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Immunized People Getting Whooping Cough


When Immunity Fails: The Whooping Cough Epidemic

Watch the full episode. See more Envision San Diego.

Most of the people who got whooping cough in San Diego County so far this year were up to date with their immunizations, according to county data.

Of the 621 people who contracted the illness, 85 percent had all their preventative shots — calling into question the efficacy of the vaccine.

“Pertussis vaccines offer high levels of protection within the first year of completing vaccinations,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, a San Diego county public health officer.

“But then the protection decreases over time,” Wooten said.

KPBS and inewsource first raised questions about how well the vaccine worked in 2010, after its statewide analysis of the data showed the majority of people who got the disease were already vaccinated.

When Immunity Fails: The Whooping Cough Epidemic, a documentary co-reported by KPBS and inewsource, examined the worst epidemic in California in 60 years. One that made thousands sick and killed 10 babies.

The investigation led to several scientific studies which found that immunity faded sooner than expected after people were vaccinated.

Wooten said even with decreased immunity, the vaccine helps to lessen the severity of the illness.

Currently, children and teenagers are required to get a total of six shots to be considered up to date.

Of the 621 people who got whooping so far this year, 527 were up-to-date, 67 were not, and the immunization status was unknown for 27.

The vast majority, more than 400, were between 10 and 18 years old.

The number of positive cases so far this year has already surpassed total cases for last year, suggesting 2014 is on track to be as bad or worse than the 2010 epidemic.

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Avatar for user 'Shawn_Siegel'

Shawn_Siegel | June 13, 2014 at 8:08 a.m. ― 2 years, 9 months ago

Informed consent is constantly discounted in articles such as this, seemingly viewed with disdain, when it's critical to every parent. There have been almost 1,000 reports of deaths related to the Dtap and Tdap vaccines over the last twenty-five years, and as many permanent disabilities, and the reporting system is dysfunctional - as few as only 1% of actual serious vaccine reactions ever get reported. That means it's virtually certain that there are many more people dying each year from the vaccine than the disease, most of 'em kids. That information, that uncertainty, not as to the possibility of catastrophic reaction - that's a given - but as to the actual extent, which defines the risk, must be provided to the public.

Do your job. Provide the information. Serve your readers.

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Avatar for user 'Eddie89'

Eddie89 | June 13, 2014 at 8:28 a.m. ― 2 years, 9 months ago

There seems to be a lot of research and studies showing that the current vaccine loses it's effectiveness after three years.

And calling for increased vaccinations and booster shots is just causing the bacteria to adapt and evolve into a stronger version!

Also getting vaccinated carries it's own risks, due to some people being allergic or suffering some of the side effects.

It would be better to increase our own body's immune system via healthy diet with low/no sugar, no simple carbs (breads, pastas). More complex carbs from vegetables (greens), some fruits (don't want too much sugar, even from fruit), nuts/seeds and healthy fats like coconut oil (excellent for high heat cooking), olive oil (cold like in salads).

I found this site had some good info about the lack of benefits and risks from the whooping cough vaccine:

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | June 13, 2014 at 10:10 a.m. ― 2 years, 9 months ago

Pasta is a complex carbohydrate. Fruit sugars contain simple carbs.

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Avatar for user 'DoritReiss'

DoritReiss | June 13, 2014 at 10:28 a.m. ― 2 years, 9 months ago

We could use a better pertussis vaccine, but the description in this article is misleading. The question is not how many people out of those who got pertussis have whooping cough; the question is what is the relative risk between the vaccinated and unvaccinated.

Let me explain the difference between absolute numbers and rates with an example. Imagine the following calculation: a school with 1000 children, 95% (950) vaccinated, 5% (50) unvaccinated. A whooping cough outbreak. 10% of the vaccinated get it: 95 children. 80% of the unvaccinated: 40 children. There are more vaccinated children who got pertussis, but your chances to get it are much higher if you're in the unvaccinated group: you're at larger risk. It's much safer to be vaccinated.

That's exactly what the studies show. Study after study shows that the rates are much higher among the unvaccinated, and that communities with low vaccination rates are more prone to outbreaks. See:
Jason M. Glanz, et al., Parental Refusal of Pertussis Vaccination Is Associated With an Increased Risk of Pertussis Infection in Children, 123 PEDIATRICS 1446(2009).

Saad B. Omer, et al., Nonmedical Exemptions to School Immunization Requirements: Secular Trends and Association of State Policies With Pertussis Incidence, 296 JAMA 1757(2006).

Saad B. Omer, et al., Geographic Clustering of Nonmedical Exemptions to School Immunization Requirements and Associations With Geographic Clustering of Pertussis, 168 AMERICAN JOURNAL OF EPIDEMIOLOGY 1389(2008).

