Whenever whooping cough breaks out in Australia, the medical profession indulge in their usual lies about why they are having (*yawn*) yet another whooping cough outbreak. This year is no exception except the lies have a little extra bribery and fearmongering twisted into the foment provided to the media.
Yesterday's lie came from Dr Mitchell Smith, New South Wales Health Department mouthpiece, who said that the outbreak of whooping cough was firstly a reflection of low immunisation rates in parts of New South Wales, and second, that vaccine antibodies wane with time. Is that a strong word... "lie"? No, because the implied truth behind the statements are that increasing vaccination uptake, will reduce disease levels. And that's just not true.
Those of us familiar with such announcement have folders of similar ones dating back to the ark, saying the same thing, but for the benefit of newbies around here, who haven't yet got the hang of realising that these pronouncements are serial fabrications, let's take a walk through the "evidence".
While I've placed a combo file of all documents mentioned here (with some underlining),
Pertussis Australia 2008 (1274 KB)the links are provided below so that those wanting to track through everything themselves, can do so.
You've seen the newspaper article.
First, let's find out what the vaccination rates are, in various states of Australia as well as a chart of vaccination rates for the last 10 years. To do this, you need to find the latest Communicable Disease Surveillance Report (pdf) and look at page three and print that out.
There you see that the 31 March 2008 NSW vaccination rates for DPT is 94.8%, which is just about the highest it has ever been, and that the national vaccination rate is 95%. Figure five shows you the vaccination rates for the last 10 years which are the highest in the history of vaccination in Australia, and include the most number of whooping cough shots ever, including adolescent boosters.
Yet this year, the largest number of cases when looking at age cohorts, are in the 0 - 14 year age groups, which are the most vaccinated of all, which you will see later.
Then what you need to do is to go to the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance system, and look at Pertussis. The first one you look at is the fourth catagory called Notifications of a SELECTED DISEASE by State and Territory and Year.
This shows you that vaccination rates don't seem to have any rational effect on notification patterns of whooping cough either short term, or long term in Australia.
When you have clicked on the disease and asked for the chart, print it out. Then go back to the main page and do the same thing for Notifications of SELECTED DISEASE by Age Group and Sex. Print that out too. This is especially important, because the rates of notification here, would reflect, if any, the presumed herd immunity influence of vaccination schemes in the various age groups. Yet it shows just about consistent rates across all groups with slightly higher rates in the 0 - 14 year groups
Before you analyse those, it's useful to jump back 12 years to the CDI report Vol 21 No 23. Start on page 359, which is page 11 out of 20. Now, compare the data there, with the data you already have. Interesting isn't it. Are you starting to wonder just what the pertussis vaccine is all about?
You might wish, if you have the time, to fossick around in all the CDI publications to pull up everything on pertussis in the last 20 years; read them all in date order, and then construct several graphs: One of immunisation rates over the years. One of age specific notification rates over the years. Another of the rise and rise of pertussis cases over the years. And any other graphs that take your fancy.
BUT.... What we really need now, are the ages, immunization status of all the cases, but THAT data is just about impossible to find.
Why is that?
It seems it would be easier to break into a nuclear munitions plant than find that data!
Which of course, lets the Health Department off the hook, because in the absense of that vital data they can say without blinking, "but the cases are mainly in that very small group that isn't vaccinated" which certainly in New Zealand, isn't, and never has been the truth. Most parents in this country know that the whooping cough vaccine is a sick joke. It's also the truth in USA, and UK. Why should Australia be any different?
In my opinion, all these Australian graphs cast major doubt on the truth of the Australian Health Department media assertions, and show that serious questions need to be asked by parents about information obfuscation, and why it is the whooping cough vaccine's inability to provide herd immunity, long term immunity, and in many cases, protection against both the disease and complications has been hidden from the public, and why, in the face of the highest rates of vaccination in history, Australia now has endemically increasing rates of whooping cough, no longer just in children, but in all ages throughout the community.
Now the the next bit of "trivia"...
Remember when you read this seemingly irrelevant piece of information is this gem under the headline of GPs may refuse child vaccinations if bonus cancelled that the nationwide vaccination rate for DPT in Australia is 95%.
Neil Hearnden, from the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, told The Daily Telegraph that one of the most consistent barriers to getting children immunised was the cost of seeing a GP.
(So what barrier is it, exactly, that gives Australia a 95% DPT vaccination rate?)
"But because of the payments, the majority of GPs have been able to bulk bill," he said.
"GPs would be less inclined to bulk bill now that the incentive's not there any more." Dr Hearnden predicted that some doctors might say they are too busy to immunise.
The view is echoed by GP Peter Eizenberg, who said the change would "undermine the success of the National Immunisation Program".
Doctors will choose not to vaccinate, Dr Hearnden predicted, unless they are committed in a "professional and ethical way" to vaccination.
"But there's only so much you can expect a small business to do. Why should small business take a hit for a public health measure?" he said.
Dr Hearnden said that over the next five years vaccination rates could "slip back" from the current 90 per cent to the "tragic rate" of 75 per cent, as in the early 1990s.
The axing of the $18.50 General Practice Immunisation Incentive Service Payment took effect on October 1.
Health Minister Nicola Roxon announced the decision in this year's Budget. Over four years it will save the Government $83.7 million. A spokesman for Ms Roxon said there were "multiple incentives still in place to encourage immunisation".
Remember that CDI report Volume 21, No 23? The whooping cough disease data for the 1990s is in that. Can you explain the tragic fact as to why there was far less pertussis in the 1990's when the pertussis vaccination rate was so low, and there were so few shots?
Always, when the aim is to condition parents, to make you compliant, so that you can be controlled, you can be sure that the messages presented will be both long on emotional blackmail of various sorts, and very short on fact.