Saturday, April 4

vaxing for dummies, chp3

Pro-vaccinators often say:

The risks of complications from contracting the disease are worse than the risks from the vaccine. Or, the benefits far outweigh the risks.

How do you feel about these statements?

I felt very uncomfortable. This statement tells me two things.
  1. Vaccines carry risks
  2. I and my child are viewed as statistics

When I was pregnant with the Wildflower, the doctor at the time recommended that I had an invasive test for Downs Syndrome, being that I was the ripe old age of 37. When I mentioned that I thought that the procedure carried a risk of miscarrying the baby, what could be a perfectly healthy baby, his reply was that the risk was about 1%.
In other words, yes, I could miscarry a perfectly healthy baby. I could lose the precious life inside me. But he, the doctor, was willing to take that risk.
Why? Because to him it wouldn't look too bad a statistic on his record. 1% of his patients losing their baby was something he could live with. But she was 100% my baby. I wasn't willing to take the risk. I think that the doctor thought I was a fool. I was willing to take that risk.

And did you notice the 3rd subtle message? Complications from the disease. In other words, the disease, such as is the case with childhood illnesses, is not the problem, but possible complications from it are the real issue.

So my questions became:
1. Am I willing to give my child vaccines with known/possible/unknown side effects?
2. Am I willing to approach my child as a statistic?
3. Am I able to prevent, minimise, or deal with possible complications from the naturally occuring disease?

With self-education, my own answers became, no, no, and yes.

I will deal with number 3 in another post.

Pro-vaccinators will make two main claims: that vaccines are safe and effective,[1] and that there is no evidence for X vaccine causing Y side-effect.

Claim One

The first claim is ludicrous simply because anything can be claimed to be safe if the right agenda and knowledge is behind it.
There was a time when asbestos and lead were perfectly acceptable materials to use in buildings and equipment, and even toys.
So you can read enough studies to make your head hurt and eyes water, and won't truly be any the wiser.

This can be a rather wieldy area, so I'm not going to discuss it here. Really, it could go on forever. Just google the research as well as the problems with the research, if you want to educate yourself in this area.

Two of my biggest issues with the research aspect is who conducts it - often the companies who produce the vaccines - and who funds it - often the companies who sell the vaccines. Conflict of interest anyone?

Claim Two

As for the second claim, 'side-effects' is sooooooo vague. Waiting for iron-clad proof that X causes Y is problematic. Scientists may have yet to uncover the specific molecule that indicates a direct cause and effect. The statement, 'there is no scientific evidence...', is not the same thing as, 'it is not true'. It just means that, they haven't found the evidence yet.
Secondly, side-effects may show up days, weeks, or years later! I mean, how long did it take for scientists to work out that smoking can cause lung cancer? Or that even passive smoking is harmful?

Furthermore, doctors are not required to report side-effects after a vaccination, and are not being taught to recognize vaccine reactions.[2]

Scientists look for 100% direct proof and big numbers. 1% doesn't impresss them. If 100 children develop serious complications after a vaccine shot, this doesn't ruffle their feathers. If 1000, it still doesn't. But every one of those children is somebody's precious child.

A further problem is that they may not need to be looking for anything as direct as, X causes Y, but rather X causes Y in B children. Or even, X causes Y that then causes Z in B children!

Jenny McCarthy asked, "What number will it take for people just to start listening to what the mothers of children who have seen autism have been saying for years, which is, 'We vaccinated our baby and something happened.'"

When we hold up science as a divine field, or the only viable way of perceiving the world, we accept the answers. But if you took your perfectly healthy child to get vaccinated and two days later s/he began showing signs of autism, would you care about the lack of proof? Parents are dismissed as emotional and irrational. But I ask you, if this happened to your child, to a friend's child, would you vaccinate your next child?

"We surveyed over 9,000 boys in California and Oregon and found that vaccinated boys had a 155% greater chance of having a neurological disorder like ADHD or autism than unvaccinated boys." - Generation Rescue

This makes an impression on me, but not on the scientific mind.

