This is Part 2 in the series on how we made the decision about vaccines for our family. You can find Part 1 here and I strongly recommend reading it to get our family’s backstory before reading on. 😀
If you read my last post then you know that after months of research and amidst my healing from cancer while pregnant, we decided to delay vaccination for our daughter at birth. We had a lot on our plate and did not feel comfortable making such a big decision that we couldn’t reverse. When we decided this we weren’t necessarily sure HOW LONG we would delay but knew we weren’t comfortable with either decision yet.
I left off in my last post with our decision to delay vaccination at birth. So let’s pick up right there.
Part 2: Hepatitis B and Hib
In the first six months of life, it is recommended that our babies receive SIX doses of vaccines against EIGHT diseases. Today we’re going to take a look at the first two of those vaccines: Hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib).
Hepatitis B (HBV) is a virus that is transmitted through blood, semen, and less commonly other body fluids. Babies born to HBV positive mothers are likely to contract the disease. Populations most at risk for HBV are intravenous drug users and sexually active adults with multiple partners.
HBV is not transmitted through hugging, kissing, breastfeeding, sharing utensils, etc. HBV is commonly an acute illness that can be recovered from in adults, but infants are 80-90% likely to develop chronic HBV and have complications such as cirrhosis to the liver and liver cancer as they grow.
Hepatitis B Symptoms:
- nausea and vomiting
- abdominal pain
- dark urine
- clay-like stools.
Hepatitis B Vaccine Information:
- Widespread use of the Hepatitis B vaccine began in the early 1990’s.
- Hepatitis B vaccine is given at birth to protect babies who may be born to mothers infected with the Hepatitis B virus. Additional vaccine doses are given at 1 month and 6 months.
- In the U.S. the CDC recommends that all babies be vaccinated at birth for HBV regardless of their mother’s infection status.
- The Hepatitis B Vaccine does not contain a live virus, but only DNA from the virus. There is no way to catch HBV from the vaccine.
- HBV vaccine ingredients include:
- Hepatitis B surface antigen
- aluminum (250 mcg per DOSE)
- yeast proteins
- Side effects: Reactability from the Hep B vaccine occur in 10-15% of children, primarily flu-like symptoms. Other serious complications have been reported, although rare. (CDC)
Hepatitis B is mostly dealt with as a long term, symptom-free virus. Many believe the best option for long-term wellness is simply self-care and healthy living. If infection were to occur in any of my family members, especially during acute infection, nourishing the body with clean foods, juices, and immune boosting supplements would help tremendously. Acute symptoms do not last long and pass similarly to the flu in most cases. When liver failure is present, some doctors will recommend antiviral medication. (source)
I knew my daughter would be at an extremely low-risk for Hepatitis B. As part of routine prenatal testing, I knew I was HBV negative. HBV screening is a normal part of prenatal testing in most women, but be sure to ask your health provider to make sure.
My husband and I also were able to work opposite shifts (I was a teacher and he worked from home), so we were able to keep our daughter out of daycare for her first two years. Although the risk is extremely rare, if a daycare worker were infected with Hepatitis B, there is a very small chance that a child could contract the virus from them.
It is also important to note that VAERS reported 3,365 adverse reactions from the Hepatitis B vaccine and combo vaccines with 38 resulting in death.
VAERS reports have the potential to be a great tool for transparency in vaccine research, but unfortunately data there is significantly underreported. Many vaccine injuries are cumulative and have slow or gradual onset and go unnoticed until it is serious later on. Also, VAERS reports are volunteer-based so it relies on doctors spending their time filling out vaccine injury reports or parents doing it themselves (even though many parents don’t even know it is there to use). Because of this, there is increasing popular belief that vaccine injuries are most likely 10 to 100 times higher than what is actually reported in VAERS.
Since our daughter was at very low risk for contracting Hepatitis B we have chosen NOT to vaccinate her with the Hepatitis B vaccine.
