In Memoriam: Infant Death & Vaccination, May 25, 2011, Barbara Loe Fisher
by Barbara Loe Fisher
Memorial Day is for remembering those, who have fought and died to defend America and preserve our civil liberties, including freedom of thought, speech, religious belief and conscience. So every Memorial Day I remember the children, who have died after receiving state mandated vaccines, and honor their mothers and fathers, who grieve for them.
From the first human vaccines developed two centuries ago, smallpox and rabies vaccines, death has always been a complication of vaccination.1 2 In 1933, the whole cell pertussis vaccine's ability to kill without warning was first reported in the medical literature when two infants died within minutes of a pertussis shot.3 In 1946, American doctors detailed the sudden deaths of twins within 24 hours of their second diphtheria-pertussis shot.4 In 1986, the U.S. Congress passed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act and has awarded over $2 billion dollars in compensation for deaths and injuries caused by vaccines.5
According to the most recent National Vital Statistics Report, more than 26,000 American babies born alive in 2009 died before their first birthday, which gives the U.S. a very high infant mortality rate of 6 infant deaths per 1,000 live births.6 In 1960, America ranked 12th in infant mortality among all nations of the world. In 2005, we had fallen to number 30. Today in America, there are more premature babies than ever before and more full term babies die before their first birthday than in most European countries.7
Some people argue that not every country calculates their infant mortality statistics the same way, which artificially inflates the poor ranking for the U.S.8 Even if adjustments would boost the U.S. ranking up several notches, there can be no question that a nation, which spends more per capita on healthcare 9 and legally requires their children to get more vaccines than any other country, should have one of the best – not one of the worst – infant mortality rates, especially for healthy babies born full term.
Now there is a new study published in a peer reviewed medical journal that NVIC has helped to make publicly accessible to everyone, which reveals that developed nations with poor infant mortality rates, like the U.S., tend to give their infants more doses of vaccines before age one.10 The study's authors found "a high statistically significant correlation between increasing numbers of vaccine doses and increasing infant mortality rates." To put this into perspective, doctors give American babies 26 doses of vaccines before age one, which is twice as many vaccinations as babies in Sweden and Japan get.
Is it really just a "coincidence" that the infant mortality rate is twice as high in America compared to Sweden and Japan, where half as many vaccinations are given to very young babies?
A mother and father's worst nightmare is to watch their baby die before reaching their first birthday. When a healthy baby dies unexpectedly shortly after routine vaccinations, often parents ask legitimate questions about whether the vaccines did it. They are usually met with quick denials by doctors and public health officials anxious to defend the safety of vaccines.
The death certificates of many babies, who die shortly after vaccination, list Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS as the cause of death, which means that no specific symptoms or other reason for death could be found.11 That was true in the 1980s, when I was interviewing parents of babies, who died suddenly after DPT shots, for the 1985 book DPT: A Shot in the Dark,12 which Dr. Harris Coulter and I wrote at a time when SIDS – a newly created medical term - was becoming the leading cause of infant mortality in the U.S 13
What I found and detailed in our book is that most babies dying after DPT shots were not found dead in their cribs without any symptoms before they died. They were dying after suffering plenty of vaccine reaction symptoms within days of their DPT shot, symptoms like high fever; sudden collapse; hours of persistent crying or high pitched screaming with arching of the back that can be a sign of brain inflammation; severe diarrhea; redness, swelling and pain at the injection site and signs of seizures that too many pediatricians were blowing off as unimportant. Other babies, who received several DPT shots, were described by their mothers as suffering a progressive mental and physical deterioration that got worse after each shot before the baby was found dead in the crib.
Several studies in the 1980s showed an association between infant death and DPT vaccinations.14 15 Today, it is thought that genetic and environmental risk factors combine to leave SIDS babies with signs of petechial hemorrhages, lung congestion and brainstem and neurotransmitter dysfunction.16 Most doctors continue to deny that vaccination is a risk factor for SIDS17 and say that SIDS has declined since pediatricians launched a national campaign in the 1990s to put babies on their backs to sleep,18 but others point out that the only reason SIDS death statistics have gone down is because, today, fewer infant deaths are labeled "SIDS" by doctors and coroners.19
The inconvenient truth remains that the numbers of pre-term births continues to increase in America and there are more full-term babies dying before their first birthday than in most developed nations of the world. 20
Health officials have no explanation for this horrible child death statistic. They also have no explanation for the fact that, today, an estimated 43 to 54 percent of all American children suffer with at least one chronic illness requiring health insurance reimbursement, including a staggering 26 percent of children under age six years at high risk for developmental, social or behavioral delays.21 Government officials now admit that, In the past decade, developmental disabilities among American children has increased by a whopping 17 percent and is led by a rise in autism and ADHD.22 23
This is not the way it used to be in America when I was growing up in the 1950s and early 1960s. Back then, women were not getting vaccinated during pregnancy 24 and there were only a few vaccines given to babies25 and there were few children suffering with learning disabilities, ADHD, autism, asthma and severe allergies,26 27 diabetes,28 29 bi-polar disorders30 and taking a cocktail of prescription medications.31 And the U.S. was ranked number 12 among all nations in infant mortality, not near the bottom of the list.
This is not a very good health report card for a nation that, in the last 50 years, has paid tens of trillions of dollars to the pharmaceutical industry, public health agencies and pediatricians telling us to trust their advice about how to keep our children healthy. More health insurance and more "medical homes" will not turn F's into A's on that bad health report card.
Exactly 25 years ago, in May 1986, I joined with mothers and fathers, whose babies died after DPT shots, and gave a presentation to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. We told physician members of the CDC's vaccine policymaking committee, who wanted state legislators to strictly enforce laws legally requiring children to get 23 doses of 7 vaccines starting at two months through age six, that doctors did not really know how many children were dying after vaccination. You can read the transcript of that 1986 CDC meeting32 on NVIC's website and decide for yourself whether anything has really changed in 25 years except the fact that, now, public health officials are ordering doctors to give children 48 doses of 14 vaccines starting on day of birth through age six, with half of those doses given before age one.
On NVIC's website at NVIC.org, you can also visit the virtual International Memorial for Vaccine Victims to read about or post a description of a vaccine-related death;33 you can research and read descriptions of deaths following vaccination made to the federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System;34 and you can learn more about vaccine reactions so, if your pediatrician does not educate you, you will be armed with that life saving information.35
A death is a death, no matter what the cause. Every death that occurs after vaccination cannot be automatically presumed to be causally related to the vaccines recently given. However, to assume that all or most infant deaths, which occur within hours, days or weeks after vaccination, are just a "coincidence" and not related to vaccination is both scientifically implausible and dangerous.
It is especially dangerous for individual families, as well as for our entire population, to make assumptions about vaccine safety in a vacuum of knowledge. When high infant mortality rates in America correspond with the high numbers of vaccines babies are being given in the first year of life, credible investigation into the child death and chronic disease epidemic should be our highest national priority and vaccination should not be left off the table.
We must remember these children.
Click here to read the new study by Miller & Goldman: Infant mortality rates regressed against number of vaccine doses routinely given: Is there biochemical or synergistic toxicity?
Click here to order the book A Shot in the Dark by Coulter & Fisher.
Click here to read a partial transcript of the May 12, 1986 Meeting at the CDC.
1 CME Resource. Smallpox Vaccination: An Update . 2009.
2 Time Magazine. Infectious Disease: Preventing the Incurable. August 14, 1964.
3 Madsen T. 1933. Vaccination against whooping cough. JAMA 1933; 101(3): 187-88
4 Werne J, Garrow I. Fatal anaphylactic shock occurrence in identical twins following second injection of diphtheria toxoid and pertussis antigen. JAMA 1946; 131(9): 730-35.
5 Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA). National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program Vaccine Injury Table.
6 Kochanek KD, Xu J. Deaths: Preliminary Data for 2009. National Vital Statistics Report March 16, 2011. 59(4): 1-68.
7 MacDorman MF, Matthews TJ. Behind International Rankings of Infant Mortality: How the U.S. Compares With Europe. National Center for Health Statistics Data Brief: November 2009.
8 MacDonald E. Financial Times Gets It Wrong on U.S. Infant Mortality Rates. Fox Business News. April 13, 2011.
9 UC Atlas of Global Inequality. Health Care Spending.
10 Miller NZ,, Goldman GS. Infant mortality rates regressed against number of vaccine doses routinely given: Is there a biochemical or synergistic toxicity? Human and Experimental Toxicology: Published online May 4, 2011.
May 4 Press Release: Think Twice Global Vaccine Institute.
11 National Institutes for Health. National Center for Biotechnology Information. National Library of Medicine. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
12 Coulter HL, Fisher BL. DPT: A Shot in the Dark. 1985. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. (1991, Avery, Penguin).
13 See Reference #10, Page 5.
14 Torch WC. Diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus (DPT) immunization: a potential cause of the sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). American Academy of Neurology, 34th Annual Meeting, 1982. Neurology 32(4).
15 Walker AM, Jick H et al. Diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis immunization and sudden infant death syndrome. Am J Public Health 1987; 77:945-951.
16 Hunt CE, Hauck FR. Sudden infant death syndrome. CMAJ 2006: 174(13).
17 Centers for Disease Control. Vaccine Safety: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and Vaccines.
18 Robert Woods Johnson Medical School. News Release: Study Identifies that Multiple Risk Factors Existed in 78 Percent of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Cases. February 15, 2010.
19 See Reference #6, Page 9. Also Reference #10, Pages 5-6.
20 See Reference #7: Key Findings
21 Bethell CD, Kogan MD et al. A National and State Profile of Leading Health Problems and Health Care Quality for US Children: Key Insurance Disparities and Across-State Variations. Academic Pediatrics 2011; 11(3S): 22-33.
22 Boyle CA, Boulet S et al. Trends in the Prevalence of Developmental Disabilities in US Children 1997-2000. Pediatrics. Published online May 23, 2011.
23 Ostrow N. Autism Leads Rise in Developmental Disabilities in U.S. Kids. Bloomberg News. May 23, 2011.
24 Brooks M. Jump in Influenza Immunization Rates Among Pregnant Women. Medscape. December 3, 2011.
25 Immunization Action Coalition. Historic Dates and Events Related to Vaccines and Immunization.
26 Asthma and Allergy Foundation. Asthma Facts & Figures.
27 Enriquez R, Addington W et al. The relationship between vaccine refusal and self-report of atopic disease in children. JACI 2005; 115(4) 737-744.
28 Lee JM, Okumura MJ et al. Trends in Hospitalizations for Diabetes Among Children and Young Adults – United States 1993-2004. Diabetes Care 2007; 30: 3035-3039.
29 Boyles S. Type 1 Diabetes May Double in Young Kids. Medicine.Net. May 27, 2009.
30 Carey, Benedict. Bipolar disorder cases rise sharply in U.S. children. New York Times. September 3, 2007.
31 Mathews AW. So Young and So Many Pills. Wall Street Journal. December 28, 2010.
32 Partial Transcript of the May 12, 1986 ACIP Meeting, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta.
34 Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS). MedAlerts Searchable Database.
Maybe you should see how the US ranks in infant fatalities and injuries from auto accidents. More of anything which can cause fatalities and injuries is likely to result in more fatalities and injuries due to the use of such items. Including automobiles and vaccines.
The U.S. health care system is in a downward spiral and showing no indications of slowing down or reversing. I've been warning people about this tragic state of affairs for more than two decades, and now the evidence is becoming even more obvious.
Virtually every measurable index indicates that despite the ever-increasing amounts of money invested, if you live in the US, your chances of achieving optimal health through the medical system is only getting worse.
The latest study published in Health Affairs revealed that the United States now ranks 49th for male and female life expectancy worldwide, a ranking that has fallen sharply from fifth place in 1950. At the same time that life expectancy has been declining at faster rates than many other industrialized nations, per capita health spending has been on the rise.
Specifically, U.S. per capita health spending rose at nearly twice the rate of other developed countries between 1970 and 2002, which means the U.S. spends more than twice the amount on health care as other developed nations.
What's more, three of the "big killers" -- obesity, traffic accidents and murder -- cannot explain the United States' dismal life expectancy data, as other countries have similar death rates from these factors.
What they may not have, however, is a health care system as poor as the one in the United States … as the study researchers told MSNBC:
"The U.S. doesn't stand out as doing any worse in these areas [obesity, traffic accidents and murder] than any of the other countries we studied, leading us to believe that failings in the U.S. health care system, such as costly specialized and fragmented care, are likely playing a large role in this relatively poor performance on improvements in life expectancy."
