Time To End Profit Driven Mandatory
by Evelyn Pringle
The push to keep adding more vaccines
to the mandatory schedules comes directly from a purely profit
motivated industry and a recent investor report estimates that
the world-wide market will quadruple from about $4.3 billion in
2006 to more than $16 billion in 2016, with the biggest boost
coming from kids in the US.
A November 2007 report entitled, "Pipeline
and Commercial Insight: Pediatric and Adolescent Vaccines,"
authored by vaccine analyst, Hedwig Kresse, for the independent
market analyst Datamonitor discusses the future outlook for vaccine
The report provides an assessment of products
and a patient-based forecast of market size and coverage rates
to the year 2016, and predicts that the introduction of high price
vaccines will induce rapid growth in the pediatric and adolescent
The report predicts that due to the "promising
commercial potential" of new, high-price vaccines, the pediatric
and adolescent market will quadruple from approximately $4.3 billion
in 2006, to over $16 billion by 2016, across the US, the EU-five
including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK, and Japan.
The crucial factor for success in the
pediatric market, the report notes, is the introduction of a product
into national vaccination schedules. "Along with reimbursement,
this virtually guarantees the rapid uptake and continuously high
coverage rates in the target population," Ms Kresse states.
As an example, she cites Wyeth's Prevnar,
as the first premium price vaccine launched in the US in 2000
for vaccinating infants against pneumonia and meningitis.
Since then, Prevnar has been added to
the childhood vaccination schedules in the US and EU-five despite
its high price of nearly $320 for the 4-dose regimen. In 2006,
Global sales reached almost $2 billion, making Prevnar the first
vaccine to attain blockbuster status, according to the report.
By 2016, Datamonitor expects the total value of the infant market
for pneumococcal vaccines to increase to $2.3 billion.
In June 2006, Merck's Gardasil was approved
for cervical cancer. Because it was the first vaccine offered
as a preventive measure for a form of cancer, its approval generated
tremendous public attention along with pressure for healthcare
authorities to make the vaccine available to teenage girls at
a cost of $360 for 3 doses.
"Although most cases of cervical
cancer in the developed world can be prevented through the existing
pap smear screening programs, the expensive HPV vaccination has
been recommended and is reimbursed for teenage girls across the
US and Europe," Ms Kresse reports.
She notes that this decision is driven
more by public pressure and excitement about the opportunity to
vaccinate against cancer rather than by real need. The widespread
publicity has led to a good uptake in the target group of adolescent
girls, which is usually hard to reach for vaccination, Ms Kresse
points out to investors.
Datamonitor sees a huge commercial opportunity
in HPV vaccines, with annual sales of $1.4 billion in teenage
girls for the seven major markets by 2016 and a cumulative catch-up
opportunity in women aged 13-26 that could add up to over $17
billion until 2016.
But Ms Kresse warns investors that the
"lack of medical need" for rotavirus vaccines such as
RotaTeq will limit their uptake in most markets. RotaTeq is advertised
to combat diarrhea that usually affects infants under the age
of two, and was introduced by Merck in the US in 2006, at a price
of $200 for the three-dose regimen.
According to Ms Kresse, many countries,
but not the US, have refused to add the vaccine to their schedules
due to cost-benefit reasons. "In the developed world, rotavirus
diarrhea is rarely severe for small infants and quick and efficacious
treatment is already available," she writes. "Consequently,
healthcare authorities see no need to widely introduce a very
Datamonitor estimates that annual sales
will remain limited to approximately $1 billion across the 7 major
markets by 2016 and predicts that the US will account for the
majority of sales, being the only country to have recommended
the rotavirus vaccine for all infants.
Wyeth's Prevnar vaccine came on the market
in 2000 and is recommended for children under 2. The vaccine was
hailed as a breakthrough and had sales of more than $1.5 billion
in 2006. Prevnar is given as four shots to children between 2
and 15 months.
On September 18, 2007, NewsMax reported
that the vaccine has dramatically curbed pneumonia and other serious
illnesses in children but is also having an unfortunate effect:
"promoting new superbugs that cause ear infections."
According to NewsMax, doctors reported
finding the first such germ that is resistant to all drugs approved
to treat childhood ear infections and 9 toddlers in Rochester,
N.Y., have had the bug and that it also may be turning up elsewhere.
It is a strain of strep bacteria not included
in the pneumococcal vaccine. Prevnar prevents seven strains responsible
for most cases of pneumonia, meningitis and bloodstream infections.
But dozens more strains exist and some have become resistant to
antibiotics since the vaccine combats the more common strains.
If the new strains continue to spread,
"it tells us the vaccine is becoming less effective"
and needs to be revised, Dr Dennis Maki, infectious diseases chief
at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Hospitals and Clinics,
A new study in the November 8, 2007 New
England Journal of Medicine by researchers at Oregon Health &
Science University, supported by the United States Public Health
Service, suggests that the schedule for vaccinating and revaccinating
against diseases should be reevaluated and adjusted.
The study found that in many cases, the
established duration of immunity for vaccines is greatly underestimated,
which means that people are getting booster shots when their immunity
levels do not require it and those antibody responses caused by
viruses such as measles mumps, and rubella remained at protective
levels for several decades and in most cases, for life.
