Friday, January 30, 2015

Are We at War? The Vaccination vs. Anti-Vaccination Situation

http://www.egmnow.com/platforms/
In light of the current measles outbreak, I'd like to take a moment to reflect on the tremendously divided nature of the vaccine debate (or lack of debate) that exists in our country. It feels eerily similar to the Red vs. Blue State divide that has plagued us now for several decades. In both conflicts, there exists such fear, such misinformation, such geographic isolationism, such supreme sensitivity, and such a lack of communication that we simply stand opposed to one another without any productive conversation. I'm afraid that if we never come together to talk about these things, we'll make no progress.

 And, like many, I'd really like to see progress.

Let me out myself first: I am pro-vaccine. I come to the table with a very strong opinion that vaccination is a good thing. My son is uber-vaccinated-- because we have traveled extensively since he was an infant, he had early vaccines for measles and hepatitis A and is even vaccinated against yellow fever and typhoid. Just this week, he had his kindergarten boosters. I always get the annual flu vaccine, and though I am not convinced the data on pregnant women getting a whooping cough vaccine in the third trimester is that robust, I pulled up my sleeve and ceded to vaccination just last month-- trusting that the risk is minimal. I'm a public health enthusiast.

All this being said, I work intimately with hundreds of families who believe otherwise-- and I don't only work with them, I love them and care for them, and counsel them.

As a family doctor caring for a population who chooses overwhelmingly to make alternative vaccine choices, I often find myself in the uncomfortable place where the two worlds collide. And while I consider myself a  vaccine believer, I also find myself intensely offended by the denigrating tone so many take with people who choose to make the choice NOT to vaccinate. Perhaps it's because I know them personally. And I know that they want what we all want-- what's best for our children. It's just what's "best" may not be so black and white for some as those of us believers want to believe.

I also know that berating parents for the decisions they are making for their children is unlikely to change their minds.

After all, what was your response the last time you were berated?  Did you say, Hey thanks for calling me uneducated and stupid and ignorant. You are soooo right, let me reverse my entire decision-making process and go with yours?

Doubt it.
                                                                         ***

Vaccinators (of which I consider myself one) are those I will call "vaccine believers". That doesn't necessarily mean we believe in God, Santa Claus, or the Republican Party. In fact, a large proportion  is made up of  liberals and skeptics: academics, journalists, returned Peace Corps Volunteers, scientists, and scholarly folk. But vaccinators are a mixed bag: we also include immigrants, the urban poor, and others who either aren't empowered enough to question authority or those who have personally experienced vaccine-preventable disease. Most believers have never read a book or a study about the safety of vaccines-- even the scholarly subset. They don't need to. They take the recommended schedule (available here), follow it like a road map, and trust in the integrity of the institution of medicine and the wisdom of their predecessors. Both instill in them a steadfast trust in the value of vaccines. Perhaps most importantly, believers are descendants of vaccinators. Their perception of risk is reinforced by the community in which they live and by stories of vaccine-preventable illness.They may have traveled to a country where they have seen victims of polio or meningitis. They may be from one of those countries. Or maybe not. They don't harbor suspicion about the morality of governmental recommendations-- in fact, they trust and embrace both the integrity of science and the righteousness of health policy-makers. They do question the morality of people who choose to put communities at risk for their own personal interest.

Anti-vaccinators are those I will call "vaccine atheists".  Again, this designation has nothing to do with religion-- in fact one of the largest outbreaks of measles prior to our current one involved an enclave of orthodox Jews in New York who were choosing not to vaccinate based on religious teachings (see report here). I'm just borrowing recognizable terminology. Where I live, most anti-vaccinators are not particularly religious, though many would call themselves "spiritual". Like believers, atheists are a mixed bag: some are quite educated, others are not. For a range of reasons-- I'm not always sure why-- they do not fear the diseases that vaccines are targeted to prevent. They don't believe in the inherent value of immunization-- and they believe that the potential risks of said vaccines are more likely and more dangerous than the diseases themselves. Just like believers, most vaccine atheists have not extensively read books or studies about the safety of vaccines. They, too, don't really need to. They know vaccines carry risks, and they choose not to chance those risks. Their perception of risk is reinforced by the community in which they live and by isolated reports of horrible outcomes after vaccination. Some specifically fear autism, but for most, the theoretically risks are much more complex. Importantly, most are descendants of non-vaccinators. They look at the CDC recommendations and scoff at the ridiculous number of immunizations recommended. They know that there is always uncertainty in any medical intervention, they wonder what the actual risk is for their child, and they question both the science and the moral integrity of those making official recommendations.

                                                                ***

So, you see, there might be more similarities between the two groups than we might have previously guessed. We are all products of our upbringings. Neither side has read much. Neither can quote validated data. We both dig in our heels and hold our positions. And thus we quickly forget that we share some commonalities-- namely we live on the same planet and maybe even next door to each other, and we should be TALKING to each other.

Here's what I propose we talk about:

1) Fear
Vaccinators fear vaccine-preventable disease. They do not want measles, influenza, meningitis, or polio to be running around our country (and our world) infecting vulnerable children or frail adults. They do not want to return to a place where people die or are disabled from vaccine-preventable illness. Vaccinators also fear that decisions of others not to vaccinate put their children at risk. I get it.

http://wrightliving.com/fear-feel-alive/
Anti-vaccinators fear side effects, preservatives, chemicals, and immune loads. They fear the unknown. And they fear these more than the risk of illnesses that most have never seen. They do not want to expose their children unnecessarily to toxins that may put them at risk. Vaccinators may dismiss these fears-- citing examples of millions of children who have received such toxins without untoward side effects-- but in so doing, they neglect to validate that science is terribly imperfect, that in fact, scientists have frequently historically reversed themselves on interventions once deemed safe and necessary.

Let's talk about what scares us, why it scares us, and see if we can find some common ground. Let's talk about why some are afraid of the diseases and others of the vaccines. Let's see if we can reasonably sort out what we should be afraid of. . .and which fears we can probably set aside.

2) Misinformation
This is the trickiest for me-- as a scientist, doctor, and general book nerd, I love reading the data. My patients will tell you that a most common phrase out of my mouth starts with, "Studies have shown. . .". followed up by some really cool meaningful information that helps back up my recommendation.

http://ninapaley.com/mimiandeunice/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/ME_197_Misinformation.png
http://ninapaley.com/mimiandeunice/2010/09/17/misinformation/
And yet, as I have tried to find good information for my patients on the topic of vaccine safety, I have been terribly unimpressed-- by both sides of the topic. Most of the educational materials the CDC publishes is watered down, does not directly address my patients' specific concerns, and basically ends with "trust us". Now, I do trust the CDC, but not everyone does, and I can understand why. The CDC material often feels dismissive and, frankly, a little bit lacking. That being said, I find that most of the anti-vaccine material is inflationary and based in paranoia and fear rather than compiling what limited information is available. I have ordered at least half a dozen books to read on the topic and been thoroughly unimpressed by most of them.  For my vaccine skeptical families, I find myself recommending "The Vaccine Book" by Dr. Sears, which is imperfect but seems the best marriage of the two-- if you have other recommendations, please do let me know.

