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posted: 8/25/2012 4:14 AM

Do your research on vaccines

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Do your research on vaccines

In his Aug. 13 Fence Post letter, "Now is the time for immunization check," Dr. William Werner cites a recent uptick in whooping cough (pertussis) cases and encourages adults and children who are in contact with babies to get the DTaP vaccine. He fails to tell the whole story.

In 2010, California experienced the worst whooping cough outbreak in 50 years. A subsequent study by the Oxford Journal of Medicine found that of the children who contracted the disease, 81 percent had already been fully vaccinated. Only 8 percent had not been vaccinated. (The remaining 11 percent had been partially vaccinated but did not complete the series.)

Based on that dreary effectiveness rate, as well as the low fatality rate of wild pertussis, another study by the Oxford Journal found that to practice "cocooning" vaccination, as Dr. Werner suggests, over 1 million adults would need to be immune to prevent one death.

I would say that saving even one life is worth vaccinating a million people. However, the safety of the pertussis vaccine has not been conclusively proven. In fact, over half of all vaccine-related injury and death awards, awarded under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, have been for pertussis vaccine side effects. In the U.S., the DTaP vaccine contains formaldehyde, which the U.S. National Toxicology Program defines as a "known human carcinogen", and aluminum, which when injected, acts as neurotoxin just as dangerous as mercury.

Vaccines are a controversial topic. My hope here is only to encourage people to do their own research on the safety and effectiveness of vaccines before getting them or giving them to their children.

Tyler Benjamin

West Chicago

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