If you don’t know who or what the NVIC is, I suggest you read the Wikipedia page for it. Don’t bother yourself with their “about” page. You won’t get the whole story there. You’ve got to Google it and do your own research, man. (See what I did there?) Seriously, thought, we can talk all day about who runs the NVIC or what kind of agenda they have, but it is all meaningless without evidence of their anti-vaccine slant.
So I have the evidence here of that anti-vaccine slant, right out of their own webpage.
Exhibit A is their own page on Hepatitis A. Let me tell you about Hep A. It is an infection of the liver that is very infectious. It doesn’t take a lot of virus to get you sick. And, when you get sick, you get really sick. You get so sick that you better make sure that your liver is up to code. If you are on certain medications of have had other liver infections like Hep B or Hep C, you better get yourself to a doctor immediately. Heck, you better get yourself to a doctor even if you don’t have underlying liver disease. Why?
Hepatitis A causes a liver infection that really messes with the liver’s ability to function. The liver is integral in “cleaning” your blood by removing toxins. The classic example of what the liver does is its ability to clear out alcohol. You drink alcohol, a toxin, and the enzymes in your liver turn the alcohol to more water-soluble compounds so you can just pee it out before it harms your brain. If you get Hep A, your liver is not able to do this with alcohol or any other toxin (or medication), placing you at risk for the most severe of complications.
Of course, Hep A is totally manageable, and most people who get it recover from it in time and live a long life afterward. But, seriously, why would you want to gamble with it? So there’s a vaccine that is safe and effective for you to protect yourself from Hep A if you are traveling to countries where it is endemic, work in group settings such as prisons or hospitals, work with it in the lab, or use/abuse IV drugs, or have an underlying condition like Hep B or Hep C that would make Hep A a very deadly ordeal. The vaccine is licensed in the United States for people age 1 and older.
Okay, so now you know about Hep A, and you know there is a vaccine. What about that vaccine? Merck and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) both make a Hep A vaccine. Merck’s vaccine is given in two doses. GSK’s vaccine is given in up to four doses because one of the two GSK vaccines combines Hep B vaccine as well. Studies show that the immunity lasts about 25 years for adults and 14-20 years in children. Immunity may last longer if you get “boosted” through exposure. Natural immunity after infection is not known to last any differently, mostly because there just haven’t been the studies where we intentionally infect someone and follow them for years while preventing them from being boosted.
What about the vaccine’s safety? Well, it can cause pain, redness, and maybe swelling at the site of the injection. Death? Nope. Disability? Nope. Autism? Nope.
At least that’s what the science tells us. What does the NVIC tell us? Here:
“The following information is provided to as a public service by the National Vaccine Information Center to help you understand the disease hepatitis A and the hepatitis A vaccine so you can make an informed decision regarding the use of this vaccine. This information is not intended to serve as medical advice but as background information that you can use to educate yourself and ask your doctor questions.”
Alright. Sounds reasonable. What else?
“On December 1, 2004 Hepatitis A vaccine was added to the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program’s (VICP) Vaccine Injury Table, as published in the Federal Register. If you feel that your health problems are related to the Hepatitis A it is your right to file for compensation. To learn more about the VICP and how to file a claim, please visit our injury compensation webpage.”
Ah. They want you to know that there is a vaccine injury table, almost as if to say that the vaccine is known to cause injuries. Their link, by the way, is broken. Here is the live link. I’m sure it’s just an oversight. After all, when you’re
misinforming the public, you might not have time to check your webpage much. And NVIC won’t tell you what the table states about Hep A vaccine. Go check it out yourself and tell me if it’s worthwhile to scare people by saying that the vaccine is on that table.
Alright, I’ll show you. Here is what the table says about the vaccine:
In other words, contrary to what NVIC will tell you about the table, you will get NO compensation immediately if you claim the Hep A vaccine did something because it has not been shown to be even remotely associated with anything.
Okay, what else?
“Hepatitis A is a viral disease of the liver that is contracted through contact with, or swallowing of human fecal waste, generally through eating or drinking contaminated food and/or water.
Hepatitis A thrives in areas with poor sanitation and is spread when people eat or drink something that has been contaminated with human body waste products. Children often show no symptoms and the disease is more serious in adults.”
