(The following posting has been slightly edited to avoid possible copyright violation in relation to the pages it points to.)

Subject: Some 'uninformed' info
Date: Sat, 18 Aug. 2001 20:04:30 +0200
From: Sune Nordwall <sune.nordwall@home.se>

[Someone] wrote:

... if a child's parents don't vaccinate, that child chose those parents so that he or she could expose him/herself to various life threatening illnesses. What can I say? yeah, right. <sarcasm>
I:
This is pure rhetoric as most of the child diseases that one normally vaccinates against normally not are 'life threatening' to otherwise reasonably well fed and healthy kids.
Someone: 
Excuse me? Polio? Smallpox? Whooping cough? cough, cough, you must not have heard about it, Sune, these were *fatal* to many children. Am I the only one gasping at this un-informed remark?
On my 'un-iformed remark':
 

IN GENERAL:

The child diseases that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends vaccinating children against are (http://www.aap.org/family/parents/immunize.htm): polio, measles, mumps, rubella (German measles), pertussis (whooping cough), diphtheria, chickenpox and Haemophilus influenzae type b.

It also recommends vaccinating against the not specifically childhood diseases hepatitis B, tetanus (lockjaw), and pneumococcal infections. AAP recommends vaccinating against all of them before the age of 2 months.

(Comment in July 2002: "2 months" may have been a typo error, or not. Today, about a year after the posting, made in August 2001, the page of the American Academy of Pediatric in its immunizations schedule for 2002 recommends that they all be given before 2 years of age. The diagram of the recommended schedule however indicates that the start of the range of recommended ages for polio vaccination has moved from 2 months to 6 months, contradicted by the text, recommending that IPV vaccination starts from 2 months. For Diphteria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Haemophilus influenzae type b, and Pneumococcal vaccines, the diagram says they can be given at 2 months, but only recommends them from 12 or 15 months of age.)

While many may think that these vaccinations are mandatory, they generally are not.
 

ON POLIO:

Of the typical child diseases mentioned, not even polio normally is 'life threatening'
(http://health.yahoo.com/health/diseases_and_conditions/.../Polio... Comment in November 2002: The original page at Yahoo has moved and changed content somewhat from the page in August 2001. The description below refers to the original page, that told things not found at the new page.).

Of the three forms of polio infections; sub clinical, non paralytic and
paralytic, MOST polio infections (95%) are sub clinical infections, which may even go completely unnoticed as such and often are misdiagnosed as other types of infections.

(November 2002: The original page pointed to in the posting told that complete recovery from polio infection is likely if the spinal cord and brain not is effected, which only happens in less than 10 % of the cases. If also told that if the brain or spinal cord is involved, it may result in paralysis or death, but that while lesions high in the spinal cord or in the brain are associated with respiratory difficulty, disability is more common than death.)
The last case of non-vaccine related polio acquired in the United States was in 1979 (indicating the occurrence of the vaccination-related cases below).

The risk of getting infected in polio in US today basically is NIL. if you were to get infected in spite of that basic nil-risk, 9 out 10 are likely to recover completely from the infection. Yet, AAP recommends vaccinating all children against polio, starting vaccination at age 2 months, putting severe strain on the generally undeveloped immune system of the children at that age.

See http://www.pnc.com.au/~cafmr/online/vaccine/polio.html

The page tells that most most cases of paralytic polio in the West today are caused by the Sabin oral vaccine, that replaced the earlier Salk injectable vaccine after it was with noticed that the Sabin oral vaccine at times caused, instead of prevented paralytic polio. The page also tells that of the 55 cases of paralytic polio reported in the U.S. during the period 1980-1985, according to the United States Center for Disease Control, 51 were caused by the oral vaccine and that only 4 occurred in people returning from undeveloped countries.
See http://www.healthy.net/LIBRARY/.../ShootEmUp.htm
The page tells that young infants usually are protected from measles, polio and tetanus by antibodies from their mother for the first six months of life even if immunizations for diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus and polio may begin at two months of age and that breastfed children are protected by immunity factors contained in breast milk.
The extremely small risk of a few catching and being permanently harmed by or dying from polio TODAY must be weighted against the long-term effects of manipulating the immature immune system of large parts of the population from the age of 2 months by a number of different types of 'vaccines'.

(Haven't had time to investigate the specific potential long-term effects of IPV already at age 2 months more fully, but it clearly is an overkill measure. http://www.trufax.org/vaccine/early.html points to some possible aspects of it that I haven't tried to investigate yet and therefore have no opinion of.)
 

SMALLPOX:

Answering what I wrote as:

most of the child diseases that one normally vaccinates against normally, not are 'life-threatening' to otherwise reasonably well fed and healthy kids.
you mention 'smallpox'.

Smallpox is not a specifically child disease. Also, one does not generally vaccinate against smallpox at all any more in US since 30 years. The last known naturally contracted case in the world occurred in 1977.

See http://www.oehs.upenn.edu/bio/vaccinia/info.html

The page tells that the routine use of vaccinia vaccine in the United States was discontinued in 1971 because of the low risk of smallpox, that the recommendation for routine vaccination of healthcare workers also was discontinued, in 1976, that the only active producer of vaccinia vaccine in the United States discontinued distribution of vaccinia virus for civilians in 1983, and that there today essentially no risk of infection with an orthopoxvirus in the United States except in research laboratories.


WHOPPING COUGH

You also mention

'whopping cough', writing: 'cough, cough, you must not have heard about it, Sune,'
To my memory, I had whopping cough as a child, at age maybe 4-5.

For a short info on whopping cough/pertussis, see http://www.healthlibrary.com/reading/nature/chap23.htm

As to mortality from pertussis, http://www.mercola.com/2000/aug/13/vaccination_forbes.htm points to a study by Dr. Gordon T. Stewart, published in the Lancet, January 29, 1997 showing the death rate from pertussis was declining at the same rate before vaccination as afterward. His conclusion: 

"The pertussis vaccine had no impact on the decline of the death rate from pertussis."
Suspicions about the relation between pertussis-vaccination (DTP) and a number of serious 'side-effects' of the vaccinations has led to the change in the immunization policies on a national level of a number of countries, among them Sweden. [snip]

To studies that have led to a more restricted immunization policy on pertussis are studies like:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve...Abstract (Chose 'Display abstract' if you don't get there from the beginning.) 

The study, published in J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2000 Feb;23(2):81-90, based on data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey on infants aged 2 months through adolescents aged 16 years, tells that the odds of having a history of asthma was twice as great among vaccinated subjects than among unvaccinated subjects, that the odds of having had any allergy-related respiratory symptom in the past 12 months was 63% greater among vaccinated subjects than unvaccinated subjects, and that the associations between vaccination and subsequent allergies and symptoms were greatest among children aged 5 through 10 years.

While pointing to the small number of unvaccinated subjects and that the study design limit the possibility to make firm causal inferences about the true magnitude of effect, the resarchers find that it is unlikely that these results are entirely because of any sources of bias, and conclude that DTP or tetanus vaccination appears to increase the risk of allergies and related respiratory symptoms in children and adolescents. 

Some general sites related to the problems concerning vaccination/non-vaccination are:

http://www.larkfarm.com/AP/vaccination.htm
http://www.thebabyregistry.co.uk/pages/child_health.htm
http://www.spearsmacleod.com/links/c/childhoo/
http://www.thinktwice.com/
http://www.gval.com/
http://www.healthy.net/vaccine/
http://www.bareware.net/vaccine.htm
http://www.healthlibrary.com/reading/nature/index.htm
http://hometown.aol.com/drdawndc/cdab.htm
http://www.immed.org/reports/autoimmune ... Contraversy.htm

In general, IF your stance is that you in general think it is irresponsible not to vaccinate ones children against everything they could be vaccinated against (is that a misrepresentation of your view and you want to differentiate your view?), it would seem like a simplified stance in relation to the issue.

In summary, I think an overview of the eight child diseases against which AAP recommends vaccination shows what I wrote on them as:

most of the child diseases that one normally vaccinates against normally not are 'life-threatening' to otherwise reasonably well fed and healthy kids.
not is very "un-informed", as you write.

[Comment after this posting: 
The part of the mail below is part of a discussion concerning the use of double-blind methodology in clinical studies on the effects of drugs in the treatment of cancer, and the way of making purely statistical considerations in such double-blind studies into the main criterion for a decision of if to pursue the study as planned, or if to put an end to it on the basis of statistical or other considerations.

When I pointed out that the statistical foundation of double-blind study methodology as such - when used in studies, where survival time is the main outcome criterion, as in a number of cancer studies - demands that a number of patients consciously be sacrificed and die before their time in the study in the name of "science" (for the study to be meaningful) as understood in the philosophical basis of the clinical double-blind study methodology, someone questioned if I understood the meaing of the concept statistical significance. 

What is found below tries to answer this question. S.N.]

I:

One interrupts tests (before the planned end of the test period) where survival is the main outcome criterion of the test because one thinks that the drug treatment or placebo-treatment  is the cause of the deaths, but only when and if the difference is great enough to be considered statistically significant enough  according to some chosen criterion.
[Someone]:
Do you get what statistically significant means? It isn't a "chosen  criterion" - you seem to think it's arbitrary - that pleases the researchers. If it isn't statistically significant, then the effects are NOT YET KNOWN.
Of course I don't think that the level of significance chosen as a basis for interrupting or not interrupting a medical study is completely arbitrary.

I studied mathematics at the University of Stockholm 30 years ago for half a year. It was the first subject I studied at University. The course on 'Statistical and numerical methods' was my favorite. I got 'excellent' marks.

Maybe it to some would stand out as simplified to say that when a correlation at some level not is 'statistically significant' that the correlation is 'NOT YET KNOWN', as you formulate it implying that when a correlation is statistically significant, it is 'KNOWN'.

Statistical correlations are always only indications at varying levels of probability of an actual casual relationship in some form between factors.

There is no absolute, god-given level of significance, below which a correlation is 'NOT YET KNOWN' and above which it suddenly becomes 'KNOWN'.

'Significance' normally refers to the situation when there - from a purely statistical standpoint in relation to the chosen parameters - only is a 5% or lesser chance (p<0.05) that the found correlation between them would occur 'by chance'.

As http://www3.oup.co.uk/jjco/Volume_27/... /hya040_gml.html#hd4 tells, there are also other significance levels used, like a 1% 'chance level' (p<0.01).

An even higher level of 'significance' is the 0.5% level (p>0.005).

With 

'when and if the difference is great enough to be considered statistically significant enough according to some chosen criterion.'
I just indicated that the one responsible for the study has to choose the level of statistical significance at which to consider a result 'significant' enough to be used as a basis for a clinical decision. One factor influencing such a decision is the size of the studied group.

But as the authors of the page write: 

"if a study sample is small, quite a large difference which fails to reach statistical significance cannot be ignored if it is considered to be clinically (possibly) important",
meaning a judgment must be made that is not strictly determined by the statistical outcome, but also another criterion or other criteria. This or these have to be chosen by the one/s responsible for the study. That's what I referred to.

Regards,

Sune Nordwall
Stockholm, Sweden

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