By Tom Cowan, M.D.
Recently, a study by Michael J. Mina et al made news because it stated that following a measles infection, antibody levels to other viral and bacterial infections drop during the following three to six months. This means, according to these authors, that not only is the actual measles infection itself a grave danger to the child, but also that having a measles infection causes a global immune suppression, making the child susceptible to other, potentially deadly infections in the period after the measles have cleared.
This same immune suppression is not caused by the MMR vaccine, they assert, thereby creating an even stronger argument that we must vigorously push for full acceptance of the measles vaccine so that we can achieve “herd immunity,” which they claim happens when 95 percent of the population is immune from measles because they received the required measles vaccines.
There are so many things wrong with the arguments presented by Mina et al that it would take almost a whole second book on vaccines to go through them all. I will try to be brief, though, and explain the most important reasons why these results, seen properly, would lead us to exactly the opposite conclusion.
First, antibody levels are not predictive of immunity. In fact, there is significant research showing that the drop in antibodies following measles infection is a protective response, as it means that the level of cell-derived transfer factor, the substance in the blood most linked with resistance to viral diseases, has gone up. This phenomenon is the most likely explanation for the results of the biggest study ever done on what actually happens to children after they have a measles infection. Dr. Peter Aaby’s research showed that even though the levels of antibodies went down, the death rate of children following measles infection was FOUR TIMES LOWER than the death rate for children who didn’t have a case of measles. Here is the quote from Aaby’s paper:
Exposed children developing clinical measles had lower age-adjusted mortality over the next 4 years than exposed children who did not develop clinical measles.
Finally, I have to mention that the idea of vaccine-induced “herd immunity” to measles is pure fiction. We know, according to published CDC data, that the primary failure rate for measles vaccines is 4.7 percent. In other words, 4.7 percent of children who receive a measles vaccine never develop immunity to measles. If we need to have 95 percent immunity, the figure the CDC uses for effective herd immunity, then, at best, if we vaccinated 100 percent of the people, 95.3 percent would be immune.
However, there is the “secondary failure rate.” This term refers to the percentage of people who over time lose their immunity after vaccination. This happens because without the working together of the cell and humoral immune systems, most people will not develop lifelong immunity. In fact, peer-reviewed studies show that 0.5 and 1 percent of vaccinated people lose immunity to measles for each year that passes. In other words, for 30 year olds, whose last vaccine was at age 10, they have between a 10 to 20 percent chance of no longer being immune. If you do the math and average this all out, one finds that the maximum level of immunity to measles that can be achieved through vaccination is about 65 percent in the entire population — far, far below the level we are told needs to occur to achieve effective herd immunity. Herd immunity is a make-believe concept, used to “herd” unsuspecting people into doing a behavior that they wouldn’t choose otherwise.
I would like to finish with two quotes, the first from the discoverer of the polio vaccine, Dr. Albert Sabin:
Official data has shown that large-scale vaccination in the U.S. has failed to obtain any significant improvement of the diseases for which they are supposed to provided immunization. In essence, it was and is a failure.
And, finally, my favorite quote from one of the brightest minds in modern history:
The man in the street does not notice the devil even when the devil is holding him by the throat.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe