The Thoughtful Parent’s Guide to Thinking Through Vaccinations
It’s one of the big questions new parents face today, once you’ve gotten past “were you trying to get pregnant?” (which I still can’t believe people ask…) and the less invasive “did you do it all-natural?” “are you going to breast-feed?” and even “are you using cloth-diapers?” The question with a capital Q seems to be “are you going to vaccinate?”
The stakes are pretty high, or so both sides claim. Everyone says my child’s life is at risk if I don’t do what they recommend. What’s a mom to do?? Read, read, and read!! I got books (lots of them) and I looked up their source articles, and then accessed as many of those articles as I could. I pulled out my old file on “diet and disability” from one of my Education classes (back when I had access to all those medical journals through my university library), because I remembered it talked a lot about the humoral immune system and the way that the gut, immune system, and brain/neurological systems were related. Desiring a balanced view (you won’t learn if you only read people you already agree with), I tried to read articles and books on both “sides” of the issue. I learned a LOT!!
My goal in this post is to bring you along with me as I have wrestled through asking questions about childhood vaccinations. The thought processes I’ve come to use and the questions I’ve come up with expand beyond just this one issue, and into every medical procedure and practice.
My desire is to serve you and equip you to become the most informed, critically-thinking guardian of your child’s health that you can be! I’ll try to organize all the information I’ve gathered like a house: first, I’ll lay the “Foundation“– 5 base-level facts that “ground” the whole thing. Then, I’ll present “Two Blueprints”– arguments both for and against the American CDC’s vaccine schedule. As parents, our job is to create a vaccine blueprint that is the best fit for each of our children. To help with that, I’ll lastly present “My Toolbox”–– 10 questions I have found useful for evaluating each vaccine I come across.
We Are Responsible
While of course I would be thrilled if I “convinced you” of my point of view, I feel like a sucess if you are inspired to research this on your own!! If you start asking questions, digging around, reading studies and books by people smarter than me (doctors, public health specialists, immunologists, naturopaths, etc.), and come to a different conclusion than I have, that’s still great!!! My goal is to help you learn to think!!
Medical decisions can be so intimidating, especially since we feel so much is at stake– our kids’ health!– but we are not helpless, forced to blindly depend on even a brilliant guide. To a certain extent, we can think things through and come to our own conclusions. WE are responsible for our children’s health.
Whatever conclusion you come to, if you come to it after critical, intentional thinking and looking from both sides of the issue (and not neglecting prayer for wisdom and trust in God’s sovereignty!), I applaud you! THAT is the kind of parent we are called to be!
Image by audiinsperation
Five base-line truths to keep in mind (if you disagree with any of these, I encourage you to go “back to the drawing board” and ask yourself why before you try and go on reading):
- God has created our bodies to heal themselves, living in dominion over all creatures (including microscopic ones) yet not living isolated from all creatures. In other words, we don’t “exercise dominion” by killing everything within a 10 mile radius from us.
- This world is fallen, and man has a battle to survive in front of him– sickness and pain is a part of that. Neither vaccination nor lack of it is risk-free; both have risks. Additionally, part of our dominion now includes shaping our environment (one example- agriculture instead of tending an already-planted, perfectly yielding Garden of Eden).
- The body is a whole with many sub-systems, but no part is independent from the whole. We can’t treat one aspect (say, the immune system) and expect to see no effects elsewhere (perhaps in the neurological system or in the digestive system). Our allopathic (Western) medical system is beginning to see that the holistic (Eastern) medical approaches at least have this right.
- Vaccines are drugs and should be thought of as such. They come with their own side-effects, risks, and imperfections, just like any other medicine. In each vaccine is not only a weakened form of a disease, but “adjuvants”– preservatives and metals that kick-start the immune reaction. They are developed at great cost by drug companies and are sold by drug salesmen.
- Individual families & children have different needs; this doesn’t need to be an “all-or-nothing” debate. While some, such as the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advocate an “all!!” stance, and many who question the germ theory behind vaccines advocate a “nothing!” stance, the majority of vaccine-questioners fall along a middle-of-the-road spectrum; choosing different vaccines at different paces as is appropriate to their situations or even individual situations in their families.
Blueprint A: in favor of the CDC mass-vaccination schedule:
— Childhood diseases are harmful to the population and need to be avoided, and eventually eliminated.
— Vaccines are a way to stimulate the immune system into fighting diseases by giving the body a weaker version of the real thing. The body produces antibodies which later will be used to fight the full-blown disease, should it ever come around. (Though vaccines are not 100% effective and never technically claim to be, all vaccine-promoting literature implies that they are 100% effective and never mentions future infection as a possibility.)
— Vaccines are in essence a little bit of pain now for big payoff of prevention later.
–Vaccines have rid the West of dangerous diseases, and there would be mass outbreaks if we stopped them. Everyone is responsible to get vaccinated in order to protect our neighbors.
— There is minimal to no danger at all in vaccines, no matter how many are given at once or at what age. They will only prepare the body to fight future disease, and in the rare case that the disease is actually contracted from the shot (in live-virus vaccines), then this isn’t nearly as bad as the disease itself would have been.
–Shots do not have any measured long-term negative effects other than in the rare cases where children react allergically (Guillain-Barre Syndrome, for instance). These are rare and isolated cases.
Image by wscullin
Blueprint B: cautionary arguments against the American CDC vaccine schedule, coming from all sorts of aspects:
–Childhood diseases aren’t pleasant, but may not be all that bad, because they trigger the body’s ability to heal. Most childhood diseases confer life-long immunity once overcome.
— The toxic ingredients in vaccines (adjuvants, etc– mercury, formaldehyde, other metals) are a concern, especially since they seem to have a cumulative effect. (Dr. Sears takes this position in his book The Vaccine Book). Egg, soy, MSG, antibiotics and other common allergens pose special risks for children with those allergies in the family.
— Morally questionable vaccine ingredients: The line WI-38 (in the rubella component of the MMR) was begun in lung cells obtained from an aborted baby girl, for instance.
— Children are each different, so a one-size-fits-all approach to vaccination is inappropriate, even potentially deadly. We are first responsible for our own health and our children’s, not the population at large’s.
–Hygiene, clean water, and nourishing food have been responsible for the decline in infectious diseases, before and independently from the advent of vaccination campaigns. See an article on this topic.
–Over-stimulation of the immature & still-developing immune system of an infant/toddler under 2: Babies’ immune systems are stuck in a different mode (Th2 mode) than adults’ to keep them from being targeted as an outsider by their mother while in the womb. During infancy they can switch to the adult Th1 mode if they get a recurrent infection, but they don’t switch to full Th1 until toddler-hood. Vaccines given while the baby is still in Th2 mode cause the Th2 mode to persist longer than it should, leaving them at higher risk of auto-immune diseases (such as food allergies), which in turn are linked with neurological disorders (such as autism). Age is a factor in how a person will react to a vaccine. See Dr. Baylock’s article on this topic.
–Long-term effects: There is a huge increase (quadrupled!) in auto-immune diseases (ADHD, asthma, allergies, ASD (autism-spectrum-disorder), Type 1 diabetes) in Western culture, and we don’t know why. Mandated vaccines on an aggressive schedule (beginning before birth if the mother gets a flu shot while pregnant) is a huge new factor which must be considered as a variable that could have contributed to or even caused this increase. (An auto-immune disorder basically means that a person’s immune system attacks what it shouldn’t; it thinks normal things are invaders and triggers an immune response to fight them.)
— Link between childhood disease and future immunity. If you get the real thing, you get full immunity to it, and possibly to other diseases –for instance, women who get childhood mumps have increased immunity to ovarian cancer. (This is due to the correct stimulation of the Th1, or cell-mediated, immune system, which thwarts cancer.)
— Conflict of interest: the CDC’s Safety Committee is financially tied to the vaccines which they approve, biasing them in favor of vaccines. They are not objective judges looking out for our child’s health. (Would we trust a clothing retailer to write our clothing budget or give us unbiased opinions on what clothes to buy?) Similarly, the pharmaceutical industry has a massive political voice, encouraging the federal government to be pro-vaccine.
–The CDC’s vaccination schedule is “too much too soon:” 32 vaccines by age 2. For example, 7 vaccines injected into a 13-lb baby (standard for a 2 month old well-baby visit) is equivalent to 70 vaccines in a 130 lb adult!
Hopefully this has provided some food for thought. The next post in this series will provide the “Toolbox” of questions I’ve developed in order to decide what vaccines our family accepts when, and lastly a post full of books and articles for you to delve into on your own.
What are your thoughts on the decision making process? On the vaccination issue as a whole?
Stephanie’s note: It’s a touchy subject, I know, but I think that Christina has approached it in a very thoughtful way that encourages open dialogue, rather than criticism and condemnation (which was exactly the approach I was hoping for- thanks for a fantastic first post, Christina!). I’m definitely keeping the comments open to thoughts on both sides of the debate, so long as they remain polite and contribute positively to the discussion (translation: I have a delete button and I’m not afraid to use it). I love venues where we can share our ideas even on tough subjects, without cutting one another down.
Well done. As a mom who followed the recommended vaccine schedule because I thought it was the “thing to do” and those who don’t are “selfish” – ACCCKKKK – and now I wish I could go back and do it all over again and establish an individual schedule for each child based on my own research on each vaccine, I’m glad to see this information provided for those for whom it is not too late. (My kids are now 5, 8 and 11, and I will definitely be taking a more cautious approach to future vaccines, but the majority of them are behind us.)
Wow, what a great post!! Insightful, fair and balanced, well researched. I’ve already made up my mind for certain about this topic, and I am still going to go over this several times just for the benefit of your encouraging thought-provoking writing.
Thank you for the encouragement! I’ve been a bit nervous about my first guest post! 🙂
The only thing I would suggest is also shoring up by suggesting people request/demand the vaccine packets IF they are going to vaccinate, and go home for a week to ruminate whether the risks outweigh the benefits. And also to research the fetal-cell line vaccines.
As for the whole herd immunity thing, or the fact vaccines “cured” or “eliminated” anything, some great resources, links and whatnot are posted over at http://mrs-informed.blogspot.com/
There are some better sites out there, but it would take me forever to find them all again and post them here.
In regards to the TH2 and TH1 – a great explanation is gone into here: http://www.garynullforum.com/GNthisArticle.php?article=340
And for those who choose to vaccinate, the following is also helpful:
Dr Sears’ vaccine book is ok, but IMHO not unbiased. He does however equip the parent who chooses to vaccinate with what food items will need removal from the diet for x amount of days/weeks prior to and after vaccination to lower the risk of adverse reactions or food allergy.
@JS, Thanks! Great suggestions and helpful links!
I’m really happy that you’re doing this series. My 10 year old son had all of the recommended vaccines when he was younger. I knew NOTHING about possible dangers at that point. His doctor is now pushing for him to be vaccinated again. I have many hesitations at this point and have been searching for the right thing to do. The one thing that I have found is that vaccinations are mandatory in my state. There are exceptions for medical reasons – which are supposed to be about impossible to get – and religious exemptions. But, supposedly there are difficulties in that approach as well. I haven’t sought either one at this point because I’m still trying to decide the right thing for my son at this time. It does bother me, though, that the state can come in with that type of authority over the health and medical decisions of my family. Any thoughts or information on how to ‘not’ get the vaccinations during your series would be well appreciated. :0)
@Musings of a Housewife, This describes me to a T! 🙂
I totally agree! The post and the comment are just what I needed.
I really like the way Christina approached this extremely touchy subject. As a mom who was almost dead-set on vaccinations because (as Musings of a Housewife said,) it was the “right thing to do,” and now has 3 almost-fully vaccinated children, I wish I had known then what I know now. Hindsight is 20/20, I suppose 😉 But in all seriousness, it never occurred to me to do research. I received vaccinations as a child and I am fine, so my kids need them, too, right? To protect them!
I no longer think that way. I have been researching myself, and in the future, will use much more caution with vaccinations.
I can honestly say I am not 100 percent against vaccinations yet (further research on my part is needed), but at this point, I definitely am for delayed vaccinations, as well as, using a different schedule of vaccinations (more like what the schedule looked like in the 80s).
Thanks, Christina, for a very thoughtful, well-written, and informative post highlighting both sides. I can’t wait for the next post!
What things should we be on the lookout for in our children for those of us who learned about the dangers of vaccinations after our children had already had them?
@Kristen in MO, That is a REALLY good question! I think the first step would be to keep bolstering their immune systems naturally; cod liver oil, fresh seasonal fruits & veggies with the full array of vitamins & minerals, bone broth, etc. I would also be very careful about their metal toxic load– there are several metal cleanses that can be done to flush the body of them (see http://www.generationrescue.org/ for more on this). I believe cilantro is helpful in pulling excess mercury from our systems, but would need to do further research to check that. A period of time on the GAPS diet for the whole family would be a great idea; just to reset everyone’s internal systems and kind of give a clean(er) slate.
Also be on the watch for any auto-immune symptoms, and be ready to intervene naturally via diet, naturopathic herbs and additive-free food. You are probably already doing a lot of those things anyway! 🙂
I know that at least a portion of the reason for such a heavy vaccination schedule in the first few years is that doctors fear unreliable parents won’t bring their children back to receive later vaccines. The more they can cover in the beginning the better protection the child will have if the parent decides to bail on all future doctors appointments. I’m not necessarily against a delayed or spread out vaccination system, but I do honestly question to wisdom of choosing no to vaccinate at all. I understand the concerns parents have, but I would suggest any research include discussing the real perils of these diseases (I’m talking Measles, Diptheria and Polio, not chicken pox) with someone who remembers them. My mom has childhood friends who were crippled by so called “harmless” childhood diseases that we don’t consider “that bad” when we decide to skip our children’s vaccinations. My grandmother’s brother died as a child of an ear infection that would have been cured today by a simple antibiotic. When my father and sister travel to the third world they are heralded as heroes when they bring childhood DPT and MMR vaccines. These are some of the same vaccines some American parents have easy access to but consider unnecessary. Since we rarely see the true affects of these diseases anymore in our western society, we aren’t really making a fully educated decision. Looking at the stats on paper isn’t the same is meeting a real life person crippled by polio or scarred by measles. That being said I appreciate the attempt to create a well balanced picture here. This is a touchy issue. But as for me, I don’t think there are many vaccines I’ll be opting out of. The potential price is too high for me.
@Laundry Lady, “Since we rarely see the true affects of these diseases anymore in our western society, we aren’t really making a fully educated decision.”
In the US, we have herd immunity. Even if the entire population of homeschooling, organic, whole food’s hippies decided not to immunize we would STILL have herd immunity. I work with children with Autism and I can understand a parents concern about vaccinations when their child seems to be allergic to EVERYTHING. My husband could even have died or been permanently handicapped if he had gotten the scheduled boosters when he was a baby. I think parents in the developed world can afford to take a more individualized approach to their child’s immunizations with out fear because the majority are not opting out.
