Hep B Vaccine Linked
Directly To Autoimmune
Rheumatoid Diseases
From Doctor's Guide To Medical & Other News
SAN DIEGO, CA -- Data from France links immunisation against hepatitis B to the development of autoimmune rheumatoid diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. The rise of autoimmunity following hepatitis B immunisation in school children and adults has become a major public health concern.
The data was released at the 62nd annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology, held Nov. 8-12, 1998 in San Diego, CA.
In October, the Ministry of Health in France suspended routine hepatitis B immunisation of school children while continuing hepatitis B immunisation at birth. The reason for this decision was reportedly the increased risk of autoimmune diseases that has been associated with the vaccine when it is given starting at school age or later.
The data from France links hepatitis B immunisation to both the development of newly-diagnosed cases of autoimmune rheumatoid diseases as well as the exacerbation of previously diagnosed cases that were in remission. This finding is supported by data from Canada published in September which linked immunisation against hepatitis B to the development of autoimmune rheumatoid diseases in fire-fighters.
John Classen, M.D. an immunologist at Classen Immunotherapies, published papers linking the immunisation against hepatitis B and other diseases to the development of insulin dependent diabetes, an autoimmune disease. Dr. Classen's work found that immunisation starting after two months of life was associated with an increased risk of autoimmunity compared to starting at birth. Data from a small study published by the US government appears to support his data and showed that when hepatitis B immunisation was given starting after two months of life it was associated with an almost doubling of the risk of diabetes.
"The data from humans and animals is very clear, when you stimulate the immune system with vaccines you increase the risk of autoimmunity and exacerbate smouldering inflammatory conditions," Classen said. "Vaccine induced autoimmunity is a major public health problem because of the number of vaccine doses given and the large percentage of people with undiagnosed inflammatory conditions. We need to develop ways of giving vaccines without increasing the risk of autoimmune diseases.
"The French decision to continue hepatitis B immunisation at birth while discontinuing immunisation starting at school age suggests the French Ministry of Health may believe that they can decrease vaccine induced autoimmunity by giving vaccines starting in the first month of life. They appear to be accepting our findings."