Today we'll go through the other major vaccines, and I'll explain why we decided to get or avoid them. Don't worry, I won't be so in-depth as I was with my example yesterday (pondering the chicken pox, or varicella, vaccine). Of course, if a reader requests a similar analysis of a vaccine, I'll be happy to oblige!
Remember, these are the conclusions we came to for our family in our situation. One of the biggest problems with the CDC schedule is that it forces a one-size-fits-all approach to children who are VASTLY different. Your conclusions could be totally opposite because of where you live or what your genes are!! That is OK! Real quick, here are the 10 questions I use to evaluate each vaccine (or medical procedure) I'm given the option of having:
1. What disease(s) is this vaccine aiming to protect against?
2. What is the a) probable outcome of this disease, and b) worst-case scenario outcome?
3. Today, is this disease treatable and/or preventable by other/natural means?
4. What are possible dangers in this type of vaccine (look up whole list of ingredients)?
5. What is the a) probable outcome of this vaccine, and b) worst-case scenario outcome?
6. How much has this vaccine been tested, and are those tests by objective testers?
7. How effective is the vaccine?
8. Are there any benefits to gaining immunity to this disease through actual infection, rather than through the vaccine?
9. What is the rationale behind getting the vaccine? Is this valid/applicable to my situation?
10. Is the disease generally worse than the vaccine?
Now, each vaccine in turn briefly:
-Hepatitis A- No, because of #9. This disease passes through feces-oral transmissions (diapers), or contaminated water/food. Common in poor, crowded, unsanitary communities, which we do not inhabit. If we travel internationally to an affected area, we would consider this vaccine.
-Hepatitis B- No, because of #9. This is a sexually transmitted disease, which can only be passed to infants through an infected mother (which I am not). There is absolutely no reason for a baby of a healthy mother to receive this shot. If our child were to begin a career in health or public service, an adult vaccination would be appropriate.
-Polio (IPV)- No, mainly because of 2 & 5. Even during epidemics, 95% of those exposed to polio will exhibit NO symptoms, and of those, 5% will have only mild flu-like symptoms. Even among those 1 in 1000 who do exhibit muscular paralysis, the vast majority have a full recovery. The real clincher, though, is the high percentage of contaminants which this vaccine has had over the years, and still can have now. Monkey tissues are used to culture the disease, and diseases which monkeys carry harmlessly are deadly to humans. SV-40 infected at least 30 million (some estimate as high as 200 million worldwide) children in the 1960s vaccination campaigns, and is still being treated today in the form of numerous cancers. Some evidence has shown that SV-40 has even been passed from vaccinated-infected-mothers to their children in the form of brain tumors! While monkey tissues are now tested for SV-40 and various other diseases, the threat of viral contamination is still very high, and utterly probable. Some postulate that HIV is the human version of SIV, which infects 50% of all African green monkeys (the kind most used to culture polio vaccines). Several doctors have warned that only about 2% of existing monkey viruses are known and are tested for, and since you can't test for something you don't know is there, who knows what might be in the vaccines. It just isn't worth the risk.(The definition of "polio" as counted by the CDC has become drastically more restrictive since the development of the vaccine, which further confounds the problem of judging its effectiveness; the numbers are falsely lowered. Now a patient must exhibit the worst possible symptoms in order to be counted as having polio, as opposed to having mild symptoms and being counted.) I've judged polio (which my child may well be immune to, like most of the population), to be less a risk than a cancer-causing virus.
-Rotavirus- no, mainly because of 2. This vaccine is to prevent a disease which, while unpleasant (vomiting & diarhea) is treatable-- the main danger is dehydration. The actual sickness only confers partial immunity (though repeat infections are usually less severe), so of course the vaccine-weakened form of the virus provides spotty protection at best.
-Meningitis (both Hib & Pc)- Yes, mainly because of 10. Meningitis begins with flu-like symptoms, yet can turn deadly in toddlers very quickly, though death is relatively rare. It was not uncommon, though breast-feeding and avoidance of day-care lowered risks considerably. While long-term effects of the vaccine are still undermined, and there are the usual cases of serious vaccine-associated reactions to the vaccine, the vaccines do seem to have been effective in drastically lowering meningitis cases among toddlers. Even if the vaccine-granted immunity does wear off, meningitis in older children is far less serious than in very young children. Pc also does effectively protect against pneumonia, to which our daughter is susceptible (thanks to her GB's genes).
-Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR)- no, because of 2, 4, 3, 8 & 10- none of these diseases tend to be serious in children, and naturally-obtained immunities are permanent, even passing on to their later infants as long as breast-feeding lasts. That last advantage is not true for infants born to mothers who only have the vaccine-immunity. Malnutrition is responsible for measles complications, which are nearly eradicated by supplementation of vitamin A (along with avoidance of fever-reducers during the illness). Combination vaccines and live vaccines are a deadly combination, assaulting the still-developing neurological system of little bodies ill-equipped to fight off 3 diseases at once. Both combination shots and live-virus vaccines are especially linked to auto-immune disorders (diabetes Type I, Celiac's disease, ADD, autism spectrum disorders, asthma). It seems clear to me that this triple vaccine poses far more dangers than contracting any & all of the 3 diseases, especially if our children's diet is rich in vitamin A.
-DTaP (diptheria, tetanus & pertussis/whooping cough)- yes, only for the tetanus component (tetanus alone isn't available for children under the age of 2, at least not that I could find), because of #2 & 9. Tetanus is severe & life-threatening, occuring due to injuries with contaminated objects (such as are plentiful in our inner-city neighborhood park and street). The vaccine is 100% effective in providing tetanus immunity, as long as 10 year boosters are given. If we did not live in this neighborhood, we might delay the shot until only the tetanus component could be given. I wrestled most with this vaccine decision because pertussis is the most controversial and reactive of all the shots, linked to brain damage and seizures in an alarmingly high number of children (I know a woman whose daughter is suffering exactly that). However, it seemed to us that the likely-hood of our children reacting so violently to the vaccine were less than them cutting themselves on a rusty iron nail if they tripped in the park. It might be different for you!
-Human Papiloma Virus-no, because of #9 & 6. This protects against a sexually transmitted disease, for which my child is not at risk. If she chooses to become promiscuous in adulthood, it will be up to her to weigh the risks of the shot v. the disease. The shot is brand-new and is showing alarming side-effects after only 1 year on the market. It may not even be around by the time our children are old enough to get it.
I welcome your thoughts and questions!