Let's talk about where you get your information. I'm curious. Can you please share resources you have found helpful? What about some that are unhelpful? Who do you trust? Why? Why not? What makes information trustworthy? What makes it untrustworthy? How much weight does anecdote carry in your decision making? What about a large population study? What can I do as your fellow human to make information feel more helpful?
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/01/27



3) Geographic isolationism
Just like red versus blue, carnivore versus herbivore, and God versus not-God,  we humans tend to surround ourselves with people who have similar thinking and similar modus operandi. Research shows that differences in vaccine uptake are extremely geographical, which literally means that our neighbors reinforce whatever set of beliefs we tend already to have. When we geographically isolate ourselves, we conveniently reinforce our own beliefs (right or wrong) and protect ourselves from intelligent conversation that might challenge those beliefs. And in this way, we don't encourage ourselves (or our counterparts) to develop intelligible and meaningful responses to real and important questions. For example, why are some people so scared of preservatives in vaccines and others aren't? Why are some people so scared of vaccine-preventable illness and others aren't? Why might someone you love and respect make a totally different decision about something you find morally reprehensible? Shouldn't we know the answers to these most basic questions? . To get answers, though, we have to ask. And to ask, we have to not only come into contact with but also feel safe in the company of those who might think differently than us.

Let's reach across the aisle and be curious (and I mean non-judgey curiously curious) and cross over the line every once in awhile. We might be surprised to find ourselves more educated because of it-- being curious with my patients has certainly led me to read more and understand more what people are afraid of. And my patients being curious about my thoughts has hopefully helped them make informed decisions.

4) Sensitivity
Even in my own social circles, I have found the topic of vaccine choices to be off limits in mixed company-- other than in my exam room where I have some say over what conversations are cultivated. Living in Sonoma County, I am well aware that I am often in mixed vaccine company, and as a mother, I wouldn't touch the topic with a ten foot pole. Immunization in my town is right up there with super stigmatizing topics: how much money your family makes and whether you do crazy things in your bedroom. Rather than friends and family being a safe venue for intelligent conversation, I find that people are so sensitive about their choices (in both directions), that we're afraid to ask. In fact, I was out for coffee with a doctor friend just this week, and he casually inquired about another doctor friend's vaccination views. He knew my perspective and felt safe asking me about me, but had never discussed the issue with her, knowing it could get sensitive fast. This returns me to the important notion that we are so influenced by what is happening in our community, so that even people I might consider vocal vaccinators find themselves silenced. I am supremely aware that I may isolate and offend my patients if I simply try to bulldoze them with personal opinions-- I believe it is my duty as a physician to be sensitive to their vulnerabilities and present the topic in a loving and respectful manner-- even (or maybe especially) when I disagree.

Can we lower our own sensitivity about decisions we make for our families and temper our defensiveness so that we might have meaningful conversations on the topic? What might those conversations look like in a non-judgmental space? Might we find some more middle ground?


5) Lack of communication
Communication, of course, involves all of the above issues already mentioned and so much more. And while I personally feel strongly that my own children be fully vaccinated for their well-being as well as the well-being of our community, I am utterly turned off by the general blasting of non-vaccinators. It simply will not work to scare or judge or berate parents into making different choices. It won't work. This is not a war. This is not really about me versus you. This is an opportunity to engage in meaningful conversation about true risks of real disease and true risks and benefits of vaccine, true fears and true needs of parents to do what is right for their child AND for public health and feel comfortable doing so.

Do me a favor, and cool your jets. Ask someone you know and love but that you assume has a different opinion than you on the vaccine matter to share their reasoning. Listen. Discuss. And then share yours. Then listen some more. You might be surprised about what may come out of such a conversation. You might learn something, you might teach something, and we may all be grateful for the step forward.





78 comments:

  1. Written very deeply .. thanx for sharing Cause, Symptoms and Treatment pruritus ani

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for writing this! As an herbalist and soon-to-be nursing student, I feel uncomfortably in the middle of these debates. I find that I care more about the quality of these conversations than the content of what anyone is saying. My most valued resources have been my doctors- my daughter's pediatrician, my naturopath, the midwives I have worked with in my first and my current pregnancy. I also liked Aviva Romm's "Vaccinations: A Thoughtful Parent's Guide," though at the time of reading, I already thought it needed updating.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Teressa! I did look at Aviva Romm's Vaccinations awhile back, but I should probably revisit. I empathize with being in the middle-- and I'm totally with you that the quality of our conversations AND our relationships with people are what really matter-- and we definitely need to keep talking about these things but in a much more adult manner. :)

      Delete
  3. Thank you for a very compassionate appeal to let the shared humanity of our hopes and fears be the basis of our communication. (And truly, you are a writer).

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks Dr. Jordan for this thoughtful and timely post. Sharing with believers and non-believers alike.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you for this article.

    I do not consider myself "pro-vaccine". Instead, I am pro-science, pro-reason, and pro-public health. I also consider vaccine refusal an affront to social justice: the burdens of vaccine-preventable disease fall most heavily upon the poor and those in ill health.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This does nothing to further open communication. Careful - your condescension is showing.

      Delete
  6. Your readers may also be interested in this article by an attorney who makes his living as a mediator:

    "So what does a strategy for an effective, persuasive conversation look like? There is a world of advice we could give about that conversation. We’ve distilled it into four basic points: be sincere, ask questions, be sympathetic, and provide information."

    http://violentmetaphors.com/2013/12/20/the-most-important-playground-conversation-how-to-persuade-a-friend-to-vaccinate/

    ReplyDelete
  7. And the start of a series by Colin McRoberts, who wrote the "Most Important Playground Conversation: How to Persuade a Friend to Vaccinate"

    "It doesn’t matter what your goal is if you let yourself forget that you’re talking to a real person. Personalizing an argument, making it about the people instead of the issues, poisons conversations. Once you start to think of the conversation as just another blunt object to apply to the other person’s head, you’ve already lost. So what happened, and what can we do about it?"

    http://violentmetaphors.com/2015/01/29/are-you-arguing-with-yourself/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! I could not agree more. Thank you-- blunt objects are not what we need!

      Delete
    2. I REALLY love this-- thanks for sharing:
      http://violentmetaphors.com/2013/12/20/the-most-important-playground-conversation-how-to-persuade-a-friend-to-vaccinate/

      Delete
    3. I have to say I find the tone of that article often very self-righteous and condescending (comes through in his comments afterwards as well), especially for a "negotiator." If I was one of the two sides he was working with and I read that article I'd be highly suspect of his motives and whether he was only listening in order to convince and not truly listening (which he pretty much states as much in what you're approach should be-- though I admit that is the title of his article-- how to persuade-- not how to have a conversation). Whatever your personal beliefs, I don't believe this is how you do your doctoring (even if you do have a goal) and I'm not sure (after the much more civil conversation you've begun here) that associating yourself with that article (and the dialogue that is happening in his comment section) really does you justice.

