Measles: A Close Examination of the Facts to Counter the Fear

Measles virus (of large size) and SV40 virus (of small size), TEM. This electron micrograph reveals both a paramyxovirus measles virus, and virions of the polyomavirus, simian virus SV40 (smaller circles). The envelope of the measles virus has broken,

The recent measles outbreaks have created a virtual media and legislative firestorm. Headlines purport that measles is “deadly” and vaccines are “vital.” It is nearly impossible these days to pick up a newspaper without reading sensationalized headlines like this one from The New York Times on March 10, 2019: “The Anti-Vaxxers’ War on Truth.” Never will you read an article in the mainstream media titled “U.S. Government Pays Over 4 Billion Dollars to Victims of Vaccine Injury.” Unjustly, anyone who questions the safety of vaccines or has legitimate philosophical or religious objections is being blasted as uninformed, anti-science and dangerous to public health.

Those of us working within the vaccine-awareness community, as well as parents with unvaccinated children are blamed for the “resurgence” of measles. As a result, lawmakers have introduced numerous bills this legislative session to eliminate exemptions in states that allow parents to decline one or more vaccines for their children. But what if vaccine-awareness advocates and parents know something the vaccine proponents refuse to tell us? Perhaps it is time to take a deep breath, step back from the hysteria and thoroughly examine the facts.

Global statistics show the worldwide incidence of measles to be an average of nineteen cases per one million persons annually. In 2017, there were approximately one hundred ten thousand deaths from measles with the overwhelming majority (more than 95 percent) of deaths occurring in countries with low per capita incomes and weak health infrastructures. 1 Insufficient nutrition (particularly vitamin A deficiency) is the leading risk factor.

In developed countries, measles fatalities are exceptionally low. Between 1900 and 1962, as living conditions improved in the United States, the mortality rate declined by over 98 percent. This decline happened prior to the development of the first measles vaccine in 1963. England experienced a similar decrease in deaths before introducing the measles vaccine in 1968 (see Figure 1 and 2). 2

Figure 1. Measles mortality rate in the U.S.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the decade before 1963, nearly all children got measles by the time they were fifteen years of age. During this time, the CDC estimates three to four million people in the United States were infected each year, causing approximately four hundred to five hundred deaths, forty-eight thousand hospitalizations, and one thousand cases of encephalitis (swelling of the brain). 3

Measles infection begins in the nasopharynx and is shed through respiratory secretions (nasal discharge and sneezing). Symptoms typically appear ten to fourteen days after exposure to the virus. They may include fever, dry cough, runny nose, sore throat, conjunctivitis, tiny white spots with bluish-white centers on a red background found inside the mouth or inner lining of the cheek and a skin rash made up of large, flat blotches that often flow into one another, which lasts for about one week.4 Complications may include very high fever, diarrhea, otitis media, seizures, pneumonia, encephalitis (0.1 percent reported) and, very rarely, subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE, a progressive, debilitating and deadly brain disorder) and death. 5

From January 1 to February 28, 2019, the CDC confirmed two hundred six individual cases of measles in eleven states. The states that reported cases to the CDC are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas and Washington.6 While this may sound like a lot of cases, it is important to know that between 2010 and 2019, the highest number of measles cases was six hundred sixty-seven in 2014 with no deaths in a population of over three hundred million people.6 The last confirmed measles death in the United States occurred in 2015. The victim was a fully vaccinated woman in her twenties. Prior to 2015, the last confirmed measles deaths occurred in 2003, a thirteen-year-old immunocompromised child and a seventy-five year-old international traveler. (7a and 7b)

One may wonder how a fully vaccinated person can contract measles. The answer is vaccine failure. For example, a 2014 study published in PLOS ONE titled: “Difficulties in eliminating measles and controlling rubella and mumps: a cross-sectional study of a first measles and rubella vaccination and a second measles, mumps, rubella vaccination” brought to light the ineffectiveness of two measles vaccines—measles–rubella (MR) and measles, mumps, rubella (MMR). The study found that the incidence of measles remains high even with 99 percent vaccination compliance in the Zhejiang province of China. 8

Figure 2. Measle mortaity rate in the U.S.

