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Is Whooping Cough Vaccine Working?

Audio

Aired 9/7/10

A KPBS investigation has found that nearly two out of three people diagnosed with whooping cough in San Diego County this year were fully immunized. California is in the midst of the worst whooping cough epidemic in 50 years. The numbers raise questions about how well the vaccine works.

Touro University phamacy student Amanda Morris (L) administers a Tdap vaccination during the Solano County health fair August 11, 2010 in Vallejo, California.
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Above: Touro University phamacy student Amanda Morris (L) administers a Tdap vaccination during the Solano County health fair August 11, 2010 in Vallejo, California.

— A KPBS investigation has found that nearly two out of three people diagnosed with whooping cough in San Diego County this year were fully immunized. California is in the midst of the worst whooping cough epidemic in 50 years.

The numbers raise questions about how well the vaccine works.

Whooping cough, or pertussis is a contagious upper respiratory illness that in adults can mimic a bad cold. But in babies it can be deadly. Eight babies have died in California from whooping cough since January.

KPBS examined data from San Diego County’s Health and Human Services Agency from this year so far. We found that of 332 confirmed cases of whooping cough, 197 of the people who got sick were up to date with their immunizations. (Story continues below)

UTD = up-to-date with age appropriate pertussis vaccinations by immunization record review or parent report

NUTD = not up-to-date with age appropriate pertussis vaccinations

PBE = personal belief exemption reported by parent and/or physician

UNK = unknown

TDAP DUE = any child 11-18 years old who had only 5 pertussis containing immunizations with no Tdap noted

(source: San Diego County Health & Human Services Agency)

KPBS News

Above:
UTD = up-to-date with age appropriate pertussis vaccinations by immunization record review or parent report

NUTD = not up-to-date with age appropriate pertussis vaccinations

PBE = personal belief exemption reported by parent and/or physician

UNK = unknown

TDAP DUE = any child 11-18 years old who had only 5 pertussis containing immunizations with no Tdap noted
(source: San Diego County Health & Human Services Agency)

CDC Statement On Why Vaccinated People In Calif. Are Contracting Pertussis

Vaccines for pertussis are very effective, but no vaccine protects forever in 100 percent of those vaccinated. Protection wanes over time, which is the reason for intermittent “booster doses.” High vaccination coverage in communities and in families also protects others, including those who are too young to be vaccinated or whose immunity from vaccination has waned.

CA is experiencing a significant increase in pertussis circulating in the community. That disease pressure is causing more fully vaccinated and recently vaccinated people to become infected than in a typical year. It does not mean the vaccine is not working. Rather, the higher the vaccine coverage, the higher the proportion of cases who have been vaccinated. This is commonly misinterpreted to mean that a vaccine is not working, when in fact it means that coverage is high.

“I was a little surprised that there was as high a number of fully vaccinated people who got pertussis,” says Dr. Dean Sidelinger, the county’s deputy public health officer.

Sidelinger says 29 of those cases involved babies under six months of age who were immunized, but too young to have full protection against the disease. He is also skepitcal about making assumptions based on the statistics.

“I wouldn’t put all my faith into this I’m sure there is probably more protection from the vaccine then these numbers bear out, but it does show not every vaccine works 100 percent of the time.”

Just how much protection the vaccine provides is up for debate among researchers.

“The studies have a range of effectiveness but most of them fall 80 – 90 percent effective,” says Tom Clark, a scientist with the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.

“That’s wrong,” according to Dr. James Cherry, a professor with UCLA, referring to Clark's statement. Cherry has been studying whooping cough for 30 years.

“Vaccine efficacy is not an absolute measure,” says Dr. Fritz Mooi, a scientist with the Netherlands Center for Infectious Disease Control.

Mooi says he can’t put a number on vaccine efficacy.

All three researchers are world authorities with different views on how well the vaccine works. And whether it’s contributing to one of the largest pertussis outbreaks in California – and in other outbreaks around the world.

Mooi says there have also been examples of vaccinated children developing whooping cough in Ireland.

