The Thoughtful Parent's Guide to Thinking Through Vaccinations: 10 Questions to Ask

The Thoughtful Parent’s Guide to Thinking Through Vaccinations: 10 Questions to Ask

a href=””>Last week we started discussing the controversial topic of vaccination. It has been very encouraging to see the responses it has generated, and to get to discuss a topic so near to our hearts!

We began by taking a look at the Foundational beliefs we can use to anchor and base our “Vaccine-Stance.”  We briefly looked at two Blueprints, one being the CDC’s recommended vaccination schedule, and the other being a more cautionary approach to vaccines.

Today I will present 10 Tools for sifting through all the Blueprint-variations out there and framing your own Family Vaccine Plan. It may look different than mine or your best friend’s- it may even be different for different children. That is better than “ok”– that is wonderful! As a parent, you know your own child, your family history, and your situation better than anyone else. My desire is to empower you to metaphorically “build your own house!”

God is in Control

But before we dive in, I want us to remember one crucial point, the Bedrock upon which any “Foundation” and “Framework” is laid: God is ultimately in control; over our children, their lives, and their health.  How freeing that Truth is!! We can find immense comfort in knowing that He not only has ordained each of their days, but has even determined when and where they would live– all with the goal of bringing them to Himself, the Source of Eternal, Overflowing Joy!

What if this little blog series leads you to research aspects of vaccination that cause you to regret a past course of action? What if you’re now thinking “I vaccinated my first child on the CDC schedule without thinking, and now I’m really wishing I hadn’t”? Praise the Lord, God is still sovereign, and He is full of grace! Even if we did do everything “right” medically with our children (which we won’t)– the Lord could call them Home through any “accident” any day. Our responsibility is as limited as we are. There are so many factors outside of our control; air pollution, traffic, animals, storms… Just as we trust Him with those factors, so we must trust Him with disease and medical decisions.

May we always act in faith, not fear. We might say, “whether you vaccinate, or don’t vaccinate, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God…” (1 Cor 10:31)

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The Tools

10 Questions you can use to decide whether a vaccine is appropriate to your child at this point in his life:

  1. What disease(s) is this vaccine aiming to protect against?
  2. What is the a) probable outcome of this disease, and b) worst-case scenario outcome?
  3. Today, is this disease treatable and/or preventable by other/natural means?
  4. What are possible dangers in this type of vaccine (look up whole list of ingredients)?
  5. What is the a) probable outcome of this vaccine, and b) worst-case scenario outcome?
  6. How much has this vaccine been tested, and are those tests by objective testers?
  7. How effective is the vaccine?
  8. Are there any benefits to gaining immunity to this disease through actual infection, rather than through the vaccine?
  9. What is the rationale behind getting the vaccine? Is this valid/applicable to my situation, particularly my child’s age?
  10. Is the disease generally worse than the vaccine?

Now before you freak out and think “that’s a LOT of questions!,” be assured that at least numbers 1-3, 9, and perhaps 10, should be answerable with a quick (but thorough!) search in a medical handbook, reputable website or even by asking your doctor. Look it up on wikipedia, using the footnoted references to go one level deeper. You may be able to stop there (for example, we felt the varicella, or chicken pox, vaccine was fairly obvious at this point).

Look up vaccine information from the manufacturers (your pediatrician can copy the info off of the vaccine box for you, or at least give you the name of the company and you can look it up on the CDC website) to answer numbers 4 & 5. Numbers 6-8 are the hardest to find answers on, and you may need to enlist a medically knowledgeable source to rightly read study results and findings, but there are GREAT books out there to help with that! You can do this!! (More on the research aspect will come in the final blog post.)

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An Example

Let me go step through one vaccine to show you how one might reason through a vaccine and come to a decision. I’ll do today’s most-used polio vaccine, the IPV (inactivated polio virus).

1. What disease(s) is this vaccine aiming to protect against? poliovirus, causing poliomyelitis.

2. What is the a) probable outcome of this disease? a) 95% of polio infections cause no symptoms at all. In 5% of cases, mild symptoms such as headache, fever & sore throat develop (source). b) worst-case scenario outcome? In 1% of cases the virus enters the central nervous system, targeting motor neurons, leading to muscle weakness & temporary (rarely permanent) paralysis and, in rare cases, to respiratory arrest/death if respiratory support is not available. Most paralysis cases are temporary. (read more here). Polio levels were fairly constant until the 1880’s, when the first polio epidemics began, primarily in cities in the summer months. (source)

3. Today, is this disease treatable and/or preventable by other/natural means? Yes. Because of how this disease is passed on (the fecal-to-oral route, i.e. lack of sewage disposal, contaminated food, unwashed hands etc.), hygiene is a huge preventative measure. If the worst case occurs, proper stimulation of affected limbs, ventilator-aided breathing and therapy (lots of massage) to regain muscle tone is key. A vitamin-rich diet is a huge preventative measure:  vitamin C seems to be a great preventative as well as a factor in how disease affects an infected person. B vitamins seem to be protectors from paralysis. Read a Time Magazine featurette or Dr. Klenner, a hospital doctor from the ’70’s, studies, also here). It also stands to reason that a healthy intestinal immune system full of good bacteria and properly low pH (acidic) is a first-line barrier keeping the virus out of the blood stream (where it causes the worst damage).

4. What are possible dangers in this type of vaccine (look up whole list of ingredients)? Potentially hazardous ingredients: formaldehyde (toxic), monkey kidney tissue,* the antibiotics neomycin & streptomycin(linked to ear damage).

