Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Vaccines and Infant Mortality Rates

I came across an interesting study recently and felt it was worth sharing.  It is the report on US deaths and death rates put out by the US Department of Health and Human Services.

The actual report can be found here:  http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr58/nvsr58_19.pdf

There is a lot of strong data presented in the report and at the very least it is worth scanning, but several areas stand out.  On page 13, figure 7 displays a chart of infant (under one year), neonatal (under 28 days), and postneonatal (28 days to 11 months) mortality rates from 1940 through 2007.  If you look at this graph, you will notice an alarming trend. 

The statistics show us that the mortality rates for all of these three categories dropped sharply from 1940 through 2007 (newer data is still considered preliminary, so 2007 is the latest "final" data we have available).  Keep in mind this same time period is when most major childhood vaccines have been introduced.  I say "most" because we know there were some vaccines prior to 1940 (the smallpox vaccine comes to mind among others), but in respect to most modern vaccines, this time frame covers them.

On page 14 of the report you will see Table E which is a breakdown of the top 10 causes of death for infants. These, in order of highest to lowest Congenital malformations, deformations and chromosomal abnormalities is the leading cause of infant mortality, followed by disorders related to short gestation and low birth weight. From there the remaining eight of the top 10 causes include:
  • Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
  • Newborn affected by maternal complications of pregnancy
  • Accidents
  • Newborn affected by complications of placenta, cord and membranes
  • Bacterial sepsis of newborn
  • Respiratory distress of newborn
  • Diseases of the circulatory system 
  • Neonatal hemorrhage
So what is the significance of this?  Well objectively if you examine the raw data, you soon find that the primary causes of infant mortality are no longer diseases which are able to be prevented via vaccines.  Whereas decades ago some of the leading causes of infant mortality was preventable disease, today we don't see a single preventative disease anywhere in the top 10. 

In fact if you examine data from 1950, you see causes such as influenza, pertussis / whooping cough, and meningitis mentioned whereas today they are not.  The difference?  Today we have vaccines administered to prevent these diseases before an infant can contract them and suffer from the effects.  Bear in mind we are only looking at mortality rates here and not even mentioning the millions of children who would contract these diseases and not actually die from them, nor are we examining data from older children (1 year +).

This isn't to say that vaccines are the only reason infant mortality rates in our nation continue to fall, but clearly they are a factor.  Even though the number of vaccines has risen in the past 50 years, the infant mortality rate has continued to fall.  Oh and for the anti-vaxxer who likes to blame vaccines for SIDS deaths... they may find it interesting that SIDS was still a common cause of infant mortality decades prior to our current vaccine schedule - so that theory doesn't really hold water either.

So what is the alternative?  If you are a vaccine conspiracy theorist like Mr. Hubbs, you would recommend zero vaccines.  This means we could very well revert back to the days of preventable diseases being responsible for killing thousands upon thousands of infants each year, and tens of thousands of others suffering non life-ending ramifications such as permanent disability caused by diseases such as polio.

Is this really the answer?  Obviously the latest trend for Mr. Hubbs and his fellow anti-vaxxers is to claim that vaccines cause autism, and even though we have zero scientific evidence to support that wild theory, we can play along with that line of thinking for a few minutes.  So if we were to end the distribution and usage of childhood vaccines due to the concerns and fears surrounding them, what would be the alternative?  You guessed it... thousands of dead children each and every year as a result.

What type of progress is this?  Apparently in the mind of an anti-vaxxer (since they seem to be convinced vaccines cause autism), a dead child is better than one with autism.  I'm not sure I understand that type of logic, and it because even less tolerable when you realize that there is no evidence to suggest vaccines actually do cause autism in the first place, but it does show us how out-of-touch these anti-vaxxers really are.

By the way, on page 1 of the report, it also lists the 15 leading causes of death in the US for all residents.  They are as follows:
  1. Diseases of heart (heart disease)
  2. Malignant neoplasms (cancer)
  3. Cerebrovascular diseases (stroke)
  4. Chronic lower respiratory diseases
  5. Accidents (unintentional injuries)
  6. Alzheimer’s disease
  7. Diabetes mellitus (diabetes)
  8. Influenza and pneumonia
  9. Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis (kidney disease)
  10. Septicemia
  11. Intentional self-harm (suicide)
  12. Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis
  13. Essential hypertension and hypertensive renal disease (hypertension)
  14. Parkinson’s disease
  15. Assault (homicide)
Notice that nowhere in this list do we see anything relating to medical errors or deaths as a result of pharmaceuticals.  Thus, yet again we entirely discredit Mr. Hubbs and his "modern medicine is the third leading cause of death" nonsense, although anyone who knows Mr. Hubbs also knows even though he has been proven wrong time and time again, he will continue to parrot the same lies and misinformation as long as he feels someone is listening.

The facts continue to line up against Mr. Hubbs and his anti-vaxxer friends.


  1. As I suspected, Mr. Hubbs cannot dispute the science behind the numbers, so instead he resorts to telling me to go "straight into the pits of hell", suggesting I will "burn in hell" as well as calling me a "demon".

    Lowell Hubbs is a classy guy. I guess when you don't have science or facts to fall back upon, you have to resort to childish name calling. I think that says more about him than it does about those he seeks to insult and berate on a daily basis, so personally it doesn't bother me in the slightest. If anything, Mr. Hubbs' words just continue to expose him for the hate-spewing, pathetic, lonely man that he is.

  2. Sorry Hubbs you are still banned from commenting, and posting as "anonymous" doesn't change that.

  3. Hubbs would just as soon kids still be dying from smallpox and polio. The whole point though is that he blames the drug companies for everything and claims it is all about profit. The only problem with that is there is a LOT more profit in treating diseases than there is in preventing them. When they finally find a vaccine for HIV (which recent stories have suggested isn't that far off) there will be a lot of drug companies losing billions in revenue because they can't sell their drug cocktail to people with HIV. Think about it. If you have someone who is taking the HIV drugs that person could take those drugs for 40 or 50 years or longer and the monthly cost for those drugs can be hundreds or even up to a thousand dollars each and every month. Even once those drugs go to generic form you are still probably looking at $50 a month for life. If you give them a vaccine that is a one time thing that probably costs $35. If it was all amount money no drug company would ever bother to work on or develop any new vaccines and they would all need to come from government and public university labs.


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