Another study from 2017, published in BMC Public Health, showed that measles antibody level among China’s general population have been declining since 2012.9 These two studies contradict the widely-claimed promises that measles vaccines prevent outbreaks in highly vaccine-compliant populations and that the protection from measles vaccination lasts for more than twenty years.

Not only are measles vaccines not as effective as claimed, but they contain live viruses. Vaccinated individuals not only can contract the disease, they can also spread it to others through a process called shedding. Although public health officials maintain that live attenuated virus vaccines rarely cause complications in the vaccinated person and that vaccine strain viral shedding rarely causes disease in close contacts with the recently vaccinated, vaccine strain live virus infection can sometimes cause serious complications in vaccinated persons and vaccine strain live viruses can be shed and transmitted to others with serious or even fatal consequences. 10

In 2015, a measles outbreak at California’s Disneyland garnered nationwide attention that led to the demonization of unvaccinated children. The outbreak helped fuel the fire in support of the horrendous law SB 277 that took away philosophical and religious exemptions for schoolchildren in California.

What was never disclosed to the public, but known to CDC officials, is evidence published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology stating the following: “During the measles outbreak in California in 2015, a large number of suspected cases occurred in recent vaccinees. Of the 194 measles virus sequences obtained in the United States in 2015, 73 were identified as vaccine sequences.”

The co-author of this report, Rebecca J. McNall, is a CDC official in the Division of Viral Diseases. Her data prove the measles vaccine’s failure to provide immunity, thus giving an explanation as to how outbreaks occur in both vaccinated and unvaccinated children. 11

The CDC acknowledges that despite relatively high vaccination rates, small measles outbreaks continue to occur. In 2011, the CDC reported that in two hundred twenty measles cases, “sixty-two percent were in persons not vaccinated.” That means that 38 percent of measles cases in the United States in 2011 were in vaccinated persons. The CDC Pink Book further acknowledges that, “Some studies indicate that secondary vaccine failure (waning immunity) may occur after successful vaccination.”12 In their article “A witch hunt against parents of unvaccinated children,” the Alliance for Human Research Protection (AHRP) brilliantly points out, “Evidence of MMR vaccine-induced infection undermines the protective rationale for its indiscriminate mass use, much less mandating its use against parents’ objections.”

One of the most important things to know is that measles vaccines are not free from risk, and therefore the vicious disparagement of people who choose not to vaccinate is unjust. As of March 31, 2018, there were more than eighty-nine thousand reports of measles vaccine reactions reported to the federal Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), a voluntary reporting system. These included 445 related deaths, 6,196 hospitalizations, and 1,657 related disabilities. Over 60 percent of those adverse events occurred in children three years old and younger.13 Add to this the fact that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that less than 1 percent of all suspected serious adverse vaccine reactions are reported to VAERS, so we actually have a large number of serious reactions to the measles vaccine. 14

The CDC recommends and States mandate that all children get two doses of MMR vaccine starting with the first dose at twelve to fifteen months of age, and the second dose at four to six years of age. The CDC also recommends the MMR vaccine for adults who do not have evidence of immunity. 15

Ingredients found in measles vaccines include chick embryo cell culture, WI-38 human diploid lung fibroblasts, MCR-5 cells, vitamins, amino acids, fetal bovine serum, sucrose, glutamate, recombinant human albumin, neomycin, sorbitol, hydrolyzed gelatin, monosodium L-glutamate, sodium bicarbonate, potassium chloride, potassium phosphate, sodium phosphate and sodium chloride.16 (Potassium chloride is used to cause cardiac arrest as the third drug in the “three drug cocktail” for executions by lethal injection.)

