Is Vaccination Natural?
In the coming months, we will be challenged by the advent of multiple COVID-19 vaccines that could essentially save millions of people. Will natural health pundits reject these vaccines and possibly risk the health and safety of others by spreading disinformation and conspiracy theories?
Or, could vaccination be natural?
Over the past few months we have seen a number of wild conspiracy theories about the effort to help people by offering vaccination for COVID-19. This is even beyond the more deceptive strategy to highlight discredited research information while ignoring large scientific studies on the safety of vaccination.
Mass COVID-19 vaccination and herd immunity
During a pandemic or epidemic, it is important that the entire population affected should vaccinate. This is required because a minimal successful vaccination rate is required to establish herd immunity.
Herd immunity inhibits the spread of a contagion if a high enough portion of the population has become immune. There may still be susceptible people, but those who are immune provide a barrier for spreading the infection to them.
This largely depends upon the Reproduction Number (R0) – which is how many people will be infected by a single infected case. For example, the R0 factor of measles is between 12-18. This means one infected person can infect 12-18 others.
With such a high R0 number, the herd immunity for measles is quite high – 83 to 84 percent. This is why there have been so many outbreaks resulting from a rejection of vaccination by small groups of parents over the past few years.
But COVID-19’s R0 number is much smaller. Some estimate it to be around 2.5 (Dashraath et al. 2020). A 2.5 R0 would translate to a herd immunity threshold of between 43 and 60 percent according to a May 6 calculation from the European Union (Britton et al. 2020).
This means that somewhere around 90 percent of the population would need to be immunized to establish herd immunity in order to wipe out the infection from the general population and community spread.
Why 90 percent if only 60 percent herd immunity is achieved? Because vaccines don’t cause immunity for a segment of the population.
Why immunity won’t be achieved by everyone
A successful immune response to vaccination is not guaranteed for everyone who gets a vaccine. For example, those who are obese have a greater risk of not responding to a vaccination. This has been borne out from a 1985 study on the hepatitis B vaccine.
This obesity issue was confirmed with influenza vaccines, and this is one reason why annual vaccines are recommended to some individuals.
Furthermore, there are others who may not be immunized, such as some of those who are immunocompromised, for example.
In the United States, about 40 percent of adults are now obese. This means that a good percentage of the population may not become immunized as a result of a COVID-19 vaccine.
This doesn’t mean that an obese person should not be vaccinated. Many obese people will become immunized.
But this presses everyone further to get vaccinated in order to achieve the potential of herd immunity.
Let’s say for example, that 30 percent of those who get the vaccine may not be successfully immunized (i.e. from obesity or other immunity issues). If 100 percent of the population gets vaccinated, this should not be a problem.
But if say, only 60 percent get vaccinated, herd immunity will likely not be established. This means we’ll continue to have a pandemic spreading through populations who are not vaccinated or not immunized by the vaccine.
This means it is critical that nearly everyone be vaccinated in order to achieve the herd immunity and wipe out the pandemic.
Failing to do so will result in a continuation of the SARS-CoV-19 virus continuing to plague humankind for the foreseeable future.
What about the risks of vaccination?
For years I have watched in horror as natural health pundits have made conspiracy theory-like charges against vaccination.
I have seen how the health of millions have become endangered through the cherry-picking of studies and statistics to arrive at unscientific conclusions that vaccination causes autism and other conditions.
Besides harming people by dissuading vaccination, this has also caused many to ignore the proven causes of autism.
Some have gone further to offer anecdotal side effects that they may have observed, and used those to heighten fear of vaccination among innocent parents who simply want to protect their children.
These studies have shown that during the same period of time that vaccination has increased, our exposure to so many toxins in the environment have also increased. This, along with the explosion of unnecessary antibiotic use, are health factors that have been largely ignored.
Does vaccination cause autism?
One of the myths about vaccination has been that it is somehow linked with autism. We won’t belabor one small withdrawn study in particular. But we can with certainty quote numerous studies that prove otherwise.
One such study is a 2019 study from researchers at the University of Copenhagen (Hviid et al. 2019). The researchers followed 657,461 children born in Denmark from 1999 through 31 December 2010. They were followed for ten years, from one years old.
The study found no greater incidence of autism among the children related to vaccination:
“During 5 025 754 person-years of follow-up, 6517 children were diagnosed with autism (incidence rate, 129.7 per 100 000 person-years). Comparing MMR-vaccinated with MMR-unvaccinated children yielded a fully adjusted autism hazard ratio of 0.93 (95% CI, 0.85 to 1.02). Similarly, no increased risk for autism after MMR vaccination was consistently observed in subgroups of children defined according to sibling history of autism, autism risk factors (based on a disease risk score) or other childhood vaccinations, or during specified time periods after vaccination.”
The researchers concluded:
“The study strongly supports that MMR vaccination does not increase the risk for autism, does not trigger autism in susceptible children, and is not associated with clustering of autism cases after vaccination.”
They further commented that these results, “adds to previous studies through significant additional statistical power and by addressing hypotheses of susceptible subgroups and clustering of cases.”
Many other studies have similar results. A review of research from the University of Sydney (Taylor et al. 2014) examined five population studies that included 1,256,407 children. They found that there was no increased incidence of autism from MMR vaccination. They also found no increased risk of autism from thimerosal in vaccines – when they did contain minute portions of this mercury-based preservative.
The researchers concluded:
“Findings of this meta-analysis suggest that vaccinations are not associated with the development of autism or autism spectrum disorder. Furthermore, the components of the vaccines (thimerosal or mercury) or multiple vaccines (MMR) are not associated with the development of autism or autism spectrum disorder.”
Other studies show that influenza vaccinations do not increase the risk of autism. A 2017 study from California followed 196,929 for 10 years. This study tested children where mothers were given influenza vaccination during pregnancy.
This study also found there was no association between the influenza vaccine given to mothers and autism.
Now is the time that vaccination must be clarified.
Is vaccination a natural therapy?
A typical vaccine is developed by using pieces of a particular virus or other pathogen. These are provided by nature. Natural processes produce natural pathogens.
In the case of COVID-19, that would be small pieces of RNA or DNA of the SARS-Cov-19 virus.
Coronoaviruses are natural elements in nature. Whether they originated in bats or some other animal, they are naturally produced. A vaccine is typically a tiny portion of that virus.
Extracting a small piece of such a virus is not much different than extracting a compound from an herb or root. The extract is a natural compound, broken down.
During vaccination, this natural extract is then injected into the body. This is what nature does. Nature injects viral pathogens into our body. We might breathe them in, or consume them with food, or otherwise become infected.
Vaccination is different only in that a very small amount of the viral extract is given. This allows the body to develop an immune response without being overloaded with the virus.
This is consistent with the philosophy used in Classical Homeopathy. In homeopathy, a very small portion of a substance is given to the patient in order to stimulate a natural physical response.
Most homeopathy remedies are typically derived from natural elements, but their toxicity may be questionable in larger doses. Yet this seeming toxicity is evident only should the homeopathic remedy be used in larger doses.
Yes, even mercury is used as a homeopathic remedy – called Merc Sol.
Such homeopathic remedy doses are very minute, and will thus only stimulate an immune response or some other physical response without causing a toxic effect.
Vaccination and natural immunity
In the same way as homeopathy, once a vaccine is injected into the body, it stimulates the body’s own natural immune response.
It is the process of sparking a natural physical response to a pathogen that is taken from nature.
The ingestion of a small portion of a virus or inoculated pathogen stimulates the body to create antibodies and cellular immunity – which includes T cell and B cell memories. These memories allow the body to naturally produce a response to the real pathogen when it comes into contact with the body.
In other words, vaccination is a natural process of helping to protect the body. By introducing parts of the pathogen, our body becomes prepared to fight what could be a deadly disease condition.
Can we trust anecdotal reports?
Some “natural” websites have utilized some anecdotal information from individual parents who have experienced side effects from vaccines. What about that?
First, because they are anecdotal, we have no proof the incident was connected to the vaccine. The association may be coincidental. This is why large scientific studies are done.
Or the anecdotal effect may have occurred as a side effect from the vaccine but is a rare event. Yes, there are rare side effects from vaccines, just as there are rare side effects from most any type of natural treatment.
But we must look at the larger research data to know the odds of whether a vaccine will have that kind of side effect on most of us. This is why they are studied in large populations before being released. The large study population will tell researchers whether the vaccine presents enough side effects to not be safe.
