Our Health and Vaccines (AVN 12/16)

“Infectious deaths fell before widespread vaccination was implemented”
– Professor Fiona Stanley, Australian of the Year (2003), Child Health Since Federation, 2001.

 

(Reprinted with permission from the Australian Vaccination-risks Network)

“Infectious deaths fell before widespread vaccination was implemented”
– Professor Fiona Stanley, Australian of the Year (2003), Child Health Since Federation, 2001

Professor Fiona Stanley is a medical researcher based at the University of Western Australia in Perth. She specialises in statistical analysis of child health, and in 2001 she published a document entitled: CHILD HEALTH SINCE FEDERATION, which reports on the health of Australian children over the century 1901 to 2001.

In the report she says “Infectious deaths fell before widespread vaccination was implemented.” This is correct; data shows death rates from infectious diseases declined by a huge percentage before mass vaccination began in the 1950s. See this graph of measles deaths in Australia, for example:

measles deaths in australia

Graph from Fooling Ourselves on the fundamental value of vaccines by Greg Beattie

Stanley goes on to say: “However, since the 1950s, mass vaccination has been the single most effective public health measure to reduce the occurrence of infections, to reduce child deaths and to improve child health (Ada and Isaacs 2000).”

Claims such as this are ignoring some facts. One is that death rates from infectious diseases were in steep decline at the time vaccines were introduced, so it’s likely they would have continued to decline without vaccines – how much, we’ll never know. Another is that the meningitis vaccine she talks about to illustrate her point has not actually changed the rate of meningitis deaths in Australia.

She discusses the meningitis vaccine Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib), introduced here in 1993. At the time the Hib bacterium was the predominant cause of meningitis, so vaccine developers produced a vaccine to combat it, expecting this would reduce meningitis deaths.

The vaccine did reduce Hib infections significantly, in just 2 years, and Stanley shows us a graph demonstrating this. However the rate of meningitis deaths in Australia was unchanged by the Hib vaccine, because it’s the nature of bacterial infections that if you remove one species or strain of bacteria from circulation another will take its place. See this graph of meningitis deaths in Australia:

meningitis deaths australia

Find more meningitis graphs in Fooling Ourselves on the fundamental value of vaccines by Greg Beattie

Australia has now had a few different vaccines for meningitis, with no evidence easily available to this point that they reduce the meningitis death rate. Find our pages on meningitis vaccines here: Vaccines and Diseases.

Resource: Downloadable leaflet with other important questions and information on vaccines






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