Social Links

Follow on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on G+

Xpert Access

×

Login To Get Involved!


Forgot your username?


Forgot your password?

×

Join Us At EiR Now!

How Vaccinations Work

 

data-ad-format="horizontal"

 

 

PHILIP F. INCAO, M.D.
1624 Gilpin Street
Denver, CO 80218-1633

 

In order to use vaccinations wisely, we need to understand exactly how they work. Until recently, the "mechanism of action" of vaccinations was always understood to be simply that they cause an increase in antibody levels (titers) against a specific disease antigen (bacterium or virus), thus preventing "infection" with that bacterial or viral antigen.

In recent years science has learned that the human immune system is much more complicated than we thought. It is composed of two functional branches or compartments which may work together in a mutually cooperative way or in a mutually antagonistic way depending on the health of the individual.

One branch is the humoral immune system (or Th2 function) which primarily produces antibodies in the blood circulation as a sensing or recognizing function of the immune system to the presence of foreign antigens in the body. The other branch is the cellular or cell-mediated immune system (or Th1 function) which primarily destroys, digests and expels foreign antigens out of the body through the activity of its cells found in the thymus, tonsils, adenoids, spleen, lymph nodes and lymph system throughout the body. This process of destroying, digesting and discharging foreign antigens from the body is known as "the acute inflammatory response" and is often accompanied by the classic signs of inflammation: fever, pain, malaise and discharge of mucus, pus, skin rash or diarrhea.

These two functional branches of the immune system may be compared to the two functions in eating: tasting and recognizing the food on the one hand, and digesting the food and eliminating the food waste on the other hand. In the same way, the humoral or Th2 branch of the immune system "tastes" and recognizes and even remembers foreign antigens and the cellular or Th1 branch of the immune system digests and eliminates the foreign antigens from the body. But just as too much repeated tasting of food will ruin the appetite, so also too much repeated stimulation of the "tasting" humoral immune system by an antigen will inhibit and suppress the digesting and eliminating function of the cellular immune system. In other words, overstimulating antibody production can suppress the acute inflammatory response of the cellular immune system! 1

This explains the polar opposite relationship between acute discharging inflammations on the one hand and allergies and auto-immune inflammations on the other hand. The more a person has of one, the less he or she will have of the other!

A growing number of scientists believe that the increase in America, Europe, Australia and Japan in allergic and auto-immune diseases (which stimulate the humoral or Th2 branch of the immune system) is caused by the lack of stimulation of the cellular or the Th1 branch of the immune system from the lack of acute inflammatory responses and discharges in childhood. 2 3 4 5 We need to identify the factors which cause this shift in the function of the immune system or which cause allergies and auto-immune diseases in childhood to increase!

 

data-ad-format="horizontal"

 

If we now return to the original question of the mechanism of action of vaccinations, we find what I believe is the key to the puzzle. A vaccination consists of introducing a disease agent or disease antigen into an individual’s body without causing the disease. If the disease agent provoked the whole immune system into action it would cause all the symptoms of the disease! The symptoms of a disease are primarily the symptoms (fever, pain, malaise, loss of function) of the acute inflammatory response to the disease.

So the trick of a vaccination is to stimulate the immune system just enough so that it makes antibodies and "remembers" the disease antigen but not so much that it provokes an acute inflammatory response by the cellular immune system and makes us sick with the disease we’re trying to prevent! Thus a vaccination works by stimulating very much the antibody production (Th2) and by stimulating very little or not at all the digesting and discharging function of the cellular immune system (Th1).

Vaccine antigens are designed to be "unprovocative" or "indigestible" for the cellular immune system (Th1) and highly stimulating for the antibody-mediated humoral immune system (Th2).

Perhaps it is not difficult to see then why the repeated use of vaccinations would tend to shift the functional balance of the immune system toward the antibody-producing side (Th2) and away from the acute inflammatory discharging side (the cell-mediated side or Th1). This has been confirmed by observation especially in the case of Gulf War Illness: most vaccinations cause a shift in immune function from the Th1 side (acute inflammatory discharging response) to the Th2 side (chronic auto-immune or allergic response). 6

The outcome of this line of thought is that, contrary to previous belief, vaccinations do not strengthen or "boost" the whole immune system. Instead vaccinations overstimulate the "tasting and remembering" function of the antibody-mediated branch of the immune system (Th2) which simultaneously suppresses the cellular immune system (Th1) thus "preventing" the disease in question.

What in reality is prevented is not the disease but the ability of our cellular immune system to manifest, to respond to and to overcome the disease!

There is no system of the human being, from mind to muscles to immune system, which gets stronger through avoiding challenges, but only through overcoming challenges. The wise use of vaccinations would be to use them selectively, and not on a mass scale. In order for vaccinations to be helpful and not harmful, we must know beforehand in each individual to be vaccinated whether the Th1 function or the Th2 function of the immune system predominates.

In individuals in whom the Th1 function predominates, causing many acute inflammations because the cellular immune system is overreactive, a vaccination could have a balancing effect on the immune system and be helpful for that individual.

In individuals in whom the Th2 function predominates, causing few acute inflammations but rather the tendency to chronic allergic or autoimmune inflammations, a vaccination would cause the Th2 function to predominate even more, aggravating the imbalance of the immune system and harming the health of that individual. This is what happened in Gulf War Illness.

