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Thursday, 18 February 2016

Meningitis? Another vaccine? Or something for integrated medicine

The death of a 2-year old girl, Faye Burdett, who contracted meningitis and died has caused headline news. The parents have called for all children to be vaccinated with the new MenB vaccine, and published a dreadfully harrowing photograph of their dying daughter.

In Britain the MenB is vaccine was introduced in September 2015 for every child under a certain age, but their daughter fell just outside this age. 

Already, within days of Faye's death, a petition to the UK Parliament and Government has attracted over 250,000 signatures to extend the vaccine to all children. As the Daily Mail article indicates, the vaccine can be purchased outside the NHS at a cost of £450.

Yet before everyone rushes to the conclusion that a new vaccine for young babies should be added to the already huge programme of childhood vaccinations, some more serious thought, and some serious questions need to be asked.

Yes, the news has brought the subject of Meningitis to everyone's attention. Yes, the attention may cause everyone to look for better prevention and treatment of the disease. Yes, the numbers who contract this disease is relatively small. Yes, at £450 per vaccine the pharmaceutical industry stand to make a huge profit if they are able to extend the number of children given the vaccine. Yes, it may well be that the pharmaceutical industry, aided and abetted by the mainstream media, are behind the blanket promotion of this story. But there are other, more important factors to consider in this particular situation.
  • First, the huge response to the petition to Parliament is based on the popular assumption that only conventional medicine has an answer to this deadly illness. This is not the case.
  • Second, there is an assumption that the vaccine is, or will be effective. There is no evidence to suggest that it is.
  • Third, there is an assumption that the vaccine is safe. There is already sufficient evidence to suggest that it is not.
  • Fourth, there is an assumption that yet another childhood vaccine, added to the already large numbers of vaccinations already imposed on young babies by conventional medicine, will be tolerated by their young bodies.
Let's look at these issues. First, is there an alternative to conventional medical treatment? When a homeopath is presented with a possible case of Meningitis he or she would have two immediate response. The first response would be to give a child an immediate dose of the remedy 'Belladonna', which has proven to be very successful in reducing the symptoms. Regular doses can control, and limit the illness, and certainly prevent death, and as the symptoms of each case are studies, other remedies might have a useful role to play. However, the second immediate response would be to get the child to a hospital.

This second response shows that homeopaths are always willing to practice what is usually called 'integrated medicine'. Faced with a situation that can lead to the child's death, homeopaths can provide the remedies required, but also recommend that their is a joint and co-ordinated response with other medical professionals.

And it is important to stress that Belladonna, like all homeopathic remedies, is not only effective, it is safe, it is readily available, and it is inexpensive. I have no doubt that it should be used by all medical professionals in such cases.

However, I doubt whether this child, or any other child who has died of this illness, has ever been offered it within the conventional National Health Service. 

The question is, why not? Why was this young girl allowed to die, after nearly two weeks of conventional hospital treatment, with otherout medical therapies being employed?

Then, there is the issue of the safety and effectiveness of the MenB vaccine. Most of the 250,000 signatures to the petition will not know about this, because they will not have been informed, either by their doctor, the NHS, the mainstream media, or anyone else. Yet conventional doctors already know that the vaccine causes high fever in about 50% of babies given it! The GP e-magazine has discussed this at least twice, "GPs must give new paracetamol advice with MenB vaccinations", and "GPs gear up to start offering new MenB jab"

          "Parents should be made aware that fever is more common when the new Meningitis (Men)B vaccination is given alongside other routine jabs at two and four months, and that giving paracetamol immediately after the vaccinations should help to reduce their baby’s risk of developing fever and discomfort."

The question is, how many parents have been made aware of this by their doctors, and how many of the petition signatories have been made aware of this? Yet the known (and openly admitted) side effects of this vaccine go further than this, as indicated in this WebMD website article. It says that 'mild' side effects happen in about 50% of those given the vaccine. However, more serious side effects are high fever, weakness, changes in behaviour, and severe allergic reactions - "which can happen within minutes or hours of having the vaccination". These allergic reactions are listed as:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Hoarseness or wheezing
  • Hives
  • Paleness
  • Weakness
  • Fast heartbeat or dizziness

WebMD also mentions 'Guillain-Barre', a serious disorder of the nervous system, as a side effect. WebMD is a website dominated by the conventional medical establishment, so it is unlikely to over-emphasise the dangers, and indeed, can be expected to underplay them. As the vaccine is used more side effects are likely to become known - this is the usual process with all vaccines - there are none until children suffer them - and then drug companies seek to underplay, or cover them up!

The Dr Mercola website is less circumspect, more willing to speak outside the confines of the conventional medical establishment. In its article it calls the meningococcal vaccine for meningitis "Perhaps One of the Most Unnecessary Vaccines Ever ". In this, Dr Barbara Loe Fisher, described as a pioneer in vaccine education and safety, and the co-founder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), argues the case against the vaccine powerfully.

          "What poses the greater risk: vaccines, or the diseases they're made to prevent? Should all children undergo vaccination — and its risks — to prevent a relatively rare, but potentially dangerous disease?"

In the article, Fisher questions whether multi-doses of yet another vaccine within the first year of life is warranted, given the low mortality figures? She concludes describing the situation in the USA,

          "I think the vaccine should be available for anyone who wants to use it. The issue I have with a universal use recommendation by the CDC for meningococcal vaccine, for children under one, is that every time the CDC recommends a vaccine for universal use for children, in the last quarter century almost all of those vaccines have turned into state mandates. Meaning that, you don't have a choice."

The key here is that "the vaccine should be available to anyone who wants to use it". But they should use it only on the basis of having full and accurate information, about the seriousness and incidence of the disease, about the serious side effects of the vaccine, especially alongside all the other vaccines given to children, and about alternative prevention and treatment strategies, including homeopathy.