[SaneVax: Consenting to any medical intervention requires an analysis of the risks versus benefits – this includes vaccines. Tetanus vaccines are no exception. How serious is tetanus should you contract it? What are the real-world chances you will be exposed to it? What treatment options are available should you contract tetanus? How effective is the vaccine? What side effects are associated with the tetanus vaccine? Am I allergic to any of the ingredients/components in the vaccine? As a medical consumer, you have a right to know the answers to all of these questions before you consent to vaccination.]
Tetanus Vaccine: What are the real risks of the disease compared to the vaccine?
By Trevor Gunn
The tetanus vaccine appears to mimic the disease
This is an illness that is due to bacterial toxins from the site of a wound affecting the nervous system and therefore, unlike other illnesses, does appear to be more closely related to process of vaccination. The tetanus bacteria themselves (Clostridium tetani) are widespread and can be found in soil, dust, manure, rust and even in the digestive tract of people. However the issues are the same as other illnesses, firstly the symptoms of tetanus, paralysis and rigidity, are due to poisoning of the nervous system, often the first signs are in the jaw, hence the term lock-jaw. This nerve poisoning is in fact the end result of a disease process that can easily be avoided once we are clear about the causes.
If a wound contains enough material for bacteria to live on and is covered with no access to air, then the bacteria will grow without oxygen (anaerobically) this could give rise to the bacterial toxin that could lead to blood poisoning. Therefore shallow cuts and grazes do not pose such a problem and therefore in deeper injuries the first preventative is wound cleaning; this does not require topical antibacterial treatments as the presence of bacteria are not a problem, so long as the debris on which they live is removed. Thus wound cleansing has been recommended in Accident and Emergency departments utilizing tap water only, the Drugs and Therapeutics Bulletin of 25 November 1991 states that antibacterial applications actually slow wound healing making the situation worse, therefore tap water is recommended even in the A & E departments of hospitals.
Vaccines have no impact in most cases of tetanus in the developing world
Cases and mortality are higher in developing countries with poor hygienic conditions, here tetanus is significantly higher in newborns, most case are caused by using dirty, rusty scissors when cutting the umbilical cord at birth in families that are poor and mal-nourished. Consequently these cases cannot be protected from vaccines since the vaccine is not given on the day of birth and cannot be effective in reducing the incidence of such conditions, therefore vaccines that are said to reduce tetanus in developing countries will actually have no impact on the majority of childhood tetanus cases.
Low tetanus vaccine uptake rates in the developed world and yet virtually no tetanus
If, for example a wound did contain debris, bacteria and no oxygen then the patient would experience a blood poisoning, in which case the site would become red and inflamed. Almost all patients in developed countries that are not specifically unwell with immune compromised conditions have an immune system and therefore would react successfully to such a wound. In fact tetanus is virtually unheard of in developed countries, vaccines however cannot be used as the reason for this as it is estimated that at least 40% of these populations do not have up to date vaccines of tetanus. In the building industry where this figure may be higher and the nature of these wounds is a common everyday occurrence, there is no tetanus. Clearly natural immunity plays the most significant role in preventing this illness.