A Vaccination Decision

Some of you may remember my blog post discussing my fears about vacciniating my youngest daughter.  Well, I have reached a decision regarding vaccinating my child.  Yes, after hours upon hours of research I have decided to delay vaccines indefinitely.  I know I will be subject to harsh criticism for this decision; however, I am the only person that can make these decisions for my child.  I have decided to inform myself, as much as possible, and have weeded through countless internet sites, made judgements regarding the validity of claims made by both pro-vaccinators and anti-vaccinators, and have finally decided that while vaccines MAY save lives they are not without risk.  I am not willing to allow my child to be a guinea pig for pharmaceutical companies or a source of profit for a greedy pediatricians.

Wow, I can feel the hatred simmering in the readers of this post.  While I think I am hitting a chord I must continue.

Greedy pediatricians?  Isn’t that a bit harsh.  Yes, it is. Not all pediatricians are greedy.  Many pediatricians are life savers.  But, I can’t turn a blind eye to the fact that many of the people pushing vaccinations the hardest are those that stand to profit the most from them.  Even if money is not their motive, some pediatricians are using vaccinations as a factor in judgements about parents.  In today’s world, pediatricians are threatening to force unvaccinated children out of their practices.  How can someone who has taken a oathe to “do no harm” leave defenseless children with out access to regular care?  Many areas, mine included, have a limited number of pediatrician practices, and as those practices squeeze the children of informed parents out where will these children go?  I wish I had an answer to that question because I am looking for an office to take my baby to as we speak.  Honestly, don’t we employ our child’s pediatrician?  Aren’t they supposed to be working for us with their job description including helping parent’s to keep their children healthy?  Unfortunately, it does not seem to work that way.  Pediatricians, pharmaceutical companies, the government, and society’s norms are running the healthcare industry and if we, the parents, go against the recommendations we, and our children, are deemed unworthy of care!

I didn’t make this decision on the belief that vaccines, the makers of vaccines, or the admisterers of vaccines are bad.  Understand that before you launch your angry comments at me.  I have always vaccinated my children.  I feel that I have become more informed, and it would be a waste of my education to ignore my interpretation of the data I have studied.  My instincts have been telling me to avoid the vaccinations for a long time, and until recently I did not have enough knowledge on the issue to make an informed decision regarding them.  However, I have read so many stories of parents who have lost children due to vaccine reactions that every time I think about scheduling her well-baby exam I panic.  After all,  I won’t let my baby have meat, sugar, or cow’s milk but aborted fetus is supposed to be A-O-K! um, no! 

Oh, you didn’t know that was in some vaccines?  Well, the CDC, in reference to the MMR (Mumps Measles Rubella) vaccine,  says :

      The rubella vaccine virus is cultured in human cell-line cultures, and some of these cell lines originated from aborted fetal tissue, obtained from legal abortions in the 1960’s. No new fetal tissue is needed to produce cell lines to make these vaccines, now or in the future. Fetal tissue is not used to produce vaccines; cell lines generated from a single fetal tissue source are used; vaccine manufacturers obtain human cell lines from FDA-certified cell banks. After processing, very little, if any, of that tissue remains in the vaccine.

So, maybe aborted fetal tissue is not actually contained in the vaccines themselves, but they are grown in the tissue.  Okay, the thought of injecting something grown in a dead baby into my daughter just doesn’t appeal to me!  Furthermore, the fact that it was acquired decades ago does not make it any better!  I am not talking about abortion here. I am grossed out by how they grow the vaccine!  Much like the making of hot dogs, or any other processed meat food, I try to avoid those things that make me gag when I think about them.

In addition to the secrecy (well, it’s not really a secret, but they sure aren’t advertising the ingredients) regarding the ingredients of these vaccines, when was the last time your pediatrician gave you the full run down of all of the side effects or possible complications?  No, not the fever that may or may not happen after the shots.  I am talking about risks like asthma, diabetes, coma, and death???  How about you try to ask your doctor about these things.  My guess is your friendly pediatrician will become harsh, distant, and short with his or her explanations.  That is, if you even get that far before they berate you, and compare you to an overly fearful, paranoid mom!  Not only should you get your child vaccinated, but you should do it without question! Doctor knows best, you know! 