There is no doubt that the results of near-universal vaccination have not been completely positive and perhaps, in the case of measles, Mother Nature knows best. We are supposed to get measles, but not as an adult or as an infant. According to The Lancet Infectious Diseases, when people contract measles today it is four to five times worse than in pre-vaccination times because of age distribution. Measles is a more serious disease for adults, whose vaccine-based immunity wanes, and for infants, who no longer receive passive immunity from their naturally immune mother to protect them during their most vulnerable period. 17

According to the CDC Pink Book: “During the 1989-1991 measles resurgence, incidence rates for infants were more than twice as high as those in any other age group. The mothers of many infants who developed measles were young, and their measles immunity was most often due to vaccination rather than infection with wild virus. As a result, a smaller amount of antibody was transferred across the placenta to the fetus, compared with antibody transfer from mothers who had higher antibody titers resulting from wild-virus infection. The lower quantity of antibody [in the vaccine] resulted in immunity that waned more rapidly, making infants susceptible at a younger age than in the past.”

The million-dollar question is this: Are we trading potential vaccine-induced immunity for problems greater than the natural measles infection? Measles dates to the beginning of recorded human history, and contracting natural measles generally provided people with lifelong immunity, while the vaccine requires revaccination throughout life. In their white paper, “The evidence & science support vaccine exemptions,” the Informed Consent Action Network (ICAN) states that “Eliminating our ecological relationship with measles has had serious consequences that upend the assumed risk/reward of eliminating measles.”

The ICAN white paper features studies showing that those who have not had natural measles infection will have higher rates of cancer and heart disease. For example, the International Agency for Research on Cancer found that individuals who never had measles had a 66 percent increased rate of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and a 333 percent increased rate of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Combined, these cancers killed almost twenty-one thousand Americans in 2018. Another study showed that individuals who never had measles had a 100 percent increased rate of ovarian cancer—which killed over fourteen thousand Americans in 2018. A twenty-two-year prospective study of over one hundred thousand individuals in Japan revealed that measles and mumps, especially in case of both infections, were associated with lower risks of mortality from atherosclerotic CVD (heart disease)—which killed over six hundred thousand Americans in 2018.18 Natural measles infection is also associated with a reduced risk of sebaceous skin diseases, degenerative diseases of the bone and cartilage, and Parkinson’s disease. 19

On February 27, 2019, the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a public hearing titled: “Confronting a growing public health threat: measles outbreaks in the U.S.” and on March 5, 2019 the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee held a public hearing titled: “Vaccines save lives: what is driving preventable disease outbreaks?”

During each of the hearings, only vaccine promoters who endorse mandatory vaccination were invited to present their opinions. In the hearing on measles, Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and Nancy Messonnier, MD, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (CDC), gave “expert” testimony. Sadly, two of the highest-ranking health officials in the United States either lied or proved grossly uninformed about the dangers of MMR vaccines.

When committee member Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) asked whether measles vaccines could cause brain inflammation (encephalitis), Dr. Fauci responded “no” despite the fact that MMR manufacturers’ package inserts clearly state that MMR vaccine can cause encephalitis and acute and chronic encephalopathy (brain dysfunction), and encephalitis is listed on the table that guides compensation for vaccine injuries. Dr. Fauci also declared: “Risks from vaccines are almost nonmeasurable.” Perhaps he is unaware of the VAERS reporting system, but I do not think so. And when Rep. Guthrie asked a follow-up question about the effects of MMR vaccine on susceptible children with underlying health problems, Dr. Messonnier illogically reassured the committee that parents would know whether their child’s brain was going to swell before getting MMR vaccine because doctors would tell them so!

In the second congressional hearing (HELP), John G. Boyle, CEO of the Immune Deficiency Foundation (whose benefactors are bio-pharmaceutical corporations), declared: “The current decline in vaccine usage is literally bringing back plagues of the past.”