      Delete
  8. What do you think about Drs. Tenpenny and Humphries? They are very prominent in the vaccine choice movement and get the immunology of vaccines. They do not talk down to their audience, but instead empower them. I'm sure you are familiar with them?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have read some of their material-- they are prolific writers and definitely include a lot of data/science in their arguments. One of their fundamental arguments is that vaccine-preventable illness was going down BEFORE we started so widely vaccinating-- and that nutrition, clean water, healthy living have more to do with public health success than vaccines. I would argue that BOTH are important. True, the most fundamental health needs of any society are 1) clean water 2) a way to manage sewage/bathroom waster 3) good nutrition. And true, in many developing countries, we are still aways from accomplishing these goals. However, it is unacceptable in my own world view to have ANY child die from a vaccine-preventable disease. So, we can thank water, sewage, and nutrition for lots of success-- but I still would argue strongly that vaccines play an important role in helping us get closer to eradication.

      Delete
    2. Thank you for your considerate and wonderful article. I am a vaccine-atheist in your esteem. :) I have diligently researched the topic to the best of my ability- though finding credible and easily-understood references on both sides is quite a task. Two of my children had frightening reactions to early-childhood vaccines, which was the catalyst for our decision to stop vaccinating. My baby is 20 months old and has yet to receive a shot. But I digress. Your answer above left something to be desired. I agree with you up until your last line. You "would argue strongly that vaccines play an important role in helping us get closer to eradication": How important? Important enough to risk the side effects? Also, you fail to recognize that in our country, we have those basic needs on a widespread basis. Why the continual push for vaccines, here, when sanitation and nutrition were rapidly declining the outbreaks of those childhood diseases before vaccines were introduced? Why the hype and fear? And before someone tells me that it's thanks to vaccines that we haven't ever seen epidemics of polio, measles, pertussis, etc, I ask you to take a look around at our other health problems. 1 in 4 children have a chronic illness. Auto-immune diseases are at epidemic levels. I appreciate you recognizing that "CDC material often feels dismissive and, frankly, a little bit lacking". I think to my mother's generation who were instructed to put infants on their tummies to sleep. When I had babies, the recommendations were "back to sleep". We've been told not to give milk to babies before the age of 1 for fear of allergies, but recently that has been revised to suggest that it's okay to introduce it earlier. I guess I'm just waiting for the medical community to change its mind on a practice that has been heavily campaigned like so many others in the past, only to discover maybe they didn't have all the right information and opinions. (Douching with Lysol, anyone? http://www.mum.org/Lysol48.htm)

      Back to vaccines in developed countries. Here's food for thought:

      "In another case, DTP vaccination coverage in England dropped from about 78 percent to 30 or 40 percent because of concerns over safety. The assumption was that there would be an increase in deaths due to the decreased coverage. The years from 1976 to 1980 were the ones when vaccination rates were at their lowest. Using official statistics, the number of deaths in those years totaled 35. The deaths from the previous five years (1971 to 1975), while vaccination rates were higher, totaled 55, or about 1.5 times greater than when vaccination rates were lower. [7] This was directly opposite what is generally believed should have happened. - See more at: http://healthimpactnews.com/2015/the-truth-about-measles-the-mainstream-media-is-suppressing/#sthash.YecT0YKX.dpuf"

      Dr. Vero, I have yet to hear a health care professional "vaccine believer" :) communicate your views as you have, so thank you. But I feel the argument is lacking conviction when the answer is "it's unacceptable to have any child die from a vaccine-preventable disease" when those diseases were already on the decline in developing countries. I just don't understand the devotion to that practice, here and now.

      Delete
  9. There is a third group of parents that could possibly be called "Vaccine Agnostics" - who believe in the power of vaccines to prevent dangerous communicable diseases like Small Pox, but resent mandated vaccines such as Hepatitis B for their infants who are not going to contract a disease transmitted by IV drug use and sexual intercourse. Our national conversation does not include these parents. Most states don't allow parents to opt out of some vaccines; it is all or nothing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I totally appreciate and agree with your "Agnostics" grouping-- when I gave a lecture to physicians in training awhile back, I actually did use that category, and to be perfectly honest, it's probably where I think primary care providers should spend most of our time. Your example of delaying HBV vaccine because the risk is minimal for an infant is an excellent one. The argument made against doing that is that adolescent vaccines are just more challenging because we are much less likely to get adolescents in our office (i.e. before they start having sex and being at risk), BUT I do have quite a few parents that delay HBV to limit the number of vaccines until they are done with the more relevant infant vaccines. Thanks for your very thoughtful comment!

      Delete
    2. In Canada, we don't do HBV vaccine as infants. It is done in grade 7, it is an in school program where public health nurses come to the school to do the vaccines, with parental consent forms filled out. In my province we used to have MMR at 12 months and 18 months. Other provinces did MMR at 12 months and age 4 (before starting school). Then it changed here to be 12m and 4y. It is frustrating how different it is everywhere, that really adds to the sense of mistrust. I understand that as we learn, we change things, science is always evolving.

      Delete
    3. As an atheist (both concerning religion and vaccination) one of my main concerns is that I fail to see the real evidence base of vaccination when all countries, and seemingly even provinces of the same country, have such differing protocols. If vaccination was solidly based in scientific evidence, would there not be more consistency in the different protocols?
      Another point of concern is that non-existing evidence of harm is, by vaccine believers, often translated to be ''evidence of non-harm'', What has not been researched cannot be labelled harmless. And since it might be quite impossible to really investigate this through double blinded randomized trials, it might never be proven to be harmful or harmless.

      Delete
  10. Maybe you can shed some light on this... why aren't drug companies looking for alternative antigens that aren't as harmful? Why aren't we looking for a solution to make vaccines safer? I am all about science, but I'm very skeptical of vaccines. My daughter has Aspergers. After vaccinating, her symptoms worsened. At first we didn't think anything of it, but after she spent a year in therapy and made huge progress, after a round of vaccinations she was right back to where we started. I started reading information about children with autism having higher amounts of metals in their bodies. After researching what was in the vaccines she received, I am perplexed about aluminum and other metals. We can all agree there is such a thing as aluminum poisoning. We get unspecified amounts of aluminum every day, so we can't really say any extra amounts are safe amounts for a small body. We do know that formula contains high levels of aluminum, so can water and other foods. So why aren't scientist looking at this science? They've taken formaldehyde out of baby products because it isn't safe, but it is still safe to inject? I'm confused by that science...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I find this one of the most frustrating topics as a doctor/scientist because I have many parents asking about aluminum and other preservatives-- and I think the data stinks in all directions. The CDC doesn't adequately address this specific set of questions (they basically say "it's safe"), vaccine-makers insist preservatives are necessary for vaccine stability/mass production, etc. . .there is undoubtedly large amounts of these things in our every day life (e.g. formula, tuna fish cans, etc). . .and the science is just not there. It makes theoretical sense to me that we want to limit chemical exposure for developing brains, but to be honest, I am not entirely convinced that vaccine exposure is at the crux of the issue. This is a HUGE topic for environmental science-- and unfortunately, individual medicine and environmental science don't always seem to be collaborating to fund studies to examine the true risks of exposure. . .so we are left with fear and powerful anecdote-- both of which can be helpful AND harmful. Sorry I cannot really answer your question-- I wish I could. In the meantime. . .we have to weigh risks and benefits based on ???? As I wrote in the piece, I believe there are clear benefits to vaccines. . .I think the risks are minimal. But I would never say they are non-existant.

