Category Archives: Companion Animal Vaccines (Dogs)

UPDATE: Vaccine safety and aluminium – a challenge to Cochrane

Cochrane2Re my previous post about my letter to  Professor Peter Gøtzsche, challenging a systematic review prepared by members of the Cochrane Vaccines Field, i.e. Adverse events after immunisation with aluminium-containing DTP vaccines: systematic review of the evidence.

Professor Gøtzsche has responded to my letter, encouraging me to “submit a criticism” on this important matter.

I have forwarded a follow-up letter in this regard, which includes reference to my previous correspondence with Dr Tom Jefferson, and also draws parallels between human and animal vaccination, please see below:

______________________

17 July 2014

Professor Gøtzsche

RE:  Vaccine safety and aluminium adjuvants

Thank you for your response[1] to my letter dated 8 July 2014 which challenges a systematic review prepared by the Cochrane Vaccines Field i.e. Adverse events after immunisation with aluminium-containing DTP vaccines: systematic review of the evidence.[2]

In your response you encourage me to “submit a criticism” on this important matter to The Cochrane Collaboration. 

As noted in my previous letter, the systematic review in question was prepared by members of the Cochrane Vaccines Field, i.e. Tom Jefferson, Melanie Rudin and Carlo Di Pietrantonj, and was published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases in 2004 (behind the paywall).  The review is listed in the bibliography on the Cochrane Vaccines Field website, but is not accessible online on The Cochrane Collaboration website, so I am unable to make an online comment.

Professor Gøtzsche, as you have encouraged me to make a submission, can you please clarify how I should do this?

For your information, I originally contacted Dr Jefferson directly about this matter in March 2013.  (I had previously contacted Dr Jefferson on other vaccine-related matters.  He is also formally copied on my submissions re controversial ‘gain-of-function’ research[3] in the influenza industry, see my letter to the NSABB Jan 2012 and my submission to the US CDC/HHS Dec 2012.)

Please see below the contents of my email forwarded to Dr Jefferson on 24 March 2013 in regards to his systematic review of adverse events after immunisation with aluminium-containing DTP vaccines.  (Given my previous correspondence with Dr Jefferson, the tone is informal.  I have added some references in the endnotes):

Tom

I’m reading your review: “Adverse events after immunisation with aluminium-containing DTP vaccines: systematic review of the evidence”  (The Lancet Infectious Diseases. Vol. 4 2004.)

The summary of your review concludes: “Despite a lack of good-quality evidence we do not recommend that any further research on this topic is undertaken.”   (My emphasis.)

Your review notes:  “The results of our review should be interpreted within the limited quantity and quality of available evidence.  Within these limits, we found no evidence that aluminium salts cause any serious or long-lasting adverse events…”

So, you admit the quantity and quality of the evidence in your review was limited, but you still say that “we do not recommend that any further research on this topic is undertaken“.

Why would you say that?

I suggest you did not have enough information to say “we do not recommend that any further research on this topic is undertaken.”  Your review just plays into the hands of vaccine manufacturers like GlaxoSmithKline and Merck etc who are pushing repeat revaccinations with aluminium adjuvanted vaccines of questionable value. 

Vaccines with aluminium adjuvants such as DTaP (repeat ‘boosters’ being recommended for all ages) and HPV x 3 shots for children, etc are now being pushed on the population.  Who knows what the cumulative effect of this repeated vaccination with these vaccines might be?  Have there been any long-term studies?  I would suspect no…

My investigation into companion animal vaccines has led me to be very concerned about vaccines with an aluminium adjuvant.  Do I have masses of material in the “peer-reviewed literature” to back me up?  No, and neither have I had the time to do a full-blown literature search, what with spending so much of my time investigating questionable MMR ‘boosters’, HPV, flu, pertussis vaccination, etc, because of all the misinformation spread by the ‘scientific’ establishment…  Who would fund such research anyway?

Experts in veterinary medicine have been calling for a decrease of live and inactivated vaccination of companion animals because of the risk of adverse reaction to vaccines.[4]  I’m becoming more concerned about the non-infectious/inactivated vaccines with aluminium adjuvants, (e.g. bordetella bronchiseptica with aluminium) that are given to many dogs every year, and now humans are being pressed to have regular revaccinations with aluminium adjuvanted vaccines (e.g. DTaP and HPV).

For information, see attached a presentation by Michael J Day[5], from a World Small Animal Veterinary Association Congress (2004) in which he says:  “We now recognize that vaccines (particularly multicomponent, modified live products) appear to be able to trigger a range of immune-mediated and autoimmune diseases.  For example, much attention has recently focused on vaccines as an initiator of immune-mediated haemolytic anaemia in the dog.  The mechanism by which this effect occurs is not well investigated.  In theory, three separate components of the vaccine might be involved.  Many vaccines contain adjuvant (particularly alum), the function of which is, in part, to non-specifically activate the immune system.  It is theoretically possible that this activation might include autoreactive lymphocytes, and as alum is very effective at stimulating antibody responses, the activation of B cells and their particular helper T cells (Th2 cells) might readily arise….”  (My emphasis.)

