Herd immunity or herd mentality?

My colleague in France recently informed me that his country is increasing the number of required vaccinations from only three up to 11 different vaccines for the entire population. Despite this massive increase, I noted two major, sensible omissions from the required list, as I’ll explain in a moment.

Of course, France has long been a worldwide leader in vaccinations, going back to the pioneering work of Louis Pasteur in the mid-1800s. He developed the rabies vaccine, which continues to save countless lives of humans and their canine friends.

Throughout the 20th century, France continued with its pioneering work. Take the Bacille-Calmet-Guerin (BCG) vaccine for tuberculosis (TB), for example. It came from France in the early 1900s. And doctors still administer it to infants in countries at high risk of contracting TB.

In the 1980s, French researchers discovered the HIV virus associated with AIDS, before U.S. researchers at the National Institutes of Health stole credit according to many accounts. Of course, the French tradition would have paid more attention to the host factors involved with HIV/AIDS instead of focusing entirely on a virus. Tragically, we can use time-tested public health measures to entirely prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. Instead, the U.S. taxpayers have paid billions for research to develop AIDS drugs and, of course, vaccines.

So, the French know their medical science, especially when it comes to vaccines.  You can make arguments both for and against most of the eight vaccines added to the list in France.

But sometimes, you learn more about a country’s philosophy by looking at what they leave off a list versus what goes on a required list.

For example, neither the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine or the annual influenza vaccine appear on the French list. It appears the French know no real scientific arguments can be made for the HPV vaccine or the annual influenza vaccine, concocted in the cauldrons of the CDC

Still scratching my head

Of course, some of the newly required vaccines in France are only appropriate for certain people in certain situations.

So — they have me scratching my head.

Why require that everybody get them?

After all, basic logic dictates that if you get the vaccine, and the vaccine is effective (big assumption), then you have iron-clad protection from the infection, regardless of whether or not anyone else has or doesn’t have the vaccination.

But the government-industrial vaccine industry isn’t concerned about the individual. They are concerned about the entire population. They counter that we need to achieve “herd immunity” by requiring universal vaccination without exemption.

What do they mean by herd immunity? 

Once a certain proportion of the entire population acquires immunity to an infectious disease (about 95 percent), then the number of people susceptible to the infection falls below the critical mass needed to sustain the infection in the population.

Supposedly, a population needs to achieve this level of herd immunity to prevent outbreaks. They say the herd protects the five percent of the population who somehow managed to elude their vaccinations from the infection.

Native Americans were so susceptible to infectious diseases brought from Europe in the 1500s and 1600s because they had no natural herd immunity. Infections swept through and decimated the entire susceptible population.

By comparison, the Europeans who carried the infectious diseases had developed natural immunity after lifelong exposures (and centuries of exposure among their population). They had natural herd immunity. But natural herd immunity doesn’t occur in populations that receive vaccinations.

U.S. will never achieve ironclad herd immunity for many reasons

Today, the U.S. government uses the herd immunity theory to mandate vaccinations for 16 “potentially dangerous diseases.” But some estimate that the U.S. population will never reach the levels of “universal” vaccination required to confer herd immunity.

The proportion of unvaccinated, illegal immigrants could alone account for falling below the required levels for herd immunity. Not that real public health or safety for the citizens factors into politically correct politics anymore.

In any case, the herd immunity argument doesn’t actually play out like they say it should…much less make sense.

On the one hand, proponents say the herd should protect people who can’t get vaccinations for medical, personal or religious reasons. They also claim once the population reaches such a high level of vaccination compliance, we won’t experience terrible outbreaks.

But here’s the problem…

We DO still experience outbreaks. For example, earlier this summer, Minnesota experienced a terrible measles outbreak. Two years ago, California also experienced an outbreak, even among those who receive the MMR vaccine.

Vaccine proponents blame these outbreaks on parents who don’t vaccinate their children. But how does a small group of unvaccinated people, who are still supposedly protected from infection by herd immunity (if it were real), infect and make others sick?

Herd immunity or herd mentality?

Herd immunity may or may not actually exist. But — clearly — the herd mentality is in full effect among health “experts,” government authorities, lame stream media mavens, not to mention public schools and their parent-teacher associations.

Don’t get me wrong…appropriate vaccinations play an important role in personal and public health. Vaccination successfully eradicated smallpox during the 1970s. But eradication also included the common sense public health practices of the past, including isolation and quarantine, which are now verboten in modern public health practice, aside from controlling some rare infections.

I presented a paper to the American Anthropological Association in the 1980s about how public health workers used anthropological techniques to help eradicate smallpox by understanding cultural and social factors. To me, their approach used real “medical anthropology.”

But that event occurred before the useless, post-modern, deconstructed social science theories of the 21st century “infected” everything we thought we had understood about anything.

Sad to say, some of the pseudo-science used to promote ever-increasing numbers of universal vaccinations in the 21st century should be deconstructed as well.

Vaccinations have a shelf life

Not only do vaccinations fail to protect the herd. They also have a shelf life…

For example, the tetanus vaccine (now required on the French list) requires a “booster” shot repeated every 10 years. The old cholera vaccine, which I was repeatedly required to get when traveling in Southeast Asia during the 1970s, was only “good” for six months. And many other vaccines begin to lose their effectiveness after two to 10 years. Yet, fortunately, we have not had one major outbreak of these infectious diseases for decades.

I also find the new shingles vaccine particularly troubling.

Shingles is a painful recurrence of the herpes zoster virus that causes chicken pox in children. But in the U.S., chicken pox has been supposedly “eradicated” by requiring universal vaccination in children. And they now push another vaccine to adults for the recurrence of the virus as shingles.

But they don’t tell you that people who received the chickenpox vaccine as children run a much higher risk of getting shingles as adults compared to those who had the natural chickenpox infection during childhood.

So — the shingles epidemic is, in part, another medically man-made epidemic, which now conveniently has a profitable, new man-made solution.

There are no easy answers to the whole vaccine debate. For now, you can make sure I’m turning down any new “recommended” vaccines at my check-ups.