“Hats Off to Mississippi!” the State with the Sickest Kids

March 7, 2019

“Hats off to Mississippi!”

That sentence, uttered by a panelist, encapsulates the absurdity of Tuesday’s Senate HELP (Health, Education, Labor & Pensions) Committee hearing entitled “Vaccines Save Lives: What Is Driving Preventable Disease Outbreaks?

You see, Mississippi has the “best”—meaning highest—childhood vaccination rate in the country, and therefore, according to the hearing panelists and the committee members themselves, deserves commendation and emulation by other states.

This same conviction has been forcefully expressed by the de facto spokesman for the vaccine program, Dr. Paul Offit, as far back as 2015. In a 2017 article in The Daily Beast, Offit described how Mississippi moved to eliminate personal belief exemptions to vaccination back in 1979. Mississippi’s pediatricians have vaccinated virtually every child born in the state ever since.

Wow, that sure does sound like an impressive feat! And I would be the first to congratulate Mississippi—and take notes from their public health officials—if those high vaccination rates were producing particularly health children. Because that’s really the goal, isn’t it? Healthy children who become healthy adults?  After enjoying 40 years of the “best” vaccination rates in the country, Mississippi’s kids should be shining examples of the benefits of vaccination, shouldn’t they?

So what has all that vaccinating meant for the children of Mississippi? In 2018 Mississippi ranked dead last in the United States (51 out of 51) for “Kids’ Nutrition, Physical Activity & Obesity,” and “Oral Health” and infant mortality. It was also ranked dead last (50 out of 50) in “Health Outcomes” for all ages. Of course, as well all know, correlation doesn’t equal causation. Vaccines may not be causing the abysmal health of Mississippi’s children, but one thing is for sure: They aren’t causing good health.

Wait a sec . . .

Didn’t the Senate Health (Education, Labor, & Pensions) Committee just praise Mississippi and encourage other states to emulate them?

Does that strike anyone else as bizarre?

The Senate committee charged with promoting public health is praising and offering up as an example the state with the worst health outcomes in the country?

 

When I was in a 12-step program, I received some excellent advice: Find someone who has what you want and do what they do. Allowing for individual differences in outlook and biology, that advice has stood me well over the years. What do parents want? From what I’ve seen, they virtually all want healthy children who thrive, grow, and learn. Going by that rule, Mississippi should be the last state whose public health policies parents would choose to copy.

So why is the committee making such a perverse recommendation—asking the states to tighten their exemption policies like Mississippi did so long ago?

If you watched the hearing, you would know that, other than minimizing the annual number of cases of measles (a whopping 260 across the country this year), the committee wasn’t the least bit concerned with our children’s health; in fact, the only thing they appeared to be concerned about was increasing vaccine “acceptance” and availability across all demographics, especially infants and toddlers, pregnant women, and senior citizens of all religious and ethnic/cultural groups.

It was clear that “vaccine acceptance” was assumed to be an appropriate stand-in measure for overall population health and wellbeing. The more our society is vaccinated, the better health we will enjoy! But as we have seen from Mississippi’s example, that assumption is flawed at best. (You may want to look at statistics for other states as well if you’re not convinced. Until recently Vermont had both philosophical and religious exemptions to vaccination and among the lowest vaccination rates in the country. They also enjoy the second-lowest infant mortality rate (2 of 50), despite having some pretty harsh climate conditions to contend with.)

There is no correlation between high vaccination rates and healthy children. Oddly, no American health agency has ever compared health outcomes of people vaccinated according to the CDC recommended schedule to those of people who have never been vaccinated. On a basic level, we don’t know if specific vaccines, such as DTaP or MMR—much less the total load of children’s vaccines administered as recommended by the CDC—are making people healthier or sicker.

I know that sounds ridiculous, preposterous even. And yet, it’s true.