Another disturbing fact, that surrounds the vaccine controversy, is what do you do if your child does die after a vaccination?  First, you should contact  VAERS to report anything you even think is a vaccine reaction! Unfortunately, what you think is a reaction will most likely be ruled, by the coroner, as something else.  Often times, these deaths will be reported as SIDS, natural causes, or some other malady not related at all to the vaccination your child received.  Furthermore, even if you could prove that the death was as a result of a vaccine, you can’t sue the company that produced it.  That’s right on  February 22nd, 2011,  the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Bruesewitz vs Wyeth that vaccine manufacturers are immune from lawsuits that claim a vaccine was defective or caused harm! You can, however,  receive compensation from the National Vaccine Compensation Program.  So, if your child dies as a result of a vaccine, even if the company who produced the vaccine knew that it could kill children,  you may be able to receive as much as $250,000.00.   That’s it.  The company does not have to accept liability for their wrong doing, and you get a check that, no matter the amount, will never make up for the child you have lost!  How can I inject something in to my sweet baby when I know that the people who have made this substance have no fear if the substance was faulty? Isn’t some of the reason companies follow the rules because if they don’t they will get in to trouble?  So what happens when you take away all risk of getting in trouble?  I don’t even want to know!

A common statement, directed at those who choose to delay or not vaccinate their children, is that they are putting herd immunity in jeopardy.  That we, as parents, are being selfish in not vaccinating our children.  After all, the reported risk of reaction is so small that the benefits of vaccines out weigh the risks. Well, my response to that is best put as this analogy. Lets say we are all standing on the side of a mountain.  The only way to get off of this mountain, and save our herd, is to jump off the cliff.  Well, almost of the cliffs on this mountain have ledges under them that will allow us to safely jump and walk down the mountain.  But, not all of them do.  We can’t see over the edge, and the risk of the edge crumbling means we must send a lightweight child to the edge to jump and tell us if this mountain indeed has a ledge.  There is a really small chance that there is no ledge.  In fact, we are almost certain that there is a ledge.  seriously, the chance of there not being a ledge there is like 100 to 1.  Would you let your child be the one sent to the edge?  Me neither! 

The children of United States are subjected to so many vaccinations that you would think we would have low infant mortality rates, right?  Wrong!

In an article for the National Vaccine Information Center Barbara Loe Fisher points out:

According to the most recent National Vital Statistics Report, more than 26,000 American babies born alive in 2009 died before their first birthday, which gives the U.S. a very high infant mortality rate of 6 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. In 1960, America ranked 12th in infant mortality among all nations of the world. In 2005, we had fallen to number 30. Today in America, there are more premature babies than ever before and more full term babies die before their first birthday than in most European countries.

30th is not good enough for me! I would expect to find such poor statistics about infant mortality coming from less developed countries, but not from the U.S.

So, let us look at just how many vaccines our children are forced to under go in their early years.  The CDC offers parents this really cute chart to use as a reference.

 

 

 

 

When you consider that many of these vaccines are combined injections (there is more than one vaccine in that single needle) you can see that babies are getting a lot of germs injected directly in to their bodies.  They say a baby’s immune system is not mature until they are two, and yet we feel like it is a good idea to pump a wee one full of germs?  I don’t think so.

Okay people, put down your pitchforks and think for just a minute about how you would feel if your rights to decide what color shirt your child was allowed to wear would make you feel.  You would be pissed right?  I mean, hey its your kid your decision, right?  Exactly!

I am not anti vaccine.  I am simply waiting until I feel like my baby can handle it.  Maybe that will be when she turns two.  Maybe she will be 20.  I don’t know.  As of now, I don’t feel right about letting them put those substances in to her body.  I hate that her pediatrician will not allow her to come in to the office if I don’t let them vaccinate her.  I am livid that parents and law makers think they have the right to tell me that I don’t have the right to make this decision! 

What do you do?  Vaccinate, delay, avoid?

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Vaccines: Thumbs Up or Down?

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I gave birth to my daughter at home.  I made an educated decision to bring her in to this world with out the interventions I would encounter at the hospital. I took the “risk” to have a vaginal birth after a cesarean because I believe that birth is natural, beautiful, and safe. I did this because I believe the benefits of birthing at home out weigh the risks in a normal, healthy pregnancy.

I did a lot of research before I came to the decision to birth at home.  I weighed the pros and cons. The pregnancy felt long, but when the day finally came to bring my baby in to the world I knew I made the right choice.

As I said, I did a lot of research during this pregnancy. I learned more about pregnancy, birth, and parenting than I learned through out my four previous pregnancies. I am amazed at how narrow my focus was before my fifth pregnancy. I never really questioned what the doctors told me. Now, with my new wider view I am seeing clearly. Unfortunately, just because you can see clearly doesn’t mean you understand everything you are looking at.

