Do Vaccines Prevent Disease?

Since vaccination programs have been in place, we see more disease in infants and at the other end of the scale, in adults for whom rubella (German measles) and mumps can have tragic consequences.

  • It has been shown that infants born to mothers who have had measles vaccine have an increased risk of contracting measles in infancy, due to a lack of circulating maternal antibodies acquired through a natural infection.26
  • We have already seen a shift in incidence of measles and whooping cough to older age groups, accompanied by vaccination programs for both for teenagers and adults.27

Whatever the risks associated with having a vaccine, it is assumed that they will provide protection from the greater risk’ of catching the disease. There have been many studies that show vaccines fail to protect -

  • In an outbreak of measles in Western Sydney in 1993, 78% of cases occurred in children aged 5-9 years who had been vaccinated against measles according to their parents.28
  • The 1996 figures for whooping cough from the South Australian Health Commission show that of all cases in 1996, 51% were fully vaccinated, 6% only were unvaccinated and whether the remaining 43% were vaccinated or not was not recorded.
  • Recent studies have shown that influenza (flu) vaccine has done nothing in twenty years to impact on the incidence and deaths from influenza and that its benefits
    have been greatly overstated. Despite this there is a push (and already a requirement in the U.S.) to vaccinate infants with flu vaccine which contains mercury.29 30

To prove that vaccines provide effective protection it is important to record whether someone who has contracted a disease has been vaccinated or not. This is still not being done as a priority.


  • It has been suggested that “all vaccines have considerably less efficacy (effectiveness) against wild disease than published data suggest” due to ‘observer bias’, or in other words, the need to show that they work.31

We use the term ‘vaccination’ instead of immunisation’, because the latter implies that some immunity has been gained by the procedure.

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26 Papania M. et al, Increased susceptibility to measles in infants in the United States, Pediatrics 1999, Nov;104(5):e59
27 Williams, G.D. et al, Infant pertussis deaths in NSW 1996-1997, MJA, 16 March 1998, Vol. 168, 281
28 McDonnell, L.F., et al, Measles Outbreak in Western Sydney, MJA, 1995, 162, 471-475
29 Annual flu shots may be of little benefit to the elderly, Lancet Infect Dis 2007;7:658-666
30 Preventing flu-like illness, BMJ Letters 26 January 2008;336:172
31 Cherry et al, The effect of Investigator Compliance (Observer Bias) on calculated efficacy in
a pertussis vaccine trial, Paediatrics Oct 1998;102(4):909-912