By Norma Erickson
The ‘medical miracle’ of vaccines has proven quite miraculous on at least one front, the financial one. Investors in the manufacture, distribution and administration of vaccines have reaped handsome rewards since the creation of the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA).
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC):
The topic of vaccine safety became prominent during the mid 1970s with increases in lawsuits filed on behalf of those presumably injured by the diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus (DPT) vaccine. Legal decisions were made and damages awarded despite the lack of scientific evidence to support vaccine injury claims. As a result of these decisions, liability and prices soared, and several manufacturers halted production. A vaccine shortage resulted and public health officials became concerned about the return of epidemic disease. To reduce liability and respond to public health concerns, Congress passed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA) in 1986.
This change in liability created an environment where vaccine manufacturers could evolve from threatening to get out of the vaccine production business to generating the following sales in 2012:1
- Prevnar 13® – $3.718 billion – Pfizer
- Gardasil® – $1.900 billion – Merck & Co/Sanofli Pasteur MSD
- PENTAct-HIB – $1.522 billion – Sanofli/Sanofli Pasteur MSD
- Infanrix/Pediarix – $1.183 billion – by GlaxoSmithKline
- Fluzone – $1.152 billion – by Sanofli/Sanofli Pasteur MSD
- Hepatitis franchise – $986 million – by GlaxoSmithKline
- Varivax – $846 million – by Merck & Co/Sanofli Pasteur MSD
- Menactra – $735 million – by Sanofli/Sanofli Pasteur
- Zostavax – $651 million – by Merck & Co/Sanofli Pasteur
- RotaTeq® – $648 million – by Merck & Co/Sanofli Pasteur
- Synflorix® – $587 million – by GlaxoSmithKline
- Pneumovax®23 – $580 million – by Merck & Co/Sanofli Pasteur
- Rotarix – $549 million – by GlaxoSmithKline
- Adacel – $469 million – by Sanofli/Sanofli Pasteur MSD
- Prevnar – $399 million – by Pfizer
For the five producers of the top 15 vaccines, this is a total of $15.925 billion; not at all bad for an industry that was threatening to close down operations 30 years ago. Apparently, limited liability does wonders for the bottom line.
Whether the miraculous nature of the limited liability vaccination programs instituted since the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) was created extends to safety and efficacy remains hotly debated.
For instance, in 1980 there were three recommended vaccines given in five shots before age 2; DPT (Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis), MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) and OPV (oral polio vaccine). The autism rate in 1980 was estimated at 2/10,000. Now, children could receive as many as 24 shots by 2 years of age and five shots in a single visit1 and the autism rate is now 1/88.2
No, this information does not prove causation. However, any reasonable person can see that a correlation exists. This correlation needs to be thoroughly investigated by people who are not stakeholders in vaccines or vaccination programs.
Until that research is completed, exercise your right to informed consent.4 Do your research.
Get these questions answered before you decide if a vaccine is right for you or your child:
- How serious is the disease being vaccinated against?
- What are the chances of being exposed to this disease?
- What is the normal outcome of contracting this disease?
- What is the worst case scenario of contracting this disease?
- What are the ingredients in this vaccine?
- Do I have an allergy to any of the vaccine ingredients?
- How effective is this vaccine?
- What are the adverse effects currently associated with this vaccine?
- Have I experienced an adverse reaction to any prior vaccination?
- Does my family’s health history make me more likely to suffer an adverse reaction to this vaccine?
- Does my current state of health indicate I can be vaccinated now, should wait to vaccinate later, or not vaccinate at all?
- What are the alternative ways to protect against this disease?
Above all, remember vaccines can and do cause injury or death for some individuals.
Don’t play vaccine roulette – evaluate the risks, benefits, and alternatives – be a wise medical consumer!
- Top 15 Selling Vaccines of 2012, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, July 2013
- History of Vaccine Schedule, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, reviewed by Paul A. Offit, MD
- Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), CDC
- Informed Consent, Medline Plus, National Institutes of Health