The real culprit behind the shingles epidemic

In the November issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter, I pointed out some disturbing findings about the chickenpox vaccine. Before this vaccine came onto the market, everyone simply got chickenpox and developed lifelong, natural immunity.

But since the 1990s, among the generation of adults who received the first chickenpox vaccines in childhood, the rate of shingles has been skyrocketing. Of course, the CDC says the official cause of this new epidemic is “unknown.” But more and more studies link it back to the chickenpox vaccine. Alarmingly, doctors now see shingles in children, which was virtually unheard of just 20 years ago.

Once infected with the chickenpox (varicella zoster) virus, you never get rid of it. The virus hides from the immune system along nerve roots. Shingles (known as herpes zoster) occurs when stress or reduced immunity triggers an eruption of the virus form the nerve root out to the skin.

Before the childhood vaccine came along, nearly all children came down with chickenpox naturally. They had lifelong immunity from the virus. Then, exposure as an adult by children with the active virus acted as a natural “booster” shot and prevented reactivation of the virus in nerve roots.

But when children stopped getting their natural immunity — after the vaccine came into vogue — adults stopped getting these natural immune “boosters.” Thus, the rate of shingles skyrocketed.

Of course, the chickenpox and shingles vaccines also have their dangers. Between March 1995 and July 1998, adverse events were reported for more than one in 1,500 vaccinations. About four percent of the reactions were severe, including shock, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), thrombocytopenia (uncontrolled bleeding), and death.

Overall, it’s also unclear how much benefit the vaccine provides. Chickenpox was never a dangerous disease. Its fatality rate was about one in 100,000, which is far less than the complication rate from the vaccine. Before the vaccine, the natural disease affected about four million children per year, of which about 50 died, most of whom also suffered from immune deficiency. (Of course, a child with immune deficiency should not have been given a vaccine in any case.)

Supporters claim the vaccine could eventually eradicate the chickenpox virus as well as shingles. But that feat can never happen, since the vaccine is only about 70 percent effective against chickenpox.

But not to worry, the chickenpox vaccine maker — which possibly created the shingles epidemic in the first place — now has a solution: Just get another vaccine for shingles.

Rather reminds me of the Gardasil vaccine — when one dangerous vaccine isn’t enough, why not try two!?