@Laundry Lady, I’d encourage you to read a LOT from MANY resources. I asked questions like these — “What are the true effects and potential complications from these diseases?” — and decided to look at the WHO’s website, primarily, to answer them. What I found was that in a modern society, with good sanitation and nutrition, complications were really only occurring in about 1 in 100,000 people, and were usually related to vitamin A deficiency. It was a very important point for me to discover and weighed heavily in my decision. I would encourage you to thoroughly read the WHO’s disease papers, and not rely on the anecdotal evidence of the “one person” who did suffer problems from a disease. While tragic, individual stories do not present the whole and accurate picture of the disease’s effects.
@Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama, Kate that is exactly what I was going to say! 🙂
Proper nutrition & sanitation are so vital to preventing diseases, and minimizing their effects when contracted! Vitamins A &D, which are especially found in unprocessed milk and other animal products, are a crucial part of this. If we consider the move towards margarine (as patriotic during WW2), processed meats and pasteurized & processed milk along with ever-increasing urbanization, we can see that many children in our grandparents’ & parents’ generations were probably Vitamin A & D deficient!
@Laundry Lady, I really appreciate the thoughtful response. Lots of important things to consider, and I think that there is definitely truth to what you’re saying.
@Laundry Lady, I wholeheartedly agree with Laundry Lady. She voiced all of my thoughts much more aptly that I can probably give them. I am vaccinating my 9-month old son as recommended by our trusted pediatrician. To see children die from a preventable disease — or transmit it to someone with an already-compromised immune system — is appalling. Whooping cough and polio are not the same as chicken pox. They aren’t diseases that boost the immune system; they’re killers. We are all entitled to make educated, informed decisions about vaccinations, as Christina (and most everyone here) wisely says. But we are not entitled to our own science. Any educated research needs include hard facts developed as a result of large trials conducted by respected medical and educational institutions, and published in respected medical journals and sources. I’m not saying these sources are never wrong; just that they need to be weighed heavily. I have lost one son (to prematurity), and will not lose another to something I can prevent. This article was written by a pediatrician who has an autistic son, and is in favor of vaccinating: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40951375/ns/health-kids_and_parenting/
I wanted to add one comment here.
I too have lived with the older generation (we lived in a retirement community for almost 3 years) and heard a lot of terrible personal stories about diseases that are mostly not heard of today in the US.
HOWEVER, there are still incidences of these diseases, and most of those incidences are CAUSED by the vaccinations that were meant to prevent them.
Looking at the research will reveal this (the only recorded cases of polio occurring in the US in the last 30 years have been caused by vaccinations), as well as speaking with individuals.
My best friend contracted measles when she was an infant, due to the MMR vaccination. She almost didn’t survive, and she is now permanently deaf.
I just wanted to remind you that there are horror stories on both sides of the vaccination issue.
@Jennifer, Thanks for posting this Jennifer. My mom’s generation survived the horrors of polio – a time when you didn’t know if your child would be struck down or not and no amount of ‘alternative’ methods would prevent it from happening.
Thankfully, we live in a time when diseases are preventable because people take precautions like vaccinations. As long as the majority of children are vaccinated we shouldn’t see another horror like polio.
@Laundry Lady, After traveling in Africa and seeing so many people crippled by polio, it is harder for me to automatically write off ALL vaccinations. I do want to make thoughtful decisions, different for each child, if necessary. But when you see what exists in countries where people aren’t vaccinated from certain diseases… anyways, I am ever thankful for discussions such as these and access to the internet (!) which can be a wonderful help in making this type of challenging decision.
@Laundry Lady, My mother in law had polio as a child. Despite functioning well in her teens, young adult life, and through her mid life, now she’s 60 and has developed health problems stemming from the polio (I think some doctors referred to it as Secondary Polio something or other – yes it has a more technical name) but they just mean they don’t really know why it’s happening because most doctors are too young to remember polio outbreaks. There is no treatment that has worked. She can no longer live the normal life she had because of the pain and discomfort. Sparing my children from something so awful because of amazing advances in medicine was a no brainer for me and my family. I do appreciate the way the article was put, but for my family vaccinations were vital.
Thanks for a fair look at this. With my first child I looked into vaccinations. It seemed like everything I read (specifically on not vaccinating) used fear. It made me think that if I did vaccinate my children they were going to die. I had trouble finding a balanced resource to read. So my first child was vaccinated according to the cdc schedule and I remember on several occasions freaking out about it.
When baby number 2 was set to come along I re-looked at this topic, hopefully from a more mature viewpoint (amazing how the first child makes you grow up- no matter how old you are!). I found Dr. Sears’ vaccine book, which is my favorite resource on the topic. It was, sadly, released after my 1st baby otherwise I would have read it then and made different decisions! However, he has a alternate vaccine schedule that we decided to use. I like the book because he presents both sides- as there are good reasons why most vaccines were developed.
Ultimately, I have to remember that as much as I want to protect my children from everything, I have no control. The Lord may take them at any time, vaccinated or not. He may give me an autistic child, which may or may not be because of vaccines, but I cannot question Him or His ways. Just my personal conclusion on the topic.
This is a well written post on this subject. Its a really difficult topic!
One thing that I found when I was doing my research is that at least in Canada, you cannot seem to get vaccines anymore that are seperated like how Dr. Robert Sears suggests as an alternative schedule. There are also more diseases covered in the one shot than the way it was when I was a kid- I believe I got DTP and then MMR from remembering looking at my book that recorded such things. They now group other things with the DTP, at least where I live. I’m really not sure why they seem to think we need more vaccines now than when I was a kid. I guess they think that if they have them they should use them. But it does make it difficult for someone who, for example, would rather do selective vaccination.
@Musings of a Housewife,
This is where we are too! We just got a notice about a mandatory vaccine before my oldest starts the next school year. This time around I will be doing a lot more research before consenting.
My husband is allergic to the Pertussis vaccine. The only clue when he was a baby was that he was crying funny (due to encephalitis). His mom almost didn’t mention it, and thankfully the doctor who was holding the needle in his hand, immediately retracted it! If he had gotten that second pertussis vaccine he could have suffered severe brain swelling and injury. The new pertussis vaccine has less occurrence of this side effect but it is still something to watch out for if you vaccinate.
Oh for more DR’s like that! Thank God that the Dr was alert, observant and wise! I’m so happy for you that you knew about this!!
I never had a single care about vaccines…until my son almost died with the 2nd DTaP shot (he was allergic to the pertussis, also…and I didn’t know to look for anything with the first and had no idea). It caused severe brain swelling and within two hours of receiving the shot, my happy, healthy, 6-month-old baby could no longer hold his head up, sit up, or utter basic words. He was ahead of schedule on all counts in all those areas before the shot…I have dated video to prove it. After the shot, for a such very long time, he couldn’t do hardly anything except lay around and cry…not a normal baby cry, but a pitiful “I’m in pain!” wail day & night. It was horrific…and anyone else who’s experienced this will agree there is nothing like it. Having no idea what on earth was going on, we were in and out of ERs, and to so many DRs before one finally took me aside, didn’t even give his name for fear of getting in trouble, and admitted that these kinds of reactions happen…more often than people think, too…to vaccines. We saw neurologists and ran test after test, but all we could do was wait for nature to take its course.
It was weeks before he pronounced a single syllable…it was such huge deal, that almost 10 years later, I remember exactly where I was I was standing…in the bread aisle of the grocery store. I started bawling…a single syllable of baby babble, that was almost background noise a couple months before, was suddenly a small sign of hope for me. We are one of the very blessed, with only a small speech problem to show for it, almost a whole decade later. I am so grateful to God that my son didn’t show up as another statistic labeled away under SIDS, allergic reaction, autism, etc. My whole heart goes out to those who have experienced these things!
From a thoughtful perspective, this article was so well-written, esp for someone with no personal experience. Thank you. Before something happened to my own child, I would’ve been on the “you’re not getting vaccines, you must be insane” side of the fence. Knowing what I now know, and seeing what I’ve seen, and learning what I’ve learned through years of study, I’m closer to the opposite. I keep it to myself for the most-part, though, because honestly, as a parent, you have to do what you believe is right. I respect that…and I expect the same respect in my decisions with my own children’s health.
P.S. Just a word of warning: the new tetanus shots contain pertussis.
This is very helpful as I am trying to make a decision about vaccinations before my little Lovebug arrives in June! It’s so confusing! Thank you for the research and article links. I will definitely be reading up on it more. 🙂
Thank you for such a balanced article. I fully vaccinated my first, and had a lot of stress over it, and plan to do more research before my second comes along!
Excellent post. I feel fortunate to have learned a tremendous amount before my first child was born so that I could make an educated choice for all of my kids. My youngest (who is 3) just spent time in the hospital because of pneumonia and a stomach virus at the same time (instant dehydration!), and I was asked to explain my choice not to vaccinate by three different nurses. Each one was nice and seemed to genuinely listen, which made the situation less stressful. 🙂 I told them several of the things that Christina has mentioned here along with some other pieces of information I’ve learned over the years. (As an aside, we do vaccinate against tetanus with the first dose given when each child is about three. I never have been able to find a doctor who could locate just a pediatric tetanus vaccine for me, so we’ve had to use a tetanus-diptheria combo instead. Since they were all older, that was a compromise I was willing to make.)
I learned a couple years ago that polio may actually have been caused by the heavy use of pesticides (especially DDT) and not specifically by a virus as we’ve been led to believe. If you’re curious, these sites look at the issue:
http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/56729 (sort of a summary)
We vaccinated some of our children according to the schedule until our 4th child has sever reactions to his MMR. Since that reaction we have stopped all vaccinations. Our youngest 2 have never been vaccinated. After stopping with the first 5 children, I have noticed that they don’t get sick as often. The younger two are rarely sick and have very strong immune systems. We do make sure they are getting a good diet and also take some multivitamins.
All that isn’t to say that we are totally against vaccinations. My oldest son is in construction and cut his hand on sheet metal. In the ER he was given the tetanus shot because tetanus is very dangerous and can cause a multitude of problems.
@Sheri, Hey Sheri, I just wanted to mention that it’s worth doing a bit more research about tetanus shots. I have learned that tetanus only lives in soil, and cannot survive in an oxygenated environment. Any open wound is not at risk of tetanus, only a deep puncture wound can support it. Also, a separate shot for tetanus does not exist anymore. The shot they likely gave in the ER was the Dtap combo.
Here is some further reading: http://www.wellwithin1.com/tetanus.htm
@Alyssa @ KingdomFirstMom,
That is correct, Alyssa. With him working on a construction site we weren’t sure what else he had come in contact with since he didn’t go to the ER right away. So we thought it best to get the tetanus. It was the Dtap combo they gave him. After he got hit we did make sure we boosted his immune system and everything has turned out well…except for the large scar running down the palm of his hand! 🙂
@Sheri, as far as I know, there is a tetanus antibody shot called TIG (tetanus immune globulin) can be given– http://www.drugs.com/cons/tetanus-immune-globulin-intramuscular.html- now whether most hospitals stock it in your area or not, I can’t say. It could also be that this was what your son received.
Basically it contains antibodies to fight the infection until your body takes over and makes its own antibodies. It’s relatively universally safe. If you were wanting to go vaccine-free and were concerned about tetanus, I’d make sure call hospitals in my area and make sure they are stocked with it, or that I knew which ones have it, just in case.
Thanks to both Christina, for writing a wonderful article, and Stephanie, for publishing it.
This has been a touchy subject and I’ve been on both sides of the fence, primarily, as an earlier commenter noted, due to fear. I have had all of my children vaccinated, but only with the biggies: MMR, Dpt, Hep. B. I’ve avoided flu shots like, well, the flu, as I’m not remotely convinced of their efficacy. I always get wierd looks when I mention that to others, but I don’t care anymore. 🙂
hehe…I could go on, but everything else that I would say has already been posted! Thanks, again!
I’m glad to see that both sides of the argument were written about. Although to be honest, with all the underlinings and much more written about the second blueprint, it wasn’t hard to see which was the favored option.
Honestly, I’m really thankful for Laundry Lady’s comments. I think many of us are living in fear of the very small risks, and ignoring the very real large risks. Like many parents choosing not to vaccinate for fear of autism. The autism linked to vaccines was recently totally and completely refuted when the medical “proof” that was used for this argument was found to have been 100% falsified. (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article7012267.ece)
Children and adults die everyday from diseases that have be eradicated. And a lot of times, those who don’t vaccinate are counting on others to vaccinate so that the risk of their children catching one of these viruses or diseases. And if we have any thoughts about our families traveling overseas, we are opening ourselves up to dangers. But really, you don’t even have to travel overseas anymore. With so many immigrants and refugees coming to USA everyday, our children are going to be met with these viruses.
I want to do what is best for my children. I want to be wise in how I proceed with vaccines. I have done research and spoken with many medical professionals. Doctors and nurses go to school for years in order to learn how the body works and they do it because they want to save lives and make them better. I have yet to talk to a doctor or nurse and them tell me not to vaccinate. They are always for it. I think we need to listen to that.
@Becky, Becky, I know of many, many doctors and other health professionals who do not advise their patients to vaccine on the CDC’s schedule.
Last month, the International Medical Council on Vaccination put out a free, 6-page downloadable report signed by over 80 health professionals about vaccines. I would encourage you to take a few minutes to read it.
I choose not to vaccinate my children not based on the sole “fear of autism” alone. I choose not to based upon the truths I have learned about vaccines.
@Alyssa @ KingdomFirstMom, Thanks for sharing that link, Alyssa!
@Becky, I really like your comments! i too like laundry lady’s comment. i am all for parents playing an active role in their child’s health but most parents are not MDs. I do find it interesting when the doctors who go to school for years to help save lives and keep us healthy all recommend vaccines. you will find very few MDs who would advise against them. also many of these diseases that we vaccinate for are not the common cold or flu. they are dangerous and would leave a child crippled, blind, or dead if caught. I truly believe every parent, no matter what their opinion, is doing what they believe is best for their child. I have my opinions but they could be way off.. im only just human. at the end of the day it should be a prayerful decision and no matter what our decision is we should be putting all our trust in our childs life and future in God.
I think my personal position will be transparently obvious by the end of the series; my goal, though, is to present you with the tools to decide for yourself. I didn’t feel as much pressure to back everything up on the “pro-vaccine” side with links et al, because it is the majority position. Every time I’ve taken my daughter to the doctor’s office, similar statements to the ones I mentioned are in the many pamphlets and shot brochures that I receive. So I figure most people are more familiar with the pro-vaccine no-question position. It’s the cautionary approach that makes most people raise their eyebrows and say “come again?”
I want to gently disagree with your comment concerning the universal acceptance of medical professionals of the CDC recommended vaccination schedule.
Medical professionals DO attend school for many years and are VERY knowledgeable about what they do; however, they are also required to tell certain things to their patients- and one of those things is to follow the CDC recommended vaccination schedule.
As stated earlier, the current vaccination schedule was developed because of fear of patient compliance, NOT because it is what is best for the children, or herd immunity in general.
