..."popsicles on the porch"...what a great afternoon treat and our favorite way to spend time together! These are simple and precious moments! Princess #1 and Princess #2 along with Little Man #1 and #2 are my inspiration for most of these writings.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Green Our Vaccines

Being a baby sling lover and preparing for water activities this summer, I was online reviewing water resistant slings when I stumbled upon this blog. Intrigued, I started skimming the pages of her blog when I came across this question, “You really don't Vaccinate your children?" on her FAQ page.

I was totally shocked! I couldn’t believe that there were parents that would actually choose not to vaccinate their children. However, as I read further, I began to understand why she felt led to make this decision, especially concerning her son Noah. You can read more here. It's an awesome story and a great testimony to the miracle that God worked in their family!

Anyway, as I read her blog entry, “Stirring the Pot” it did just that. Being that Cash had just been immunized with 5 shots that same day, it intrigued me and stirred up all sorts of questions about vaccines, their safety, what’s in them, can they be linked to autism, and how does using a one size fits all approach really affect our children? Here are few things I came across:

1. Though not proven, there is question of whether vaccines are linked to the high rise in autism over the last several years. Click here for more information.

The short of it is that many of the children's vaccines contained a toxin called Thimerosol which contains mercury. Thimerosol is used as a preservative and is believed to be responsible for autism, attention deficit disorder, speech delays, and other childhood neurological disorders now epidemic in the United States.

Mercury is a known brain poison, and it is the belief of many that this may have contributed to the growing rate of autism in the U.S. A decade ago the American Academy of Pediatrics estimated the autism rate among American children to be 1 in 2,500. Today, the CDC places the rate at 1 in 166, or 1 in 80 boys. Additionally, one in six children is now diagnosed with a related neurological disorder.

**Thimerosal was reported to be taken out of the vaccines in 2001 but it is still currently used in the Flu Shot and MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella).

2. Vaccines contain Toxins-- In addition to Thimerosal, there are many other toxins used as preservatives. Click here for a list of each vaccine's ingredients.
(Notice the animal by product column which include ones derived from monkey, chick and aborted babies.)

A few other facts about these toxic ingredients....

Aluminum- it has been implicated in Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and seizures

Formaldehyde- is known to cause cancer

Mercury -has been a topic of wide discussion.

Monkey Tissue - is used to prepare the polio vaccine. There have been lots of polio vaccines over the years that have been contaminated by Simian Virus 40 (SV40). Some people have linked simian virus to childhood tumors, as the tumors have been known to contain the simian virus in it.

Not only do vaccines contain toxins but...

3. The number of shots our children receive has significantly increased over the last several years--In 2007 it was reported that by the age of 6, children received a total of 36 shots compared to only 10 back in 1983! What a huge contrast! In addition, there is no research on the cumulative effects of these toxins given all at the same time. This is very alarming!

In the early 1990s, public health officials dramatically increased the number of Thimerosal-containing vaccinations without considering the cumulative impact of the mercury load on developing brains.

In a 1991 memo, Dr. Maurice Hilleman, one of the fathers of Merck's vaccination programs, warned his bosses that 6-month-old children administered the shots on schedule would suffer mercury exposures 87 times the government safety standards. He recommended that Thimerosal be discontinued and complained that the US Food and Drug Administration, which has a notoriously close relationship with the pharmaceutical industry, could not be counted on to take appropriate action as its European counterparts had.

Merck ignored Hilleman's warning, and for eight years government officials added seven more shots for children containing Thimerosal. In 1985, children were vaccinated for seven diseases. Now, that number is 16. That means children now endure about 37 separate vaccination encounters.

I recall the day that I delivered Cash and I was asked to sign a consent allowing the hospital to give him a Hep B shot. I was not aware of this whole issue and I unknowingly gave consent believing that this was the only and best option for my baby. However, upon researching a little further I discovered that Hepatitis B is contracted through the following ways: blood, semen, or from an infected mother.

Being that I was not an infected mother and that it is highly improbable that my son would have caught this disease any other way; I am not sure why it was necessary for him to get this shot. When I called the hospital to find out and inquired about this with his doctor, to my disappointment the answer I received was that it simply was part of the vaccination schedule. (Later, I discovered that many wait until the 2 or 4 mo period, but this was an option that I was unaware of)

And what about...

4. The one size fits all approach?-- One response to those children that were reported to be in good health prior to being vaccinated, but then suddenly developed autism after being vaccinated, is that these children were already predisposed to autism to begin with. Many believe this to be true but also believe that the stress of the vaccinations on the body can be a trigger that helps to turn on these genes.

Our children are all unique; shouldn't they be treated as individuals? What may present as no risks for one child may present enormous risks for another. What If certain children are genetically predisposed, then how do we know those that will have an adverse reaction to these vaccines and those that will not if we treat them with a one size fits all approach? These are the questions I've been asking myself lately.

Many other concerned parents will be joining Jenny Mc Carthy and Jim Carrey as they lead the Green Our Vaccines Rally in Washington today. Their goal is to urge government officials to reassess the current vaccine schedule and remove the toxic ingredients out of our vaccines! Click here for more details.

As for me, I am still researching and praying about what is best for our family and have already begun addressing my concerns with my pediatrician regarding the vaccination schedule and safety. I was somewhat relieved when she suggested an alternative vaccination schedule which would space out the number of shots given. So, instead of 5 shots given in one sitting, we would do two and then return in a month or two for the remaining shots.

As I prepare for the kids next round of shots (2yr, 4yr and 4mo) I am thoroughly researching this option. Here is a book by Dr.Sears which addresses this alternative vaccine schedule. In addition, here is some helpful information concerning Sears and his thoughts on alternative scheduling.

In the meantime, if you're unsure where you'll land, here are some additional tips I found on how to arm yourself: (Also, be sure to check out the links at the very bottom of this post including the Larry King interview with Jenny Mc Carthy and physicians.)

Arming Yourself
1.Make sure to ask your Physician for Thimerosal Free Vaccines.
2.Request singular viral or bacterial injections
3.Space injections out with at least 3wks in between
4.Excluding extenuating circumstances, begin vaccine protocol no earlier than one year old.
5.Many homeopathic or naturopathic doctors have found homeopathic nosodes to be a safe way to vaccinate. They are a dilution of the vaccine.
6.You can prepare your child’s body to handle the viral impact by giving him/her vitamin C and Bs prior.
7.Breast-fed babies have the advantage of colostrum for immune function

Alternative Vaccine Schedule

Other informative Links:
Jenny Mc Carthy-on Larry King

2.Robert Kennedy

4. IOM-- here

Evidence of Harm-I hear this book is very informative

6. Dr. Sheri Tenpenny- I have not yet had a chance to view these but I heard Dr. Tenpenny's DVD series is also very informative as she covers each vaccine, what the CDC has to say about them and her medical opinion for each.

7. American Acadamy of Pediatrics- http://www.cispimmunize.org/ or http://www.aap.org/advocacy/releases/vaccinesafety-May08.htm


Cynthia said...

Thank you for bringing this issue out in the open! We've been researching vaccinations for a few weeks now, deciding what alternative schedule and which vaccines we would follow. I was shocked too to learn they are vaccinating tinsy babies for an STD (Hep B)!!

And, the eye cream they slather in their eyes at birth is to prevent an STD I may have from causing blindness in his eyes. What is America coming to?? Instead of asking if I have the STD (there is no possible way), they make the assumption that mothers do and don't know it - thus all babies routinely get the cream. Of course here in TX we can refuse whatever we want, so no-thank you.

Please keep posting about your findings! I'd love to see what more you come across.

Melanie said...

Glad you guys are researching. I just had no idea. I'm glad many moms are speaking out and sharing their findings (as it is somewhat taboo) so that we all can make an informed decision and decide what is best for our families.

Erin said...

I highly recommend the Dr. Sears book. I've read everything I can get my hands on about vaccines and it's the most unbiased and reader-friendly information I've read BY FAR. Everything else out there will try to make you feel like the world's crappiest parent for either doing shots or for not doing shots. And the truth is definitely somewhere in the middle, I think.

We will do some shots for the babies, but we will not do them according the CDC's schedule. Their schedule simply makes no sense at all. The Sears book recommends some alternative shedules and some selective schedules if want to skip some shots altogether.

oooh, this is a topic I LOVE talking about! If anyone cares what we've decided, I'm happy to discuss it further...

Melanie said...

Erin, thanks for sharing. I'm ordering a copy of the Dr. Sears book to review the alternative vaccine schedule as well. I only wish I had known to ask questions sooner. There are just so many decisions to make before baby arrives (i.e. to nurse, natural child birth, parenting styles, to circumcise, etc..) it can all be somewhat overwhelming. I'd love to hear what you guys decided on what was best for your family!

Erin said...

With Evyn's four year shots coming up (there are a lot of them this time) I have been very nervous. I know a mom personally who's son developed autism not long after a series of shots when he was young. Heartbreaking! Yet even she was against the idea of not vaccinating at all.
I think the incredible danger is that parents get only enough information to scare them, they decide to do NO vaccines whatsoever, and then end up with some even more horrible disease and not only that, but giving it to others.
I don't know, honestly. I've just begun to scratch the surface myself but I find myself pretty passionate about it, too.
I think we simply have to do what all of us are doing - diligent research from BOTH angles, lots of prayer for faith and wisdom, talking with doctors.
How did things get so complicated so fast??!!!
I'm glad we serve a sovereign God whose will will be done no matter what. It is Him we must trust and not a vaccine.
Good topic!