The research also reconfirmed a previous
finding by Slifka and his colleagues: that the duration of immunity
after smallpox vaccination is much longer than previously thought.
In that earlier study published in the journal Nature Medicine
in 2003, these OHSU researchers observed surprisingly long-lived
antiviral antibody responses but they were unable to measure the
slow rate of decline.
The study indicates that the duration
of immunity after smallpox vaccination is maintained with a calculated
half-life of 92 years and that a person who has received the primary
series of tetanus vaccine is likely to be protected for 3 decades.
Experts say we have allowed ourselves
and our children to be overdosed through a culture dominated by
industry marketing influence which has now become dangerously
out of control and detrimental to our children's health. "In
the 21st century, it is unacceptable to be marketing medication
to infants and children that may not work," Dr Steven Czinn,
chair of the department of pediatrics at the University of Maryland
School of Medicine, told Reuters on October 11, 2007.
In the November 19, 2007 Huffington Post
article, "Over Medicated and Over-Vaccinated: The Unintended
Consequence of Medicines Meant to Protect," Deirdre Imus
asks, "Where are the conflict-free studies that prove giving
infants and children 49 immunizations - most of them by age 5,
are safe and effective?"
She points out that studies have provided
evidence that the over-vaccination of dogs and cats can result
in numerous maladies including cancer, skin and ear conditions,
arthritis, allergies, diabetes, aggression, behavior problems
and other immune system dysfunctions. "There is even a name
for the conditions caused by animal over-vaccination, vaccinosis,"
Ms Imus also points out that the mercury-containing
preservative, thimerosal, used in vaccines for over 50 years was
removed from animal vaccines in 1992.
"Unfortunately for the kids,"
she writes, "it remained in children's vaccines for another
decade and remains in some vaccines like the influenza (25 micrograms)
and tetanus vaccine (25 micrograms) today and in trace amounts
(3 micrograms) in some immunizations."
She says most people do not realize is
that any liquid waste containing more than 200 parts per billion
(ppb) mercury must be deposited at a hazardous waste site and
that drinking water cannot exceed 2 ppb mercury.
"But when the influenza vaccines
arrive and are injected into pregnant woman and infants as young
as six months, those vaccines contain 50,000 ppb mercury,"
Ms Imus notes.
This amount of mercury is 250 times higher
than hazardous waste, she notes, and according to EPA guidelines,
this amount can only be considered safe if a person weighs 550
pounds. "Even trace amounts of mercury in vaccines can be
anywhere from 600 to 2000 ppb," she warns.
On November 13, 2006, PutChildrenFirst.org,
a parent-led organization advocating vaccine safety, issued a
press release to announce the results of a survey conducted October
27-30, 2006, by Zogby International of over 9,000 Americans to
learn their plans for getting flu shots, their knowledge of its
ingredients, and who they hold responsible for making sure vaccines
The survey showed that an overwhelming
majority of Americans were unaware that most flu shots contain
mercury and that they would refuse a shot with mercury. After
learning that mercury is an ingredient, 74% of those polled said
they were less likely to get a flu shot and 86% of parents said
they were less likely to allow their child to get a shot.
Lisa Handley is a founding parent of PutChildrenFirst.org,
whose son Jamison had an adverse reaction to a flu shot with mercury
in 2003. "I know firsthand how life-changing a flu shot with
mercury can be, since our son began his regression into autism
after his flu shot," she states.
"With everything we know about the
dangers of mercury and the havoc it can wreak on young, developing
brains, there is no excuse for any vaccine to contain mercury,"
says Lyn Redwood, RN, MSN, President of SafeMinds, a nonprofit
organization committed to ending mercury-induced neurological
"The survey reveals that Americans
are overwhelmingly in the dark about what is in most flu shots,"
Ms Redwood stated in the press release.
"They do not want a known neurotoxin
injected into their children, and they believe Congress and medical
professionals must be more vigilant about keeping vaccines safe
and mercury-free," she added.
PutChildrenFirst also advises that two
recent studies in leading medical journals admitted that limited
data exists to support the effectiveness of flu vaccines. One
study, in the Journal of the American Medical Association, noted
that, "there is scant data on the efficacy and effectiveness
of influenza vaccine in young children," the release notes.
According to Ms Imus, we are beginning
to see prescribed vaccines, like the whole cell DPT and Rotovirus,
which are later found to be unsafe.
"While physicians warn the public
about the over use of antibiotics," she points out, "it
is the physicians themselves that over-prescribed these antibiotics
for every ailment under the sun."
"And like antibiotics," she
writes, "every time a new vaccine was developed, it quickly
found its way onto the immunization schedule along with the recommended
"We are now reaping the unintended
consequences of the overuse of these medical interventions,"
she states. "Instead of being healthier, we have a nation
of very sick children."
Forcing parents to inject poisonous concoctions
into innocent, helpless children against their will is a gross
violation of their most basic parental rights.
Evelyn Pringle is an investigative journalist
focused on exposing corruption in government and corporate America.
She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.