Scientists cannot prove that there is a direct cause and effect and cannot make any claims that vaccines cause specific side-effects. I respect this. This is their job, finding 100% scientific proof.

Circumstantial evidence isn't science, the results of surveys like the above cannot be used as proof of anything. However, while there is no 100% proof that any ingredient in vaccines causes specific problems, my stance is this:

Until they can prove 100% that ingredients in vaccines do not cause specific problems, I will refrain from pumping them into my child.

[1] Outbreaks have occurred in 100% vaccinated populations. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. US Gov’t. 12/29/89;38(s-9):1-18.
[2] According to the US Food and Drug Administration, only 1-10 vaccine injured children is ever reported.” Investigative Report on the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. Vienna, VA: NVIC 1987.


  1. I 100% agree with all of your anti-vaccine comments. In NZ at the moment there is a new drive to vaccinate 12-13 year old girls that 'might' save them from cervical cancer.
    It's scary how the unsuspecting public put their trust in the 'them that know better otherwise why would they vaccinate?' and simply do it for that reason.
    Also frightening to think that there is hardly any research that shows long term effects of vaccines because they haven't been around long enough.
    Such a can of worms the whole vaccination thing.
    Anyway, I like to work on the affirmative model that we naturally have an effective genius immune system that can be strengthened by what we eat.
    My kiddies haven't really been exposed to too much disease but I know other unimmunised kids who have been exposed to contagious things and haven't contracted anything.

  2. Hey Ruth,

    Thanks for adding your thoughts. Yes, they're using vaccines that were created within the last 5 years!

    To clarify a couple of things.
    1 - I'm not anti-vaccine, I'm pro-choice.
    2 - good nutrition does not prevent contracting a disease, but may help in healing (for childhood illnesses)

  3. The research that I have looked at, (and that of some people I know who work in health-related fields), indicates that the risks and negative outcomes are far greater than publicised, and as you highlight research supporting vaccination is often skewed and conducted in such a way, that as you point out, focuses on large numbers, (among other factors).

    There are indeed very powerful govt and pharmaceutical interests that impact on the whole vaccination question. As you say, "who conducts it...and who funds it" are crucial questions in this issue.

    Individuals, and the inherent value of individual lives, (as well as their quality of life), are reduced to stats and that's where science and ethics are completely at odds with one another. Or rather the ethical frameworks that are applied are highly questionable. (imho).

  4. Thanks for sharing. You were able to put very clear words to exactly how I feel.

  5. Hi,
    Yeah, I felt uncomfortable saying anti-vaccine, but I couldn't think of a better word/phrase at the time..
    And no, I don't blieve that good nutrition prevents one from contracting disease but I do believe it can certainly help to strengthen it and I do believe it's fact that cane sugar can have a suppressive affect on the body's immune system, consequently making one more sucspetible to illness or more likely to promote illness as the body's way of expressing the imblance.
    :) Ruth

  6. Oh, Mon, it is therapeutic to read your blog. If I posted something like this on my blog, I would get attacked--you are fortunate to have such a supportive following.

    I'm eager for you "to deal with number 3" in another post. I don't want to vaccinate my child, but I worry I wouldn't be able to properly treat him should he contract something like the measles. I think I'd feel better if I knew some parents who have dealt with the illnesses themselves.

    And seriously, it is so hard to trust the vaccine industry when they want to vaccinate newborns against Hep, young girls against HPV, and children against chicken pox. Makes me wonder what is next?

  7. I think it's always risky to depend on "science" and statistics to make a point. I'm sure you'll go into this in the next post, but complications from childhood diseases are very rare, if you look at the numbers over the total population. I have always felt confident that I could properly nurse my children through a disease and so avoid complications, or know when it was time to bring in professional help.

    One thing that doesn't get mentioned much is what some anthroposophical doctors have brought up: you might be saving a few lives from those rare complications by vaccinating, but how many chronic, lifelong diseases might we be causing? Dr. Philip Incao's writings on the two aspects of the immune system are really illuminating in that regard.

