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Mandatory childhood vaccination could cause “irreparable damage,” says expert panel

BMJ 2019; 367 doi: (Published 11 October 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;367:l5995

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Measles vaccine YES...flu vaccine NO

Selwyn and Melanie D'Costa make a very important point. Vaccine authorities would save more lives and misery if they were more selective about the vaccines they promote and mandate.

Measles vaccine is a true lifesaver. Influenza vaccines, on the other hand, are of very uncertain benefit, notwithstanding the host of observational studies announcing this or that percentage of "vaccine effectiveness." Nearly 20 years ago Kenneth McIntosh wrote an editorial calling for multi-center, multi-season, randomized, controlled trials before recommending routine annual influenza vaccination for children. He worried that such a practice would actually do more harm than good. (NEJM 2000;342:275) His advice was ignored, and today we know that influenza vaccines sometime increase the risk of influenza and non-influenza virus infections; they have also caused narcolepsy, febrile seizures, and oculorespiratory syndrome. They provide short-term immunity and prevent some illnesses from seasonal influenza, but in so doing they prevent the development of broad and lasting immunity against influenza viruses, in individuals and in the population as a whole. The frequently quoted observational studies exaggerate the benefits of influenza vaccines and understate the adverse effects because of the "healthy user effect."

In the US the morbidity and mortality from influenza have certainly not declined after years of promoting influenza vaccines for the entire population. Instead of admitting this fact, and the possibility that the vaccines have done more harm than good, US vaccine authorities are now publicizing the hopes for a universal influenza vaccine. Meanwhile, they tell us that, "although flu shots are not perfect, you should get them every year."...…….Measles vaccine YES....influenza vaccine NO.

Competing interests: No competing interests

21 October 2019
Allan S. Cunningham
Retired pediatrician
Cooperstown NY 13326, USA <