Two Mumps Vaccines Don't Work, So Public Officials Push a Third Jab
by Heidi Stevenson
1 March 2010
Orange County, New York, public health officials are pushing a third MMR vaccination, since the recommended two don't seem to be working against mumps. The outbreak of mumps has been seen mostly in people who've been vaccinated—not just the majority of cases, but the vast majority. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) is reporting that 93% who've come down with mumps have had one dose and 85% have had two doses of the MMR vaccine.
Though some areas are offering it, the CDC reports that a second dose of MMR for children age 1-4 is not advised because so few of that age are coming down with mumps. Only 4.9% of the new mumps cases are occurring in ages 1-4. Even the CDC doesn't recommend a third dose of the MMR vaccine in children so young, though not for safety's sake. Their concern is that nearly all the people coming down with mumps are older than that. So, the CDC would rather see the vaccination focus be on children over the age of 4.
The CDC's primary focus has been to get people to believe that lack of vaccination is the reason for the outbreak. Even though most people coming down with mumps have been vaccinated, people are being told that their best defense is to get vaccinated. Should these people be sent back to school for training in basic logic?
But it gets worse. The one thing that seems to be consistent is that people who live in large family households are more likely to get mumps. In one of the areas with the most cases, the average number of people in a household is 5.7, as opposed to a national average of 2.6. The CDC suggests that more intense contact with people who've come down with mumps is the likliest reason for their being infected so much more than others.
The CDC then goes on to say, "In addition, high vaccination coverage in surrounding communities is the most plausible reason that the few cases outside of the affected community have not caused other outbreaks." Ummm...whatever happened to the fact that larger family sizes are the likely reason for the bulk of the outbreak?
Nothing will get in the way of an opportunity to push vaccinations.
The more you know of this story, the more absurd the CDC's scare tactics look. Yet, the one thing that might actually be scary about this outbreak is getting no comment. Before vaccinations came along, people tended to get mumps fairly young, well before their teens. In this current outbreak, the average age is 15, past puberty in most children. Though rare, the primary risks of mumps are orchitis, inflammation of the testes, and oophoritis, inflammation of the ovaries. The concern is that these conditions can lead to sterility—but the risk is less significant in young children.
This was the CDC's total breakdown as of 12 February, the last date they've provided such information:
* Of 1,518 patients whose ages are known:
o 1,385 (91%) are older than 6 years.
o Median age is 15 years.
o Age range 3 months - 90 years.
* Of 1,489 patients whose sex is known:
o 1,136 (76%) are male.
o 353 (24%) are female.
* 65 reports of complications have been received:
o Orchitis: 55 cases.
o Pancreatitis: 5 cases.
o Aseptic meningitis: 2 cases.
o Transient deafness: 1 case.
o Bell's palsy: 1 case.
o Oophoritis: 1 case.
o 19 hospitalizations reported.
o No deaths have occurred.
Interestingly, the ages of patients with complications isn't reported. If history is any indication, though, it's reasonable to assume that most cases of orchitis and oophoritis are occurring among people who have passed puberty, and are, therefore, at greater risk of becoming sterile.
Perhaps scariest of all, though, is that absolutely no consideration is being given to potential risks from the MMR vaccination. There's isn't one iota of risk-benefit assessment being done. There isn't even any thought of separating the mumps vaccine from the MMR and offering only that, rather than increasing the risk by also giving extra doses of measles and rubella (German measles) vaccines.
The CDC is pushing people into getting yet another vaccination to prevent a disease that is usually quite mild, carries its greatest risk after the more natural early childhood time of infection—which provides a lifetime of immunity and protection for babies through their mothers—and all without considering the risks inherent in the vaccine itself.