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Dr. Brownstein: Pneumococcal Vaccine Worthless for Adults

Doctor giving injection to Senior Patient

Should Adults Receive the Pneumococcal Vaccine? NO WAY!

By Dr. Brownstein [1]

I am frequently asked by my adult patients if they should get the pneumococcal vaccine. If you want the short answer, I can give it here: NO WAY!

Let me explain.

An article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA—February 17, 2015, volume 313, N. 7) reported on the new guidelines which advise doctors to recommend two pneumococcal vaccines in adults. The recommendations state that “…adults 65 years or older should receive one dose of the 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) followed by a dose of the 23-valnet pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23) 6 to 12 months later.” After reading that, you would assume that the two vaccines have been shown to be effective at preventing pneumococcal-associated illnesses and death from pneumonia. But, you would think wrong as the vaccines fail over 99% who take them.

As reported in the JAMA article, Stretococcus pneumoniae is a common cause of respiratory tract infection and community acquired pneumonia (CAP). In 2012, there were 31,600 cases of pneumococcal infection and 3,300 related deaths in the U.S. The highest rates of infection are among children and adults aged 65 years and older. The PPSV23 vaccine was licensed in the U.S. in 1983. According to a 2013 meta-analysis, there is no consistent evidence that the PPSV23 vaccine is associated with reduced rates of all-cause pneumonia or all-cause mortality.

In September, 2014, the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices, a governmental committee recommended that the PCV13 vaccination be given to all adults 65 years and older. (1) In 2011, the FDA approved PCV13 for adults aged 50 years and older. These recommendations were based, somewhat, on a yet-to-be published trial—CAPITA. (NOTE: CAPITA was funded by Big Pharma founding member Pfizer. Guess who makes PCV13—if you guess Pfizer, you win.) This trial randomized 84,496 persons aged 65 years and older to a single dose of PCV13 or placebo. The primary endpoint was the prevention of a first episode of vaccine-type pneumococcal CAP. In the JAMA article, the author states that the vaccine was 45% effective at preventing the first episode of pneumococcal illness. Sounds good, right? However, this is a relative risk number. As I explained in detail in my new book, The Statin Disaster [2], Big Pharm uses the relative risk statistic to make a mediocre therapy appear better than it is. It is important to note that nobody, physician and patient alike, should be making medical decisions based on relative risk numbers.

A more accurate interpretation of a study is to use the absolute risk difference between the placebo and the treatment groups. Once the absolute risk difference is calculated, it is easy to figure out how many need to be treated—or in this case vaccinated—to prevent one event. The full data from CAPITA has not been released yet, so I cannot state what the more-accurate absolute risk difference and the number-needed-to treat with PCV 13 would be. I find it astonishing that the relative risk numbers were released before all the data was made available.

Let’s go back to the JAMA article. The author states, “At this point, the potential effect of the vaccine (PCV13) can only be inferred.” Hmmmm. Only inferred, yet the new guidelines already recommend every adult over the age of 50 should receive it. We must be in Wonderland, with Alice, where down is up and up is down.

The JAMA article continues, “Based on the immunogenicity studies and CAPITA, one model estimates that {the number needed to vaccinate was 27,800}.” That means, to prevent one case of invasive pneumococcal disease, you need to vaccinate 27,800 subjects. In other words, the vaccine failed 99.99% of the subjects who received it (27,799/27,800). To prevent community acquired pneumonia, the number-needed to vaccinate was 1,620. At least the numbers are better here—the vaccine only failed 99.94% of those who took it (1,619/1,620). The JAMA article summarized these findings by stating, “This (new) guideline can be implemented broadly in a variety of settings.”

Wow. So, the FDA recommends every adult receive a vaccine that fails 99.9% of those who receive it. I did not even mention that the pneumococcal vaccines contain aluminum and phenol which have never been shown to be safe when injected into the human body. In fact, aluminum and phenol should never be injected into any living being.

Folks, this story should not be surprising. We all know the FDA and CDC are bought and sold by Big Pharma.

What is surprising is why so many doctors follow idiotic guidelines.

Read the full article here. [1]