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The situation in West Auckland, where approximately 100 children have been barred from attending Oratia School because they have not been vaccinated against measles is symptomatic of what happens when public health policies are highjacked by corporate interests, says Katherine Smith.  Smith is the spokeswoman for the group No Forced Vaccines set up to oppose coerced or forced vaccinations.

"Measles is usually a benign childhood disease that poses little risk to normally healthy children.  In fact, it is generally beneficial to have measles in childhood, as measles is generally more serious in adults than it is in children and because after a natural measles infection most people have lifelong immunity thereafter," says Smith.  "It is ridiculous to treat children who have been exposed to a normal childhood illness like the measles as social pariahs and bar them from attending school."

Such a policy, she asserts, is not likely to prevent the spread of measles – given that children who have been exposed to the measles may continue to have contact with other people outside the school environment who may not have had measles and be susceptible to the infection. 

"I believe the policy has been instituted to pressure parents who have decided not to give their children the controversial MMR vaccine to their children into vaccinating them – as the Ministry of Health knows that most parents of school age children work in paid jobs outside the home – and will be hurt economically by the edict banning their healthy, unvaccinated children from school." Smith says. 

Moreover, she asserts, this is not a decision based on health, but corporate profits.  "Ministry of Health policy when it comes to vaccinations is heavily influenced by pharmaceutical companies." Smith continues, "In fact, the Ministry of Health is so cosy with the pharmaceutical industry that it continues to fund the Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC) even though the organisation has acknowledged pharmaceutical companies supplying vaccines to NZ as "sponsors" [1] and its website states that receives funding from 'private industry'." [2]

Information about vaccination on both the Ministry of Health and IMAC websites is misleading Smith says, as the pages intended for parents omit most of the potential side effects of the vaccines on the NZ childhood vaccination schedule. [3]

Unfortunately, Mrs Smith says, most people do not realise that IMAC receives funding from "private industry" and believe that its website and spokespeople, such as Dr Nikki Turner, who appeared on TV3's Campbell Live on June 8, offer reliable advice about diseases and vaccines.    

Advice from the Auckland Regional Public Health Service in leaflets sent home to parents of children at Oratia School, Mrs Smith says, has not been accurate.  A leaflet sent home with children stated that there "is not specific treatment for measles. Supportive treatment includes rest, plenty of fluid and paracetamol for fever."[4]

Smith expresses concern about the leaflet, citing research that showed that using drugs to lower fever during infections may prolong the illness and, in the case of severe infections, increase the risk of death.[5]

"The recommendation for children with measles to rest and have plenty of fluids is good advice.  However, these helpful supportive treatments are not the only options for people with the measles.  It has been known since the 1930s that vitamins A and D can be helpful treatments for the measles, and have the potential to reduce the risk of complications.[6] Vitamin C is also an important nutrient which helps the immune system to function efficiently during an infection, [7] and vitamin C supplements may be useful for children with measles."

Smith adds that because too much vitamin A and vitamin D can be toxic and high doses of vitamin C can cause problems for some people with rare genetic conditions, [8] advice from a health professional with training in nutritional medicine is important to ensure children receive the  correct doses.

In the case of rare but serious complications of measles, such as encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) Smith says, megadoses of vitamin C given by injection can be potentially lifesaving, noting that Dr Thomas Levy's book about vitamin C called Curing the Incurable  describes how a boy who was suffering from measles encephalitis recovered quickly and suffered no lasting ill effects after being given vitamin C by injection. [9]  

"Knowledge of these treatments is empowering for parents and can put their mind at ease that if their child does develop measles, there are treatments which can be helpful," Smith comments, adding that in her opinion "Given the excellent access to medical resources available in modern New Zealand, no one should die from measles."  The exception, she stated, might be people who were already suffering from life threatening medical problems at the time of developing the infection.

She also expressed concern about the claim in information sheets given to parents that the MMR vaccine is "safe and effective" given that the numerous adverse effects, some very serious, listed by the vaccine manufacturers' datasheets [10] [11] and the large amount of scientific evidence linking MMR vaccination to autism. [12]


[6]  (Modern research has focused on vitamin A.  See: