MEASLES VACCINE & HERD IMMUNITY:  THE HISTORY

by guest poster A. Fujito

(see also MMR and Measles)

Merck initially promised lifetime immunity from a single shot.

The CDC still bolsters this claim, in spite of evidence to contrary: “People who received two doses of MMR vaccine as children according to the U.S. vaccination schedule are considered protected for life.”  https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/mmr/public/index.html

The vaccine, introduced in 1963, was expected to result in eradication of measles by 1967, based on a level of immunity above 55%.

Epidemiological Basis for Eradication of Measles in 1967  David J. Sencer, M.D., Bruce Dull, M.D., Alexander D. Langmuir, M.D.

“Examining evidence from the point of view of immunity, it is evident that when the level of immunity is higher than 55 percent, epidemics did not develop.  This is an estimate of the threshold of herd immunity providing protection to the city from a measles epidemic.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1919891/pdf/pubhealthreporig00027-0069.pdf

It never happened.

“When measles failed to be eradicated, public health experts decided that a 70% or 75% vaccination rate would secure herd immunity. When that proved wrong, the magic number rose to 80%, 83%, 85%, and then it became 90%, according to a 2001 Health Services Research report. Later health experts commonly cited 95%.

But that too was insufficient — measles outbreaks occur even when the vaccinated population exceeds 95%, leading some to say a 98% or 99% vaccination rate is needed to protect the remaining 1% or 2% of the herd. But even that may fall short, since outbreaks occur in fully vaccinated populations.”  — Lawrence Solomon, Junk Science: Vaccinating the Herd

You can see that  the assumed “herd immunity” numbers fit the yearly uptake rates — which exposes the flaw in the assumption, year after year.

Vaccine uptake for MMR by year

Here are the vaccine coverage levels from 1974 through 2016, as per the CDC

Year       % vaccinated

1974       63.4

1975       65.5

1976       66.3

1977       65.0

1978       63.6

1979       66.5

1980       66.6

1981       66.8

1982      67.6

1983      66.3

1984      65.8

1985      61.2

1986 – 1990 CDC says no data (with no explanation)

1991     82

  1.    82.5

1993     84.1

1994     89

1995     87.6

1996     97

1997     90.5

1998     92

1999     91.5

2000     90.5

2001     91.4

2002     91.6

2003    90.3

2004    90.3

2005    91.5

2006    92.4

2007    92.3

2008    92.1

2009    90.0

2010    91.5

2011    91.6

2012    90.8

2013    91.9

2014    91.5

2015    91.9

2016    91.1

*Previously reported as measles-containing vaccine (MCV)

†No national coverage data were collected from 1986 through 1990. §In 2008, data are for PCV4+.

Combined 4-3-1: Four or more doses of DTP/DTaP/DT, three or more doses of poliovirus vaccine, and one or more doses of any measles-containing vaccine.

Combined 4-3-1-3: Four or more doses of DTP/DTaP/DT, three or more doses of poliovirus vaccine, one or more doses of any measles-containing vaccine, and three or more doses of Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine.

Data prior to 1993 were collected by the National Health Interview Survey and represent 2-year-old children. Data from 1993 forward are from the National Immunization Survey and represent 19-35 month-old children. Different methods were used for the two surveys.

Data are available for combinations of vaccines not reflected on this table. For more information about annual coverage figures from 1994 to the present, see http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/stats-surv/nis/default.htm.

This document can be found on the CDC website at:

http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/appendices/G/coverage.pdf

Feb 2011

https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/appendices/appdx-full-e.pdf

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