In the last three years, the theologians of revaccination have generally carried the day in the face of all logical, scientific, and ethical considerations. Ironically, the major historical development in their favor has been the increasing progress of the disease among unvaccinated minority infants.
Thus over 500 cases were reported for Los Angeles County in 1988, over 17% of the total nationwide; and of these about 65% were under 5 years of age, 77% were Hispanic, and 38% were actually less than 16 months old, the age at which the vaccine is usually given (12)! These data have been used effectively to browbeat state legislatures into allocating more funds and local officials into tighter enforcement of vaccination laws in minority districts.
As a result, lowering the vaccination age to 9 months has been recommended for certain high-incidence areas, an idea which brings us back full circle to the pre-1979 era, when large numbers of kids were "inappropriately vaccinated" according to similar guidelines. These absurd vacillations have nevertheless caught millions of innocent children in their web, and even the most sanctimonious faith and piety will no longer suffice to excuse them.
Although only the measles vaccine has been implicated, the medical and public health authorities are currently advocating revaccination with the mumps and rubella vaccine as well, but cannot even agree on the proper age, while the various state legislatures are left to try to figure out which of them if any to pay attention to. Thus the American Academy of Family Practice currently advocates a second MMR booster at 4 to 6 years of age (13), and a bill now before the Ohio legislature mandates documented proof of MMR revaccination before entering the seventh grade (14). The general idea seems to be that the extra dose can't possibly hurt, and therefore it makes sense to throw in the mumps and rubella vaccines as well.
This same generic faith continues to bless the pharmaceutical industry in its endless and immensely profitable quest for new vaccines, seemingly for no other reason than its technical capacity to make them.
In the late 1980's, a vaccine was introduced against Hemophilus influenzae Type B, associated with scattered outbreaks of meningitis in crowded day-care facilities. At first purely optional for the preschool-age group (2 to 4 years), it was eventually made compulsory for all infants, even those who never need day care, and is presently given at or before 18 months, in some cases before the first birthday.
Always primarily a disease of adult IV drug users, hepatitis B quickly found its way into blood banks and has become a more or less institutionalized risk of patients requiring transfusions and other blood products. As with chicken pox, the hepatitis B vaccine was developed in the 1970's; it is now being marketed only because the medical authorities have never figured out how to approach or "target" the drug subculture in a useful way. Once again, when all else fails, the favored solution is simply to vaccinate everybody.
In the past few months, the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics have decided to mandate Hepatitis B vaccination for all newborn babies (15), and are still trying to decide whether to give it at birth or with the DPT at 2 months of age. It remains to be seen whether the American public, already increasingly upset about the vaccination issue, will simply acquiesce in this latest baptism of its newly born, explicitly intended as their very first immunological experience.
Although still technically optional, comparable transsubstantiations are also available at the other end of life. Originally intended for the entire adult population, the influenza and pneumococcus vaccines have never been popular, and several studies have shown them to be ineffective as well (16, 17). When the swine flu "epidemic" of 1978 never materialized, and thousands of vaccinees developed crippling Guillain-Barre syndrome, the American public began to question the concept of vaccination openly for the first time. Yet the elderly and infirm continue to be pressured heavily to accept these "rejects" on a yearly basis as a form of extreme unction against both diseases.
Seemingly without limit, the search goes on, now indissolubly linked to the technology of genetic engineering. Currently in the works are vaccines against the Group A streptococcus, the common cold, and bronchiolitis, all of which are being bred into the gene pool of mice, rats, baboons, and other experimental animals without any discernible caution or restraint (18). A fitting denouement not far off is the AIDS vaccine, monstrous even in principle, since those at risk are already seriously immunocompromised: a suppressive vaccine would not only increase their chances of getting it, but help to soften up the general population as well.
Next I want to reconsider the DPT story, presently the major battleground of the vaccine controversy in the United States, and the area in which most of my own experience with vaccine related illness has been concentrated. Thanks to consumer organizations like Dissatisfied Parents Together (DPT), and books like Harris Coulter and Barbara Fisher's A Shot in the Dark, the plight of vaccine-injured children is beginning to be recognized and taken seriously by the general public.
In 1986, despite intensive lobbying by the AMA and other vested interests, Congress belatedly enacted the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, which requires the Public Health Service to investigate all reports of vaccine injury and formulate guidelines for compensation (19). Unfortunately, the Public Health Service and its subsidiary agency, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), can usually be counted on to look the other way, since a large part of their budget is earmarked for advocating and enforcing the same compulsory vaccination programs.
Thus the new DPT compensation guidelines rule out every condition other than the few already identified (collapse, anaphylaxis, and brain damage), and everything chronic unless it appears less than 7 days after the vaccination (20). Even these massive exclusions are insufficient for many vaccine proponents, who still deny the encephalopathy charge as well (21, 22).