“I think we are seeing that everywhere where vaccinated children whom you would not expect to see get infected, get infected nevertheless.”

Mooi says the vaccine was developed for an older strain of whooping cough. He says the newer strain makes more toxins and puts increased pressure on our immune system. That can lead to illness despite immunization.

“Fritz Mooi is a brilliant scientist but when he tries to put epidemiology with it he screws up." Cherry says referring to Mooi's theory.

Cherry believes current vaccines aren’t as good as the ones used prior to the mid-nineties, but they’re safer and have fewer side effects.

“We gave up something for decreased reactions: we gave up efficacy.”

Cherry says ideally we need new vaccines, but the current vaccines – if used more frequently – especially in older kids and adults, could prevent the spread of whooping cough.

Several sources, including the official Journal of American Pediatrics, show Dr. Cherry received speaking fees and research funds from pharmaceutical companies which produce the pertussis vaccine.

“I think we have to be honest and try to find out what’s happening.” Mooi says.

Mooi believes researchers need to develop new vaccines. But he says the idea that the disease may be mutating and out-smarting current vaccines has been ignored by many public health officials

“That’s not good science and that’s not good public health.”

When KPBS asked the CDC why it believed so many vaccinated people in San Diego county contracted whooping cough - nearly two out of three people - the agency provided a written statement. The CDC says statistically, higher vaccination rates increases the probability a sick person will have been immunized.

The CDC says the data do not indicate the vaccine is ineffective.

Comments

Avatar for user 'mkeim'

mkeim | September 7, 2010 at 10:08 a.m. ― 3 years, 10 months ago

I would be very interested in seeing more details of the data you studied. Earlier this summer, I looked at a small number of cases (28) that I was able to pull from public reports. What I found was that those contracting pertussis but considered up-to-date on their DTaP shots (22 of the 28) averaged age 10.5. The booster shot is recommended at age 11 (as is consistent with your definition of DTAP DUE).
My brief analysis suggests to me that perhaps many of the vaccinated children that are contracting the disease are those whose immunity from the initial doses has declined significantly as they near the age at which the booster is recommended and that the booster shot is not being given at an early enough age.
I would be curious to see the age distribution of the individuals in the UTD group in the data that you collected.

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Avatar for user 'hboooo'

hboooo | September 7, 2010 at 10:48 a.m. ― 3 years, 10 months ago

so more people get the disease after taking the shots??? hmmm..

and of course the answer is that the vaccine just needs an UPGRADE!!!

sounds to me like the parents of the kids who did get the shot better be worried that they may have just increased the chances of their kids getting the disease...now they will need a cure for the vaccine...DAMNIT!!!!

crazy thing is that this has been the case for alot of these so called VACCINES.. see these graphs

http://mrs-informed.blogspot.com/

The spell is breaking...the house of cards is falling...the lies unalbe to cover the lies....

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Avatar for user 'tybye'

tybye | September 7, 2010 at 12:04 p.m. ― 3 years, 10 months ago

so the assumption is that once a person is immunized they are no longer carriers of a particular disease? That would be false! Which brings me to the second thing, and that is that when we are vaccinated, it is possible to "shed" the vaccine (I've read about this in vaccine package inserts and various articles). So really, those dangerous "unvaccinated" people are sometimes the ones at risk of catching disease from the vaccinated ones, not the other way around.
Vaccinations are not full proff, some only offering about 60% protection. You don't find health through a needle!
What officials are not saying is that pertussis (whooping cough) outbreasks are cyclical and tend to peak every two to five years, regardless of the vaccination rate. Once again, this is a created hysteria to capitalize on fears of frightened parents and an opportunity to push vaccination on a trusting, underinformed public
Pertussis is most worrisome in children less than 3 months of age due to the small size of windpipe. As with any infection, the youngest children are at greatest risk of serious illness and rarely, death. IImportantly, pertussis is not always serious and rarely is it as 'deadly' as the pro-vaccine doctors and the evening news would have you believe. The hallmark of pertussis is a persistent cough which is frequently diagnosed and treated as "bronchitis". Unless you or (your children are SPECIFICALLY tested for pertussis with a nasal or throat swab, you may have had it and not known!
Your child can be fully vaccinated and still contract pertussis
Three vaccines are administered for whooping cough, from 2 to 6 months of age. Problems caused by the DTaP (pertussis) vaccines are real. If you search the VAERS database, you will see THOUSANDS of reports of children who were severely injured or died from the vaccine.
Please do your research DO NOT relay on our Gov't to provide us with the truth!

