By Terri Mykland
From time to time, friends ask me for advice on vaccines. They know I have vaccine injury in my family, and have thought deeply about the issue. Here is a response I recently wrote to a friend. I hope it helps others out there with this difficult decision. Feel free to forward.
This is my best shot at some well-balanced advice on vaccines. I feel strongly that you should only give a vaccine if and when you really feel that the child will benefit from that particular vaccine, and needs it now (rather than later, when their immune system is more mature). I don't think you necessarily do "best" by a child by hitting their very immature little immune system with a germ they will likely never be exposed to. Booster shots, giving another assault on the immune system, just to possibly hit a slightly higher level of immunity, are generally not something I'm in favor of unless there's a specific reason.
I just want to say one thing to the moms of very young infants that haven't been vaccinated:
KEEP BREASTFEEDING AS LONG AS POSSIBLE! You're protecting your baby in the best way possible against any illnesses she might be exposed to right now, and also protecting her longterm health in about a million ways. If you ever need help with breastfeeding, there are lots of great lactation counselors, la leche league, etc. out there who would love to help.
I think that for each vaccine, you need to think hard about the vaccine itself, and the illness you're vaccinating against, and know the following information:
- - How many cases there are in the U.S. each year (how likely will your child be exposed).
- - The effectiveness rate of each vaccine.
- - What the vaccine is made of and whether any ingredients in it have a bad safety record.
- - The chance of side effects from this vaccine.
- - What kind of treatment is available for the disease (e.g. is it deadly, disabling, or just a nuisance you can treat)
- - Whether anyone in your family has ever had a negative vaccine reaction.
There are some very good books that can fill you in on this information. I would recommend this one by Neil Miller with a foreward by Russell Blaylock. If you choose a different one, make sure it is current, and gives both sides of the issue: http://www.amazon.com/Vaccine-Concerned-Families-Practitioners-Edition/dp/188121737X/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_1
If you do decide to vaccinate, consider:
1. How long you can wait to do each shot (e.g. longer if child is home with you than if they are in daycare, etc.)
2. How to space the vaccines out so you don't give multiple vaccines at a time. Don't let yourself be rushed into it.
Be ready to stand up for yourself, firmly but courteously, with doctors. You can practice saying "we aren't going to give that one yet", if they put you on the spot. You aren't declining, just delaying, until YOU decide to give or not give each one. This is your child, not theirs. After you know all the facts, you will make your own decision. You'll be the one standing there 10, 20, 30 years later if this child has health problems due to vaccines, not them. The doctors are usually just trying to do what they have been taught is best for your child, but most of them have a very tunnel visioned view about vaccines, and do not even want to know the full information about vaccine reactions.
You do have the right to decline any or all vaccines in most states. Usually it takes a letter or a form, depending on where you live. Here's a website to help you figure out your options:
MY STORY: When I had my third child, I studied and considered each vaccine this way. My second child was mercury poisoned, partly by his shots. After carefully considering, I got only a single vaccine for his little sister - one polio shot, at age 3. She has been pretty healthy. She had whooping cough (pertussis), at age 10. At almost 13, she hasn't had any other vaccinate-able illnesses. The whooping cough was not fun, but it wasn't life threatening, and I don't regret my decision not to vaccinate her for it. The doctors looked at me like I was crazy, which I expected. This does not bother me anymore.
Safety List - If You Decide to Vaccinate
Do not vaccinate a child if he/she:
- 1. Is having fever (even low-grade), or runny nose/ diarrhea/constipation, or any other illness, or still recovering from an infection, or on antibiotics for other reasons. You may postpone vaccination to another day.
- 2. Had any bad reaction or deterioration in health after previous vaccination.
- 3. Had any past history of immune system disorder, severe allergies, convulsions or neurological disorders, vaccine reactions.
Safety guide for giving any vaccines you do decide to give:
- - Always have full information on the vaccine's side effects.
- - Ask the doctor how to identify a vaccine reaction.
- - Write down the vaccine manufacturer's name and lot number and put it somewhere it won't be lost.
- - Report any side effects to your doctor, NVIC, and VAERS.
- - Always ask for single dose, mercury-free (no thimerosal) vaccines.
- - Ask for separate vials of measles, mumps, and rubella, and give them separately, months apart.
- - Ask the doctor to check vaccine titers to check for immunity before giving boosters. Most of them will not want to do this. (note: I recommend against giving boosters unless there is a compelling reason - Terri)
If you have to vaccinate, give the following:
- 1. Vitamin A (cod liver oil) 1 tbsp for three days before and on the day of the shot.
- 2. Vitamin C 100 mg twice daily for infants and 300mg twice daily for toddlers for three days before and on the day of the shot.
These three lists are from http://childrenshealthchoices.org/cave.html by Dr. Stephanie Cave, an autism expert and pediatrician, whom I trust.
Much love to you and your baby!
Note: This document does not constitute medical advice, or replace in any way the advice of a qualified medical practitioner. The opinions expressed in this document are those of the author, and do not represent the official position of this organization.