      Delete
    2. As a biologist who has worked in pharmaceutical companies and academia, I wish i was able to explain how we ARE always looking to improve the efficacy and safety of vaccines. When people talk about the role of industry in this work they seem to often overlook the fact that there are a lot of companies competing with one another to make the safest and most effective vaccines - because it's the safest and most effective vaccines that public health bodies are going to recommend. I can 100% understand how hard it can be for Americans to trust their government and the companies involved in this research and monitoring, but those of us involved in the process are often least equipped to explain why they should. My understanding of the biology of vaccines, and the FDA and CDCs role in approving and monitoring them, is based on years and years of study. There isn't one particular trial or observational report I can point to to explain how I trust that the systems for vaccine approval and monitoring in the US are sufficient - it's the accumulation of years of experience. And this is why talking about it can be such a frustrating experience. I don't feel angry at the general public for not understanding this, and wanting to be cautious, i just feel tired and sad that I don't know how to quickly and clearly explain a system I do actually feel very proud of to someone that is understandably skeptical.

      Delete
  11. It is difficult to find solid information on either side of the debate because no one seems to follow the Scientific Method anymore.
    Where are all the randomized double-blinds? Where are all the control groups?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. RCTs are powerful, but the question is: what does your RCT set up to show? How would you set up a double blind trial and what outcomes are you looking for? Autism? The best data we have on Autism (and it's really good data) comes from the entire population of Denmark. . .this was obviously not set up as an RCT but they have entire population who received (or didn't receive) said vaccines and their entire medical chart in the ensuing decades. This convinces me that autism is NOT caused by the MMR vaccine (or any other). I don't need any further convincing. . .but it's the more subtle concerns that my patients worry about-- not sure how to set up a study that would be convincing in either direction. I would be curious to know what your "ideal RCT" would look like.

      Delete
    2. But the original Denmark study data appears to have been deliberately altered:

      http://www.putchildrenfirst.org/chapter5.html

      It's great that they had an entire population plus their medical charts for 30 years, but the flaws discussed in the link above are very troubling. Can you please take a look at that discussion and tell us what you think?

      Delete
  12. Thank you for bringing some rational thought and calm into the discussion. I do think you are missing a group, though. The "vaccinators" who became the "vaccine injured." I wrote about my own experience and thoughts surrounding this issue here: http://bethapproach.blogspot.com/2015/01/i-obviously-havent-blogged-in-quite.html

    It has been extremely disheartening to see the vitriol and hate aimed at "anti-vaxers" in the press and even in my local community forums. People are letting fear be in control.

    What are your thoughts on the pending lawsuits against Merck? http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/lawrence-solomon/merck-whistleblowers_b_5881914.html

    Are you familiar with http://www.vaccinationcouncil.org?

    Here are some resources that I have found useful, in addition to The Vaccine Book by Dr. Sears:

    Vaccinations: A Thoughtful Parent's Guide by Aviva Romm
    What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Children's Vaccinations by Dr. Stephanie Cave
    Healing the Childhood Epidemics by Dr. Kenneth Bock
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3170075/
    http://thinkingmomsrevolution.com

    On my list to read:

    The Peanut Allergy Epidemic by Heather Fraser http://thinkingmomsrevolution.com/whats-really-behind-peanut-allergy-epidemic/
    Vaccine Epidemic: How Corporate Greed, Biased Science, and Coercive Government Threaten Our Human Rights, Our Health, and Our Children by
    I also just purchased the documentary Bought. http://boughtmovie.com

    ReplyDelete
  13. I would love to know more research on the over all health of vaccinated children vs non-vaccinated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely! My main problem is no one is following vaccinated and unvaccinated children nor doing solid research beyond the requisite time that shows vaccines are safe. I don't think the studies are rigorous enough and that is exactly why I'm
      suspicious of vaccines. Those for vaccines say it is not feasible to do double blind studies. Well, then it's not feasible for me to vaccinate.

      Delete
  14. (1 of 2) Thank you for a thoughtful and intelligent look at a complicated subject. I think you have made excellent summaries of both sides--with only one exception.

    I think what concerns many vaccine critics is the fact that there is very poor data on adverse reactions to vaccines.

    Doctors are taught in medical school (reinforced by CME and lets face it, by the vaccine industry) that side effects are incredibly rare.

    Adverse reactions are therefore often missed, misdiagnosed, and not reported.

    Prelicensure testing is extremely limited, often not testing beyond a few days or a week, and relying on checklists (which may not contain signs of autoimmune or neurological reactions) filled out by patients or their parents. Testing is often done in developing countries, where patients/parents may have limited understanding of the medical terms, language translations may be inaccurate, and patients/parents may be illiterate even in their own language.

    The only reporting system in the US is VAERS--a VOLUNTARY reporting system.

    Those who have experienced adverse reactions universally report that their reaction, even when immediately diagnosed by mainstream medical specialists, was denied by others in the medical community, and especially by the vaccine industry and by government health authorities.

    They universally report that their reactions were not tracked, not studied, and that they were never contacted to release their medical records for further study.

    Even those who have won their cases with the Department of Health and Human Services report that the government--along with government-paid (highly-paid) lawyers from the vaccine industry--fought them every step of the way, going to great lengths to vilify them in court.

    Most people don't even know that there IS a special court for vaccine injuries, nor do they know that they can't sue the vaccine injury, the doctor who recommended/administered the vaccine, or even the doctor who failed to warn them of the risks. Most don't realize that there is a 3-year statute of limitations from the date of the vaccination (not the date of symptomatic onset, and not the date of diagnosis), following which, claims cannot be filed.

    Those who do learn of this system also learn from those who have been through it that it is likely to be as emotionally traumatic as the initial injury, as the lawyers for the government do everything they can to attack their credibility.




    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I heard that once you have gone through the special court, one of the stipulations is that you can not publish the results. That you are forced into silence and the verdict results cannot be used for scientific or statistical research, nor media coverage. Does anyone know if this is true?