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Avatar for user 'randolphslinky'

randolphslinky | September 7, 2010 at 2:58 p.m. ― 3 years, 10 months ago

Vaccinations are very effective in preventing many types of illness; however some illnesses require the expertise of a psychologist.

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Avatar for user 'hboooo'

hboooo | September 7, 2010 at 4:23 p.m. ― 3 years, 10 months ago

@randolphslinky

you mean for people that are lapdogs to the pharmaceutical industry. im afraid it might be too late for you man...BUT you never know...with proper amounts of fasting and cleansing of your body you may be able to rid your body of the heavy metal toxins that have caused you to be unable to think for yourself and to lash and at anybody who dares to...

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Avatar for user 'randolphslinky'

randolphslinky | September 8, 2010 at 8:29 a.m. ― 3 years, 10 months ago

While vaccines have eliminated many diseases in the US they unfortunately do not prevent paranoia or schizophrenia.

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Avatar for user 'shanecrotty'

shanecrotty | September 8, 2010 at 9:38 a.m. ― 3 years, 10 months ago

Very interesting numbers. The CDC statement was accurate, but not very informative. I think for normal people to understand what the CDC was trying to say you have to put some numbers to it:

Let's say you have a town (or, middle school) of 1000 people, and assume all of them (100%) are exposed to pertussis. And, let's assume that 90% of the people are vaccinated. Now, the vaccine is 85% protective. So this results in:

* 100 infections among the unvaccinated group (100 x 100%)

* 135 infections among the vaccinated group (900 x 15%)

That's more cases among vaccinated people than unvaccinated, but it's because almost everyone is vaccinated and the vaccine protects about 4 out of 5 of those people. And that's almost exactly what is reported for San Diego. (Particularly if you assume poor protection in the under 6 month old infants who have only been partially vaccinated (29 cases). The first dose only gives 15-20% protection)

* The pertussis vaccine is 85% effective. This is according to the clinical study cited on the pertussis vaccine package, and it is also the average efficacy found in a number of different clinical trial studies published.

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Avatar for user 'hboooo'

hboooo | September 8, 2010 at 12:40 p.m. ― 3 years, 10 months ago

side effects of vaccine-
Certain rare adverse events following pertussis vaccination usually serve as a precaution against receiving further doses. Such events include a temperature of 105°F or higher, collapse or shock-like state, persistent crying for more than three hours, or convulsions within three days.

side effects of disease-
An upper respiratory illness, Pertussis is characterized by 2 weeks of mild coughing, sneezing and runny nose. Following those 2 weeks, are approx. 2-4 more weeks of more aggressive coughing (hard coughing 5-10 times in a row). Following the disease is a week or two of recovery where symptoms subside and the child starts feeling better. A study done by the CDC concluded vaccinated children were actually silent carriers to the disease, not only infecting other vaccinated children, but the unvaccinated as well. Pertussis has actually been more common in vaccinated children than the unvaccinated. As mentioned before, pertussis is continuing to climb, despite high vaccination numbers

