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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Vaccinations: Where Do You Put Your Faith?

There was an article today in Yahoo news about parents who are claiming religious exemptions to vaccination, when in actuality their religion doesn't prohibit vaccination. The implication is, of course, that these parents are doing something wrong. The article seems to say that these parents are putting not only their own children at risk, but other children as well.

I don't immunize my children. It isn't because I'm a lazy or neglectful parent. In fact, the opposite is true. I've done extensive research on the subject and have come to the personal conclusion that the possible risks (known and unknown) of the vaccines themselves are worse than the diseases they are trying to prevent.

Measles, mumps, diptheria, whooping cough--they're all diseases that rarely cause fatalities, and usually only in the immunodepressed, the extremely young (newborns, for example... who can't get vaccinated for these things) or the very old. Polio, which is the big, scary one, only causes paralysis in a very, very, very small percentage of cases. And in those cases, most people who do get the paralytic version of polio actually fully recover.

Maybe it's my Aquarian nature, but I'm not the type of person who is going to follow along with the rest of the sheep just because the government says so. I do believe vaccination programs were begun with the best of intentions--but we all know that good intentions don't always lead where we think they will.

I think the vaccination program is, like any bureaucratically run organization, bloated, outdated, and in need of a major overhaul or an outright burial. There have been many studies done that prove vaccines aren't as effective as the government would like you to believe.

From personal experience, I can tell you that I was vaccinated for rubella (which is a disease that can cause harm to a fetus if contracted by the mother) after having my first child because according to the titers, I wasn't immune. Three years later, I had my second child. According to the titers, I STILL wasn't immune to rubella. So I got another shot. Seven years later, I had my third child. Guess what? Still wasn't immune. I've had a total of four rubella shots in 10 years, and the levels still show that I'm not immune the disease.

The truth is, vaccination itself has become a huge money maker, for doctors as well as for individual states. Doctors actually get bonuses if their vaccination rates remain above a certain level. The federal government gives out tons of money to the states to offer "free" vaccinations to families. And I'm not supposed to be suspicious of this huge pharmaceutical money machine? Hmm... I don't think so.

For me, the most basic human right is personal freedom. I'm not against vaccinations themselves. If you want to vaccinate your child against the evil chicken pox - go right ahead. I will support your right to do so. But I should be supported in my decision not to vaccinate as well. Everyone should have a right to make their own health care choices, whether they go against what Mr. Bureaucrat says we should do or not.

Fortunately, I live in Michigan, where my right to choose for myself and my children is actually supported. Unfortunately, Michigan is one of only seventeen states in the union that will allow that sort of exemption. In the rest of the country, as the Yahoo article points out, parents are forced to lie and claim vaccination is against their religion.

The article says:

"Do I think that religious exemptions have become the default? Absolutely," said Dr. Paul Offit, head of infectious diseases at Children's Hospital in Philadelphia and one of the harshest critics of the anti-vaccine movement. He said the resistance to vaccines is "an irrational, fear-based decision."

One of the harshest critics of the anti-vaccine movement is the head of infectious disease? Oh what a surprise. How much is this doc accepting in "bonuses" to keep the immunization rate high, I wonder? As for the decision not to vaccinate being irrational and fear based? I'd like to ask Dr. Offit if he'd like a mirror. Because his response is the most irrational and fear-based one I've ever heard. It goes against the evidence, and frankly, I think the doc's a little afraid of getting thrown off the vaccination money train.

(And don't get me started on Dr. Offit. He's one of the holders of the rotavirus patent. The one that was originally pulled off the market? Yeah that one. According to the Wall Street Journal, he gets paid to teach other doctors about the "safety" of vaccines. And he owns stock in Merck, who manufactures the rotavirus vaccine now on the market--but he's on the CDC advisory board. Holy conflict of interests, Batman! Oh, and that particularly vaccine costs 5x as much as most vaccines.)

Let's look at the "facts" Dr. Offit and his cronies seem to want to believe. If vaccinations are as effective as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services cite, then what is Dr. Offit afraid of, exactly? The CDC claims (depending on the vaccination) a 97-100% success rate.

Then why does the doctor from the Yahoo article say:

"When you choose not to get a vaccine, you're not just making a choice for yourself, you're making a choice for the person sitting next to you," said Dr. Lance Rodewald, director of the CDC's Immunization Services Division.