In most cases, any side effect from a vaccine will be mild. Yet even these are typically rare in vaccination. For example, the most serious proven side effect from an MMR vaccine is febrile seizure. Large studies have shown that about four children in 10,000 will have this serious side effect.
Now if those parents of the 4 children in 10,000 were to post their experience on the internet, this might seem like a big problem. But that’s because the parents of the other 9,996 children didn’t post their positive experiences.
This is the problem with anecdotal information. It ignores the larger, scientific scope of data.
But what about thimerosal or other preservatives?
Some say vaccination is not healthy because some preservatives and adjuvants have been added to the vaccines.
Preservatives are typically required in vaccines in order to prevent the contamination by bacteria or other microorganisms. Adjuvants are typically required to increase the availability of the vaccine antigen.
With respect to thimerosal we discussed some research above about its safety. Many other studies have tested this compound in vaccines.
This is because the amount of the preservative used in a vaccine is typically very minute – ranging from 0.001% (1 part in 100,000) to 0.01%. At the largest dose, one vaccination would be comparable to eating three ounces of tuna.
Still, practically every vaccine available today is available without thimerosal.
And because a vaccine is administered so infrequently – only once or twice in a lifetime, there is typically no toxic effect to such a minute amount. The toxicity of this tiny amount would typically be far less than is consumed through even a healthy diet.
Again, choosing a thimerosal-free vaccine is a reasonable option. As a result of this option, thimerosal is used far less, having been replaced by other preservatives – which are also used in minute amounts.
Other preservatives used in vaccines include phenol and 2-Phenoxyethanol, both compounds found in many consumer products. Many plant compounds also contain phenols or phenolic acids.
Yes, these isolated preservatives may not be particularly healthy if consumed in larger doses or consumed frequently. But they make up a very tiny fraction of a vaccine, and the vaccine is given rarely.
The bright side is that these preservatives do prevent the possibility of the vaccine becoming contaminated. That is a good thing.
If we compare vaccine preservatives with preservatives in our foods, there is no comparison. Most packaged foods contain some type of preservative. Some are natural, thankfully. Still, going out to eat once will likely incur the consumption of more preservatives than is contained in one dose of a vaccine.
In terms of adjuvants, these are typically salts or oils that aid the availability of the vaccine compound. Many of these are found in nature, such as MF59 made with squalene, also found in plants, and AS01, made from a natural compound found in the Chilean soapbark tree (Quillaja saponaria) and a lipid derived from the surface of bacteria cells.
Other compounds in vaccines are often found in foods, or are often derivatives of foods broken down in the body.
But again, the amount of these contained in a vaccine is minute. Plus the vaccine is only given once or a few times during a lifetime.
The question now becomes, are we willing to risk the health and safety of an entire population of people just to avoid a minute amount of compounds in a vaccine?
Think millions of deaths, versus one minute dose of a preservative.
What about caring about others?
The last thing to consider with regard to vaccination is whether we care about others and whether we are willing to make a small compromise in order to help others along with ourselves.
This is sort of like wearing a mask. When we can’t social distance, we wear a mask to primarily protect others if we are contagious. But when we all do that, we are all better protected. So we make a compromise to help others, and that also helps ourselves.
It is a natural decision – one small compromise done to help save many other people. That’s because essentially, love is natural. It is natural to care about others and it is natural to sometimes make a compromise to help others.
Indeed, 99.9% of vaccines are natural. Vaccination stimulates a natural immune response in the body. Vaccination will naturally save lives. And it is natural to care about others.
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Madsen KM, Vestergaard M. MMR vaccination and autism : what is the evidence for a causal association?. Drug Saf. 2004;27(12):831-840. doi:10.2165/00002018-200427120-00001
Hviid A, Hansen JV, Frisch M, Melbye M. Measles, Mumps, Rubella Vaccination and Autism: A Nationwide Cohort Study. Ann Intern Med. 2019;170(8):513-520. doi:10.7326/M18-2101
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Hviid A, Hansen JV, Frisch M, Melbye M. Measles, Mumps, Rubella Vaccination and Autism. Ann Intern Med. 2019;171(5):388. doi:10.7326/L19-0383
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Offit PA, Jew RK. Addressing parents’ concerns: do vaccines contain harmful preservatives, adjuvants, additives, or residuals?. Pediatrics. 2003;112(6 Pt 1):1394-1397. doi:10.1542/peds.112.6.1394