Many, many pediatricians do not follow the CDC recommended guidelines for their OWN children. I can give you personal example on that- my husband is a primary care doctor, and we do not follow the CDC recommended guidelines. In fact, we have given our boys very few vaccinations (2), on a delayed schedule, and only the ones we as a family are personally exposed to. There is a lot of great information (online) on the occurrence rates of vaccination-preventable disease in your specific city/county.
I very much support vaccinations (with an adjustable timeline option based on specific needs and an opting out option–to preserve the liberty and responsibility of parents). Our 4th child died from a horrible disease (Pompe) and if there had been a way to vaccinate against it–we would’ve done it in a heartbeat. Pompe is extremely rare (much more rare than many things we vaccinate for)….but when you are the 1 in a bazillion…you want the vaccine.
That said…I was prepared to…NOT like this article….and I actually felt is was well-rounded and very reasonable. Just want to thank the author for that!
@Kara, I can certainly empathize with where you’re coming from Kara, and I can imagine that I might feel similarly in your shoes, if I had lost a child. I’m so sorry for your loss. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you for such a balaced approach to this topic. I have a 2 yr old who is fully vaccinated and I struggled inside at each one wondering if I were doing the right thing. I now have an 8 mo. old who is slightly “behind schedule” and a 3rd on the way. I am looking forward to the rest of your posts on this subject as it has been a concern to me for sometime. I am not totally against vaccinations and agree with others on a more delayed schedule. Thank you for your resources and for making me think more critically.
Great article! Looking forward to the next “toolbox” article! My first 2 boys, 5 and 3 1/2 were vaccinated (with no problems that I can tell) but now I”m rethinking about vaccinating my youngest, 4 months old. He actually has a checkup tomorrow and I’m HIGHLY considering skipping the vaccines that the nurses will want to administer. Wow, perfect timing for this article!
I love that you stated this: “Desiring a balanced view (you won’t learn if you only read people you already agree with), I tried to read articles and books on both “sides” of the issue.”
I find that to be a problem with some of the all-natural/alternative “mommy blogs” out there – they pass along misinformation because they only present “their side.” I recently decided to stop reading some of them but will keep reading this blog as you seem to have a variety of women writing from different viewpoints. I like that – keep up the great work!
@Robin, Thanks, Robin. I’ve actually shied away from this particular topic a lot because it is a tough issue with a lot of differing info on both sides, and I didn’t want to do it an injustice by presenting something that wasn’t at least as balanced as possible (I say “as possible” because any writer is still going to have a hard time separating their own bias from what they write). I was thrilled to have Christina write this article when she approached me with the idea because it wasn’t an all or nothing approach, but rather an encouragement to parents to dig in and look at the issues thoroughly themselves.
Wonderful approach to this topic. We don’t vaccinate at all and so that is quite a shock to many and I appreciate those that can consider my choice with an open mind.
Often it’s like Russian Roulette with vaccines and in our family, we learned the hard way when our son was vaccine-injured. Of course after much prayer, research, and both my husband and I being on the same page about it all, we felt it was absolutely best for our family to not vaccinate at all. My children are so healthy, and go to public school just fine with awesome support from school and the doctors we see. We continue to research and be aware of all the pros and cons and how to live naturally and safely.
I think there are certain stigmas about people like us that don’t vaccinate and I hope that parents that don’t do things like us will extend mercy and understand we are doing what is best for our children just the same as they are.
I wanted to look at the CDC blueprint you posted and comment:
-childhood diseases are SOMETIMES harmful to the population and need to be avoided IF POSSIBLE – who knows if they can be and should be eliminated?
-vaccines do not work like the disease because they enter through the blood not the mucuous membranes like most diseases; the body’s reaction is not the same as a reaction to the actual disease; also, anitbodies produced are not the same as ones produced after someone’s been sick
-prevention of diseases by vaccines has not been proved
-vaccinating ourselves will not protect our neighbors – herd immunity does not exist (at least not for humans); again, diseases have rapidly diminished/disappeared way before mass vaccination
-there have been no studies to show that giving more vaccines during a lifetime or multiple vaccines will be harmful or not – there have just been NO studies, period. scary.
I have looked at article after article, charts, interviews, commentaries, etc. I have had my eyes opened. All the “proof” doctors throw at you is just not there!!! Am I afraid my child will get the flu or polio? Yes, to a degree. But I would rather deal with the disease than the vaccine – it’s just too unpredictable. I’m blessed to have 2 boys, ages 13 mos and 6.5 years who are both unvaccinated.
@Magda Velecky, You would rather deal with polio than the vaccine for polio? Are you SERIOUS? Here’s the treatment for polio:
There is no cure for polio. The focus of modern treatment has been on providing relief of symptoms, speeding recovery and preventing complications. Supportive measures include antibiotics to prevent infections in weakened muscles, analgesics for pain, moderate exercise and a nutritious diet. Treatment of polio often requires long-term rehabilitation, including physical therapy, braces, corrective shoes and, in some cases, orthopedic surgery.
Portable ventilators may be required to support breathing. Historically, a noninvasive negative-pressure ventilator, more commonly called an iron lung, was used to artificially maintain respiration during an acute polio infection until a person could breathe independently (generally about one to two weeks). Today many polio survivors with permanent respiratory paralysis use modern jacket-type negative-pressure ventilators that are worn over the chest and abdomen.
Other historical treatments for polio include hydrotherapy, electrotherapy, massage and passive motion exercises, and surgical treatments such as tendon lengthening and nerve grafting. Devices such as rigid braces and body casts—which tended to cause muscle atrophy due to the limited movement of the user—were also touted as effective treatments.
…or you could just give your child a shot. I’ve yet to see any evidence that vaccines cause developmental problems within a stone’s throw of the issues that polio causes. To wit:
In the United States, the 1952 polio epidemic became the worst outbreak in the nation’s history. Of nearly 58,000 cases reported that year 3,145 died and 21,269 were left with mild to disabling paralysis.
Ya, know, this is going to be a shocker, but I’m a polio survivor. Millions and millions of people throughout the world are polio survivors. In 99% of the population, exposure to polio resulted in either no symptoms at all, or minor illness.
True, some people do get terribly ill from polio. But the idea that everyone who is exposed ends up dead or paralyzed is simply crazy. Here are two articles discussing some of the causes of paralysis connected with polio:
Please, quit with the hysterical scaremongering!
@Magda Velecky, with all respect (really) i dont understand how parents would rather deal with the disease than the vaccine. most of these diseases would kill or cripple your child.
i really truly believe you do what you believe is best for your child and i really liked this article but i dont understand the logic of taking chances by not vaccinating at all. if you need evidence that vaccines work look simply at polio and measles and rubella. there is a reason they are not as common todya
@lindsey, I am sorry my post there was very critical. I regret writing that, i wrote hastily and should not have. im sorry. God convicted me in my heart that all wisdom is his and my opinions are not always right (even though the woman in me wants to believe i always am). I truly appreciated this article and its perspective from both sides!
Well, I guess I shouldn’t have brought up polio – the wild strain hasn’t been spotted in decades. The few cases that are still out there are from shedding of vaccines.
Can you post a link where you show how introducing vaccines caused the diseases to almost disappear? I have seen charts that show that some diseases almost disappeared BEFORE vaccination was in use, but not after.
I strongly encourage everyone to follow the advice presented here and do INDIVIDUAL research on each disease and each vaccine, and weigh the benefits and the risks of each. It is very, very important to take this type of balanced approach, and not rely on the “fear” approach — from EITHER side. It is hard to sort through all the data that is out there, but it CAN be done.
It is also important not to rely on ANY anecdotal evidence. We can all say we know that “one person” who didn’t receive a vaccine and ended up hospitalized or crippled for life because they caught a disease. We have all heard of people who have died or been crippled by having a vaccine, too. THIS IS NOT EVIDENCE. These are merely stories, typically used to scare people. I know it’s hard if it’s someone you know, or worse, your child; but it could be one in a million. Don’t let these stories sway your decision. Look for independent FACTS (from both sides).
For the record, we did a lot of research — HUNDREDS of hours, actually — and came to the conclusion that we won’t vaccinate, ever. As the evidence mounted, we came up with a picture where the rates of complications of the diseases were extremely minimal and usually caused by poor nutrition; having the diseases could benefit the future immune system; the vaccines have not been well studied nor proven safe, and so on. We decided it was simply better not to go there at all.
I assume that after spending “hundreds of hours” researching vaccines you decided that since you can’t come up with evidence beyond your own reasonable doubt, you just shouldn’t vaccinate your children. I would guess I could research “open heart surgery” and come up with a reasonable doubt that it is effective, as with just about anything we choose to do in Western Medicine, because nothing is perfect, there are side effects for some people, but that for the statistical monopoly of people, Western Medicine does far more good than harm.
Again, it doesn’t matter how much research you do on the subject, if you are looking for problems with vaccinations you’re going to find evidence of them. Without a doubt. The problem is that much of the research demonstrating problems with vaccines also has significant statistical and methodological error, which you can’t possibly understand as someone outside the medical field. So by all means, make whatever choice you feel necessary.
I do hope, however, that you are denoting the fact that your kids are not vaccinated whenever you sign them up for activities, school, sports leagues, etc. so that other parents can make acceptable decisions as well. Anti-vaccine parents who lie on forms to keep their kids from being left out of activities are despicable.
“Anti-vaccine parents who lie on forms to keep their kids from being left out of activities are despicable.”
I am not sure how that is even possible? Parents are asked to submit shot records (from their doctors’ office) OR the exemption form, which clearly states the shots they are opting out of.
The vast array of problems caused by vaccines are easy to see if you simply explore the VAERS database. Not to mention the billions of dollars paid out to families of vaccine-injured children in vaccine court by our own government. It doesn’t take much research to learn that vaccine reactions are more common than not.
I’m sorry, but this post certainly comes down on the anti-vaccine side, no matter how much you want to label yourself impartial. All your “research” (and yes, I use quotes, because most of the links in blueprint B are not based on scientific study and those that are have been dis-proven many times over in double blind trials) is based on either really bad science, or epistemological thought (i.e. nothing is this world can be PERFECT, so there must be a problem with vaccines, and since autism, auto-immune disorders, and allergies generally show up in kids around age 2, that might be it!). Please, do yourself a favor and take a course in statistics: Correlation does not imply causation, and causation, in this case, has been ruled out by rigorous independent studies done in both Europe and the United States.
The CDC also has multiple different vaccination schedules for parents to choose. If you have not been presented with these than you should do better research or involve a different pediatrician. You have a lot of different choices between the aggressive CDC schedule and the “no vaccines at all” hippie-fear schedule.
Stating that those running the CDC are in any way “pro-vaccine” for personal or greedy purposes is complete and utter nonsense, not to mention libelous. Making and distributing vaccines is not a very profitable business, and developing vaccines costs billions of dollars in trials. Pfizer would much rather develop statins and Viagra than vaccines because those drugs are far more profitable. Stating this as a reason for not vaccinating your children is irresponsible and uninformed. One could make the same case here if one wanted to: Developing a vaccine controversy leads to more and more posts and more and more page-views for your website, but a post resolving all those notions and declaring vaccines safe doesn’t draw many more page-views for your site. You’re preying on people’s fears for you own personal gain! See how ridiculous that assertion is? Let’s stick with evidence of an independent nature, of which there is very little on the “no-vaccine” side, and not ad-hominem attacks on public servants who are trying to advance social medicine to benefit everyone.
There is no debate on this topic: there is scientifically based study conforming to rigorous double blind accreditation that has found vaccines safe for 99.99999% of children….and there’s the epistemological believes given in Blueprint 2 and by ignorant mothers like Jenny McCarthy who believe that autism can be “cured” and the vaccinations cause it, simply based on anecdotal evidence from her own personal experience with her son, who, it turns out, never had autism in the first place.
“There is no debate on this topic: there is scientifically based study conforming to rigorous double blind accreditation that has found vaccines safe for 99.99999% of children….”
Can you post a link to this?
@Magda Velecky, You will need a subscription to Nature: http://goo.gl/i5aCl
That article plus various other ones. I do not have a direct link to the white paper as it was published in nature and their publications are copyright protected.
Here is some interesting info linked to the MMR/Autism study: http://goo.gl/f4RAN
@Magda Velecky, If you’re going to look at safety as a whole, you’re going to have to read scientific papers on each individual vaccine, as well as papers on the safety of vaccines given at the same time, efficacy statistics, and so on. I’m not saying you can’t do it, I’m saying that it’s going to take a significant amount of time, and you’re going to either come up with the conclusion that they’re safe, or you’re going to come up with the conclusion that there isn’t enough evidence that they’re safe, even though the anti-vaccine crowd has yet to show any evidence of disorders like autism or auto-immunity that have stemmed directly from vaccinations.
I can tell you that most all of the vaccine detractors point to the autism study I linked to above (which has been proven as not only false, but as self-enriching for the author — basically everything Blueprint 1.0 says about the CDC) and various other anecdotal studies on auto-immune disorders that are “linked” to vaccines, but never proven. The CDC has probably done more research on the safety of vaccines in the last 5 years than the fear-mongering anti-vaccine faction has ever done. So then they tell you that these people can’t be trusted (for various reasons), just like the above post does. Only it’s the quack science coming from the anti-vaccine crowd that you should be more wary of, not the public servants at the CDC.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t do your own research. You should, you should feel confident in your decision and if hundreds of hours of research is what you need for that, that’s ok. But keep in mind that nothing is ever a perfectly sure bet. When we’re talking about 99.99999% of 200 million people, that’s still 2000 people. Which seems significant, but really isn’t, statistically.
Bottom line: If you think that vaccines aren’t safe, then no amount of study is going to prove to you that they are, because there will always be shreds of doubt in scientific research — otherwise it wouldn’t be scientific (the scientific method is designed to give you the information of all possible outcomes and give you the data set). In that case, I would strongly suggest you research the diseases that the vaccines are available for, the rate of infection, what treatments are available and then decide if you want to “risk it”. Myself? I would never, EVER want to risk my child getting polio, smallpox, or any of the MMR diseases (to name a few) because of the cost to their overall health and the impact to their long term standard of living, when I could vaccinate them against those diseases with little to no side effects. You may feel differently, but you should at least be well-informed. Most of the Blueprint 2.0 information is bad science, anecdotal evidence, or completely unproven theory that doesn’t stand up to the scientific method. I don’t think any of that mumbo-jumbo should sway your decision one way or another.
@Eric, In the next post, I believe that Christina is going to pick an individual vaccine and work through how to research it, exploring the pros and cons and how you might go about making a decision on an individual vaccination. This should be a helpful process, because you’re right, it’s important to look at each vaccination individually, as well as the issue as a whole.
Would also like a link to this last paragrah.
Please be kind…and fair. I know this is an emotional topic, however, if your vaccine does what it claims to do, it should not concern you in the least whether or not the other person has had one.
I hope none of these things ever happens to you…I sincerely do…but that’s what it took to open my own eyes.
