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Are Vaccines Worth It?

Measles as an Example

How Deadly is Measles?

Seriously, How Deadly Is Measles? by Dr. Nathan Boonstra - November 29, 2017

How many people were dying from measles, when there was no vaccine? So thankfully, Dr. Nathan Boonstra did the work for me, to find a death rate for people who contract measles: Approximately 2 deaths per 1000 cases of measles. Measles cases is said to have been 3 to 4 million a year 1 2. So about 7000 deaths per year. Sure, the population was less back then, but medicine has also improved. Anyway, you had about a 0.2% chance of death if you contracted measles. In history, for isolated populations such as Hawaii, it could be as bad as 20% (check reference as it's wikipedia).

What are the chances of dying from measles, compared to dying from the vaccine?

I found this research article: Deaths following vaccination: What does the evidence show?. They didn't get to the point in the abstract. Trying to dig through the results was daunting, so I looked for something easier.
“From January 2000 to December 2015, 104 deaths were reported to VAERS following the administration of one of the four measles vaccines.”
This just means that 104 deaths happened after administration of measles vaccination, as reported by doctors, but some scientists refuse to use this data, because they say that just because the death happened after the vaccination, doesn't mean the vaccine was the cause of death. I'm going to give the option of disagreement with this lack-of-causality. Doctors reported the cases, and therefore, the doctors thought that the vaccines were the cause. Right?

So that's 104 deaths over 16 years, or 6.5 deaths per year. 6.5 deaths per year from vaccines is lots lots better than 7000 deaths per year from measles.

How does the complication rate compare, between vaccines and measles?

3% complication rate, and 1% serious complication rate (life-threatening) 1. Compare with the 0.2% chance of dying from measles. According to the CDC: “In the decade before 1963 when a vaccine became available, nearly all children got measles by the time they were 15 years of age.”

Serious complications from measles 0.1%: “About 1 child out of every 1,000 who get measles will develop encephalitis (swelling of the brain) that can lead to convulsions and can leave the child deaf or with intellectual disability.” 1

What did people think of Measles before the vaccine?

At least according to the data above, for measles, vaccines are well worth it. What did people think of measles, back in the day? An answer on Quora by Estelle Winwoode: “No, measles wasn’t feared, it was expected. Everyone went through it, just once, then were known to be immune for life. If you were reasonably healthy and well nourished (vitamin A repletion is protective) the measles wouldn’t usually be much of a problem, also, people were familiar with the illness and generally knew how to nurse their children through it.”

I guess people saw getting measles about the same as getting the flu.

I asked on quora:

Yes, the odds of dying are the same from the flu and from measles: about 0.2% at worst. Update: Over 90% of people who die from the flu are over the age of 65.

When I get really sick from a cold, I don't know if it's bacterial or viral. Do I have the flu? Doctors I've been to don't check: they just prescribe antibiotics. Since doctors don't do any diagnostics, I don't go to them anymore. I'd rather let nature take its course and build a healthy immune system.

So here's the overview:
It appears having measles is not too much worse than the flu. There is 0.1% chance of permanent damage to the brain, and chance of death is 0.2%. However, it mainly affects people who are not “reasonably healthy and well nourished”. Vaccines: 3% complication rate, and 1% serious complication rate (life-threatening). Is the vaccine reaction only for people with a compromised immune system, or is it a random allergic event? Something I need to look up.

I need a better example, if I am going to promote vaccines. In this case, it seems likely that the majority of people in power would push for public vaccination, while sparing their children from vaccines. So what are some examples by country?

What Does Cuba Do?

“According to the World Health Organization (WHO)’s 2014 global summary on vaccine-preventable diseases and academic studies, Cuba has not had a single reported case of measles since 1993, nor rubella since 1989. Five cases of mumps have been reported since 2000; the last one was in 2010. And pertussis hasn’t been reported since 1994. In contrast, Canada has had 2,203 cases of measles, at least 1,529 cases of mumps, and 21,292 cases of pertussis reported since 1990.”


I hope with advances in molecular biology and virology, that vaccines become safer and some viruses are completely eradicated. We have evolved with viruses to the point that we would falter without their existence, much like we depend on bacteria for our health. There are more bacterial cells in the human body than there are human cells. Recommended reading:

Polio as an Example

OMG. This one looks horrible. Shoot me up.

health/vaccines.txt · Last modified: 2019/09/14 05:06 by marcos