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What You Should Know About Meningococcal Disease & The Vaccine
Posted: 7/15/2011 2:07:17 PM | with 7 comments

 

by Barbara Loe Fisher
 
Today, pediatricians give American babies as many as 33 doses of 13 different vaccines by 12 months of age.12  Now, federal public health officials are considering recommending that doctors give four more doses of a new vaccine – meningococcal vaccine – to babies between two and 12 months old3,4 in addition to the two doses children already get at 11 and 16 years old.5 
 
There are big questions about the necessity, effectiveness, safety and cost of this new proposed change to the child vaccination schedule.
 
Meningococcal Disease Rare in the U.S.
 
Invasive Neisseria meningococcal disease is a bacterial infection that involves inflammation of the meninges of the brain and can lead to a serious blood infection. It is very rare in the United States. In our population of 308 million, there are between 1400 and 3000 cases every year that fluctuate with natural cycles.6 Between 10 and 15% of the cases are fatal with another 10 to 20% ending with brain damage or loss of limbs.
 
Children Under Age Two Less Likely To Die
 
It is estimated that, annually, there are between 150 and 300 meningococcal deaths in the U.S.,7 with an average of 16 babies under age 12 months dying from the disease8  Children under age two are less likely to die from meningococcal infection compared to older age groups.9  
 
Incidence in U.S. Has Decreased to Historic Lows
 
The good news is that the incidence of the disease has decreased more than 60 percent between 1998 and 2007 to less than 1 case in 100,000 people, which is an historic low in the U.S.10 To put this death rate into context, there are three times as many Americans, who die from heat stroke11 or drown in boating accidents12 every year than die from invasive meningococcal disease.
 
Maternal Antibodies, Natural Immunity Protects Majority
 
That is because mothers, who have innate immunity, transfer maternal antibodies to their newborns to protect them in the first few months of life until babies can make their own antibodies.13 At any given time up 20 to 40 percent of us are asymptomatically colonizing meningococcal organisms in our nasal passages and throats, which throughout life boosts our innate immunity to invasive bacterial infection.1415  By the time American children enter adolescence, the vast majority have asymptomatically developed immunity that protects them, which is how our population maintains naturally acquired herd immunity and why cases of invasive disease are so rare in all age groups.
 
Genetically Vulnerable At High Risk for Disease
 
However, a tiny minority of individuals have genetic variations and other unknown biological factors that prevent them from naturally developing protective circulating antibodies.16 These are the individuals, tragically, who are up to 7,000 times more likely to get severe invasive meningococcal disease at some point in their lives.17 Clearly, there must be greater attention paid to developing screening techniques to identify those high-risk individuals and help them avoid a potentially fatal or crippling meningococcal infection.
 
Environmental High Risk Factors
 
In addition to genetic factors that place some people at higher risk, there are other biological and environmental factors that make people more susceptible. These include smoking or living in a home where people smoke; a recent respiratory infection; crowded living conditions, such as in military and prisons settings; alcohol use; and an underlying chronic illness, especially immune deficiencies such as lupus or HIV/AIDS.18, 19  
 
Constant, Close Personal Contact Required
 
It is not easy to develop invasive meningococcal disease.20 You have to be susceptible and have regular close personal contact, such as sharing a toothbrush with or kissing person, who is colonizing meningococcal organisms.
 
Know Symptoms, Get Immediate Medical Care
 
Symptoms of meningococcal disease include fever; severe headache; painful, stiff neck; nausea and vomiting; inability to look at bright lights; mental confusion and irritability; extreme fatigue/sleepiness; convulsions and unconsciousness.  
 
In babies, signs of “irritability” can include persistent crying or high pitched screaming with arching of the back, which are symptoms of encephalitis or brain inflammation that can be caused by a bacterial or viral infection or a vaccine reaction.21 These are danger signs and it is very important to seek immediate medical attention and treatment to help prevent permanent injury or death.
 
