Meningococcal vaccine is a scam–but you may forfeit an education if you refuse

On January 3, 2018 the Maine Legislature’s joint committee on health discussed adding the Meningococcal ACWY vaccine to the list required to attend school.  France just added 8 vaccines to its required list last week.  Around the world, a push to get more and more vaccines into schoolchildren, using the threat to withhold schooling, has gained momentum.

Yet some vaccines have nothing to recommend them for schoolchildren.  Such as the  meningococcal (Menactra/Menveo) vaccines.  I summarized the facts for our legislators below.

Be mindful of the following, please, as it is never taught in health class:  meningococcal disease can be effectively treated with antibiotics, if caught early.  When a child has fever, headache, and a rash or stiff neck they should see a doctor IMMEDIATELY for treatment.
January 2, 2018
Dear Legislators:
You finally have an easy decision to make.  There is not a single good reason to add
meningococcal vaccine to the schedule required for schoolchildren in Maine.
Only 3 factors need to be considered: 
  • 1.   How
    much benefit?
  • 2.    How
    much harm?
  • 3.    How
    much does it cost?

1.  The potential benefit eludes us. CDC says
there were between zero and one cases of
meningococcal meningitis in Maine last year. 
Zero to one cases.  In
the entire US, only 185 people had a form of meningitis (C, W or Y) that could
potentially be prevented by this vaccine last year.
You have been told that the purpose of vaccination is to
protect adolescents and young adults, who are at higher risk of this disease.
Really?  CDC tells us that
in children and young adults aged 11 through 23, there were only 21 cases in 2016, in the entire US, that might have been
prevented by vaccination.
You may think that vaccination is needed for herd
immunity.  But that isn’t actually true. You
may be surprised to learn that about 1/3 of people carry meningococcus in their
nose at any one time, and the majority continue to carry it–even after they
are vaccinated.  So, herd immunity cannot
be achieved for this disease using vaccines.
2.  What are the harms?  The label says that in clinical trials,
1.0-1.3% of adults and adolescents had a serious adverse event. Regarding
milder adverse events, over 25% of recipients reported headaches and fatigue. A
rare but very serious side effect, Guillain-Barre syndrome, may occur.  The Menactra vaccine package insert estimates
that between zero and five people, per million vaccinated, may get Guillain
Barre syndrome as a result.
  
So while less than one in a million Americans will get a
meningococcal C, W or Y infection in a year, an additional 0 to 5 people per
million vaccinated will develop Guillain Barre syndrome (within six weeks of
their vaccination).
This is a remarkable statistic.  The risk-benefit equation for this vaccine is
so bad, it should never have been licensed in the first place. 
But it was.  And now you are being asked to expand its
use.
3.  What is the cost?  CDC says the federal government pays $89 dollars
per dose, and the private sector $113.
The cost to vaccinate 183,000 schoolchildren in Maine with 2
doses, at $100/dose, is $40 million dollars, which someone has to pay.
The vaccine proposal
is an expensive boondoggle.  The only
beneficiaries of this bill are the pharmaceutical industry and its
handmaidens.  Please don’t fall for this
scam.
Meryl Nass, M.D.
MIT graduate
Currently practicing Internal Medicine in Ellsworth, Maine

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