Can Live Virus Vaccines Be Transmitted To Others?

Ebola Case Diagnosed in Texas
Ebola Case Diagnosed in Texas

Ebola Case Diagnosed in Texas
Flickr: European Commission DG ECHO Ebola in West Africa

Can Live Virus Vaccines Be Transmitted To Others?

Is our biggest threat…

  • What we know about?
  • What we don’t know about?
  • What we think we know that’s wrong?


“There’s currently a great concern about Ebola, and this provides us an opportunity to investigate some basic vaccine questions. The first person diagnosed with Ebola in the US contracted it while visiting relatives in Africa. He recently died, and transmitted the disease to two nurses at a Dallas community hospital, who took care of him.

Both nurses have recovered and have been declared free of infection. That’s a good sign that tells us Ebola is in fact very survivable if caught and treated early.

But there’s still plenty of fear to go around, and it’s quite clear that this is something multinational drug companies are taking advantage of to fast-track an Ebola vaccine to licensure.

When pharmaceutical companies develop a new experimental drug, there’s the possibility it might kill people. When that happens, the families of those who die have the legal right to sue companies in civil court for damages.

But when drug companies develop bioterrorism and pandemic influenza vaccines, or vaccines that are recommended by the CDC for universal use by children or adults, that is not the case.

Congress in 1986 and the U.S. Supreme Court in 2011 have banned all civil lawsuits against vaccine manufacturers when Americans are injured or die from federally recommended and state mandated vaccines.

After vaccine manufacturers were first indemnified against legal action by legislation Congress passed nearly 30 years ago, a huge incentive was created for the pharmaceutical industry to target vaccines as a market alternative to drugs. Today, new vaccine development is the fastest growing sector in the pharmaceutical industry.

There is tremendous market pressure on drug companies to produce a large number of new vaccines right now and there are experimental vaccines in the pipeline for Ebola, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), enterovirus, West Nile, dengue, cholera, and multiple types of influenza.

The Emerging Risks of Vaccines

Barbara Loe-Fisher is the co-founder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), a non-profit charity dedicated to preventing vaccine injuries and deaths through public education and defending the legal right for everyone to make vaccine choices.

She explains how you can shed live virus in body fluids whether you have a viral infection or have gotten a live attenuated viral vaccine:

“Live attenuated viral vaccines (LAV) that use live viruses try to, in essence, fool your immune system into believing that you’ve come into contact with a real virus, thereby stimulating the antibody response that, theoretically, will protect you,” she says.

“When you get these live viral vaccines, you shed live virus in your body fluids. Just like when you get a viral infection, you shed live virus. That’s how viral infections are transmitted.

Because viruses, unlike bacteria, need a living host… in order to multiply. What these viruses do is they try to disable the immune system and evade immune responses.”

Ebola is a perfect example. Ebola is a very efficient disabler of the innate (cellular) immune system as well as the humoral (learned) immune system. That’s why it’s such an efficient killer. In Africa, the mortality rate is around 50-70 percent. (In sharp contrast, Ebola patients in the US have fared very well. All but one is either recovered or on their way to recovery.)

However, there are still many things we do not fully understand about viruses and how they spread. According to Barbara, Ebola has been detected in semen for 40 days after symptoms begin and during the convalescent period. It’s one of the ways it might be transmitted. As Barbara notes in a brand new report, “The Emerging Risks of Live Virus and Viral Vectored Vaccines:”

“There is an ongoing debate among scientists about where viruses came from and how they evolved and are still evolving.1 One virologist observed that replicating and mutating viruses are the ‘world’s leading source of genetic innovation…’2

Discussing the co-evolution of viruses with humans and other living organisms, another virologist wrote in 2012 that during epidemics viruses evolve. Genetic and environmental co-factors make some individuals more or less likely to die from or survive the infection, producing an increase of the numbers of resistant individuals in the population.”3

One of the dangers of any viral disease outbreak is that people often fail to realize is that you can be an asymptomatic carrier of a viral infection; so while you show no symptoms or only mild symptoms, you may still be able to transmit the virus to others. Even fewer people understand that this is also true for live virus vaccines!

You Can Transmit Live Vaccine Strain Virus After Getting Vaccinated

Smallpox, for example, is transmitted via body fluids. And, when you get a live attenuated smallpox vaccine, which contains live attenuated vaccinia virus, you can develop vaccinia virus (VACV or VV) strain infection, which you can then transmit to others. The same is true for polio and the live oral polio vaccine (OPV)…

Dr. Joe Mercola and his many interviews with experts in a host of fields provide a wealth of value for those who want to know their options to drugs and more drugs.

His site is one of my favorite sources and one of the most visited sites in the world for truthful, non-misleading information on our Health Choices.