The push to keep adding more vaccines to the mandatory
schedules comes directly from a purely profit motivated industry and a recent
investor report estimates that the worldwide market will quadruple from about
$4.3 billion in 2006 to more than $16 billion in 2016, with the biggest boost
coming from kids in the US.
A November 2007 report, entitled "Pipeline and
Commercial Insight: Pediatric and Adolescent Vaccines," authored by
vaccine analyst, Hedwig Kresse, for the independent market analyst Datamonitor,
discusses the future outlook for vaccine profits.
The report provides an assessment of products and a
patient-based forecast of market size and coverage rates to the year 2016, and
predicts that the introduction of high price vaccines will induce rapid growth
in the pediatric and adolescent vaccines market.
The report predicts that due to the "promising
commercial potential" of new, high-price vaccines, the pediatric and
adolescent market will quadruple from approximately $4.3 billion in 2006, to
over $16 billion by 2016, across the US, the EU-five including France, Germany,
Italy, Spain, and the UK, and Japan.
The crucial factor for success in the pediatric market, the
report notes, is the introduction of a product into national vaccination
schedules. "Along with reimbursement, this virtually guarantees the rapid
uptake and continuously high coverage rates in the target population," Ms.
As an example, she cites Wyeth�s Prevnar, as the first
premium price vaccine launched in the US in 2000 for vaccinating infants
against pneumonia and meningitis.
Since then, Prevnar has been added to the childhood
vaccination schedules in the US and EU-five despite its high price of nearly
$320 for the four-dose regimen. In 2006, Global sales reached almost $2
billion, making Prevnar the first vaccine to attain blockbuster status,
according to the report. By 2016, Datamonitor expects the total value of the
infant market for pneumococcal vaccines to increase to $2.3 billion.
In June 2006, Merck�s Gardasil was approved for cervical
cancer. Because it was the first vaccine offered as a preventive measure for a
form of cancer, its approval generated tremendous public attention along with
pressure for health care providers to make the vaccine available to teenage
girls at a cost of $360 for three doses.
"Although most cases of cervical cancer in the
developed world can be prevented through the existing pap smear screening
programs, the expensive HPV vaccination has been recommended and is reimbursed
for teenage girls across the US and Europe," Ms. Kresse reports.
She notes that this decision is driven more by public
pressure and excitement about the opportunity to vaccinate against cancer
rather than by real need. The widespread publicity has led to a good uptake in
the target group of adolescent girls, which is usually hard to reach for
vaccination, Ms. Kresse points out to investors.
Datamonitor sees a huge commercial opportunity in HPV
vaccines, with annual sales of $1.4 billion, in teenage girls for the seven
major markets by 2016 and a cumulative catch-up opportunity in women aged 13-26
that could add up to over $17 billion by 2016.
But Ms. Kresse warns investors that the "lack of
medical need" for rotavirus vaccines such as RotaTeq will limit their
uptake in most markets. RotaTeq is advertised to combat diarrhea that usually
affects infants under the age of two, and was introduced by Merck in the US in
2006 at a price of $200 for the three-dose regimen.
According to Ms Kresse, many countries, but not the US, have
refused to add the vaccine to their schedules due to cost-benefit reasons. �In
the developed world, rotavirus diarrhea is rarely severe for small infants and
quick and efficacious treatment is already available," she writes.
"Consequently, healthcare authorities see no need to widely introduce a
very expensive vaccine.�
Datamonitor estimates that annual sales will remain limited
to approximately $1 billion across the seven major markets by 2016 and predicts
that the US will account for the majority of sales, being the only country to
have recommended the rotavirus vaccine for all infants.
Wyeth's Prevnar vaccine came on the market in 2000 and is
recommended for children under 2. The vaccine was hailed as a breakthrough and
had sales of more than $1.5 billion in 2006. Prevnar is given as four shots to
children between 2 and 15 months.
On September 18, 2007, NewsMax reported that the vaccine has
dramatically curbed pneumonia and other serious illnesses in children but is
also having an unfortunate effect: "promoting new superbugs that cause ear
According to NewsMax, doctors reported finding the first
such germ that is resistant to all drugs approved to treat childhood ear
infections and nine toddlers in Rochester, N.Y., have had the bug and that it
also may be turning up elsewhere.
It is a strain of strep bacteria not included in the
pneumococcal vaccine. Prevnar prevents seven strains responsible for most cases
of pneumonia, meningitis and bloodstream infections. But dozens more strains
exist and some have become resistant to antibiotics since the vaccine combats
the more common strains.
If the new strains continue to spread, "it tells us the
vaccine is becoming less effective" and needs to be revised, Dr Dennis
Maki, infectious diseases chief at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
Hospitals and Clinics, told NewsMax.
A new study in the November 8, 2007, New England Journal of
Medicine by researchers at Oregon Health & Science University, supported by
the United States Public Health Service, suggests that the schedule for
vaccinating and revaccinating against diseases should be reevaluated and
The study found that in many cases, the established duration
of immunity for vaccines is greatly underestimated, which means that people are
getting booster shots when their immunity levels do not require it and those
antibody responses caused by viruses such as measles mumps, and rubella
remained at protective levels for several decades and in most cases, for life.