Noting the absence of real evidence that DTP vaccination increased child survival, Danish researchers recently analyzed their data from Guinea-Bissau, Africa, after they introduced  DTP and oral polio vaccines back in the 1980s. The particular pattern of vaccine administration there made it easy to compare death rates for children who had been vaccinated and children who were not yet vaccinated. The first analysis found an alarming correlation: “DTP-vaccinated children had fivefold higher mortality between 3 and 6 months of age than children not yet vaccinated with DTP.” At least in the short term, DTP vaccination appeared to be very dangerous for these children. Later analyses made it clear that, despite several biases favoring the DTP-vaccinated children, overall mortality rates were approximately twice as high for DTP-vaccinated children than for those who had not received DTP vaccines.

That’s mind-blowing, isn’t it? The very “lifesaving” intervention we push for all children, increased mortality rates for the world’s most vulnerable children, and no one noticed because we’re all so used to believing “Vaccines Save Lives.”

So what justification does the committee offer for their eagerness to increase vaccination rates in the absence of real data on whether our high vaccination rates are making our population healthier or sicker?

A few hundred cases of measles a year. That’s the “ongoing” public health “crisis” driving this effort.

Not the 1 in 36 children with autism, one-third of whom can’t talk. Not the 1 in 10 with asthma, who struggle to breathe.  Not the 1 in 6 with a developmental disability, who struggle to learn.

Not even the more than 6,000 mumps cases in 2017 that occurred largely in highly vaccinated populations such as college campuses or the nearly 19,000 reported cases of pertussis in 2017 that resulted in 13 deaths. Shouldn’t those take precedence over a few hundred cases of measles at a hearing subtitled What Is Driving Preventable Disease Outbreaks?

The reason the committee didn’t discuss those “preventable disease outbreaks” is that they cannot be blamed on children with vaccine exemptions. (By the way, measles outbreaks like the one that occurred in Disneyland, are frequently driven by previously vaccinated adults.)

The mumps vaccine was never particularly effective; in fact, Merck is being sued by two of its own virologists who contend that they were forced to fake efficacy data to make the vaccine appear more effective than it actually is. (I have firsthand experience of this one. I was sick for a week soon after receiving the vaccine, and the adolescent boy I swam with that day came down with a very severe case that had his mother worried about sterility.) In addition, the immunity induced by the vaccine wanes over time, meaning that our colleges and universities are packed with young adults living in close quarters who are vulnerable to infection.

The situation with regard to the pertussis vaccine is even worse. Due to a stockpile of devastating injuries connected to DTP vaccines, the whole-cell pertussis vaccine was gradually replaced by an acellular version that isn’t nearly as effective as the original. While the vaccine tends to ameliorate pertussis symptoms in the recipient, it does it not protect against active pertussis infection. What happens when people have an active infection of a contagious disease with no symptoms? They tend to make others, more vulnerable others, sick.

Those “drivers” of outbreaks may not be important to Tuesday’s panelists or committee members, but they matter to parents. You see, unlike the committee, most parents are far less interested in perfect vaccine records than having healthy children. Even if public health officials don’t bother to ask the question, parents want to know whether or not all those vaccines are making their children healthier or sicker. A huge percentage of so-called “anti-vaxxers” are really people who vaccinated their older children according to recommendations only to watch them get sicker and sicker after every “well-child” visit. When they listened to their guts—and stopped listening to those “trusted” professionals—most of them found that their subsequent children were much healthier.

There was a great deal of discussion during the hearing about “high-quality” science. God knows we are seriously in need of high-quality science with respect to vaccine safety, but the committee wasn’t talking about that. They were talking about science conducted with the goal of  improved “communication” from “trusted professionals” to increase “vaccine acceptance.”

I can save them a lot of time and money.

No matter how “high-quality” their science is, as long as the emphasis continues to be on vaccine uptake and not on health outcomes—on figuring out how to talk us into vaccinating the hell out of our infants, toddlers, and teenagers, not whether or not we should be vaccinating them at all—they are not addressing why parents are choosing to avoid one or all vaccines: Our children are sick. We are sick. And, despite the committee’s facile reassurances to themselves, we parents are not stupid. We know they are deliberately avoiding addressing our concerns, which only increases those concerns.

