Its going to be “flu season” very soon and if the routine childhood vaccination schedule didn’t get you really thinking then maybe the huge ad campaign to get everyone vaccinated this flu season has. These are hard decisions. Lets take a look at the decision we make with every shot. How do vaccinations work?
Vaccines attempt to fool the body into thinking that it is getting a real exposure to an antigen (a particle that causes a specific illness) and our body creates antibodies (particles that fight invaders that potentially create illness). Antibody production is the natural way that we fight of disease. Antibodies are made for the imitation illness in the vaccine and when you are exposed to the real one you already have antibodies to it that will fight and you wont get sick.
The way that the vaccine is introduced to the body bypasses the normal and natural methods of exposure. Antibodies are produced but they are inherently different from the ones that we produce from a natural exposure. There are those that believe that this stunts the natural progression of a child’s maturing immune system and that we should be waiting until children are older and have developed their own immune system before vaccinating: that we are in effect, stunting the nations immune system and creating more and more chronic disease.
Many vaccines wear off. For example: the chickenpox vaccine protects many young children from getting the irritating and inconvenient symptoms of chickenpox while many of their peers are passing it around in school. However, we are now finding that the chickenpox vaccine is wearing off in adulthood and that there is a rise in adult chickenpox as a result. In adults chickenpox is much more dangerous. A perk of the old fashioned way: once you are naturally exposed and contract the chickenpox or any other virus you are virtually assured life long immunity. Have you ever heard of a child dying from chickenpox? This is why many parents are choosing to have "Chickenpox Parties" so that the exposure happens to groups of children who are in frequent contact all at once and normalcy can be resumed sooner into play groups, homes and schools. Whats so great about vaccinations?
There is real value to vaccinating some populations: for example many elderly are susceptible to devastating effects with even a little cold or flu may really benefit. We no longer have to vaccinate our children for polio thanks to the vaccine (however, this is not true of many developing nations without the vaccine). The idea is that if every one could be vaccinated than we can eradicate disease. And, when there are many people who are vaccinated they insulate those who are not vaccinated from getting the illness (un-vaccinated people do not pose any risk to those who are vaccinated). Whats so bad about vaccinations?
Vaccines ether have a dead virus or a live virus, and other additives. Adjuvants are vaccine additives that boost antibody production. The most common ones include: aluminum and squalene, both are potentially harmful to humans. Some fear that this is what triggers the autoimmune reaction that has been attributed to vaccine side effects (autoimmune reactions are when antibodies attack the person rather than the antigen causing the illness). Around 75% of the flu vaccines that are recommended for children as young as 6 months old contain small amounts of thimerosal (mercury): a poison.1
There is also fear that taking some vaccines (particularly the flu vaccine and Tamiflu) allows for mutation of the illness and greater resistance to treatments as evidenced by how ineffective Tamiflu has increasingly become.
It is also important to be aware that the huge advertising campaigns that we see about the need for vaccinations are often funded by the vaccine manufacturers. These companies stand to make a huge profit off of “flu season” vaccines as it is a multibillion dollar industry. What should I watch for after vaccinating?
As with any medical procedure there are potential side effects. A commonly reported side effect after the flu shot is “flu like symptoms” and even after getting the flu shot many people still get the flu.2
In part because the vaccine only protects from a set number of the flu virus and there are many different strains that cycle through every season.
Adverse reactions are reported occasionally. Reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) include: hoarseness, sore or itchy eyes, cough, fever, aches, unresponsiveness, neurological problems, long-term seizures, coma, lowered consciousness or permanent brain damage. There is a huge ongoing debate about autism associated with routine vaccinations. See what the CDC has to say about side effects:http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/side-effects.htm#flu
Since the mid 1980’s physicians are legally required to report any adverse effects thanks to the passing of the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act. The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System is sponsored by the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is a place for doctors, parents and patients to formally report adverse reactions. Found at: http://vaers.hhs.gov/index
You may be advised to wait or not vaccinate if: there has been any previous vaccine reaction, avoid some vaccines if there is a sensitivity to eggs or yeast, a lowered immune system, a presence of auto-immune disease, etcHow much is too much?
More and more vaccinations are added to the schedule of our nations children starting at birth. Many babies are given the hepatitis B vaccine at birth even though the only newborns at risk for contracting it are those born to infected mothers. "In 1998, France became the first country to stop requiring hepatitis B vaccination for schoolchildren. This followed reports that many French children were developing chronic arthritis and symptoms resembling multiple sclerosis following administration of the vaccine." 3
According to the 1999-2003 National Immunization Survey data: a tenth of children age 19-35 months have had accidental repeat and unessisary vaccinations, meaning shots in addition to the 48 doses of 14 vaccines recommended for our average 6 yr old. By the time they can vote the goal is for them to have received about 69 doses of 16 vaccines.4 What do you do?
You, as a parent, have the right to chose an alternative vaccination schedule: to delay any vaccinations indefinitely or until you feel that it is in the best interest of your child. Perhaps when they have robust immune system, will be around many other children or before international travel. Ultimately, it is your choice as a parent and the responsibility falls on your shoulders, not your doctor or any pharmaceutical company. However, some monetary compensation for adverse reactions may be acquired from the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.5
Many of the childhood disease that children are routinely vaccinated for are not life threatening in the healthy child. There are some exceptions: unfortunately most of these deaths related to preventable childhood illnesses occur in over crowded, undeserved and uneducated groups of children. The reality is that with a strong immune system we are often able to fight off may illnesses naturally. Lots of water, sleep, exercise, low stress, a good diet and getting regular spinal adjustments are often all you need to have a thriving immune system at any age.
Your doctor or pediatrician is a great resource for vaccine information. However, it is best to enter a conversation with your health care professional already informed so that you can make an educated decision about whether you are getting unbiased information. If you feel threatened, belittled or are told that he/she will refuse to treat you or your family if you choose not to vaccinate or to use an alternative vaccination schedule I urge you to seek a more supportive physician.
As with any medication or medical treatment, keep accurate records of all vaccinations that are given to your child to be sure that there is no unnecessary repetition of shots. Get a copy of the vaccination documentation from your doctor so that you have identifiers such as the vaccine batch number in case of a reaction. Monitor your child closely after any vaccination. Report any unusual behavior right way to your doctor.
In the end ask yourself: Am I more afraid of the adverse effects of the vaccination or am I more afraid of the illness I am attempting to prevent? Either way, be sure that you are making a decision that you feel good about.
To your infinite health!Dr. Birchann Paffenbarger of Infinite Potential Chiropractic & Family Wellnesshttp://www.infinitepotentialchiropractic.comOther great links:
The National Vaccine Information Center: http://www.nvic.org/
Mothering magazine has been a resourse for years: http://www.mothering.com/vaccines
Dr. Mercola: www.mercola.com