My son, who almost died from a vaccine, was never reported under statistics. The Dr refused to report it and claimed he was just playing a game…at 6months… Sure, I could’ve filed claim myself, but I was too busy trying to keep him alive and somewhat comfortable for the next few months.
Statistics say what you want them to say. Study facts. Not statistics. Facts. What are the vaccines supposed to do? Do they accomplish their purpose? What are possible side-effects? Am I willing to live with any ONE of said side effects…or should I pursue holistic-health from diet, exercise and life-style?
@D =), My son, who almost died from a vaccine, was never reported under statistics. The Dr refused to report it and claimed he was just playing a game…at 6months… Sure, I could’ve filed claim myself, but I was too busy trying to keep him alive and somewhat comfortable for the next few months.
While I understand you emotional attachment to the situation, this is anecdotal evidence of the worst kind — personal experience. None of the studies I am referencing involve “reporting” of vaccine related illnesses. They are double blind studies done specifically to test for problems and side effects of vaccinations, using control groups. It’s clear to me that you either don’t understand what I’m saying or refuse to believe it. Either way, anecdotal evidence such as this (which you don’t tie to a particular vaccine, and you don’t give background on what the illness was an how the vaccine caused it) just makes the mis-information regarding this topic worse.
“Statistics say what you want them to say. Study facts. Not statistics. Facts. What are the vaccines supposed to do? Do they accomplish their purpose? What are possible side-effects? Am I willing to live with any ONE of said side effects…or should I pursue holistic-health from diet, exercise and life-style?”
Statistical analyses are a way of reporting facts so that you can understand what to expect. Statistics done using the scientific method DO NOT say “what you want them to say” — 0.000001% of 200 million people is still 2000 people, which seems like a lot if you know a couple of them, but statistically it isn’t relevant, because there are many factors that could cause one person to have a side effect from a vaccine, and it may not be directly related to the vaccine itself. That’s the problem — there’s no way to determine whether they are 100% safe, no true scientist would ever say so. Yet it drives doubt into people’s minds who wouldn’t have the same doubts when it came to treating cancer or gout or a broken bone.
Which is what I’m assuming you mean when you say “facts”. I’ve done nothing but give facts on this issue throughout this post, and I continue to get rebuffed with anecdotal evidence from “fact-seekers”. If you want some facts:
1. A child is 10000 times more likely to get hit by a car prior to age 5 than to develop a vaccine related illness or side effect.
2. A child is 500 times more likely to get hit by lightning than develop a disorder or illness related to vaccination.
3. A child is 500 times more likely to suffer a fatal brain injury falling down the stairs of your home than to develop a disorder or illness related to vaccination.
I could go on and on, but this is why statistics are important. There are far more dangerous things that you do every day with your child than vaccinating them against infectious disease.
If you want to assume the risks associated with not vaccinating, that’s fine. What’s NOT ok and should NOT be tolerated are people spreading around hocus pocus information regarding the imminent danger from vaccination when I’ve yet to see a single study find a causal link.
The CDC may be charged with recommending a vaccinated course of action to protect the population en masse. I am charged with keeping my family safe. I completely understand the logic behind cautioning people around anecdotal evidence, but if my child were one of those 2000 cases you reference and I had not done any of my own research or reading I would be crushed. Doctors and research teams (and I am related to more than a handful of wildly successful ones!) are not perfect. Ten or twenty years ago the research papers could have, and did, have very different things to say.
Hi, I’m also curious to hear your response to D=), when she said, “Please be kind…and fair. I know this is an emotional topic, however, if your vaccine does what it claims to do, it should not concern you in the least whether or not the other person has had one” which i assume was in response to your comment above, “I do hope, however, that you are denoting the fact that your kids are not vaccinated whenever you sign them up for activities, school, sports leagues, etc. so that other parents can make acceptable decisions as well. Anti-vaccine parents who lie on forms to keep their kids from being left out of activities are despicable.” Was just wondering how an un-vaccinated child is going to give a vaccinated child a disease that he or she is vaccinated against?
Please, please do not continue to post in such a hateful way. This blog post, and the ensuing discussion, were meant to be productive and information, not emotionally attacking others. I have really enjoyed and been informed by all the rest, but honestly, if I were the blog author, I would be using the delete key right now.
What a wonderfully well written, balanced post on such a touchy subject!
We are at a standstill with our vaccinations with our 2nd and 3rd. Our oldest is vaccinated per the CDC guidelines (because we were too young and naive to do anything different at the time). However, our next two have had a bit of a different schedule and our middle child (4 y/o) will probably not receive any further vaccinations. Our biggest concern recently is how do you know, when it is recommended that vaccines are started at 2 months old, that your child isn’t allergic to the adjuvants/carriers, etc. in the vaccine? Our 4 y/o had a severe reaction to his MMR at 12 months and that is where my “vaccine thinking” got topsy turvy. We have also since discovered that he has some food allergies (that he was already showing signs of at a very early age) and possibly some other allergies that may have caused this severe reaction.
We are still researching and praying and seeking God’s wisdom and direction in regards to what our next step will be. This is one of those parenting decisions that we definitely aren’t taking lightly because it has the potential to effect our childrens’ future. However, it’s also not in our best interest or even in God’s plans for us to live in fear. The most important aspects of this are truly seeking God’s direction for our family’s health and knowing that what is right for us, is not necessarily right for another family.
Thank you again for your insights and I look forward to reading the next installment for further resources!
If you’re worried about your two month old being allergic to eggs or soy, please read this: http://goo.gl/jMVdP
There’s very little scientific basis for that fear. As a general rule, the dosage of egg or soy in a given vaccine is so small that probably would not cause an allergic reaction. Pediatrician’s play it safe most of the time, as they should, but there’s very little evidence of allergic reactions among infants due to vaccination — most of this evidence is anecdotal.
@Laura @ Homemaking Joyfully, My family is in a similar situation, with a very allergic/asthmatic child who tends to react badly to live-virus vaccines. I think you’re doing the right thing by seeking God’s wisdom. Who else has a better understanding of the right solution for your particular child?
I hope you’ve also got a pediatrician who’s willing to work with you. It’s really blessed us to have a pediatrician with a good understanding of asthma/allergies and how those interact with vaccines. He’s helped us develop a vaccination plan that works much better for our daughter than the standard plan.
Thank you so much for this information. I’m just wrapping up my first trimester with our first child and I am just beginning my research into vaccines. We have six health professionals (two RNs, three pediatricians, and one MD who also practices medical malpractice law) so I definitely feel the need to educate myself fully in order to handle the questions that are already coming from them.
I would love to see a “starter” list of books or other resources from the author!
@Chloe, I can point you in the right direction if you are looking for resources. 🙂
And 2 books I recommend:
“What You Doctor May Not Tell You About Children’s Vaccinations” by Stephanie Cave
“Vaccine Epidemic” by Louise Kuo Habakus
Both are available on Amazon.
@Alyssa @ KingdomFirstMom, This is great! Thank you. I’ve read extensively on the history of vaccines in general but I’m just beginning to think about them in terms of which ones and when for our family. I was truly shocked to see the number of vaccines recommended! It is such an increase from when I was on the pointy end of the needle!
I agree that these diseases were once childhood ailments. One thing to keep in mind is that because a large percentage of the population (at least here in the US) is vaccinated, these diseases occur rarely. Unfortunately when they do, they can occur during adulthood with more severe reactions. I really questioned a chicken pox vaccine, since my sister and I both had the disease rather than the vaccine since the vaccine wasn’t introduced until we had both already contracted it. But the chances of my daughter contacting the disease while a child are low because most of our community is vaccinated. Adult chicken pox is much more unpleasant and dangerous so I decided to vaccinate her anyway. I’ve also considered the fact that my daughter may want to travel or participate in missions later on in life. Diseases that have been almost wiped out in the US thanks to vaccinations are still quite common in other areas of the world. My sister is a PA and she travels to Haiti on medical missions every year. She would never consider doing the kind of work she does without an up-to-date set of vaccines. If our children don’t ever leave the US they may possibly be OK without vaccinations, but I don’t know if I want to limit her future options that way. The reason we can realistically discuss delaying vaccinations or not vaccinating is because most of the population still does which significantly lowers the chance of our children ever being exposed to these diseases (with the exception of things like Tetanus).
I agree with previous posters, we each need to decide what works best for our family and be responsible to face any potential consequences, regardless of the side we choose.
Good Point! I have a very good friend who was homeschooled and did not get any vaccines ever, then when she was 21 she went to teach English in Japan for three years and prior to going she had to spend an entire year getting vaccinations. She was literally at the doctor every month for a year, getting a vaccination. It all worked out, she did not have any problems with the vaccinations, she taught abroad for three years, met her husband there, and is now a mom of two and living back here in the USA. It is certainly something to think about for families interested in international mission trips or service abroad programs.
@Laundry Lady, Last summer my children got chicken pox from a recently vaccinated child. I didn’t mind, but I did learn that the chicken pox that is out now is a mutated version of the pox children got before the vaccination. That knowledge made me a little uneasy. However, all 7 of mine have now had them.
Sheri your comment about the chicken pox confused me. Do you mean that the chicken pox that kids catch is not the same one they get vaccinated for?
@Robin, from what I have read the chicken pox vaccine is a altered form of what we all got as kids. Just like corn can be genetically engineered, but yet be corn, the chicken pox is altered, yet chicken pox. Does that make sense?
@Laundry Lady, I think a developed immune system is more equipped to deal with immunizations needed for travel purposes. An adult can also communicate complications if there are any, better than an infant or toddler, and make an informed decision about which vaccines they feel are necessary.
Also, I was vaccinated as a child and still contracted measles. Vaccines do not prevent illness, only outbreaks.
“Like” 🙂 very good point about abroad travel, and missionary work.
I think that is another great consideration for every family when deciding which vaccinations to give!
I mentioned on your FB post last night that vaccination was a choice all parents have to make for their own children. To me, vaccination is not right or wrong, it is the parents trying to make the best decision for their children.
When my son was born, I was following a very selective and delayed vaccination schedule with him. He had only three shots when he had a reaction to the HIB and got very sick. That is when I decided to stop with vaccination all together. But, I am grateful to live in a state that has a medical, philosophical, and religious exemption vaccine waiver.
My oldest 3 children (now 29, 27 & 25) were fully vaccinated according to the schedule they had when they were growing up.
Then I had my 3 younger children (now 11, 10 & 9) and I started my 11 yr old on the same recommended schedule when he was an infant (of course there were many more vaccines at that time) and when he was 2 month old they gave him a vaccine that he had a bad reaction to, then 6 weeks later pulled it off the market!!
I was furious. Scared and decided to get educated.
We now selectively vaccinate and we even delay those and split them up. For us, this works.
Glad to see this topic covered. One very important point I would stress is the myth that vaccines are the ONLY way to prevent disease and provide immunity. If there were another approach that had no side effects, but with the same, or better results, wouldn’t we want to take it? That is why a study that compares the health of unvaccinated, whose parents actively and aggressively attend to the building up of the immune system naturally and nutritionally (such as the Homefirst group in Chicago) to those who are vaccinated. Not by comparing the health of impoverished, unvaccinated populations with vaccinated first world children. It’s a fallacy to at once defend vaccines as opposed to a “do nothing” approach, because that assumes at the outset that there is no other, or better, alternative. Let’s try to think outside of the box, for a change.
We need “like” buttons, like on facebook…yes, it’s not just vaccines or no…it’s a whole-being approach.
All four of my son’s have been fully vaccinated. However, that hasn’t meant that I haven’t had my concerns regarding how quickly and how many vaccinations they get.
When my youngest, Joey, was two he went in for his routine well-check. While I was sitting there waiting for the Dr. I realized that he would be due for vaccinations that day.
I don’t know why, and I don’t want to know, but a feeling of urgency came over me…I knew I did not want him to have those vaccinations that day.
So, right there in the Dr. office I prayed. I told God I trusted him with my children and this situation.
Long story short, the Dr. came in a few minutes later and told me that since Joey was late getting his last vaccines he didn’t feel he needed the ones that day. Praise the Lord!
It was another almost three years before Joey was fully vaccinated. We took our time and I felt much better about waiting.
I think sometimes we forget that God is the one who gave us these little blessings. We just need to ask Him to take control and guide us in the correct way to care for our children.
Great article! Thanks for sharing!
A wonderful and well-balanced article. My children are grown and having their own children now. I did not know there was an alternative when they were small. Shots for the first two seems to be okay, but my third child had problems with them and was more sickly. He also has a mild case of autism now and I truly believe it is because of his body’s reaction to the vaccines. Wish I had known then what I know now. I would have done research and probably done things differently, especially for him. My daughter has done a lot of research and when the doc told her her son was not having seizures as a result of a vaccine, she really dug in her heels. Thanks for a timely and well thought out article.
Thank you for putting this wonderful information out there! I have a 10 year old son and a 6 year old daughter and they have both never been vaccinated! I began reading everything I could get my hands on after my first child was born. I had this bad gut feeling about the vaccines and so chose not to vaccinate them. Because of that decision I was put thru a lot of mistreatments not only from my family but from doctors and nurses as well. But as the years went by (and after changing physicians a few times) I was surprised to find that there are some doctors who actually agreed with me on my stand to “not vaccinate”.
I’ll add my voice to the many who have applauded both Christina and Stephanie for exploring this very touchy subject. It seems that many people avoid the topic for fear of the controversy it stirs. But I really appreciate a community of believers who are willing to work out these important issues with grace and humility.
My husband and I are presently in the non-vaccinating camp, but we respect and love those who disagree with us. I have done many posts about vaccines on my blog. I think these kinds of posts encourage a few different groups of people:
1) Those who DO vaccinate and may consider non-vaccination to be foolish or negligent. They may not change their position on vaccinations, but it may keep them from viewing non-vaccinators as nut-job, faithless, fringe-lunatics.
2) Those who have chosen NOT to vaccinate, but who feel as though they are beign viewed as nut-job, faithless, fringe-lunatics. It may encourage them in their position and help them to communicate their position with intelligence and grace.
3) New parents or parents-to-be who may not be aware that there is another side to the vaccination stance held by most medical professionals.
Thanks again for such a well-done post!
@Erika, “but we respect and love those who disagree with us”. thank you. that should be my goal in all areas as a chrisitan! i need to have a post it all over my house car work etc. that say that!
It is sad commentary on our country that it is such a novel concept to use your brain, ask quesions, and be responsible for your decisions. I am amazed how many sheep there are touting what the commercials say as truth. Thank you for this challenge in this and all areas of our lives and health. Ultimately, we are responsible for our decisions and can’t blame the government, Big Pharma, fast food chains, or the devil especially when all the info is out there. We just have to educate our selves and do what it takes to make what we decide is important a priority in our lives!
I find Christina’s article interesting and, to her credit, I am impressed that she encourages her readers to do their own investigating. I have done so and I am not impressed with how she has presented her scientific findings.
