January 10, 2018

Current Issues
Count Me In! Click Here to Register

Non-specific Effects of
Childhood Vaccines:
How Much Fire,
How Much Smoke?


Arthur L Reingold, MD

University of California, Berkeley

Clubhouse Location:
WHSCAB Plaza & Auditorium
6:00pm — wine, cheese, networking
6:30pm — meeting convenes
7:45pm — casual buffet dinner, more networking

Dear Vacciners,
As we all know, everything from Fast Food to Automobiles to Guns can have consequences for people with access to them that can range from the desirable (Jobs! Increased Mobility! Opportunities to wear Blaze Orange!) to the deeply undesirable (Obesity! Accidental Death! More Accidental Death!!).

So pretty much across the board, the consequences of actions can be planned ... and not.

For example, when the state of Kansas first moved to expand liquor licenses to grocery and convenience stores they were specifically intending to create new revenue streams that would allow small stores to remain financially viable in the face of competition from the growing number of 'big box' stores.

But a review of the effects of the proposed bill by the Kansas Health Institute showed that the new law would probably also lead to increases in domestic child abuse, violence, STDs, and alcohol-related traffic accidents caused by young drivers.

The bill ended up dying in committee but, if it hadn't, the injection of retail alcohol into Kansas grocery and convenience stores could have had effects that were both specific to the target of the law (fewer stores go out of business) AND "non-specific" – i.e. ripple effects -- for the greater community (more people become the victims of crime, disease, and violence).

So what about vaccines? We all know that they have oodles of beneficial effects that are specific to the diseases they target but do they ever have NON-SPECIFIC effects as well? And, if so, are the non-specific effects always Bad?

Spoiler alert ...
Yes they might and no they aren't.

For example, there is intriguing evidence that using BCG vaccine to immunize babies in West Africa against Tuberculosis ALSO reduces death from sepsis and respiratory infections as well as making the babies generally healthier to the tune of cutting overall child mortality by a whole heaping heck of a lot. How is THAT for a vaccine with a cherry on top?

But ...

Both the studies of, and the findings from, research on the non-specific effects of vaccines have been controversial. HIGHLY controversial.

Is it the non-specific effects of BCG vaccine that are reducing infant mortality or is it something else? Does DPT vaccine cause harmful non-specific effects or doesn't it? Is the risk of non-specific effects from vaccines greater for female children than for male children or isn't it? Have flaws in the methodology of studies of non-specific effects of vaccines created a smoke screen that zealots on both sides of the vaccine issue use to project their individual versions of the "Truth?"

Inquiring minds want to know!!

Are you an inquiring mind? Of course you are! So come to the January 10th meeting of the Vaccine Dinner Club and get the spicy low down on non-specific effects of vaccines from Art Reingold.

Register now.

Happy New Year,
-Kimbi Hagen
VDC Director/Goddess