Saturday, December 05, 2009

Two more thoughts on Vaccines Today...

1. One thing that I initially thought when starting to look into the whole vaccination question is that "well, I was vaccinated as a kid, and so was my husband and pretty much everyone we know, and are we worse off for it?" Before you even consider that maybe some of my generation's chronic health problems today could be due to vaccines, there's the plain fact that we WEREN'T vaccinated as kids, not like this. Here's a chart comparing vaccination schedules in 1983, and now. So I received about 10 vaccines, got the flu several times, and got chicken pox once. If I went along with the CDC vaccine schedule, my children would get about 30 vaccines, plus a yearly flu shot. Woah! That's a big difference! ...when I realized that I realized that we are dealing in uncharted waters. No generation has ever been this vaccinated! The CDC would have me believe that that's a good thing, but it's sort of too early too tell, isn't it? And I just wonder if I want my babies to be part of the experimental group, you know?

Now, my mom's story of how we each got the chicken pox for a week, one right after the other, does make me think that it would be more convenient for me to avoid that with a vaccine, lol... but then again I guess I don't really know the full risks involved in the chicken-pox vaccine.

2. The other question I've had to work through in even second-guessing vaccines is "why would so many pediatricians in America tell us to do something that might hurt our kids?" I don't know about you, but most of the pediatricians I've met are really nice people-- usually they love kids, have caring hearts, and have great senses of humor! I love my pediatricians from my childhood; they still make me laugh! My daughter's pediatrician is really cool, too, and is so good with her. It doesn't make sense that they're sitting in dark rooms behind closed doors, nefariously plotting to harm our precious babies. They really think it's the best thing to do. Now granted, many doctors get offended whenever anyone questions their superior med-school wisdom (my sister's allergist, for instance), so those guys probably are just telling us to do whatever they learned in med school, regardless of any new research or information. Others tend to hand out too much medicine (vaccines would fall under that category), but that's often because parents expect that. And the fact is that most doctors stop reading up on new stuff once they start practicing, which is understandable seeing as how they have families and want to occasionally see them when they're not on call! Still, they're telling us what they honestly think is best. Even the people at the CDC are doctors who took the Hippocratic Oath and probably meant it. So then we have to ask "is there a chance that so many doctors are wrong about the CDC vaccination schedule being 'the best thing'? If so, why do they think it's good?"

One answer is probably in the pharmaceutical industry. We all want to be healthy, and that translates into big money. This is a consumer-driven culture, after all! According to Dr. Miller, many of the committee members on the panel which puts together vaccine schedules have vested interests in vaccine-making companies. Not so good. Similarly, one article which supposedly puts to rest any tie between vaccines & autism, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2002 used figures from Denmark to conclude that there is "strong evidence against the hypothesis that the MMR causes autism." Well, 3 of the article's authors are employed by a Denmark's SSI, which makes vaccines, 4 other authors have financial ties to the company, and the remaining author is employed by our CDC. Not exactly un-biased. Of course, this is just one example, but I think it shows that the info our doctors are getting & giving us may be far from balanced and unbiased. (Interestingly, when other researchers re-examined the data in that article, they found that there IS an association between autism and the MMR. Read the Journal of American Physicians & Surgeons article's pretty technical but the graphs help) Just think of all the money vaccine companies would lose if children were vaccinated less... we're talking billions & billions of dollars. That's a powerful motivator to fund "research" that supports an aggressive vaccination schedule, and then give those studies to pediatricians nation-wide!

Another thing to keep in mind is that the CDC is looking at controlling disease in the whole population. They are out for the greater good... which means that it won't be the best good for some individuals. A one-size-fits-all policy will probably catch most diseases for most people, but will undoubtedly harm or miss some people in the process. The CDC isn't a parent responsible for one or several children. We are. That's why we have to evaluate every group program and see if it really is the best for our particular child. Even if vaccines turn out to be linked to autism, ADD, asthma, etc., why doesn't everyone get them? Because every person is different; some people have genes which make them more susceptible, some people have genes that make them less susceptible. Before vaccines this meant that some people got diseases, and some didn't. Those whose children have weakened or over-active immune systems (shown in food sensitivites, eczema, allergies, asthma) or who have these chronic conditions (including MS, Type 1 diabetes & others) in their families should especially be careful, as vaccines are more likely to adversely affect them. If we know that our child is at-risk for contracting Hepatitis b/c of where we live or our lifestyle, then we should get that vaccine! If we know that he isn't, then why should we inject him at birth? I think you get my drift.

Just thought I'd throw up these two follow-up thoughts... hope they're helpful!
**Please note that I am NOT a doctor, and even if I were, each parent must decide what is best for their child(ren). My goal is to make your job easier by doing some research & explanation leg-work for you. If, after reading & researching on your own, you disagree with any/all of what I say, that's totally fine!!! I will still be your friend. ;)**

1 comment:

ju.vanderw said...

I'm interested in this too, as Alaise's vaccination is coming up in January... I've heard lots of opinions, and Kris' mom's side of the family are very strongly against vaccinations... I just hope what we decide to do will be the best thing for our girls!