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Treatment: On Vaccines
Questioning the safety of vaccines is a taboo topic in the United States and many other countries. The pressure is on most pediatricians to always counsel that the "benefits outweigh the risks" when it comes to vaccinating children. Yet, most parents have heard about the legitimate concerns many parents have that vaccines may have triggered their children’s autism or other neurological disorders ("NDs"). As a parent, we want you to know the following:
1. Vaccines are big business
As this recent Wall Street Journal article reported, Merck stands to generate as much as $2 billion in revenues per year for their new Gardasil vaccine for girls targeting Cervical cancer. For a company beaten down by the Vioxx scandal, Gardasil’s success is a very important initiative, which according to the article has caused the company to push the vaccine out the door using questionable marketing techniques while legitimate concerns about safety and efficacy still exist.
Vaccine manufacturers are no different from other corporations: they want to sell more of whatever it is they make. Unfortunately, there is a revolving door between the policy-makers who determine the vaccine schedule and the pharmaceutical companies who make vaccines, as our own Congressional Committee on Government Reform reported in this document titled Conflicts of Interest in Vaccine Policy Making.
2. Vaccines have real documented risks and the U.S. Government knows this.
Vaccines have risks and parents are rarely told about these risks. Any pediatrician who represents that vaccines are "completely safe" is not presenting the facts. Many vaccines contain other toxic substances including ethylene glycol (antifreeze), phenol (a disinfectant dye), benzethonium chloride (a disinfectant), formaldehyde (a preservative and disinfectant), and aluminum (another known neuro-toxin). Further, some viruses used in vaccines are cultured in animal tissue including chicken albumin and monkey liver. Click here for a complete list of the foreign substances found in vaccines.
The CDC maintains a database called the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System or VAERS. This database keeps track of publicly reported adverse reactions to vaccines. In a ten year period (1991-2001), VAERS received 128,717 reports of adverse events, of which 14% were described as "serious" which means "death, life-threatening illness, hospitalization or prolongation of hospitalization, or permanent disability."
The Federal Government maintains a National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). Between 1990-2004, the VICP paid more than $900 million in restitution to persons injured by vaccines, and they provide a list of possible injuries by type of vaccine.
3. There are legitimate concerns over the efficacy of some vaccines.
Consider the flu vaccine as just one example of where there may be evidence that the vaccine does not work:
A recent study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association touting the safety of flu vaccine. Nine of the studies authors had stated financial ties to vaccine manufacturers, and an additional four authors worked for the CDC. The study also stated: "It is also important to note that there is scant data on the efficacy and effectiveness of influenza vaccine in young children."
On October 27, 2006, the British Medical Journal published an article also questioning the efficacy of the flu vaccine. The article noted: "Evidence from systematic reviews shows that inactivated vaccines [flu vaccines] have little or no effect on the effects measured. Little comparative evidence exists on the safety of these vaccines. Reasons for the current gap between policy and evidence are unclear, but given the huge resources involved, a re-evaluation should be urgently undertaken...The optimistic and confident tone of some predictions of viral circulation and of the impact of inactivated vaccines, which are at odds with the evidence, is striking."
4. You can't be forced to vaccinate your child or follow the CDC's recommended immunization schedule.
Parents are often told that vaccinating their child is "required by law". It is important for parents to understand what their rights are as all states offer either a philosophical or religious exemption from vaccinations. You have the right to design a vaccine program that is right for you and your child. Click here for more information.
5. It is reasonable to think that we may be over-vaccinating children today.
In 1983, the Centers for Disease Control recommended a total of 10 vaccines for our children. In 2007, the CDC recommends 36, an increase of 260%. (See a comparison here.) Yet, no studies have ever been done to compare neurological disorder ("ND") rates of unvaccinated children to vaccinated children.
Was there an epidemic of diseases in the 1980s that created a need for so many more vaccines? Why do many other countries recommend fewer vaccines for their children? Is it coincidence that the tripling in vaccines and an explosion in neurological disorders coincide?
6. There is nothing wrong with choosing to vaccinate your child in a different way.
Could you pursue a different vaccination schedule for your child? Yes, you can.
Please note that we are parents, not doctors. What follows is not medical advice, it is the opinion of parents. Anything written here should be reviewed with a qualified physician. We are not giving you medical advice nor are we qualified to do so.
Some general rules of thumb to consider in vaccinating your child:
Try not to vaccinate near a cold, illness, or when your child is on antibiotics
Always demand thimerosal-free vaccines
Try not to get more than one vaccine at any single visit to the doctor
Consider breaking up combination vaccines like MMR into three separate vaccines
Some possible alternative vaccine schedules to consider (click on the name for a schedule):
a. Turn back the clock
Comment: This is the schedule from 1983. If it worked for kids then, why doesn’t it work for kids now?
b. Go Danish
Comment: Denmark is a first world country based in Western Europe. Their schedule appears far more reasonable than ours. Do they know something we don’t?
c. Listen to the Doctor
Comment: Donald Miller, M.D., is a surgeon at the University of Washington. His article, A User-Friendly Vaccine Schedule, is one of our favorites. We’ve summarized his article into this schedule.
1. Attempts At Eradicating Infectious Diseases Are Putting Our Children At Risk
National Vaccine Information Center
By Barbara Loe Fisher, President, National Vaccine Information Center
2. In the Wake of Vaccines Mothering
By Barbara Loe Fisher
September-October 2004
3. Vaccines: The Overlooked Factors
Autism Research Institute
Bernard Rimland, Ph.D., President, Autism Research Institute
4. DAN! Vaccine Guidelines
Autism Research Institute
5. Putting Toddlers At Risk With Mandated Vaccines
American Association of Physicians and Surgeons Online
By Jane Orient, M.D., Executive Director, American Association of Physicians and Surgeons
6. Vaccines: A Second Opinion
Gary Null & Associates, Inc.
Gary Null, Ph.D.
7. Investigate Before You Vaccinate
The Immunisation Awareness Society (New Zealand)
8. The Verge of Vaccine Mania
Second Opinion (ABC News)
By Nicholas Regush
9. Rise of the Vaccine Nation
The Village Voice
1. What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Children's Vaccinations
By Stephanie Cave
2. A Shot In The Dark
By Harris Coulter
3. The Vaccine Guide: Risks and Benefits for Children and Adults
By Randall Neustaeder
1. National Vaccine Information Center