Having blogged about the introduction to Richard Halvorsen‘s book The Truth About Vaccines, and the early chapters on Vaccines and Autism and Mercury in Vaccines, I will now jump to the end of the book for my next post on Halvorsen.
At the back of the book, there is a section that includes Halvorsen’s “alternative vaccine schedule”. Halvorsen suggests a possible alternative vaccine schedule available on the NHS and another available at his Babyjabs clinic.
Given that Halvorsen has consistently criticised the multiple vaccines such as MMR in scaremongering articles in the press and interviews on the radio as well as in the book in question, it would be a surprise if many (or perhaps any) of his readers did take up the alternative schedule based on the vaccines available on the NHS.
Surely they would be more inclined (asuming they believed the scaremongering of Halvorsen) to opt for a schedule that allowed them to choose single vaccines. That is, if they could afford it.
Here’s the Babyjabs schedule:
3 months DTaP [3-in-1]
4 months Hib + Meningitis C [2-in-1]
5 months DTaP [3-in-1]
6 months Hib + Meningitis C [2-in-1]
7 months PCV
8 months DTaP [3-in-1]
9 months PCV
12 months Hib + Meningitis C [2-in-1]
13 months PCV
15 months measles
18 months polio
20 months polio
22 months polio
2 years measles (only if negative blood test after first dose)
4 years dT + IPV [3-in-1]
12 years rubella (only girls)
12 years mumps (boys, possibly)
15 years dT + IPV [3-in-1]
Here’s the cost of the vaccines (information accessed on Halvorsen’s own website, 1st January 2010):
Vaccine Cost of vaccine Consultation with Dr Richard Halvorsen £90 (for 30 minutes) Telephone consultation £100 (for 30 minutes) BCG (BCG Vaccine SSI) £80 Mantoux test (pre BCG) £90 Tetanus (Tetanol Pur) £95 DT £105 DTaP (Infanrix) £99 DTaP (Daptacel) £99 IPV (Imovax) £85 Diphtheria (Diohtherie-Adsorbat-Impfstoff Behring) £95 dT (Td RIX) £95 dT-IPV (Revaxis) £70 Hib (Hiberix) £88 Men C (Meningitec) £75 Men C (Menjugate) £75 Hib-Men C (Menitorix) £115 Pneumococcus (Prevenar) £105 Chickenpox (Varilrix) £95 Hepatitis B (Engerix B Paediatric) £75 Hepatitis B (HBvaxPRO) £75 Rotavirus (Rotarix) £115 Measles (Rouvax) £95 Rubella – German measles (Rudivax) £95 Mumps (Mumpsvax)
This vaccine is currently unavailable
For a girl, the cost would total £1637 at these prices and for a boy, the cost would be £1542 (excluding the mumps vaccine which is listed as “unavailable” at the time of writing).
That is the cost purely in terms of the money parents would need to spend. However, the real price to be paid might be in terms of illness, hospitalisation, or serious complications arising from infection with a vaccine-preventable disease.
Halvorsen’s schedule does not include MMR, gives the rubella vaccine only to girls and only at the age of twelve, and does not currently include the mumps vaccine. This could potentially have serious repercussions.
Instead of being vaccinated against rubella at thirteen months, girls would be unprotected until they were twelve years old and boys would remain unprotected.
This would mean that pregnant women who were not immune to rubella for whatever reason would be at risk of rubella infection – something that can lead to their baby contracting congenital rubella syndrome. It’s worth looking at the manifestations of CRS to get an idea of how seriously this should be taken.
As the mumps vaccine is unavailable, parents who follow Halvorsen’s schedule would be putting their sons at risk of infection with mumps. Infertility and subfertility are not unknown following mumps infection. The abstract of this paper includes the following:
The authors noted significantly low (p less than 0.05) contents of ejaculate spermatozoa in subfertile males with a history of mumps and a significantly low number of morphologically normal spermatozoa (p less than 0.001) in comparison to those values in subfertile males without a history of epidemic parotiditis.
Then there’s this:
The study presents results of an investigation on male fertility after mumps infection without clinically manifested mumps orchitis. […] Out of 20 patients 12 were fertile, while 8 were subfertile.
And that is just from using the single measles vaccine instead of MMR. Children would also be exposed to other vaccine-preventable diseases for a longer period of time – and they would be exposed unnecessarily.
Pneumococcal infection, polio and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) are just three of the diseases that children would be exposed to for longer (Hib for just two months, but pneumococcal infection for five months, and polio for sixteen months).
A Conflict Of Interest
Dr Richard Halvorsen has a clear conflict of interest when discussing vaccination. When parents read his views in our national newspapers (I’ve written before about Richard Halvorsen‘s comments in the Times, Sunday Express, and Daily Mail) or hear about his views on the radio – for example on the Today programme on Radio 4 – they should be reminded that Halvorsen has such a conflict of interest.
At present, it seems to me that Halvorsen’s competing interests in the form of his books on vaccination and his clinic are only mentioned in order to plug them – rather than to warn readers / listeners of a conflict of interest.
Also of interest to me in this section of the book, Halvorsen refers to measles as “a relatively harmless illness to which we had adapted successfully” – something I would certainly argue with. Measles is no less deadly now than it was in the 1980s when 90 people in this country died from the disease.