LETTER TO THE EDITOR – Reader raises concerns about vaccines; physician responds

Categories: Guest Views

In an interview with Father Thomas Knoblach regarding the church’s teaching on the use of vaccinations [The Visitor, Feb. 13], he urges readers toward vaccination as part of being responsible citizens. This is based on his knowledge that “vaccination risks are far outweighed by the public health dangers of not vaccinating.” The question I’m posing: “Are unvaccinated people really posing a health risk by exposing themselves to vaccinated people in public?”

The International Medical Council on Vaccination (IMCV) has uncovered some interesting facts concerning vaccines. I’ll just highlight some of them.

There are some known vaccine side effects documented in medical literature and/or in package inserts. They range from ear infections, kidney failure, seizures/epilepsy to sudden death! The side effects can make you sick for the rest of your life. Conveniently, there are many drugs to treat the side effects caused by the vaccines. In the U.S., neither drug companies nor doctors can be sued when something bad happens from a vaccination. Both are protected by the 1986 National Child Vaccine Injury Act. Drug companies/insurance companies and the medical system get rich when you get sick.

If U.S. children receive all doses of all vaccines, they are injected with up to 35 shots that contain 113 different kind of disease particles, 59 different chemicals, four types of animal cells/DNA, plus human DNA from aborted fetal tissue and human albumin. There are at least 20 more vaccines currently in the development phase for release in the next few years, most targeting adolescents and adults.

The same people who make rules and recommendations about vaccines also profit from vaccine sales. Doctors who serve on Immune Practice Advisory Committees are also developing and selling their own vaccines. The average U.S. doctor has over $100,000 of vaccine inventory in their office to sell. They receive quarterly bonuses from high vaccination rates in their practices. Talk about conflict of interest.

The Cal-Oregon project sponsored by Generation Rescue surveyed parents of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated U.S. children. Of the 17,774 children surveyed, the results showed: Vaccinated children had 120 percent more asthma, vaccinated boys had 317 percent more ADHD, 185 percent more neurological disorders, and 146 percent more autism.

Even though girls were only 20 percent of the total surveyed, those percentages are undeniably high. I have a list of books and web resources by medical professionals for those interested in learning more about vaccines. In closing, keep these things in mind. There are doctors who choose not to vaccinate themselves and their families. Thousands of testimonials written by parents about the state of their children’s robust health are available many places online. To quote IMCU, “Health cannot come through a needle.”

Sara Kalthoff

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The Visitor asked a physician to offer a response to Kalthoff’s letter. The following was written by Dr. Jon Dennis.

There are few accurate statements in [Kalthoff’s] letter, and the few that are factually correct are out of context and balance. Nowhere in this letter does the author look at relative risks of immunizations versus diseases prevented.

The basic truth is that routine child immunizations are extremely safe; the risks of serious harm are extremely low. The diseases that immunizations prevent, however, have serious consequences, including death. The question is: “Is my child (and the rest of the children around me) safer getting routine immunizations than not?” The answer is overwhelmingly, “Yes, it is safer getting the shots than not.”

This question must be the basis for discussion, not how many chemicals are in the vaccines.

Mild reactions are the most common adverse outcome of the diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus vaccine. For example, one in four children will experience a fever; one in four will experience redness and tenderness at the injection site. One in 10 children will feel drowsy or have a poor appetite. One in three will be fussy; one in 50 will vomit.

These reactions occur within several hours of vaccination and resolve spontaneously without problems. There are slight increases in seizures in those children who have fever-related seizures, (less than 4 per 100,000) but this does not cause epilepsy. These children are prone to seizures with any fever, and grow out of this tendency usually between ages 2-5 years.

Serious allergic or permanent reactions are less than 1 in a million doses.

This leads to a question of: What is “safe”? People have different feelings about that, but most understand that there are always risks with anything we do, but we must judge if the risks are acceptable, or are preventable or reducible.

If we look for a common idea of “safe,” people appear to accept the risks of riding in a car as acceptable. What is the chance of dying in a car accident? It’s estimated to be 1 in 98 over a lifetime. For flying, the odds were 1 in 7,178 for a lifetime, according to the National Safety Council in 2015. What is the chance of being struck by lightning? 1 in 136,011.

What is the chance of being severely injured by routine immunizations? Less than 1 in 1 million.

What is the chance of dying from measles if you get it? About 1 in 300 if you are healthy beforehand.

In other words, you have a much greater chance of dying in an auto accident, plane accident, or being struck by lightning than you do from getting a shot.

With regards to the other issues that the author of the letter raised:

  • The Vaccine Child Protection Act was set up to make sure that ANY child injured by a vaccine should be compensated. This was done for two reasons: 1) to make sure that any child seriously harmed would be able to get compensation without prolonged legal procedure and 2) to counteract the problem of product liability costs, not actual harm, driving pharmaceutical manufacturers away from making vaccines.
  • The components of all childhood vaccines have been continually improved so that there are considerably fewer components than in years past, which is why we have so low of a rate of problems that our clinic no longer routinely advises Tylenol to help with fever or soreness. Many parents note no fever or soreness at the sites. The vaccines do not contain fetal tissue.

Physicians who serve on the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice of the Centers for Disease Control are usually academic physicians. They are chosen because of their research and expertise in these areas. If there are conflicts of interest, these must be declared. There are strict and routine practices of declaring any conflict of interest and recusing themselves from participating in the discussion or decision-making.

  • Vaccines are expensive, but the federal government furnishes free vaccine, which is distributed through clinics and physicians’ offices for eligible children. Our clinic has approximately 35 percent of our vaccines administered under this free program. Under Minnesota law, recommended vaccines also must be covered under Minnesota insurance plans.
  • Physicians do frequently have a small part of their pay allocated to quality measures, as we try to change our incentives from just having to see patients. Asthma, depression and immunization completeness are such measures of quality under the Minnesota Community Measures, and some clinics have tried to experiment with small incentives to make sure that the extra work needed is acknowledged. It is a very small part of some compensation plans, and would never make anyone rich.

So someone might look at those figures of risk and think, well, it’s not so likely my child will get measles or one of those diseases, so I won’t get the shots.

This is faulty reasoning, because it assumes that there is no harm to other people. The protection of all of us is dependent on everyone doing their part. The reason we don’t have polio in this country is because of widespread “herd” immunity that results when as many people as possible get immunized. Similarly, for most of the childhood diseases, we need about 95 percent of people to be immunized in order to get this level of “herd” immunity. So if someone doesn’t get their shots, as is seen by the outbreak of measles in California, disease can spread very fast, and will spread to people who are vulnerable and can’t get shots, such as the very young or ill.

It amazes me sometimes about how some caring and kind people who would give of their time and money for charitable causes, don’t see that getting their children fully immunized is one of the kindest, most responsible things you can do for all of the people in your community, not just your own children. If you love and care for your children, and the children of your community, the state, the country, and the world, you should ensure children get recommended shots.


Jon Dennis, MD, MPH, FAAP
Adolescent Medicine and Pediatrics
CentraCare Clinic