On Monday Auckland-based journalist Jon Eisen issued Scoop with an article examining the safety of New Zealand's Meningococcal vaccine. Scoop approached the Ministry of Health (MoH) to comment on the findings. It has done so and refutes Eisen's claims. Scoop has published both sides of this most important issue and calls for the medical fraternity including researchers and medical students to analyse the findings and claims. See… Jon Eisen's Commentary Is Inaccurate And Dangerous (includes Eisen's claims).
Haemorrhagic meningococcal meningitis: is it scurvy?
It could be that the well-intentioned Health Dept. vaccinators have again approached this issue from the wrong direction. This is nothing new as the same approach has been attempted with other infectious epidemics and as a result the vaccine industry is now worth many $billions p.a..
I agree with Eisen's comments as reported in Scoop with the addition that a "better practice" of medicine could be to improve the host's resistance instead. Then there would be no need for a vaccine of both unknown efficiency and yet to be discovered long-term side-effects as has now been confirmed for other vaccines causing asthma, diabetes, autism etc..
However,one must accept that despite high rates of asymptomatic carriage in adult populations some persons have died within hours of diagnosis whilst others have self-limiting diseases. The death rate was 23 in 2001 dropping to 18 and then 13 by 2003. Thus the so-called epidemic may already be waning even before the vaccination campaign. It is known that exposures to cigarette smoke, alcohol, low iron levels, poor living conditions and certain genetic factors are all conducive to increased infection rates. However, this does not explain why some get a severe or fatal haemorrhagic infection.
The features of meningococcal sepsis include a severe capillary leak syndrome and disseminated intravascular coagulation or clots. It is possible that this could effectively be acute haemorrhagic scurvy and eminently amenable to appropriate therapy. The 1940-70s literature supports this with parenteral ascorbic acid (AA) capable of destroying diphtheria, tetanus, salmonella, gas gangrene (clostridium) and meningococcal endotoxins.
Prof. Clemetson's 1989 3 volume texbook on Vit.C showed why bacterial toxin-induced mortality increases with AA depletion. Other researchers have confirmed that non-survivors from meningitis having oxidised whatever AA reserves they had to neutralize bacterial toxins, suffered acute, lethal scurvy.
AA levels in the spinal fluid of meningitis patients has been negatively correlated with the outcome of patients with bacterial meningitis and thus, its depletion also may be an indicator of a bad prognosis.
Up to 15% of the population may be scorbutic (<0.2mg/100ml serum) and thus at increased risk of bacterial endotoxin toxicity as would many of the impoverished and nutrient-deficient South Auckland populations. The latent scorbutic state can then be converted into frank scurvy by infections (and even vaccines), and under such conditions hemorrhagic phenomena are frequent. All of the patho-physiological features of haemorrhagic and thrombotic conditions found in bacterial meningitis are seen in AA deficiency states.
It could therefore surely be appropriate to administer this safe and cheap therapy concurrently with antibiotics to everyone suspected of this disease. Indeed, it is possibly only when the liver is overwhelmed by bacterial toxin that a fulminating haemorrhagic disease ensues.
However, for maximum effectiveness continuous AA infusions at 0.7G/Kg/ or more/24hrs may be required. The whole reason for a vaccine is to prevent severe disease and/or deaths but surely if we have a cheap, safe effective way of making the disease comparatively trivial, there would hardly be a need for a vaccine.
Finally, if parents are persuaded to allow their childrfen to be vaccinated, they ought to preload them with AA for at least a week before and a week after to help them cope with the vaccine toxins.
References available on request
Dr. Mike Godfrey - Tauranga
Ministry of Health MeNZB Safety Claim is Laughable
Dr O'Hallahan is reported as saying, "The [MeNZB] vaccine has been rigorously tested and has met the same standards of safety and quality as any other medicine licensed for use in New Zealand."
The fact is that fewer than 1,500 patients had been assessed for safety which means that only common adverse reactions that occur will have been detected. Statistically, 'rigorous' testing means that the Ministry of Health can be certain that only adverse effects that occur more frequently than n/3 [1,500 tested /3] or once in 500 vaccinations have been determined. Very rare adverse reactions, ie > 1 reaction per 10,000 vaccinations, would have required testing of 30,000 subjects.
If the Ministry of Health were confident that their evidence could withstand independent scrutiny then it would make their evidence of safety public. What does it have to hide?
Not withstanding the disastrous impact any disease has on victims, the Ministry of Health response to vaccination in relation to meningitis B is fully irrational -- especially given the steady decline in the number of cases and especially deaths since 2001. Spending $200 million to save less than 10 lives per year is at grave odds with the Ministry's head in sand approach to reducing the 1,500 preventable deaths due to medical injury in our public holidays. Preventable medical injury is the number one cause of death in under 45 year olds in New Zealand, and yet the Ministry of Health has spent not one cent communicating that message...
Various commentators have expressed the view that the Minister should be embarrassed by advice she receives from the Ministry of Health  -- I fully concur with that. The spending of $200 million on the meningitis campaign is not a rational response to a relatively rare disease, especially when nothing has been spent on a formal and public response to the medical injury killing fields that exist in our hospitals.
For evidence of that carnage go to Australia http://www.healthyoptions.co.nz/Australia.pdf
If the MeNZB vaccine has met "the same standards of safety and quality as any other medicine licensed for use in New Zealand" then all I can say is, "God help us!"
Ron Law - Member of the Ministry of Health expert working group that advised the Director General of Health on the management of medical injury in New Zealand