      Delete
  15. (2 of 2)
    You ask where we get our information from. I get mine from the studies. Not from the abstracts, not from the articles written ABOUT the studies. I crunch the numbers, I look at the demographics of the study groups, I look at what is used as placebo (usually it's another vaccine with the same adjuvants, preservatives, and other potentially reactive ingredients), and I look at what exactly is being studied.

    The studies that are widely touted as "proving" vaccine safety are so severely flawed, I wonder why more people don't notice this. Comparing two groups of fully-vaccinated children does not allow us to draw conclusions on safety. Neither does comparing a group of autistic children with children who have documented symptoms of autism, but no formal diagnosis (especially when the study researchers are the ones providing the diagnosis). Using a "placebo" whose only difference from the test vaccine is the kind of antigen is not a true placebo; again, that does not give us safety information. Comparing ONLY the number of antigens received by two groups is interesting--but since the number of antigens is not an issue of concern to most, it doesn't really answer the question of "too much too soon.

    the problem is that vaccines are likely to be but one bullet in a whole firing squad that results in autism. It may not be one vaccine or even 2 or 3 together that cause autism, but rather one or more vaccines combined with genetic predisposition. Or maybe one or more vaccines combined with genetic predisposition PLUS one or more other factors, like hormonal balance, additional viral or bacterial exposure, vitamin deficiency that results in an inability to properly excrete heavy metals, pre-existing sub-clinical intestinal malabsorption, food allergies/sensitivities, or other environmental exposures (like glyphosate, for example).

    You realize that science is not set up to look at such combinations.

    LOOK at the studies that have been done so far, and realize what assumptions have been made along the way. Studies were not set up to catch a tiny subgroup of 1 in 10,000 for a schedule of 7 vaccines (what I got as a child--you got even fewer, I believe). So those 7 vaccines were assumed to be safe, and the IDEA of multiple vaccines were assumed to be safe. There have been absolutely no studies comparing safety of 0 vaccines to 7 vaccines, to 16, to 25, to 50, not for autism, not for seizures, not for neurological disorders, not for autoimmune disorders, not for developmental disorders, not for cancer.

    Science, true science, has not been done here, not even when the vaccine schedule was only 7 or 8 vaccines for all of childhood, so how can we possibly conclude that the risk of today’s schedule is “minimal?"


    ReplyDelete
  16. Why don't they separate out the three -MMR- like they did for a short time a few years ago? It seems to me that people who haven't given their children the MMR might be more willing to give their children JUST the measles vaccine if it were made available as a single virus vaccine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I realize this isn't a scientific document but it is interviewing a vaccine scientist. How do we account what he is saying about the science behind the MMR. This is a year old as well, and may have been forgotten during the recent epidemic.

      http://m.huffpost.com/ca/entry/5376951

      Delete
  17. Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who is commenting and sharing on this thread. I am so impressed by the cordial yet concerned tone expressed here by all involved. Thank you for keeping it civil, and thoughtful! I am grateful for the many resources shared. I will be doing a lot of reading tonight!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Yes, allison, this is exactly why I can't go along with the schedule. Vaccines are not tested against placebo, they are tested along other vaccines. We don't do that for other drug trials, why are vaccines exempt? We need to stop thinking of vaccines as the holy grail and instead acknowledge their shortcomings. We need to stop with the schedule and look at the individual child. We need to stop vaccinating at birth. We need to have a real conversation about the difference between natural herd immunity and vaccine herd immunity. We need to talk about why it's okay to have toxins in vaccines. We need to talk about injecting toxins vs ingesting. There are too many things that don't add up. This is why ppl are suspicious.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think that if you were to walk into any virology or immunology lab, or the infectious disease department of any hospital, you'd find plenty of people talking about precisely those things! This is what we geek out on! We talk about this stuff all day :)

      Delete
    2. Wouldn't natural immunity require everyone getting the disease, putting us right back where we started? Even with improved public health and sanitation, not everyone has access to the same healthcare, nutrition, etc.

      Delete
  19. And, yes, let us decide what vaccines we want, not lump them all together for the sake of convenience.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I was glad to see this, I've noticed that if you voice any word about the confusion around vaccines you're perceived as anti-vaccine, a lunatic who wants to put children at risk. I did a lot of reading on this subject many years ago because I was curious about a mercury/autism link because of my own diagnosis on the autism spectrum. Growing up in the 1960s, our dentist gave us mercury to take home and play with. I'm satisfied that there is no proven link but what I did discover was that there was enough evidence presented to the government during this debate about potential dangers of Thimerosal, a mercury based vaccine preservative, that it's no longer used in childhood vaccines, sort of or mostly. This was based on science, not paranoia. The evidence is very disturbing when you look at it. The testimonials from parents with autistic children is very convincing, they're not crazy and its because of their efforts that we no longer inject babies with mercury. I went back to the CDC website yesterday because of all this noise in the media and there's still a mess of confusion around Thimerosal. The government didn't ban its use, it only recommended it not be used and drug companies have complied except for the flu vaccine. I couldn't quite make sense of it and I've been following this for years. Anyway, I'm not anti-vaccine but I acknowledge that the government and scientists have played a very big role in this confusion and misinformation. They need to take a firm stand and ban its use and stop protecting drug companies over the public, this is not the same as banning vaccines. This has become one more black and white, red vs blue debate full of soundbites and not much else, neither side wants to discuss any real solution to assuring the public that vaccines are safe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why would we trust the same drug companies who are using known harmful toxins in their vaccines, (some of which have been banned in other countries,) with any of their products? It appears a bunch of nazi sadistic lunatics are creating these vaccines and having brainwashed people push them. The truth is people are getting more health conscious. They are reading food labels more, and researching the ingredients in vaccines. So instead of the drug companies hiring people to push their vaccines and convince people to take them, why don't they educate people by getting them to read the package inserts, so at least people will have fully informed consent. This is not happening because in the end it's about money for them. In the end, it could turn into nazi Germany with their mandatory vaccination agenda. Just as the concentration camp victims were forced into the gas chambers under the guise it was for public health and disinfection. Sound familiar?

      Delete
  21. I LOVE THIS CONVERSATION! If there were "like" buttons, I'd be "liking" many comments as well. I believe I would also fall under "Vaccine Agnostic." I have been saying OVER and OVER how much I simply want a doctor to acknowledge BOTH sides and not condemn those of us who are trying to understand both sides before we make a decision. That's where we fall... I'm NOT going to act (by putting potentially harmful chemicals into myself or child) until I fully understand and agree with its benefit... with data, not sob stories (because there are many on both sides). But I AM willing to act. I just haven't been convinced yet.

    I would also add (or correct) one thing you said about "Vaccine Atheists" - Quote "Just like believers, most vaccine atheists have not extensively read books or studies about the safety of vaccines. They, too, don't really need to... Their perception of risk is reinforced by the community in which they live and by isolated reports of horrible outcomes after vaccination... Importantly, most are descendants of non-vaccinators."