Vaccine Has Only 4 Strains
 
In 2000, the CDC recommended that all college freshmen get a dose of meningococcal vaccine containing four strains (A, C, W-35, Y)22 and, in 2005, that policy was expanded to include all 11 year olds.23 There is one problem: the vaccine does not contain strain B, which is the strain associated with more than 50 percent of meningococcal cases and deaths,24 especially in children under five years old.25  
 
Vaccine Effectiveness Does Not Last, Need Booster
 
There is another problem: The vaccine has been found to be, at best, only about 58 percent effective within two to five years after adolescents have gotten the shot.2627  So, in 2011, when public health officials realized that one dose of meningococcal vaccine did not last, they said that all 16 year olds should get a booster dose.
 
Vaccine Costs $90 Or More Per Dose
 
There is another problem: one dose of meningococcal vaccine costs about $9028 or more.
 
The health care price tag to give four doses of meningococcal vaccine to all four million babies born every year in the U.S. costs a whopping $1.4 billion dollars per year. Plus two more doses for all 11 and 16 year olds adds on another nearly $1 billion dollars.
 
Vaccine Reactions Add to Vaccine Cost
 
There is another problem. The health care cost to the American taxpayer does not end with the outlay of cash to pay for 6 doses of the vaccine for every child.  What about the unacknowledged health care costs to treat the children, who suffer a vaccine reaction that leads to a trip to the ER or hospitalization or permanent brain and immune system problems?
 
Vaccine Reaction Injuries & Deaths Reported
 
The manufacturer product inserts for meningococcal vaccine list the following adverse events reported during clinical trials or post licensure: irritability, abnormal crying, fever, drowsiness, fatigue, injection site pain and swelling, sudden loss of consciousness (syncope), diarrhea, headache, joint pain, Guillain Barre Syndrome, brain inflammation, convulsions, and facial palsy.293031  
 
The federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS), which includes only a small fraction of the health problems that occur after vaccination in the U.S.,3233 has recorded more than 2,000 serious health problems, hospitalizations and injuries following meningococcal shots, including 33 deaths with half of the deaths occurring in children under age six.34  
  
Limited or No Data on Giving Vaccine With Other Vaccines
 
There is very limited or no data on the safety and effectiveness of giving meningococcal vaccines with other vaccines at the same time.35 In 2007, the National Vaccine Information Center reported an increase in serious adverse event reports to VAERS when meningococcal vaccine was given simultaneously with HPV vaccine to young girls.3637 
 
States & Colleges Already Mandated Vaccine to Attend School
 
Ten states have already made meningococcal shots mandatory to attend junior high school and 32 states require the shot for college freshman.3839 If the CDC recommends all babies and children get an additional four meningococcal shots, drug companies and medical organizations financially connected to the pharmaceutical industry40 will certainly lobby state legislatures to legally require the vaccine for all children attending day care centers and schools.
 
Are Vaccine Companies Pressuring Government?
 
Question: Why is the government bowing to pressure from drug companies to recommend and mandate that all American babies get four doses of a very expensive meningococcal vaccine that has big problems with effectiveness, especially when naturally acquired herd immunity is already doing such a good job of controlling the disease in the U.S.?
 
Trading Natural Herd Immunity for Temporary Vaccine Immunity
 
By mandating that every American use meningococcal vaccine from infancy, we will be trading the natural herd immunity our population has achieved for inferior vaccine acquired immunity that does not last. That will make our population vaccine dependent, which is great news for drug company stockholders, but will it be bad news for our health and the environment?
 
Creating a Nightmare Scenario?
 
Like with excessive antibiotic use,4142 we just might be creating a nightmare scenario for meningococcal organisms to mutate into more lethal vaccine resistant bugs43, 4445 that will have all of us highly susceptible to invasive meningococcal infection and wishing we had taken the precautionary principle46 much more seriously.
 
Bottom line: Meningococcal vaccine is available and can be used by anyone who wants to use it, but there is no reason for government to recommend and schools to mandate the shots for everyone.
 
Learn More About Disease & Vaccine
 
Learn more about meningococcal disease and the vaccine at www.NVIC.org and find out what you can do to protect your right to make informed, voluntary vaccine choices in America. 
 
References:

[1] Centers for Disease Control. Recommended Immunization Schedule for Persons 0 through 6 Years. United States. 2011.
[2] NVIC. 49 Doses of 14 Vaccines By Age 6?
[3] Lakely J. Health Care Reporters: CDC to Pull Plug on Meningitis Vaccine Over Cost? The Heartland Institute. May 24, 2011.
[4] Ostrom CM. The Seattle Times. Meningitis Vaccine Debated at CDC Forum. July 13, 2011.
[5] Centers for Disease Control. Recommended Immunization Schedule for Persons 7 Through 18 years – United States. 2011.
[6] AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases. Prevention and Control of Meningococcal Disease: Recommendations for Use of Meningococcal Vaccines in Pediatric Patients. Pediatrics August 1, 2005; 116(2): 495-505.
[7] American College Health Association. Press Release: ACHA Issues New Meningococcal Disease Immunization Recommendations for First Year Students Living in Residence Halls. March 17, 2005.
[8] Cohn A. Meningococcal Disease in Infants and Considerations for use of Conjugate Vaccines. Presentation at the CDC Public Engagement Stakeholders Meeting, Washington, D.C.. May 25, 2011. Slide: Average Annual Deaths and Case-Fatality Ratios by Serogroup and Age, 2001-2010.
[9] Cohn A. Epidemiology of Meningococcal Disease in the U.S. Presentation to the FDA Vaccines & Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC). Transcript of April 6, 2011 Meeting. Pages 50-52.  
[10] Cohn AC, MacNeil JR, Harrison LH et al. Changes in Neisseria meningitides Disease Epidemiology in the United States, 1998-2007: Implications for Prevention of Meningococcal Disease. Clinical Infectious Diseases January 15, 2010; 50(2): 184-191.
[11] CDC. Heat-Related Deaths – United States, 1999-2003. MMWR July 28, 2006; 55(29): 796-798.
[12] CDC. Stay Safe While Boating: Know the Facts. May 23, 2011.
[13] FDA. Vaccines & Related Biological Products Advisory Committee. FDA Briefing Document: Use of Serum Bactericidal Antibody As an Immunological Correlate for Demonstration of Effectiveness of Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccines (Serogroup A, C, Y, W-135) Administered to Children Less than 2 Years of Age. April 6, 2011. Pages 3-4.
[14] Tan L KK, Cadone GM, Borrow R. Advances in the development of vaccines against Neisseria meningitidis. NEJM April 22, 2010; 362(16): 1511-1520.
[15] Manchanda V. Gupta S., Bhalla P. Meningococcal Disease: History, Epidemiology, Pathogenesis, Clinical Manifestations, Diagnosis, Antiomicrobial Susceptibility and Prevention. Indian Journal of Medical Microbiology 2006; 24(1): 7-19.
[16] Bille E, Ure R et al. Association of Bacteriophage with Meningococcal Disease in Young Adults. PLOS One 2008; 3(12): e3885.
[17] See Reference # 13.
[18] CDC. Prevention & Control of Meningococcal Disease - Recommendations of ACIPMMWR May 27, 2005; 50(RR07): 1-21.
[19] See References #10 & 15.
[20] CDC. Meningitis Questions & Answers.
[21] NIH. Encephalitis. PubMed July 26, 2010.
[22] CDC.Meningococcal Disease and College Students. MMWR June 30, 2000; 48(RR07): 11-20.
[23] See Reference #18.
[24] Granoff DM. Review of Meningococcal Group B Vaccines. Clinical Infectious Diseases
2010; 50(Supplement 2): 554-565.
[25] See Reference #9. Page 50.
2011; 305(13): 1291-1293.
[27] See Reference # 9. Pages 55-59.
[28] Tucker M. A Difficult Vaccine Decision. EGMN Notes from the Road. November 2, 2010.
[29] Sanofi-Pasteur. Menactra Product Information Insert. April 22, 2011.
[31] Sanofi Pasteur. Menommune Product Manufacturer Insert. January 2009.
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
[33] Rosenthanl S, Chen R. The reporting sensitivities of two passive surveillance systems for vaccine adverse events. Am J Public Health 1995; 85: pp. 1706-9.
[34] VAERS. MedAlerts database. Reports of health problems, hospitalizations, injuries and deaths following receipt of meningococcal vaccine.
[35] See References #27-29.
[37] Debold V, Downey C, Fisher BL. Human Papilloma Virus Vaccine Safety Analysis of Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System Reports (VAERS): Part III. NVIC August 15, 2007; Adverse Events & Co-Administration of Vaccines: Pages 15-27.
[38] Immunization Action Coalition. Meningococcal Vaccine Mandates for Elementary and High Schools. June 2, 2011.
[39] Immunization Action Coalition. Meningococcal Vaccine Mandates for Colleges & Universities. June 2, 2011.
[41] FDA. Antimicrobial Resistance. June 30, 2011.
[43] Brueggemann AB, Pai R et al. Vaccine Escape Recombinants Emerge After Pneumococcal Vaccination in the United States. PLOS Pathogens November 2007; 3(11): e16B.
[46] Science & Environmental Health Network (SEHN). The Wingspread Statement on the Precautionary Principle. January 1998.
  