For example, autism spectrum disorder is not an autoimmune disease. It is neurodevelopment disorder. And while ASD has certainly increased over the last decade, the role of vaccines in the development of ASD has been completely discredited. The medical researcher that first proposed this link has lost his licence to practice because he fabricated and sensationalised the evidence.
She states that ‘[if you get the real thing, you get full immunity to it’. This is not always true – people who become immunocompromised later in life can lose their natural immunity (e.g. hemodyalysis patients).
She also states that ‘[if] you get the real thing, you get full immunity to …possibly other diseases –for instance, women who get childhood mumps have increased immunity to ovarian cancer’. The research that supports this statement is really poor – there was only one retrospective study published in 1983 on this subject and they calculated the correlation coefficient to test the relationship. Correlation never means causation without supporting proof and there have been no prospective studies examining the relationship between childhood mumps and ovarian cancer relationship. Try searching ‘mumps’ and ‘ovarian cancer’ in the PubMed database.
Given the above examples, I consider her research findings suspect and likely biased.
There remains a lot that is unknown about Autism Spectrum Disorder, however, there is a lot of evidence pointing to the fact that it is a neurodevelopment disorder stemming from an autoimmune disease.
@Jennifer, I disagree. There is ‘a lot’ of evidence showing that many with ASD have immune dysfunction. This is not the same as saying ASD is caused by an autoimmune disease. I encourage you to look a recent medical review on this subject called “Immune dysfunction in autism: a pathway to treatment” published in July 2010 by M Careaga et al. You can find the abstract at PubMed.
@Kim Reid, Thanks for voicing your concerns, Kim! I really appreciate knowing that my readers are holding me accountable and challenging what they hear– that’s EXACTLY what I want to encourage!! 🙂
I should have put in more citations as I wrote– I’m trying to do better about that in my subsequent posts. So in answer to your queries:
– regarding ASD being grouped with auto-immune disorders– first, there are many ways to label a disease. A disorder can affect one system in particular, and still be an auto-immune disease. For example, Celiac disease (which I have) is mainly a digestive disorder, but it is also classified as an auto-immune disease. Similarly, diabetes mainly affects the circulatory system, yet its root cause is auto-immune. Autism does mainly affect the neurological systems, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t an auto-immune disease. (another doctor described it this way: “Autism is best redefined as an environmental disease with genetic susceptibilities.”) At the very least, autism is linked to auto-immune diseases (http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2009-07-12-autism13_N.htm, http://pn.psychiatryonline.org/content/44/16/25.2.full, http://www.generationrescue.org/pdf/jyonouchi.pdf) This site provides many facets of autism– including the gut-brain immune connection and vaccines: http://www.generationrescue.org/science
-regarding mumps & later ovarian cancer protection: far from being pushed aside, the historical association you mentioned is being examined as recently as August 2010 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20559706
As far as keeping naturally-gained immunities goes; in the normal course of a life, we do keep them. Yes, an event leaving a person immuno-compromised could potentially leave them open to recurrent infection, but in such a case, vaccine-gained immunity would be even less reliable. Take the chicken pox vaccine as an example. Some adults who get chicken pox as children do get shingles… but adults who instead got the vaccine as a child can get full-blown adult chicken pox (which is far more serious and potentially life-altering).
Hope that helps.
I really enjoyed this article because the take away point is to do the research. The only (potentially) wrong choice is an uneducated one.
I have done research on both sides and I definitely feel pulled in both directions. Both sides of the argument utilize fear and it’s hard to sift through all the information to find the truth. Because I believe there is truth on both sides and there are benefits and risks on both sides.
I for one wish it was easier to discuss vaccines with your doctor. I’m sure there are doctors out there who are willing to discuss it openly and talk about both risks and benefits, but that’s definitely not true in my personal experience.
Vaccinations are such a hard topic and I feel like I’ll never feel 100% comfortable with whatever I choose.
I love an article that promotes intentional living and owning one’s choices! I am looking forward to the next part. 🙂
This is a really fabulous post Christina! It is few that are able to make their case without ruffling feathers or getting a mama’s emotional response to vaccines revved up. Thanks so much for presenting these thoughts objectively yet sharing the research that you have done over the years. I do read read read too but it is difficult to find books that are unbiased. That is so great that you have had access to medical journals. I’d love to have that since the doctors that I have been in conversation with always reference these and tell me that my argument has downfalls because I am reading biased research. Therefore, I try to read things on both sides of the fence.
I am so glad you posted this. Our first child was vaccinated according to the CDC schedule (because I didn’t know any better!). Our second was born in the UK and they don’t do as many vaccinations, nor do they do them as quickly, so I was okay with following their guidelines. We are back in the States now and I know my son is due for some vaccinations (he’s going to be two in a couple of weeks), but I’ve been hesitant to make him an appointment because I don’t feel like I am well enough informed. Honestly, its also a little frustrating and tiring trying to “go against the system” and I’ve just been plain avoiding it for that reason. Thanks for this article. I’m looking forward to the one where you give more resources for further research. I also need to get my hands on that Dr. Sears book. Its also nice to find other moms who like to be purposeful with the choices they make for their children–even if we come to different conclusions while being purposeful.
I’m so glad you’re diving into this subject. My 6 month old daughter was due for her shots today. I’ve only recently begun questioning the recommended vaccine schedule. I have researched and read but ran out of time. Well, about 3 days ago she came down with a cough and today the Dr didn’t think she should get her shots. She wants her to go back in two weeks and get them. I have a little more time to read and make my final decision (leaning heavily to no vaccines). My son5 has had all of his vaccines. He also has had 3 seizures, the first one not long after his 6 month shots. And we’re doing Feingold for his hyper activity. The vaccines may or may not be related, but…..
I appreciate the point of this post – that we as parents are supposed to THINK about medical procedures for our kids rather than just doing what the majority tells us. We fully vaccinated our first two kids – no adverse affects with the first and some food sensitivities (which can NOT be linked to the vaccines) in the second. But by the third child, I had figured out that something was genetically different with him – he became sickly when we started feeding him formula at 9 months, developed eczema, and food sensitivies. THIS ia when I started researching vaccines – after he had recieved 12 months worth of them. We discovered an egg & soy allergy in him and then decided not to continue his vaccinations, in particular the MMR and varicella (which were all FOUR lumped into one shot).
Our 4th & 5th children (which seem to have similar genetic dispositions to the 3rd but also had a much more healthy start with home birth and healthier diet) have not yet been vaccinated. We plan to pick and choose (depending on our research) which, if any, vaccines to give them and we plan only to do so when they are closer to 5 years old.
I wish that this issue were not so infuriating to so many and that I could have the freedom to choose what I feel is best for each of my kids without having to ‘keep the secret’ that I haven’t vaccinated half of them. I am thankful that you could post this andhelp us to have a healthy discussion of the topic though!
I’m not so sure this statement is correct: “Shots do not have any measured long-term negative effects other than in the rare cases where children react allergically (Guillain-Barre Syndrome, for instance). These are rare and isolated cases.”
My husband and I have ton a lot of research regarding this topic. Unfortunately we live in one of the toughest states not to vaccinate. The vaccines the doctors try to pass off as “helping” are doing nothing but hurting our children. I am not even sure delaying the vaccines is enough. They are filled with toxic substances and animal parts! Mercola.com has a lot of info that every parent NEEDS to read!
I usually don’t comment about these things because they are so controversial and I am less educated than many of you. But I did want to mention, as someone briefly did above, that the main reason that we are choosing to fully vaccinate our son is that we want our family to have the freedom of going to the crazy places in the world to be a part of expanding God’s kingdom! We are surely blessed to live in a country where many of these diseases are so uncommon today, but I would love for my sweet baby boy to grow up and live in a village in Southeast Asia or somewhere in Africa where these diseases still cause real problems. My husband and I would love to take our family to some of the hardest places, without having to limit where we believe God is calling us because we are afraid of vaccines.
I have heard other moms say, “If we were going to live the life you are, then we would probably vaccinate too.” But isn’t that statement limiting what you are willing to let your child/family do for the Lord? I know there are many reasons to not vaccinate, but I hope that we are not making these decisions because we think God would not call our family to another place in the world.
@Megan, I can understand where you’re coming from. We also want very much to travel with our children and perhaps live in another part of the world one day. If/when those times come, we will deal with the necessary vaccination recommendations/requirements and consider them carefully. We don’t want our children to be restricted either, but I would certainly rather give them their vaccines later and more individually, than all up front just in case. But that’s my personal opinion.
I am wrestling through this very issue myself, as I am now preparing to go to the Philippines with Compassion International this May. Though most vaccinations are only recommended, at least one will be required, perhaps more. I am researching it now, but I also know in my heart that being available to say “yes” to what the Lord has for me is more important than whether or not I get an immunization. I don’t think that we should allow fear to get in the way of our ability to say, “here I am, Lord, use me”. And with that, we still exercise discernment, and make careful, prayerful and thought out decisions.
Yet another important issue and reason why I am so glad to be discussing this issue in such a calm and balanced way! 🙂
Thanks so much for a calm and reasonable article. I’m used to such a topic being much more heated and even ugly. I will have to check out those links. When I was looking at the subject before getting my daughter (13mo) vaccinated I had a very hard time finding any good studies or articles that showed real evidence for avoiding or even delaying vacs… perhaps I should have dug in more. That said, I still had them separate the shots so she didn’t get as many at once… and we are avoiding the chickenpox vac until she goes to school and is basically forced to get it. Chickenpox- seriously, isn’t that a childhood rite of passage?! lol
I had similar feelings about the chicken pox vaccine, but it seems like very few people in our area ever get the disease because of high vaccination rates. So we opted to vaccinate rather than risk a case of adult chicken pox, which can be much more serious. Getting the vaccine can also reduce the risk of contracting shingles later in life. My dad contacted shingles when I was in high school and it was incredibly painful and he has permanent nerve damage in his shoulder. That being said, getting the chicken pox is no guarantee of getting shingles and if I could have guaranteed my daughter a quick and easy childhood case of chicken pox I would have totally opted out of the vaccine. It is, after all a rite of passage. 🙂
Agree about the shingles! Doctors recommend a shingles vax to adults over age 60. It is an extremely painful disease. I highly recommend everyone encourages the over-60s in your life to get the vaccination.
I have been looking for up to date information to read to help me to decide whether to have my 14 yr old son vaccinated. He had all his previous vaccinations “on schedule” but is currently “due” for more, including a dTaP and Meningococcal (groups A, C, W-135, Y) Conjugate Immunization. We live in Canada and what makes research more difficult is that most information I find relates more to the United States. As a family we don’t do flu shots (I used to but had a serious reaction and now will not ever again nor will I take my children for it) and have delayed vaccs. for our youngest who has bad allergies. We have been homeschoolers to this point, although very involved in the community so certainly not living in a bubble, but my son will attend a local high school next year. I mention this b/c part of the argument for the meningococcal vacc. is that adolescence is a peak year for this disease. Another consideration, mentioned above by others, is that I wonder if he’ll be required to have these vaccinations in order to travel anyways. He was going to go to East & West Africa this summer (I need to call and find out but just received notification that he was “due” for these vaccs.) Anyways, it seems like many vaccine related blog posts focus a little more on young children. Does anyone have information that they’d recommend specifically for this age group and/or specific vaccinations I’ve mentioned?
I can’t give you much info about DTP, but I recommend checking out the CDC site for more info on Meningitis. I was vaccinated for meningitis just before college, which I believe is now standard for most colleges. While it is typically spread by close contact, it is easier to transmit in close living situations like college dorms. While treatable, bacterial meningitis can be fatal if not treated early. I really really hate shots, I always have and I fought my mother tooth and nail because of needle phobia, but I was glad to get this one. All it took was a few major hospitalizations of students at my college for me to be very grateful for that vaccine.
Regarding traveling abroad, the big travel vaccines are usually HepB and HepA, probably with a DTP booster, depending on when you son’s last shot was. It will partially depend on the kind of work he plans on doing. My sister does medical missions, so she needs to have all her vaccines up to date since she is working with patients and body fluids that could transmit diseases like HepB and A. However, if you son is up to date on his shots, he probably has already had his HepB. Personally, I don’t see huge harm in delaying meningitis vaccine unless you son is going to be traveling or in some kind of group living situation (like an all summer camp or something). Hep A is also not one I would be worried about unless he plans to travel (which you mentioned he probably will). Sorry I couldn’t provide more info. You doctor’s office should be able to tell you what vaccines will be needed for overseas travel.
Highly recommend the Meningitus vaccination before he goes into high school. Just google “meningitus and students” and you will see this is a very real risk for teens and college students. The symptoms are nausea, headache, fever, sore throat, stiff neck, and aversion to bright lights. You can see how these symptoms could easily be dismissed by a young adult who might just go to bed when they really need to go to the ER. The scary thing with meningitus is the speed the disease progresses, it can kill you within 24 hours of the symptoms appearing. I was vaccinated for Meningitis in college during an outbreak. The vaccine only lasts for three years, so your teen might need a booster before or during college. I understand parents not wanting to “overload” infants with vaccines but I highly recommend parents of teens/college students get them vaccinated for meningitus. Don’t dismiss it because you never got it – it is a real risk for young adults today!
Thanks for taking a balanced look at this, instead of taking sides as so many people do.
My son hasn’t has any vaccinations yet, an I’m a little hesitant on giving him any, but the plan right now is to do selective vaccinations starting at 18 months, one shot at a time, and to try to get them preservative free where possible.
I just wish there was more information available to parents on risks vs. benefits and on ways to make it safer if they do choose to vaccinate.
1/2 of my family members didn’t vaccinate their children, so when I had my first baby (at home) I wanted to do some research on my own. I read Neil Z. Miller’s book, “Vaccines: Are They Really Safe and Effective?” and gained such an appreciation for his dedication and the enormous volume of research he did. The book is easy to read and quite short. I highly recommend it!
Thanks so much for sharing this! I’ve been feeling like a bad mom because my 6.5 month old hasn’t had any vaccines yet. Now I’ve thrilled… even if we do get to them eventually… at least he wasn’t so little!
You’re thrilled because you read something on a blog. Bravo.
We have the book, “Vaccine Alternatives–How to Prevent and Treat Illness Using Natural Remedies”. I’ve found that the preventing illness part is pretty straightforward. It basically says to live healthfully and it will do a great deal of good for you. There are some good treatments if you get the illness, too. But the best part of the book, I think, is the middle part. It’s written by a doctor and tells what is the chance of getting the disease (in America) and also lists all of the possible side effects for each vaccine. It also tells what the effects of the disease are. I thought it was excellently done and seemed to be unbiased. I’m guessing that the person writing the book was against vaccines or would not see the need for the book, but my point is that it’s not written in a way that tries to persuade you one direction or the other. It just states the facts of the diseases and the vaccinations as of the publishing date.
@dena, The things many should remember is that the risks of contracting a certain illness vary with the amount of vaccination in your area. In areas with low vaccine rates and therefore low herd immunity (group immunity to an illness) then the likelihood of your child contracting an illness increases. I worked in pediatrics in rural north idaho where there is a strong inclination to avoid vaccination and there were repeated outbreaks of whooping cough. This doesn’t mean that everyone needs to decide to vaccinate, but everyone should not only consider their unique family needs, but that of the community they’re in and also any travel plans (for instance, if you regularly travel to mexico, you might be more inclined to get your children a hep A vaccine than if you just stay in the US).