The research also reconfirmed a previous finding by Slifka
and his colleagues: that the duration of immunity after smallpox vaccination is
much longer than previously thought. In that earlier study published in the
journal Nature Medicine in 2003, these OHSU researchers observed surprisingly
long-lived antiviral antibody responses but they were unable to measure the
slow rate of decline.
The study indicates that the duration of immunity after
smallpox vaccination is maintained with a calculated half-life of 92 years and
that a person who has received the primary series of tetanus vaccine is likely
to be protected for three decades.
Experts say we have allowed ourselves and our children to be
overdosed through a culture dominated by industry marketing influence which has
now become dangerously out of control and detrimental to our children's health.
"In the 21st century, it is unacceptable to be marketing medication to
infants and children that may not work," Dr Steven Czinn, chair of the
department of pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, told
Reuters on October 11, 2007.
In the November 19, 2007, Huffington Post article,
"Over Medicated and Over-Vaccinated: The Unintended Consequence of
Medicines Meant to Protect," Deirdre Imus asks, "Where are the
conflict-free studies that prove giving infants and children 49 immunizations
-- most of them by age 5, are safe and effective?"
She points out that studies have provided evidence that the
over-vaccination of dogs and cats can result in numerous maladies including
cancer, skin and ear conditions, arthritis, allergies, diabetes, aggression,
behavior problems and other immune system dysfunctions. "There is even a
name for the conditions caused by animal over-vaccination, vaccinosis,"
Ms Imus also points out that the mercury-containing
preservative, thimerosal, used in vaccines for over 50 years was removed from
animal vaccines in 1992.
"Unfortunately for the kids," she writes, "it
remained in children's vaccines for another decade and remains in some vaccines
like the influenza (25 micrograms) and tetanus vaccine (25 micrograms) today
and in trace amounts (3 micrograms) in some immunizations."
She says what most people do not realize is that any liquid
waste containing more than 200 parts per billion (ppb) mercury must be
deposited at a hazardous waste site and that drinking water cannot exceed 2 ppb
"But when the influenza vaccines arrive and are
injected into pregnant woman and infants as young as six months, those vaccines
contain 50,000 ppb mercury," Ms Imus notes.
This amount of mercury is 250 times higher than hazardous
waste, she notes, and, according to EPA guidelines, this amount can only be
considered safe if a person weighs 550 pounds. "Even trace amounts of
mercury in vaccines can be anywhere from 600 to 2000 ppb," she warns.
On November 13, 2006, PutChildrenFirst.org, a parent-led
organization advocating vaccine safety, issued a press release to announce the
results of a survey conducted October 27-30, 2006, by Zogby International of
over 9,000 Americans to learn their plans for getting flu shots, their
knowledge of its ingredients, and who they hold responsible for making sure
vaccines are safe.
The survey showed that an overwhelming majority of Americans
were unaware that most flu shots contain mercury and that they would refuse a
shot with mercury. After learning that mercury is an ingredient, 74 percent of
those polled said they were less likely to get a flu shot and 86 percent of
parents said they were less likely to allow their child to get a shot.
Lisa Handley is a founding parent of PutChildrenFirst.org
whose son Jamison had an adverse reaction to a flu shot with mercury in 2003.
"I know firsthand how life-changing a flu shot with mercury can be, since
our son began his regression into autism after his flu shot," she states.
"With everything we know about the dangers of mercury
and the havoc it can wreak on young, developing brains, there is no excuse for
any vaccine to contain mercury," says Lyn Redwood, RN, MSN, president of
SafeMinds, a nonprofit organization committed to ending mercury-induced
"The survey reveals that Americans are overwhelmingly
in the dark about what is in most flu shots," Ms Redwood stated in the
"They do not want a known neurotoxin injected into
their children, and they believe Congress and medical professionals must be
more vigilant about keeping vaccines safe and mercury-free," she added.
PutChildrenFirst also advises that two recent studies in
leading medical journals admitted that limited data exists to support the
effectiveness of flu vaccines. One study, in the Journal of the American Medical
Association, noted that, "there is scant data on the efficacy and
effectiveness of influenza vaccine in young children."
According to Ms. Imus, we are beginning to see prescribed
vaccines, like the whole cell DPT and Rotovirus, which are later found to be
"While physicians warn the public about the over use of
antibiotics," she points out, "it is the physicians themselves that
over-prescribed these antibiotics for every ailment under the sun."
"And like antibiotics," she writes, "every
time a new vaccine was developed, it quickly found its way onto the
immunization schedule along with the recommended booster shots."
"We are now reaping the unintended consequences of the
overuse of these medical interventions," she states. "Instead of
being healthier, we have a nation of very sick children."
Forcing parents to inject poisonous concoctions into
innocent, helpless children against their will is a gross violation of their
most basic parental rights.
Pringle is a columnist for OpEd News and an investigative journalist focused on
exposing corruption in government and corporate America. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.