Really? The crazy thing is, it turns out that the media and our legislators are actually spreading a false narrative about vaccine compliance in America. While they blame outbreaks on “irresponsible” parents for not vaccinating their children against measles, the statistical data show that vaccination rates for MMR compliance are not falling. As J.B. Handley, vice chairman of Children’s Health Defense, noted in his article, “CDC, check your data: MMR vaccination rates are not declining,” the trend lines for MMR vaccination rates have been flat. It is worth repeating: vaccination rates have not gone down lately and the MMR vaccination rate has held steady for more than twenty years. The measles vaccine frenzy we are assailed with is nothing more than a way to tighten up exemption laws in every state (see Figure 3). 20

Both congressional hearings calling for the enforcement of mandatory vaccination were nothing short of a circus in which no opposing experts or scientific studies were allowed, including refusing to allow the testimony of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., environmental activist and chairman of the board of the Children’s Health Defense organization. Only Senator Rand Paul bravely voiced concern about mandates during the HELP Committee hearing.

Also earlier this year, Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) sent letters to Google and Facebook asking their CEOs to censor information that discourages parents from vaccinating their children. Schiff wrote, “I was pleased to see YouTube’s recent announcement that it will no longer recommend videos that violate its community guidelines, such as conspiracy theories or medically inaccurate videos, and encourage further action to be taken related to vaccine misinformation.” 21

Figure 3. Source: Children’s Health Defense

Schiff also sent a letter to Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos, who responded by removing vaccine awareness books and videos, including my documentary, The Greater Good. Now I am not a lawyer, but should it not be illegal for a congressman to use his power to influence companies in order to further his political agenda? After all, Schiff is not a doctor, and he has campaign contribution ties to Life Technologies, now called Thermo Fisher Scientific. They supply vaccine manufacturers with vaccine ingredients like human embryo cell lines, calf serum, and monkey proteins.22 Schiff has also taken six hundred thousand dollars in campaign funding from “health care professionals.” 23

The unfortunate reality is that vaccines will be a sixty-billion-dollar-per-year business for the pharmaceutical industry by 2020 24 and because of this, we will most likely continue to witness an onslaught of false information about measles and measles vaccines brought forth by uninformed media sources and legislators who receive incredible amounts of money from pharmaceutical companies.25 The pharmaceutical industry spends over twenty-six million dollars annually in the United States on advertising, and, over the past decade, members of Congress from both parties have received about eighty-one million dollars from sixty-eight pharmaceutical political action committees (PACs).26 With profits like these, it is no wonder that airtime for vaccine-awareness advocates is not allowed.

Can you imagine a doctor on television revealing the fact that MMR vaccine causes seizures in about one in six hundred forty children, five times the rate from measles, as well as thrombocytopenic purpura, chronic arthritis and brain damage? 27 Or how about the fact that the manufacturer’s package insert says the possible effects of MMR vaccination on fetal development are unknown and that MMR vaccines have not been evaluated for carcinogenic or mutational potential, or potential to impair fertility?

Make no mistake, there are plenty of doctors with reservations about vaccines. They are just rarely able to make their voices heard. The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) strongly opposes federal interference in medical decisions, including mandated vaccines. They warn that the regulation of medical practice is a state function, not a federal one, and that governmental preemption of parents’ or patients’ decisions about accepting drugs or other medical interventions is a serious intrusion into individual liberty, autonomy and parental decisions about child-rearing.27 Simply put, when there is risk, there must be a choice, yet legislators are doing everything in their power to eliminate our option to choose.

Governmental corruption in regard to vaccines is not a new phenomenon. Not only are vaccines exempt from rigorous safety testing, including double-blind placebo-controlled studies, but also the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 effectively eliminated pharmaceutical company liability for injuries caused by vaccines. In other words, vaccines have never been properly studied (or regulated), and you cannot sue the manufacturer or your doctor when vaccines injure or kill. Instead, a plaintiff must go through what is called the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP), or “Vaccine Court,” which is part of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. It is in this court that a government-appointed judge called a Special Master solely decides whether or not a victim is to be compensated. Despite denying most claims, the VICP has paid out more than four billion dollars to vaccine-injured persons and families, including compensation for a known eighty-three children who regressed into autism after vaccination.

Add to this the fact that the U.S. House Committee on Government Reform issued a report which found that the “overwhelming majority of members” of the CDC and the FDA vaccine committees had conflicts of interest because of “substantial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.” Take FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb for example, who resigned after only eighteen months in office. He not only has extensive financial ties to pharmaceutical and biotech companies,29 but also was a partner at New Enterprise Associates, the company that funded the development of the disastrous birth control device called Essure, which tens of thousands of women say has damaged them for life. As recognized by the United States Supreme Court, vaccines are unavoidably unsafe, and yet we continue to hear the mantra that vaccines do not cause autism or other problems.

In support of this pro-vaccine view, a new Danish study, “Measles, mumps, rubella vaccination and autism: a nationwide cohort study,” claims that there is no increased risk for autism after MMR vaccination. Handley makes an important point in his article, “New Danish MMR study shows autism rate of 1 in 100—CDC should rush to Denmark!” According to Handley, “It is too bad no one reads (or understands) the details about these studies that are both funded and researched by vaccine companies. This study was funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation and research completed by Danish vaccine maker Statens Serum Institut.” 30

Needless to say, the new Danish study is heavily flawed and biased. It does not prove that vaccines do not cause autism, which now affects one in thirty-six American children. 31 In fact, the autism rate is rising at such a fast pace that Stephanie Seneff, a senior research scientist at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, estimates that one in two children (80 percent of the boys and 20 percent of the girls) born in 2032 will end up on the autism spectrum if the exponential growth trends continue.

Here in the United States, the Autism Science Foundation (ASF) serves as a platform for pro-vaccine spokesperson and vaccine inventor Dr. Paul Offit of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). The organization’s website cites twenty-seven studies that they assert prove that vaccines and autism are unrelated. These studies are referenced time and time again when we hear the claim that “the science is settled.” Thirteen of the studies look at the MMR-autism relationship, ten of the studies look at the mercury-autism relationship and four of the studies are “meta-analyses” of the aforementioned twenty-three mercury and MMR studies.32 These studies examine only one vaccine and one ingredient, yet children today are required to get eleven vaccines—most of which are injected on three to four occasions.

Furthermore, two authors, both affiliated with the CDC, have either led or been coauthors on a total of eight of the studies mentioned above. One is an embezzler who stole over one million dollars of CDC grant money and is listed as a “most wanted” fugitive. The other became a whistleblower due to scientific fraud he and his colleagues committed on a CDC study. Dr. William Thompson, the whistleblower, said he and his coauthors omitted statistically significant data that suggested that African American males who received the MMR vaccine before age thirty-six months were at an increased risk for autism. In order to bury their results, CDC scientists met in a private room and resolved to destroy all of the primary data and notes from Thompson’s study. Because Thompson feared he was breaking the law, he kept proof of the data.

There is so much evidence of vaccine fraud, yet people continue to believe that the vaccine industry is impervious to corruption. Take for example, vaccine manufacturer Sanofi, which in multiple countries has been convicted of fraud involving bribing government officials and health providers. And Merck, which manufactures measles vaccines, is in court for lying about the efficacy of the mumps portion of the vaccine. They are also in court over their disastrous HPV Gardasil vaccine. And remember when thirty-eight thousand Americans died from Merck’s drug Vioxx after they covered up the fact that it caused heart attacks? 34

Perhaps the greatest gift to the vaccine-awareness camp came when Dr. Stanley A. Plotkin, largely considered the highest-ranking authority in the world on vaccines, was deposed in a child custody case in January 2018. Reluctantly, but while under oath, Plotkin confirmed many of the negative aspects and dangers of vaccines. Plotkin confirmed the following: the use of human fetal tissue in the vaccine-making process; the toxic ingredients in vaccines; the deliberate lack of testing on the part of the pharmaceutical companies and the CDC; the use of toxic substances instead of inert placebos in studies; the fact that most vaccine studies record injuries reported only within four to five days from the date of injection; and the absence of governmental or pharmaceutical studies comparing the health outcomes of vaccinated and unvaccinated children. Plotkin also stated that fetuses from psychiatric institutions were used and experimental vaccines were studied on orphans, yet he does not believe a person can have a valid philosophical or religious objection to vaccination. 35

We also have remarkable new information regarding another expert witness: Dr. Andrew Zimmerman, a respected pro-vaccine medical expert used by the federal government to debunk the vaccine-autism link, now says vaccines can cause autism after all. Zimmerman was the government’s top expert and had testified that vaccines did not cause autism. But now Dr. Zimmerman claims that during the vaccine hearings in 2007, he privately told government lawyers that vaccines can and did cause autism in some children. This turnabout from the government’s own chief medical expert stands to change everything about the vaccine-autism debate, assuming the public finds out. 36

Because there can be no denying that manufacturer package inserts for childhood vaccines list over one hundred immune, neurological, and other chronic conditions that may occur post-vaccination, we must stop shaming parents for being “vaccine-hesitant.” The media, health officials and legislators must stop propagating misinformation to benefit their pocketbooks. In fact, they must stop outright lying. An example of this is when the ABC affiliate in New York City shared health department statistics on January 30, 2019 showing that ninety-three of the one hundred and twenty-four people reported to have measles in Rockland County, New York (roughly three-fourths) were vaccinated—but after the story spread on social media, ABC altered the story and deleted the telling information.

It is worth taking the time to think about why officials are pushing so hard to eliminate vaccine exemptions when vaccine compliance among children is so high. Could it be that they are simply using fear to neutralize us for the next step—mandatory vaccinations for all adults? After all, there really is little more money to be made from children unless more vaccines are added to the childhood schedule or vaccination is made compulsory worldwide.

Let us remember that vaccines are neither 100 percent safe, nor 100 percent effective, and in many cases vaccine damage can be ruinous for individuals and their families. Vaccines are by no means the only available way to control the spread of disease. For example, many less developed countries have adopted the use of homeopathy, as it can be much safer, more effective and less expensive than pharmaceutical medicines. Considering the fact that pharmaceutical death is the number-one cause of unnatural death in the First World, perhaps we should try this method here at home. We will have to stand up for our rights, however, because special interest groups are already doing everything in their power to make homeopathy illegal.

The bottom line is that we as a society need to assert our rights of bodily autonomy before it is too late. If we do nothing, we may see an America in which people will be denied public transport, work or health insurance unless they are fully vaccinated with products that are neither properly tested nor regulated. I, for one, do not wish to live in a totalitarian country without basic liberties—and yet these liberties are disappearing as people call for jailing those who do not vaccinate and vaccine stakeholders continue to censor our views.



According to Dr. Gregory Poland, one of the world’s leading vaccinologists, the measles vaccine has failed. In a 2012 paper (Vaccine. 2012 Jan 5; 30(2): 103–104), he noted that measles has become a “serious public health threat. . . outbreaks are occurring even in highly developed countries where vaccine access, public health infrastructure, and health literacy are not significant issues. This is unexpected and a worrisome harbinger—measles outbreaks are occurring where they are least expected.” Poland cited large numbers of measles cases in fully vaccinated individuals. Poland describes a “too-high failure rate” and protection “that quickly wanes.” And Poland admits that the current vaccine “cannot be administered to those who are immunocompromised, who have allergies to vaccine components and who are pregnant. . . .”

Poland’s concerns are self-serving. He does not want to end vaccines but to encourage more investment in his research into genetically tailored vaccinations. Through this new medical discipline of “vaccinomics,” Poland predicts that “medical science will not only have the wherewithal to finally achieve the decades-long dream of eradicating measles and other diseases, but do so at a lower cost while addressing the concerns of the educated public.” This sounds like the same kind of hype that heralded the current generation of measles vaccinations. But it is good to hear from an insider that the current measles vaccine is a failure.

This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Spring 2019

Written by Kendall Nelson for the Weston A. Price Foundation ~ May 2, 2019