@Christine.,My children had whooping cough. Not pleasant but no worse than the flu or a bad cold. It does last a long time but we did get through it and now I assume they are all fully amune to it. Also, my older children who had been immunized and my husband and I also got it. It was no respector of who had gotten shots previously. So remember — the shot does not always work anyway. I am glad my younger children never had any shots. They have been very healthy, never needing to go to a Dr. for illness.
@dena, The things many should remember is that the risks of contracting a certain illness vary with the amount of vaccination in your area. In areas with low vaccine rates and therefore low herd immunity (group immunity to an illness) then the likelihood of your child contracting an illness increases. I worked in pediatrics in rural north idaho where there is a strong inclination to avoid vaccination and there were repeated outbreaks of whooping cough. This doesn’t mean that everyone needs to decide to vaccinate, but everyone should not only consider their unique family needs, but the community they’re in and also any travel plans (for instance, if you regularly travel to mexico, you might be more inclined to get your children a hep A vaccine than if you just stay in the US).
Your comment rests on an inherent belief that vaccinations work. I, for one, have read too many studies of fully vaccinated children contracting the infectious illness anyway. Numerous studies have shown the flu shot to be a farce – it MAY reduce symptoms by one day, but in no way prevents transmission.
Herd immunity – if you dig a little deeper – was a term applied ONLY to natural immunity, and the rate was much lower – around 60-70% of a population with natural immunity seemed to protect the rest. Scientists erringly applied the term to vaccinated populations and arbitrarily raised the rate to 90-95%. I have not seen one study that corroborates that statistic.
@Darlene Franco, Yes, I believe that immunizations work because the science supports it. No one has had smallpox recently and areas with high vaccination rates for many illnesses have very low incidence of the disease. Not all vaccines are as highly effective as others, but they are an invaluable way of saving lives and preventing disease. It’s not a matter of believing or not believing. It’s a matter of science.
@Christine, Don’t confuse correlation with causality. Areas with mandatory vaccine programs generally have better nutrition & sanitation, too. Conversely, many areas have historically shown dramatic drops in communicable diseases when clean water and plenty of food became available, without shots. (http://www.naturalnews.com/027203_vaccination_health_vaccines.html)
Many diseases disappeared from the US around the same time as smallpox, etc., without the help of vaccine campaigns (typhoid, cholera, for example). It seems we may be trading one set of diseases for another as we choose to vaccinate on a very aggressive, one-size-fits-all schedule.
I’m not implying vaccines have no place– they very well could in emergency situations. It’s the blind, mandatory, fear-driven systematic approach that brings me to caution.
@Darlene Franco, Science?? You must keep good records to call it science. When your child has a problem after they receive a shot, the Dr. (mine at least) does not report it as being related to the shot he just gave them two days before. The statistics have got to be way off.
I’ve never quite understood why the idea behind vaccinations seems to be “get it over quick.” My son was going to be given 6 different vaccinations before he left the hospital at 4 days old. Seriously?!? He is going to have direct, life threatening exposure to 6 different hardcore diseases that quickly? Somehow I doubted it. He is all current on his vaccinations now (at almost 7) but we opted to take a much slower route. In the end, he aged out of over 5 different diseases that only occurred as life threatening before the age of 4.
I have a brother who was born pre-maturely, and then had extreme amounts of antibiotics and vaccines dumped on him, and has grown up with mild Aspergers and autistic tendencies. Though I realize there is no direct scientific evidence that such issues are directly caused by each other, the idea of dumping all those chemicals into a new baby still worries me.
I completely agree with being an educated parent about vaccines. But at the end of the day, I believe that this decision, as with all decisions, should be left to God in prayer. I imagine God’s leading for each family is unique. Our situation is similar to Laundry Lady’s – we vaccinated and thank God for the gifts of the vaccines and the benefits they provide.
Thank you for this article.
I really appreciate (LOVE) your foundation and the perspective that provides. I believe each of those statements, but had never thought about it in connection with vaccinations. Thank you for sharing!
As for our family, we began giving our kids their “required” shots and then stopped when our kids were about 3 and 1. My 1 year old had a reaction to the chicken pox vaccine that scared me. At that point, I also did a lot more reading and am now content with our decision to forgo vaccines.
I wrote my own take on vaccinations here: http://lifeonthefrancofarm.blogspot.com/2010/09/vaccines-and-why-my-kids-wont-get-them.html
Since writing that blog, I have made a firm decision to stay far, far away from them. I have read articles, books, pro-vax sites, studies, etc… and nothing has come close to convincing me that injecting toxins into my child’s body is what God had in mind when He entrusted these two kids to me.
Thank you for posting this article, as it just reaffirms my own personal convictions regarding vaccinations, and allopathic medicine in general.
To be honest I guess I didn’t see both sides as being represented equally. I’m not surprised or upset by that though. I mean, it was kind of to be expected given the focus on natural health- which is why I’m drawn to this blog.
My daughter has had all of her vaccinations and won’t be due for another year. We’ve decided to go ahead with the vaccinations but get them spaced out instead of all at once. I don’t feel like a bad parent for this choice or regret what she has had. At the end of the day she’s a healthy, growing girl and some choices aren’t so clear.
@GM, And you shouldn’t feel like a bad parent for that. Some choices are absolutely difficult and not always clear, and we’re never asked to be perfect or always know the right things to do. We’re asked to be faithful, to love our children, and to make decisions to the best of our ability, end of story. You’re a wonderful mom, just doing your best to care for your daughter.
I hope that it comes across loud and clear that regardless of which side of the debate you land on, and what decisions you make, there is no good parent/bad parent determinations happening here. I think that we ALL love our kids and want the very best for them, right? 🙂
What a super post Christina! I knew it was you as soon as I saw the title and your name. I appreciate your balanced view, and it looks like LOTS of other people do too.
Looking forward to seeing the rest of the series. Go girlie!! Stephanie, great job letting her have at this. She’s a natural!
@Leah@ Dance And Be Glad, Thanks, Leah! 🙂
Although I think it’s a little fast, I’ve decided to go with the CDC’s schedule. I’m a firm believer in herd immunity, and my mother’s stories of her classmates who contracted polio (around 1950) have convinced me that I need to vaccinate my children not only for their own health, but also for the health of the other children they play with (some of whom are not vaccinated or on delayed vax schedules).
Of course I would delay vaccinations if I saw any negative reactions in either child, but so far that has not been the case.
Anitra, here is a great article on polio. What people in the 50s didn’t understand is that Sabin admitted the polio vaccine was a farce. http://vran.org/about-vaccines/specific-vaccines/polio-vaccine/polio-perspectives/
@Anitra, Good for you for thinking of the other kids around your son! However, remember that as parents choosing to delay vaccinations, they are in no way holding you responsible for a herd immunity. Many parents who delay or do not vaccinate would prefer that their child be exposed to the “real thing” instead of a killed version in a vaccine. I know that goes against EVERYTHING in vaccine literature! The point is that you are responsible for YOUR children, and if you decide something might hurt them, you absolutely should NOT feel guilty for choosing to avoid it, even if it could potentially harm another person’s child down the road.
I chose not to vaccinate my children–or at least delay vaccines until they are older. In my son’s case I am very glad I made that decision. He has eczema, thus a compromised immune system. He is also highly allergic to eggs, a key component of some vaccines (flu vaccine, for instance). His pediatrician recommends Dr. Sears’s alternate vaccination schedule to all his patients, but in my son’s case he is very supportive of my decision to delay vaccinations. If and when I decide to vaccinate any of my children, it will be when they are at least 8 or 9, and then I will be very selective of the vaccines I pick. Polio would be one I would probably pick; the chicken pox vaccine…probably not.
Two of my kids have eczema (my baby, the 4th, hasn’t yet developed it, praise God). My son’s is the worst adn began the earliest, though it has improved with our family’s shift to real foods and more fermented foods. He aspirated during birth and was consequently in NICU for 10 days; he was on antibiotics from day 1 and some formula shortly thereafter, as they wouldn’t let me breastfeed exclusively!! Then they said he had reflux and switched him to soy, but they were really overfeeding him! Anyway, he also received all the vaccines on schedule, as did my other kids, and I am just now realizing that this, combined with everything else that was assaulting him, may have contributed to his weak immune system. Not only does he have bad eczema, but he catches EVERYTHING that comes his way. I’m going to be a more informed mama with my 4th, who is now 7 months old. I plan to look into Dr. Sears’ book. Thanks for all the comments here!
What ever happened to pox parties? My parents hosted two that I can remember, allowing all the neighborhood kids to come over and get chicken pox from me then 2 years later again from my sister. But I guess now chicken pox is nolonger a right of passage for kids. I have had it 3 times total, @3, @8, and 17-working in the church nursery. My kids haven’t been immunized for pox, and yes all three have had it.
Pox parties still happen! But there is some risk involved. The reason for the chicken pox vaccine is not for the masses, but for the few who are at risk for developing swelling of the brain, febrile seizures, etc. as a result of chicken pox. Not your normal symptoms, but symptoms that can and do occur with chicken pox and can even be fatal.
Thank you for a very thoughtful article. It is so hard to find unbiased information on this subject – I really find that most people come forward with an “all or nothing” approach and as a family who have decided to selectively and delayed vax, we are wrong whoever we talk to. Some of these diseases are life-threatening and for those, we have decided that it is worth the risk, with others (e.g. chicken pox, HPV, rotavirus) we decided to forego them. That’s what works for us. There is risk either way – while people think that measles is a harmless children’s disease, my grandmother lost two sisters to it – that doesn’t take away from the fact that I feel that the vaccine also has inherent risks. As parents, for each and every vaccine, we need to prayerfully weigh the risks of the disease and the vaccine and decide what we feel to be best for our own children.
As a Canadian, what I don’t get is that the American protocols call for Hep-B shots at a day old. I read an article in an American parenting magazine that interviewed several doctors who put forward that parents who opted out of this vaccine were putting their children at grave risk and yet in many other countries, including Canada, this shot isn’t even included in regular protocols or is included much later (here, it is suggested at age 13). Are American children biologically different, putting them at risk when other children are not??? It really makes you question the motivation behind medical and government bodies pushing these schedules.
You’re absolutely right. A Canadian nurse lectured a friend of mine on how vaccination laws were much stricter in Australia, when she was completely wrong about the subject at hand. Makes one wonder…
I have chosen to stop worshipping my medical doctor and take everything they say with a grain of salt – just like I would my mechanic or a used car salesman.
Before I was a parent I thought non-vaccinators were bordering on child neglect/abuse. Now that actually have babies I realize all the pro-vaccine boils down to numbers and statistics. I don’t care if it saves 20 billion babies from something if my baby is the one that dies. It’s such an overwhelming topic and so hard to decide what is the right thing. I’m looking forward to the toolbox questions.
@HeatherB, Thank you for say this for some reason when you said “that this is an overwhelming topic” I started to cry. Maybe it’s cause I’m pregnant with number 2 and I still don’t have a grasp on all of this. But it’s good to know that we are all here to learn, grow and become the best parents we can be for the children God has in trusted us with!
“I don’t care if it saves 20 billion babies…” That sounds like it came right out of the mouth of Jesus.
Thank you for this post. Whether or not to vaccinate my daughter has been one of the most confusing decisions I’ve had to make in her 2.5 years of life. I wish there wasn’t so much contradicting information on this topic; it makes it so difficult to discern what is right for our children. All I can do is pray that the choices I have made will serve my daughter well and she will be healthy and happy.
I am a mama of many and have many friends with many (6-10) children. I do not know of a single child from my non-vax friends who has a child with a problem from non-vaxing. I do know several families with an autistic child who did vax. I know one child who had severe seizures after his well baby checks (when shots were given) and now lives in a group in his late 20’s. I know one man whose brain was teribly damaged from the shots he got after boot camp before shipping out to Vietnam. He was sent home a changed person (retarded).
I don’t think the bad results of vacinating get reported as they should. I also don’t think the good results of not vacinating get reported either. My 15 year old recently went into ER with a broken arm. When they asked me about his doctor, I had to admit that he has never seen a doctor. The child has never been sick enough to take to a doctor, and the doctor we do go to does not want to see us unless there is a problem.
Oh yes, my response when they ask me if they are current on immunizations? Yes they all are. For our family, 0 is “up to date and current”. Fortunately I found a doctor who agrees. That is helpful. I go to him when there is a question such as a puncture wound from a barn tool. 🙂 Be smart. Read the information and figure it out.
Thank you so much for posting this! Everything I find is so one sided, and I get frustrated. I have opted to not immunize until this point because I felt like I was not getting all info. However my son is 21 months old, so I think I will go ahead and start him. He is probably ready.
My neice and nephew are both current on their on all f their vaccines. My sister is young and I’m not quite sure she would even be able to understand the complexities of the vaccination debate(a nice way of saying she’s sweet, but not too bright). Regardless, as I type this, both my niece and nephew are at home right now with the chicken pox. They had the vaccine. My sister had the measles and mumps back to back, and was vaccinated for both. I have a friend who’s daughter has been in a coma for the last two months becuase she contract an unusual varaint of the flu. She had the flu & H1N1 vaccines. I am NOT anti-vaccine. We choose which vaccines to give our daughter based on necessity, our region, etc. We have chosen to vaccinate her for for tetinus because we live in the rural south and she plays in the dirt and we do a lot of gardening. We have spent an insurmountable amount of time educating ourselves about vaccines. Let me tell you why….We were always aprehesive from the beginning. We felt that God was leading us in a different direction that normal protocol. We ended up duped & guilted until our daughter came due for the Chicken pox Shot. The nurse put the needle in and began to squeeze. Immediately, my daughter began to blotch all over and her arm began to swell. The nurse screamed for help & I stood there holding my daughter with shame & fear in my heart. I knew from the beginning that we shouldv’e done reseach and exercised our ability to be independant thinkers. Yet, I continued to listen to others about what was best for our daughter & family. My daughter is allergic to the chicken pox shot. A hard lesson to learn for our family. We choose to seek God’s guidance with all things. We now take our time, research, and pray, before we just say, “If you think it’s best, then, OK.” All vaccinations are foriegn to our bodies(a poison of sorts). So are antibiotics. Sometimes, however, they are necessary. I’d say, take your families needs into considereation. We homeschool. We venture out for co-ops, field trips, shopping, ect. But my daughter does not spend large amounts of time in closed spaces with 30+ kids for 8 hours a day. Therefore, we are slightly less exposed…or even exposers.
