given four doses of mercury-containing Hib at two, four, six, and twelve to fifteen months of age; plus four doses of mercury-containing DTP at two, four, six, and twelve to eighteen months of age. By the age of six months, vaccinated children had received 187.5 mcg of mercury — a poison that accumulated in their bodies because production of bile, which helps clear toxins from the body, is not developed in children less than four to six months of age.
When mercury can’t get out of the body, it travels to the brain, changes into inorganic mercury, clings to brain tissue, and damages the nervous system. Mercury doesn’t cling to just any part of the brain; it goes exactly to those areas involved in autism: the cerebellum, amygdala, and hippocampus. — Ibid., p. 62

In 1999 manufacturers in the U.S. agreed to remove mercury-based preservative from most childhood vaccines, though they do not admit that it is harmful. Parents still need to ask if the vaccines their child is receiving are mercury free because older lots with mercury are not being withdrawn and some vaccines for children and adults, such as flu and diphtheria-tetanus, still contain mercury. Regardless of whether some cases diagnosed as autism are due to mercury poisoning, removing this substance from children’s vaccines can only be beneficial.

The public is generally unaware that vaccines contain many other poisonous ingredients such as aluminum, ethylene glycol (used in antifreeze), formaldehyde (a known cancer-causing agent), phenol (a highly poisonous coal-tar derivative), and ingredients such as streptomycin, glutamate, neomycin, and gelatin which are known to cause allergies in some people. Furthermore, the viruses of many vaccines have been repeatedly passed through a culture medium to weaken them. Mediums used for this purpose include human cells (some from aborted fetuses), monkey kidneys, pig brains, chicken embryos, and other animal tissue. It is well known that many millions of doses of polio vaccine administered from 1954 to 1962 contained Simian Virus 40, which has been linked by many authors to a high incidence of cancer, including childhood leukemia and the type of lung cancer generally associated with asbestos exposure. Cecil Fox, a senior scientist with the National Institute of Health from 1973 to 1991, has said: “When you inject ground-up monkey guts into children, all kinds of things can happen” (Cave, p. 145). In cultures viruses may suffer contamination that allows vaccines to introduce unknown viruses and bacteria which some researchers believe produce or contribute to autoimmune disorders such as asthma, arthritis, and diabetes; chronic infections such as bronchitis, ear infections, and flu; abnormal screaming and continuous crying of infants; collapse and shocks, convulsions, epilepsy, inflammation of different parts of the brain, and many more. Mounting evidence suggests that vaccines may be an attack on the immature immune system, which is weakened, with the result that the vaccinated are more susceptible to all kinds of diseases.

There are also questions about the dangers of many diseases against which babies or adults are vaccinated and the risk of contracting them. The risk of getting diseases such as hepatitis B, polio, and pertussis are extremely low in Western countries. Also, cases of many illnesses are usually mild: the Center for Disease Control indicated that in 1992-94 the recovery rate for pertussis was 99.8%. One is more likely to get diseases such as measles, mumps, and rubella, but these infectious diseases have beneficial results on the maturation of the immune systems of children, and are usually not very harmful. In fact, mumps and rubella vaccines are given to children to protect adults, not the children themselves, since the diseases are very mild in childhood. Dr. Scheibner maintains that

the orthodoxy should start learning the dynamics and importance of infectious diseases and effective treatment. It is absurd to set out to eradicate infectious diseases which play an important role in the maturation of the immune systems of our children.
It has been documented in medical literature that people who contracted cancer and other chronic degenerative diseases in later years have remarkably few infectious diseases of childhood to report. A proper development of rash during such infectious diseases as measles is apparently important for the prevention of cancer and other serious diseases in later life. — Ibid., p. xx

Moreover, contracting an infectious disease confers life-long immunity, unlike most vaccines. Catching childhood diseases later in life is much more serious, and immunization may only be effective for a short period, whether six months or five or ten years, so that in epidemics the vaccinated as well as the unvaccinated come down with the disease.

Vaccination started out as a noble dream of eradicating life-threatening diseases. However, the dream is based on the assumption that the cause of diseases is solely physical. According to some theosophical writers, diseases are rooted in our inner nature and ultimately can be conquered only by bringing our entire being into harmony. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t use medicines when we are ill, because the disease then has already entered our body and should be led out as gently as possible. But it means that if we wish to conquer the fundamental causes of disease we must work on inner causes such as egoism, lust, hatred, and anger. Therefore no drug, vaccine, or other material substance will ever put an end to the causes of disease. As theosophical scholar G. de Purucker wrote:

nobody will contract any disease whatsoever unless the germs of that disease are already in the system, their being there because of a proclivity towards that disease, this proclivity itself being due to karmic causes. Thus inoculating an otherwise healthy man of this type with the antitoxin-virus of some loathsome disease not only weakens the body of this otherwise healthy man, but because of this weakness predisposes his system towards reception of the latent disease, despite the efforts of the body to react protectively against it; and, furthermore, because of weakening the body it predisposes it likewise, on account of this ensuing weakness, to other possible invasions of still other diseases.
. . . It is extremely doubtful in my opinion if it is either right or wise in any case whatsoever to inoculate human beings with the disgusting virus drawn from the diseased bodies of either man or beast for this purpose. I am convinced such inoculation brings along with it ten devils worse than the disease itself. — Studies in Occult Philosophy, pp. 550-1

As we have seen from modern research, vaccination may well bring with it other very serious diseases and even cause deaths, and vaccinated people can contract the diseases they are vaccinated against. How then can we protect ourselves against disease? As simple as it sounds, it may be that a kind heart and improvement of our character is one of the best long-term protections. Furthermore, as G. de Purucker observes:

The proper way to do, . . . it seems to me, is to take all natural, cleanly, sane, and normal preventive measures, both in the individual and in the collective fields, especially sanitary and hygienic measures, paying due and proper attention to exercise, diet, and personal cleanliness of all kinds. Then, if one contracts a disease, it becomes a duty to try to recover health in every cleanly and sane manner possible, and it is perfectly right so to do. — Ibid., p. 551

How can we deal with a disease if we already have one? Our perspective on the basic questions about disease is of vital importance. Diseases are not a punishment by God or a result of bad luck, but serve to purge us of inner disharmonies. They are a cleansing process where we have the opportunity to heal our inner wounds. They often bring us closer to people and make us think about ourselves and others. Accepting a disease for what it is and trying to lead it out as gently as possible is the best we can do. At the same time we can work on the inner causes and try to become more well-balanced. Hopefully in time we humans will learn to be more in harmony with our inner nature and diseases will become less frequent and serious. As Peter Baratosy says in his foreword to Dr. Scheibner’s book, instead of trying to control nature, “we should be working with nature.”

(From Sunrise magazine, Summer 2007; copyright © 2007 by Theosophical University Press)

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