Let the num­bers speak

The Northland Age - - Opinion -

It is in­deed odd that Mes­dames Aldridge and Pat­ti­son, rep­re­sent­ing Ota­matea Grey Power, should view me as a fa­natic for putting be­fore the pub­lic ac­cu­rate sta­tis­tics about im­mu­ni­sa­tion. If I have be­liefs about im­mu­ni­sa­tion they are at least well-founded, which is per­haps more than one can say for theirs.

They now wish to per­suade us that measles im­mu­ni­sa­tion is in­ef­fec­tive by quot­ing two papers. The first, us­ing data from a high school gath­ered in 1985, found that 14 out of 1806 stu­dents with a 99 per cent im­mu­ni­sa­tion rate ac­quired measles dur­ing an out­break, about 1 per cent of the to­tal.

The se­cond paper, from 1990, showed that 36 out of 37 (97 per cent) unim­mu­nised peo­ple got measles dur­ing a com­mu­nity out­break, while 29 out of 198 im­mu­nised peo­ple (15 per cent got it in a “sig­nif­i­cantly milder” form. As the av­er­age age of the pop­u­la­tion stud­ied was 13 years, many must have been im­mu­nised be­fore full im­ple­men­ta­tion of a two-dose sched­ule.

The sci­en­tists at OGP might care to read West­ern Pac Surveill Re­sponse J. 2015 JulSep; 6(3): 43 — 50 in its en­tirety. This stud­ied all proven measles cases in Aus­tralia be­tween 2006 and 2012 (n = 189), and af­ter rig­or­ous sta­tis­ti­cal anal­y­sis con­cluded that one dose of vac­cine had 96.7 per cent ef­fec­tive­ness and two doses had 99.7 per cent ef­fec­tive­ness. Sim­i­lar fig­ures are found from other stud­ies world wide, ex­cept for the Ukraine, where the ef­fec­tive­ness was found to be 93.1 per cent.

It is sim­ply not ten­able any more to ques­tion the ef­fec­tive­ness of the measles vac­cine. This has noth­ing to do with the Bill of Rights, global warm­ing, com­pul­sory medication or flu­o­ri­da­tion.

Some­thing left out of the re­cent cor­re­spon­dence has been that the measles vac­cine is now com­bined with vac­cines against mumps, chicken pox and rubella (Ger­man measles). Triv­ial though the lat­ter ill­ness may seem to be in chil­dren, it can be dev­as­tat­ing if ac­quired in the womb.

Many will be mis­car­ried or still­born. Those who sur­vive may suf­fer dam­age to the heart, brain, vi­sion and hear­ing.

OGP might like to re­flect that if their views pre­vail we will once again see, as I did in the early 1970s, more cases of con­gen­i­tal rubella syn­drome, added to those dam­aged by the com­pli­ca­tions of measles. mumps and chicken pox.

BILL MORRIS

Pukenui

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