The FDA Approved New DPT Vaccine For Seniors

Seniors are a niche market for pharmaceutical companies.

It has been announced that a new vaccine has been approved by the FDA for the over 65’s. GlaxoSmithKline’s Boostrix vaccine is said to be able to protect the elderly from diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough). The vaccine was originally approved for use in adolescents in 2005.

Prior to this vaccine being approved for the older age group, the elderly could only be protected against diphtheria and tetanus, however, FDA officials warned that nursing home residents may become particularly susceptible to whooping cough due to recent out breaks in California, Michigan and Ohio in 2010,.

According to ‘Internal Medicine News’ the website announcing the news, it seems that this vaccine once again has had extremely inadequate testing, with only 1,300 subjects over 65’ s being used to test the product.

The most common side effects reported were headache, fatigue, and pain at the injection site.…

However, given the extremely low number of actual cases of diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough being reported, just how necessary is this vaccine for the over 65’s? There have been just 57 reported cases of diphtheria from 1980 to 2004 and only 5 since the year 2000.

In fact Dr Robert Mendelsohn MD once said:

Today your child has about as much chance of contracting diphtheria as he does of being bitten by a cobra.

If Dr Mendlesohn is correct, then an elderly person has even less chance of contracting diphtheria than the average child, especially if he/she lives in a nursing home.

According to the ‘Tetanus NHS’ website the Clostridium tetani bacterium (tetanus) is commonly found in the environment. The NHS actually admit that tetanus can never be completely eradicated saying that the bacteria is often found in soil, dust and manure.

Between 2000 and 2007 an average of just 31 cases of tetanus were reported per year, with just 20 cases, an all time low, being reported in 2003.

So unless the elderly person works on a farm, contracting tetanus is also very unlikely.

John Pitcairn President of the Anti-Vaccination League of America, says that the tetanus vaccines are actually causing people to contract tetanus:

In Philadelphia and vicinity there were in the autumn of 1901 no fewer than thirty-six cases of tetanus, or lockjaw, which were admitted to have resulted from vaccination, and nearly all were fatal.

Dr Viera Scheibner is in agreement and says:

“Tetanus is a very rare disease in developed countries: there are only about 12 cases of tetanus per year in Australia, and half of those who got it were vaccinated. Perhaps the most interesting thing about tetanus is that those who get it do not develop immunity to it………Far from immunising, tetanus (and other) vaccine injections make the recipients more susceptible to diseases. ……the New England Journal of Medicine published in 1984 that tetanus booster injections result in the same derangement of T4 and T8 cells as seen in AIDS patients. A ‘mysterious’ new syndrome emerged in the US: thousands of children are developing AIDS symptoms (with deranged T4 and T8 cells) without being HIV positive My well-considered opinion is that it comes from that T (standing for tetanus) in the DPT vaccine.”

This being the case, an elderly person receiving a vaccine for tetanus is more likely to contract tetanus from the vaccine than they are from living at home or in a nursing home. Instead of protection, they may become more susceptible to other more deadly bacteria because they have had the vaccine.

Moving swiftly on to whooping cough and the reason that the Boostrix vaccine was thought of as highly necessary for the over 65’s.

According to ‘’ during the 1980s the incidence of whooping cough began to increase and has risen steadily, with epidemics typically occurring every three to five years in the U.S. In the last epidemic, which occurred in 2005, 25,616 cases were reported according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2008, over 13,000 cases of whooping cough were reported in the U.S., resulting in 18 deaths.

According to vaccine researcher Dr Henry Shinefield there have been more cases being reported since the whooping cough vaccine was introduced. He says:

“There are more cases now than there were in 1945, before we had the vaccine.”— Dr. Henry Shinefield, vaccine researcher (ABC News)

Many other professionals agree with him. Dr Sherri Tenpenny has stated in her article for ‘International Medical Council on Vaccination,’ that a study undertaken by the Watchdog Institute in San Diego and KPBS TV revealed some very interesting statistics. They found that in nine of the countries in Calafornia that were most affected during the whooping cough outbreak, a staggering 44 to 83 percent of those contracting the infection had been fully vaccinated. Dr Tennypenny said:

The Watchdog Institute, an investigative journalism center based in San Diego, recently teamed up with local San Diego television station, KPBS, to research the actual number of families affected by the whooping cough outbreak to determine how many children had been fully vaccinated against pertussis. The four-month investigation culminated in the airing of a documentary on December 16, 2010. Their research was revealing: In the nine California counties most affected, 44 to 83 percent of those contracting the infection had been fully vaccinated. In Ohio and Texas, two states also having record numbers of whooping cough cases, 75 and 67.5 percent respectively had been vaccinated.

So, I repeat just how necessary is the Boostrix vaccine for the over 65’s?

The FDA News release says:

Pertussis is a highly contagious disease, and outbreaks have occurred among the elderly in nursing homes and hospitals,” said Karen Midthun, M.D., director of FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. “With this approval, adults 65 and older now have the opportunity to receive a vaccine that prevents pertussis, as well as tetanus and diphtheria.…

The important words to note are ‘now have the opportunity to receive a vaccine that prevents pertussis’. This gives the impression that the elderly have never had the opportunity to be protected with a vaccine for whooping cough. This is a totally misleading statement. The first vaccine for whooping cough was developed in the 1930’s so many of our elderly would have had this either as a baby or as a child. If a patient is aged 65 they were born in 1946 this would mean that it was possible that they did have the DPT vaccines either separately or combined.

VaccineInformation say:

“The first inactivated toxin, or toxoid, against diphtheria was developed around 1921, but it was not widely used until the 1930s. In 1924, the first tetanus toxoid (inactivated toxin) was produced and was used successfully to prevent tetanus in the armed services during World War II. The first pertussis vaccine was developed in the 1930s and was in widespread use by the mid-1940s, when pertussis vaccine was combined with diphtheria and tetanus toxoids to make the combination DTP vaccine”.

Here are just a few more points to consider before having your elderly relative vaccinated with this highly toxic vaccine.

On the package insert for Boostrix it states:

“5.3 Progressive or Unstable Neurologic Disorders
Progressive or unstable neurologic conditions (e.g., cerebrovascular events and acute encephalopathic conditions) are reasons to defer vaccination with a pertussis-containing vaccine, including BOOSTRIX. It is not known whether administration of BOOSTRIX to persons with an unstable or progressive neurologic disorder might hasten manifestations of the disorder or affect the prognosis. Administration of BOOSTRIX to persons with an unstable or progressive neurologic disorder may result in diagnostic confusion between manifestations of the underlying illness and possible adverse effects of vaccination.”

This would include all the elderly suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, those suffering the effects of a stroke and Parkinson’s Disease.

In the USA experts estimate that 5.1 million people currently suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease. Alzheimer’s disease is a neurological disorder affecting cognitive functioning—thinking, remembering, and reasoning—to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities.

Alzheimer’s is listed on the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website.

Links used for facts

Strokes are cerebrovascular events. In the USA approximately 700,000 people a year suffer a stroke. According to the University Hospital New Jersey 4 million people in the USA are living with the affects of having a stroke.

Parkinson’s disease currently affects approx 500,000 people in the USA. Parkinson’s is another progressive neurological disorder.

The above, are all groups of people that GSK advise against being given a vaccine that includes the pertussis element and yet all these conditions affect mainly the elderly population. I wonder just how many health care providers, G.P’s and nursing home staff are going to be made aware of this fact in advance of administering this vaccine. Of course GSK are going to be covered because they will say that this information is in the leaflet. I believe this is just another unnecessary vaccine that will be given to one of the most vulnerable groups in society.

Another concern I have with this vaccine and one not mentioned in the information leaflet, is whether this vaccine is safe to be given alongside various prescription drugs now being given to the elderly. Many people over the age of 65 are taking drugs for heart disease, arthritis, fluid retention and diabetes for example. In my opinion this vaccine is just another money spinner for GlaxoSmithKline and has very little to do with improving the health of our elderly population. Boostrix has been poorly tested and should not have been approved by the FDA without a full investigation into the health of the elderly patients that this vaccine is being aimed at.


Photo Credit: Arvind Balaraman
About the author

Christina England, BA Hons