    I'm not a doctor and you likely know way more people on both sides, BUT I do know quite a few vaccine critics... and ALL of them have read many books and well researched the topic. I don't know a single one who made the decision because that's what their parents did. I'm SURE they are out there... but not among the ones I know. And, as in my own personal example and among the people I know, many of us were raised TO vaccinate. TO do what the doctor tells you... but through our own personal experience, inhibitions, or research, veered away from how we have been raised. My community is for more pro-vaccine than not... in fact, I was the first I knew personally to be critical and suspicious. And as I've been brave (sometimes) to say something, I have found that a handful of my friends agree.

    I just thought that worth mentioning because, while I loved everything else you said, I thought this was in sharp contrast to my personal reality with the theme :)

    THAT aside, I am SOOOOO grateful for your honest approach, for your openness to dialogue, and for trying to understand those who are making decisions so different from yours. You are right... I'm going to listen MUCH better to a doctor like you than many I've encountered. Or any person for that matter. And I love your discussion of fear. As a Jesus-follower, The Bible encourages me to NOT live by fear. This is hard! But, when I'm intentional about digging in and looking at why I fear what I fear... or try to gauge whether a decision I'm making is fear-guided, I step back and reflect, pray through it... until I'm guided by peace. (BTW- my faith has nothing to do with my choice to be "Vaccine Agnostic" but everything to do with how I respond within it).

    At the end of the day... there are NO guarantees. There just aren't. Whether you vaccinate or whether you don't, there are risks. I could be the 1:1000. Or my child could be. So we all do what we believe and hope is the very best for our children and our world, and then in my case, I trust God to give me peace through whatever comes, and to be loving of others, regardless of what they decide here. We ALL love our kids and I can relate with that!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Marcy! You said EXACTLY what I was thinking. Most non-vaxers I know where vaccinated as children. In fact, not vaccinating is often a point of contention as they are going against their family's beliefs. I also agree that every vaccine athiest I know came to their beliefs by reading a ton and going to talks, etc. The were raised to believe in vaccination so researching is how they came up with their alternate views. I disagree with Dr. Vero in that I don't believe athiests and believers have this in common, because I think she is right about vaccine believers not having researched their beliefs as they trust very much in their doctors and the CDC, etc. I find the book The Vaccine Safety Manual by Neil Miller to be very motivating and full of data. I wonder what you think of it, Dr.

      Delete
  22. Dr. Veronica what do you tell your patients who cannot be immunized or were just diagnosed with cancer or are in remission? Consider moving to a neighborhood with 95% vaccine rates if you want to play with friends or go to school? Do you think this approach advocates for or does enough to protect these patients?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I dont understand this point. My question is why doesnt that adult/child (that is in remission) be re immunized? Maybe because they dont want that person's immune system to go thru anymore trauma? So my question is why do we give our healthy kids this vaccine? Especially if they may be genetically predisposed with their immune system being predisposed to injury?

      Delete
    2. Jen, I believe that these recommendations to not vaccinate come for two reasons: 1) when a person is immuno-compromised (e.g. from chemotherapy or HIV), their immune system literally cannot mount a response to the vaccine, thereby rendering the vaccine less (or maybe even in-) effective 2) some vaccines are live/attenuated (e.g. MMR, rotavirus) and there is some concern that an immunocompromised host could actually get the disease from the vaccine. This has not been reported in immunocompetent hosts.

      Delete
    3. Babs, this an obviously tough situation, especially for families who are struggling with children with serious illness. I know a mother who is pulling her 3-year old out of preschool b/c she is currently going through chemotherapy and the vaccine rates are so low in our area that she doesn't feel like it is safe to have her in school. She is being conservative-- but as a mom, certainly seems reasonable that there is a moderate risk that we will have a case of measles in our area and that there is NOT the herd immunity (estimated to be about 90-95% vaccination rate) for measles in our area. We should be protecting our most vulnerable-- and children with cancer are just that-- but for many parents, I think they have a hard time stepping outside of their own shoes (and decisions) into another. Seems like a great opportunity to do some advocacy. . .as has been done in Marin around a similar case.

      Delete
  23. I hope Dr. Veronica is realizing she has her work cut out for her if she wants to simplify the vaccination issue. The responses here for vaccine education are more indicative of the kind of research ppl do to come to their decision, not what the media thinks are the driving forces (celebrities and alternative medicine doctors). It's a nice sentiment to treat everyone with respect regarding their decisions, but when you see that there are so any variables, I imagine it becomes a bit overwhelming.

    And, I would also urge you to reread that dutch study. I'm surprised it would be enough for anyone to put the controversy to rest.

    I do thank you for opening up the dialogue!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please, I am in now way trying to simplify the issue. It is unbelievably complex-- and I in no way espouse to have all the answers. Just seemed like someone needed to create a space place for dialogue, and I have been impressed with the civil, educated discussion happening in light of this post. . .That was all I was hoping for. I am forever humbled by the complexity of medicine as well as by personal choice/decision-making. Thanks for participating!

      Delete
  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  25. This is something you didn't touch on in your blog: Vaccines list it's serious side effect rate (things like anaphylaxis, encephalitis, and death) as 0.1-0.3%. Doing the math on this that means that if we vaccinate a million kids a year then 10 to 30 THOUSAND will suffer those significant "side effects". According to VAERS, over 10 million vaccines are given, each year, to children 12 months and under. That means, that out of those 10 million vaccines, there is a risk of severe side effects in 100,000 - 300,000 ballpark.

    When anti-vaxers look at the side effects listed on the inserts (for MMR it states: Fever, Mild rash, Swelling of glands in the cheeks or neck, Seizure (jerking or staring) caused by fever, Temporary pain and stiffness in the joints, Temporary low platelet count, which can cause a bleeding disorder, Serious allergic reaction, Deafness, Long-term seizures, coma, or lowered consciousness, Permanent brain damage). Now, while those are all of the side effects of the MMR (and the MMRV), those can be pretty severe side effects. Even more so if there is a history of side effects in the family, which is why you see some families who have a vaccine damaged older child and completely unvaccinated younger children.

    The other issue I have is that a lot of these vaccines contain immunosuppressants. It diminishes the immune system to give the vaccine "time to work". The vaccines are injected intramuscularly. This by-passes the body's well-established, multi-level defense system. The body has mastered the art of fighting illness in the following ways:

    - The Skin- a physical barrier that stops pathogens.
    - Clotting- If the skin is broken the blood clot stops entry of pathogens.
    - Sebaceous and sweat glands- These produce chemicals that kill bacteria.
    - Lysozyme- This is in the saliva and the tear glands. It kills bacteria.
    - Mucous membranes- These secrete mucus which lines many body parts. The mucous traps pathogens and prevents them from entering the body.
    - Nasal hairs- These remove suspended micro-organisms from the air.
    - Cilia- These small hairs beat to force mucus to the pharynx for swallowing to the stomach. Coughing helps in this process.
    - Hydrochloric acid - This is found in the stomach. It kills micro-organisms.