“Hepatitis A is spread almost exclusively by the fecal-oral route and is most often associated with poor sanitation and hygiene, and overcrowded living conditions.
It also is associated with lower socioeconomic status, certain sexual practices, and injected drug use. However, outbreaks of hepatitis A have also occurred in restaurants, daycare centers, nursing homes, and other institutions and community settings.
Some outbreaks of hepatitis A have been traced to contaminated food, water, milk, frozen raspberries and strawberries, and shellfish.
Among adults with identified risk factors, the majority of cases are among men who have sex with men, persons who use illegal drugs, and international travelers. Because transmission of hepatitis A during sexual activity probably occurs because of fecal-oral contact, measures typically used to prevent the transmission of other STDs (e.g., use of condoms) do not prevent hepatitis A transmission.
Hepatitis A infections also have been linked to children adopted from certain countries.”
See what they did there? They’re setting it up so that God-fearing, all-American, heterosexual, drug-free, church-going, money-making people have nothing to fear. I mean, you might get it from contaminated food, but that’s a low risk and you’re better off just washing your hands, having sex only with women, staying away from needles, and not traveling to those countries. Just wash your hands and you’ll be okay, they seem to say. (My opinion.)
In case you didn’t catch that last part about who is at risk and why, they mention it once again:
“Poor personal hygiene can increase the chances of spreading hepatitis A. That is why frequent hand washing with soap and water, particularly after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, and before preparing or eating food, is very important in preventing the spread of hepatitis A.
It also has been identified as a risk factor in daycare centers and intensive care neonatal units.
Travel to Third World countries, where hepatitis A is more prevalent, also is an identified risk factor for getting this infection.”
Wash your hands, Jose! Wash your [expletive] hands!
What about the vaccine? Well, I’m trying to get there, but NVIC keeps hammering the whole hygiene, not in my America, and sexual practices thing. I mean, they mention it again:
“In 2007 (the latest year for which data are available) 18 percent of all cases of Hepatitis A were attributable to international travel. Approximately 85 percent of all travel-related cases were associated with travel to Mexico and to Central or South America.”
“Waterborne outbreaks, though infrequent, are usually associated with sewage-contaminated, or inadequately treated, water.”
Dammit! What about the [expletive] vaccine?
“The ACIP has approved three inactivated , injectable vaccines for hepatitis A: Havrix; Twinrix; and Vaqta.”
But here is where NVIC gets all weird. Remember that the vaccine is not associated with adverse events. It only causes redness and swelling at the site of the injection in some people. It hasn’t caused death. It hasn’t caused disability. It hasn’t caused tumors, autism, or anything else. It has only prevented Hep A. But NVIC, true to form, wants to scare us with the ingredients:
“Havrix contains viral antigen and aluminum hydroxide (an adjuvant) with amino acid supplement in a phosphate buffered saline solution, polysorbate 20 (an emulsifier). The virus is propagated in human diploid cells. It also has neomycin (an antibiotic) in it. It does not contain preservatives.
The tip cap and the plunger on the syringe have latex in them.
Twinrix is a combination vaccine that is intended to protect against both hepatitis A and hepatitis B. It is manufactured using MRC-5, which was derived from a cell line that was developed in 1966 from lung tissue taken from a 14-week aborted fetus and contains viral antigens, yeast, aluminum phosphate, aluminum hydroxide, neomycin and formalin (formaldehyde and water). It does not contain preservatives.
The tip cap and the plunger on the syringe have latex in them.
Vaqta contains inactivated whole virus grown in human MRC-5 human diploid fibroblasts from lung tissue taken from an aborted fetus.
It is formalin inactivated and adsorbed onto amorphous aluminum hydroxyphosphate sulfate. It also has traces of bovine albumin and formaldehyde. It does not contain preservatives. The tip cap and the plunger on the syringe have latex in them.”
I’m not going to deny that it contains all of these things. What NVIC is not telling you is HOW MUCH of these things does it have? Further, they mention latex to scare away people with latex allergies. (Guess what? The latex never comes into contact with you, or goes into you.) And then there’s the whole “cells from an aborted fetus” gambit.