In other words, conscientious parents won’t be sweet-talked into making their children sick by the very people who have made it clear they don’t care about our sick kids.

~ Professor

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24 Responses to “Hats Off to Mississippi!” the State with the Sickest Kids

  1. Trish lindsay says:

    I lived in Mississippi for 55 years, working until I retired as a nurse. We moved to Belize 5 years ago.. Belize the third world country.. where few vaccinate, …and I have not found a person in Belize yet with autism, and few autoimmune disorders. The Mennonite and Amish here do NOT have kids with autism.. hard to argue with facts. Nthe chickenpox made the rounds last month. Kids got a rash. They itched. Out of alllllllll the USA cases of measles that everyone keeps declaring emergencies over.. what was the outcome? None died… they got a rash.

  2. Sam Moses says:

    I lived in Mississippi. Part of the merchant class of my ancestors. As an insider yet outsider looking in, it’s largely a place of nihilism and survival where those buckets of chicken, cheetos, meth, drank, weed, opioids kill the pain for a little while. Also, some of the best salt of earth people as well…. but they are generally older. Not surprised MS has highest vax rates because few can really question/resist – just do as told and that’s why the state is lifted up a model for other: blind obedience.

  3. Andrea Onopa Woodruff says:

    The CDC asked through the Washington State Health Department for an increase of 22% budget to persuade people who don’t vaccinate to vaccinate. https://www.help.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Wiesman.pdf?fbclid=IwAR3PPfLgMBRvNerNdvRYj2S8SYOlNO-bXJ2j0pG-4d_Z3r6U2i0y0ala4So
    They used various numbers explaining the benefits of vaccines. That they derived from this CDC paper. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6316a4.htm?fbclid=IwAR1Pe5jsetHD0AA-8Ce0ScwNTinpR7Bn_XAo6rfJnAIH6b3iOlXxSHtjhnk
    Note there is no citation to the paper that created these pie in the sky numbers. I’ve asked for this paper from both the CDC and for Rand’s office to get. He seemed like the only adult in the room.

  4. Jen Downey says:

    Thank you! You took the words right out of my head, only you put them in much better order and spit them out with the precision of a cartoon carpenter ridding herself of a mouthful of nails. We have a public health problem alright, but it ain’t measles. It’s our absurd definition of “public health” as merely the condition of children being vaccinated up to the gills. A condition that happens to require the on-going sale of an endless supply of product. Nowhere in its narrow obsessive activity does our public health infrastructure even CONSIDER recognizing, preventing or addressing poor vaccination outcomes. Perhaps it’s just coincidence that such activities wouldn’t depend upon the sale of a product.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      Thanks, Jen. I wish I’d gotten to discuss it in person with you in person that day!

      • John Collins says:

        Vitamin D Deficiency? That’s a new one. Are you blaming that on vaccinations, too? It is incredible what the anti-vaccine community will pivot on.

        Professor, please tell me you don’t believe that shaken baby syndrome is due to vaccine so I can have some hope that a scintilla if scieoprevaiks.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        Oh, good lord. It’s NOT “a new one.” It’s well known to anyone who’s actually addressed their children’s health issues, virtually all of which YOU would lump in “the anti-vaccine community.” [https://www.fasebj.org/doi/abs/10.1096/fj.13-246546]
        Again, it appears to be YOU who is “focusing on vaccines” to the exclusion of everything else. READ some of the so-called “anti-vaccine” literature, and you will find an understanding of the factors that lead to autism diagnoses that far outstrips your own.

        Shaken baby syndrome is a thing, but surely you understand that doesn’t mean that vaccine injuries can’t appear to mimic it.

  5. John collins says:

    Does Mississippi have the country’s highest autism rate? No? If vaccinations are a cause, it should, right. It is not a healthy state for kids or adults because of poverty, income disparity, poor nutrition, poor educational systems, etc., but its rate of vaccine preventable diseases is low.

