Friday, November 5, 2010

Childhood vaccination- fears, hopes and realities.

Written and Posted by Earthy Motherhood

When we realised we were pregnant with our firstborn, one of the first topics to come up about parenting was vaccination. I lauched into all the information I had been collating pre-pregnancy about the risks associated with vaccines, the hours I had spent sourcing vaccine product pamphlets,  my concerns about vaccination. As it turned out, my partner had never been vaccinated- his parents had chosen not to vaccinate any of their children. It is a pleasant relief to discover someone with the same views as you! Taking into account vaccines, toxins, disease statistics and our baby's newborn immune system, it was an emphatic no.

I never realised how provocative this decision would be to almost every person I came across!

It wasn't until 3 months into mother's group that I let it slip that my son was unvaccinated- they asked about the Rotavirus vaccine, and I said "Oh, we don't do that." 
Her: "Do what?" Me:"Vaccinate." I've never seen someone look so shocked- or so concerned. I imagined she must be really uninformed! At the next mother's group, the other mothers visibly moved their children back when they rolled near my son, chastised their small babies for trying to play with my son's lovely wooden toys (obviously, they were diseased!). I was sure I was paranoid. But the next time I arrived, there was a posse of 3 standing on the footpath before the hall, waiting for my approach. They made it very clear I wasn't welcome. It was as simple as one of the mothers saying "Oh, we thought you might have noticed, we think it might be best if you don't come to our mother's group- some of the mothers are concerned that their kids might catch something." The other mothers nodded, and I laughed, waiting for the punchline. They all smiled and walked inside, locking the door behind them. No punchline, just a good social ousting.

I realised then that I had made a choice which was common sense to me, but which was difficult for the uninformed to grasp. It's difficult to inform people when they are essentially misled on the topic of vaccination.

For starters, here is an example. When you give a child a vaccine, you are vaccinating them. In Australia, our government calls it an 
Immunisation Schedule. However, vaccines don't necessarily provide immunity. In many cases, they don't provide immunity at levels which will protect a child from the disease. So why is it called Immunisation, when this is misleading?

My mother was appalled when she discovered that my son wasn't vaccinated (my dad had known all along, and kept it to himself). I've never realised how ignorant most people are until that day- my own mother, an intelligent woman, a CEO, a strong educated powerful woman, turned to me and asked "But how can you put your son and other children at risk like that!!" I tried not to laugh. Where do intelligent, intellectual people get such backward ideas?

If you believe that vaccination protects babies from diseases, then why would you fear an unvaccinated child- your child 'should' be protected, so what's the difference?

So I started asking a lot of people about how they felt. "Vaccinating your child is REALLY important!" Why? "Because it protects them from diseases." How? "Because vaccines give your child immunity." Do they? More often than not, people told me they vaccinated their child because "That's what you do." Most people aren't aware of the real risks of vaccines. Most people aren't aware of the real risks of the diseases. Most people don't even know what is in the vaccines they are letting their children have, let alone what diseases they are being vaccinated for. Let's break it down.

Hepatitis B- most babies receive this vaccine at birth, 2 months, 4 months (+6 months if one dose missed) 
Hep B is a blood-borne disease which is contracted through the use of intravenous drug needle sharing and sexual intercourse. Around 99.3% of the children in Australia are not at risk at risk of contracting Hepatitis B from a parent. The 0.7% of children who are born with a Hepatitis B positive parent or who have a family member who has Hepatitis B should consider vaccination or infection control procedures to prevent transmission. Worldwide, 5% of people have Hepatitis B.

*I'd also like to point out that many midwives are opposed to the Hep B birth vaccine as it causes side effects which interfere with bonding and breastfeeding- it can cause lethary, decreased appetite, fever, pain, gastric upset, excessive sleepiness and irritability. These can all dramatically effect a newborn baby and their breastfeeding relationship.

Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Haemophilus influenzae type b, Polio- vaccines at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months.
(Note these 5 vaccines along with Hepatitis B are combined into one injection- Infanrix. So your child receives 6 vaccines at once. That's quite an assault on an immune system.)

Diphtheria- The last outbreak of Diphtheria was a group of 23 people in an indigenous community in the Northern Territory. This was in 1991. One of the people who contracted it died, the other 22 recovered.

Tetanus- The last known case of childhood tetanus in Australia was in 1969. Tetanus is a bacterium called Clostridium Tetani. Clothridium Tetani lives virtually everywhere, but the human body doesn't provide the right conditions for the bacterium to grow- infection can only occur when Tetani are introduced to the blood stream deep inside the body- such as a deep cut or puncture wound. Good wound management is more effective in killing Tetani than post-infection vaccination.

Pertussis (Whooping Cough)-  Pertussis poses the highest risk to babies under 6 months old- yet vaccination does not cover them until they are 6 months old. Whooping cough is still prevalent in many parts of the world, but studies have shown that up to 84% of children who contract Whooping cough have been vaccinated for it.