*Let’s talk about that monkey tissue. Diseases which monkeys carry harmlessly are often deadly to humans. One such virus, SV-40 (simain virus 40– “simian” means monkey) was accidentally given to at least 30 million (some estimate as high as 200 million worldwide) children up until 1963 via polio vaccinations. It is still being treated today in the form of numerous cancers, many of which do not respond to standard treatment. (Some evidence has shown that SV-40 has even been passed from vaccinated-infected-mothers to their children in the form of brain tumors!)  While monkey tissues used are now tested for SV-40 and a growing number of other diseases, the threat of viral contamination is still very high, and utterly probable. (Some postulate that HIV is the human version of SIV, which infects 50% of all African green monkeys; the kind most used to culture polio vaccines). Several doctors have warned that only about 2% of existing monkey viruses are known and are tested for, and since you can’t test for something you don’t know is there, there is literally no way to know what is potentially in a batch of vaccines. [The Virus and the Vaccine (2005) is completely devoted to this topic. A book with a summary we found helpful is The Vaccine Guide: Risks and Benefits for Children and Adults.]

5. What is the a) probable outcome of this vaccine? Due to the highly probably contamination of the monkey tissue used to culture the disease, an undetected viral contamination is quite likely, even if the patient has no immediately observed reaction to the shot. b) worst-case scenario outcome? Our child does receive a contaminated vaccine and suffers a life-altering (or death-causing) complication  later in life.

6. How much has this vaccine been tested, and are those tests by objective testers? So far I have found no studies at all, much less those of a vaccinated group contrasted with an unvaccinated control group.

7. How effective is the vaccine? Difficult to say; the definition of “polio” as counted by the CDC has become drastically more restrictive since the development of the vaccine, which further confounds the problem of judging its effectiveness; the numbers are falsely lowered. Now a patient must exhibit the worst possible symptoms in order to be counted as having polio, as opposed to having mild symptoms and being counted (as before).

8. Are there any benefits to gaining immunity to this disease through actual infection, rather than through the vaccine? Not in so many words.

9. What is the rationale behind getting the vaccine? Is this valid/applicable to my situation (especially my child’s age)? Polio is exceedingly rare in the US today, and is both preventable and treatable. Any vaccine is a tax on a still-developing immune system (source here and here) of an infant under 2. Also, our daughter in particular is allergic to certain antibiotics, so we limit her antibiotic exposure as much as possible. Since the likelyhood of our children contracting polio is so low, we would prefer to wait indefinitely on this vaccine.

10. Is the disease generally worse than the vaccine? That’s a tough call, but I think not. While the worst-case scenario is awful, the usual course of polio (especially in a well-nourished individual) is to be completely asymptomatic, while the vaccine with its potential contaminants is a huge unknown. In other words, we prefered the known (low) risk of the wild virus to the unknown (potentially huge) risk of this particular vaccine.

How this “Framed Up” for us: we judged polio, which is rare in the US today and has no symptoms in 95% of people, to be less risky than a vaccine possibly tainted with (a) simian virus(es) (effect/s unknown). We will actively bolster our children’s immune systems- including the gut!- through a nutritionally-rich & varied diet full of vitamins (including C & B as well as probiotics), as well as breastfeeding through 18 months. We have access to good medical care should a serious case of poliomyelitis strike despite our best efforts.

Phew! One vaccine down, just 10 more to go! 🙂 Seriously, though, I hope this has whet your appetite for investigating each vaccine individually. If you would like to see more examples of the “Toolbox” being deployed, you may want to visit my blog post thinking through the varicella vaccine, as well as a brief treatment of all today’s CDC- recommended vaccines.

Tune in next week for an annotated list of resources (on all sides of the vaccine issue), as well as some concluding thoughts on the CDC vaccine schedule as a whole. Hopefully these three posts will inspire and help you to frame your own “Family Vaccine Plan!”

What questions have you asked as you’ve made decisions on vaccinations? What does your decision making process look like?

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  1. Another extremely informative post. I thought I’d get bored half-way through, but nope! Very interesting. I always wondered about the monkey tissue and I didn’t even know about the antibiotics! The “toolbox” is great to have. I’m going to use that, but I’ll need to plan some time for it….

    Also, in addition to your excellent thoughts about God’s sovereignty, I would add that we are not Home yet. This is not Heaven and we cannot make it Heaven. I know I often try to make things as perfect as possible and end up very frustrated when it doesn’t work (or I can’t afford it). We will get there eventually, but I think God often reminds me through these less than perfect situations not to get too comfortable here. I’ve still got a bit of traveling to do before I arrive Home.
    Thanks again for the great post.

  2. Wow! Thank you for this list to do our own research. And I’m seriously freaking out about the monkey tissue thing. Thank you for your very first paragraph about trusting God. God is in control and I’m glad to have all this information available now. 🙂

  3. Thank you for this amunition. I haven’t been able to go into my clinic and feel strong enough in my conviction to actually say no. I wasn’t looking at it from the right perspective. I still feel sick that we’ve had newborn shots, especially Hep B. I’m researching now, but wondering your thoughts on Rotateq (Rotavirus).

    1. @Anna @ DWELLpure, Rotavirus causes diarrhea & vomiting, which can lead to dehydration. Not fun, but definitely treatable (all you need is an IV bag with the worst cases). It can strike more than once, though subsequent infections are usually less severe, but this does show that even naturally-gained immunity takes a while to build up. A weakened version in a vaccine is even worse, immune-wise. This doesn’t seem a disease worth vaxing for to me, especially since the first version, RotaShield, of the vaccine was pulled from the market for causing life-threatening bowel obstructions …and the current version is apparently no better (

  4. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU for this post. We’re expecting our first in August and I just checked out vaccine books from the library yesterday to start doing research. This is an incredible resource for me, and I’m thankful to have something to help my head stop spinning.

