Pfizer Inc.'s Prevnar Vaccine is Effective, So Why Do Some Hate It?

Published: Jan 17, 2013

Prevnar, the vaccine against the pneumococcus bacterium, is one of the greatest pharmaceutical innovations of the past two decades. In children who are vaccinated, it eliminated most of the pneumonia and meningitis that bacteria causes. It proved so effective, in fact, that fewer pneumococcal infections occur in people over 65 who have never gotten the vaccine, because the germs are no longer circulating. It has, quite simply, changed the world for the better. “We don’t see significant pneumococcal disease in kids anymore,” says Kenneth Bromberg, chairman of the department of pediatrics at Brooklyn Hospital Center. He remembers when brain and bloodstream infections and deadly pneumonias used to be a regular occurrence, and now they don’t happen at all – all because of the Prevnar vaccine, which is given as one of the standard inoculations of childhood. You wouldn’t know that, though, if you read this piece by Joseph Mercola, an osteopathic doctor who writes and sells supplements through his popular website,, which advertises itself as “The World’s #1 Natural Health Website.” His take on Prevnar? Headline: “Pneumonia vaccine shown to increase the infections it is supposed to prevent.” The piece, which was published in May and recently retweeted again by Mercola, has 2,400 Facebook shares and 55,000 page views. Mercola tells his readers that “Vaccines can actually compromise your immune function” and instructs them to focus on their gut flora – the bacteria that live in their intestines – and their vitamin D levels.

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