Posted: 7/15/2011 2:07:17 PM | with 7 comments





  
Comments
Paul G. King
Would suggest that all read:
http://dr-king.com/docs/110128_DrftRevuNonCostEffectivenessOfVaxProgrmForN_MeningitidisAnd_b.pdf

In addition, everyone should be concerned about Novartis' MenVeo meningiococcal meningitis vaccine because the package insert does NOT disclose the names and amounts of the components in the vaccine other than the 4 antigens and a trace of formaldehyde -- the FDA and the company refused to provide this information when I asked for it and my FOIA requests for the documents needed to ascertain the composition of this 2-part vaccine were denied -- all are considered "trade secrets" it seems -- denying the public their right to know what all of the componennts are in the
vaccine except for water and the amounts of all components in the formulation of a vaccine dose except for the components used to adjust ionic strength which only be named. Most of that information has NOT been included in the package insert (labeling) whereas those components are generally listed by some name and their amounts provided in some understandable units of mass.

Hopefully, if all will demand this information and have everyone boycott MenVeo on the grounds that its composition is not properly revealed, perhaps the FDA & Novartis will change the package insert to fully disclose the nature and amounts of the hidden components.

As for the vaccination program, it is obviously not medically cost effective and, given the % that develop any "significant" titer, the lack of coverage for all human-infectious strains, and the short duration of what is claimed to be adequate protection, these vaccines should be removed form the national vaccination program ASAP.
7/19/2011 1:28:28 AM
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Jason Sav
Vaccines cause more health problems than they prevent. They do more harm than good. Do the research.
7/20/2011 4:29:32 PM
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Jennifer Moss
Thank you !!
7/30/2011 8:30:30 PM
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House of Numbers
In your dialog, you mention one of the risk factors as being HIV/AIDS - which actually is only a theory, a hypothesis and when closely examined is a gigantic fraud. In truth there is zero evidence that HIV causes AIDS, there is no specific test for a HIV virus, HIV has never been isolated in a so-called AIDS patient, yet there is a mountain of data that reveals that AIDS is caused by the drugs prescribed to persons diagnosed with HIV.

For more info...

http://exlibhollywood.blogspot.com/2009/05/doctors-without-boundaries.html

http://www.houseofnumbers.com/

http://www.duesberg.com/

http://rethinkingaids.com/

http://henryhbauer.homestead.com/
8/3/2011 2:40:17 AM
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Daisy
Yeah, that's the ticket, sir or ma'am
8/27/2011 5:30:48 PM
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LORI-ANNE
MY CHILDREN "WILL NOT"GET THIS OR ANY OTHERS EITHER ...........NO WAY!!
9/4/2011 11:53:43 PM
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Karen
My daughter did have a reaction to this vaccine! She ended up in the ER with severe joint pain to where she was curled up in a ball, high fever, shortness of breath...this was a couple of hours directly follwing the vaccination, and she was 100% fine before that. My son, who has ASD, was forced to have this vaccine done at age 11, even after his sister had this severe reaction. We had no choice, as his Ped was threatening to release him from his care and the care of the whole group...he prescribes his meds and there is nobody else locally willing to take over his care if unvaccinated. Both children are doing well today, but this is very scary!
9/25/2011 7:41:07 PM
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