Aamer Imdad, et al., Religious Exemptions for Immunization and Risk of Pertussis in New York State, 2000–2011, PEDIATRICS (2013).

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Avatar for user 'DoritReiss'

DoritReiss | June 13, 2014 at 10:32 a.m. ― 2 years, 9 months ago

"There have been almost 1,000 reports of deaths related to the Dtap and Tdap vaccines over the last twenty-five years, and as many permanent disabilities, and the reporting system is dysfunctional - as few as only 1% of actual serious vaccine reactions ever get reported. "

The commentator is misleading the readers. Without naming it, the commentator is referring to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System - VAERS - and pretending as if reports show deaths. That's not actually the case. The reports include every serious thing that happened after a vaccine, connected to vaccine or not. While there is probably some under reporting - though there's no real basis for the 1% number - there is also evidence of substantial over reporting, which means most reports really aren't caused by vaccines. That's why it's a really bad source of information.

The commentator is welcome to provide credible medical or scientific information of any death related to the DTaP or TDaP vaccines in the last twenty five years.
We know pertussis killed two babies in California alone this year, and more in the past. Before the vaccine, it would kill 4000 babies a year.

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Avatar for user 'DoritReiss'

DoritReiss | June 13, 2014 at 11:43 a.m. ― 2 years, 9 months ago

And yes, the answer to a vaccine that wanes faster than we expected, until we can get a better vaccine, is more boosters.

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Avatar for user 'Shawn_Siegel'

Shawn_Siegel | June 13, 2014 at 11:45 a.m. ― 2 years, 9 months ago

The so-called medical procedure of vaccination deposits its ingredients - disease antigens, known neurotoxins, undigested food proteins and unknown contaminants - where they don't belong; into the bloodstream, via the capillary beds of the muscles. There are immune components in the nose, mouth, throat and remaining broad expanse of mucosal membranes that are meant to be the first responders to potential pathogens, almost always inhaled or ingested, which in the majority of cases eliminate the organism before it can infect - an unreproducible array of protective bodily functions completely circumvented by vaccination. Ingested toxins are first eliminated by the body, through the stomach or bowels. The remaining are further broken down by digestive enzymes, then at least partially detoxified by the liver before they enter the bloodstream, where they gain access to the brain and heart. All those circulatory system safeguards are bypassed by injection. Accumulation of undigested proteins in the bloodstream can cause food allergy, anaphylactic shock and, sometimes, death - all cataloged as reported vaccine reactions - and the amount required to produce such potentially catastrophic consequences can be tiny, depending on a host of individual factors. In 2012, shards of glass were found in a batch of Gardasil. Had they been ingested, hopefully no damage would have been done, and the digestive process would have successfully eliminated them. Intuitively, injecting them seems fraught with more dire possibilities.

It's only the temporal divide between the act of vaccination and the display of the plethora of resulting debilitating autoimmune and neurological disorders that has allowed the paradigm to continue. Were vaccine injuries to occur instead as the needle was withdrawn, no doctor would dare suggest vaccinating.

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Avatar for user 'bostongal'

bostongal | June 13, 2014 at 12:55 p.m. ― 2 years, 9 months ago

there goes Dorit Reiss at it again- always on any story that shows how the vaccines DONT WORK ( pharma troll) and are just pure poison and are killing ppl and causing injury- so we inject this nonsense into ppl for what???????????

oh yeah I forgot -to dumb down the population, to keep them slaves to those who want to remain in power- we are AWAKE we see it for what it is- we will not put this POISON in us!

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Avatar for user 'DoritReiss'

DoritReiss | June 13, 2014 at 2:14 p.m. ― 2 years, 9 months ago

"The so-called medical procedure of vaccination deposits its ingredients - disease antigens, known neurotoxins, undigested food proteins and unknown contaminants - where they don't belong; into the bloodstream, via the capillary beds of the muscles"

A. Vaccines are not injected into the bloodstream, but as you point out, into the muscle. Why do we inject them, rather than, for example, swallow most of them? Most vaccines are injected because the partial, inactivated or weakened pathogen (germ) in them is too weak to get very far if they had to deal with the stomach acids. That's why polio and rotavirus can come in swallowed form: these viruses are used to dealing with our stomach and digestive system. Other bacteria and viruses are not: the systems they are designed to get around are in our noses and other areas.

That is why the risks of vaccines are so low: it's nowhere near being exposed to the wild virus or bacteria. But it means that what is in there needs help to get to a lymph node, if it's to trigger the immune response that will protect us. The point of vaccines, as Dr. Offit explained in a variety of contexts, is to create an immune response without exposing you to the risk of the diseases.