Ref: 29th World Congress of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association October 6-9 2004, Rhodes, Greece.  Michael Day is an author of the WSAVA Guidelines for Dogs and Cats, 2010: http://www.wsava.org/sites/default/files/VaccinationGuidelines2010.pdf

Also, here’s a quote from a DVM roundtable of vaccine experts, (December 1988)[6], which included Ron Schultz, Jonas Salk, Ian Tizard and others during which Ian Tizard said:  “And yet, the use of poorly understood adjuvants has a long and distinguished history in vaccinology.  We’ve been using alum since the 1920s and are still not sure how it works. It’s also fair to say that we’ve been very conservative in our use of adjuvants.  To the best of my knowledge, alum is still the only adjuvant used in human vaccines…”  (My emphasis.)

In 2013, do we yet know how alum works in vaccines?

It is interesting to note that pregnant women are currently being urged to have DTaP revaccinations because of the resurgence of pertussis.  However, it has been reported that the pertussis circulating is a new strain, so what is the point of revaccinating with the existing vaccine?  Also, I don’t buy this idea of a vaccine that ‘wanes’.  Either a vaccine immunises for life or forget it, we have been conned big time with these annual flu vaccinations and repeat DTaPs etc.  

On the topic of pregnant women and the DTaP, it is interesting to note that vaccination guidelines for dogs say:  “Should a pregnant dog be vaccinated?  Vaccination with MLV (attenuated) and/or killed (inactivated) vaccines during pregnancy should be avoided, if possible, to avoid potential injury to the fetus. There are exceptions, especially in shelters, where vaccination would be advised if the pregnant dog has never been vaccinated and there is risk of exposure to a highly pathogenic virus (e.g., CDV, CPV-2).  (My emphasis.)

Reference: 2011 AAHA Canine Vaccination Guidelines: http://www.aahanet.org/PublicDocuments/CanineVaccineGuidelines.pdf

Are pregnant women being properly informed about pertussis, about the ‘new strain’, and about questionable vaccines that wane?  Have the possible long-term deleterious effects of vaccination of pregnant women with aluminium adjuvanted vaccines been properly researched?  I suspect not…

Tom, I suggest your Cochrane Review of aluminium-containing DTP vaccines is a bit of a worry in that it may have created a poorly evidenced acceptance of the safety of aluminium-adjuvanted vaccines.

Cochrane Reviews don’t always get it right, as we know from Hayashi / Tamiflu[7]

I would appreciate your response on this matter.

Regards

Elizabeth

Dr Jefferson responded to my email saying: “Very simple: it is not a Cochrane review”.[8]  Obviously this brief reply was an inadequate response to the serious matters I had raised.  I was also bemused by his statement that the systematic review prepared by the Cochrane Vaccines Field was “not a Cochrane review”.  The review as published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases clearly identifies the authors as members of the Cochrane Vaccines Field, so surely The Cochrane Collaboration has a responsibility to be accountable for the recommendations of this review?

Professor Gøtzsche, as you have encouraged me to “submit a criticism” on this important matter, I would appreciate your advice as to how I can successfully make a submission to The Cochrane Collaboration.

I look forward to your response.

Sincerely

Elizabeth Hart

https://over-vaccination.net/                              

*Please note, in addition to the cc list below, this letter will be circulated to other parties, and has also been published on my website.

cc:

  • Dr Tom Jefferson, Cochrane Vaccines Field
  • Mr Mark Wilson, CEO, The Cochrane Collaboration
  • Professor Paul Glasziou, Bond University
  • Professor Chris Del Mar, Bond University
  • Mr Ray Moynihan, Bond University
  • A/Professor Peter Doshi, University of Maryland
  • Dr Fiona Godlee, British Medical Journal
  • Professor Peter Collignon, Australian National University
  • Professor Christopher Exley, Keele University
  • Professor Chris Shaw, University of British Columbia
  • Dr Lucija Tomljenovic, University of British Columbia
  • Professor Warwick Anderson, NHMRC
  • Professor Ian Olver, NHMRC Australian Health Ethics Committee
  • Professor Ian Frazer, University of Queensland
  • A/Professor Ruiting Lan, University of New South Wales
  • Professor Lyn Gilbert, University of Sydney
  • Dr Linjie Zhang, Federal University of Rio Grande
  • Professor Ronald Schultz, Vaccination Guidelines Group, World Small Animal Veterinary Association
  • Professor Michael Day, Vaccination Guidelines Group, World Small Animal Veterinary Association
  • Professor Brian Martin, University of Wollongong
  • Ms Bea Mies, Independent Vaccine Investigator
  • Ms Monika Peichl, Independent Vaccine Investigator

References: (All links accessible as at 17 July 2014.  It may be necessary to copy and paste long links into a web browser.)

[1] Email from Professor Peter Gøtzsche, 9 July 2014.

[2] Jefferson T, Rudin M, Di Pietrantoni C. Adverse events after immunisation with aluminium-containing DTP vaccines: systematic review of the evidence.  Lancet Infect Dis. 2004 Feb; 4(2):84-90: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14871632  This review is also listed in the Cochrane Vaccines Field Bibliography: http://vaccinesfield.cochrane.org/bibliography-2003

[3] A recent editorial in Nature provides an update on this controversial research: Biosafety in the balance. 25June 2014 (corrected 4 July 2014): http://www.nature.com/news/biosafety-in-the-balance-1.15447

[4] For example the World Small Animal Veterinary Association Guidelines for the Vaccination of Dogs and Cats state “we should aim to reduce the ‘vaccine load’ on individual animals in order to minimize the potential for adverse reactions to vaccine products”.  The Vaccination Guidelines Group also acknowledges that “there is gross under-reporting of vaccine-associated adverse events which impedes knowledge of the ongoing safety of these products” Day MJ, Horzinek MC and Schultz RD. Journal of Small Animal Practice. Vol. 51. June 2010: http://www.wsava.org/sites/default/files/VaccinationGuidelines2010.pdf  Also refer to the WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines webpage: http://www.wsava.org/guidelines/vaccination-guidelines

[5] Day MJ. Infectious Triggers of Immune-Mediated Disease. 29th World Congress of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association. October 6-9 2004, Rhodes Greece: http://www.vin.com/proceedings/Proceedings.plx?CID=WSAVA2004&Category=&PID=8599&O=Generic

[6] Safety, efficacy heart of vaccine use; experts discuss pros, cons. DVM roundtable. DVM December 1988.

[7] Tom Jefferson. Hayashi’s Problem:  Dr Keiji Hayashi’s question re Cochrane’s Tamiflu/Oseltamivir review: “We have some questions on the conclusion in your Oseltamivir review especially about the prevention of complication. You described that “Oseltamivir 150 mg daily prevented lower respiratory tract complications (OR 0.32, 95% CI 0.18 to 0.57).” (in abstract). However, we have found that this conclusion is based on the other review (Kaiser2003) and not on your own data analysis. The authors of the review were four employees of F. Hoffman-La Roche Ltd, one paid consultant to F. Hoffman-La Roche Ltd and Kaiser. We cannot find any raw data about this conclusion from your review. Kaiser’s review included 10 RCTs; two RCTs (Nicholson 2000 and Treanor 2003) were published as articles in the peer-reviewed medical journal (JAMA and Lancet), but other 8 RCTs were proceedings of congress (5 RCTs), abstracts of the congress (one RCT) and meeting (one RCT) and data on file, Hoffmann-La Roche, Inc, Nutley, NJ (one RCT). The lower respiratory tract complication rates of these articles were summarized on table: there was no significant difference between Oseltamivir and placebo, and their Odds Ratio’s (ORs) were 1.81. But ORs of other 8 RCTs were 4.37. We strongly suppose that the reviewer’s conclusion about the complications was mainly determined by these 8 RCTs, we should appraise the 8 trials rigidly. Without this process it’s difficult to conclude that oseltamivir can prevent lower respiratory tract complications.”  (Powerpoint slide 12): http://chmg.cochrane.org/sites/chmg.cochrane.org/files/uploads/Jefferson_Hayashi’s%20problem.pdf

[8] Email from Tom Jefferson, 24 March 2013.

Over-vaccination of dogs with parvovirus and other vaccines remains prevalent practice

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Dogs in Australia and elsewhere continue to be grossly over-vaccinated.  These companion animals and their owners are being exploited by the veterinary industry.

See below my recent email on this matter to Ms Kareena Arthy, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA).  

The APVMA is the body responsible for ‘regulating’ veterinary vaccine products in Australia.

_____________________________________________________________

23 April 2014

Ms Arthy

Further to my previous extensive correspondence with the APVMA and others on the subject of over-vaccination of dogs.  (Please refer to hyperlinked list of correspondence below, including correspondence with Dr Allen Bryce, Executive Director of the APVMA’s Veterinary Medicines Program.  My colleague Bea Mies has also undertaken extensive correspondence on this matter.)

The APVMA’s Position Statement – Vaccination Protocols for Dogs and Cats, last amended in September 2010, notes: “The APVMA does not support the retention of label statements that direct or imply a universal need for life-long annual revaccinations with core vaccines.  The APVMA supports the AVA’s vaccination policy and is of the view that product labels should be amended to align with that policy.  The APVMA is working with vaccine registrants with a view to updating labels.” (My emphasis.)

It is now April 2014 and still core vaccine products with an annual revaccination ‘recommendation’ remain on the market.  For example Virbac Australia’s Canigen C4 DHA2PPI Quadrivalent Living Vaccine states: “An annual booster is recommended”.  (Note: The label for Virbac’s Canigen DHA2P Trivalent Living Vaccine is currently not accessible on the PUBCRIS website.)

On what evidence is this ‘recommendation’ for an ‘annual booster’ with core vaccines based?

In August 2013, I forwarded a letter to Professor Ronald Schultz of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association’s Vaccination Guidelines Group, challenging the confusing and misleading use of the term ‘booster’ in relation to canine core modified live virus (MLV) vaccines for parvovirus, distemper virus and adenovirus, suggesting that use of the term ‘booster’ is resulting in extensive over-vaccination of already immune dogs.  My letter can be accessed via this link:  http://users.on.net/~peter.hart/Query_re_MLV_boosters.pdf

In his email response of 22 August 2013, Professor Schultz said: “I agree that the term “booster” is misleading in that many of the already immune dogs probably receive no beneficial “booster effect” from an infectious vaccine because the virus (e.g. CDV, CPV-2, CAV-2)* is immediately neutralized.  Therefore, it cannot infect the cells and replicate! It is only in those dogs that have no viral antibody that the vaccine will booster the immune system, both the cellular and humoral response to the virus.  It is these antibody negative dogs that I recommend revaccinating, not dogs with detectable antibody.  There are, however, components of the vaccines that are almost always boostered such as fetal bovine serum components and other extraneous proteins that are in all vaccines.  Obviously, these are components of the vaccine we don’t want to boost especially in a dog that genetically is predisposed to an adverse reaction (e.g. hypersensitivity).  That is why we are trying to prevent annual revaccination with the Core Vaccines that provide long term immunity in a majority of most dogs, but not all!” (*Note: CDV, CPV-2 and CAV-2 are the canine diseases distemper virus, parvovirus and adenovirus [hepatitis]).

It is my strong suspicion that annual revaccination of dogs with core MLV vaccine products remains prevalent practice in Australia.  See for example the attached article published in Dogs NSW in September 2013: “The Deadly Canine Parvovirus – Is Your Dog At Risk?”.  My response to this article is attached.  Also attached is the response by pro-annual vaccination vet Robert Zammit, and Virbac/ASAVA’s Mark Kelman.

See also this ‘Vaccination Guide’ from Greencross Vets which recommends revaccination every year with core vaccines for distemper, hepatitis and parvovirus (and non-core vaccines parainfluenza and bordetella).

Pet owners and their pets are being grossly exploited by the prevalent practice of over-vaccination due to the non-evidence based revaccination ‘recommendations’ on APVMA approved core MLV vaccine product labels.  I also strongly suspect most pet owners are not being informed of the option of in-clinic and lab-based antibody titre testing to verify a response to core MLV vaccination.

Ms Arthy, on what evidence does the APVMA continue to re-register canine core MLV vaccine products which recommend repeated revaccination of adult dogs?

I request your urgent response on this matter.

Sincerely

Elizabeth Hart

See below hyperlinks to some of my correspondence, submissions and articles on over-vaccination of pets:

Key documents:

Correspondence with the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA), Australian Veterinary Association (AVA), and others:

Correspondence with the UK Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD):

Correspondence with Virbac Animal Health (Disease WatchDog):

Submissions on the subject of unnecessary vaccination of pets:

Correspondence to Members of Parliament:

Articles and summaries re over-vaccination of pets:

Media reports re over-vaccination of pets:

More on over-vaccination of pets…

Recently the magazine Dogs NSW published a fear-mongering article, “The Deadly Canine Parvovirus – Is Your Dog At Risk”, promoting annual revaccination for parvovirus, in other words promoting gross over-vaccination of dogs.

See below my response to Dogs NSW on this matter:

Letter to the Editor of Dogs NSW:

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Charlotte Long’s article “The Deadly Canine Parvovirus – Is Your Dog At Risk?” (Dogs NSW, Sept 2013) promotes annual revaccination for parvovirus and fails to address the controversy about over-vaccination of pets, which exploits companion animals and their owners. 

Over-vaccination of pets was raised by the consumer watchdog CHOICE in 2010 with the article: Pet vaccination: Over-vaccinating your pet could be harmful to their health as well as your own hip pocket.[1]  In July 2013 the Sydney Morning Herald reported on another CHOICE investigation which found “the three common areas for “up selling” by vets were unnecessary diagnostic tests, over-vaccinating and mark-ups on products sold by vet practices”.[2] (My emphasis.)

Many vets are failing to advise pet owners about vaccination ‘best practice’, and are failing to obtain ‘informed consent’ before vaccinating their clients’ pets.

Charlotte Long maintains the lack of information by failing to refer to the World Small Animal Veterinary Association’s Guidelines for the Vaccination of Dogs and Cats (2010), which advise that after effective vaccination with the core vaccines for parvovirus, distemper virus and adenovirus, duration of immunity “is many years and may be up to the lifetime of the pet”.[3]  The WSAVA Guidelines also warn “we should aim to reduce the ‘vaccine load’ on individual animals in order to minimize the potential for adverse reactions to vaccine products”.[4]

Ms Long also ignores the option of in-surgery or lab-based titre testing to verify a response to core vaccination.  The WSAVA Guidelines 2010 note “the principles of ‘evidence-based veterinary medicine’ would dictate that testing for antibody status (for either pups or adult dogs) is a better practice than simply administering a vaccine booster on the basis that this should be ‘safe and cost less’”.[5]  The latest  WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines for New Puppy Owners (published in May 2013) advise “the presence of circulating antibodies indicates that the dog is immune, and revaccination (with core vaccines) is not required”.[6]

Similarly there is no discussion about the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority’s (APVMA) Position Statement on Vaccination Protocols for Dogs and Cats (first published in January 2010 in response to pet owners’ concerns about over-vaccination) which states “…the aim should be to ensure that all susceptible animals are vaccinated, rather than that already well-immunised animals are re-vaccinated”.[7]  (My emphasis.)

The APVMA is the government regulator of veterinary vaccine products.  In September 2010 the APVMA requested all eight Veterinary Boards in Australia circulate its Position Statement on Vaccination Protocols for Dogs and Cats to veterinarians in their jurisdictions.  It is my understanding that some, if not all, of the Veterinary Boards, ignored this request by the government regulator, an appalling dereliction of duty.[8]  As a result many pet owners still remain unaware of the APVMA’s Position Statement on Vaccination Protocols for Dogs and Cats.

The APVMA’s past failure to ensure that vaccine manufacturers’ revaccination recommendations are evidence based is at the heart of the continuing problem of over-vaccination of pets, coupled with the reluctance of many members of the veterinary profession to keep abreast of and acknowledge the latest science on duration of immunity and vaccination ‘best practice’. No wonder the World Small Animal Veterinary Association warns “there is an urgent requirement for education of practicing veterinarians in this area”.[9]

The APVMA’s Position Statement notes: The APVMA does not support the retention of label statements that direct or imply a universal need for life-long annual revaccinations with core vaccines…The APVMA is working with vaccine registrants with a view to updating labels.”(10)  (My emphasis.) However, more than three years after publication of the APVMA’s Position Statement, core vaccine products with an annual revaccination ‘recommendation’ remain on the market, e.g. Virbac’s Canigen DHA2P (11) and Boehringer Ingelheim’s Protech C3 (12).

Another important omission in Ms Long’s article is discussion about appropriate timing of puppy vaccination, with some vaccine product labels recommending a finish at 10 or 12 weeks(13), which is in conflict with the WSAVA recommendation for a finish around 14-16 weeks. It is possible that, due to the interference of maternally derived antibodies, some puppies may remain unimmunised and unprotected with the earlier finish.  (In this regard, refer to my article Vaccination failure!, published in the dog breeder’s magazine National Dog in 2010.[14])

In short, Charlotte Long’s article fails to include a simple and effective message to promote successful immunisation of puppies to protect against parvovirus, rather than over-vaccinating already immune dogs over and over again.  Instead we are presented with a fear-mongering advertorial promoting lucrative over-vaccination of dogs on behalf of the veterinary vaccination industry.

Readers of Dogs NSW have been poorly served by Ms Long’s biased and ill-informed article.  As a result it is likely many already immunised dogs will be unnecessarily revaccinated.

I request that Dogs NSW take steps to redress the misinformation it has spread in the community.

Sincerely

Elizabeth Hart

References:

1. “Pet vaccination – Over-vaccinating your pet could be harmful to their health as well as your own hip pocket.” CHOICE. Published online August 2010: http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/household/backyard/pets/pet-vaccination/page.aspx

2. Choice urges vets to dump high fees and unnecessary charges. Sydney Morning Herald, 22 July 2013: http://www.smh.com.au/national/choice-urges-vets-to-dump-high-fees-and-unnecessary-charges-20130721-2qck5.html

3. MJ Day, MC Horzinek, RD Schultz. World Small Animal Veterinary Association’s (WSAVA) Guidelines for the Vaccination of Dogs and Cats. Journal of Small Animal Practice. Vol.51. June 2010: http://www.wsava.org/sites/default/files/VaccinationGuidelines2010.pdf  Also refer to the WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines webpage: http://www.wsava.org/guidelines/vaccination-guidelines

4. Ibid.

5. Ibid.

6. WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines for New Puppy Owners. (May 2013.): I have highlighted important points in this version of the guidelines: http://users.on.net/~peter.hart/WSAVA%20Puppy%20Vax%20Guidelines%20May%202013.pdf

7. Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority – Position Statement – Vaccination Protocols for Dogs and Cats. 21 January 2010. Revised 25 January, 2 and 13 September 2010. http://www.apvma.gov.au/use_safely/vaccination.php

8. On 19 May 2011 I circulated an email to the veterinary boards in Australia, asking what steps they had taken to forward the APVMA’s Position Statement to registered veterinarians in their jurisdictions: http://users.on.net/~peter.hart/Email_to_Vet_Boards_May_2011.pdf  The veterinary boards of Queensland and the Northern Territory advised they had taken no action to circulate the Position Statement.  My enquiry was ignored by the other veterinary boards.

9. In the ‘read more’ section, the WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines Group webpage notes: “It is clear that the controversy surrounding small companion animal vaccination has not diminished and that there is an urgent requirement for education of practicing veterinarians in this area. The members of the VGG are actively engaged in delivering national and international lectures to help address this demand.” (My emphasis.) http://www.wsava.org/educational/vaccination-guidelines-group

10. Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority – Position Statement – Vaccination Protocols for Dogs and Cats. 21 January 2010. Revised 25 January, 2 and 13 September 2010. http://www.apvma.gov.au/use_safely/vaccination.php

11. Virbac’s Canigen DHA2P label states: “An annual booster is recommended.” and “This product has been assessed as providing at least 12 months protection. Many factors influence the effectiveness if [sic] vaccination and the need for re-vaccination. The vaccination for an individual animal should be determined within a veterinarian-client-patient relationship, taking all these factors into account.”  The label is accessible on the APVMA’s PUBCRIS database: http://www.infopest.com.au/extra/asp/infopest/nra/labels.asp?prodcode=40758

12. The ‘suggested’ revaccination ‘recommendation’ on Boehringer Ingelheim’s Protech C3 label reads: “Annual vaccination Either Protech C3 +Protech C2i and Protech Bronchi-Shield III Or Protech C4 + Protech C2i and Protech Bronchi-Shield I.  Protech C3 and Protech C4 have been assessed as providing at least 12 months protection against canine distemper virus, canine adenovirus and canine parvovirus. Many factors influence the effectiveness of vaccination and the need for revaccination. The vaccination program for an individual animal should be determined within a veterinary-client-patient relationship, taking all these factors into account.”  The label is accessible on the APVMA’s PUBCRIS database: http://www.infopest.com.au/extra/asp/infopest/nra/labels.asp?prodcode=51487

13. For example, Boehringer Ingelheim’s Protech C3 label suggests finishing the primary vaccination program at 10 weeks: http://www.infopest.com.au/extra/asp/infopest/nra/labels.asp?prodcode=51487  MSD Animal Health’s Nobivac DHP Continuum vaccine label recommends final puppy vaccination at 10 weeks:  http://www.infopest.com.au/extra/asp/infopest/nra/labels.asp?prodcode=59043  Virbac’s Canigen DHA2P vaccine label recommends the second primary dose at 12 weeks also stating: “In situations where high maternal antibody and potential challenge is possible an additional vaccination should be considered at 16 weeks of age.” http://www.infopest.com.au/extra/asp/infopest/nra/labels.asp?prodcode=40758

14. Elizabeth Hart. “Vaccination failure! There is a potential for maternally derived antibodies (MDA) to interfere with a puppy’s response to core vaccination.” National Dog. Vol. 14, No.5, pp 29-30 (2010): http://users.on.net/~peter.hart/Vaccination_failure!.pdf

 

UPDATE: Response from Professor Ronald Schultz re vaccination ‘boosters’ for dogs

dreamstime_xs_29221605In a previous post, Over-vaccination of dogs with unnecessary ‘boosters’, I suggest use of the questionable term ‘booster’ in relation to canine core modified live virus (MLV) vaccines for parvovirus, distemper virus and adenovirus is resulting in extensive unnecessary over-vaccination of already immune dogs.

I forwarded a detailed letter on this matter to Professor Ronald Schultz, a member of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association’s Vaccination Guidelines Group, complaining about the confusing and misleading use of the term ‘booster’ in vaccination guidelines issued by the WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines Group.

I have received a response from Professor Schultz in which he says:

“I agree that the term “booster” is misleading in that many of the already immune dogs probably receive no beneficial “booster effect” from an infectious vaccine because the virus (e.g. CDV, CPV-2, CAV-2)* is immediately neutralized.  Therefore, it cannot infect the cells and replicate!  It is only in those dogs that have no viral antibody that the vaccine will boost the immune system, both the cellular and humoral response to the virus.  It is these antibody negative dogs that I recommend revaccinating, not dogs with detectable antibody.  There are, however, components of the vaccines that are almost always boostered such as fetal bovine serum components and other extraneous proteins that are in all vaccines.  Obviously, these are components of the vaccine we don’t want to boost especially in a dog that genetically is predisposed to an adverse reaction (e.g. hypersensitivity).  That is why we are trying to prevent annual revaccination with the Core Vaccines that provide long term immunity in a majority of most dogs, but not all!”(1)  (*Note: CDV, CPV-2 and CAV-2 are the canine diseases distemper virus, parvovirus and adenovirus [hepatitis]).

hSo I wonder if the WSAVA vaccination guidelines will be amended accordingly?

Meanwhile annual revaccination of dogs for diseases such as parvovirus remains rife in Australia.  A recent article titled “The Deadly Canine Parvovirus – Is Your Dog At Risk?”, published in Dogs NSW magazine in September 2013, works as a fear-mongering advertorial for the veterinary industry, including the key message: “Always have your vaccinations up to date: Make sure dogs are vaccinated as puppies and then annually thereafter.”(2) (My emphasis.)

Business as usual then for the over-vaccinating veterinary industry… 

I am pursuing this matter further.

Postscript:  In his response to me, Professor Schultz refers to “fetal bovine serum components and other extraneous proteins that are in all vaccines.  Obviously, these are components of the vaccine we don’t want to boost especially in a dog that genetically is predisposed to an adverse reaction (e.g. hypersensitivity)”.

Fetal bovine serum is also in the human live Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR) vaccine, see for example Merck’s MMR II(3).  So it doesn’t seem like a good idea to have unnecessary doses of MMR vaccine either…  In this regard refer to my letter to Paul Offit: Questioning the ethics of mandated vaccination of children with the measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) ‘booster’ second dose.

References:

  1. Email response from Professor Ronald Schultz to Elizabeth Hart, 22 August 2013.  (I have Professor Schultz’s permission to quote him.)
  2. Charlotte Long. The deadly canine parvovirus – is your dog at risk? Dogs NSW, September 2013, pp 21-25.
  3. M-M-R ®II (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Virus Vaccine Live). Merck & Co., Inc. http://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/m/mmr_ii/mmr_ii_pi.pdf

Paul Offit and the MMR ‘booster’

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????I recently forwarded a letter to vaccination expert Paul Offit questioning the ethics of mandated revaccination of likely already immune children with a second dose of the live Measles/Mumps/Rubella vaccine (often misleadingly termed a ‘booster’), and general lack of advice re the availability of a blood test (i.e. an antibody titre test) to verify a response to vaccination with the first dose of live MMR vaccine.

The email below summarises my argument.  My detailed letter can be accessed via this hyperlink:  Letter to Paul Offit re the MMR second dose ‘booster’ vaccine

(Also refer to my webpage on the MMR ‘booster’ for more information, including correspondence to Professor Terry Nolan, Chair of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI), and Tanya Plibersek, the Australian Federal Government Health Minister.)

___________________________

From: Elizabeth Hart <eliz.hart25@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, Sep 6, 2013 at 3:41 PM
Subject: Letter to Paul Offit re the MMR second dose ‘booster’ vaccine

Professor Offit

Please see attached a detailed letter addressed to you questioning the ethics of mandated revaccination of likely already immune children with a second dose of the live Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR) vaccine (misleadingly termed a ‘booster’), and general lack of advice re the availability of a blood test (i.e. an antibody titre test) to verify a response to vaccination with the live MMR vaccine.

I suggest that parents of small children are not being properly informed of the option for antibody titre testing rather than an arbitrary second dose of live MMR vaccine.  Two doses of MMR vaccine are mandated in many US states, and also in other countries such as Australia.  These mandates conflict with the obligation for ‘informed consent’ before vaccination.

Parents of small children might be surprised to discover that vaccination ‘best practice’ for companion animals is now more advanced than that for children, with vaccination guidelines for dogs re live vaccines recommending titre testing rather than an arbitrary ‘booster’, i.e.:

“…the principles of ‘evidence-based veterinary medicine’ would dictate that testing for antibody status (for either pups or adult dogs) is a better practice than simply administering a vaccine booster on the basis that this should be ‘safe and cost less'”.[1]

We are on a slippery slope when the state dictates questionable medical interventions for citizens (including ‘pre-citizens’, i.e. children).  I suggest the arbitrary second dose of the MMR vaccine, often inappropriately described as a ‘booster’, is a questionable medical intervention.

Professor Offit, you are on the record acknowledging that antibody titre testing is an option rather than an arbitrary second dose of live MMR vaccine.[2]  I request your assistance in bringing attention to this matter, which I discuss further in my letter attached.

I would appreciate your response.

Sincerely

Elizabeth Hart

*This email and letter is also being circulated to the following:

  • Professor Alan Cohen, Physician-in-Chief and Chair, Department of Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
  • Professor Simon Wain-Hobson, Board Chair, The Foundation for Vaccine Research
  • Professor Brian Martin, Social Sciences, University of Wollongong
  • Laureate Professor Peter Doherty, Microbiology and Immunology, University of Melbourne
  • Sir Gus Nossal, Chair of the Oversight Committee for the Australian Academy of Science publication “The Science of Immunisation: Questions and Answers”
  • Dr Vittorio Demicheli, Cochrane Vaccines Field
  • Dr James Wood, School of Public Health & Community Medicine, University of New South Wales
  • Professor Ronald Schultz, WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines Group
  • Professor Michael Day, Chairperson, WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines Group
  • Professor Emeritus Marian Horzinek, previous member of the WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines Group
  • Professor Jolle Kirpensteijn, EB Liaison, WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines Committee
  • Professor Hajime Tsujimoto, WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines Group
  • Professor Richard Squires, WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines Group
  • Professor Emeritus Richard Ford, member of the AAHA Canine Vaccination Guidelines Task Force
  • Bea Mies, independent advocate for judicial vaccine use

and will also be circulated to other parties.


[1]Day, M.J., Horzinek, M.C., Schultz, R.D. World Small Animal Veterinary Association’s (WSAVA) Guidelines for the Vaccination of Dogs and Cats. Journal of Small Animal Practice. Vol. 51. June 2010: http://www.wsava.org/sites/default/files/VaccinationGuidelines2010.pdf

[2] Paul Offit. Does my child still need a booster shot if a blood test shows that he’s already immune to a disease? Expert Answers. Babycenter.com. (Undated.): http://www.babycenter.com/404_does-my-child-still-need-a-booster-shot-if-a-blood-test-show_1463679.bc

Over-vaccination of dogs with unnecessary ‘boosters’

pet vaxFor those people interested in the ongoing over-vaccination of pets scandal, I recently forwarded a letter to Professor Ronald Schultz, a member of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association’s Vaccination Guidelines Group, and the American Animal Hospital Association’s Canine Vaccination Task Force, complaining about the confusing and misleading use of the term ‘booster’ in vaccination guidelines.

The email below summarises my complaint.  My detailed letter can be accessed via this hyperlink:  Letter to Professor Ronald Schultz re confusing and misleading use of the term ‘booster’

________________________

From: Elizabeth Hart <eliz.hart25@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, Aug 20, 2013 at 3:18 PM
Subject: Re: Confusing and misleading use of the term ‘booster’ in relation to modified live virus (MLV) vaccines

Professor Schultz

Please see attached a detailed letter addressed to you criticising the use of the confusing and misleading term ‘booster’ in vaccination guidelines issued by the WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines Group.  This criticism is also relevant to the 2011 AAHA Canine Vaccination Guidelines.

As noted in my letter, I suggest use of the term ‘booster’ in relation to canine core modified live virus (MLV) vaccines for parvovirus, distemper virus and adenovirus is resulting in extensive unnecessary over-vaccination of already immune dogs.

I suspect that many pet owners are still not being informed that there is no evidence to support revaccination of already immune animals with so-called ‘booster’ shots, nor that there is the option of titre testing to verify a response to core MLV vaccination.

This is especially concerning in light of the WSAVA 2010 guidelines warning “that we should aim to reduce the ‘vaccine load’ on individual animals in order to minimize the potential for adverse reactions to vaccine products”, and the WSAVA 2013 guidelines advice that “it is important to give as few vaccines as possible…” and “…any reaction to a vaccine that is not needed is unacceptable”.

There are serious flaws in the WSAVA guidelines 2010 and 2013 which must be rectified.  In addition, the 2011 AAHA Canine Vaccination Guidelines should also be subjected to review.

I request your urgent response on this matter.

Sincerely

Elizabeth Hart

*This email and letter is also being circulated to the following:

  • Professor Michael Day, Chairperson, WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines Group
  • Professor Emeritus Marian Horzinek, previous member of the WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines Group
  • Professor Jolle Kirpensteijn, EB Liasison, WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines Committee
  • Professor Hajime Tsujimoto, WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines Group
  • Professor Richard Squires, WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines Group
  • Professor Emeritus Richard Ford, member of the AAHA Canine Vaccination Guidelines Task Force
  • Dr Carmel Mooney, Editor of the Journal of Small Animal Practice
  • Dr Anna-Maria Brady, Head of Biologicals and Administration, Veterinary Medicines Directorate
  • Dr Allen Bryce, Executive Director, Veterinary Medicines, Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority
  • Dr Rick E. Hill, Director, Center for Veterinary Biologics, US Department of Agriculture
  • Professor Brian Martin, Social Sciences, University of Wollongong
  • Bea Mies, independent advocate for judicial vaccine use

and will also be circulated to other parties.