Vaccine preventable diseases are all over social media and the news. Measles, the Flu, whooping cough. And you can’t discuss these without polarizing the vaccination crowds.
For me, the discussion is never balanced with the facts. Both sides rely more on emotions than facts when the answer usually lies somewhere in between. But when it comes to whooping cough, I think the entire medical community is missing the story. But, before we go into what the story really is, there are a few “housekeeping” things we need to get out of the way as it relates to Bordetella pertussis:
- Pertussis can be diagnosed by the presence of a cough (without any other known cause) of at least 2 weeks along with paroxysms of coughing, inspiratory “whoop,” posttussive vomiting, apnea (with or without cyanosis) in infants under one year of age, or a lab confirmation of Bordetella presence.
- While antibiotics are ALWAYS given, they actually don’t alter the course of the disease, but of course go a long way towards wiping out the microbiome.
- Beginning in 1991, the acellular version of the vaccine was used because the side effects of the prior vaccination were too great. This vaccine, however, does not reduce the spread of the disease and may actually INCREASE the likelihood of spreading the disease.
- Whooping cough vaccine MASSIVELY increases the risk of pertussis being caused by a cousin in the same family, B. parapertussis.
- It has become increasingly clear that the vaccine, in general, pretty much sucks at preventing whooping cough.
- And, if it is effective, the protection is far, far shorter than we ever envisioned
All in all, the news is not exactly sparkling when it comes to the prevention of whooping cough through vaccination. And, more importantly, these findings noted above are not any different today then they were when the acellular version was introduced 25 years ago.
This means that, for the entire 2 1/2 decades that this vaccination has been in use, society has not been nearly as protected as medicine thought it was. And this means that whooping cough has been present among us for this entire time. There is no reason to think that, all of a sudden, for no particular reason, the vaccination has lost efficacy in the past few years, leading to an epidemic of pertussis–this thought process just doesn’t make sense.
And yet we still consider identified groups of pertussis infections as “outbreaks.” In a recent research study on the effectiveness of pertussis vaccination, researchers concluded that, since the vaccine performed so poorly, “…the data clearly indicates that the acellular vaccines (both DTaP and Tdap) are not working for as long as previously hoped, and that new vaccines may be necessary.”
Yes. That’s going to be the answer. More vaccinations to pile on top of the already-ineffective vaccine. Someone’s going to make a LOT more money off of these findings.
Rather then throw more vaccinations at the problem, maybe we should spend more time on how to boost the immune system to combat whooping cough more effectively with things like vitamins D, C and A as well as locally grown honey in hot tea to help combat the cough (although, once it kicks off, not much is going to help control the cough, natural or otherwise).
After all, we’ve been fighting it off for 25 years without any help and doing pretty well-imagine how much better things could be with some nutritional support.