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Avatar for user 'nonvaccinator'

nonvaccinator | September 9, 2010 at 6:34 p.m. ― 3 years, 10 months ago

We do not vaccinate (I don't need any lectures, thanks) and we had whooping cough 2 years ago. My daughter was 5 at the time and my son was 2 months old. Needless to say I was very concerned for my son, being so young. We took a natural homeopathic pertussis remedy (basically the natural and real vaccine for pertussis--little white crunchies) and treated the disease in the appropriate way. We did Vitamin C saturation, echinacea and other immune boosting supplements. My son never got the cough and my daughter came through just fine. Before doing any of this I took my son to a pediatrician in hopes of getting him tested to see what steps I needed to take, if any. She refused to test him and told me she was she he had it, to go home and just watch for him to stop breathing and then call 911. That was it. Nothing else. No treatment, nothing. It was ridiculous. I went home and did my own research preparing for the biggest battle of my little son's life. With the help of a very wise midwife who had herself seen many children, including ones younger than my son, through whooping cough. Doctors and nurses need to be informed and skilled in treating whooping cough, not just simply sitting by and watching children die from it. Vitamin C is the only known killer of the pertussis germ, which causes the toxin that produces the cough. If the body is saturated with vit C, they stand a chance at fighting off the disease just fine. And the sooner, the better, before the cough begins. Now why wouldn't Doctors know this? Or do they but need these few deaths to scare more people into getting vaccinated. I mean, we are told the "few" children that have reactions to vaccines is a small price to pay for the good of the whole. Maybe the "few" babies/children that die from whooping cough is to teach us all a lesson in getting vaccinated.

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Avatar for user 'nonvaccinator'

nonvaccinator | September 9, 2010 at 6:50 p.m. ― 3 years, 10 months ago

I apologize for some of my comment not making sense, I was interrupted multiple times by the now 2 year old boy. Ugh. My points were simply that there should be more education on how to treat whooping cough, because it's obvious that we can't all be guaranteed safe guard from it. At least give the babies a fighting a chance at the disease instead of just putting them in ICU and watching them die. Fluids and antibiotics are not enough, not even close. Especially if they have been vaccinated recently, which depletes the body of vitamin C and thus can cause death in and of itself. There is so much information the general public doesn't know and rely solely on doctors for. Nobody should rely solely on any one person or source for all their information, that just isn't wise. Do your research before making any decision about anything. Especially when it comes to our children.

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Avatar for user 'randolphslinky'

randolphslinky | September 10, 2010 at 8:10 a.m. ― 3 years, 10 months ago

Myths and legends have their place in story books for night time reading before bed time, they shouldn't become your reality.

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Avatar for user 'Joanne Faryon'

Joanne Faryon, KPBS Staff | September 10, 2010 at 10:55 a.m. ― 3 years, 10 months ago

Thanks everyone for your comments. We are following up on this story and will bring you on-going coverage in the coming weeks. I am also interested in hearing from you if you or your children were diagnosed with whooping cough after being immunized.
thanks,
Joanne
/>jfaryon@kpbs.org />

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Avatar for user 'capricorn45'

capricorn45 | November 1, 2010 at 9:40 p.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

Thanks for your great article Joanne!

Here is some more supporting evidence:

"Whooping Cough infections are common in an immunized population."
Journal of the American Medical Association, 1998

"In 1979 Sweden abandoned the whooping cough vaccine. Out of 5,140 cases in 1978, it was found that 84% had been vaccinated three times."
British Medical Journal 283:696-697, 1981

"For an individual child the risk is greater from the whooping cough vaccine than the disease."
Dr. Joanne Hatem, Medical Director, Vaccine National Information Center, Virginia

"In the USA in 1978, they mandated vaccination it resulted in a three fold increase in the reported incidence of whooping cough."
Viera Scheibner PhD showing graphs from Tokai Journal of Experimental Biology and Medicine, 1988

In The New England Journal of Medicine July 1994 issue a study found that over 80% of children under five years of age who had contracted whooping cough had been fully vaccinated.

