Wednesday, January 3, 2018

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




Saturday, December 16, 2017

You may have heard we are seeing more early, dangerous flu this year. Not true. Look at CDC's own figures


https://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/

No need to run and get that flu shot, the one that is reported to be only 10% effective this year. Yes, the same flu shot that will get me 10% off my grocery bill, if I get vaccinated at the supermarket.

When you consider that a shot this year would likely make shots less effective in the next year, there is no reason at all to get it.

While the flu season is starting early this year, comparable to 2014 (see first CDC graph), deaths from flu and pneumonia are considerably lower than at this time of year in 2014, 2015 and 2016 (second CDC graph).  So:  is it really a bad flu season?

national levels of ILI and ARI

INFLUENZA Virus Isolated

Jordan Grumet: I Have to Admit It: I Don't Love Being a Doctor Any More

Here is a short article, by a doctor I don't know, which explains how the medical 'system', which changed during the Obama administration with a bucketload of new demands, has ruined the profession of medicine for doctors, and brought it to its knees for patients.--Meryl

I'll never leave, but the joy is gone, says Jordan Grumet, MD


  • by 
I have a breathtakingly difficult confession to make. A confession that on its face seems rather innocuous but in many ways shakes the foundations of who I always thought I was, and how I identify myself.
I no longer love being a physician.

There -- I said it. I winced even as I strung the words together to write the sentence. You see, to admit this is almost inconceivable. So much of who I was and who I have become is enmeshed in this intricate quilt of a profession. I view most every aspect of my life through this lens.
How could I not? Wanting to be a doctor is the first cognition I can recall from childhood. A childhood marked by a learning disability which brought into contention the idea of being a professional at all. A childhood in which a father's death became a precursor, a foreshadowing of who I was fated to become. I would follow in my father's footsteps. I would finish the work that was prematurely wrenched from his clutches. There was never a question whether I would succeed. The calling was too great, the pull too strong.
To deny my profession is to deny my father's legacy and to deny my own reflection.
Yet, here I stand. It didn't happen all at once. Medical school was difficult and time-consuming, but it didn't happen there. Residency was strenuous and terrifying, but it didn't happen there. My first days as an attending were grueling and sometimes awful, but also energizing.
I suppose the change happened sometime after we started using electronic medical records. It happened with meaningful use. And MACRA. And Medicare audits. And ICD-10. And face-to-face encounters. And attestations. And PQRS. And QAPI. And the ACA. 
What I do today is no longer practicing medicine. Instead it's like dancing the waltz, tango, and salsa simultaneously to a double-timed techno beat. It's sloppy, rushed, unpleasant to look at, and often leaves my partner more confused and anxious than when we started.
I have become ineffective. Not by the weight of ever-expanding medical knowledge or even the complexity of the human body. Instead, my hard drive is being spammed by thousands of outside servers.
But make no mistake, I'll never leave. My love for taking care of people is unwavering.
As for the joy and utter exhilaration of what used to be -- frankly, it's all been legislated out.
Jordan Grumet is an internal medicine physician who blogs at In My Humble Opinion

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Ex-Spy Chief Admits Role In 'Deep State' Intelligence War On Trump/ Zero Hedge