If vaccines were anywhere near the 100% effectiveness they claim, there should be no worries about those who have already been vaccinated. They're protected for life -- right?

The truth that Dr. Offit and other vaccination proponents don't want you to know is that contracting these childhood diseases - measles, mumps, rubella, whooping cough - during childhood actually gives someone lifetime immunity to that disease.

Most of these involve a few days to a week of illness and are milder for children than for adults. In fact, immunizations often just prolong the contraction of these diseases, and when someone's supposed "lifetime" immunity from a vaccination runs out and they get the mumps, for example, an adult man could end up sterile.

So since vaccinations provide limited duration immunity, may contain potentially dangerous and toxic chemicals, and often only prolong getting the disease it's supposed to prevent, it seems to me the only rational decision available to a parent would be to waive immunizations.

If it comes down to lying and saying it's a "faith-based" decision, or putting my faith in Dr. Offit and the Vaccinations=Money Squad...

I'm all for lying.


Dr Sherri Tenpenny said...

Vaccination Decisions - Who Should You Trust?
By Dr. Sherri J Tenpenny
June 28, 2007

Most parents want to trust their pediatrician. We no longer live in extended families. Moms and grandmas frequently live far away so when Johnny gets sick, instead of consulting with those close to us who have taken care of sick kids, we confer with our doctor.

Most pediatricians are well meaning and want to do what they feel is in the best interest of children's health. However, when it comes to vaccination, pediatricians often go beyond helpful suggestions; they resort to fear tactics. Parents are told frightening, "worse case scenario" stories of a child who had serious complications from a childhood illness such as measles, mumps or chickenpox. The children who recovered uneventfully are never mentioned. The pressure to vaccinate can escalate and sometimes results in threats. Intimidated and believing the “doctor knows best,” the injections proceed.

Then you begin to read articles and books by doctors who have discovered problems with vaccines.

The information about vaccine dangers is not opinion but represents thousands of hours of research, documenting facts even most pediatricians don’t know. The information tackles mainstream thinking about vaccines head on.

Importantly, the information is presented with detailed references. This new data causes feelings of confusion. It is radically different from what has been generally accepted about vaccination for more than two hundred years: “Vaccines are safe, effective, protective and cause no harm.” You spend hours researching both sides of the argument to determine which doctor is telling the truth, which information is correct. You struggle, you argue, and you often feel very conflicted.
Both doctors are convincing. Both speak with authority and present information you struggle to assimilate. Which guidelines should you follow? Which doctor should you trust?

Quite frankly, you shouldn’t trust either at face value.

You should trust your intuition, your gut feeling, your own internal guidance system. Sit quietly and privately, see how you “feel” when you consider vaccination. What does it feel like when you look at your precious baby and know that injections are planned at the next doctor visit? What does it feel like to think about not vaccinating? If both feelings are neutral or confusing, you need more information. If both feelings are equally strong and negative, examine your fears. Do you understand the real risks of the disease you want to prevent? Do you know the real risk of the vaccine? When one feeling is definitely stronger than the other, that is your instinct talking.

Moms know when something is not right with Johnny, even when he is not in sight. That’s intuition. On the other hand, mothers have cried while their child was being vaccinated, praying that “nothing would go wrong.” That's going against intuitive sense.

We have abdicated our personal power to professionals, particularly doctors, even though the medical industry has failed us miserably in many ways. Parents, it’s time to take back your power. Trust what you feel when considering vaccination. Know that you are intelligent and capable of reading and then understanding the risks vs the benefits. The more you listen to that "voice within," the louder it becomes. It is the best test of the vaccine information you hear.

(see www.drtenpenny.com for more information)

Leah said...

Just a random passerby. I expressed some of these things on my own blog and got comments about how ignorant, uninformed, and even "on a stupid soapbox" I was. When I recently went to get my vaccination waiver for my new kindergartener, they gave me the "sponsored by Merck" pamphlet on why I should vaccinate. Many of the descriptions of vaccinated diseases read something like: "child may experience mild discomfort for one to two days....child may have runny nose for up to one week." And that was the worst of the disease. I thought, Am I seriously expected to fill my child's body with a host of known dangerous chemicals in order to prevent mild discomfort and a runny nose? I don't think so. And I'M the one that's stupid. I'll take my soapbox any day!