  5. I don’t know if this has been stated earlier but a specialist for our daughter’s auto-immune disease told us if you feel you must immunize your child, use the space and delay method. Delay as long as you can, do them one at a time, and space them at least one to two months apart. He feels it is an immune system overload to follow the recommended schedule.

    1. @Dawn, Dawn, how can you find a Dr. that will do them one at a time? I was told about this, but when I checked into it, I was told that they don’t get them as individual vaccines. That it costs too much & no one gets them that way. So i have a hard time trusting a dr when they say it’s just the shot that you want & how do you know that they aren’t really giving them the normal vaccine ? I am expecting a lil’ boy in June so this is really important to me. So excited to see this blog 🙂 God is wonderful in the many ways He works!

      1. @Kortnaa, there are doctors that will/do stock individual vaccines that are available that way. Sadly, some like DTaP, are not available as individual shots. All you can do is call around to find a doc that does.

  6. This is very well written. Similar to how we have made some decisions, but this is better. I’m still not sure of what our long term decisions on things will be (other vaccines that come up later, possibly getting some of them at a later date when she is older, etc) so this will help me make those decisions when the time comes. Great info!

  7. Thanks for this research! I knew a lot of it but there were some facts and sources I hadn’t seen before.

    I also want to mention that vaccines contain aluminum as an adjuvant, which can be very dangerous to people. It’s a toxic heavy metal and used to stimulate the immune system (since the weakened virus wouldn’t adequately do it by itself). That is an important consideration too.

  8. Excellent. Over-the-top excellently done. Thanks so much! Very calm, rational, and though-provoking; done decently and in-order. =)

  9. I love these vaccine posts, and your first section about God being in control is a perfect reminder. If *I* am in control, and *my* decisions will determine life or death for my baby, I will be driven to insanity. God has to be in control: it’s the only way to have peace about any parenting decisions we’ve made! I’d love to see more examples of how you answered these questions about some of the other vaccines!

  10. Thanks for this post. I’m still working through the vaccine issue for our family. I am currious, to know how you face the doctors office battle? I have recently been weighing the importance of well child check ups. Because of the vaccine battle, I’m tempted to just skip the appointments until I’m ready to do more vaccinations. When I was a child we only went to the doctor if we were really sick. I tend to lean on that stance for my family. Currious to hear how others deal with doctors and the well child appointment schedule.

    1. @Rita, when I was pregnant with my son I interviewed dozens of doctors, literally. Some flat out refused to take on patients who didn’t vax according to the AAP schedule. They were crossed off the list. Others said they respected parents right to make informed choices, but their body language and word choice said otherwise. Others were just insulted that *I*, a lowly parent, had the audacity to interview *them*, the venerable doctor. They didn’t make the list either. After 43 rejects (thankfully we live in a pretty populated suburban area) I narrowed it down to three. All three believe in vaccines but respect a parents duty to make informed decisions for their families. The one I chose was the one I felt the best rapport with. As it turns out we have very similar views of health, nutrition and wellness otherwise. We have chosen selective, delayed vaccines for our son and never had a problem with our pediatrician. I found the massive amount of work I did choosing the right doctor for our children has paid off in not having to do battle when the subject of vaccines comes up.

    2. @Rita, Hi, Rita, we decided before my oldest was born that we wouldn’t vaccinate and I quickly learned (through research, not experience…) that well-child checkups are designed solely to facilitate the vaccine schedule. Because of that, my husband and I decided well-child checkups were completely unnecessary. After our babies were born, we returned to the doctor for the one week and six week checkups, but then we never went to any other appointments. We never even scheduled those appointments to begin with.

      I have three kids now (ages 10, 6, and 3), and I have honestly never run up against a very hostile doctor or medical professional. When our kids get very sick or injured, we take them to the doctor or ER (depending on what day/time it is 🙂 ). Between the three of them, we’ve had two hospital stays, three ER visits, one visit with a specialist, numerous x-rays, etc etc. When I’m asked that invariable question, “Are his immunizations up to date?” I always answer simply, “We don’t vaccinate.” There might be a little pause, but typically the dr or nurse doesn’t balk at all. I would encourage you not to feel nervous about your decision (whatever you end up deciding). Speak with confidence and know why have chosen the path that you have.

      Years ago, a pediatrician tried to argue with me a little bit about it. I just said politely, “Based on my research, I disagree with you.” She let the issue go (they can’t have you arrested!), and we picked another doctor.

      I think that not vaccinating or choosing a delayed scheduled is becoming so much more common that doctors/nurses are less likely to be hostile than they may have been 15 or 20 years ago.

    3. @Rita,

      We don’t go to all of the well child checkups for reasons mentioned earlier. My Dr ‘respects’ my right to decide but I need to sign a form every time I go to say I understand the risks and explain my reasoning (too many risks!).
      Also, we plan to send our kids to a Christian school and we will need to sign a form for the state giving reasons for not vaccinating for the first couple of years, the school is OK with it.

    4. @Rita, I disagree that well-child checkups are purely to facilitate vaccination; good pediatricians make them about much more than that. Our pediatrician, e.g., spends a good 30-45 minutes just talking with us in the exam room. It’s our chance to talk in-depth with him about any questions or concerns we have, and he’s been a great resource for all kinds of information (breastfeeding support, diet, sleep habits, etc.). Since our daughter has had chronic respiratory problems since infancy, checkups have also been key to comprehensive management of her condition.

      1. @Kathryn, I wish this were true at our doctor’s but they clearly stated it was a vaccination situation. They push strep tests and do them before they even know your symptoms where we go. Unfortunately they didn’t used to be like this.

