Rotarix vaccine contaminated with pig virus

When it comes to vaccines, there is one vaccine that I have never liked and have never advised.  Never!  This is the rotavirus vaccine.

The first rotavirus vaccine came out right as I completed my residency program.  Having never seen a patient die from rotavirus, having never seen a patient permanently harmed from rotavirus, and at very worst, having seen the most severely affected patients with rotavirus need only IV fluids and brief 2-3 day hospitalizations, I never understood the need for the rotavirus vaccine.

Vaccines should be made to protect us from life threatening illness.

That is why we take the risk of putting these toxins in our bodies – to save lives and prevent serious illness.   For a third world country that does not have IV fluids or accessible hospitals, there, the rotavirus vaccine has a place.  Here, however, in the US, this was a vaccine of convenience – a money maker for the pharmaceutical company and a way to avoid missed work days for parents.

Hence, despite recommendations from above, I never advised it and only gave it to those children whose parents still wanted it, even after I explained fully why I didn’t think it was necessary nor worth the risk.

Within months, my concerns were confirmed.

The initial rotavirus vaccine was found to be associated with a significantly increased risk of intussucception (a severe, life threatening condition in which the intestines telescope into itself) and was taken off the market.

Consequently, doctors stopped giving the vaccine… until, of course, years later they made a new one and then another.  Still, I remained consistently and adamantly opposed to them.  I continued to advise parents against these unnecessary vaccines that provide little benefit and could prove harmful.  I fought with vaccine reps and infectious disease specialists.  I also argued with my collegues, in particular, against purchasing and providing the Rotarix vaccine as it had been found, in one study, to be associated with a significantly higher risk of death!

Now, again I am vindicated.

The FDA has asked doctors to stop using the Rotarix vaccine. This is because Rotarix has been found to be contaminated with a pig virus.

How did it get there?  No one knows.

They claim that there is no evidence that this poses a safety risk, but this is just a guess – truly, they do not know.  Here is a live vaccine, given orally to babies as young as 6 weeks old, contaminated with a pig virus. No testing has ever been done on babies exposed to this pig virus.   How do they know that it couldn’t harm these babies?

In a worst case scenario, could this pig virus be live and could it recombine with the rotavirus to create a “novel” swine stomach flu virus?

Interestingly, the only reason that this contamination was even discovered was because of some random independent researchers looking for a new way to screen vaccine for impurities.  Well, it sure seems like their testing works.   Isn’t it odd that the FDA doesn’t routinely test for impurities?

So now, why has the FDA not banned use of this vaccine, but rather has only gently asked doctors to not use it until further research is performed?

Could it be that the pharmaceutical companies have great power?   If this kind of contamination was found in a vitamin, they’d certainly ban that vitamin and put that nutraceutical company out of business immediately.

Even if doctors do stop giving the Rotarix to babies, guess what they are going to use instead… the other rotavirus vaccine that has been found to have an increased rate of Kawasaki’s disease! All this risk just to prevent a common stomach virus, which if the associated dehydration is treated, is a fairly benign illness.  I really don’t get it!

Unfortunately, doctors don’t have time to read the vaccine research and instead just trust the FDA.  What do parents then do – they trust those same doctors who trust the FDA, which is controlled by the pharmaceutical companies.

This ignorance has to stop.  People (parents and doctors) need to think for themselves before putting toxins into the bodies of their patients and loved ones.  They need to ask questions and find the answers and never trust someone else (especially not an agency) to make these decisions for them.

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