If she goes into the medical field as an adult, we will discuss the risk with her of Hepatitis B. Adults who I would recommend considering Hepatitis B vaccination would be emergency workers who come into contact with blood, drug users, and adults who have multiple sex partners.
Haemophilus influenzae: type b (Hib)
Hib disease is a bacterial disease with a primary concern of resulting bacterial meningitis or pneumonia from infection. Hib is spread through contact with infected cough, mucous, or saliva. In most case, Hib is contained in the nose, throat, or ears of the person and symptoms are very minor. In rare cases it travels to the blood stream resulting in more severe bacterial meningitis or pneumonia.
Hib is bacterial so it does NOT give lifelong immunity. Hib is most serious before age 2. Hib meningitis has a 5% fatality rate and in about 25% of cases there is permanent damage such as hearing loss, etc.
- vomiting and poor appetite
- stiff neck
- Widespread use of the Hib vaccine began in the late 1980’s. Doses are given at 2, 4, 6, and 12-15 months of age.
- Before the vaccine, 20,000 case of Hib were reported each year and about 1,000 of these died. Now only about 25 cases are reported annually and death from Hib is rare.
- Side effects for Hib vaccine can be difficult to decipher since it is usually given for the first time along with several other vaccines, but VAERR reports are minimal.
- Several studies on HIB vaccination have reported reduced immune response to Hib in the week following vaccination. This was more concerning when Hib was more common in the early 1990’s.
- There are three brands of Hib vaccine currently used and all are produced differently:
- ActHIB brand contains HIB sugar/tetanus toxoid complex, sugar water, and saline.
- PedVaxHIB brand contains HIB sugar/ protein complex, saline, 225 mcg aluminum.
- HibTITER brand contains HIB sugar/ diphtheria toxoid complex, saline.
Hib is a mild illness unless it travels to the blood stream. People with weakened immune systems and young babies, especially non-breastfed and those in a large daycare setting are more susceptible to this. If your baby exhibits any of the symptoms above and is unresponsive, it warrants a trip to the emergency room. Hib is treatable with intravenous antibiotics.
Hib is one of those diseases that has been obviously impacted by vaccination. It is now extremely uncommon.
There are better options for the Hib vaccine than many of the other vaccines. There are three vaccines to choose from and two of them are aluminum-free and only have a few ingredients.
At first look it seemed like a no-brainer to me that vaccinating against Hib (especially with a non-aluminum brand) would be a wise parenting choice. But I was still concerned that we would still be injecting a foreign, genetically altered substance into our child’s body bypassing all natural infection pathways.
The VAERS database also reported 2,248 vaccine reactions from Hib and Hib combo vaccines in 2016, with 472 being serious injury requiring hospitalization and 36 resulting in death.
There is also the consideration of how eradicating Hib disease from our population has impacted the rise of Pneumococcal Pneumonia. See Dr. Sherri Tenpenny discuss this HERE.
Our decision about Hib was difficult. The data on efficacy was clear and the vaccine risk seemed minimal. But I also knew that there is much that has not been studied about the overall impact of vaccination and long-term effects like autoimmune disease and cancer. My gut was unsettled with the entire vaccination experiment.
When looking at common death of children under one year old, I saw that both SIDS and unintentional accidents were above 1,000 deaths each year in the U.S. Before the vaccine, similar numbers presented for Hib. I understood that Hib was another risk to simply being human. I would do my best to prevent it by taking precautions and caring for her immune system, just as I would taking precautions to other threats.
Ultimately, we decided NOT to vaccinate our daughter with the Hib vaccine. She was exclusively breastfed from a mother with an optimal, high plant-based diet and cared for at home. I was knowledgeable about the symptoms and had a plan of action and would seek emergency care immediately if I was concerned.
Please check back soon for Part 3 in this series: The DTap vaccine.
I’m curious what your thoughts are about Hepatis B and Hib. Comment in the comments below!