There has been considerable suspicion about a link between hepatitis B vaccination and the development of multiple sclerosis. This new study examined detailed national data in France around the mass vaccination of French adults in the mid 1990s. Following World Health Organisation recommendations in 1992 to mass vaccinate against hepatitis B to hopefully eradicate the virus, 20 million French people were vaccinated between 1994 and 1997. In 1998, French media published articles about a sudden increase in the number of cases of MS developing in France, linking them to this mass vaccination program. Vaccination numbers rapidly fell as a result. Now 20 years later, by looking at all the data from that time, Dominique Le Houezec has established a firm link between these vaccinations and a sudden rise in the number of cases of MS developing in France.
The data clearly show that up to 1993, the number of new cases of MS in France remained quite stable at 2,500 new cases a year. The following years, but especially from 1996, the number increased dramatically to 4,500 a year, and has stayed stable at this level since. The explanation is not entirely clear, but it could be that one of the proteins in the vaccine was very similar to a protein in myelin. Whatever the mechanism, because of this unique event in vaccination history, of such a large number of people getting vaccinated against hepatitis B in such a short time, and the resultant dramatic wave of new cases, it appears highly likely that hepatitis B vaccination can trigger MS. The author of this paper actually goes so far as calling this ‘an involuntary very large scale experiment carried out on a third of the French population’. PwMS would be wise to consider this information when deciding whether to vaccinate family members against hepatitis B.
Download the full paper at OvercomingMultipleSclerosis.org.
Evolution of multiple sclerosis in France since the beginning of hepatitis B vaccination. Le Houézec D. Immunol Res. 2014 Nov 14
Hepatitis B Reports from VAERS
By Steven Rubin
A recent report from France claimed that the Hepatitis B vaccine may be linked to the development of multiple sclerosis. The NVIC points out that this is not news: France stopped requiring the Hepatitis B vaccine for schoolchildren in 1998 because of multiple sclerosis-like symptoms.
Does VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System) data support this?
Of course, multiple sclerosis is not something that appears quickly after a vaccine, so it is difficult to say for sure whether the two are linked. Still, VAERS data does list many symptoms, including multiple sclerosis. So we can examine the data to see if any connection, even a weak one, can be found.
To do this, use Expert Mode (the checkbox in the upper-left of the search form). Then, in Section 2 (Symptoms), select the MedDRA level HLT (Higher-level Terms), and select the HLT Symptom Keyword Multiple scleroris acute and progressive. Remember that the MedDRA is a 5-level symptom classification system used by VAERS and many other medical databases. By selecting this symptom, the VAERS search includes a number of lower-level terms that are variations of multiple sclerosis, in this case, “Multiple Sclerosis”, “Multiple sclerosis relapse”, “Progressive multiple sclerosis”, “Relapsing-remiting multiple sclerosis”, and “Uhthoff’s phenomenon.” Finally, in Section 1, make a Graph of Vaccine Type (Vaccine Type organizes vaccines according to the disease that they target).
Here is what you get:
There aren’t many VAERS cases that mention Multiple Sclerosis (only 1,116 out of the 480,754 cases). But of those cases, a whopping 682 are associated with a Hepatitis B vaccine (that’s 61%). If any vaccine is linked to multiple sclerosis, it’s certainly Hepatitis B.
One question that might reasonably be asked is if this is a phenomenon that happened only in France. Is it also a problem here in the United States? VAERS data is collected by the U.S. Government, but it includes many cases that come from foreign sources. So let’s run the search again and exclude those foreign sources. In Section 5 (Demographics), set the Location to Exclude Foreign. The search now looks like this:
There are many fewer VAERS cases that mention multiple sclerosis and come from the United States (only 399), but the predominance of Hepatitis B is still evident (160 cases, or 40%). So VAERS data does seem to support the French report.
Another question we can ask is who are the people reporting multiple sclerosis after a Hepatitis B vaccine? We can break it down by age and gender. To do this, make a Graph of Age, Custom and Gender and in the Custom Age Ranges section, click Set Uniform (again, this requires Expert Mode). Next, in Section 3 (Vaccines) select the vaccines that have a Hepatitis B component: 6VAX-F, DTAPHEPBIP, DTPHEP, HBHEPB, HEP, and HEPAB (for a description of the VAERS vaccine codes, click here). The result, shown below, indicates that this phenenomenon is prevalent in people age 20 to 50 and is more of a problem for women.
As always, you should discuss these issues with your physician before making any vaccination decision.
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