I’m talking with two different doctors on the topic. Here are both their responses.
well, i still am in the camp that believes it is better to vaccinate than not, for all the obvious public health benefits that full vaccination brings. I do agree that getting all vaccinations in one shot could be a bit excessive, but I don’t agree that any single vaccination is too much for a baby’s immune system to cope with, far from it. in fact, one’s immune system is CONTINUALLY getting inoculated with foreign material, every single day, all the time.
I am a little wary, too, of sites like that vran site, where the only research they quote is the little that is done where researchers do claim a link between vaccination and neural damage. looking closer at their data, the studies are really small, they are not very well controlled, and if you check most of the research presented, it is presented at conferences (which are not peer-reviewed, meaning it is less trustworthy) rather than being accepted for publication in mainstream journals (where most good science ends up, including that which is first presented in preliminary small-scale form at a conference.
it is true that there has been an increase in autism, and that vaccination rates have increased too, at the same time. but autism is now much better recognised than ever before, and the definition has also widened to include less severe forms of the disease, which accounts for a lot of the increase. massive longitudinal studies have still not shown any good link between vaccination, in single of multiple form, and autism. perhaps there is some link between thiomercury and neural damage, but the connection is still poorly demonstrated.
drug companies do exist to make money for their shareholders, it is true, but they do that by making medicines that cure people, and prevent disease. vaccinations have successfully eliminated smallpox (last cases in the early 1970s), have nearly eradicated polio, and are being developed for malaria and other diseases that together kill millions of people worldwide every year. there is good evidence that measles and mumps will also be eliminated by vaccination programs. the total benefit to societies that favour vaccination is still considered to far outweigh the autism danger, especially since that is not at all proven.
but these successful programs depend on near universal vaccination, which is why vaccination is encouraged, not because they make drug company profits. in fact, drug companies make most of their money from things like cancer drugs, viagra and blood pressure medication, and vaccines are effectively just a break-even product that they would truthfully have little incentive to make were it not for govt health programs twisting their arms. not vaccinating your child can make him or her more at risk of measles and mumps and rubella and hepatitis, all of which are of much greater proven danger to your child, and the choice not to vaccinate also lengthens the time that vaccination is still necessary for the diseases we vaccinate against. once measles and mumps are actually eliminated, there will be no need to vaccinate against them, just like we no longer vaccinate against smallpox.
And this is in response to the above:
I very much agree with your friend’s response. Even I find the choice to immunize or not to immunize a difficult one. We all want to do what’s best for our children’s health. Here are a few points that I think are key however…
First, as your friend accurately points out, a child’s immune is system is continually getting inoculated with foreign material. However, there is a BIG difference between natural inoculation (ie. natural exposure to disease, be it bacterial infections or common childhood viruses such as chicken pox), and artificial inoculation, (ie. multiple vaccinations injected directly into the blood stream at regular intervals very early on in a child’s life). Secondly, there are NO good studies as to the long-term adverse effects of vaccine combinations. We are literally experimenting on our children based on the well-studied success of eradicating specific diseases, but at what cost- we really don’t fully know. And finally, and perhaps most importantly, a frightening percentage of vaccine reactions are NOT documented. As a doctor, I have seen many, many cases of vaccine-damage in children and not a single one has been formally documented as such with Manitoba Health. This is a kind of health research where the benefits, (and I’m not disputing the benefits of vaccines), are extremely well studied and documented but the damaging effects are are virtually ignored. There is a good reason for this however, because it it easy to ‘prove’ the positive effects of vaccination, but virtually impossible to ‘prove’ with certainty the negative effects. Such was the case with smoking and cancer as an example of the problems stemming from the framework of traditional medical studies. Because health is so infinitely multi-factorial, it is still virtually impossible to claim with certainty in any one case that smoking ‘causes’ lung cancer. The same is true for adverse effects of vaccination. Are there side effects? Absolutely! What are they? It depends. Are there long-term effects? Absolutely! What are they? We don’t really know for sure. But I can tell you from my personal experience with vaccine-damaged children that side effects of vaccinations absolutely exist and these effects are profoundly underrepresented in public health studies because they cannot be directly linked to vaccines, no matter how immediate or severe the reaction. Long-term effects are even more difficult to link directly. In any choice, it is so important to look at both sides of an argument. In this case, there is a vast difference between the studies looking into the benefits of vaccination versus the studies looking into the risks associated with vaccination.
Vaccination is, obviously, your own choice. However, if you want my honest opinion, I would recommend immunizing your child, but do so prudently. Do you really need to add the flu shot to an infants vaccine schedule? Is chicken pox really something that is worth immunizing? These are questions that only you can answer. I recommended VRAN because it is a well-informed group that offers a voice to the other side of the vaccine question, a voice that is not usually heard in mainstream medicine but that I think parents should at least be aware of before making health decisions regarding their children. I personally chose not to vaccinate because I have access to alternative medicine and feel confidant that I can treat my son and support his immune function in an effective, yet natural way. But it is still a choice that comes with its own set of pros and cons. I still to this day wonder if I am doing the best thing for him. I don’t know what kind of access you have to naturopathic or homeopathic medicine. A lot of my patients chose to immunize their children in conjunction with homeopathic treatment in order to offset and/or prevent the side-effects associated with vaccines. Ultimately, only you can decide what makes the most sense for you and your family.