  8. Lisa C - you need new readers! lol Hey, if I believe it I say it, regardless of who agrees.

    Ruth - thanks, yes I agree with you totally. (I do like to make things clear, as you can probably tell by my blog posts on this issue, especially for other readers who will read the comments)

    Doc - yes, I do believe the risks/complications from vaccines are greater than published. But I have no 'proof', chuckle

    Anthromama - YES! that's something that really annoys me. There is virtually no talk on lifelong affects.

  9. I love your blog...and join in your sentiments.

    Question: will "they" allow unvaccinated children to travel?

  10. I really appreciate your post and as a mom who did vaccinate my first two children but not my younger I have been faced with lots of negativity. My youngest boys just had whooping cough and we handled it and they are fine! Everyone frowns at us though!!! Oh well!

  11. Hi, I was browsing the topic of babywearing and came across your blog. I just decided to do this myself when our baby is born in June/July. I am not getting a lot of support from friends around me but would love to hear any advice you might have to offer!

    PS: We're trying to find a doc to support us with 'delayed" vaccinations. I don't like the strict schedules they have now.

  12. Welcome she'lah. Travel requirements vary by country you're visiting. But usually the requirements, when they exist, are for serious diseases such as yellow fever.

    Amy - VERY difficult getting support from the mainstream. I only know of one friend locally who is supportive of choice. Most people think we're crazy.

    Hey there & welcome hot belly mama. Good luck finding a supportive doctor. You could try a locally focused or national forum of 'alternative' parents where somebody might be able to advise you of a doc nearby.

  13. Just wanted to mention for anyone looking for doctors that support a delayed schedule, a friend of mine found one by asking on the Mothering magazine you might want to try various mom forums around the web, give your location, and see if any moms chime in. I did a delayed schedule with my own kids, and was lucky to find a doctor who supported it (but being in CA there are probably more doctors here than in some other areas that do this)...I am Ok with this choice based on my own research, BUT I was influenced by yet another complication, which might be a US issue only - the medical insurance we get through my husband's work would not cover the children unless they were vaccinated!!! They did accept the delayed schedule, but it took ALOT of paperwork...if I had decided not to vaccinate at all, they would have been uncovered...

    And Mon, I know that amnio choice well, I made the same decision not to have it in both pregnancies, as I had miscarried previously (not from amnio) and with the twins there was ALOT of pressure because of the 'added risk' of multiples and I was 39 at that are so right, too many doctors think only in terms of stats...

  14. SwedishJenn06 April, 2009

    I vaccinated our son...he got the full meal deal I believe. That was before the controversy surrounding vaccines reached such a fever pitch. I wonder, knowing what I "know" now, if I would have still had him vaccinated. At the time I thought I was doing what was best for my child. I truly sympathize with those Moms who may have a tough choice to make.

  15. Very interesting and informative post, Mon. This parenting business is intense, isn't it?! It's scary to think that when it's my turn, I'll have to navigate this arena where 'professionals' may push their potentially-harmful agendas, and my choices will no doubt draw heated opposition. My good friend has a three month old and is pondering these very questions with her little boy.

    I know so many people that haven't hesitated to get their children vaccinated. The decision was already made by the 'all-knowing' powers-that-be who wield the guilt stick. Similarly, far too many women go through their pregnancies and births, trusting and obedient, with such limited knowledge about their rights and choices. Rights and choices that affect their bodies and the wellbeing of their babies.

    Research is so important, and I agree that we need to be ever-vigilant re who conducts and funds the studies.

