Current mood: rebellious
The decline of childhood diseases before vaccination :
There is a generally held concept that mass vaccine programs were largely responsible for control of former epidemic diseases, but with the probable exception of the polio vaccine, in most instances this was not the case. From 1911 to 1935 the 4 leading causes of death among those aged 1 to 14 years, covered by Metropolitan Life Insurance policies, were diphtheria, measles, scarlet fever and whooping cough.11
However, by 1945 the combined rates from these 4 diseases had declined by 95%, before mass vaccine program began in the United States .12 By far the greatest factors in the decline were better housing with less crowded conditions, better nutrition, and other public health, hygienic, and medical measures.
The conventional view is that adverse vaccine reactions are relatively uncommon. At variance with this are internationally recognized authorities such as Dr. Bernard Rimland. Also at variance are many parents whose children have developed medical complications following vaccines where no other cause was evident.
Time may prove that one of the basic flaws in American childhood vaccine programs is that it is increasingly compulsory and mandatory. Once considered the fountainhead of freedom, in the enforcement of vaccine programs, America has become one of the most stringent and arbitrary of all nations. Parents refusing to have their children vaccinated, often for religious reasons, are subject to charges of child abuse.
Public health officials contend that such compulsory measures are necessary for control of infectious diseases which, they maintain, would increase along with childhood death rates if the vaccine mandates were lifted. In my opinion, this argument does not bear up to scrutiny for the following reasons:
In 1979 Sweden banned the pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine, considering it both ineffective and dangerous. In spite of the banning, or perhaps because of it, Sweden maintains one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world. In 1975 Japan raised the age of pertussis vaccine to 2 years of age, considering it dangerous in infancy. Since that time, sudden infant death syndrome (cot deaths) have largely disappeared in Japan.13
Other nations with either voluntary vaccine programs, such as England, or less stringently enforced programs have lower infant mortality rates than the US. With few exceptions, they have not had a return of deadly epidemics (with high mortality).