    By the time pathogens get past the defense system, the immune system has been revving up the t-cells to prepare to fight off the invaders. And, while we can never know how our children will respond to either a vaccine or an illness, some of us are more willing to deal with the illness than the vaccine. Why? Because some of us do not agree with the ingredients used to manufacture vaccines. If I would not hand it to my kids to ingest it or rub it on their skin, I would not allow them to be injected with it.

    There are just too many unknown variables to make this a "my way or the highway" approach. Medical history, allergies, etc. Everyone wants what is best for their children...and telling someone that it's better to have a vaccine damaged child than to have someone else's child have severe side effects of a disease...that never goes over well. Make the choice that is best for you and your family and don't worry about anyone else. The fact is...vaccines are not infallible and some vaccines shed. Vaccinating 100% of the population will not stop illnesses.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rachel, it is true that the most serious side effects seem unacceptable to any single family/parent/decision-maker. . ."mom-me" definitely gets that-- and I understand 100% why people whose children have suffered such serious effects are so frightened and vocal. Some of my patients have heard me say, "The absolutely safest possible thing you can do is have every child in your community vaccinated except yours-- that way you benefit from herd immunity without putting your child at any possible risk." That being said, the numbers are tremendously low, and from a population level and life is inherently risky-- when I buckle my son into his carseat, I take risk, when I take him out to eat at our favorite burrito joint, I take risk, when I drop him at preschool I take risk. If I could remove all risk from his life, I would-- but that's literally impossible. The question is: are the vaccine riskier? Or are the diseases riskier? People older and wiser than me would tell grand stories of the horrible plague that was polio and HIB meningitis. . .we are so lucky those are now "risks of the past" but if we don't continue to vaccinate, this is not a guarantee. It's so hard to estimate true risk-- so so hard. And so personal. I just want to acknowledge that. . .and be as educated as we can in making decisions-- decisions that affect not only my sweet babes, but yours as well. ..

      Delete
    2. Dr. Vero, you bring up an excellent point when you say, "People older and wiser than me would tell grand stories of the horrible plague that was polio and HIB meningitis. . .we are so lucky those are now "risks of the past"" because those same people could also tell stories of measles and how everyone got it and it usually wasn't a big deal. I saw a funny post the other day with clips of old tv shows where characters got the measles and it was considered no big deal and "kid's stuff". Not saying tv is the expert (LOL) but it does represent the way a society is feeling about something at the time it is filmed. My own generation can tell stories about the chicken pox and how everyone we knew got it, and it was no big deal. I believe when the varicella vaccine came out is exactly when I began to say, "now wait a minute" and start questioning vaccines. So when the media and the CDC start creating panic and fear about a relatively small number of measles cases during a cyclical outbreak (numbers are higher every couple of years), it taints what they say about vaccines and disease in general, in my eyes.

      Delete
    3. Exactly Christina. Amen to all you just said. It's the risk v. benefit argument all over. I just don't lose sleep at night over measles or chicken pox. In fact my boys got chicken pox this summer and I was thrilled. We had a really fun week once the brief fever was over for both boys. Now HIB meningitis does worry me because I know I wouldn't necessarily be able to get my kids better with some vitamin c, probiotics and plenty of fluids, you know? So I evaluate our individual need for that vaccine very differently. I know most people think anti- or selective vaxers make very emotional and uneducated decisions but that's so untrue. Not only am I educating myself to the best of my ability but I'm also being extremely logical in my assessment of "needing" a vaccine. Fear tactics are so unnecessary and I regularly try to examine my own heart to make sure I'm not making a decision based on fear or emotion. The only emotion that I can't shake in this situation is mistrust and I think that can be a good thing- because no matter what I know me and my husband are the only ones that should be making these huge decisions for my children (since we absolutely 100% have their best interests at heart), not a medical establishment or governing body.

      Delete
  26. http://www.democracynow.org/2015/2/5/inside_the_vaccine_war_measles_outbreak

    I'm sorry, but a lot of the misinformation parroted here is also parroted by Mary Holland (who comes off as entirely reasonable to be honest). Some of the misinformation around vaccine testing (like talk of splitting up the MMR vaccines) is just off base. This is a good listen, especially the final rebuttal by Dr. Offit.

    Science will never be 100% perfect. It's all about probabilities, and the probabilities say (from the science) that there is much more risk in non-vaccination than there is in vaccination. There will be corner cases of the elderly, immuno-suppressed, etc, but in the majority of cases it is much riskier to not vaccinate than it is to vaccinate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But, the bottom line is, we must protect freedom of choice.

      And paul offitt has patents on vaccines. He is not credible.

      Delete
    2. Yes, a guy that was smart enough to help develop a vaccine has no credibility on them. As long as he is upfront about his conflict of interests, I see no issues. He doesn't have any patents on the MMR vaccine either, so I don't see how his opinion there is compromised.

      But seriously, enough with conspiratorial nonsense. I'm the first person to question authority, but the science is there, and if you ignore it you're doing it at you, your children, and the public health's peril.

      Delete
  27. Thank you for sharing this. I have not really wanted to respond much to the recent slew of FB posts and articles on vaccinating. None of them seemed an invitation to discuss anything and the polarization of the topic (as it has been presented as an "either/or" choice) was dismaying in my mind. I made very careful studied choices about how and when to vaccinate my children using as much data as I could find. I was also aware that my choices might impact others in my community and took that into account. Many parents I know are not "anti-vaccine" or "pro-vaccine". They are more interested in gathering information, weighing risks (not just to their own child, but to others in their community), and taking part in decision making. I would love to see more nuanced considerate educated discussions. This is a great beginning!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks-- I appreciate your engagement in the topic-- and I do think parents can make empowered decisions. . .we just need to keep lines of communication open!

      Delete
  28. To help people open the lines of communication, I found this article quite helpful:

    http://authenticsimplicity.net/2015/01/75-questions-need-ask-vaccines/

    ReplyDelete
  29. Thak you for this article. I am a "Vaccine reservist"--I think there is a LOT more research to be done before we start making any laws. I am a midwife, nurse, wife of and mother of Family Physicians, grandmother of 13. I care about this. I recommend as a resource "Vaccines & Informed Choice: A Guide for Concerned Parents" http://center4cby.com/vaccines-informed-choice/ In in she discusses the options but also offers alternative remedies for both the diseases and vaccine reactions. Very useful.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Thank you SO MUCH for this! I have been deeply upset by the horrible vilification of "anti-vaxxers" that my otherwise kind, compassionate, and open-minded friends have been spewing. Everyone is just so terrified, and speaking from that place. So your clear and reasonable call for dialogue is much appreciated. I will share this widely -- and it really helps that you're a doctor who is pro-immunization. The power which that automatically confers on your opinion is disturbing, but I'll run with it this time. Blessings.