  11. This is excellent and I fully agree with it, but what do you have to do when sending your children to school without the vaccines? I don’t have kids yet but I work with schools and I know a lot of states have required vaccines before the kids can start school. Can you opt out? Is that a state by state issue? Thanks!

    1. @Yvonne,
      I only know for California but I’m pretty sure many other states are the same…
      In Calif. schools each student’s file must have a health card. These are usually blue but a lot of schools just photo copy. This is not to help have sufficient copies, this is to avoid parents seeing that on the flip side of the blue card is an exemption form. I have several friends who have used this option. The worse case scenario is that your kids are removed from school if there is an outbreak of any of the vaccinated-for diseases (which, if their vacs are working, how come there is an outbreak?).

  12. I somehow cannot stop myself from chiming in on this, even though I feel that my opinions are not what anyone wants to hear.

    I feel that the answers to many of the questions were misleading or false.

    Question 2: You point out that the odds of contracting neurologic symptoms with polio is low; however, 1% of people do have neurologic outcomes, and while many of these symptoms do improve, often not all symptoms resolve and people are left with lifelong difficulties associated with their disease. One percent is one in a hundred. That’s not a low incidence. In comparison, the oral polio vaccine (No longer used in this country) was discontinued because the risk of contracting polio from the vaccine itself was 1 in 8 MILLION and this was considered an unacceptably high risk. And yes, the disease is preventable with good sanitation and relying on herd immunity and the fact that the disease has been nearly eliminated world wide; but should a person contract the disease, there is still little to do to treat the disease other than supportive care.

    Question 3 and 4: I am just doing a quick scan of info here, but the formaldehyde resideual in the vaccine is approximately the same as in ONE cigarette. Obviously, your children are exposed to more than this in a short period of time from ambient means, car exhaust etc. Your concern over the monkey kidney cells is downright wrong. That concern was from exposure from 1958 to 1963 and with the OPV vaccine (no longer used) and has not been known to occur since. Current vaccines are grown in human cells and not monkey kidney cells. It is wild speculation on your part that it is highly likely that the current vaccine is contaminated with simian viruses. In fact, it is highly unlikely that it is contaminated.

    Question 5 and 6: the probable outcome of the vaccine – you conclude that it is a high risk vaccine with no human trials. However, this vaccine has been given around the world for decades. The current IPV vaccines were approved in the late 80s and have been used for over 20 years domestically and internationally. Prior OPV vaccines are still being used internationally and have come close to eliminating the disease entirely. In fact, the UN had a countdown to irradication, but there have been setbacks in Africa due to unrest. We have vast amount of data going back decades to the original vaccines in the 50s which our parents received and there is no observable problems with any of the vaccines long term and the number of people treated is in the billions – literally. For you to speculate at long term risk of death is just fear mongering. If you’re not concerned that your child will contract the illness and the possible 1% chance of the after effects of the disease, then why are you so concerned over a much less documented, imaginary concern about possible effects of this vaccine decades from now that has never even been documented?

    Question 8: Your answer implies that there is benefit to contracting the illness verses not. Although there is nothing to support this. This is just your feeling on the topic and speculation.

    Question 9: I agree, the likelihood of your child contracting polio is low, largely because immunization rates are so high and it is has been effectively eliminated in the US. Not vaccinating is of almost no risk unless a certain level of people don’t vaccinate and polio is reintroduced in the US through international travel and causes an outbreak. Also, highly unlikely. However, your child’s reaction to antibiotics has nothing to do with the vaccine. Giving it to her or not does not change her exposure to these. Polio is a virus and antibiotics attack bacteria.

    Question 10: The disease is much worse than the vaccine. The risks you stated of the vaccine are small and admittedly, the risk of contracting polio here is almost non-existent. So I suppose that makes the risk about even. But let us not kid ourselves, people lined up, gratefully, to receive this vaccine the moment it became available and have around the world. Having seen children with polio in other countries , I can tell you that the disease is FAR worse than the vaccine. However, the risks in our setting may be on par – minute no matter whether you choose to vaccinate or not.

    1. @Christine., Just wanted to point out that a simple Google search for the ingredients of IPV pulls up a table by the CDC that states that monkey kidney tissue IS still included in the ingredients (as of March 2010).

    2. @Christine.,
      Very good points Christine.
      I would just like to point out one thing.
      you wrote : “However, your child’s reaction to antibiotics has nothing to do with the vaccine….. Polio is a virus and antibiotics attack bacteria.”
      You are right that antibiotics attack bacteria but her child is allergic to some antibiotics and antibiotics are an ingredient in the vaccine. So if her child is allergic to an ingredient in the vaccine, why would she give it to her?

    3. @Christine., Hi Christine– of COURSE your comments are welcome! We may have different opinions on this particular vaccine, or all vaccines, and that is ok! It’s all about risk assessment– you may decide the risk of the vaccine is worth it for your child. I showed how I thought through the disease; your own decision can be different. Let me try to answer your points, though– they deserve an answer:
      – while neurological effects of polio do occur up to 1% of the time, that includes ALL neurological symptoms; muscle weakness, and temporary paralysis being the most common symptoms (50% recover completely), with lasting effects being more rare (25% with slight residual weakness, 25% with permanent disability- out of 400, only 2 would have any lasting damage at all). Of course, as my husband put it, who would want our daughter to have the worst case of polio? But we don’t just vaccinate our kids for every potentially serious disease. Compare polio to cholera, which has a mortality rate of 50-60% if untreated and around 1% if treated (more deadly than polio). It once ravaged the US, yet is no longer a threat here, and never has been on our vaccine campaigns (see for a quick overview).

