Do Vaccines Impair Immune Function?
Dr. Neustaedter, O.M.D., L.Ac.
A healthy immune system gives us the ability to resist or subdue infection, allergy,
chronic illness and degenerative disease. As we mature and age, the immune foundation
we develop during our first years of life will remain vitally important.
At birth, certain immune defense mechanisms are already in place. Substances secreted
in the skin and mucous membranes serve as the first line of defense, and white blood
cells that destroy disease agents by engulfing them (phagocytosis) and other functions
are a second line of defense. Although newborns aren’t able to produce all the antibodies
and other immune defenses they will need, they are already capable of recognizing
more than a million different identifying characteristics of foreign substances,
or antigens. Infants who are breast-fed receive maternal antibodies and immune-cell
stimulating substances from breast milk. For the first few months of life, these
maternal antibodies can provide passive immunity against many specific infections.
During the first year of life, babies develop their own antibodies. Other immune
defenses also continue to develop as body cells mature and as the child is exposed
to numerous bacteria, viruses and fungi in the environment, which stimulate long-term
or even lifelong immune-cell memory. The subsequent resistance to a specific antigen
is called natural immunity. By contrast, artificial immunity–as conferred by vaccination
against diseases such as polio and pertussis–is quite different.
Vaccinated immunity relies only on antibody response to inoculation with specific
antigen strains. The hope is that the immune system will be sufficiently stimulated
and produce enough antibodies to create immunity to the vaccine antigen. But there
are intrinsic problems with vaccination theory. The immune system is not a one-truck
fire station: Antibodies aren’t the only way to snuff out invading disease agents.
There are many, many immune defense mechanisms (including biological response modifiers
such as interferon, produced by white blood cells) and different biochemical messengers
(including hormones and neurotransmitters). All are involved in maintaining strong
A larger problem with vaccination, however, is that it appears to have an adverse
effect on immune function. In the case of childhood vaccination, it is thought that
current vaccines cause serious defects in immune development and function. While
the assumption has always been that we can have both vaccinated immunity and a healthy
immune system, this is apparently untrue. When an immune system, especially a developing
one, is bombarded with “inactivated” antigens suspended in solutions of toxic additives,
contaminants and solvents, immune function can become impaired. while we might
be at reduced risk of contracting the formerly crippling and lethal diseases that
we were inoculated against, it’s the vaccines themselves that are now the cripplers.
Many health professionals are speaking out about their concern that childhood vaccines
harm the developing immune system. At the same time, questions are being raised about
the skyrocketing rate of chronic illness and disease among children. It doesn’t seem
likely that processed foods, environmental toxins, psychological stress and overused
antibiotic drugs are the only culprits. Do these factors explain, for example, the
appalling rise in asthma and diabetes in children?
Randall Neustaedter, O.M.D., L.Ac., CCH, who has practiced homeopathy and traditional
Chinese medicine for more than 20 years, and in 1996 wrote The Vaccine Guide: Making
an Informed Choice, believes that vaccines can disable the immune system. Observing
that illnesses tend to begin when babies are three or four months old–the point at
which maternal antibodies are beginning to wear out, leaving babies susceptible to
environmental microbes–Dr. Neustaedter asks, “Why aren’t these babies developing
their own antibodies in response to the initial viral or bacterial infections?
“What prevents their immune systems from mounting a vigorous response? And why does
this pattern of illness with recurrent ear infections occur so often now, a pattern
that was rare prior to 30 years ago? What is weakening the immune function of today’s
infants and young children?”
Dr. Neustaedter believes that researchers need to spend more time investigating immune
system reactions to vaccines. Two research models have been used to discover possible
adverse effects on the immune system. One is designed to study illness patterns preceding
and following vaccination. The other looks at whether vaccines have any negative
effects on white blood cells, the body’s primary immune defense cells. Dr. Neustaedter
says that investigations thus far have produced the same conclusion: Vaccines can
trigger immune suppression.
A 1996 study in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that tetanus vaccine
disables the immune system in HIV patients. Tetanus vaccination produced a drop in
immune T cells, a classic marker of immune deficiency, in 10 of 13 patients, with
a rise in viral replication.
Dr. Neustaedter notes that the immune-destructive effect of vaccines can persist
over a long period of time, although we don’t yet know how long. In one study, published
in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, it was shown that the measles vaccine has
a long-term depressive effect on interferon production. The vaccination of one-year-olds
with measles vaccine caused a precipitous drop in their level of alpha-interferon
production. This decline was still persisting one year following vaccination, when
the study was terminated.
Researchers are looking at the role vaccines play in childhood asthma and allergy.
Results of the Christchurch Health and Development Study in New Zealand, published
in 1997 in Epidemiology, point to higher rates of asthma and allergy episodes among
vaccinated children. And in a study using the Mumps-Measles-Rubella (MMR) vaccine
at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, researchers investigated the
association between childhood asthma and live-virus vaccines, concluding that “universal
childhood vaccination using live viral strains may be contributory to the rise in
IgE [antibody]-mediated disorders.”
Other researchers are saying that vaccines are disabling our bodies’ ability to react
normally to disease, thereby creating autoimmune conditions. In 1994, a committee
of investigators at the Institutes of Medicine directly associated vaccines with
the rising occurrence of autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, that attack
and destroy the myelin sheaths (tubular insulation) of nerves. They said it’s “plausible
that injection of an inactivated virus, bacterium, or live attenuated virus might
induce in the susceptible host an autoimmune response by deregulation of the immune
response, by nonspecific activation of the T cells directed against myelin proteins,
or by autoimmunity triggered by sequence similarities of proteins in the vaccine
to host proteins such as those of myelin.”
A study published in the New Zealand Medical Journal in 1996 revealed that an epidemic
of diabetes followed a massive campaign to vaccinate children against hepatitis B.
The study showed a 60% increase in childhood insulin-dependent diabetes, an autoimmune
disease, occurring in the years following the 1989—1991 vaccination program of children
aged 6 to 16. Other studies have shown that widespread use of the Haemophilus meningitis
vaccine has resulted in diabetes epidemics. Diabetes has also been frequently observed
as a consequence of the mumps vaccine: Three European studies reported 22 cases of
diabetes that began within 30 days of mumps vaccination.
These are just a very few studies amidst the growing proof, says Dr. Neustaedter,
that tampering with the immune system can cause devastating disease.
Dr. Neustaedter, O.M.D., L.Ac., Classical Medicine Center, 1779 Woodside Road, Suite
201C, Redwood City, CA 94061. Tel: 650-299-9170; website: www.cure-guide.com.