So, back in 1966, a fetus was aborted. For research purposes, some lung tissue was taken. During research, scientists discovered that the fetus’ lung cells worked really well in the lab to grow viruses in it. It was stable, the cells multiplied well, and the viruses really liked it. Instead of just discarding the fetus, scientists decided to give that irreversible abortion meaning by using those cells to create vaccines and therapies that have saved thousands if not millions of lives. It’s been 46 years and counting. I’m pretty sure those cells are not from the fetus anymore than the house dust on my window sill is any part of me. (House dust is mostly dead skin cells.)
NVIC also mentions all those adjuvants and emulsifiers because… Well, because they want to link them to adverse reactions. But remember what I wrote up there about known complications. They just don’t exist. They don’t.
That doesn’t stop NVIC from this:
“How Effective Is the Hepatitis A Vaccine?All three Hepatitis A vaccine package inserts warn that the vaccines may not, or cannot, prevent or treat the disease in someone who is already infected or has been infected with hepatitis A. They also warn that some immunocompromised individuals may not be fully protected, either.”
That doesn’t answer the question about effectiveness, does it? The question was how effective the vaccine is, but the answer was that it doesn’t cure the infection once the infection occurs. It’s a clever play with words to say that “vaccines may not, or cannot, prevent or treat the disease in someone who is already infected or has been infected with hepatitis A.” In fact, that last part is puzzling. There is a difference between “someone who is already infected” and someone who “has been infected with hepatitis A”.
Confused? I am.
Oh, and then there is this:
“Can the Hepatitis A Vaccine Cause Injury and/or Death?There is a gap in medical knowledge in terms of predicting who will have an adverse reaction to the hepatitis A vaccine and who will not.
However, reading the manufacturer’s product package inserts (see below) under “contraindications, warnings and precautions, and adverse reactions,” will help you weigh the vaccine’s benefits and risks before making a decision for yourself or your child.
Within the hepatitis A manufacturers’ vaccine package inserts, some of the adverse events reported ranged from fever, to nausea and loss of appetite, to dizziness, and neuromuscular symptoms, including Guillian Barre Syndrome.”
Followed by this:
“Since the vaccine was licensed in 1996, there have been thousands of serious adverse events to this vaccine reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), including deaths.”
I don’t get it. Either there have been no known deaths associated with the vaccine or there have. But you, dear reader, should already know how anti-vaccine groups use VAERS to their own aims. But let’s humor NVIC and look at VAERS for those deaths associated with Hep A vaccines.
I found 57 VAERS reports of death and any of the Hep A vaccines. Here are some chosen ones:
VAERS ID 113911-1: “pt recv vax DEC96 & JUL97 blood work in MAR showed no sign of disease;cancer of colon w/advanced metastases to liver detected in AUG because of rapid onset, want this on record;”
VAERS ID 160423-1: “Post vax, the pt was playing badminton in high school physical education class when he collapsed. CPR started by PE teacher and school nurse until paramedics arrived. Expired at hospital. Autopsy performed. Pathology tissues of heart sent for conduction studies.”
VAERS ID 166212-1: “Pt was given Hep-A vaccine at 18:00-18:15. He was a chaplain with the Police Dept and was riding with a Police Officer. The Police Officer took the pt home at 23:30. States that the pt had no complaints at that time. At 02:15, the Police Dept was informed by the pt’s wife that he had been sent to the hospital and died. Autopsy states cause of death as atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Other significant conditions: diabetes, hypertension, obesity.”
VAERS ID 175712-1: “The parent reported some fever the evening of the vaccine. Normal day of 09/21/01. The family put the child down to bed, no symptoms 09/21/01 at 8:00 pm. Family checked at 9 pm, the child’s color was white, unresponsive. Rushed to the hospital, the child arrested. Autopsy findings for cause of death were bronchopneumonia, laryngitis, cerebral edema.”
VAERS ID 207834-1: “administered on 11/14/02. All vaccines were administered on the same date. The patient died on 12/15/02. The CDC investigation confirmed that the patient was positive for serogroup C, Meningococcal infection. The onset date of signs and symptoms were not reported… From additional information received on 08/12/2003 from a pathology department, it was reported that the patient presented with an acute onset of a rash on his feet that spread to his face over a period of a few hours, after a 3 day history of a cough and sore throat. The symptoms progressed rapidly to severe respiratory distress and shock. The patient was treated with advanced cardiac life support in the ICU (intensive care unit) and died within three hours of presenting to the hospital. The patient died at 1:01 pm on 12/15/2002; the autopsy was done the following day and showed that the cause of death was Neisseria Meningitidis Septicemia (Meningococcemia). Gross autopsy findings included evidence acute shock syndrome with diffuse petechia and hemorrhage to multiple organs, visceral congestions, shock kidneys, and a blothcy erythematous rash to the organs and a few scattered foci of acute inflammation within the myocardium and meninges. The clinical presentation, autopsy findings, and laboratory PCR results were consistent with Neisseria Meningitidis (meningococcal) Septicemia.”