I never researched vaccines. I knew that the number of people claiming that vaccines had harmed their children was on the rise. I was aware of the vax/antivax debate. But, I was never a part of that. I knew, with out a doubt, that my child was going to receive all of her immunizations. No, I am not “that mom” I am not going to put my child’s life on the line by exposing her to the dangers of measles, mumps, whooping cough, or chicken pox. Okay, I had chicken pox and it wasn’t so bad, but they say it can be deadly. I am not going against they. From what I hear they know what they are talking about. So, off to the doctor we went to get my baby her shots.

I dutifully held my baby down and allow them to jab her with a needle and inject….inject….wait! What the hell are they injecting. My mind began racing as she screamed her little lungs out. When her face turned some alarming shade of red I stroked her hair and reassured her that I would never hurt her, and this was actually being nice to her. I doubt she believed me. However, she won’t remember it and, thanks to those quick jabs she will stay healthy.  So, we left. I still felt like crap. It was awful watching her sleep thinking that at any moment she could succumb to one of the reactions I remember hearing about.

Two months later, it is time for her four month well-baby visit. She was so cute that day. She smiled and cooed for every one in the waiting room. I think her cuteness distracted the other parents from my three year old who was taking full advantage of the fact that the floor was so easy to scoot around on while laying on his stomach.  Maybe not, but she was pretty darn cute. The wait was horribly long that day. As we sat there in the in the office I was having flash backs from the previous appointment. I wanted to run. I imagined myself grabbing my son, and, like lighting, exploding through the exit with a such a flash those other parents would be blinded and confused. More accurately though, my chronic clumsiness would have probably caused me to trip over my boy while nearly dropping my daughter and diaper bag as I tried to escape. So, with fleeing not a viable option I started thinking I would just decline the shots.

HA! That’s what I would do! Just decline. How hard can it be to say no when they put the syringes on the table.

Hard. I ended up allowing them to inject my daughter with vials of unknown ingredients yet again. All of my other children survived, and so would she. Right?

The second we got home I started researching vaccines.  It was exhausting.  I was consumed by the information available on the internet. Then came the time to schedule her six month appointment. Unfortunatly, I was really busy and couldn’t schedule it right away. That is cool though, the delay allowed me to read more about vaccines and really get a handle on my decision.

Weeks passed and I still had not found the time to take her to the doctor. Every time I thought about scheduling it I suddenly became very busy.  My understanding of the great vaccine debate was not getting any clearer. The weeks turned into months, and now my baby is approaching nine months of age, and has not seen the doctor since she was four months old.

I honestly don’t know what to do. I know that her pediatrician is mainstream, and the group does not look at vaccines as a parent’s choice.  They also do not agree with homebirth. I have contracted switching to a new pediatrician, but I don’t know of any offices where I am likely to get anything but the same treatment, so I have simply avoided the whose situation.

Thankfully, my breastfed baby has never had an illness.  I have had no real reason to seek out medical care for my baby. However, I would love to have measurements to tell my family how much she has grown.

So, here is where I am with the vaccine debate.  First, I know that many pharmaceutical companies are motivated by profit; therefore, the health and well-being of my baby does not concern them. Second, I know that many pediatrician are also motivated by profit. So, while they may have concern for my child, they certainly won’t speak out against a product that keeps the patients rolling in every other month for the first year of life.  Third, the only person my child has to protect her is me, and my decision in whether or not to vaccination could have deadly consequences.

Let’s say, for a moment, that I decide against vaccination her any further. Now let’s say an outbreak of some vaccine-preventable illness happens, and while ky fascinated children don’t catch it they bring it home from school. If she caught said disease and died I aid take full responsibility.

On the other hand, let’s say I do vaccination her, and she has some terrible reaction and ends up with seizures, permanent disabilities, or dead! Again, I will take full responsibility for not choosing the correct path.

I have no doubt that vaccines have saved lives.  I have seen pictures of children in iron lungs because of polio. I am aware that the risk of vaccine reaction is said to be low. However, no one can tell me of my child will be part of that small percentage off children that will react negatively.  I gave birth vaginal.after a cesarean based on my knowledge that the risks were small. Yes, only a small percentage of women, will have complications during a vbac. But, I also knew that avoiding the unnecessary interventions made my chances of a healthy birth great! So, why can’t I just accept that the risk is small and get her damn shots?

I was thinking, since breastmilk is designed to protect infants from illness, I would simply delay her vaccines until she weans, and then we would start slowly with single dose vaccines.  I don’t know how practical that is, but I do believe that my milk will keep her well for now, and by delaying her vaccines I can allow her immune system to mature.

I am not looking for a great debate here. I am looking for insight. Why did you choose to vaccination or not? Did you feel an altered or delayed schedule was safer? Why or why not?  Please, keep this civil. I will not allow any posts that I feel are attacking other posters for his or her beliefs on this matter. All parents should have the right to decide what is best for his or her child.