“Prior to contemporary vaccination programs, ‘Crib death’ was so infrequent that it was not mentioned in infant mortality statistics. In the United States, national immunization campaigns were initiated in the 1960s when several new vaccines were introduced and actively recommended. For the first time in history, most US infants were required to receive several doses of DPT, polio, measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines.
Shortly thereafter, in 1969, medical certifiers presented a new medical term—sudden infant death syndrome. In 1973, the National Center for Health Statistics added a new cause-of-death category—for SIDS—to the ICD. SIDS is defined as the sudden and unexpected death of an infant which remains unexplained after a thorough investigation. Although there are no specific symptoms associated with SIDS, an autopsy often reveals congestion and edema of the lungs and inflammatory changes in the respiratory system.
By 1980, SIDS had become the leading cause of postneonatal mortality (deaths of infants from 28 days to one year old) in the United States. In 1992, to address the unacceptable SIDS rate, the American Academy of Pediatrics initiated a ‘Back to Sleep’ campaign, convincing parents to place their infants supine, rather than prone, during sleep. From 1992 to 2001, the postneonatal SIDS rate dropped by an average annual rate of 8.6%.
However, other causes of sudden unexpected infant death (SUID) increased. For example, the postneonatal mortality rate from ‘suffocation in bed’ increased during this same period at an average annual rate of 11.2%. The postneonatal mortality rate from ‘suffocation-other’, ‘unknown and unspecified causes’, and due to ‘intent unknown’ in the External Causes of Injury section, all increased during this period as well. (In Australia, Mitchell et al. observed that when the SIDS rate decreased, deaths attributed to asphyxia increased. Overpeck et al. and others, reported similar observations.)
A closer inspection of the more recent period from 1999 to 2001 reveals that the US postneonatal SIDS rate continued to decline, but there was no significant change in the total postneonatal mortality rate. During this period, the number of deaths attributed to ‘suffocation in bed’ and ‘unknown causes,’ increased significantly. According to Malloy and MacDorman, ‘If death-certifier preference has shifted such that previously classified SIDS deaths are now classified as ‘suffocation,’ the inclusion of these suffocation deaths and unknown or unspecified deaths with SIDS deaths then accounts for about 90 percent of the decline in the SIDS rate observed between 1999 and 2001 and results in a non-significant decline in SIDS’.
Although some studies were unable to find correlations between SIDS and vaccines, there is some evidence that a subset of infants may be more susceptible to SIDS shortly after being vaccinated. For example, Torch found that two-thirds of babies who had died from SIDS had been vaccinated against DPT (diphtheria–pertussis–tetanus toxoid) prior to death. Of these, 6.5% died within 12 hours of vaccination; 13% within 24 hours; 26% within 3 days; and 37%, 61%, and 70% within 1, 2, and 3 weeks, respectively. Torch also found that unvaccinated babies who died of SIDS did so most often in the fall or winter while vaccinated babies died most often at 2 and 4 months—the same ages when initial doses of DPT were given to infants.
He concluded that DPT ‘may be a generally unrecognized major cause of sudden infant and early childhood death, and that the risks of immunization may outweigh its potential benefits. A need for re-evaluation and possible modification of current vaccination procedures is indicated by this study.’ Walker et al. found ‘the SIDS mortality rate in the period zero to three days following DPT to be 7.3 times that in the period beginning 30 days after immunization.’ Fine and Chen reported that babies died at a rate nearly eight times greater than normal within 3 days after getting a DPT vaccination.”
— Neil Z. Miller and Gary S. Goldman
Infant mortality rates regressed against number of vaccine doses routinely given: Is there a biochemical or synergistic toxicity?
Courtesy: The Outliers