B. Describing vaccine ingredients in such problematic terms is a common tactic of anti-vaccine activists, and it is incorrect. Here is a useful source on vaccine ingredients, explaining why each of them is there and how we know they're safe:

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Avatar for user 'Chris_Hickie'

Chris_Hickie | June 15, 2014 at 3:28 a.m. ― 2 years, 9 months ago

This is an absolutely awful and poorly selected title for this article given that the State of California has just declared (

As Dorit Reiss has quite succinctly pointed out, your risk of contracting pertussis is much higher if you are unvaccinated than vaccinated. What we are likely also currently seeing is that parents who are electively not vaccinating their children are also not seeking medical care for those unvaccinated children when they contract pertussis either. This is very consistent with their paranoid distrust of science-based medicine. If their unvaccinated child is a toddler or older, that child can most likely weather without hospitalization (though very miserably) the 2-3 months of paroxysmal coughing that comes with pertussis. Unfortunately, that unvaccinated child will be contagious to others much of that time, thus contributing directly to the continued spread of whooping cough.

Those who are anti-vaccine (and unfortunately, you have a lot of them in southern California) will cite misdirected articles like this (which did not consider the whole story) to "prove" that vaccines don't work. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Consider the 2010 California pertussis outbreak in which there were over 9,000 reported cases of pertussis and 10 infants too young to be vaccinated died from contracting pertussis. It was shown last year in a research paper ( that areas in California with high rated of elective non-vaccination correlated well in time and space with the areas in California with the most pertussis cases--again showing that not vaccinating directly contributes to the spread of pertussis in the population. --Chris HIckie, MD, PhD

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Avatar for user 'HeatherVee'

HeatherVee | June 15, 2014 at 6:55 p.m. ― 2 years, 9 months ago

Unfortunately, the newer acellular pertussis vaccines (DTaP for infants and Tdap for booster) are not as effective for as long as the older whole-cell version of the vaccine; the switch over from the whole-cell DTP vaccine to the DTaP was made in the 1990's in order to avoid some of the side effects of the whole-cell DTP. It's been effective enough however to keep the "peaks" of the infection cycles reduced by about 90% compared to peaks of 200,000 to 250,000 cases per year in the 1930's and 1940's before vaccination began.

Since the infection hits infants the hardest - both in terms of prevalence and in severity, with higher rates of hospitalizations and complications - the CDC and other public health agencies emphasize vaccination for infants (DTaP) and for pregnant women (Tdap) to pass on antibodies to newborns too young for their first set of vaccinations.

CDC Pertussis Surveillance Data:

Eddie89 should understand that Mercola has a definite motive to dismiss the pertussis vaccination as completely ineffective and incredibly dangerous. Mercola wants to instead sell everyone his immune-boosting supplements and a vast array of other products from his well-advertised web-store.

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Avatar for user 'Drpaulfish101'

Drpaulfish101 | June 16, 2014 at 8:16 p.m. ― 2 years, 9 months ago

One of the largest groups of people in the US who chose not to vaccinate are chiropractors. One would think that the medical profession would study these doctors and their families to see if they get any of the diseases unvaccinated people are supposed to get. Chiropractors would be very eager to be involved in such a study, I know I would be. Is the chiropractic lifestyle which includes a properly functioning nervous system, combined with a healthy diet, good hygiene, sunshine and exercise more valuable in preventing disease than a slurry of dead micro organisms, exitotoxins, preservatives, heavy metals, fetal and animal tissue. I'm pretty darn sure I know the answer. Unfortunately the medically dominated world doesn't.

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Avatar for user 'stephkat'

stephkat | June 17, 2014 at 12:41 a.m. ― 2 years, 9 months ago

Dorit Reiss is my hero!

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Avatar for user 'joshl_biomechanic'

joshl_biomechanic | June 18, 2014 at 1:28 p.m. ― 2 years, 9 months ago

Dorit Reiss, I find your vaccine ingredients link to be misleading.
When comparing toxicity levels of ingredients the site fails to compare injected levels. Only comparison is with ingested ingredients. That worries me.

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Avatar for user 'Len'

Len | June 18, 2014 at 2:08 p.m. ― 2 years, 9 months ago

Dorit Reiss is, as always, a voice of reason among the hysteria by anti-vaccination proponents, who publish among other things the false " "There have been almost 1,000 reports of deaths related to the Dtap and Tdap vaccines over the last twenty-five years, and as many permanent disabilities..," In researching the HPV vaccine I learned--it took time and patience--that the many "reports" from many sources of horrible effects could be traced to a single fiction in a "religious" site (whose real fear was that girls would be wildly promiscuous once they were "safe" from HPV and, probably, cancer.)
I am old enough to remember similar arguments against giving children Salk and Sabin vaccines, though polio was probably the disease parents feared most. Further back were screeds against measles vaccination. Even smallpox vaccination, which effectively eradicated it, was seen by the anti-vaccination cohort as a killer.
That chiropractors don't get their children vaccinated (if it's true, which I doubt) isn't as compelling argument as is that pediatricians, almost all physicians, researchers, the CDC staff DO get them vaccinated.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | June 18, 2014 at 2:17 p.m. ― 2 years, 9 months ago

Chiropractors are little more than masseuses who know nothing about medicine. The fact that some of them make the poor and dangerous choice of denying the benefits of modern medicine to their children only serves to further undermine the credibility of the anti-vax crowd, which consists mainly of zero-education hysterical parents who have nothing better to do than stay home and read message boards on the internet all day.

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Avatar for user 'Drpaulfish101'

Drpaulfish101 | June 19, 2014 at 10:07 a.m. ― 2 years, 9 months ago

Entertaining posts. The only way to find out if chiropractors are right on this issue is to do the study I suggested. Very easy to do but has been resisted by the medical profession for years. Chiropractors no nothing about medicine. We treat human beings by natural means without drugs and surgery and our results speak for themselves. every study that has ever been done on chiropractic has shown it to be safe and effective. In most cases safer and more effective than drugs and always safer than surgery. Some people like taking drugs, getting vaccinated and getting parts of themselves taken out with surgery. That's their choice, it and doesn't bother me a bit. But for people who want something else, I think they should have the freedom to find out about it and get it.

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Avatar for user 'Lowell'

Lowell | June 27, 2014 at 3:22 p.m. ― 2 years, 9 months ago

How many times Dorit Reiss, must a vaccine repeatedly fail before such as the CDC admits to that failure, and as well that vaccine derived herd immunity has NOT worked?

Why is the CDC and FDA Still Recommending the Failed Whooping Cough Vaccine?

The Measles Vaccine Failure the U.S. Media is not Covering

Researchers find first US evidence of vaccine-resistant pertussis

Pertussis Vaccine Failure is not Just Modern but Historical: the Vaccine has Never Been Effective

Failed Vaccines Become Public Health Crisis

Researchers find first US evidence of vaccine-resistant pertussis

The Current Failure of Pertussis and Measles Vaccine

Mass vaccination advocates rely on ‘herd immunity’ to make their case. But it doesn’t exist

Cracked beaker“When vaccination rates are very high, as they still are in the nation as a whole, everyone is protected,” explained USA Today in a recent editorial entitled “Vaccine opt-outs put public health at risk.”

“This ‘herd immunity’ protects the most vulnerable, including those who can’t be vaccinated for medical reasons, infants too young to get vaccinated and people on whom the vaccine doesn’t work. But herd immunity works only when nearly the whole herd joins in. When some refuse vaccinations and seek a free ride, immunity breaks down and everyone is more vulnerable.”

The concept of “herd immunity” first materialized in the 1930s, when Johns Hopkins University’s Arthur Hedrich discovered that, after 55% of Baltimore’s population acquired measles (and thus immunity to measles), the rest of the population, or “herd,” became protected. This concept provides today’s rationale for insisting that everyone be vaccinated.

Measles outbreaks occur even when the vaccinated population exceeds 95%

“If you only risked your own health by not getting vaccinated, that would be your business,” mass vaccination advocates state. “But when your failure to get vaccinated endangers me or my child, that becomes my business.” It’s a powerful argument, except for one thing — herd immunity in vaccinated populations has been repeatedly disproven.

Read more:

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Avatar for user 'Lowell'

Lowell | June 27, 2014 at 3:23 p.m. ― 2 years, 9 months ago

Acellular pertussis vaccines protect against disease but fail to prevent infection and transmission in a nonhuman primate model

In this above baboon study, pertussis vaccine was shown to not prevent transmission of the pertussis pathogen, in the vaccinated; even though being challenged and remaining non symptomatic. So then, how is it possible that the claim is true that vaccination protects the unvaccinated, or those that can not be vaccinated? Obviously it does not. Why did they not do that kind of a study years ago, and as well in regard to all vaccines given? You see some of the most important issues have been overlooked; and but yet you people all present with that you are the purveyors of the needed vaccine safety and effectiveness science. They need to do this same study in regard to all vaccines, and why haven't they? Then do a study as well in comparison where naturally immune persons, and/or baboons are studied to see if they shed the pathogen while remaining asymptomatic? Now, that would not be likely, would it; so lets once and for all do the study.

The CDC would be fearful of the result of such a study, as it would very likely show that the only possible way to eradicate these illness is through natural immunity. This would be the real vaccine effectiveness science which they have obviously neglected to do.

Acellular pertussis vaccination enhances B. parapertussis colonization

An acellular whooping cough vaccine actually enhances the colonization of Bordetella parapertussis in mice; pointing towards a rise in B. parapertussis incidence resulting from acellular vaccination, which may have contributed to the observed increase in whooping cough over the last decade.

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