Among the most likely suspects for Americans' declining health, the researchers noted in Health Affairs, were unnecessary medical procedures and an uncoordinated system with fragmented care, where patients rely on numerous providers to treat various bits and pieces of a problem, rather than seeking out one provider who will treat them as a whole:
" … unregulated fee-for-service reimbursement and an emphasis on specialty care may contribute to high US health spending, while leading to unneeded procedures and fragmentation of care. Unneeded procedures may be associated with secondary complications.
Fragmentation of care leads to poor communication between providers, sometimes conflicting instructions for patients, and higher rates of medical errors. For example, two separate physicians are probably more likely than a single primary care provider to prescribe two incompatible drugs to a single patient."
This system, as you may have experienced first-hand, is becoming known throughout the world not for its technology or advances but for its alarming rates of medical errors and poor results in relation to its astronomical costs.
That other countries manage to achieve longer life expectancies than the United States while paying a mere fraction of the U.S. health care cost per capita is a major clue that something is sorely amiss in the United States, and that something comes down to the very fundamental core of the system, which relies on drugs and surgery to treat illness, rather than focusing on prevention and wellness.
The U.S. now ranks LAST out of 19 countries for unnecessary deaths -- deaths that could have been avoided through timely and effective medical care.
For example, more than 2 million Americans are now affected by hospital-acquired infections every year, and 100,000 people die as a result. It is all too common for people to go into the hospital for a "routine" surgery or medical procedure, only to contract a severe hospital-acquired infection or succumb to an adverse drug reaction or other completely preventable medication mishap.
According to one study, "patient safety incidents," which is a nice way of saying "preventable medical mistakes," are so common in U.S. hospitals that over the years 2006-2008 there were nearly 1 million incidents among Medicare patients, and one in 10 of them were deadly.
A HealthGrades report also pointed out that "the incidence rate of medical harm occurring is estimated to be over 40,000 each and EVERY day according to the Institute for Healthcare Improvement!"
Ten years ago, Professor Bruce Pomerance of the University of Toronto also concluded that properly prescribed and correctly taken pharmaceutical drugs were the fourth leading cause of death in the US.
More recently, Johns Hopkins Medical School refined this research and discovered that medical errors and prescription drugs together may actually be the LEADING cause of death.
So the primary form of "health care" and treatment in the United States may actually prematurely kill more people than any disease plaguing our society!
Surgical errors, such as operating on the wrong patient or amputating the wrong limb, are unacceptably high in the United States. A new study in the Archives of Surgery found that Colorado doctors alone operated on the wrong patient 25 times and on the wrong body part 107 times!
These catastrophic "wrong patient" and "wrong site" procedures accounted for 0.5 percent of the medical mistakes analyzed in the study, which is a much higher percentage than expected.
In an accompanying editorial, Dr. Martin Makary, M.D., a professor of surgery and public health at Johns Hopkins University, went so far as to say that "almost every surgeon has seen one."
These entirely preventable, and unacceptable, incidents were often the result of errors in diagnosis, judgment and communication -- or in other words human error.
Surgical teams are also encouraged to have a "time out" prior to surgery to double check that they have the correct patient and surgical site -- but in wrong-site errors, a time-out procedure was not performed 72 percent of the time.
If you're like most people, you probably have certain expectations about the quality of the products you buy. You probably expect your laptop computer to make it through at least a year or two before crashing, or your car to operate smoothly for a certain number of miles before needing to pay for additional repairs, for example.
So, what do you expect to get when you're faced with an ailment or disease and your physician -- or worse yet, a slick advertisement -- "sells" you on a particular surgical procedure or drug treatment?
You probably expect it to solve your problem, improve your health, or, at the very least, live up to its advertised ideals. But in the United States this is, sadly, expecting too much.
American medical care is the most expensive in the world, and for this "price" Americans get:
A maternal mortality rate that is 13.3 maternal deaths for every 100,000 births -- over four times the U.S. government's 2010 goal of 3.3.
A premature birth rate that is higher than that of most other developed nations, and rose 36 percent between the early 1980s and 2006.
Ranked second-to-last out of rich countries for measures of child well-being.
Ranked 30th in global infant mortality rates, behind most European countries, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, and Israel.
Falling life expectancy rates relative to 12 other countries over the past 30 years.
So please understand that if you live in the United States, your health is not safe in the hands of the conventional medical system. The entire paradigm of conventional medicine is flawed, and finding health care providers that aren't trapped within this paradigm will require effort on your part -- but it can be done.