This article was first published more than 15 years ago, yet it has not lost its significance. It does not condemn vaccination, but raises important issues and draws some valid conclusions.
Th. Quak. Translated by Hans Weitbrecht
Much has been, and still is, reported on complications following vaccinations. Among others, the literature describes the following (rare) Vaccination Induced Side Effects (VISE) of the MMR and polio vaccinations: Local erythemas (inflammation of the skin), Fever, Irritability, Tiredness, General rashes (acute urticaria), Conjunctivitis, Arthropathies (Arthritis like Symptoms), Peripheral tremor, Cough and/or coryza, Post-vaccine meningitis (aseptic meningitis), Guillain-Barre syndrome, Brachial neuritis (Pain of the nerves of the underarm), Anaphylactic shock (sudden collapse, live threatening), Multiple sclerosis, Chronic arthritis.
Most feared are lasting damages like the consequences of a post-vaccine meningitis and life threatening diseases like anaphylactic shock. The short lasting smaller side effects are usually interpreted as the normal reaction of the immune system to the attenuated disease (i.e. the vaccine) and therefore regarded as harmless. Since, according to available statistical data, the "side-effects" of the real diseases are much more frequent than those of the vaccination, the following conclusion is commonly drawn: vaccinations prevent more damage than they cause and are therefore of considerable benefit to society.
Side-effects of vaccinations
Legally, only symptoms, which appear within a certain well-defined time (normally a few days or weeks) after the vaccination, and thereby suggest a causal link to it, are considered to be side effects of the vaccination (VISE). Symptoms that develop slowly or only after considerable time are difficult to link to the vaccination because of the multitude of other environmental influences to which the patient is exposed in this period. Since data on these delayed effects are difficult or impossible to treat in a statistically meaningful way, these side-effects are not recognized as caused by the vaccination: up to the year 1991 "only" 1870 patients in Germany filed claims based on VISE under the BSeuchG  (German bill for the prevention of the spreading of infectious disease). According to Buchwald , until 1992, 3407 cases of VISE have been legally confirmed in Germany. This corresponds to a prevalence of 4.3 per 100,000 .. For the population of Germany this translates into about 170 confirmed VISE per year. The number of filed claims is of course much higher.
Gathering data on long-term VISE requires very expensive and labour intensive observations over long time periods. Those would only be useful, however, if comparable groups of vaccinated and unvaccinated subjects were available for long term study. Many ethical and forensic problems arise at this point. Furthermore, it is difficult to find a sufficient number of unvaccinated people. There are no long-term studies comparing vaccinated and unvaccinated groups.
An important factor in the assessment of how frequently VISE occur is that: how much attention is given to the observation of VISE and how frequently side-effects are brought in connection with vaccination in general. The editorial of the J. Med. Microbiol.  comments: "The rate of post-vicinal meningitis varies between studies and may be dependent on how hard the investigators try to uncover such cases." This comment was made with respect to a study on the MMR vaccination in the United Kingdom. In this study the authors show that the risk of aseptic meningitis is not, as previously thought, between 0.4 and 10 per million, but rather between 100 and 11000 per million vaccinated. This is a shockingly high number of complications , since in this case everybody, without exception, comes into contact with the (attenuated) virus; not just a part of the population as with the naturally occurring disease.
Between the introduction of the MMR vaccination in the UK in 1988 with the so-called Urabe-Mumps-Strain (sold under the brand names Pluserix and Rimparix in Germany before they were removed from the market in 1992) until the realization of the high risk involved, several years elapsed until this strain was replaced by a different one (Jeryl Lynn) in 1992. It is generally assumed that this strain does not, or not as frequently, lead to aseptic meningitis, even though cases of meningitis have already been reported for this particular vaccine .
Surprisingly, there are different strains of the vaccines in use against the same disease.This is the result of different production methods. All vaccines in use today contain live, attenuated viruses (as do measles, polio, rubella, influenza, yellow-fever, chickenpox).
The "transmutation" (attenuation) of a virulent wild strain into a vaccine is today still an empirical process. The virus is subject to several passages in various cell cultures under non-optimal growth conditions. Through this process the virus changes some of its specific properties, yet it remains however a "live" virus. The mechanism involved in this attenuation is unknown. Following that, a few safety investigations are made and the reactivity and efficacy is tested on laboratory animals and volunteers.
This process basically has not changed since the early experiments with vaccines during Pasteur's time. Pasteur, for example, developed a rabies vaccine  by cultivating the virus in rabbits and "attenuating" it through variable length of exposures to air. It was this still incomplete method that made Pasteur famous and at the same time ill reputed since many people died from rabies caused by the vaccination itself .
In the case of cowpox vaccination, which has been abandoned in our latitudes, the origin of the virus contained in the vaccine is not even known. The original vaccine from cowpox used to be transferred from child to child because there was no way of conserving it. Re-cultivation on cows was only successfully accomplished after several decades. In the meantime, attenuation of the vaccine had been achieved in thousands of human bodies -- a very dangerous process indeed, since not only the cowpox virus was transmitted but also all other infectious diseases of the person. "This vaccine is molecular-biologically significantly different from the chickenpox virus as well as the cowpox virus." 
Nowadays there are different vaccines,(depending the manufacturing processes), sold by various companies, all with differing properties. However, the molecular basis of the active principle is in most cases still unknown. The natural virus can not be distinguished by serological methods from the attenuated virus. The Urabe mumps virus and the Jeryl mumps virus are identical on that basis. Only through the modern technique of gene sequencing has it recently been possible to identify several differences. It is, however, still unknown why one strain is more reactive than the other. Also unknown is how these genetic differences come about during the process of attenuation. After all, the injection of a live, attenuated virus is a process involving many unknowns and non-predictables. Still this is taken as the as the lesser of two evils due to the alleged success fighting the so-called mass epidemics.
Reaction of the Immune System
It is important to realize that the reaction of the immune system to the injected vaccine is only known partially: "It has been observed frequently that antibody levels do not go hand in hand with immunity to the disease... The investigation of the second branch of immunity, the cell mitigated immune response, has been technically much more difficult and turned out to be very complex ... There exists now a large number of experimental data and insights into the different mechanisms of the cell mitigated immune response including their interactions among each other and with the humoral immune system. Despite that fact, we have only fragmentary knowledge about the concrete role of the cell mitigated immune response to an infection by isolated pathogens in the human body." [58, p270].
The following conclusions are of great importance:
1. The potentially disease-provoking properties of a vaccine are unknown (the structure of the genome is not known).
2. The reaction of the immune system to the injected vaccine is not known in any detail.
3. The interaction of the altered state of the immune system after the vaccination with other variables is unknown.
We don't know which long-term consequences may arise from this, because studies are mostly focused on short-term reactions to the vaccination. There are, however, indications of long-term side effects of the immunization.
The occurrence of arthralgias ( muscular pain) has been documented since the first studies about the rubella vaccination [1-10]. Based on these studies the Institute of Medicine states: "The committee concludes that a causal connection exists between the RA 27/3 rubella vaccination strain and incidents of chronic arthritis in women." "Thompson et al. report: arthralgias in 1973 on 11 children with recurrent arthritis which lasted at least for 36 months after vaccination with HPV 77; other cases of potential arthritis have since then reported, some with the RA 27/3 strain." .
Arthralgias and arthritic affections occur frequently in connection with diseases for which auto-immune reactions 9 A situation where the immune system attacks healthy body cells) are responsible. Examples are Systemic Lupus Erythematodes (SLE), sclerodermia, Sharp-syndrome, polymyositis , or rheumatoid arthritis (Aids, Cancer). It would be advisable to study the connection between activation of the immune system and auto-immune diseases, since the number of diseases in this class is large and grows steadily with our increase in knowledge of their pathophysiology: Thyreoiditis Hashimoto. Primary myxedema. Pernicious anemia. Auto-immune atrophic gastritis. Morbus Addison. Premature menopause. Goodpasture syndrome. Myasthenia gravis. Sterility in men. Pemphigus vulgaris. Sympathic ophtalmias. Multiple sclerosis. Auto-immune hemolytic anemia. Primary biliary scirrhosis. Uclerative colitis. Sjogren syndrome, etc.
We know that immunizations can lead to deterioration in existing auto-immune diseases . The symptoms that the body exhibits in these cases because of its specific predisposition, are an indication of a weakness in the regulatory system. They are usually overlooked in the "still" healthy person, yet probably present nonetheless (Coulter refers to these cases as "cracked eggs"). "It is generally advisable to abstain from active immunization with live vaccines in the cases of patients with auto-immune diseases or chronic inflammatory processes and vaccinate only in special circumstances and in the presence of strong indications."  Further:
"It is not aberrant to assume that immunizations, being a considerable interference with the regulation of the immunologic network, can influence the progression of vasculitic illnesses." 23]
Even direct side effects are known: "Ten of 1000,000 vaccinated Americans developed auto-immune post-vaccine encephalitis or peripheral neuritis (Guillain-Barre syndrome) one or two weeks after immunization with attenuated influenza (Flue-) vaccine." .
However, it has been difficult to prove that immunizations are actively involved in the emergence of auto-immune diseases, because these illnesses develop after a considerable latency period. Furthermore, studies, in particular if they are supposed to be predictive, have not been carried out so far.
Patho-Mechanism (Ways in which disease organizes itself)
It is high time to launch these important studies, since a patho-mechanism which might be involved in causing such auto-immune diseases has been known for a long time: the cross-reaction between foreign pathogens (or vaccines), and body chemistry and tissues, so-called molecular mimicri . One can imagine such a relationship between body tissues and foreign matter on three planes:
"1. Between two types of cells, tissues, or micro organisms (e.g., bacteria or viruses), if they use a similar or identical kind of molecule in their structure.
2. Between two antigen molecules if, on their surface, they have besides different also identical determinants.
3. Between two determinants, if they are sufficiently similar to react with the same antibody. In this case the group homologue to the antibody will react strongly while the differently configured determinate (F1 generation) will yield a weaker reaction."
All these possibilities apply to vaccines or their constituents. If one introduces antigenes into the body (e.g., through vaccination) which have similar structural groups as some body tissue, even if the similarity is only partial, the production of antibodies in the sense of an auto-immune reaction is possible. A well known medical example for this process is the cross reactivity between poly-saccharine of the cell membrane of beta-hemeolytic streptococci and the human cortical valve during rheumatic fever. In this case, damage to the valve can occur by means of antibody production.
One may remark that the natural infections can trigger autoimmune reactions, too. However, it needs to be pointed out that vaccination induced infection differs from the natural one in three ways, and therefore possesses a different antigen makeup from the latter:
1. The pathway of infection is different from the natural disease (i.e., direct confrontation with the antigenes by intramuscularly injection).
2. The time of infection is determined by the time of vaccination (e.g., all children in the third month), not by the susceptibility of the body or the "random" contact with the virus (readiness of the immune system).
3. The vaccine is an artificial product with additives modifying the action of the pathogen (modified antigen makeup).
For these reasons, vaccination and natural disease are difficult to compare with respect to their risk potential. Both harbour their own risks.
Another point should not be neglected: it is possible to develop tolerance to certain antigenes, the exact opposite of what has been described so far . This principle is exploited by desensitising techniques used therapeutically against hay fever and allergic asthma: the patient is injected with small doses of the allergen (pollen, dust mites, etc.) in order to make them adept to it.
In a similar manner, the body may develop a tolerance for things that it would normally eliminate due to their harmful nature. Along these lines one could imagine a weakening of the immune response against certain pathogens, e.g., cancer cells:
"A derailment of the immune system may be responsible for the development of various tumours."  "Animal experiments have shown that the foetus, with its immature immune system, can develop a tolerance by exposing it to antigenes."  However, the exact time when the immune system has matured fully is unknown, and "other factors like age, genetic background, and nutritional status"  are also relevant to the induction of a tolerance.
Furthermore, the exact mechanisms leading to a antigen tolerance are still mostly in the dark. Therefore, according to current understanding, there exists a real possibility to develop a tolerance to surface antigenes of tumour cells induced by vaccines exhibiting a cross-reaction with tumour antigenes. As a consequence, tumour (cancer) cells would not be effectively recognized by the immune system and hence also not fully eliminated.
Especially when one thinks about the DTP immunization (Diphtheria, Tetanus, Whooping cough), which is given in the third month, such reactions seem possible. We don't yet fully understand the highly sensitive interplay between fight and tolerance in our immune system. What consequences our interference from outside bears is impossible to predict. Further study is badly needed in this area since we know of numerous other mechanisms involved in the development of autoimmune diseases (e.g., formation of immune complexes after infection following vaccination , etc.).
Purity of Vaccines
Another important issue is the purity of the vaccine. As already shown, several vaccines (MMR, polio) are produced by attenuation in living organisms or cell cultures (kidney cell cultures of monkeys). Despite the utmost cleanliness strived for, it is technologically impossible to exclude all possible risks of contamination entirely.
One such risk is, for example, the infestation of the sample by various viruses (slow virus, BSE, retro- viruses, onco-viruses, etc.) or mycoplasms (candida), all of which are difficult or impossible to detect because of their specific properties. "Virus contaminated cell cultures are a significant problem of the bio-industry."  In addition, the latency period of diseases caused by these contaminants is long enough. A causal connection is almost impossible to detect.
Live vaccines possess a higher risk of contamination with microorganisms than other vaccines. Oncogenetic (Cancer-causing) viruses are, for example, present in mammalian cell strains used in vaccine production. 
Live vaccines attenuated by conventional procedures are commonly carriers of unknown genetic modifications. Particularly when these modifications are only minor, like localized mutations, the danger of back mutation into a pathogenetic virus is possible. The difference, for example, between the Sabin strain and one of the virulent poliomyelitis strains is only the addition of one nucleotide. The mutation into neuro-virulent strains occurred with rabies vaccines and Sabin-polio strains (oral vaccination) of types 2 and 3 . Another drawback of live vaccines lies in their possibility of complementation or recombination with closely related wild strains or vaccine strains. The likelihood and possible consequences of this are totally unknown.
Reference  poses important thoughts to the issue of vaccination risks.
Because vaccines are applied million-fold on entire populations, overlooked viral contaminations, back mutations, new mutations of the attenuated vaccine, or insufficient attenuation of the pathogene may have disastrous consequences for a large number of people.  Big immunization accidents happen not infrequently. Here are a few examples taken from the history of medicine: 102 people contracted encephalitis and 17 died 1944 in Brazzaville due to a yellow fever vaccination. A yellow fever vaccination contaminated with hepatitis virus was conducted in the US in 1942. The consequence was 28585 cases of hepatitis and 62 deaths. In 1955, the so-called Cutter incidence: 250 cases of polio and 10 deaths, due to active pathogenes in the vaccine. 1960 in Berlin, within four weeks there were 25 cases of paralytic poliomyelitis reported, after using an insufficiently attenuated vaccine.  Finally, 1988-92 the increase in encephalitis cases after MMR vaccination.
Undesirable reactions to vaccinations are often the consequence of toxic substances in the vaccine, "of contaminants which are not antigenes and have been introduced in the preparation of the vaccine (like, e.g., substances used in cell cultures on which the vaccine virus grows, or insufficiently purified bacteriological antigenes), or in-vivo replications of the viral or bacterial organisms. Hypersensitivity reactions may conceivably be due to additives to the vaccine, like, for example, neomycin in the MMR-vaccine or the mercury contained in Thimerosal, a preservative used in the DTP-vaccine." .
Development of Allergies
In today's paediatric practice(Children’s clinic) we try hard to delay a possible allergen contact of the baby in order to avoid hyper-allergic reactions later on (e.g. eczema, hay fever, allergic asthma, recently also hyper kinetic syndrome). A study of more than 2000 children showed that feeding them with cow milk during the first 9 months resulted in 7 times more frequent complaints of eczema afterwards . Therefore, there are a large number of hypo allergic nutritional products on the market, used by many parents, even though the study could not confirm a connection between ingestion of milk protein and occurrence of eczema.
On the other hand, the children are already at a very early age aggressively exposed to foreign proteins (allergen’s) in the form of immunizations: BCG ( Tuberculosis) diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, poliomyelitis, hemophilus influenzae, measles, mumps, rubella, meningitis and all the corresponding booster shots. Adding to this is the fact that the vaccines (with the exception of polio) come in direct contact with the blood circulation and hence are not subject to a antigen modification by, e.g., the gastro-intestinal tract.
Seeking to avoid contacts with allergenes on one hand, while massively promoting it on the other hand by means of vaccinations seems inconsistent. At least there ought to be studies aimed at investigating the connection between immunizations and subsequent atopias.
The Meaning of Childhood Diseases
What role the so-called childhood diseases play in the development of children has been subject of many discussions. Reports of developmental leaps are frequent, yet usually very subjective. There are, however, some observations that childhood diseases do not just harbour risks but can be quite useful.
In Annals of Tropical Paediatrics  the following case is reported: "1984 a 5 year old girl presented with a bad case of psoriasis( Form of Eczema). She showed large affected areas on her body and extremities, also involving to a significant degree her scalp. During the following year she was treated by Paediatricians and Dermatologists with coal tar preparations, local steroids, UV light, and dithranol wraps. Despite these therapies and two hospitalisations, the psoriasis was refractory and remained essentially unchanged until she came down with measles. As the measles rash began to spread over her skin, the psoriasis disappeared. Since then she has been free of psoriasis."
Another startling effect is described in Am. J. Med. Hyg.: "The prevalence of parasites and average density of malaria parasites is significantly lower in children who have had measles or influenza before the age of 9 than in the a symptomatic control group." 
An article taken from the Lancet, 1985,  may be of decisive importance: "Persons who have never had any visible indication of measles, i.e., never developed the skin rash of measles, suffer more frequently from non measles associated diseases." "The data show a highly significant correlation between lack of measles exanthema and auto-immune diseases, seborrhoeic (washing detergent related) skin diseases, degenerative diseases of the bones and certain tumours... We think that the rash is caused by a cell mitigated immune reaction, which destroys the cells infected with the measles virus. If this is correct, the missing exanthema may indicate that intracellular virus components have escaped neutralization during the acute infection. This may later lead to the aforementioned diseases... The presence of specific antibodies at the time of infection interferes with the normal immune response against the measles virus, in particular with the development of the specific cell mitigated immunity (and/or cyto-toxic reactions). The intracellular measles virus can then survive the acute infection and cause diseases manifesting in the adult age."
If the infection with measles happens at a time when there are already antibodies against the measles virus present, i.e., within the first few months after birth, or after administration of measles immune serum because of contact with measles, or after antibody production following vaccination, the immune system cannot react fully to the infection, leaving the virus the chance to become persistent.
If vaccinated children contract measles from the wild strain, the possibility exists that the infection will be overlooked in them, since they do not exhibit the typical signs of measles anymore. It is impossible to say how common these latent measles infections are; finding the connection between latent measles and a disease at adult age is impossible. If this suspicion proves to be true, the merit of the measles vaccination has to be re-evaluated entirely.
Level of Protection
A last word to the level of protection: parents who have their children immunized assume that they will not contract the diseases covered by the vaccine. Unfortunately this is not true to the degree that most parents assume.
A population in the Gaza strip, which was vaccinated to a density of 90%, suffered 2 outbreaks of poliomyelitis, 1974 and 1976. In these epidemics 34% and 50%, respectively, of all sick children had received 3-4 doses of the vaccine. The incidence of diseases was 18 per 100,000 .
Hungary had a vaccination program which reached a 93% vaccination density in the target population. A measles epidemic occurred in 1981. In contrast to earlier epidemics, the majority of the sick were vaccinated persons, i.e., about 60%.
During another epidemic between September 1988 and December 1989, there were 17938 cases of measles recorded (attack rate of 169 per 100,000), with the majority of cases reported in the vaccinated population (attack rates for the populations vaccinated in 1971 and 1972 were 1332 and 1632 per 100,000, respectively). The status of immunization was known of 12890 (76%) cases of measles. Of these, 8006 (62%) had been vaccinated. 
A measles epidemic broke out in an entirely vaccinated population of about 4200 students of three schools in the USA . Further cases from the U.S. have been reported [46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51]
Despite a vaccination density of 96%, Fife, Scotland, was afflicted by a measles epidemic in 1991/92. This was followed shortly thereafter by outbreaks of measles in other parts of the country, notwithstanding the high MMR vaccination density .
In Nashville, Tennessee (USA), occurred a large-scale mumps outbreak in the vaccinated population . It has been shown that the immunization against mumps provides in many cases only a 75% protection [39, 40, 43]. Mumps is nowadays regarded to be a mild disease [41, 42].
In conclusion, we may say the following:
1. Vaccinations modulate the immune system. What exactly happens lies beyond the capabilities of today's scientific analysis.
2. In particular, long-term consequences of vaccinations are unknown because their existence is difficult to prove statistically
3. So-called minimal lesions  and their consequences are not included in statistical studies of vaccination-induced side effects.
4. Vaccinations do not give complete protection from the disease.
The decisive question one has to ask is whether the expected short-term benefit of vaccinations outweighs the potential long-term damage.
We all tend to concern ourselves only with the problems at hand. Illnesses and diseases, which threaten us, now are more important in our eyes than possible complaints in the future. The fear of post-measles encephalitis is bigger than the fear of the rheumatic pain of the 30 or 40-year-old adult. If, however, there is indeed a connection between vaccinations and autoimmune diseases or tumour growth, it is questionable whether the cost-benefit analysis of today is still applicable.
Considering that homeopathic treatment and prophylaxis can reduce the number of sequels in childhood diseases significantly, the practice of vaccination becomes even more doubtful.
Knowledge of the nature of chronic diseases as described by Hahnemann are prone to make the homeopathic physician very sceptical towards introducing pathogenes into the human body. (S. Hahnemann, Chronic Diseases, theoretical part)
Confirming Hahnemann's insights, the collective experiences of seasoned homeopathic physicians show that vaccinations pose an obstacle to cure, and that diseases frequently take their course after a vaccination. Furthermore, childhood diseases are usually managed easily, and unvaccinated children undergo a less complicated development as their vaccinated counterparts.
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