    When did the autism rate become 1 in 36? Why is it so different in so many states, and not correlated with state vaccination rates?

    By focusing on what you think is the main cause, vaccinations, disproved again in a 600,000 patient study (at least with MMR), you are losing the support of many who would be interested in helping kids get needed treatment. Instead, they look at the anti-vaccine community as anti-science and dismiss any concerns, altogether…which is a shame.

    Something is causing autism, but if it isn’t vaccinations, focus your energies on causality and work for treatment. And, don’t move to Mississippi.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      There are lots of reasons why autism rates vary from state to state, including access to medical diagnosis (many states have long waitlists for evaluations and implementation of early intervention is subpar), varying levels of autism services, and vitamin D deficiency.

      I’m sorry but you have missed the point, as have ALL the legislators. *I* am NOT focusing on vaccinations; *I* am focusing on HEALTH. There are a significant number of exposures that should be minimized to achieve good health and others that should be maximized. It’s our government bodies that are insisting on putting the focus on vaccines. If they weren’t constantly threatening to impose mandates, there wouldn’t be such a need for strong voices in opposition.

      We aren’t “losing the support” of anyone. We have gained ground every single time they push hard. We will this time around as well. And what the fuck do you think we’re doing here if not focusing our energies on causality and working for treatment???

    • Len Tukwilla says:

      John,

      C’mon. Overall autism prevalence isn’t higher due to better diagnosis, but Mississippi’s autism prevalence is low due to less access to diagnosis. It’s not rocket science.

      • John Collins says:

        Autism prevalence varies, partly due to access to care, but is lower in some affluent states, as well. Face it, we really don’t know much about causes, but unless your willing to completely overlook the Danish study, it’s not MMR vaccination.

      • Len Tukwilla says:

        John,

        I was being facetious:)

      • Margaret Kuebler says:

        Here is the logical question to be asked about children in Mississippi, BUT it may take rocket science, mixed in with a lot of “political alchemy,” ever to get an accurate answer:
        What proportion of the children in the Mississippi schools are classified as disabled under federal guidelines? This figure alone will capture any ‘under-reporting” of actual cases of ASD. The last time when I received any “straight” answer to this question, the figure cited to me was “as high as 40%” in one particular county. Yep, that surely is a hallmark for a population of children to be “emulated” by political leaders in other states.

        The children in Mississippi are SICK. If it is not flat-out ASD diagnosis than it is every other machination of a “neurodevelopmental disorder” which our “health authorities” may scramble to put together. Just begin collecting that stat of the proportion of children in county schools in Mississippi which are classified as “disabled” under federal guidelines.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        Seriously? They said as high as 40%?! And THIS is the state we’re congratulating? You can’t make this stuff up.

      • Len Tukwilla says:

        Citations needed for the 40% of children are disabled under federal guidelines in any county in Mississippi. Or any county in the country.

    • Hope A. says:

      Amen, John! Usually I never comment on fear mongering and conspiracy theory articles such as these, but it’s gotten to the point (or past the point, ha) of ridiculousness. What you listed, John, are the exact reasons MS is so sick–poverty, poor nutrition, etc. It’s not due to vaccinations. In that committee meeting he’s referencing, they didn’t discuss vaccine safety because they ALREADY KNEW that vaccinations work. Why waste their time discussing that?! They DO care about our children’s health, which is WHY they want children vaccinated. (And I know some children/people can’t be vaccinated because they truly are allergic to an ingredient, my sister being one of them.) It burns me up that people risk the health of cancer patients, the young, the elderly, etc. when they ARE able to get vaccinated. All medicines, and everything for that matter, can have side effects. If you drink too much water, you’ll get sick or can even die. It’s a slap in the face to doctors, and parents who choose to vaccinate, when articles like this junk is spread.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        Hope, you seem to be confused about the issue here with respect to vaccines. It’s not whether or not they “work” to reduce acute infectious illness. They do. The problem is that they ALSO have myriad OTHER immunological and neurological effects that are largely ignored by the manufacturers who do the bulk of the reasearch. Why? Because they can get away with it. And they know damned well that their products are doing MUCH more harm than they admit.

        THAT is a slap in the face to every parent and child in the country.

        A wholesale uninformed judgment of “junk” is completely useless to anyone. Come back when you have actually read some of the science that isn’t fed to you by vaccine manufacturers and the CDC and you can actually argue the points you dismiss as “junk” with some level of sophistication.

      • Hope A. says:

        Hi, Professor! Thanks for the reply. I’m a parent, so I assure you I’m very well informed with the benefits AND risks of vaccines. I believe the risks of vaccines are actually made very clear to parents. I get several hand-outs at the pediatrician’s office every time my daughter gets a vaccine, clearly stating the risks, and so does my entire family when we get flu shots. That pamphlet they give out with flu shots is a mile long, haha! I don’t think they’re “hiding” stuff or that the government is out to get us. I just don’t think you hear about vaccine side effects a lot, because the ones that do have side effects from them are so few in number. It’s kinda like if you drink too much water…people should Google that. 😳 It happens, but you don’t hear about it, because it’s so rare! I also think a lot of “vaccine injuries” are coincidental and not actually stemming from vaccines themselves. I choose to believe in doctors and pharmacists who have devoted their lives to science and making our lives safe and healthy, listening to their research/information, not “research” from the internet.

        My problem with this article, and others like this, is that many parents and well-intentioned folks believe they are “researching” with “Dr. Google.” My husband is a computer programmer and engineer, and he can make a legit-looking article stating research and looking as though it’s backed by doctors and scientists in about ten minutes flat. It’s crazy what’s out there! You can find some legit-looking stuff to prove Elvis is still alive. 😜

        I agree that our children are sick in MS, and I am sure you are a wonderful person and have good intentions, but the problem with these types of articles is that it scares parents and others into not getting vaccines, when they’re perfectly safe for 99% of the population. When people are scared and stop getting vaccines, which is happening across the country more and more, as you can see from all the outbreaks of measles and such going on, our children AND adults in MS are going to be a whole lot sicker!

        Have a great week. We’ll just agree to disagree. 😊

      • Hope A. says:

        Oh, I should also note, if someone googles what happens if you drink too much water, as I suggested above, I’m sure there’s lots of junk out there. However, what is science-backed is that it can cause hyponatremia. Basically, you can die. 😜

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        Yes, you can.

        Now I have a question for you. If drinking water is healthy, and drinking too much water can kill you, has it ever occurred to you that someone could vaccinate too much? Or that the point at which “too much” is reached could be radically different for different human beings? After all, vaccines are powerful immune-altering drugs, mostly administered to young children whose brains are developing rapidly.

        For someone with a primary immune deficiency, for instance, one could be “too much,” like my friend Karen Kain’s daughter Lorrin, who started seizing minutes after her first and only DTP vaccine and eventually died at the age of 15, never having walked or talked, from the medical fallout of that vaccine. For someone with a family history of autoimmunity (like mine, for instance; my ex-husband just died with two autoimmune diseases), it could be three or four. For someone whose immune system is sluggish, it could be 20 or more. Personally, I think the current CDC schedule is “too much water” for any child to have and remain reasonably healthy.