"Dutch scientists are struggling to identify the exact cause of an epidemic of whooping cough that has swept throughout the country despite vaccination rates as high as 96% ("despite" or because of?) Similar problems are being reported in Norway and Denmark."
British Medical Journal, 1998

http://www.vaccinesuncensored.org/safety.php

I also invite readers to check out my 'Vaccination Information Network' (VINE) on Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Vaccination-Information-Network-VINE/69667273997

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Avatar for user 'baltimorecrunch'

baltimorecrunch | November 3, 2010 at 2:09 p.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

The real question is, why now, with a much closer to perfect immunization, are there 25,000 cases of pertussis a year. When the cases in the 80's when children either weren't immunized, or didn't get nearly as many boosters, were there only 1,200 cases?

Mooi is right. Something is wrong. The higher the coverage rates, the higher the case rates. Just look at WHO VPD 2009. The CDC submits their data to the WHO.

My belief is that altering the immune system constantly with vaccines and anti-biotic overuse is exactly whats causing disease in our children. America has some of the most unhealthy children on the planet that have access and money to eat healthy food. But instead of buying organic food, parents are buying a PS3. We have totally lost ourselves and what health really is.

Survival of the fittest is really survival of the most adaptable. And virus and bacteria are very adaptable. Clearly more so than humans.

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Avatar for user 'MyRosario'

MyRosario | November 9, 2010 at 10:14 p.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

It has also been said shots have proven to lesson. parents not giving their kids shots are causing all these diseases to come back. gov't is gonna find a way to kill us one way or another..I'm a nursing student, vitamin c and all that.. hog wash! vitamins have been proven by many, many studies to even make u more "sick". esp if taken toooo much. sick as in not coughing,etc, but other sicknesses. Keep on not vaccinating ur kids, heck, maybe polio will be back!

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Avatar for user 'petnut2'

petnut2 | November 27, 2010 at 5:22 p.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

@randolphslinky - you can act holier than though, however, your comments make you sound rather uneducated. If you actually do some research yourself - and stop being lead around by the media and the doctors - you might actually learn something. I know it's hard to believe we have been deceived, but you need to get past your denial. It's like when you are diagnosed with a terrible disease - you don't want to believe it at first. It's called D-E-N-I-A-L. But you can only argue if you actually read.... And saying "but they have done studies that prove vaccines effective and safe" is not an argument. Read the studies yourself. That's the only way to know. Or else heck! Go on and vaccinate away! But don't defend the indefensible.

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Avatar for user 'tedra7777'

tedra7777 | November 27, 2010 at 9:21 p.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

When my son was 3 months old he had such an awful reaction to this vaccine that I chose not to continue with vaccinations. He went stiff...and screamed for more than 4 hours. It was one of the worst momments I have ever experienced. Since then I have come to realize the do's and dont's of vaccinating our little ones. He is 6 know and has never recieved another vaccination. wooooo hoooo....he got chicken pox like his mommy did when she was little too....not a problem.

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Avatar for user 'mamahen10'

mamahen10 | November 27, 2010 at 10:10 p.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

Really, is that all u people have is polio? Ask Nigeria about there vaccine induced POLIO EPEDEMIC!!

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Avatar for user 'kschami'

kschami | November 28, 2010 at 6:46 a.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago


I feel the same way as Baltinmorecrunch that "America has some of the most unhealthy children on the planet that have access and money to eat healthy food. But instead of buying organic food, parents are buying a PS3."..time to buy the children some healthy organic food for Christmas and also donate money to organisations which seek truth and nothing bur truth and are adequately funded to be able to 'scientifically prove it' (Big Pharma does not have the incentive to do this) on how to keep children healthy with or without vaccination

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Avatar for user 'tatsu15'

tatsu15 | January 13, 2011 at 2:21 a.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago

I believe the reason why it's getting out of hand is that the virus/bacteria is mutating and acting like super bugs. There is a possibility that anything genetically altered or artificial from the original DNA can mutate and create more resistant. Vaccines are unnatural- it's injected and goes directly into our bloodstream and bypasses our natural protective barriers (mucous membrane and lymphatic system). It's also altered in labs... it's not the wild virus/bacteria which naturally is contracted through the nose or mouth.

