you don't know could hurt your Children
By Joan Batista
Most parents take vaccinating their
children for granted. It is assumed that you will bring your children
in for "well baby" visits to receive childhood vaccinations.
It is also assumed that vaccinations are safe, effective, and mandatory.
Vaccine safety, however, is questionable at best. Vaccine effectiveness
varies and vaccination is not mandatory. After three years of research,
I'm dismayed by the lack of comprehensive, unbiased information
about vaccination. I am appalled that parents do not have to consent
to this medical procedure and that we do not have the right in all
states to make a truly informed decision concerning what is injected
into and ingested by our children. Whether or not to vaccinate is
a complicated question, and few people make these decisions easily.
Parents deserve the right to make informed decisions, for we are
the ones who will have to live with the consequences.
Public health officials and some
medical professionals generally dismiss reactions to vaccines. Children
do react to vaccinations, sustaining brain damage, other irreversible
injuries, seizures, allergic reactions, and even death. Officials
say these reactions are rare and a small price to pay for the protection
vaccines offer the general public. As the National
Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) explains, "When it happens
to you or your child, the risks are 100%."
Mainstream medicine tells us that
children who were hurt and killed were "predisposed" to
having these types of problems, and the vaccines just manifested
the conditions earlier. However, doctors rarely take a thorough
medical history to determine if the child has any contraindications
that are spelled out on the vaccine's own product insert.
The Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting
System (VAERS) receives 11,000 reports of vaccine reactions each
year, and the FDA acknowledges that this number represents approximately
ten percent of actual vaccine reactions. Little, if any, research
is being done to find out why some children are injured and killed
by vaccines. In fact, out of the current CDC vaccine budget of nearly
one billion dollars, less than one-half of one percent of the money
is directed toward vaccine research. The other 99.5+ percent will
be spent on vaccine purchase and promotion.
and Long-term Side Effects
Reports of these effects are numerous.
They include several central nervous system diseases and autoimmune
diseases such as arthritis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, and thrombocytopenia.
There is also evidence linking the so-called "mild" reactions
of fever, crying, and excessive sleepiness to encephalitis, which
can lead to learning disabilities and other neurological complications.
These links (and other side effects) have not been definitively
proven, due to lack of funding for research and the will to conduct
such research. Yet $724 million (as of January 1997) in compensation
has been paid under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of
1986 since its inception.
"Long-term" studies of
vaccines usually only last months or sometimes a few years and concentrate
on efficacy, not safety. Instead of researching the possible side
effects before injecting our children, our children are subjects
of post-marketing surveillance of licensed vaccines. There are no
double-blind placebo-controlled studies to be found involving childhood
vaccines. Doctors are required by law to report possible adverse
effects from vaccines, but, according to an NVIC survey, less than
10 percent of doctors do so. Editor's Note: Anyone can report a
vaccine reaction, whether or not they are a medical professional.
Vaccine Information Center can be contacted for information
on how to do this.
Most vaccines are cultured on animal
tissue or use other animal cells-most often from monkeys, pigs,
cows, and chickens. One simian (monkey) virus, SV40, was discovered
in the polio vaccine used in the late 50's and early 60's. It has
recently been found in some human cancers. Cross-species transfer
of viruses also transfers animal RNA and DNA which may alter our
genetic makeup. At least two vaccines now in general use are cultured
on embryonic lung cells or on human diploid cells originally taken
from aborted fetal tissue. These vaccines carry the contamination
risks present in any human tissue or blood product transfer.
In light of all the other types of
pollution our bodies are assaulted with in our everyday lives, some
of us have to ask ourselves if it is wise to inject vaccines containing
known carcinogens and toxins (including mercury, formaldehyde and
aluminum) into our children's bodies when so little is known about
the possible side effects. It appears that we may be trading one
set of diseases for another that is chronic and debilitating.
Vaccine effectiveness varies depending
on the product and how it is stored, as well as the recipient's
immune system. Some vaccines have high efficacy rates initially,
but the effectiveness wanes greatly over time requiring "boosters".
Significantly, there have been outbreaks of diseases such as measles
in highly or fully vaccinated populations.
