DTP: The Story of an Unsafe Vaccine

PART I: A 1991 Institute of Medicine report that investigated the DTP vaccine and associated adverse events found that:

  • insufficient evidence to indicate a causal relation between DPT vaccine and aseptic meningitis, chronic neurologic damage, erythema multiforme or other rash, Guillain-Barrè syndrome, hemolytic anemia, juvenile diabetes, learning disabilities and attention deficit disorder, peripheral mononeurop athy, or thrombocytopenia;
  • that the evidence is consistent with a causal relation between DPT vaccine and acute encephalopathy and shock and “unusual shock-like state”;
  • that the evidence indicates a causal relation between DPT vaccine and anaphylaxis, between the pertussis component of DPT vaccine and protracted, inconsolable crying, and between RA 27/3 rubella vaccine and acute arthritis;
  • that the evidence does not indicate a causal relation between DPT vaccine and infantile spasms, hypsarrythmia, Reye syndrome, or SIDS.

PART II: Although the FDA approved the first acellular DTaP vaccines for use in the United States in 1991, it took until 1996 for this less reactive vaccine to be granted approval for use in infants and children for all five of the recommended doses of pertussis, diphtheria, and tetanus vaccination. In 1997, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended the DTaP vaccine for use instead of the highly reactive whole cell DPT vaccine.

The most recent 2012 Institute of Medicine report found that for all D-T-aP containing vaccines there was inadequate evidence to accept or reject a causal relationship between 23 adverse events and the vaccine. There was evidence that convincingly supports a causal relationship for one adverse reaction (anaphylaxis) as well as evidence that favors rejection of a causal relationship for one adverse reaction (type 1 Diabetes).

Part III: In 2017 EBioMedicine published by The Lancet published a study by Peter Aaby that concluded: “DTP was associated with 5-fold higher mortality than being unvaccinated. No prospective study has shown beneficial survival effects of DTP. Unfortunately, DTP is the most widely used vaccine, and the proportion who receives DTP3 is used globally as an indicator of the performance of national vaccination programs.

It should be of concern that the effect of routine vaccinations on all-cause mortality was not tested in randomized trials. All currently available evidence suggests that DTP vaccine may kill more children from other causes than it saves from diphtheria, tetanus or pertussis. Though a vaccine protects children against the target disease it may simultaneously increase susceptibility to unrelated infections.

The recently published SAGE review called for randomized trials of DTP (Higgins et al., 2014). However, at the same time the IVIR-AC committee to which SAGE delegated the follow-up studies of the NSEs of vaccines has indicated that it will not be possible to examine the effect of DTP in an unbiased way. If that decision by IVIR-AC remains unchallenged, the present study may remain the closest we will ever come to a RCT of the NSEs of DTP.”

Follow up studies have come to the same conclusions: “Our data clearly showed that DTP vaccinations were delayed in unhealthy children. Hence, healthier children received DTP first, and DTP-unvaccinated children should, therefore, have had a higher mortality rate. Despite this, DTP was associated with increased child mortality, particularly for girls. All three studies of the introduction of DTP vaccine found negative effects which are different from what should have been expected due to the disease-preventive effects of the vaccine and the inherent biases favoring vaccinated children”

Watch Christine Stabell Benn discuss the research here: