Viewpoint: A look at whooping cough vaccination

To the Editor:

Several months ago, a nurse told me the DTaP (Diphtheria-Tetanus-acellular-Pertussis) vaccine was essential because of a surge in pertussis (whooping cough) cases on Mount Desert Island.

The latest available Maine CDC annual report has no 2019 data, but it shows the number of pertussis cases each year averaging 432 for the past eight years. (Measles had only one case during that entire period, yet the news is all about measles, not pertussis.) This was during a period of 95.5 percent DTaP vaccine coverage for kindergartners, even higher for first and seventh graders. And it turns out that the average number of cases during that period for the highly vaccinated whole country was well over 25,000.


As famed vaccine developer Stanley Plotkin has pointed out, the vaccine’s effectiveness sometimes wears off in two to three years. The DTaP vaccine (and its teen/adult version, TDaP) is, in plain language, a failed vaccine.

It may surprise those who claim vaccine science is settled so see the authors of a 2017 Boston University DTaP study saying: ” … we didn’t really understand how our immune defenses against whooping cough worked … [or] how the vaccines needed to work to prevent it. Instead we layered assumptions upon assumptions, and now find ourselves in the uncomfortable position of admitting that we may have made some crucial errors.”

And DTaP isn’t the only vaccine with that problem.

But it gets worse.

A 2014 study of baboons (who mirror human/pertussis interaction) found that DTaP-vaccinated baboons exposed to pertussis bacteria didn’t get the horrible cough that gives whooping cough its name. But the bacteria nevertheless infected their throats, meaning that they were “silent carriers” of the disease and could unknowingly spread it. The unvaccinated baboons, on the other hand, got sick, coughed, recovered and thereafter were totally immune. The bacteria couldn’t colonize them, and thus could not be spread by them.

Plainly put, DTaP vaccinated kids (and adults) are more dangerous to other kids in school than are unvaccinated kids. The unvaccinated kid who gets pertussis coughs and stays home until s/he gets better, after which s/he will never spread the disease. The state-mandated vaccinated kid (or adult) has no cough, comes to school, and spreads it. The most likely source of infection now is a kid’s own vaccinated siblings.

There are frequent large outbreaks in schools among vaccinated kids. In a study involving a half-million children, 82% of pertussis cases had been fully vaccinated. In some outbreaks, only the vaccinated get sick; the unvaccinated are unaffected.


The DTaP has given rise to a mutant form of the bacteria against which it offers no protection. A 2014 study found that 85 percent of cases tested were of the mutant form and that vaccinated people are twice to four times as likely to be infected by it than are unvaccinated people.

There are many other problems with this vaccine, such as (a) a skewing of the immune system in a way which reduces resistance to other diseases, and (b) DTaP’s content of aluminum, which has been shown to be carried to the brain by macrophage immune cells, where it can cause inflammation and damage.

But the main point is this: why would a Maine parent want to have their child vaccinated with the five required DTaP shots? It’s something to think about as the March vote approaches on the Peoples’ Veto of the state’s new vaccine mandates.

Dick Atlee

Southwest Harbor



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