      -I don’t mean to imply that the vaccine is a high-risk untested vaccine, but rather that I have not been able to locate actual tests of its (without any compounding other vaccines) safety and efficacy. All safety tests are “unpublished data available from Sanofi Pasteur.” The manufacturer does mention that deaths & Guillain-Barre Syndrome have been associated with the vaccine but that no causal relationship has been established. In the short term, though you are right in saying that, on its own, the IPV seems a fairly “safe” vaccine. The vaccine does seem good at causing antibodies to be produced, indicating at least short-term immunity against polio is achieved fairly consistently through the vaccine. (
      -Vaccine efficacy is what is hardest to actually determine. Before the polio vaccine was introduced, polio in the US had already declined by 47% percent (in England it had already declined by 55%). Countries who did not use the vaccine saw the end of their own epidemics at the same time that ours ended. (see graphs here:; similarly in Australia- Most confusing though is the change in polio definitions that came when the vaccine was introduced. Previously, a patient had only to exhibit paralytic symptoms for 24 hrs and no lab tests were done to distinguish it from aseptic/viral meningitis or coxsackie virus; once the vaccine was introduced, a patient has to have symptoms for 60 days with residual paralysis tested twice during the disease, and the other two diseases are reported separately (though they were counted as “polio” before) (source: statistician Dr. Bernard Greenberg, who submitted testimony to Congress in 1960– I appreciate this man’s digging to access the original source, which is very difficult to find

      – as far as the effects of SV-40 go, I encourage you to do your own reading on that. According to “Make an Informed Vaccine Decision for the Health of Your Child,” by Mayer Eisenstein, “62 papers from 30 labs around the world have reported SV-40 in human tissues and tumors.'” (p.22) It’s a controversial subject, for sure, so dive in!

      I hope this helps!

  13. good article. i think often we make decisions for/against vaccinations as a result of fear. thanks for bringing up the truth that our God is in control ultimately. whether or not we choose to vaccinate, we should entrust our kids to God. 🙂

  14. I am about half way through the Sears vaccine book and really liking the information. His goal is to provide more information. He is great at finding out how the different brands of vaccines are made and highlighting which ingredients people have concerns about and what they are. He also has information about traveling and how that plays in to each vaccine decision.

  15. Thank-you for your thoughtful questions to ask concerning vaccines.I think the age when we give vaccines is important.How developed is your child’s immune
    system ?Are you breastfeeding ? Is your child mostly at home or do you use daycare,and/or participate in many activities outside the home ?While polio is not in the news a lot today,the effects of polio (during childhood )remain for life in those who contracted it. For instance my father-in -law has suffered from painful leg tremors nightly since his forties (had polio at age 20 ).Another lady in town has had a pronounced limp as a result of the disease.Do consider lasting outcomes of contracting the disease Some diseases really are worth eradicating
    others (such as chicken pox )probably aren’t.

  16. Wow. What a thorough and informative post! Thanks Christina.

    These are certainly tough decisions for a lot of people. I love how you encourage us to think through it and ask questions. With my first child I didn’t even know to ask questions. But I’ve learned a lot since then 🙂

    1. The thing about VAERS is that none of the claims are investigated and anyone can report a symptom without having to prove it was caused by the vaccine. VAERS is simply a place for people to report what they think was caused by a vaccine. The reason the CDC finds this reporting system helpful is that if they notice a pattern of symptoms from a particular kind of vaccine or perhaps a specific batch of a vaccine, they are better able to identify a potential problem. But just because someone reports that they had seizures following a vaccine doesn’t mean the seizures were caused by the vaccine, nor does it mean the person is being truthful about the fact that they even had the seizures in the first place. Doctors simply report what their patients tell them. Furthermore, what many people fail to understand is that correlation does not equal causation. This isn’t to say that vaccines have never caused anyone discomfort or even allergic reactions. But most children experience only mild discomfort after a vaccine. As for autism, there has never been a proven link between the disorder and vaccines. But this isn’t for lack of investigation. In fact, many studies (double and triple blind) have been conducted on this topic and none have ever produced any results that show a link between autism and vaccines. The chief characteristic which distinguishes a scientific method of inquiry from other methods of acquiring knowledge is that scientists seek to let reality speak for itself, supporting a theory when a theory’s predictions are confirmed and challenging a theory when its predictions prove false. The common thread I see among folks in the anti-vaccine community is the need to seek out information (no matter how dubious the source) that confirms what they already believe, rather than investigating a question through experimentation and letting the results speak for themselves. The reason we know the earth is not flat, the reason we no longer engage in bloodletting, the reason we have been able to eradicate smallpox from this planet is because of the scientific method. Beliefs are not the same as facts.

  17. I am really enjoying this series since it is a subject so near to my heart. One question I would add to your list of 10, which ties into number 4:

    What adverse reactions have been reported about this vaccine?

    You can easily find that info by searching the VAERS database ( Doctors often tell us that reactions are extremely rare. But a quick look at VAERS reveals quite another story.

  18. I am nearing the birth of my 5th child. I vaccinated my 1st who is now 10 and then with my 2nd I began to research the topic which was a very difficult thing to do at the time. There was not any books that I could find with just facts. I stuck with research by talking to people and reading books, because I did not feel that the internet would provide me with information that was accurate or factual. I gave my 2nd (who is almost 8 now)2 different shots and then through further research I decided to not vaccinated my other children. My 2nd child has had many learning and behavior disorders along with speech delay and I believe that the shots I gave him did play a role in these issues. He may have been genetically predisposed, but the overload of his body from the shots was just too much. Some people bodies just can’t cleanse the out the toxins and this causes many problems in the body and brain. He was speaking and then after the shots could not speak any more and only grunted and drooled all the time. His body has extremely high levels of metals and after going through his first detox he was acting different and speaking very well. He is going through this process still. I do not blame vaccinations for this only, it is a combination of many toxins from our food and enviroment. The truth is many of us would feel better if it were not for these things. When I first started researching I felt very, very confused and even fearful at times, but I continued to give it the God and ask Him to direct me and give me wisdom. After all He wants the best for my children more than I do. God has done that for me as I researched this for almost 8 years. With my 2nd I asked Doctors many questions and now years later I am seeing the wisdom that I got and how the doctors were wrong in the things they told me. For example the chicken pox vaccine…. I asked about how this vaccine would work long term, because it is much safer the get this when we are children and can be deadly to adults. The answer was we know this vaccine is very safe and effective and it will last. My observation… They now give many booster shots for the chickenpox vaccine I think it is every 5-10 years and they cdc reports it to be only 44% effective. A natural immunity to chickenpox helps prevent shingles later in life. Since the vaccine shingles has skyrocketed and there is now a shingles vaccine. One way that kept the elderly from getting shingles was there constant exposure to children who had the chickenpox and now that is not the case. One of the absolute best books I have read on this subject is Vaccine Safety Manual by: Neil Z. Miller

  19. Before you sign waivers, read this. It has some very good information I had never come across. You might be signing that you agree you are doing your child harm by refusing vaccines. Always read every part and cross out stuff you don’t agree with before signing.
    ex. I understand the risks of not vaccinating. <> and reads better don’t you think?

    1. @S.H., Some waivers do have this language, and if so, yes, definitely cross it out!! Or bring in your own acceptable form and sign that instead (there are ones floating around the internet). Not all of them have this, though.

    2. Thank you for providing the link, S.H. My son’s IEP meeting is tomorrow (he started preschool this last week), and I’m sure the school will ask me to sign a vaccination waiver. Now I can provide my own form that says exactly what I want it to say and no more. Ü

  20. Hi Christine! I loved reading through both of your posts about vaccination. We are an older family who fully vaccinated our biological children ages 21 – 12, simply because we didn’t know any better. But now that we have adopted 3 children w/Down syndrome and other accompanying health issues, we are trying to do our research and do what is best for our kids’ health.

    Our 8 yr old son came to us at 13 months of age, so he had already received quite a few immunizations. Even after placement we were forced by his adoption agency to immunize him according to schedule. At 13 months he was babbling appropriately for his developmental age, but after receiving his MMR vaccine at 15 months his speech began to regress to the point that he is almost completely non-verbal today and has to use an augmentative communication device and sign language to communicate. He exhibits some autistic-like behaviors, yet we are convinced he doesn’t have autism, per se.

    Moving on to our next little guy, who will be 4 in April and also has Celiac disease. We adopted him at the age of 7 weeks, so he had already received all shots recommended up to that point. Thankfully we used a new agency who didn’t require us to immunize him, so we decided to wait on any further shots until he was at least 2 and also be very selective in which immunizations we would give him. But right around the age of 2 he was diagnosed with Celiac disease, and we were concerned that his immune system might not be able to handle being inundated with any more vaccines. We finally gave him one DT shot and one dose of the Polio vaccine and left it at that. We enrolled him in public school preschool this week and they knew upfront that he is nowhere near fully vaccinated. His enrollment form asked for his vaccination records, but we haven’t sent anything yet, nor did they ask us to fill out a religious / medical exemption form. I’m a little concerned about it, but not enough to pull him out of school.

    Our last child was adopted when she was 5 days old directly from the hospital, so we’ve had a lot more control over what shots she has received, other than one HepB shot she received at birth per her birth parents’ wishes. She is now 2.5 and received one DTaP dose (our health dept. refused to purchase a T or DT version for her), and one dose of the Polio vaccine when she turned 1.

    With our last two not being fully immunized we have been hassled incessantly by the kids’ doctor, who is 100% in favor of immunizing every child by the CDC schedule, no matter what other health issues they might have. Every single time I take them in for well-child visits, he lectures me for 10-15 minutes about immunizations and makes me feel like an abusive mother for choosing to selectively immunize. I’ve told him numerous times how we feel, yet he still continues to push his fear-mongering agenda. We would dearly love to change docs, but we live in a small town (6,500) with only 1 family practice, so we would have to travel at least 50 miles to find a more accommodating doctor. The good thing is that our doc is so busy that he literally never sees the kids when they’re sick, his PA sees them. Thankfully she leaves us alone and doesn’t hassle us over the immunization issue.

    Anyway…all of the previous was just background info…here’s my question. When I read your “about me” info on your blog I noticed that you have Celiac disease. Do you know, or have you found any research that demonstrates an increased incidence of adverse reactions in children w/Celiac disease? Are there any ingredients in today’s immunizations that would specifically need to be avoided because they have the potential to cause increased damage to the child’s intestines? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the immunization issue as it pertains to a child w/Celiac so I can be informed the next time we visit the doctor.

    1. @Patrice, As Celiac disease is full-blown auto-immune disease, you can be sure that some aspect of your son’s immune system is already a bit over-zealous. Vaccines– especially multiple vaccines given at once– over-stimulate the immune system particularly in the brain, causing inflammation and potentially life-threatening conditions. See Dr. Blaylock’s article on this here:…/Vaccines%20and%20autism.pdf
      Actually, multiple or combination vaccines can be linked to Celiac disease as well as other auto-immune disorders. Did your son have any sign of being a Celiac before his vaccines? If not, it could well be a vaccine reaction. See this website-
      I would be extremely reluctant to expose an individual with a known-auto-immune disorder to anything that is known to over-stimulate the immune system, and even precipitate auto-immune disorders. If you tie your son’s Celiac disease to a vaccine, then I would DEFINITELY hold off on all vaccines unless absolutely necessary. I hope that helps!