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Avatar for user 'tatsu15'

tatsu15 | January 13, 2011 at 2:22 a.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago

Also, I believe that the adjuvants and fillers they add can actually enhance the virus/bacteria to mutate more effectively.

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Avatar for user 'nonvaccinator'

nonvaccinator | February 5, 2011 at 12:28 a.m. ― 3 years, 5 months ago

@MyRosario. Vitamin C is hog wash? Really? You do know that without Vitamin C in your body, you fall down dead, right? Do you also know that there is ongoing research leading to the possible conclusion that vaccinating infants with so many vaccines at once is depriving their body of Vitamin C and thus causing SIDS? How many parents out there would have liked to have known that had they given their baby a good dose of Vitamin C before and after receiving an immunization, their baby may not have died in the days/weeks following said immunizations. Do you also know that it is a treatment for hodgkin's? Why in the world would a nursing student call Vitamin C hog wash?
http://www.earthclinic.com/CURES/whooping-cough.html
http://www.seanet.com/~alexs/ascorbate/193x/ormerod-mj-etal-canadian_med_assn_j-1937-v37-n2-p134.htm
http://www.seanet.com/~alexs/ascorbate/193x/ormerod-mj-etal-canadian_med_assn_j-1937-v37-n3-p268.htm
There are many more articles about Vitamin C saturation. You really should do your reading before you "poo poo" something. I really wonder what you are being taught in this "nursing" school you attend.

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Avatar for user 'antiutilitarian'

antiutilitarian | February 25, 2011 at 5:15 p.m. ― 3 years, 5 months ago

Thank you for the honest reporting. It's a breath of fresh air.

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Avatar for user 'GreenYourLife'

GreenYourLife | March 22, 2011 at 12:59 a.m. ― 3 years, 4 months ago

Herd immunity is for cattle. We are not so many cattle! Because some of are able to survive a toxic insult to the body is not proof that it is safe. Staying home when you are sick and gaining natural immunity is the best medicine.

Giving vaccines to 3rd world countries with already compromised immune systems from lack of sanitation is the reason we hear about so many vaccine deaths. No liability and no proof of safety spells cover-up! Absence of proof isn't proof of absense.

Documented proof that vaccines did not save us:
http://genesgreenbook.com/content/proof-vaccines-didnt-save-us

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Avatar for user 'GreenYourLife'

GreenYourLife | March 22, 2011 at 1:01 a.m. ― 3 years, 4 months ago

Herd immunity is for cattle. We are not so many cattle! Because some are able to survive a toxic insult to the body is not proof that it is safe. Staying home when you are sick and gaining natural immunity is the best medicine.

Giving vaccines to 3rd world countries with already compromised immune systems from lack of sanitation is the reason we hear about so many vaccine deaths. No liability and no proof of safety spells cover-up! Absence of proof isn't proof of absense.

Documented proof that vaccines did not save us:
http://genesgreenbook.com/content/proof-vaccines-didnt-save-us

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Avatar for user 'AKEngineer'

AKEngineer | May 4, 2012 at 11:50 a.m. ― 2 years, 2 months ago

Stats can be confusing to those who don't understand them....

"I did hear it was broadcast on the news that 80% of Pertussis cases in Washington was of people who were current on all their DTAP and TDAP vaccines....."

So I made a spreadsheet to see how that works out.

Even if vaccines were 90% effective, assuming those who weren't vaccinated had a 40% chance of not contracting Whooping cough when exposed, and assuming an immunization rate of 95%, a whopping 76% of those who contracted the illness would have been current on their vaccinations.

If you drop it down to 80% effective, the percentage of people infected who are vaccinated goes to 86%

The stat hiding in the background is that the percentage of people who were NOT infected who were immunized is 98% and 97%, respectively.

So really, vaccines can be (and are) remarkably effective, and still give you your "80% of the cases were those who are vaccinated" stat.

Anyone who uses a stat like this as an argument against vaccines needs to take Statistical Analysis 101, in my opinion.
Just as the CDC said, "statistically, higher vaccination rates increases the probability a sick person will have been immunized."

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