The downside and liabilities of vaccines are well established. The purpose of this post is to examine the effectiveness of vaccination campaigns at the front end.
The main advances in combating disease over the last 200 years have been better food and clean drinking water. Improved sanitation, reductions in overcrowding and better living conditions also contribute. This is also borne out in published peer-reviewed research:
- “The questionable contribution of medical measures to the decline of mortality in the United States in the twentieth century“. McKinlay JB, McKinlay SM, Milbank Mem Fund Q Health Soc. 1977 Summer; 55(3): 405-28.
- “Symposium: Accomplishments in Child Nutrition during the 20th Century. Infant Mortality in the 20th Century, Dramatic but Uneven Progress” Myron E. Wegman School of Public Health, University of Michigan: J. Nutr. 131: 401S–408S, 2001
Diphtheria and Whooping Cough
Data from the U.K. shows that mortality from diphtheria was in steady decline up until the nationwide vaccination program got underway in 1940-1941. You will notice a great reduction in the afllication between 1941 and 1946. You should also notice that mortality among infants did not experience a similar decline.
Additionally, vaccinations were not universal and nowhere near the level of 80-85% necessary for herd immunization. By the end of 1941, 36% of school-age children had been immunized, but only about 19% of younger children [British Journal of Nursing October 1948 p. 121].
At least half the children under age 10 had not been vaccinated prior to 1946. Notice that in 1944, the U.K. instituted an active health program of free medical checkups, free school milk (vitamin A) and subsidized meals. In 1948, the U.K. also introduced widespread health reform, which would have been a factor in completely knocking out diphtheria.
By 1946, diphtheria had disappeared in the non-infant population, but the U.K. government launched in 1946-47 a “catch-up” diphtheria vaccination campaign. A total of 1.24 million previously unvaccinated children were vaccinated even though diphtheria was already effectively eradicated except for infants. And still, older children are being vaccinated for diphtheria to this very day.
Whooping cough was also subjected to vaccination campaigns. The campaigns started after the cough had trendlined downward for years. Like diphtheria, the vaccine was administered starting in 1940-41. Full “herd immunity” levels were not achieved until 1951. By 1955, whooping cough was effectively eradicated. Was it the vaccine, or was it simply the trend of better health conditions? Looks like the vaccine proponents were doing victory dances after the game was essentially already won. People continue to be vaccinated for whooping cough to this very day.
Incredibly, a vaccine was introduced for measles in 1964, after it was effectively eradicated.
The current vaccine fad is rubella. A graph for rubella mortality is not included because death from rubella over the last century was so rare that the figures are insufficient to plot on a graph.
To conclude, let’s examine two afflictions that were not subjected to vaccination programs: scarlet fever and typhoid. Both fizzled out under their own steam about the same time as diphteria and whooping cough.