Vaccine-Induced Deaths


A May 2011 published study by Neil Z Miller and Gary S Goldman (Infant mortality rates regressed against number of vaccine doses routinely given) found that nations that require more vaccine doses tend to have higher infant mortality rates as demonstrated in this diagram:

Infant Mortality Rate and number of vaccine doses

The Miller/Goldman study discusses the origination of the SIDS diagnosis shortly after an increase in infant vaccines in the 1960’s, and how the supposed decrease in SIDS deaths in the 1990’s was actually due to infant deaths being re-classified as other Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths. The study describes the plausibility of vaccine-induced SIDS; however, the research is not sufficient to quantify an incremental risk of SIDS from vaccines.

In October 2010, the BBC aired a documentary called “The Vaccine Detectives” about the scientific research by Dr. Peter Aaby in Guinea-Bissau.  Dr. Aaby’s research shows that the DTP vaccine (diphtherisa-tetanus-pertussis) significantly increases the mortality risk in infants in Guinea-Bissau.  Aaby’s research also found a gender-specific difference in vaccine-injury risk, finding a significantly increased mortality risk to girls of combining the DTP and measles vaccines.  Dr. Aaby’s work indicates that much of the conventional wisdom on vaccination could be wrong, and could lead to a significant overhaul of vaccination strategies (for more, see this article by Dr. Mercola summarizing the documentary or view Part One and Part Two of the documentary at BBC: The Vaccine Detectives). Research is not available to determine how or whether this quantitative increased mortality risk from vaccination in developing countries could be applied to determine an increased risk of vaccine-induced deaths in the United States.

Because insufficient research has been performed on vaccine-induced deaths in the United States, this Weigh The Risks analysis does not calculate an increased risk of vaccine-induced death to children under age 5.  Instead, information is provided below to discuss the plausibility of a quantitative increased risk of vaccine-induced death.

SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) is the designation given to infant deaths of unknown cause.  SIDS is believed to be related to an inability to breathe properly enough to maintain life.  Data shows a decrease in SIDS deaths based on advice to have children sleep on their backs rather than on their front.  Data shows increased risk of SIDS if infant sleeps in the bed with the mother, presumably because there is a higher chance of breathing being obstructed by sheets or the mother’s body.  Recent research suggests that fans operating in the infant’s room to circulate the air can also decrease the risk of SIDS.

A search on the Internet will find numerous anecdotal stories from parents who believe that their child’s death was caused by vaccines but was categorized as a SIDS death.  Because the current vaccination paradigm does not incorporate the possibility of vaccine-induced death, the current practice does not allow an infant’s death to be defined as a vaccine-induced death and instead dictates that the death be labeled as a SIDS death.  Further, procedures do not call for autopsies to be performed after SIDS deaths for the purposes of looking for evidence that the death was vaccine-induced.  So as to the argument that there isn’t direct evidence that vaccines cause SIDS death, technically the answer is correct – but it is because procedurally the collection of such evidence is systematically avoided.

The CDC does maintain a reporting system called VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System), a voluntary system for doctors to report anecdotal stories from parents about adverse vaccine reactions including injuries and deaths.  However, VAERS is not a reliable source for direct scientific evidence.  A report of an infant death the night after vaccines were administered does not necessarily mean that the death was caused by vaccines.  Further, VAERS is plagued by inconsistent reporting by different doctors (it is a voluntary system) and by systemic under-reporting of adverse events overall.  The CDC themselves estimated that less than 1/10th of adverse events are reported to VAERS, and caution against the use of VAERS as direct scientific evidence of causality.

Epidemiological studies (indirect studies) on a vaccine-SIDS link have assumed that if a vaccine were to cause a SIDS death, then the death would occur within a very short window after vaccine administration.  The time window in the studies has typically been either 1 week or 3 weeks after vaccine administration.  Generally, these studies have not found an association between vaccines and SIDS.  These studies are complicated by the fact that infants are typically receiving more vaccines every 1-2 months through the first 6 months of life.  There have been no epidemiological studies that compare SIDS rates in a vaccinated group versus an unvaccinated group of children.

But vaccine-induced death is plausible.  The Manitoba asthma study showed that vaccine-induced chronic asthma didn’t become clinically apparent until months or years later, and that much of these cases could be avoided simply by delaying the Diptheria-Pertussis-Tetanus vaccine series from 2/4/6 months to 5/7/9 months.  Based on this study, it is plausible to hypothesize that:

  • For children who are clinically diagnosed with asthma months or years later, there may be a sub-clinical reduction in breathing capability (e.g. preliminary chronic asthma)that begins several weeks or months after vaccines are administered
  • For a subset of children with genetic susceptibility, vaccine-induced asthma may exhibit itself as an acute asthma attack several weeks or months after the vaccines are administered.
  • In either of the above cases, the asthma might combine with other factors to contribute to a SIDS death (i.e. vaccines might increase the risk of SIDS).

But plausibility does not equal causality, and the absence of an epidemiological study of SIDS rates in vaccinated vs. unvaccinated children does not mean that such a study would necessarily find that SIDS occurs more frequently in vaccinated children.  Thus for the purposes of this Weigh The Risks analysis, vaccine-induced deaths is not quantified.

It is worth noting also that there is scientific evidence that children with autism have a higher premature death rate.  If vaccines are scientifically proven to cause some cases of autism, then a calculation could then be performed to determine a long-term death rate from vaccine-induced autism.