The Maine Coalition for Vaccine Choice believes that Mainers should take their vaccine choices as seriously as they would when considering any other prescription drug, as vaccines can result in serious adverse outcomes for some individuals. Because of the current measles outbreak, members of the public are being urged to take Merck’s MMR II vaccine. MCVC would like to encourage individuals evaluating whether or not to take the MMR, or allow it to be delivered to their children, to consider the following:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting that there are currently no measles cases in New England1, and Maine has not had a case of measles since 19972. Current data on the outbreak show fewer new cases and it is believed that the outbreak is winding down3. Further, CDC reports that there has not been a death attributable to the measles in the U.S. since 2003, despite the fact that there have been more than 1,700 cases since. Therefore, decisions on whether or not to get the MMR should not be based in fear or panic, but rather a thoughtful risk – benefit analysis for each individual Mainer.
According to the HHS4, the MMR can cause serious adverse reactions, including deafness, seizures, coma, brain damage, death and, because it is a live virus vaccine, the measles itself. Therefore, the MCVC encourages members of the public to:
– Be mindful that vaccines are for healthy people, and that delivering them to someone who is ill or immunocompromised may increase the risk of adverse reaction or vaccine failure.
– Read the entire vaccine package insert5, and the federal Vaccine Injury Table entry for the MMR before they allow the vaccine to be delivered, so that they are more aware of potential adverse reactions and contraindications of the MMR.
– Consider receiving the vaccine from your regular health care provider, rather than a public vaccine clinic, as they are the medical professionals who know your health and history the best, and are more likely to be able to offer you better insight on whether or not the MMR is right for you or your child.
– Know the federal Vaccine Injury Table description of vaccine induced brain damage (encephalopathy) so that early symptoms are recognized and proper treatment can take place. Consult your medical provider or take a child to an emergency room immediately, and tell them that the child has received the MMR, if any of the following occur:
A change in mental status.
Decreased or absent response to environment (responds, if at all, only to loud voice or painful stimuli)
Decreased or absent eye contact (does not fix gaze upon family members or other individuals)
Inconsistent or absent responses to external stimuli (does not recognize familiar people or things).6
Individuals charged with vaccine safety oversight at the CDC are currently under investigation by Congress for failing to disclose links that they reportedly found between the MMR vaccine and autism after one of their senior scientists, Dr. William Thompson, came forward last summer and issued a statement admitting that he and his colleagues withheld data from the public. The investigation is currently being lead by Congressman Bill Posey in the Oversight Subcommittee of the House Science, Space and Technology. Hearings are expected in 20157.
Merck is currently being sued by two of its own scientists for falsifying the efficacy data of the MUMPS component of the vaccine to win FDA re-approval of MMR II in 20008. As such, until these questions are resolved, the MCVC encourages those who have received the vaccine NOT to assumed that they have immunity to currently circulating strains of mumps and to take other precautions to avoid infection.
8United States of America, ex. rel. Krahling v. Merck & Co, Inc