My husband and I recently watched a wonderful documentary called The Greater Good, which is about vaccines. It's not completely anti-vaccine but it gives parents information about the potential side-effects. Doctors often lead parents to believe it is a requirement, or even a law, to vaccinate children according to the standard schedule. They often make us feel like horrible, negligent parents for even questioning their expertise. But doctors simply don't have all the facts. They aren't taught about vaccine side-effects in medical school. They aren't even taught what is in vaccines (like formaldehyde, Polysorbate 80 and heavy metals), and the effect that these ingredients have on the body. There actually isn't any research about the long-term side effects of the combination of so many vaccines that children today receive. And doctors certainly don’t realize how big of a part the pharmaceutical companies play in adding unnecessary vaccines to the standard schedule. These drug companies make loads of money by convincing the FDA that their vaccines are critically needed. I wish that every parent would read The Vaccine Book by Dr. Sears, which is a pretty middle of the road book with great info about the pros and cons of each vaccine. Actually, I feel it leans a little more to the pro-vaccine side, but I still recommend the book to all parents. And visit www.thevaccinebook.com to find a doctor near you who won’t harass you about vaccines. I also recommend visiting the mothering.com forums, which has an entire area about vaccines where parents share their research and insight.
I’m not going to talk about how bad vaccines are or try to convince anyone to not vaccinate. I would even recommend that certain people go ahead with certain vaccines. For example, many of my Head Start students lived with lots of people in small, unsanitary conditions, and ate diets consisting mainly of sugar, dairy, and processed oils, all of which decrease immune function. If you're not going to vaccinate your children then you've gotta make sure their immune system is in tip-top shape. I’m not anti-vaccine. I’m just pro-informed consent. The best thing you can do is look into each vaccine. Learn about the disease it's supposed to prevent, how common it is, how serious it can be, how likely it is to have a serious complication, and the safety of the vaccine. I also recommend looking beyond the CDC for info because they often use wording that is misleading. Consider your circumstances. Are you taking steps to strengthen your child's immune system? Is your baby breastfed? Does your child come into contact with many other children throughout the day? Do you plan to travel internationally? Could you delay this particular vaccine until the baby is older? Could you remove it from your vaccine schedule completely? No one can make your decision for you. Not even your doctor. So start by looking into Hepatitis B, which is the first vaccine babies receive (at birth) and go from there.