So the battle continues, with no end in sight: the unit cost of the DPT vaccine has skyrocketed, as have the number and size of personal injury awards against manufacturers, and many pediatricians are privately willing to give the DT alone if the parents insist. Meanwhile, pertussis has made a slight comeback in the years 1986-88, when the CDC reported a 3-year total of roughly 10,500 cases (23).
As in the case of the measles, the bureaucratic language effectively conceals the true demographics. Thus, of those cases with "known vaccination status," 63% had been "inappropriately immunized," and 34% had not been vaccinated at all. We are meant to infer that the vaccine is nearly 100% effective, with very few cases in the vaccinated group. Only by reading the fine print do we learn that those whose vaccination status was "unknown" (7700 cases) actually comprise more than 70% of the total. Since even its chief proponents concede the DPT to be the least effective of all the vaccines, my bet once again is that most or all the "unknown" 70% were simply vaccinees without documentation acceptable to the Inquisitorial authorities.
Indeed, after reporting several cases in infants less than 2 months old, a Philadelphia pediatrician recently advocated that the DPT be given even earlier, ideally "as early in life as possible" (24). The sacramental status of vaccines is widely interpreted by public health officials as prior authorization for vaccinating almost anyone against anything at any time.
With that history as background, I want to speak about some of my own patients' illness related to the DPT vaccine, the one am most familiar with. Because these cases can be very difficult to trace, I am reasonably sure that the other vaccines will prove just as important clinically when we know better how to recognize and look for them.
By no means the least of what homeopathy has to teach is its reaffirmation of the individual patient as the presiding genius of what the healer needs to know. Whereas modern medicine seeks to define itself quantitatively, as a set of technologies to identify and control the key numbers (antibodies, etc.), the vision of homeopathy is essentially qualitative, matching the unique energy of each patient with the singular totality of the remedy. If the following cases are acceptable evidence for my theories and speculations, they are the ultimate source of them as well.
While the DPT vaccine is specifically implicated in brain damage and a variety of other neurological syndromes, and many of these cases are amenable to homeopathic treatment, I want to concentrate today on cases that are far less serious but also more common, easier to understand, and more representative of the problem as a whole.
Both high fevers of unknown origin that were treated successfully with the corresponding nosode, my very first DPT cases illustrate the thought process by which specific symptoms may be added to the remedy picture of any given vaccine. While the history must ultimately show that the child has "never been well" or quite the same since one or more DPT injections, this connection may not be obvious or even suspected unless specific questions are asked to elicit it.
In some cases, an abnormal white count and differential may give independent pathological confirmation: other examples include tender posterior cervical or retroauricular nodes for rubella, parotid swellings for mumps, and the like. Naturally, symptoms like high fever that seem aberrant or unusual to the parent are more suspicious and therefore easier to trace. But only a curative response to the DPT nosode really suffices to prove that the illness in question was specifically related to the vaccine.
A baby girl of 8 months had had three episodes of high fever, typically 105°F. or more, but lasting 48 hours at most. During the second episode, she was hospitalized for tests, but her pediatrician found nothing. Each time she felt quite well afterwards, and appeared to be growing and developing normally. The only other information I could elicit from the mother was that the episodes had occurred exactly one month apart, and that the first episode had come just one month after the last of her DPT shots, which likewise had been given at one-monthly intervals. With the help of these revelations, the mother was able to recall that similar fever episodes had also occurred after each injection, but her pediatrician had advised her to ignore them, since fever is perhaps the commonest reaction to the vaccine. I therefore gave a single dose of DPT 10M, and the child never had another episode.
A 9-month~old girl was brought in with a fever of 105°F. and very few other symptoms. Two previous episodes had occurred at irregular intervals, and the parents, who felt ambivalent about vaccinations in general, had given her only one DPT shot, particularly since the first fever had come less than 2 weeks afterward. After 48 hours of high fever unresponsive to acute remedies, a CBC showed a white count of 32,000, with 43% lymphs, 11% monos, 25% polys (many with toxic granulations), and 20% bands. With only the blood picture to go on, a pediatrician friend at once suggested pertussis. After DPT 10M, the fever came down in 2 hours, and the child has been well since.
These cases are noteworthy for two reasons: first, because they exhibited a characteristic symptom or "keynote" (high fever) of the DPT vaccine; and second, because their responses to it were strong and healthy, such that their illnesses, although recurrent, soon resolved each time without chronic sequelae. But, like the brain-damaged cases, they are also the exception rather than the rule, instructive mainly in contrast with others less specific and therefore more difficult to trace.
In the following cases, the vaccine appeared to act nonspecifically, whether by exacerbating a pre-existing chronic condition or simply by casting a shadow over the background of a chronic condition that did not materialize until some time later. Because excellent results were obtained with the usual constitutional or miasmatic remedies, and the specific nosode often was not needed, the vaccine connection could not always be proved. In other instances, the nosode was used later to remove a quasi-miasmatic "block," when seemingly well-indicated remedies no longer worked or failed to hold or act deeply.