  16. I am pro-choice as well, having decided to vaccinate my daughter (though I respect anyone's right not to vaccinate). But here is an argument that I heard a while ago on radio 4 that changed my thinking somewhat. Talking specifically about measles, the UK uptake of the MMR vaccine is too low to eradicate the disease and we still have outbreaks. Many other countries have effectively eradicated it (including, apparently, virtually the whole of South America). The UK is now an exporter of measles - outbreaks in the US, for example, tend to be caused by an infected person coming into the country from outside. This is not a problem in many countries where people are strong and well nourished and whose bodies can fight measles naturally. But in less developed countries where nutrition is poor, measles can be deadly. One person carrying measles to a poor East African country could be responsible for several deaths. I remain neutral on the issue myself, but I hope this adds to discussion :-)

  17. It's difficult to prove that anything will not cause problems 100% of the time. Just getting in the car or getting hot coffee increases your risk of injury.

    It's hard to read this when children are needlessly getting sick and dieing from vaccine-preventable diseases in the US and abroad.

    One of my favorite collections of articles on this issue is from the Stanford Medicine Spring 09 Issue which has an article by NBC's Chief Medical Editor Nancy Snyderman, MD and I quote...

    "To date, 12 epidemiological studies have shown that MMR vaccine does not cause autism. Six have shown that thimerosal (the ethyl mercury preservative) doesn’t cause autism. And despite the removal of thimerosal from vaccines in 2001, the numbers of children diagnosed as autistic continue to climb."

    We can't let the fiction of vaccines hurting our children prevail. We must work to ensure that all children get the vaccines they need to keep them healthy!

  18. Hi CCIC -

    So if I understand you correctly, you are then one of the parent's (assuming you are a parent) that if you vaccinated one child and two days later that child showed autistic traits, you would go ahead and vaccinate the next child - because science hasn't found proof yet.

    I'm just one of the other parent's. The ones not so comfortable bowing down to science when my child is involved.

  19. Yes, Mon, it certainly is great to get clarification, (a cyberspace peril!) esp. about this can of worms of a topic.
    Um, lets not 'work to ensure ALL children' are vaccinated, lets continue toward the freedom of choice as we currently generally have, to vaccinate or not!!

  20. Great post!
    Here in Canada, they've just started giving a new vaccine to grade 8 girls at school, administered by a public health nurse... supposedly to prevent cervical cancer.

    I am SO against it, have done my research and cannot believe how "irrelevant" one or two deaths of teenage girls are who died within hours of recieving the vaccine. I've read about other serious irreversible complications due to this "cancer preventing vaccine".

    No way - I'll pass, my daughter will NOT be getting it.

  21. It's an interesting thing to be right in the middle of this important subject. My daughter was given her first DPT vaccine at 6 months, and had a terrible allergic reaction that almost killed her. I was told years later that it would likely be fine to give her the same vaccine because she was "older now and would be better able to handle it." I refused but agreed to a skin patch test. Her arm swelled up and she has a scar from it today. She is 23 years old--and unvaccinated since that day.

    Because of this experience, of course we didn't immunize our baby son. At 18 months he contracted a bad case of whooping cough. It was terrifying to see a sturdy, healthy baby cough until he doubled over and his face turned almost black before before he could draw breath.

    My point is this...A parent's intuitive right to choose is so important in this issue. My doctor told me flat out that if we'd have given my daughter the vaccine when "scheduled" -at three weeks old--it would likely have killed her. But to assume that my son would be exactly the same was not a good choice---in his case.

    Parents would be wise to study, research, observe, ponder, pray--whatever is right for them to do --to hone their senses where each child is concerned. They are all so different-- and so cannot be successfully treated like cattle.

    I am in Utah and we do have many supportive care providers here that are respectful of parental choice in this matter. But the best option--in my opinion--is a parent who is able to use common sense and intuition to evaluate the individual needs of each of their children.

  22. BSM - they are bringing in new vaccines all the time. Im estimation, it's in part a response to parents stopping other vaccination programs. They have to make their money somehow.

    Launi - welcome, and thanks so much for adding your story. How frightening with your daughter! Good on you for insisting on the patch test. Good grief!
    I will be dealing with whooping cough at some point.

  23. first i want to say that we do not fully vaccinate - my now 17 year old had a reaction (at different times) to the dpt and the mmr.

    to add to the discussion...

    how many of us vax our pets against rabies?


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