Doctors usually tell parents the benefits of vaccines, but neglect to inform them of the dangers. In this post I will go through each of the vaccines that babies and children receive, and tell you why some parents choose to decline the vaccine. Let's begin with the one that is given just minutes after birth.
Hepatitis B- Hepatitis B is a virus that can cause liver damage, failure, and cancer. It can be transmitted sexually, through an IV drug needle, or by getting a tattoo with a needle that isn't sterilized. Many parents feel that this vaccine is unnecessary for newborns, since they do not engage in such risky behavior. Hepatitis B is transmitted the same way as HIV, so it is possible that a child who lives with a Hepatitis B carrier could eventually contract the disease. Doctors recommend this vaccine for all newborns because it can be passed from mother to baby. However, many parents who do not themselves have Hepatitis B feel that this vaccine is unnecessary for their newborn. It could come with serious vaccine reactions, such as lupus, worsening of neurological disorders, asthma, paralysis, seizures, rapid heart rate, and anaphylaxis. Many parents choose to delay this vaccine for a few years, or until the teenage years, when sex, drugs, and tattoos could become an issue. But it is important to know that teenagers experience fewer complications with the disease. Ninety-five percent of Hep B cases in teens and adults pass within one month without lasting symptoms, as the immune system fights it off. This vaccine contains aluminum and formaldehyde. Look into what each of these ingredients does once inside the body, before deciding to give this vaccine to your child.
Polio- We've all seen pictures of crippled polio victims, which scares us. We don't want our kids to become crippled. Unfortunately, doctors rarely tell parents that wild polio has been eradicated from the U.S. since 1979. However, there have been 145 cases of polio caused by the oral live polio vaccine. The oral live polio vaccine has now been replaced with a killed polio vaccine which does not allow the vaccine to spread the virus. Polio does exist in India and some parts of Africa so if you plan on traveling to these areas this may be an important vaccine for you. But even then, most polio cases go unnoticed, without any symptoms. Some experience cold-like symptoms but never know they have polio. Only one in 250 people infected with polio experience muscle weakness or paralysis. In 2002 the journal Lancet published an article stating that there was compelling evidence that contaminated polio vaccine was responsible for up to half of the 55,000 non-Hodgkin's lymphoma cases that were occurring each year. The vaccine was contaminated by SV40, which is a cancer-causing monkey virus, and the vaccine manufacturers knew it! With the rise of overall disease in our country, it makes me wonder what other diseases vaccines are causing.
Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis- This is a three-in-one vaccine, called DTaP. Diphtheria and tetanus can both be serious diseases. Fortunately, both are extremely rare, with diphtheria being basically non-existent in the United States. Pertussis (Whooping Cough) is usually the reason why parents choose to get this vaccine for their children. If you've ever seen a child with pertussis having a coughing fit you know that it is scary. However, the pertussis component of the DTaP is not very effective. Do you remember the 2010 pertussis outbreak in California? Pharmaceutical companies, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the American Medical Association (AMA) wanted everyone to believe that the outbreak was due to unvaccinated children. But in fact, 81% of those who were stricken with the disease were completely vaccinated, and another 11% had received at least one shot. In addition to being ineffective, this vaccine is one of the most reactive. The most common reaction is a rash or swelling at the injection site, which can sometimes cause swelling of the entire arm. Doctors shrug this off and say, "it's a common reaction." But if there is a reaction on the outside, there is probably a reaction at the cellular level that we are unaware of. There is also convincing evidence that the pertussis component of the vaccine is linked to asthma and allergies. Many parents feel that they'd rather not risk a reaction from this vaccine, since it is not very effective anyway.
Rotavirus- This is an intestinal virus that causes diarrhea and vomiting, similar to the stomach flu. In most cases it simply causes loose stools for a few days. Most of us had it as infants and all that is usually needed to recover is good nutrition, fluids, and rest. In severe cases it can lead to dehydration. In addition to the mildness of the disease, another reason why parents choose to forgo this vaccine is because of the controversial ingredients, such as polysorbate 80, monkey kidney cells, fetal cow blood, and pig virus contaminants. A practicing pediatrician once told me that this vaccine is an elaborate money-making scam.
HIB & Pneumococcal- These are separate vaccines but I put them together because they are both known as "meningitis vaccines." HIB and Pneumococcal are both bacterial diseases that live within our nose and throat region. Usually it poses no harm, and we go about our lives without realizing we are carrying diseases around. The problem with the HIB & Pneumococcal vaccines is that there is this process called serotype replacement. This is when we vaccinate for one strain of a bacterial disease, and then another strain of those same bacteria or completely different bacteria take its place in the nose or throat. Then we need a vaccine for this new disease, and so on. There is no way to eliminate all diseases. Pharmaceutical companies love this.
Measles, Mumps, and Rubella- This is another three-in-one vaccine, called the MMR. Measles causes fever, rash, runny nose, and cough. It lasts for about a week and then all is well again. Occasionally, as with any illness, there can be complications. Mumps can cause fever and swelling of the salivary glands. In most cases it goes unnoticed because it will simply present itself as a sore throat or cold. There are only 25 mumps cases per year, most mild. Rubella is a mild viral illness which lasts for three days and usually presents with a low-grade fever, swollen glands, rash, and fatigue. The reason why this vaccine is given is to prevent congenital rubella syndrome in babies. Congenital rubella syndrome occurs when a pregnant woman contracts rubella in her first trimester. Her unborn baby is at risk for birth defects or miscarriage. Therefore, doctors recommend vaccinating children for rubella in order to protect their teachers and other pregnant women with whom they may come into contact. I believe that parents should be informed of this, so that they can decide if they would like to risk their child's well-being "for the greater good." From 2001 to 2004, four Congenital Rubella cases were reported to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The MMR has been in the spotlight for many years now, due to the growing number of parents who have told similar stories of the MMR causing autism in their children. As much as the American Medical Association denies the link, there is mounting scientific evidence that their stories are valid. This vaccine also contains controversial ingredients, one of which is aborted baby cells.
