An in-depth look at levels of immunity among students and congregants
Can banning unvaccinated children and adults be a reasonable and effective tactic to keep our community safe?
What role, if any, do varying levels of immunity among vaccinated individuals play in disease outbreaks?
The foremost reason for banning unvaccinated individuals from schools and shuls (synagogues) is the claimed high rate of mortality and serious adverse events. Is the death rate from measles really 1 in 1,000, as is reported?
1. Statistical data prior to the introduction of the measles vaccine in 1963 shows a 98% decline in mortality from measles by 1960. By that time, the measles death rate had dropped to 1 in 500,000 population. The same is similarly true for all other infectious illnesses.
2. CDC measles data for the five years prior to the introduction of the vaccine reveals an estimated
3-4,000,000 cases of measles annually and between 450 – 500 deaths per year (elsewhere they state an average of 432 deaths). Thus, the death rate was about 1 in 8,000, not 1 in 1,000, of those who contracted measles.
3. Since 2003 there has only been one confirmed case of a measles death in the US.
4. Historical records of developed nations from before 1963 describe measles as a mild to moderately severe ailment with low mortality; it is generally, and more easily, experienced by young children. The few adults who contracted measles were severely affected.
Unvaccinated children are said to present a greater threat to the immunocompromised and the general public than the vaccinated. Is this true?
Immunologist Tatyana Obukhanych, PhD says no. She explains that many recommended vaccines only prevent symptoms of illness but not transmission and others are for noncommunicable infections1.
Can anyone other than the unvaccinated contract and transmit infectious illnesses? Yes, for the following reasons:
1. Vaccine failure:
a) Studies by vaccinologists show that primary (failure to produce an immune response) and secondary (waning immunity) vaccine failure results in outbreaks among highly vaccinated populations. They predict that due to the vaccine, measles will become more endemic in the near future and, rather than just affecting young children, the entire population will be susceptible.
b) Children have been shown to be 42% more likely to contract whooping cough (due to waning) in the first year after receiving the last of 5 doses and, increasingly, every year thereafter.
2. Vaccinated individuals can contract strains of a virus for which the vaccine doesn’t protect them.
3. Some vaccines only prevent vaccinated individuals from having symptoms but not from colonizing and transmitting the infection to others.
4. Some vaccines are known to not be very effective.
5. Vaccines are a class of pharmaceuticals called biologics, which are not uniformly potent from batch to batch. They can also lose potency post production and can expire.
6. Vaccinated individuals can shed vaccine strain virus and infect others.
7. Vaccinated individuals can get vaccine strain measles or mumps as an adverse event after vaccination.
Lab testing is needed to identify vaccine and wild-type strains of infection so those recently vaccinated cases are not counted as part of an outbreak.
Vaccinated individuals who contract these infections often have subclinical cases making them more dangerous than unvaccinated individuals since they can spread infection on a large scale without even knowing it. Asymptomatic vaccinated individuals may be responsible for an outbreak while the unvaccinated individuals merely make the outbreak known. The immunocompromised can be exposed even in a fully vaccinated population. Public policy based on scientific evidence must consider this scientific evidence. It is illogical and unfair to prevent unvaccinated individuals from attending shul (synagogue), school, and other public events, while potentially infectious and asymptomatic vaccinated individuals can.