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Whooping cough vs. whooping cough vaccine-associated infant deaths by Sandy Gottstein

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In a recent article by Reuters, it was reported that in the year 2000, 17 infants died from whooping cough.  This statistic was then used to bolster the argument for infant vaccination against whooping cough.

Missing from this article, however, was an important comparison, i.e., the number of whooping cough vaccine-associated infant deaths.

So what do we know about such infant DTaP/DTP-vaccine associated deaths?

I tabulated the results of all infant vaccine-associated deaths which occurred in 1998 and were reported to VAERS as of the end of the year 2000.  Here is what I found:

There were 57 DTaP-vaccine associated infant deaths.  (Unfortunately, it is not possible to know whether it was DTaP vaccine alone which might have been responsible, since every single infant who died after receiving DTaP, except one,  had received 2 or more vaccines.)

Former FDA commissioner David Kessler has said that it is thought 1% of serious drug reactions are reported to the FDA.  A vaccine manufacturer testified that in their experience, a passive system (which is what VAERS is) results in around 2%.  I don’t know what percent of actual vaccine associated adverse reactions are reported, nor do I know whether deaths are reported as infrequently as other adverse reactions.  I do know that parents are being told by their doctors that deaths within hours of receiving a vaccination are not related, and are being discouraged from filing reports.  Although reporting is required, there is a great deal of resistance to doing so.  A speech by Maureen Forceskie is a testament to this resistance, as is the letter from Em, Sophie’s Mom.  Consequently it may well be that only 1-2% of serious adverse vaccine associated reactions are reported to VAERS

The more conservative figure of 10% is widely regarded to be the minimum percent reported to VAERS.

Why don't we know exactly how many adverse reactions are actually occurring? Why aren't 100% of all possible adverse vaccine reactions reported?  Why doesn't the federal government,  the FDA, and CDC make every effort to ensure that all vaccine-associated reactions are reported?  Why don't the state governments do the same?   Isn't it incumbent upon them all to do so, given that vaccines are recommended, even "mandated" (exemptions are available) for school attendance?

Why aren't doctors reporting every possible adverse reaction?  How many of them are reassuring their patients yet refusing to report all adverse vaccine-associated reactions?  Why aren't they taking the lead in making sure that their confidence in vaccine safety is based on fact?

If 10% accurately reflects reporting, these 57 infants represent 570 DTaP vaccine-associated infant deaths occurring in 1998 alone.

There were an additional 6 infant deaths after receiving DTP vaccine.  All DPT-vaccine related deaths were multiple-vaccine associated.

These 6 infants may represent 60 additional deaths.

This means that 630 whooping cough vaccine-associated infant deaths may have occurred in 1998 alone.

Among these deaths, 23 of those receiving DTaP occurred by the day following vaccination.  In other words, 230 infants may have died within one day of receiving whooping cough vaccine in 1998.  This is compared to 17 infant deaths as a result of whooping cough in the year 2000.

Even without factoring in any under-reporting to VAERS, the number of infants reported to have died by the day following DTaP vaccination in 1998 is still more than the number who died as a result of whooping cough in the year 2000 (i.e., 23 is more than 17).

Another 12 (10 DTaP and 2 DTP),  possibly representing 120 infants, died by the third day post vaccination, for a possible total of 350 infant deaths by the third day following whooping cough vaccination.

More than twice as many infants were reported to have died in 1998 by the third day post whooping cough vaccination than died from whooping cough in 2000 (35 vs. 17).

Granted, vaccine associated deaths are not proven to be causally related.  Such deaths should, however, be considered a "red flag", and result in both concern and continued investigation, neither of which are evident on the part of the CDC.  Instead, such reports are routinely dismissed as either anecdotal or "temporally related" .

To the contrary, a temporal relationship is one of the most compelling reasons to thoroughly explore possible causality, not reason to summarily dismiss it.

Why does the CDC continue to claim the benefits of whooping cough vaccine clearly outweigh the risks, when there is evidence to the contrary?

Why is the CDC not calling for administration of vaccines separately in order to determine which vaccines might be responsible?  Why doesn't it call for studies examining deaths associated with vaccines administered singly or in combination, comparing them to the death rate among the only proper control group, the "never-vaccinated"?

Why is the CDC not calling for and funding properly designed, independent studies of vaccine-associated infant deaths in order to ascertain if these vaccine-associated deaths are vaccine-caused?

Sandy Gottstein

Date: 7-26-2002