Flu- We're all familiar with this one. We are bombarded with influenza vaccine advertising every fall. One year, my son's friend received his flu vaccine and contracted the flu (from the vaccine), and then passed it to my children. This is called vaccine shedding. Live virus vaccines, such as the flu vaccine given to young children, shed. Therefore, these three children caught the flu from the vaccine itself. The flu vaccine also contains mercury, aluminum, and formaldehyde. The combination of the three is believed by many scientists to cause Alzheimer's disease. And, a recent study found that the flu vaccine actually doesn't prevent the flu. You can read about it here.
Varicella (Chickenpox) - Many parents believe that the chickenpox vaccine is excessive since most of us had chickenpox and got over it. But the upcoming generation of parents who have themselves been vaccinated against chickenpox will not be familiar with it. Many parents will be afraid that their child will contract the dreaded disease, much like parents my age are afraid of measles. The vaccine is not very effective, but if we would just let our children get chickenpox, they would have lifelong immunity. Because of the chickenpox vaccine, we are now seeing an epidemic of shingles in adults. You can read about it here.
HPV- This vaccine is recommended at age 11, when some girls become sexually active. It is highly reactive, and as of 2012, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) has received reports of thousands and thousands of adverse events. 517 of these were life-threatening, and 119 resulted in death. I will allow the vaccine victims in this video to share their personal stories.
You have options! You could follow the full vaccination schedule recommended by the CDC, you could spread out or delay vaccines, or you could decline them. Dr. Bob Sears offers an alternative vaccine schedule that is intended for parents who plan to get all the vaccines for their child but want to slow down and spread out the schedule. This can be found in his book, The Vaccine Book. Whatever your decision is, make sure that you feel good about it. If you don't vaccinate you should be willing to accept the fact that your child could contract a serious illness that could have been prevented by vaccination. And if you do vaccinate, you should be willing to accept the fact that your child may experience a serious vaccine reaction. Do your research, pray, make a decision, and stop worrying. Also make sure that you understand your reasons well enough to be able to educate your pediatrician. I recommend finding a pediatrician who is supportive of your right to choose a vaccine schedule that you feel is appropriate for your child. Dr. Sears has compiled a list of vaccine friendly doctors, but they are few and far between. We drive 35 minutes to see our pediatrician, even though there are tons within five minutes of our home. It's totally worth it.
Vaccines are a personal issue that should be weighed carefully, based on the uniqueness of your children. During my first pregnancy I spent my free time researching vaccines and I came up with a protocol that I feel is best for my kids. I understand that other parents may perform the same amount of research and come to a different decision, based on that same information. Let's be respectful of one another please!
When my son was a toddler my husband and I wanted him to experience the whole magical Santa thing, as we did when we were kids. But after one year of celebrating this way with our son we didn't feel right about it, so we let him eventually forget about it. Now, I don't think that children will be scarred for life if they are led to believe that Santa comes to their house to bring them presents. I celebrated that way and I'm not scarred. But we want to make sure that our kids know at a very young age that there is only one who is all-knowing and omnipresent: God. We don't want them to believe that there is anyone else who can see them or who knows what presents they want.
We also pray for missionaries around the world, sponsor a child in another country, and pack boxes for Operation Christmas Child. Our kids know that around the world there are children who are in need and suffering, and that as Christians it is our responsibility to help. So we decided to teach our kids about who Santa/St. Nicholas really was: a Christian whose desire was to spread the love of Jesus and help the poor. We read a book titled St Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas Legend by Julie Stiegemeyer. This has been a wonderful teaching tool! It depicts St. Nicholas as a jolly man with a white beard in a red robe. This helps our kids to make the connection between St. Nicholas in the story and the Santa that they see displayed in other books and decorations. At the end of the book it explains that the reason why we give gifts today is to continue the tradition of giving to others, as St. Nicholas did. For older kids I also recommend the book The Story of St. Nicholas by Cheryl Odden. You can purchase it from Voice of the Martyrs. It is a more historically accurate account of St. Nicholas's life and doesn't depict him as a jolly man with a white beard.
You may be thinking that our kids are missing out because Santa doesn't bring them presents; not at all. They have fun pretending and watching movies of Santa flying in a sleigh with deer and sliding down chimneys. But they know that it's pretend, just like fairies, leprechauns, and Barney the talking dinosaur. To them it is a make-believe game. Our kids receive gifts from us, but not a ton.
We also try to make Jesus more important than the gifts, of course. We listen to a lot of Christian Christmas music. We also listen to Jingle Bells, Deck the Halls, and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. But more often than not we are listening to Silent Night, Oh Come all Ye Faithful, and Angels We Have Heard on High. We decorate with nativity scenes, but we also decorate with Santa and snowmen. The only thing I don't like to decorate my house with is presents (like ornaments that are presents or present stocking holders and such). I just try to keep the focus off of the material things.
I know that there are some Christians who feel convicted about celebrating Christmas at all. I think that's fine. There was a time when I felt uneasy about certain pagan origins like the Christmas tree. It's true, the Christmas tree has pagan origins. But the way I see it is, what Satan uses for evil, we can use for good. While the Christmas season is full of materialism and extravagance, we don't have to partake in that. And while the season is surrounded by pagan traditions, so is just about any other holiday. Even our wedding rings that we wear every day have pagan origins. We're never going to be able to get away from it. But we can claim the season for Jesus.
I would love to hear how you celebrate Christmas and other holidays around this time of year, so please share!