I picked up a book at the library on the history of vaccination that was incredibly interesting. It definitely had a slightly more conservative bent to it (meaning pro-vaccine), but was also pretty fair I would say in presenting the facts. One big thing I found interesting was that there have been issues with vaccines from their inception, issues with things like brain injury and death. And actually, vaccines are a heck of a lot safer than they were a century ago. Another interesting point I thought was that diseases themselves can also cause brain injury and death (among other things). After reading that, it does make sense to me how statistically, vaccines can be considered safer than the diseases themelves. However, every time you get a vaccine, just like every time you get a disease, there is a risk. So, while I can see the value in vaccines, what doesn't make sense to me is why we would recommend soo many vaccines for our kids, including things like Hepatitis B that they would never be exposed to as young children. I've had this discussion with our pediatrician, your newborn baby is not likely to have sex or shoot up heroin - Hepatitis B is a bloodborne disease. So why insist that babies get 3 Hepatitis B shots? It would make more sense to recommend vaccines only for the most serious communicable diseases that children are likely to be exposed to. Not give them every possible shot the drug companies can conceive of. That's not to mention all of the other random things in vaccines (as Dani mentioned), and the argument that they could be involved in the development of auto-immune or other problems just in the way they are administered and effect the immune system.
My Integrative Medicine M.D. (the one who manages my M.S. for me) said, "I beg you not to get a flu shot," This is the one doctor I have been able to trust for the last 6 years. I'm not getting a flu shot. http://midlifevegan.blogspot.com
One thing we were told about flu shots by my son's cardiologist is that a lot of times they get use the wrong strain of virus anyway. She does not get flu shots, and she's a pediatric cardiologist. She said your best defense is lots of handwashing.
VERY SCARY STUFF!!!! Why oh why must the medical community incite fear in people so they agree to get these shots? And are there any that are absolutely necessary for an infant o get are are they all bad and worth risking the disease they supposed prevent?
I was asked today by a classmate if I had gotten the flu shot (we get them free at the university) becasue unfortunately I had a cold for about 5 days. I said no, and she asked if I've ever had the flu, and I said no. She looked at me in shock and asked why I wouldn't get the shot when were in a cesspool (in school all day in confined spaces with so many people). I told her that I don't trust the junk put into shots, and if I do get sick, well, I'll be miserable and hopefully it won't be too serious, but so be it. I'm not putting poison into my body on the chance that it might prevent something. She said the doctor in our class (she's a student, too) and told her to please go get her flu shot - that people can be sick for a couple of weeks to a couple of months, and that she's seen people die. Well, yeah, most doctors are gonna say that. I really hope I don't get sick in this new environment, but I'm not willing to get a shot to prevent it. Hopefully I won't be on here complaining of dying from exhaustion from the flu. But I do agree that one of the most important things is to wash your hands often, and not touch your face.
(Obviously this is about seasonal shots. I don't know what I would do if I have kids, but I'm inherently distrustful of most mainstream medicine)
Dani, do you have kids? Not asking in a mean way, just a curious way?
I'd say for every parent this is one of the hardest decisions and one that each needs to make for themselves. And I don't think anyone understands until they are holding that little bundle and knowing that their life is currently in your hands... Which is more risky, the shot or the disease?
That was what swayed me each way. I think the most any parent can do is be extremely educated, read all the pro-vax stuff you can find... read all the Anti-Vax stuff you can find, and then discuss with your midwife, ob, ped, or homeopath... whomever...
Just take in ALLLLL the data, and then decide what is best.. in my opinion, if you do that, then there are no regrets, as you did exactly what you thought was best after going down every path.
In my case, we selective Vax'd based on what I felt was best for my child as his parent at the time. And we do NOT get the Flu Shot or any that are seasonal, or things like chicken pox etc.
The flu shot hasn't been "right" at the current strain in our area for like 7 years, and yet, people still line up at work to get it, and every year they get the flu. I will pass, thank you very much :-)
I totally agree with Vegmom - it's like anything else with your kids, all you can really do is get as much info as you can and make the decision you think is best based on the info you have. We also did an alternative vax schedule, and split out live virus vaccines. We have not yet done chicken pox, but may - chicken pox to me is a tricky one. It's not like back when we were kids and everyone got it at some point. My concern is if my son does not get the shot, and is not exposed to it as a child, that he could be exposed as an adult when it would likely be a lot more serious.
Go Dani! great info! Mothering Magazine (google it) has a great series on vaccinations. In France they outlawed the Hepatitis B for babies because more babies were adversely affected then helped by it. I have also heard that the largest group of un-vaccinated people were the children of pedetricians, and I know that over %50 of surgeons do not get the Hep B shot - talk about an at-risk group!
For the moms out there, it doesn't have to be an all-or-none proposition. Educate yourselves with info from both sides, and then don't get any at all (and you can use a medical/religious exemption in most states, and there are anti-vaccine groups made up of mostly parents whose children were injured by vaccines out there who will provide you with the knowledge of how to get exemptions in your state), or pick and choose. There is not reason for an infant to be getting the large number of vaccines they get at one time - its insane actually! So if you, for instance, are down with avoiding most vaccines but are say freaked out at the idea of polio, then just get that one. Or if you get more than one, space them out. You can also request mercury free though I think you have to get them from a pharmacy yourself in some cases.
Its all very scary, what they are doing! I read years ago a quote from someone at the CDC saying that they were going to push the chicken pox vaccine not because of the danger to children in getting the disease but because of the work time lost by parents who have to stay home with the sick child. And now? Chicken pox vaccine required in certain states before getting into school! what happens when that vaccine wears off when your child is 30 years old? THATS when chicken pox becomes a dangerous disease....
and the HPV vaccine! oh my! they are finding it is causing infertility, and it also only covers the tiniest fraction of types of hpv that can cause cervical cancer. They made that shot a requirement in Texas for getting into school and there was such protest by parents that they withdrew the mandate. The deal with that is if a state mandates a vaccine for entry into public schools, then the vaccine company is absolved on some level of any injury that may come out of that vaccine. So of course all the Pharm companies push to get vaccines mandated - it saves them money and makes them money - and often times if they cannot get a vaccine mandated, they actually will withdraw it from the market because do not want to risk the possible cost of harm it can cause. And who gets vaccines mandated in states? politicians....politicians who are given very generous donations by pharmeceutical companies.......its all a business - but of money, not of your childrens health.
Not that I have an opinion or anything about vaccines.....
Nicole - was writing my response so did not see yours - the thing with the chicken pox vaccine is does it create lifetime immunity? really look into that - as far as I know, it does not and there are no long term studies on how long it does last -if that is true your child will end up not having a chance of getting it as a kid, and definitly being at risk as an adult if you do vaccinate.