VAERS ID 211782-1: “Pt did vigorous physical training session just before dinner, went to dinner, didn’t feel well (upset stomach), went to baracks, apparently fell out of top bunk, was unresponsive. CPR started promptly with physician assistant attending. EMS arrived, pt was in asystole with no response to ACLS protocols. Transported to ER and ACLS continued with no response. Post-mortem x-ray showed no skeletal fracture or dislocation. Well known to unit PA; high blood presure; 15-year smoking history, new heart murmur 1/6 systolic. Diagnosed with URI on 09/30/2003 and treated with Deconamine SR BIDx 10d. Preliminary autopsy findings: ASCVD with left main coronary artery occluded 90%, left anterior descending cornonary artery occluded 85%. Final autopsy report awaits tissue and toxicology findings. Nurse follow up on 11/08/04 states: “”Severe Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease.”””
VAERS ID 252079-1: “The subject is a female with the date of birth of 10/18/2000, who expired due to cancer while enrolled in a comparative post marketing safety study of Daptacel (Diphtheria and Tetanus toxoids and Acellular pertussis vaccine absorbed) administered with other recommended vaccines according to standard of care at 2, 4, and 6 months of age in infants and as a booster to toddlers. The subject received the study vaccine on 5/13/2003. Other vaccines administered on that day included a dose of IPOL, lot number W01972, a dose of hepatitis A vaccine, lot number 0498N, a dose of MMR/measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, lot number 0858M, and a dose of VZV, lot number 0485N, manufacturer unknown…”
Of course, there are rumors like this one:
VAERS ID 271331-1: “I read the patient’s obituary in the newspaper, please refer to primary care physician for more details. I never received any call regarding any adverse event regarding actual vaccines.”
Not that it will stop NVIC from saying this is an adverse event to a vaccine.
Of course, there are many more cases in there for which we don’t have the whole story. But you know from my previous post that VAERS is not evidence. It’s a good jump-off point to form theories or watch out for patterns. Evidence it is not.
So let’s finish reading what NVIC has to say about the Hep A vaccine, namely, why it should not be given:
“Hepatitis A does not cause chronic, long term infection and very rarely causes death. Infection with hepatitis A gives a person lifelong immunity and, in some populations around the world, close to 100 percent of all inhabitants have antibodies to hepatitis A.
The CDC states that persons at high risk for hepatitis A are household and sexual contacts of infected persons; drug users; persons traveling to countries where hepatitis A is common; and persons living in regions where there are “consistently increased rates of hepatitis A.”
The best tool for prevention of hepatitis A is to wash your hands with soap and water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper or preparing and eating food.
While the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) supports the availability of hepatitis A vaccine for all who choose to use it, NVIC opposes the mandated use of hepatitis A vaccine for the following reasons:
- Hepatitis Does Not Cause Chronic Infection and Rarely Causes Death:
Hepatitis A has a mortality rate of less than one percent (0.6) and over 70 percent of deaths occur in adults over the age of 49. Almost everyone who gets hepatitis A recovers from it without any treatment. Plus, it is so rarely fatal that the CDC does not show a record of deaths from it some years.
- Hepatitis A Gives Lifelong Immunity But the Vaccine Does Not:
Children often show no symptoms if they get hepatitis A and then develop lifelong immunity to the infection, but nobody knows how long vaccine-induced immunity will last. (All vaccines give only temporary immunity).
- Child-to-Child Transmission in School is Rare:
According to the CDC, “Child-to-child disease transmission [of hepatitis A] within the school setting is uncommon.”
- Hepatitis A Vaccine Can Cause Reactions:
The vaccine can cause unpleasant or even health- or life-threatening conditions, such as Guillian-Barre Syndrome (see vaccine side effects under “Can the Hepatitis A Vaccine Cause Injury and/or Death”).”