Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., referenced a study last week on national television, showing that African children had a five to ten-fold increase in mortality after receiving the DTP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis) vaccine. The study examined vaccinated vs. unvaccinated children in Guinea Bissau, West Africa, from the late 1970s to the early 1980s. When children were given the DTP vaccine by itself, it increased the death rate 10-fold (1,000 %) over children who were unvaccinated. By the early 1980s, a cascade of lawsuits filed across the US on behalf of vaccine-injured children threatened to shut down production of the DTP and other vaccines. That was avoided in 1986 when the US Congress, influenced by generous campaign donations, granted legal immunity for vaccine makers. –GEG For many years, public health advocates have vainly urged the CDC and WHO to conduct studies comparing vaccinated vs. unvaccinated populations to measure overall health outcomes.
Now a team of Scandinavian scientists has conducted such a study and the results are alarming. That study, funded in part by the Danish government and lead by Dr. Soren Wengel Mogensen, was published in January in EBioMedicine. Mogensen and his team of scientists found that African children inoculated with the DTP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis) vaccine, during the early 1980s had a 5-10 times greater mortality than their unvaccinated peers.
The scientists term the study a “natural experiment” since a birthday-based vaccination system employed for the Bandim Health Project (BHP) in Guinea Bissau, West Africa had the effect of creating a vaccinated cohort and a similarly situated unvaccinated control group. In the time period covered by this study, Guinea-Bissau had 50% child mortality rates for children up to age 5. Starting in 1978, BHP health care workers contacted pregnant mothers and encouraged them to visit infant weighing sessions provided by a BHP team every three months after their child’s birth. Beginning in 1981, BHP offered vaccinations at the weighing sessions. Since the DPT vaccine and OPV (oral polio) immunizations were offered only to children who were at least three months of age at the weighing sessions, the children’s random birthdays allowed for analysis of deaths between 3 and 5 months of age depending on vaccination status. So, for example, a child born on January 1st and weighed on April 1st would be vaccinated, but a child born on February 1st would not be vaccinated until their following visit at age 5 months on July 1st.
In the primary analysis, DTP-vaccinated infants experienced mortalities five times greater than DTP-unvaccinated infants. Mortalities to vaccinated girls were 9.98 times those among females in the unvaccinated control group, while mortalities to vaccinated boys were 3.93 times the controls. Oddly, the scientists found that children receiving the oral polio vaccine simultaneously with DTP fared much better than children who did not. The OPV vaccine appeared to modify the negative effect of the DTP vaccine, reducing mortalities to 3.52 times those experienced among the control group. Overall, mortalities among vaccinated children were 10 times the control group when children received only the DTP.
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