Measles and Herd Immunity

A large-scale measles epidemic is coming due to the loss of herd immunity.  The media is currently being primed for this. The responsible parties for the coming morbidity and mortality will never be held accountable.  I am risking writing this in attempt to help protect the innocent.

Often with nature, man pushes and then nature shoves.  In our attempt to eradicate measles in a manner where an extremely small group got rich, rather than improving global nutritional strategies, breastfeeding rates and distribution of wealth, we have created the perfect conditions for a dangerous epidemic.  In the face of proper nutrition and within school-age children, measles was a very survivable disease. Age of onset was statistically the most important part of surviving measles. Nutrition status ranked close behind, particularly with regards to Vit A level.

In 2012, the Journal of Infectious Disease quietly published an incredibly important article, Waning Antibody Levels and Avidity: Implications for MMR Vaccine-Induced Protection.This study demonstrated a mechanism and supportive data as to why we are quickly losing our herd immunity to both measles and mumps.   This isn’t propaganda folks. This is the science that will never make the headlines. Partly, because it’s complicated and also, somewhat incriminating if you understand the big picture.  But, yes this should have been screamed from the treetops.  Yet, in these past 7 years, I never heard the call to come together to discuss what the implications of these results would mean for us as providers nor the populations we care for.

I am going to try my best to break this article down into simple English. When there was still native measles around both vaccinated and native-immune older folks could enjoy natural boosters throughout their lives without ever having to suffer the misery of full blown measles twice. For example, our grandparents having had the measles, were naturally boosted by taking care of their Baby Boomer offspring when they had actual disease.    

However with the Baby Boomers, the important change starts.  They did not have the natural booster of taking care of children with the measles.  Luckily for them though, natural disease usually will leave survivors with functional lifetime immunity.  

As I read the article, my concerns grew as I came to group 3.  The members of this group were 9-10 years old and only 4-5 years post vaccine administration and already we see numbers drop below threshold of herd immunity.  These children are the purely vaccinated kids in the time of “measles eradication.” This cohort, beyond the Baby Boomers, is actually quickly becoming the majority of the world’s population.  Here we find the potential epidemic.

Group 3 (n = 50) included children aged 10–11 years born after the elimination of MMR diseases from Finland [15]. The samples were taken from residual sera collected 4–5 years after age for the second dose of MMR in 2005 at the Helsinki and Uusimaa hospital district laboratory.

Somewhat concerning are the results of the most recently vaccinated group 3. Those in the group have lived their lives in an environment that can be considered completely free of natural boosters. As soon as 5 years after the second dose of MMR vaccination, 4% of the individuals were seronegative and 14% low positive for measles. However, the measurable antibodies in this group were of high avidity except for that of 1 individual.

If herd immunity for measles is around 90-95% do you see the potential problem?  And what do these low positive titers mean in the face of actual disease?  What do these same kids’ titers look like at 25?  This is 5 years post their last dose. What does 10, 15 and 20 years look like?

Have you ever heard the statement, vaccination does not equal immunity?  This is the science behind that statement. And, the worst part is the most dangerous effects will be felt by innocent infants under that age of one year who prior to the eradication efforts were normally boosted by maternal antibodies by breastfeeding.  Those babies are at a greater risk because mothers of this current generation have no immediately available high rates of passive antibodies to transfer via the breast milk.  Whereas pre-eradication era, they would have at least had that protection.

The other dangerous aspect of this data is that folks over 20 (the group with the largest waning immunity according to this study) are also at higher risk of complications.  Like with chicken pox, the inflammatory effects of measles in a non-immune older adults pose greater pulmonary risks.  In the CDC PowerPoint linked above do you see (<5 years and > 20… ) starting to see the more of the shape of the problem?  We have only eradicated a portion of the appropriate reservoir rather than the disease itself.

There is a small group of greedy humans that thrive in creating an enormous mess of the planet.  This will be another one for the record books that luckily will only affect us rather than the other critters and the air, water and soil.  My only solution is, if you are over the age of 20, is to have your titers checked and if they are low consider getting boosted. If you medically cannot tolerate vaccines, then the next best bet will be to make sure your Vitamin A/general nutrition status is appropriate.  If you are a hardcore Cheeto and Coke Zero kind of person, you better check your titers. Healthy nutritional status takes daily discipline and farm fresh foods. If you’re over 20, you can’t just pop a fistful of Vit A supplements and expect to survive this.

Non-breastfed, young infants under the age of one will suffer the most casualties. If there weren’t enough reasons to be pro-breastfeeding, here is another one. Even if mom hasn’t had true disease prior, in the face of active measles she will produce at least some antibodies eventually.  There are also cod liver oil/Vit A formulations appropriate for infants, and in the face of a measles epidemic young infants may benefit. If you are the parent of a young infant speak with your pediatrician on dosage.  Vitamin A is fat soluble and toxicity can happen if it’s not given carefully.

If you have the great fortune to live in a developed country and are part of the wealthier social class, and are able to afford to eat a healthy diet this supplement wouldn’t be required.  In researching this article, I found this heartbreaking Vit A study.  It wasn’t from a 3rd world nor a developing country.  It was done here in the States in NYC. If you are a physician caring for the ever-increasing lower socio-economic groups in America, remember the importance of Vit A.  Picky toddlers are another group that may benefit from an easier course of illness if supplemented.

If the public doesn’t wake up, the long-term results of the current vaccination program to eradicate measles will likely result in young infants at higher risk of mortality due to loss of maternal antibodies AND will result in a large population over the age of 20 with waning vaccine immunity at greatest risk of pulmonary complications due to disease outside the appropriate reservoir.  

As an ethical physician, I find informed consent extremely important.  Has the public given informed consent to this? As pediatricians on the front line, have we been given a chance to openly discuss the impacts of the current strategies?

What are the CDC, Pharma and the Feds (thanks to disgusting corruption, we should now be referring to them by the one unified name) doing currently?  The study I quoted came out in 2012… They have had 7 years to bring this to the public’s attention. Very predictably they’re busy blaming anti-vaxxers for the “loss of herd immunity.” This way, when the epidemics begin, the mob will have a scapegoat to burn on the pyres and we will have a nice natural booster.

The literal billions of dollars that have gone into the pockets of a few could have been used to create lasting change and improvement in the condition of health of children on the entire planet and thereby lowered the measles death burden in a lasting and profound way.  We could have developed nutritional and immune supportive regimens for measles with less morbidity and mortality thus maintaining our natural boosters. This would have resulted in true herd immunity and better health conditions for children globally. This could have happened if greed were not the dominant ethos of our current ruling class.

Instead, we find ourselves rallying for 200 year old technology like it’s holy water. Bloodletting is <100 year old technique just to give you a frame of reference. The reality is, the most powerful don’t give a flying F about you or your kids.  They are tapping their fingers together waiting for the epidemic they created so they can sell even more shots and hoards of expensive antiviral drugs to the frightened masses.  And, brilliantly they are currently fanning the flames via the media for the ensuing mob to take care of the anti-vax movement for them once and for all. 

This isn’t conspiracy theory.  This is the truth of greed.

Lets focus on some of the pros rather than the anti and I expect change could happen.  The most self-righteous will mob and listen to no one.

I am pro-science, pro-informed consent and pro-medical choice.  



All my views are free from financial influences and I have no conflicts of interests to disclose.


2 thoughts on “Measles and Herd Immunity

  1. I am so impressed that you talk about this. I’ve long had similar thoughts but have never seen them put so succinctly. I have my titers checked every pregnancy and they’re fine, but my mother was in that first generation to get the vaccine and she has zero immunity. My oldest daughters are 12 and 10 and I’m thinking about getting it for them now, as my understanding that the risks of side effects from the wild type virus increase in adolesence and that the risks of vaccine induced Rhumatoid Arthritis increase from being vaccinated with the Rubella component in young adulthood, but they still should have strong titer levels when they reach childvearing age and can pass down those maternal antibodies during pregnancy and breastfeeding.


    • Thank you for your thoughtful response. There is a never a simple answer. For me personally, I am always weighing the risks vs benefits of any intervention. These are not easy times to do this as having all the actual data to make decisions is getting harder.


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