    ReplyDelete
  31. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I am generally very supportive of the "engage and try to find common ground and address specific concerns" approach. However, in this case, hasn't it been PROVEN not to work? See popular press coverage of the "backfire effect", or http://www.dartmouth.edu/~nyhan/nyhan-reifler.pdf, or... well, the entire course of the vaccine "debate" even after Wakefield's thorough debunking.

    That's a serious question, btw, not just rhetoric. If you think that at this point there is a reason to expect positive outcomes from a friendly consensus-seeking approach, I would love to hear why. (YOU may be in a unique position to actually change minds among families you treat, but for anyone who ISN'T a trusted health care professional?)

    At this point, the only path I see to creating better public health outcomes is the exact opposite. Publicly mock and vilify the ignorant who endanger themselves, their children, and everyone around them. It won't change their opinions, but nothing will. The objective is to create a strong public consensus that anti-vaxxers are scary and dangerous kooks, so that those without strong preexisting opinions won't give them the time of day, let alone be convinced by them. Make it politically easy to establish public policy which requires that parents do a lot of work to refuse vaccinations. Isolate them in the sphere of public opinion and let their population diminish.

    This is not an approach I would normally take! I'm a Sonoma County liberal, from a Unitarian family. Peaceful engagement is what comes naturally to me. But I have trouble seeing how the peaceful engagement won't also lead to, well, more kids dying, compared to a more aggressive approach.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I also am very impressed with your article as well as this entire dialog. I grew up in the home of a medical doctor, and was fully immunized as a child. In fact I even received the small pox and yellow fever vaccinations, and who knows what else, since I spent a part of my childhood overseas.

    I am a college educated mother of 5 children. Two were fully vaccinated, and two were minimally vaccinated. We completely stopped vaccinating after child number 5 was born. My very fine pediatrician was ready to give him a vaccine that really only was needed in someone who lived the same type of lifestyle as a person who would also be challenged with STDs or even AIDS. After reading the forms I was required to sign. I decided that I had to become much more knowledgeable about the subject of vaccinations before subjecting my infant or any of our other children to any more immunizations. I needed to learn the possible negative challenges of the serums that were to be ingested into my infant's body, and what the repercussions of not immunizing might be.

    One thing I did learn is that all my children who were only minimally vaccinated were much healthier overall than the ones who were fully immunized. One of those who was fully immunized has a serious chronic disease now - that was inherited, but we now learn is greatly aggravated by any ingested metals and or chemicals. I will admit that I am saddened to think that I might have made her condition worse by allowing these to be inserted into her body. I don't know if her younger siblings have managed to avoid showing any symptoms of the disease because they were minimally vaccinated or not.

    The only vaccine that my children have had in those years has been the Tetanus antitoxin, which was only given after they had been injured with a puncture wound. Since then I'm thinking that good antibiotics would have been all that was needed.

    Interestingly my three younger children got the chicken pox from a relative who had been vaccinated against it and had a light case, ostensibly from the vaccine, and passed it on to his cousins, and they were much sicker, but did not pass it on to anyone else that I know of.

    Since the time 20+ years ago that we determined to no longer vaccinate, I have read and studied and studied and studied - both sides - and believe we absolutely made the right choice. I have many sources, but one that I did not see here listed is this. It is lengthy but I believe well worth reading.

    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/01/24/catastrophic-vaccine-reactions.aspx

    Thank you for your kind approach. I will be sharing this.

    ReplyDelete
  34. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Childhood illnesses were one of God's creations. We do our best to provide a good environment so our children will be healthy. If they get sick, it is wonderful to have medical treatments, and if a child dies, he died a natural death. If, on the other hand, we vaccinate a healthy child knowing that there is a risk however small and that child dies, we are guilty of murder. God did not make a mistake when he created us or disease. We make a mistake when we try to play God.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Childhood illnesses were one of God's creations. We do our best to provide a good environment so our children will be healthy. If they get sick, it is wonderful to have medical treatments, and if a child dies, he died a natural death. If, on the other hand, we vaccinate a healthy child knowing that there is a risk however small and that child dies, we are guilty of murder. God did not make a mistake when he created us or disease. We make a mistake when we try to play God.

    ReplyDelete
  37. "Antivaxer" from bay area here. I appreciate your tone for a majority of this, as it doesn't have a lot of the insults to our intelligence that "provaxers" frequently put in...I hope you are sincerely understanding..I like how you talk about "vaccine believers" and "vaccine atheists" you seems to have a good enough grasp on the nuances of why parents don't believe......but I don't know why you say "Neither side has read much." I have been reading obsessively for our lives for 10 years because all I ever wanted to do was be the best protective mother I could be. It's been very hard spending my whole life wanting nothing more than to be a good mom, researching obsessively to that end, and then to find that when I follow my researched and conscientious inclinations I am a bad mother who can never be a good mother....It feels like an inescapable emotionally abusive domestic violence relationship to constantly be told I'm a bad mother for my choice when all I do is spend my time researching how to better protect my child. It most certainly does always feel like a war...

    As for resources Dr. Suzanne Humphries provides the most compelling support for my position.

    Dr. Suzanne Humphries goes into great depth and detail with many references explaining the potential downfall for healthy infant systems when they are subjected to this harmful routine developmental interference. You can go directly to her youtube lectures titled Neonatal Immunity The First 3 years and Vaccines Honesty vs Policy for the resources I find most compelling.

    Vaccines Honesty vs Policy
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLrqmvjrIjI

    Neonatal Immunity The First 3 years
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wL8srdLw4c0

    If you would like to read along with her lectures I have transcribed those lectures with slide screenshots in my blog.

    http://www.mothersagainstmedicaltyranny.com/2015/10/dr-suzanne-humphries-neonatal-immunity.html

    http://www.mothersagainstmedicaltyranny.com/2015/10/dr-suzanne-humphries-vaccines-honesty.html

    ReplyDelete
  38. Good to Read. I found one more good resource related to the best Family Doctor in Bangalore. If anyone wants to know, Just Have a look on this link: http://thefamilydoctor.co.in/

    ReplyDelete
  39. Nice blog. NU Hospitals is Providing Best Kidney Treatment in India. If anyone is looking for Kidney Treatment Just Have a look on this link: http://www.nuhospitals.com/

    ReplyDelete
  40. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  41. This website and I conceive this internet site is really informative ! Keep on putting up! Jawahar Thomas

    ReplyDelete
  42. Thank you for your post. This is excellent information. It is amazing and wonderful to visit your site.
    recall services on vaccine
    veterinary product alerts
    recall veterinary product

    ReplyDelete
  43. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  44. It is perfect time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I’ve read this post and if I could I desire to suggest you few interesting things or tips. Perhaps you could write next articles referring to this article. I want to read more things about it! Jawahar Thomas

    ReplyDelete