@Christina, It is easy, and even somewhat fun, to list off all of these examples of people still getting diseases they were vaccinated for. Let me remind you that whooping cough kills people, the flu kills people. I have no idea if they were vaccinated or not, but I do know that saying people are not bright and being so casual about it is not OK. When 3 years old, my daughter was diagnosed with an insanely rare form of cancer. What!?!? We’re organic to the core, breastfeeding, leave the weeds in our yard people! Something truly, truly shocking was that the #1 thing we were told to stay clear of while she was on chemo was the chicken pox! That vaccine that I thought was ridiculous… I now had a whole new appreciation for the danger of that disease. Someone mentioned it is a game of statistics. My daughter is 6 years old now, but I know more people than I ever imagined who have lost a child because of becoming a part of the childhood cancer community. Please hear me — there is no right or wrong. Your child may not have autism — possibly because of avoiding a vaccine and possibly not. Your child may be the one that gets the chicken pox and dies from scarlet fever — possibly because of not getting the vaccine and possibly it would have happened anyway. Children die. Parents make medical/drug decisions for their children far bigger than vaccinating or not vaccinating. I’d be more worried about the water, soil, and air as the culprits for autism, etc.
@Jen, Cristina, my response was not all directed toward you. I agree with many of your points. Homeschooling makes a difference, picking and choosing is the way, and more. My response is in response to reading everything from everyone, but I’m not ever a reply-er on any blog, so I clicked and now realize that it looks like I was writing you a letter, personally!
Dr Tenpenny was not listed and she is a guru on the sugject of NOT vaxing. You also never mentioned Dr. Mercola. These would be great resources for your cautionary list. Here is a video of Dr. Tenpenny and the dangers of vaccines. It is very informational. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OORHqEedtUY
This is Tenpenny’s website…… http://drtenpenny.com/default.aspx
Tenpenny facebook page…… http://www.facebook.com/vaccineinfo?ref=ts
I love the fact that you even tried to present both sides of the issue. I wish that we had more concrete info on the effects of the additives in the vaccines. This is not an open and shut case, and parents need to be aware of ALL (or as many as humanly possible) issues at stake here in order to make an informed decision.
I personally am more than a little suspicious of vaccines, as we have at least 6 friends with autistic or challenged children. There certainly seems to be SOMETHING going on somewhere .
As a Christian and an historian, I do feel compelled to add another viewpoint in the interests of truth, however. Go to your local cemetery and count the number of gravestones with lambs on them. Your local cemetery will probably be full of them. You might also consult mortality schedules in your local census….in the past children routinely died from diseases that we no longer even worry about. In the mid-19th century, it was not uncommon for families to lose half of their children for one reason or another…and many of these reasons was illness.
We in the 21st century have forgotten the horror of the REAL epidemics: helplessly watching your child convulse under the effects of scarlet fever, or die covered with smallpox sores(or have scars for life). I saw my first photo of a true small-pox case when I was in my 20s, and it shocked me. It’s like a really bad case of chicken pox on steroids and those it didn’t kill, it often scarred horribly. Then again children might be crippled from polio as was my grandfather. My other grandfather almost died from diphtheria one time, and from typhoid fever another. We get upset and terrified when a few people sicken from infected food or there’s the threat of H1N1; in the 19th century THOUSANDS of people (often whole families) died almost every year in New Orleans from Yellow Fever. Smallpox epidemics and cholera killed whole families. Even the seemingly milder measles and whooping cough killed children, too.
You may say, truly, that there are different variables today: people in the past did not have the fever-reducing medicines, nutrition, advanced medical care or antibiotics that we have now. Today even those with smallpox could be treated…although it would probably still have a serious effect on the body. Also, not all of the great epidemics that I’ve mentioned above are or can be treated with vaccines. Even the great scourge, smallpox, is not vaccinated against here in the U.S.
I am not meaning for this to be a scare tactic, but just as information that many people without a historical background do not comprehend. I DO think, that parents should carefully research what life was like before vaccines controlled the number of childhood illnesses. I think then you might understand the CDC’s almost obsession (right or wrong) with vaccination.
We also cannot downplay the dangers of “childhood illnesses” to the child. What IF the child caught the measles? What would be the symptoms and what medical care would be needed? What about mumps? What complications could result? How would these illnesses affect a weak or immune-compromised child? One of my beliefs is that the reason many of the people in the past seem so strong to us today, is that childhood illnesses went a long way toward weeding out the weak. It’s good to say that these diseases increase immunity, but that’s only if you survive…and many children simply didn’t. Also consider implications later in life. Chicken pox may seem rather benign, but ask anyone with shingles how they feel!
Also, as Christians we must also take into account the dangers illnesses present to others. What is the risk of sterility if your husband or brother or older son gets mumps from your child? And if a pregnant woman (you included) gets rubella, there is a grave danger to the unborn child. If you don’t know about these risks, then you need to look into them. And, or course, we need to consider what might happen if large numbers of people in the community do not vaccinate. Right now, unvaccinated children are relatively safe because most children ARE vaccinated and do not spread the disease. As the number of unvaccinated children rises, it is possible that the likelihood of contracting a serious illness would also increase.
As I said before, this is NOT an easy issue. I think all parents need to have the right to make their own decisions, BUT it needs to be a decision based on knowledge of the potential risks to the child, community, family members and play mates.
I am the mother of five boys and have been stuck on both sides of this discussion for the safety of my children, and all who come near them. My oldest son had severe allergic reactions every time he recieved the vaccinations. After his third series of shots and another case of major swelling and fevers over 102, I quit giving him the shots. The doctor told me that all I was doing was putting others at risk and opening my child upto many many illnesses. In other words I was a “bad mother” At the age of 18 months my son went to his dads. He brought him to that doctor and had him vaccinated again. Two days later my son had a fever of 104.6 and went into convulsions. I had to watch him for two years to monitor for brain damage. Needles to say he never recieved them again. My next two children had partial shots given one at a time to figure out exactly what shots they were elergic to. The reactions were fairly mild and the ones they had reactions to they didn’t receive again. However, when it became time to go to school I was told that they had to have them up to date so against my better judgement I had them done. My younger son had no issues, but my second son had severe swelling and a fever of 103 that didn’t go down for 4 days. Again they send me home to monitor him for possible brain damage? My fourth son was a very inteligent bright and calm child. He had not recieved any shots untill the age of 16 months in which case he recieved one shot. Two days later he wouldn’t sleep through the night. He gets another shot a month later, he starts to become outragiously hyper and uncontrolable on top of not sleeping through the night and never taking naps. Third shot, he becomes withdrawn and starts throwing uncontrolable screaming fits. I quit giving the shots to him. At the age of two they diagnose him with asbergurs syndrom and adhd. My doctor tells me I am one of the “unlucky” ones that prove that the shots do cause autism. My youngest son has not recieved any shots and never will.
I am looked down apon for not giving my children vaccinations any more. And I am so happy that finally there are other people out there willing to see both sides and understand that each family is different. Some may never have a bad reaction to the shots. Get them. But for some people like me who are not willing to sacrifice our children for the masses, please understand it is not just fickle reasoning, it is life or death….
I have struggle for years now with the question of whether the immunization shots my boys were given was the cause of their problems. My oldest has Asperger Syndrome and my other son has more severe learning problems no one has been able to put a name to. Did I do this to them by having them get the shots? This is the question I struggle with. People say “It’s not your fault” but yet I am the one who gave the consent to have the shots given. I was the one who believed it was best for them because “all children need to be immunized.” I haven’t felt like anyone has proven to me that the shots were not the cause of the learning problems yet I can’t without proof blame everything on the shots. It is more a deep regret and sadness that maybe it could have been prevented if I had understood more or asked more questions. One of the interesting thing though is that I had all three of my children vaccinated for the Chicken Pox back in the mid 90’s and both boys got the Chicken Pox anyways. Only my girl has no learning problems and also didn’t get the Chicken Pox. It makes you wonder when most Autism disorders effect mostly boy and it is only me two boys who have issues and my daughter is fine. Someday I hope to know the “Truth” about the whole immunization issue but until then I will always have the questions and guilt in the back of my mind.
I dont get into discussions about vaxing, becasue we are a special family. 🙂 I am pregnant with #4. my hubby and my 2nd oldest have Hirschsprung’s disease. They both dont have a colon. So for me the choice is obvious, I have done the extended version. My son (hes 3) when he gets the flu he must be hospitalized for at least a week for dehydration. He has almmost died several times because of renal failure. I will do anything to help his chances and some people dont see that. My family gets every flu shot possible, there are chances to everything, but I weighed my chances and because we live where lots of people dont vax their kids, my sons chances to get them are way higher. 🙁
Thank you for the interesting article and thought provoking comments. I wanted to emphasize the sovereignty of God in our lives-vaccination is indeed an overwhelming topic, too overwhelming for human knowledge alone…Our mighty God is working out His purposes in each of our lives and we must be seeking His will in all our decision making…as a medical student I prayerfully researched the TB vaccine I was being offered and was led to choose NOT to be vaccinated. Little did I know that 8 yrs later I would end up working in the world’s TB capital and (not surprisingly) became infected AND unknowingly infected my unborn child, who subsequently was born prematurely, and very ill. It was an incredibly traumatic experience as my child nearly died. By God’s grace my son was healed, I was treated and I can see the hand of the Lord through the whole experience, as He used it to work in my life to deal with sin and refine me, my son’s life as he is an amazing fighter at a young age, my whole family, the lives of the doctors and nurses involved, even other prem babies who have been saved by sharing our story…..God is working out His purposes for His glory and I praise Him for what He brought about in our lives…as a doctor (who has seen children die from vaccine preventable illnesses) and having had my own personal horrifying experience of what can happen when you don’t vaccinate, I am, in a general sense for vaccinations BUT it is still an individual decision that needs to be undertaken prayerfully and wisely, resting in the grace and goodness of our Great Lord.xxx.
Oh man…this is SUCH a hard topic! We read Dr. Sears book, The Vaccine Book, and I did feel much better after being more informed. We staggered the vaccinations as best we could, but then at her one year appointment the nurse accidentally gave my daughter the MMR, even though I had requested she not get it. Oh, I was so concerned! My sweet (and wise) husband had to remind me repeatedly that our God knows exactly who our daughter is going to be and He is in control of all things. I felt a WEE bit better, but I had to really keep quoting Phil. 4:6 to myself, “Be anxious for nothing…..Be anxious for nothing…..” Thanks for your post!
Stumbled across your article- and am concerned that a lot of the women, who are understandably concerned about the safety of their children, don’t understand why vaccines are so important. I know it’s unpopular among Christians to think beyond their own children to the good of society, but aside from clean water, vaccinations have saved more lives than ANYTHING ELSE in the history of… in history!
(The following is for the women who refuse vaccinations altogether- not those who thoughtfully space vaccines out, etc.)
1. Vaccines are not 100% successful. That’s why the idea of “herd immunity” is so important. When parents choose not to get their child vaccinated, they can carry a disease and spread it to other children/ people who WERE vaccinated, but whose vaccinations were not successful.
2. Unvaccinated people can also spread disease to children who were not vaccinated because their parents just didn’t bother.
3. Unvaccinated children who are carriers for diseases that should be eradicated thanks to vaccines put those with low immune systems- AIDS patients, cancer patients, etc. at risk.
4. The unvaccinated put infants who have not yet been vaccinated at risk.
Cases per year (average) before vaccines: 175,885
Cases in 2003: 1
Decrease in cases per year: 99.9%
* Hib (<5 yrs old)
Cases per year (average) before vaccines: 20,000 (estimate)
Cases in 2003: 259
Decrease in cases per year: 98.8%
Cases per year (average) before vaccines: 503,282
Cases in 2003: 56
Decrease in cases per year: 99.9%
Cases per year (average) before vaccines: 152,209
Cases in 2003: 231
Decrease in cases per year: 99.9%
* Pertussis (whooping cough)
Cases per year (average) before vaccines: 147,271
Cases in 2003: 11,647
Decrease in cases per year: 92.1%
* Polio (paralytic)
Cases per year (average) before vaccines: 16,316
Cases in 2003: 0
Decrease in cases per year: 100.0%
Cases per year (average) before vaccines: 47,745
Cases in 2003: 7
Decrease in cases per year: 99.9%
Cases per year (average) before vaccines: 48,164
Cases in 2003: 0
Decrease in cases per year: 100.0%
Cases per year (average) before vaccines: 1,314
Cases in 2003: 20
Decrease in cases per year: 98.5%
Holly, you could not be more wrong, nor more condescending! First of all it is ABSURD to say only the vaccinated are the ones who are risking others. First of all the act of vaccinating is actually injecting viruses and bacteria into a child’s body so they are in essence, contaminated at that point and can and DO SHED those very viruses and bacteria through their saliva, mucus, feces etc.. not to mention, that now their body is overwhelmed trying to detox all those chemicals and deal with treating the bacteria/viruses they were just injected with.
Furthermore, a vaccinated child is NOT 100% immune or even at all, there is NO guarantee and all the same those vaccinated people can STILL contract and SPREAD illness, REGARDLESS of their vaccination status or titers. SIMPLY BEING “vaccinated” does not make you immune from contracting nor spreading illness. Point in fact…Look at whooping cough right now, over 80% of whooping cough cases are in the VACCINATED! You can STILL be a carrier of pertussis even if you are vaccinated! The evidence is clear.
Please, read these reports http://www.dailypaul.com/167931/a-collection-of-mainstream-news-reports-and-studies-exploding-the-whooping-cough-vaccine-myth
There are MANY cases where vaccinated doctors, nurses etc, spread the illness to their patients BECAUSE THEY WERE VACCINATED! The info is out there but I won’t dig it all up for you. I’ve seen the reports and research.
I think it is extremely condescending for you to act like we are some scared “women” living in fear…actually I don’t fear illness, because I understand that our body is meant to heal itself. Also My husband and I are both extremely intelligent and he agrees and believes the same as I do as do I am sure the HUSBANDS of MANY of the WOMEN here! We have just as much right, power, ability, knowledge as men to decide what is best for OUR children!
Also let’s not put aside the MILLIONS of children who are DAMAGED by vaccines every day!
“A false polarity is perpetuated that positions deaths and injuries from disease as somehow more tragic than deaths and injuries from vaccines. These are equal tragedies. No child deserves to be written off as collateral damage in the war on disease.”
“You can’t vaccinate believing that your children are protected and then feel that your children are not protected because somehow, some non-vaccinated child is carrying some secret organism that no one else is carrying. It just doesn’t make any sense.” — Dr. Larry Palevsky, pediatrician
“Dr. Martin Hirte writes on page 20 of his book ‘Vaccination–Pro and Contra’: “To create fear among parents to strengthen their motivation to vaccinate is an important part of the publicity used to promote vaccinations. A whole branch of research is examining the question: ‘What level of fear needs to be created to appear as convincing as possible?'”— Dr Buchwald (The Decline of Tuberculosis despite “Protective” Vaccination by Dr. Gerhard Buchwald M.D. p104)
” Since people cannot be vaccinated against their will, the biggest job of a Health Department has always been, and always will be, to persuade the unprotected people to get vaccinated. This we attempt to do in three ways: First by education; second by fright; and third, by pressure. We dislike very much to mention fright and pressure, yet they accomplish more than education, because they work faster than education, which is normally a slow process.” Declaration by Dr. John P. Koehler, Commissioner of Health of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in an aricle in the Wisconsin Medical Journal, November, 1925.
Measles outbreak in 100% vaccinated population
Editorial Note: This outbreak demonstrates that transmission of measles can occur within a school population with a documented immunization level of 100%. This level was validated during the outbreak investigation..
Your little reports above do not prove vaccines work or have anything to do with the decline of disease. There are MANY factors in the decline of disease, better nutrition, hygiene, medical and health care those ALL weight heavily in the rise/fall of disease, you can’t throw the baby out with the bathwater and say that since vaccines came along, none of that matters and only vaccines were responsible…when actually there is NO PROOF this is true at all!
This is an intense topic and I think ALL PARENTS should have the RIGHT to CHOOSE what is best for their child. Again….if it is YOUR CHILD that dies after a vaccine, you will change your tune, or will you simply toss them up as for the greater good? if so…good for you, but for the millions of parents out there with dead or injured children, they may not feel that way and would like their child’s death/illness to be acknowledged, even if they DID die for YOUR child! Don’t THEY deserve the respect/right to KNOW and CLAIM what truly killed/injured their child and protect future children from that same fate? As well what about all of the immensely chronically ill children in our country today? We’ve traded acute illnesses like measles and chickenpox for chronic illnesses like cancer and juvenile diabetes, autism, PANDAS, multiple food and chemical allergies, unknown unbearable rashes and pains and aches. Our children are SICK and we can’t see it!!
Mema///thank you SO MUCH for your rebuttal…I didn’t know exactly where to start with the falseness that Holly was posting. Thank you Thank you!
Holly, have you ever gotten an auto-immune attack for up to a year after receiving a vaccination? Have you watched your child regress into autism and repeat back to you whatever you say to them, after a “recommended” round of vaccinations? Or had to put them in a behavioral program because that child was so aggressive they could not play with other kids? Have you had other people blame you for your child’s problems when you are the only one trying to work with this child, and barely have the energy to get through the day because of your auto immune disorder?
My child has PANDAS now, an autoimmune brain disorder, and is on the autism spectrum. I have Hashimotos disease. If we continue to vaccinate, both of us will likely end up severely ill or dead. Vaccines stimulate autoimmune reactions by increasing antibody levels, and that means trouble for those with immune dysfunctions. Our healthy preschooler could also end up with autoimmune disease if I keep pumping him full of vaccinations. Doesn’t sound like a smart choice to me.
Thank you for posting this. Whether or not to vaccinate or which ones to choose is such a hard decision with all the information out. It is so hard to decide. I have been praying about this for awhile. I have a 4 1/2 year old and a 6 month old. My four year old has had some shots but not all. I had a real hard time deciding with my little one, I researched until it made me sick and confused. She didn’t receive any vaccinations when she was born and I decided to find a doctor who would allow spacing them out. I had to switch pediatricians and then ended up getting all of her first set of shots according the the CDC anyway when she was 3 1/2 months. I felt like I did the right thing and guilty at the same time… so difficult! She has not had anymore vaccinations yet. We plan on homeschooling and my oldest was in daycare briefly for a couple days a week because I worked there but I will not be doing that again, so I’m trying to take that into consideration.
After researching it myself, I tend to agree with Christina when she said:
“It seems we may be trading one set of diseases for another as we choose to vaccinate on a very aggressive, one-size-fits-all schedule.
I’m not implying vaccines have no place– they very well could in emergency situations. It’s the blind, mandatory, fear-driven systematic approach that brings me to caution.”
If we believe God works for the good of those called according to his purpose, then whether we choose to vaccinate or not, God uses it all, and He may be leading one family one way and another family another way.
A great site to view and get information is http://www.nvic.org/
Check this out when trying to decide for your child or children, it is a very informative and helpful site.
Wonderful post. I love hearing neutral posts about vaccinations. Here’s my perspective:
As a Christian, very soon-to-be mother (due in March!), and soon-to-be physician (graduating in June), I am extremely concerned about vaccinations – both personally and professionally. I also wrote a blog post outlining the importance of education and parent choice in the subject of vaccinations: http://naturalmedicineisthebestmedicine.blogspot.com/2011/09/all-naturopaths-are-against.html
I’ve posted this link in a number of medical blogs, and boy have I gotten ripped for making this type of commentary!! Many medical doctors consider it scandalous that I would even consider advocating parents making (GASP!) their own choice regarding vaccines.
That said, as a future physician, I highly encourage all your readers to CAREFULLY sort through information regarding vaccines. Much of what is written on the internet is blatantly false. I’ve found Dr. Sears’ work to be well referenced by legitimate literature. Also, the CDC website is very helpful – even though the data on adverse vaccine reactions is probably greatly underreported, their data on actual disease prevalence is very good. A good doctor who is well-versed in both sides of the argument is your best source.
Here are some questions that I believe parents should be asking for EACH vaccine:
1) What are the ACTUAL RISKS of my child getting this disease? (What chance does he/she have of getting it? How serious would it be?)
2) What is IN each vaccine? (Adjuvants? Aluminum? How much? What is the research behind the effects of these? Is it a live virus?)
3) WHEN is it most appropriate to get each vaccine? (Which diseases are most deadly in early infancy? Which vaccines can wait? Which diseases are my child most likely to never encounter?)
4) How does my decision affect my neighbor?
To a future doctor,
I am a Pediatrician and training further in Infectious Diseases. Your view of vaccines scares me because I have seen these vaccine preventable diseases that are “not so bad.” In my first month of training, I saw a little boy almost die from tetanus (prolonged ICU stay). In the past year, we have had children with measles, mumps, and multiple cases of varicella in our hospital. So does your child have a risk of getting one of these diseases? If they are not vaccinated, most definitely! And are these diseases serious? You obviously have not researched and read about the ill children and even deaths from measles in the late 80s/early 90s or the multiple infant deaths in California last year from pertussis. I encourage you to educate yourself further. Although I also encourage parents to obtain reliable information, one source should be their physician. Physicians like you scare me because I know you don’t truly understand these vaccine preventable diseases, the immune response to vaccines, and the basic science of vaccines. Once you see a child close to death from one of these diseases and realize that it could have been avoided, you will understand. I am a advocate for children’s health. If you cannot be an advocate for health, you may want to reconsider your future plans.
And how many of those pertissis cases were in fully or partially vaccinated children? Please read this- http://drsuzanne.net/dr-suzanne-humphries-vaccines-vaccination/
Whoa, let’s stick to facts and not false scare tactics. According to the CA Health Dept, “no pertussis deaths have been reported in California since 2010” (http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/immunize/Documents/PertussisReport2012-04-24.pdf). In 2010, they were all under 3 months old so the question of being fully vaccinated didn’t even apply there, and at least one of the infants was premature, which obviously complicates any vax/anti-vax stance. Moreover, if you actually look at the CA data, there are higher risks in certain counties and in certain demographics. A wise parent will consider these statistics when evaluating for risk, as well as weigh complicating factors such as premature birth, concurrent illness, etc.
Also, of those infected with Pertussis in 2010, it’s estimated that the vast majority were fully vaccinated (http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2012/03/13/cid.cis287). Unfortunately, the writers concluded that we should just pump already fully vaccinated kids with even more vaccines–that will also wear off in a few years. Huh????
Side note: SR, Rather than criticize and demean that upcoming physician who has a more updated education than yours, maybe you should spend some time looking through recent studies and data before you falsify them on this respectable site.
You have to ask how your decision affects your neighbor and yet you somehow got into med school. Yikes.
Sorry, but any post that starts with “god created our bodies…” as a “baseline truth” is just not “neutral.”
I cloth diaper, wear my babies, eat and feed my family as thoughtfully as I can and try in general to be a wholesome mom. But I also studied biology and I do not believe in intelligent design or God. Most of the anti-vaccine propaganda out there is terribly thought-less–way more based on the fears, anxieties of our contemporary political, socio-economic environment, and it’s a crying shame that uninformed mothers who wish desperately to do the best for their families are sucked into the anti-vax rhetoric as part of any movement (whether it be religious, anti-government, crunchy or Sears acolyte variety).
Too bad. I really enjoyed your detergent review. This, not so much.
Yes, you are right: this is not a spiritually neutral blog, nor has it ever purposed to be! It is intended to help Christians best tend their homes. While the contributors and majority of readers may disagree on precisely how to best do that, we all are united by our desire to please our Lord Jesus and to live in accordance with His Word the Bible.
I’m glad you stopped by and have appreciated some of the posts! Stick around! 🙂 The Christian worldview is all-encompassing and affects the way we function on every level.
I wanted to bring up the concept of “herd Immunity”. First, we know in the medical community that vaccines are NOT 100% effective for all people. Second, we do not always know how long a vaccine will offer protection. For example, the protection from Pertussis vaccination is not necessarily present into adulthood. In the recent past, families of newborns were getting infected with mild symptoms, while their newborn would have severe life-threatening Pertussis with unfortunately sometimes life-ending results. This is the reason the OBGYN community is promoting booster vaccines for Pertussis to all medical personnel and women immediately after childbirth. Note: Pertussis vaccination is started at 2 months of life.
“Herd Immunity” is the concept that if most people are protected/immune, than those few people who are not immune (your newborn from Pertussis) will be protected, because no one in the immune “herd” can give them the infection. So if you have the one child in your elementary school who was vaccinated but did not successfully get immunity, well thank God all the other children were vaccinated and are immune. Your child is then protected. I would argue that we as a society have an ethical obligation to protect that one non-immune child. That is the CDC’s stance. Again using the Pertussis example, if everyone who comes into contact with your newborn during baby’s first 2 months of life has been revaccinated and immune to pertussis, then your baby is safe because the “herd” protects baby.
As an OBGYN, I too have seen horrible, preventable examples of children hospitalized. But when the H1N1 influenza first arrived in our country, I lived it. Just 1 week prior to the vaccination being released to the public, H1N1 devastated my family. My 4 year-old son went from happily playing to being intubated in the ICU in the course of a couple hours. I sat by his side wondering if he would wake and if he did, would he be mentally intact. My son recovered with all his faculties. But if I could have prevented his illness with a vaccine, what a blessing that would have been to my family. If only the vaccine had been available 7 days sooner. I still remember all the publicity and hype over H1N1 before my son got sick and thinking, people are probably making a big deal out of nothing. But I was wrong. Some of the other children and their families in the ICU that week were not as fortunate as my family.
So I will end with asking what others think. Do we as a society or as the “herd” have an ethical obligation to protect those who will not be successfully immunized or are too young to get vaccinated?
First off I’d challenge the “herd immunity” concept. Diseases are constantly changing, especially when toxic elements have been widely used to fight them (beekeepers are seeing this). Soon a strain develops that is differerent enough or resiliant enough to re-infect a population- especially if that population has a partial immunity such as vaccines provide, or if the population is malnourished. This is why we see cyclical patterns in disease occur (like pertussis outbreaks every 5 or so years). Are you aware of just how high the percentages of folks in a breakout who are fully or partially vaccinated? The majority!! Herd immunity is so fragile and temporary that it isn’t worth risking my own child’s (or my own) well-being to protect. If each parent takes responsibility primarily for their own children, we will be doing what is right. We will give an account before God primarily for how we caree for them… then our larger “neighbor.” If I’m in a car accident and swerve to avoid an oncoming car which would have killed my family, and in so doing sideswipe another car, injuring another person, I don’t think anyone would blame me
Here is an aricle you may find helpful: http://drsuzanne.net/dr-suzanne-humphries-vaccines-vaccination/
I have to respectfully disagree with your reasoning that we should look out for health of our own children at the expense of others. The Bible clearly states to love your neighbor as yourself. I studied herd immunity at medical school and have to support Leah’s explanation. The reason that the majority of people in an outbreak are vaccinated is simply statistical: the overwhelming majority of people in North America ARE vaccinated. Childhood diseases are not “minor” as the above argument claims, they killed and disabled many many children when they were prevalent. Of course we have better nutrition and hygiene now, but that would not be enough to prevent an increase in childhood death if we stopped vaccinating. The author who wrote the paper suggesting a link between autism and vaccines retracted his opinion, there is absolutely NO evidence for this link. The reason that there has been an increase in ADHD and autisum is because we are only now diagnosing them and widening the criteria for inclusion. ADHD children still existed 200 years ago, we just did not label them as such. I agree that like any medical intervention vaccines have their risks and that ultimately every parent needs to come to a decision that they are comfortable with, but I think we have to consider the health of every single child, not just our own.
If you read the above article you’ll see some info on Dr. Wakefield– the autism-vaccine link is far from disproven. However, that is another topic.
My point in questioning her immunity is first to, well, question a faulty idea often used in reasoning, and secondly to say that my priority as a mom is my own child’s health, and then secondly the health of those outside my family. That principle is clear in Scripture (widows in our family are to be cared for first by their family, children are to care for their own parents, parents are to teach their own children…). Obviously, we are not to set out to intentionally harm other people, but in choosing between a potential risk to another and a potential risk to my own child, it does not seem unethical to first protect my own child…especially if I feel the risk to him is great while the risk to others is very small (or non-existant, as in the case of “herd immunity.”).
Thanks for the response! Okay so I did read that article, but that website is hardly legitimate. This woman claims to be an “MD” but I could find no page describing her education. She is clearly marketing herself as a health ‘advisor’, in her own words she is “not a primary care provider.” She actually has an article describing how she thinks the medical community is trying to prevent/ hide a cure for cancer. She says that doctors are ‘afraid of childhood illness because they don’t know how to treat it’ and that actually with good nutrition there are no bad outcomes from childhood vaccines. I have seen firsthand that this is absolutely false! I have seen babies near death from pertussis and it is awful. Childhood illness is real and can be deadly, regardless of nutrition. Her entire website is incredibly inflammatory and angry towards the medical community at large and makes blanket statements about physicians “not knowing anything about vaccines.” I would agree that protecting your own children first is fine if others are not at risk but personally I believe it does put others at risk, and to me, that would not be ‘loving my neighbor as myself.’ Anyways, I respect your opinion but I do wish you would not link to such an obviously biased website from a woman with a clear financial interest in promoting herself as an advocate of health and natural remedies. I hope that readers will be able to read that article critically.
THIS is why I want to distance myself from Christian women. Educate yourself.
I’m a proud pagan, highly educated, work in the medical field and I don’t vaccinate!
I am so thankful for the freedon of speech and the availability of information on the internet. I have two young children and have been doing research on vaccines, and plan to continue more aggressively to be convinced on where I stand and why. When I come across blogs or forums discussing vaccines, to me the proof is, as they say, is in the pudding. When mama after mama recounts a personal journey of tragedy as a result of vaccinating, that to me is the purest of proof. What mother hopes to gain from their child’s suffering? And since the medical world has not been properly documenting the after-shot results that absolutely skews every “scientific” claim offered. Thank you to all the mothers and fathers who dare question their world!
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