Morgan said...

it is so crazy that you would post about this, i have just begun to research myself about vaccines. i mean, come on, why would a newborn need a Hep B shot, let alone a 2 or 4 month old? it is scary to think about not doing any vaccines, since the 'norm' is to get them all, do what your doctor recommends, b/c that is what we have always done. i'm glad there are other mommies out there i can talk about this with!!

liz said...

hi mel, i don't know if you know/remember me, but it's funny this topic of conversation has come up a lot and i don't even have any babies...thanks for posting this, i appreciate your honesty

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you young moms are checking this out! At www.mercola.com, there is a video of a physician who advocates no vaccines until the age two (because the brain is still so rapidly developing), then timed slowly after that. You have to sign up for the newsletter to access the info. Autism was unheard of in the '80's when our girls were young. It is amazing how the numbers of kids with autism has jumped, correlating with the vaccine additions.

Roberto Garza said...

Good topic.

Informative Site

I ordered this book.

Same book but less expensive.

Erin said...

While I would love to follow the advice of putting off shots until after a year or two to allow my little ones' immune systems to mature, most of (NOT all!) the shots that are recommended for the under a year group are given then because that is when the disease is actually the biggest threat.

Pertussis (the P in DTaP) is almost never serious over a year, but can be fatal under 6 months. So our family will do that one on schedule (at 2, 4, and 6 months). It would be pointless to start that series at a year. That's just one example--there are others. This is one of the things that Dr. Sears' book focuses on, which is why I find it so invaluable. ;-)

Now, I do wholeheartedly agree about delaying "live" vaccines (or skipping them altogether). Injecting live virus strains of serious diseases is a big hit on the immune system of a baby or toddler. MMR and Chickenpox are the biggies in that category.

monique said...

Great topic , Mel! So here are my thoughts on this. First of all Erin C. is right on: God is sovereign and He is in control of our children. I don't think any of us would believe that doctors are out to deceive us or that a pharmaceutical company is maliciously slipping a few extra "toxins" in our kids’ vaccines (some reagents are simply needed in the preparation), however, as a parent, it is your right and duty to evaluate anything offered to your child. Children’s cold medicine is a perfect example – just recently it has been shown to be useless and sometimes harmful. We always need to be mindful of what we give our little ones. Here are my thoughts:
1. Be careful of what you read and where you read it. Even well meaning sources (especially in the media or on the web) are often wrong. The news media is quick to proliferate “scientific” information before it is proven and rarely do they retract information. The best place to get the whole story if from the medical journal itself.
2. While the prevalence of autism is increasing, the incidence is probably not. This is due to the greater recognition and broadening of diagnostic criteria. This means that there may not actually be more cases of autism, we just are identifying it more now.
3. The first (and for the most part, only) study linking vaccine and autism appeared in The Lancet in 1998. This article was highly criticized as it included only a small number of children (12) and was not properly controlled. Since then, a considerable research effort has been underway to validate this, and despite all the additional studies which included very large numbers of children, NO link has been found.
4. In some cases parents have indicated that their child developed the condition shortly after the vaccine. While this may be true in a fraction of those cases (coincidence?), often upon further review there is evidence in the child’s medical records that indications of the condition were present earlier.
5. One study cleverly looked at whether adverse reactions to vaccines were more prevalent in low birth weight babies. The premise is that if the vaccines were acting as a toxin, the concentration of the toxin would be higher if the child was smaller (b/c they all get the same injection regardless of size) and therefore the smaller children would be at greater risk. No link found.
6. Vaccines can save lives. HepB can be sexually transmitted, but often a person does not know they have it until symptoms begin (age 40 and up). If a child contracts HepB they are at a much greater risk of disease (including cancer) than if they were infected as an adult. Because of the media pointing its finger at vaccines, there is a worldwide increase in the number of cases of measles and mumps.
7. I agree that vaccines are scary. I, too, am anxious anytime my children are given any medication (and for good reason). But the vaccines are needed to avoid some really horrible diseases. What is the right decision? I have no idea! Is the alternative vaccine schedule offered by doctors really any better? Who knows? Even with that schedule they are getting the same amount of vaccines but over a longer period of time. Is that better or worse? I don’t know. In the end, we do our best to make the right decision and then just have a LOT of faith - not in medicine but in our great big God.

Adventures In Babywearing said...

I am so glad you have been encouraged to research and know more about this very important subject!

I think that, as a Christian, I do get the "God will take care of my child" thing with vaccinators- and I just have to say then that God will take care of my child if I DON'T vaccinate. I won't let doctors or other people scare me into doing something I don't feel right for my child. It's hard because there is so much conflicting information- especially online- but talk to any parent that actually has witnessed their child be damaged by a vaccine and it's not on paper, not online, not just statistics and myths- it's very real and something every parent should consider and be informed about!