      1. Thank you for your comments, Christina! I will definitely check out the websites you recommended. I couldn’t get the first link to work so I googled it but couldn’t find the exact page. Would you mind reposting the correct link?

        ~Thanks! Ü

    1. @Patrice, PS- I encourage you to check out the page, as they have a lot of resources for treating and helping children with autism.

  21. I will try to be short cuz there are a lot of comments to read here!

    26 years ago, I had never heard of people not vaccinating. It didn’t matter though.
    When it came time for my first child to get his first vaccination, I went to the health dept. because we were on government medical and they required it (he was 6 months by then). The whole time I was in the waiting room I felt like I was going to throw up. I wanted to run away as fast as I could. I was appalled that I had to sign an “I understand the *small* risks” that weren’t small at all. After his shot, I cried all the way home. My baby didn’t even whimper… up until that point, he had never ridden in a car and *not* cried so it scared me. Over the next 3-4 days he quit saying “Mama”, needed more help to sit up, stared into space without noticing people walking by, and rarely smiled. In short, he wasn’t the same baby boy.
    I shared with my husband my feelings at the health clinic and asked was I just a “chicken mommy afraid to for my baby a have little discomforted by a poke” as the nurse had said. Hub didn’t think that was the case; he felt the Holy Spirit was urging me. We prayed seriously for days and came to the conclusion that we would at least wait until our kids were 5 before we vaccinated.
    We were introduced to homeschool the very week I had set up to start his vaccination. We didn’t choose homeschooling to avoid the vacs, it was just right for us for a myriad of other reasons and the bonus was that we didn’t have to vacs.
    Since that time, God has brought into my path unsought-for literature that confirmed our decision. Even when I didn’t know I needed direction, God caused me to make the right choices! Turns out, those with a predisposition to allergies (because of family history) are at a much higher risk – we have severe allergies on both sides of the family.
    Out of 4 boys, we have only gotten that first vac on purpose. #2 son got DPT through deception – he needed a tetanus shot and the ER nurse went across the street and got the DPT and gave it without our consent! We lived in heavily populated (with a high population of unimmunized illegals) Southern California and never got any of those “dreaded” diseases.

  22. As a mother of 2 autistic sons, I appreciate the well-meaning thought behind this article, however, I can now see so many hereditary tendencies from both sides which were obviously multiplied in my children, so I doubt that vaccinations had anything to do with that. I think that people should realize that many of these substances they fear are often taken or consumed from other sources anyway. Do you drink aluminum canned sodas? Do you cook with aluminum cookware? I don’t but if you do, why are you worried about the tiny amount of aluminum from the vaccine? How about giving your child antibiotics when they are sick? Do you eat meat from the store? You probably get more antibiotics from the store in the form of meat and milk than from the vaccine.

    However, I will agree that any products contaminated by monkey tissue should certainly be avoided, and I had no idea that this problem existed. It is eye-opening. I think we should all approach this issue with caution, but also with common-sense. Unfortunately, we have all been vaccinated, so it is too late for us to decide.

    1. @Donna Perygin, Heredity probably certainly plays a part in autism, just as it does in every single chronic known to man; think of diabetes, glaucoma, heart disease, hypertension… But we also know that all diseases have an environmental component, too. My father, for instance, is the only one of his siblings to be in excellent physical shape– running the Boston marathon at age 49, and watching what he eats– he is also the only one of his entire family to be completely medication-free, while his parents and siblings (even his brother who is 13 years younger than he is) all are on medication for high blood pressure (hypertension). His circulatory system is extremely healthy despite his genetic pre-disposition to be faulty, because of how he has treated it for the past 50 years. The same can be true of any disease. While good genes can save a person with bad habits (not everyone who smokes gets lung cancer), good habits can also save a person with bad genes.

      All that to say… those with hereditary conditions in their family, whether they be autism or diabetes, should use even more caution in stressing their bodies, particularly those systems which are at risk (someone with family kidney problems might want to avoid caffeine, for instance). Personally, I have autism on both sides of my family (this in part triggered my desire to research vaccines and the questioned link to autism), and after reading of the effects an aggressive vaccine schedule has on a developing brain (swelling leading to extensive damage resulting in autism and more), I resolved to treat our genetically-predisposed children with even more care as far as their neurological systems were concerned. I’ll write more about this in my final post, but we vaccinate only one vaccine at a time, when our child is in good health and has been for at least two weeks, and allow 3 months of healing between each vaccine, as well as delaying all vaccines until 9 months or older.

      1. Autism is not a disease. It’s classified as a disorder. Diabetes is an actual disease wherein the pancreas do not produce enough insulin and, in many cases, insulin is injected into the diabetic person’s body in order to keep that person alive. I find it disheartening and frightening that many otherwise intelligent people don’t understand the actual science of vaccinations. To call the CDC’s vaccine schedule “aggressive” shows a lack of understanding about how vaccines work, why they’re important, and how the human immune system functions.

  23. Thank you so much for posting this article! I have anxiously shared it whenever I can to other moms looking for information on this issue. We don’t vaccinate at all (our kids are 2 1/2 and 1) but we may get the tetanus shot when they are a little older. Posts like this are encouraging too, to know that other moms are doing the same things I am and I’m not indeed “crazy” as some health professionals tell me I am. 🙂

  24. One more thing for the toolbox is considering how not vaccinating contributes to the spread of a disease.

    Consider measles. It kills “only” 3 in 1000 patients. But, if more people are unvaccinated, then it is more likely to spread. If there’s an isolated case among many vaccinated people because someone was vaccinated, but the immunity faded or didn’t take, then there’s roughly a 3 in 1000 chance of having a death (in the U.S.). On the other hand, if too many people are unvaccinated, then perhaps it spreads to a couple more people and a couple more from each of those, etc, to maybe a dozen cases (some of which could be children too young to receive the vaccination even if the parents were planning on it.) Then the odds of at least one death are about 3.5%.

    “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

    1. Hearing anything like that is unsettling for sure! My understanding though is that MANY of the people, even children, who are vaccinated for measles still contract it. I have not done much research on that particular illness but I have heard that from more than one reliable source (including a family doctor). For instance, in New York state there was a rather large outbreak a few years ago. I believe that over 1,000 children were ill. I don’t know if there were any deaths. None, that I heard of. But New York has some of the strictest laws about vaccines. I believe it is mandatory and there are very few outs (unlike in Texas where there is quite a bit of flexibility). So, my assumption (and it is assumption so I may be speaking out of turn becuase I have not researched it specifically) is that most if not all of these kids were vaccinated and yet they still contracted it and spread to others who were vaccinated. That is part of the reason that this whole debate is so difficult to me. There are definite risks either way. I definitely believe that doing your research and then bathing it in prayer is the only way for anyone to go!

  25. Hi! This is such an interesting and difficult topic. I have done quite a bit of research on it over the last several years for my first daughter. Now I have a second daughter who is 8 months old and I am researching again. My biggest struggle is the pertussis vaccine. I gave the DTaP to my oldest but now am not sure I want to do it for my second. The main reason I give it is because I do want the tetanus shot and my doc (who is not a fan of most vaccines) said that it was not possible to get the mercury- free vaccine alone but that I had to do the set to do so. I was very apprehensive bc I wanted to avoid the Pertussis portion but he said he really feels that it is safe. Also, I did it to protect the new baby. We are hoping to have a third in the future and so I want that baby to be protected as well. BUT according to CDC records, just as many vaccinated children contract as do unvaccinated. Any wisdom?!!!

    Also, I was reading this blog last week and somewhere in one of these articles was a list of different books (pro and con vaccines). I can’t seem to find it now though. Where would I find that list?!

    I LOVE this blog and thank you for all the time you put into it! It is also interesting to read all these wonderful comments. God bless!


    1. Ok not sure where my last reply went. Let’s try again. First off, sorry it’s taken so long to answer you. The link I think you want (for recommended reading) is

      As far as pertussis goes, I completely understand wanting the tetanus without the others. I’m in the same boat. I think we are going to delay the vaccine until age 2 and then get the tetanus shot alone. Until then you can always get a tetanus or tetanus immunoglobulin shot if you get an injury where tetanus is a risk (stepping on a nail, etc). Honestly it is pretty rare for a child under 2 to be exposed to that unless you live on a farm.

      The pertussis vaccine is giving such a poor showing right now that I have little faith it offers any protection against whooping cough that breastfeeding, cod liver oil and a balanced diet wouldn’t. This blog post has some good links you can read-

      Despite extremely high numbers of kids being vaccinated (more % than ever!) kids are getting whooping cough in record numbers. Not a good sign of vaccine efficacy.

      Does that help?


  26. Thank you so much for such an educated post! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this! This is a topic I still struggle with and my twins will be 4 in April! Thank you, again, for sharing. SOOO important~
    Blessings and may god bless you in this journey

  27. I’m interested to know about the non-medical repercussions of not following the doctor’s recommended vaccine protocol. What if your children will be attending school instead of homeschooling? I was given a whole series of vaccines before college. What about obtaining jobs in the medical profession (my sister is a nurse, and they are required to have all sorts of vaccines to keep their jobs). Will this have an effect on my health insurance rates, or even result in the loss of coverage?

    I am fully supportive of making my own decisions for the sake of my child’s health and my personal beliefs – but would hate to put other things like school, health insurance and possible careers in jeopardy.

    1. @Amanda Z, I also wonder vaccinations will become requirements at some point for our children, but my feeling about it is that they can always take the vaccinations when needed down the road. You can get all of your vaccines as an adult, if that’s what was required. And, as an older teen or an adult, your body is potentially much more able to handle the onslaught than a babies or toddlers body is, in my opinion, since it is no longer rapidly developing (brain, growth, immune system, etc.). I don’t think we’ll be putting that aspect of our children’s futures in jeopardy.

    2. I imagine that different states and medical facilities have different laws/rules, but in Arkansas any child can attend public school regardless of vaccinations received BUT the parents MUST go through a process of filling out a waiver related to refusing vaccinations.
      Also, different medical facilities have different rules. One place I’ve worked required me to get a flu shot or lose my job. Another place took my blood and checked my vaccination status and informed me that I needed several vaccinations updated. They offered the vaccinations for free but they did not force me to take them.

  28. Thank you again for this post. I love your “God is in Control” intro because everything you wrote is so important for parents to realize, especially if we’ve made decisions in the past that we would choose to do differently now.

  29. This is fantastic! Thank you so much for your thought provoking questions and insights. I am a pediatric nurse and was taught to blindly accept and enforce the CDC immunization schedule, but the longer I work, the more concerned I get. I’ve never had a non-vaccinated patient in the hospital because they got a disease that they “should have” been vaccinated for, but I have definitely had multiple patients who suffered adverse effects from a vaccination.
    Thanks for your post and I look forward to reading more!

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