The current use of vaccinations in medicine today is essentially a "shotgun" approach which ignores differences among individuals. In such an approach some individuals may be helped and others may be harmed.

If medicine is to evolve in a healthy direction, we must learn to understand the particular characteristics of each individual and we must learn how to individualize our treatments to be able to heal each unique human being in our care.

Based on the preceding explanation of how vaccinations work, here are my answers to your questions:

Vaccinations are usually effective in preventing an individual from manifesting a particular illness, but they do not improve the overall strength or health of the individual nor of the immune system. Instead, vaccinations modify the reactivity of the immune system, decreasing acute discharging inflammatory reactions and increasing the tendency to chronic allergic and auto-immune reactions.

Epidemiologic studies 7 8 9 have shown that as families improve their living conditions, hygiene, nutrition, literacy and education, the risk of life-threatening acute infectious , inflammatory diseases very much decreases. Families with poor living conditions, hygiene, nutrition and literacy would generally be most likely to benefit from vaccinations. Families with good living conditions, hygiene, nutrition and education probably would benefit from vaccinations very little or not at all. Individuals with a tendency to allergic or auto-immune diseases are likely to be harmed by vaccinations.

Side effects of vaccination are usually allergic or auto-immune inflammatory reactions caused by the shift of the immune system’s reactivity from the Th1 side to the Th2 side. Modern medicine is just beginning to recognize this. 10

Modern medicine has not scientifically measured the risk/benefit ratio of any vaccine. 11 Research into the risks of vaccines is very inadequate, according to two comprehensive reports on vaccines by the U.S. Institute of Medicine in 1991 and 1994.

My preceding explanation of how vaccinations affect the immune system is true also in animals. Vaccinations cannot make animals healthier, but only good handling, environment and nutrition can make animals healthy and resistant to disease. Vaccinating pigs may prevent them from having illness from one particular strain of virus but will not improve their overall resistance to other illnesses nor even to other strains of the same virus.

It is important to remember that an infection with a particular virus or bacterium does not necessarily cause illness unless the resistance of the individual is low. In the case of Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV), most infections cause no symptoms and fewer than 0.1% of infected individuals develop severe encephalitis. 12 Individuals living in poor conditions, with poor hygiene, nutrition and education are at higher risk of serious illnesses from JEV or any other infection. In such individuals a vaccination would most likely be helpful.

Each individual should inform himself or herself: just how widespread is the disease outbreak? How many have become seriously ill or died? Does the outbreak affect all levels of society or mainly those in poor living conditions?

Very often the media exaggerate the extent of such outbreaks. Each individual should freely decide, based on knowledge and not on fear and hearsay, whether he or she or a child would benefit from a vaccination.


Philip F. Incao, M.D.

 

References

 

data-ad-format="horizontal"

 

People in this conversation

  • I agree JH. All too often this debate is completely polarised when what we really need is to find a sensible (and safe!) middle path. Yes we need vaccines to prevent serious infectious diseases, but the effects of adjuvants need to be looked at more carefully and there needs to be more focus on the individual. Some people are clearly more susceptible to adverse vaccine reactions than others and we need to know who will react badly BEFORE the vaccinations are given.
    I also love the idea of using probiotic bacteria as a vector for vaccines. The GI tract is a more natural route for antigens to be introduced to the body after all! If you haven't already, take a look at this news article - Probiotics may offer more effective and less painful vaccinations

    Like 0 Short URL:
  • Absolutely Olivia, vaccines contain numerous suspect additives used as preservatives and adjuvants that in theory might have undesirable effects...completely aside from the immune dysfunction caused by the vaccine itself as proposed in this article.

    I would however caution against shunning vaccinations completely however. They have undoubtedly saved lives and the majority of people will tolerate them without serious adverse effect. I frequently tell anyone who will listen that what we need is a more individualised approach. Yes, use vaccines (without the added nasties) to control infectious disease but develop methods to screen for those who might be most at risk of adverse reactions. More basic biomedical research into the effects of vaccines on the immune system (long-term) would not go amiss either. Most research into vaccines is epidemiological and if most people don't have rapid and serious reactions then a vaccine is deemed safe!

    Like 0 Short URL:
  • Epigenetics - I couldn't agree more. I was delighted when I found this article as like you I had had all these ideas about vaccines in the back of my mind for a while and Dr. Incao has described them perfectly. I am hoping better delivery systems for vaccines (such as in probiotic bacteria - as described in this article) will go some way to increasing the accuracy of the vaccination "shot gun". Ideally we need effective screening before vaccinations are given to avoid giving them to those susceptible to adverse reactions.

    RT - Vaccinations can potentially make us ill in a variety of ways. The doctor who wrote this article suspects they cause a shift in how the immune system works in some people that makes them more susceptible to allergies and chronic illnesses such as autoimmune disease, chronic fatigue syndrome and Gulf War syndrome. Some people also have allergic reactions to the vaccines themselves. This would cause symptoms to appear quickly after the shot. Other possible causes of illnesses after vaccinations include reactions to mercury preservatives (thimerosal) and other additives such as aluminium hydroxide although these are still vigourously debated.

    Like 0 Short URL:

Leave your comments

Post comment as a guest

0 Character restriction
Your text should be more than 25 characters
Your comments are subjected to administrator's moderation.
terms and condition.