Haemophilus influenzae type b- Also known as Hib, is incredibly rare in Australia- however some cases are still reported in Indigenous communities. In Africa, 0.06% of children contracted Hib before vaccination was introduced. In Australia, the chances are even smaller. The most fatal strain of Hib is not covered by the Hib vaccine.

Polio- Polio is most prevalent in India, where in 2009, 741people contracted it. The population of India is 1,147,995,904. This means that in the country where Polio is seen as dangerous, the percentage of people who contract it is 0.000006%. In Australia, the last case of Polio was seen in 1986.

Measles, Mumps, Rubella- Which of these pose a real risk to a child today? They can pose a risk to a woman who is pregnant and her unborn child, but so can chickenpox. Why should we vaccinate small children for these diseases which are merely skin rashes? Some people will argue that Mumps can cause sterility in males, but only 15-30% of men who get Mumps will get Orchitis- and sterility is a very rare side effect of Orchitis, occuring in only 2% of men. The Rubella vaccine is grown on Human Fetal Diploid Lung Fibroblasts. (That's a revolting froth of fetal parts.) This vaccine is one of the most dangerous, as it is a live vaccine, not a dead strain. This is why they wait until 12 months to vaccinate a child, as this vaccine is an enormous assault on a child's immune system. Putting aside suspected links to Autism, what is the point of this vaccine?

Then of course we have new vaccines, like the ones for
Rotavirus. Rotavirus is basically Gastroenteritis.  Interestingly, exclusive breastfeeding a child protects them against Rota Virus more than any vaccination ever could.

I don't agree with vaccination for many reasons, but here are a few of my own personal reasons (I will stop after a few, as this blog is becoming very long, and has been typed out twice!):

(1) Vaccination doesn't guarantee immunity. There has never been specific antibody testing to determine how much immunity anyone will develop as a result of a vaccine.
(2) Every time you vaccinate a child, you are also injecting them with vaccine additives- antibiotics, formaldehyde, viruses grown on human foetal cells, animal products, surfactants, preservatives (some vaccines contain thimersol, which is 48% mercury), aluminium, sorbitol, yeast, ammonium sulfate, MSG, sodium peroxide.
(3) Contracting illnesses in childhood is how we develop life-long immunity. Vaccines only provide short-term immunity.
(4) A healthy child has a better chance of fighting any illness. Vaccinating a child damages their immune system, attacking and weakening it before it has developed properly. We are supposed to be exposed to smaller viruses before we are exposed to larger viruses so our immune system can develop and strengthen. Vaccinating a newborn child is an assault on their immune system.
(5) There is no harm in delaying vaccination until a child is older. You can wait until your child is 1, 3, 5, and still vaccinate your child if you feel the need.
(6) I believe that vaccination poses a larger risk to my child than the diseases the vaccines are supposed to prevent. I know children who have had huge vaccine reactions. I know a child with vaccine-induced brain damage. I have seen bright-eyed children become duller, slower, less intelligent after vaccination.  
(7) I am not concerned that my children will get incredibly ill from any of the diseases they could be vaccinated for. I would rather take the slim >5% chance my child might get an illness than take the 100% chance of my child being injected with toxins, viruses, chemicals, antibiotics and additives. I would rather support their immune system than attack it.
(8) Many children who have been vaccinated have no immunity to the diseases they have been vaccinated for. Why should I expose my child to a vaccine when it may not provide any immunity?
(9) I live in Australia; where clean water supply, good medical care, infection control and adequate nutrition means that my children are at negligible risk of getting seriously ill from any disease.
(10) The antibiotics used in vaccines aren't recommended for use on children under 6 months old, nor are they recommended for intra-muscular use. Why are they in vaccines?
(11) SIDS has been linked to vaccination. In Japan, they made the decision  to raise the vaccination age to 2 years of age, following a link to SIDS.
One of my children has had a needlestick injury at a park, and despite not being vaccinated at all, he did not contract anything from his needlestick injury. Neither of my children have contracted a vaccine-preventable disease. As a matter of fact, none of the unvaccinated children I personally know (who number around 50) have EVER contracted a vaccine-preventable disease. On the other hand, I know many vaccinated children who have contracted pertussis, measles, rubella.

One thing that always stuck with me was this: you can always delay vaccination until you inform yourself properly about every vaccine. There is no harm in waiting to vaccinate your child. However, once you do vaccinate your child, you can't take back the vaccines that you've injected in your child. You can't undo the damage that vaccination does to a growing child's body and immune system.

If you want to research more yourself, consider looking up some links like this:

It is also a good idea to look at the manufacturer's pamphlets from companies such as Merck who produce and distribute vaccines. Simply looking at vaccine ingredients and finding out what they all are can be a powerful lesson to us all.

Government websites can also be a good place to start, as they state many interesting facts without actually backing them up. They discuss the dangers of specific diseases but fail to tell us what the actual risk that the disease or the vaccine poses to our child.

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