Enough Information Given to Parents
Most parents are given a one-or two-page
handout that does not mention legitimate safety and efficacy concerns.
There are more comprehensive information booklets available, but
they are not routinely distributed. Official literature frequently
contains misinformation and half-truths, along with scare tactics.
Not surprisingly, alternative treatments are not mentioned.
We should be able to read about the
safety issues involved with vaccination and review the studies,
product inserts, and reports on vaccine effectiveness in order to
determine what vaccines we want our children to have and when to
get them. We also need to be informed about the diseases from which
these vaccines are designed to protect us. This means wading through
all of the misinformation and myths about disease and the emotional
manipulations from all directions. It also means investigating alternative
treatments such as herbs and homeopathy. Another thing to consider
is how important and protective a diet of breast milk and then whole,
organic foods is to building a strong immune system, heightening
resistance and decreasing susceptibility to disease. The human immune
system is strong and purposeful. Parents who wish to respect this
should also have their beliefs accepted and honoured.
You do have options
when it comes to vaccination. You can:
following the recommended schedule
vaccinations in order to allow your child's immune system to mature
to get only the vaccines that you feel carry a greater benefit than
to stagger vaccines and refuse combination vaccines (because the
vaccines suppress immune function, increasing the likelihood of
reactions and illness, many parents and healthcare professionals
prefer not to administer multiple vaccines at one office visit)
an exemption from vaccination for your child
Many people assume that vaccination
is mandatory for admission to school, day care, and other programs.
This is not the case. There are medical, religious, and philosophical
exemptions. A medical exemption is obtained from a doctor, usually
applies to just one vaccine, and is generally given only following
a previous adverse effect. There are religious exemptions in 48
states (not MS or WV). You must get a copy of your state's law regarding
vaccination (available at libraries and from your state representative).
In many states, all that is required is a written affidavit that
includes the child's name, parents' names, a statement using the
exact wording of the state law pertaining to vaccination conflicting
with ones religious beliefs, and the legal basis for the exemption
(the state law, chapter and section). Notarisation is recommended.
A personal or philosophical exemption usually requires writing an
affidavit as described above, substituting philosophical beliefs
for religious ones, or simply checking the appropriate box on the
state's vaccination record form.
Yourself Before Vaccinating
This is just an introduction to some
of the issues involved in routine childhood vaccination. Specific
vaccines, diseases and other concerns will be addressed in great
detail in future issues of Healthy
Child newsletter. I strongly encourage parents to educate
themselves as much as possible in order to make informed decisions
that fit their belief system and family situation. Read books from
the recommended reading list. Ask questions and get them answered
to your satisfaction. Be comfortable with your decisions--you are
the ones who have to live with them. I am not anti-vaccination.
My personal hope is that by insisting on making informed vaccination
decisions, we parents can provide motivation for and exert pressure
on the government and vaccine manufacturers to develop safer vaccines,
not just more vaccines. Our children deserve it.
Much of this article was taken from
an article that first appeared in "Co-Options" a monthly
publication of Sevananda Natural Foods Cooperative, 1111 Euclid
Avenue, NE, Atlanta, GA 30307.
Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
Parents Guide to Childhood Immunization. U.S. Department of Health
and Human Services, revised 1994.
Coulter, Harris. Vaccination: Social
Violence & Criminality. North Atlantic Books, 1990.
Institute of Medicine. Adverse Events
Associated with Childhood Vaccines: Evidence Bearing on Causality.
Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1994.
Mendelsohn, Robert. Immunizations:
The Terrible Risks Your Children Face.... Second Opinion, 1993.
National Vaccine Information Center
(NVIC) see additional resources.
Neustaedter, Randall. The Vaccine
Guide: Making an Informed Choice. North Atlantic Books, 1996.
Severyn, Kristine, Director, Ohio
Parents for Vaccine Safety (OPVS), personal communication, April
Books About Vaccinations
Information Resources & Links
Use the information provided in this
database as an educational resource for determining your options
and making your own informed choices. It is not intended as medical
advice or to diagnose, prescribe, or treat any specific illness.
If there is any chance your child is seriously ill, take him or
her to a qualified health professional for evaluation.