Should you vaccinate your kids? It’s the million dollar question – but there’s no easy answer.
As a father of two, I went down a long road of agonizing over the right decision for my children. With all the information that’s available on the subject, I thought if I just did some research and looked at the facts, the choice would be simple. Turns out, that couldn’t have been further from the truth.
When asking the big vaccine question, you’ll find extreme opinions, misleading information, reprimanding doctors, family members that think you’re crazy… the list goes on forever.
I’ve been researching the subject of childhood vaccines for four years now, and still to this day do my best to keep abreast of new information. With regard to the way we currently use vaccines, I have found that it is quite possible, if not probable, we could be simply trading childhood illnesses for more chronic conditions. Could it be true that vaccines are, in certain instances, making our kids sicker?
The advice you get from your pediatrician is usually based only on the CDC vaccination policy – a policy which is made with the intent of controlling the spread of infectious disease among the public.
This is something the CDC has done very well. Prior to public vaccination policies, very large numbers of innocent children were killed by rapidly spreading infectious diseases such as polio. Nowadays, CDC policy has nearly eliminated cases of polio, rabies, tetanus, measles, pertussis and mumps.
Actually, since the introduction of vaccination schedules there has rarely been an epidemic in this country – although there is also significant evidence to support that death caused by childhood illness had declined substantially prior to the use of vaccines. This decline has also been attributed to improved standard of living such as better sanitation, hygiene, clean water and nutrition.
The problem with the CDC Vaccine Policy is that it’s a shotgun approach geared toward PUBLIC interest that ignores the differences in the health of individuals.
I think that in order to use vaccines responsibly, we need to examine them on an individual scale. My biggest concern with vaccines is the way they stimulate the immune system and the effect that has on its delicate balance.
In order to make informed decisions about vaccination, we first need to understand exactly how vaccines and our immune systems work. We have been told by our doctors that vaccines contain a weak or dead virus or bacteria that, when injected into our bloodstream, simply “teaches” our body how to recognize and deal with it without getting sick.
The way we are told these vaccinations work is completely… true. However, it’s only half the story. We have another side of our immune system which is cell-mediated and is our first line of defense.
Here’s an easy way to think of it: any bacteria or virus we encounter is most likely going to come in through our mouth, nose, ears or skin. After this encounter, our cell-mediated immune system will destroy, digest and spit out those nasties before they ever reach our bloodstream. This process is one that results in symptoms, I’m sure you are familiar with – fever, headache, excess mucus, rash, vomiting, diarrhea.
It’s called an acute inflammatory response – but it’s far from cute. It’s what happens when your body is dealing with a foreign antigen that it encounters naturally and it is a good thing!
These two sides of our immune system work together and when there is something our first line or defense can’t handle, our body knows the problem is coming. Both sides should be working in sync to fight off any intruders. And many believe that a problem will arise if one becomes too dominant.
For this reason, some researchers have theorized that vaccines can tamper with our natural immunity. When using a vaccine, we completely bypass our first line of defense. We know this is true because when we get vaccinated, we don’t actually manifest the symptoms of the disease. It is an ambush, essentially, and when we do this repeatedly, over the course of time, our immune system becomes hypersensitive. This is simply the result of vaccines over-stimulating one side of our immune system and that side then becoming dominant.
“For the first time in history, U.S. [and Canadian] children are sicker than the generation before them. They’re not just a little worse off, they are precipitously worse off physically, emotionally, educationally and developmentally. The statistics have been repeated so often, they are almost boring. Obesity affects nearly a fifth of children, triple the prevalence in 1980. Juvenile diabetes is up 104% since 1980. Autism, once regarded as having a purely genetic etiology, increased more than a thousandfold in less than a generation. The incidence of asthma is up nearly 75%. Life-threatening food allergies doubled in the past decade. The prevalence of allergies increased nearly sixfold. Almost one in 10 children – between four and five million kids – have been diagnosed with attention-deficit disorder. Nutrient deficiencies, not seen for decades in U.S. children, are prevalent again, or still persisting.
Many have argued that the increasingly aggressive vaccination schedule is partly to blame. In the 1980s, more vaccines were given earlier in infancy, as were more multivalent doses, most of which contained mercury…. If true, by vaccinating so zealously, rather than making children healthier, as school districts, federal health programs, corporate health infrastructures, and pediatricians insist, we have traded mostly benign or treatable childhood illnesses for incurable, lifelong, extremely costly disability and disease. It means that current vaccine policy and practice create more morbidity and mortality than they prevent in U.S. [and Canadian] children.”
– Why Do Pediatricians Deny The Obvious? By Judy Converse, MPH, RD, LD
It’s possible that the over-use of vaccines can eventually cause generations of kids to have imbalanced or even somewhat damaged immune systems. And as a result, we’ve started to experience more childhood chronic inflammatory conditions. As more of the medical community comes to recognize this correlation, our society may eventually progress to a more individualized, more responsible approach to vaccination.
For now, I decided not to further vaccinate my children, but there may be a time in the future when I reconsider. However, I fully support any parents’ decision and I urge you to do your own research – it’s a very important decision for your family.