        Did you know that the full CDC recommended schedule has NEVER been studied for safety. I don’t even mean just the CURRENT one. I mean EVER. No one has EVER compared the health outcomes of kids were fully vaccinated according to the CDC schedule with those who were never vaccinated. We literally don’t know if vaccinating is making children healthier or sicker. A series of recent studies by Danish researchers who vaccinated large groups of children in Guinea-Bissau, Africa, makes it clear how horrifying it is that that work has never been done. They found that the data reliably showed that the children they vaccinated died at at LEAST twice the rate of children that weren’t yet vaccinated. If that doesn’t chill you to your bones, it should.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        Lucky you! You have informative doctors AND still get to keep the naive belief that negative vaccine reactions are “rare.” Do you REALLY think that if vaccines were the “get out of sickness free” card that we’re told they are that there would be so many people who will never vaccinate again? I know COUNTLESS people PERSONALLY who were not nearly so lucky. They DIDN’T get “several hand-outs at the pediatrician’s office” and were essentially told that the worst possible thing that could happen was redness at the injection site and “fussiness.” Imagine their surprise and distress, then, when the “coincidence” of tremendous neurological and immunological damage happened to their beloved child, the one they thought they were “protecting” — a “coincidence,” by the way, that is belied by easily available science.

        My problem with this comment and others like it is that parents who have been extremely lucky think THEIR experience is the only kind of experience there is. As a former electrical engineer and computer programmer, I fully AGREE that someone with skills can make “a legit-looking article stating research and looking as though it’s backed by doctors and scientists in about ten minutes; I know of a number of “sciency-sounding” folks who do just that. And what’s worse, they can even get this junk PUBLISHED in PEER-REVIEWED scientific journals! Just ask Maria Angell, former long-term editor of the New England Journal of Medicine or editors of the British Medical Journal or the Lancet. Which is why I READ the science for myself and encourage others to do so, rather than taking anyone’s word for what the data says. I’m sure you are a wonderful person and have good intentions, but the problem with these types of comments is that they lull parents into believing that medical professionals who have made their children sick know what they are doing. That usually means that their children get a whole lot sicker before they start listening to the medical professionals and parents who have done the investigatory work.

        Sorry for turning your words back on you. I’m in a snarky mood today after reading a hell of a lot of both uninformed AND hateful comments. Yours is not hateful at all, but it is extremely naive. You really don’t know what you don’t know, and you won’t until you read the science yourself.

      • Bill Bender says:

        Water intoxication is a real thing. My brother had diabetes insipidus and could not control how much fluid, usually water, he drank, and had to be hospitalized several times for this. Anything can be excessive, including vaccinations, ongoing medication for chronic disease, treatments for life ending diseases, etc. No one studies how much is too much, because there’s no financial incentive to do so.

  6. Nancy says:

    How can we get this information broadcasted on all the Mainstream News Channels? I know that big pharma is paying off these people to keep their mouths shut. They are paid to spread the lies that vaccines are safe and effective. We had 2 children in the 1970’s and one in 1980. They were born full term and very healthy. I made sure that I ate very healthy and I did not take any over the counter medications or any prescriptions. I breast fed all three of them and right when they were born they were very strong and nursed with no problems. On day two after all the shots were given they were very drowsy and wouldn’t latch on. I didn’t know then, but I know now that all three of my babies were showing reactions to the vaccines. Our first born started losing weight instead of gaining and broke out in a very bad rash. We had so many doctor visits with him…and the pediatrician always told us that he was born with very sensitive skin. To this day he suffers from some of allergies and nervous issues…he is 40 years old. Our other two had issues also, allergies, sensitive skin, digestive problems, and social issues….didn’t like big crowds. Oh I was so ignorant to what was causing all these problems. After our oldest graduated from college and moved to Atlanta, he had a friend who told him to go to a natural doctor. Long story short….he was detoxed and many of his life time symptoms greatly improved. He shared the information to our other two children and they started doing better. That’s when I started doing the research. I wish I had know then what I know now. All of us have started eating healthier and staying away from doctor’s offices. We use homeopathic meds, essential oils, and organic vitamins and minerals. We thank God that we learned how to take better care of ourselves and we share this information to anyone who will listen. It’s so sad that when doctors give people a prescription they will end up on 10 prescriptions to treat the side effects of the first one. Praying more people wake up to what is going on !!!! Big Pharma is getting rich by keeping us sick from cradle to grave !!!!

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