The following is a reprint from the February 1998 issue of The Vaccine Reaction Newsletter published by the National Vaccine Information Center.
In an article entitled "The Dark Side of Immunizations", Science News reviews new reports by researchers that show that vaccinated children have a higher incidence of asthma and diabetes than do unvaccinated children. Science News reports that a study by researchers at the Wellington School of Medicine in New Zealand found that unvaccinated New Zealand children report fewer cases of asthma than vaccinated children.
Another study by New Zealand researchers published in the November 1997 Epidemiology 1 analyzed the health of 1,265 people born in 1977. Of these, 23 didn't get any childhood vaccinations and none of them suffered childhood asthma. Among the 1,242 who got polio and DPT shots, more than 23 percent later had episodes of asthma.
Science News adds that a 1994 survey of 446 British children, most of them eight years old, showed that 91 received no vaccinations in early childhood. Only one child out of 91 got asthma. About 11 percent of the other 355 children who had been vaccinated with pertussis and other vaccines had asthma. The article goes on to note that animal studies indicate that an absence of contact with naturally occurring viruses increases the risk of diabetes and that research in humans suggests that some childhood infections may prime a person's immune system to fight off asthma.
Howard L. Weiner, an immunologist at Harvard Medial School in Boston, is quoted in the article as saying that immunization skews the activity of the immune system and "if a person has a tendency toward a disease at a certain age, a vaccine might ... make [him or her] more susceptible later, when other challenges come along." He added, "It's logical that there might be some immune manipulation that happens in childhood that might have a positive or negative effect on these diseases."
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