If you’ve been reading my blog for a while then you know I’m a bit hesitant to engage in this whole vaccine discussion publicly. And I imagine I’m not the only one here who feels that way.
A few months ago I attempted to publish this series and discuss vaccines for the first time ever on my blog.
But the fear kept me quiet and I decided against it.
Time has gone by and I still haven’t been able to shake the conviction to talk about it publicly, even if I have to deal with some backlash.
So I decided to simply just tell my story. This is MY story. MY family. I figured that I would share it and let you know that although this is not medical advice, it is what I’ve learned along the way. I hope you all find it immensely helpful in sifting through this uncomfortable but very important decision.
I want to preface this post with the fact that I did the majority of this research eight years ago while pregnant with my first child and it has been ongoing. I did my best in linking up the studies I bookmarked, books I read, and notes from talks with our pediatrician, as well as other references, but as any mother of three little ones would know- there’s just not enough time for perfection.
So to sum it up, my disclaimer is: Ponder on my words, but DO your own research. Our family dynamics and living circumstances are all so different.
OK, here we are. And I’m really going to press the PUBLISH button this time. Here we go…NOW. 😀
Vax and Non-Vax Risks vs. Benefits
As we all know, discussion around vaccines can provoke all kinds of unexpected responses from people. It should be added to the “topics to avoid at the dinner table” list – religion, politics, and vaccines.
At the heart of the disagreement are two completely different belief systems for managing disease in people.
You have one model (by far the most popular) saying we need to inject and “solve” the pathogen problem with patented vaccines and everyone has to participate. Individual circumstances and family health history are of little concern since the vaccines are “proven safe and effective” for everyone and far outweighs the risk of the disease. They teach us about what disease epidemics “used to be like” before vaccines and convince us into doing our part to make sure it never happens again.
The other side suggests that perhaps there is a cumulative and long-term consequence to all of these vaccines so early in life or at any time. They are saying that perhaps we need to “build the patient up from the inside out” and “allow the immune system to work optimally” by giving it proper nutrition and gentler preventative treatments along with emergency care as needed. We live in a time where all of this is possible with our access to natural medicine from all over the world and information and delivery at the click of a finger. We are also in the golden age of emergency care if needed and knowledge of proper nutrition and vitamins and minerals are well studied.
So who is right? And is there a middle ground?
Is it possible to find the gray?
First, A Cancer Diagnosis
When we were making our decision whether to fully vaccinate, delay, or choose none of the recommended childhood vaccines for our first daughter we were fresh off of my cancer diagnosis and overwhelmed with yet more medical choices.
But because we chose to treat my cancer with alternative methods– primarily optimal plant-based nutrition, supplementation, and proper detoxification we saw first hand how the body behaves differently when it is treated properly and given the resources it needs. Mine literally HEALED itself over the course of 6 months without any chemotherapy, radiation, or other drugs.
You can’t unlearn this kind of thing. You can’t un-experience the beauty and innate healing capability of the body when you go through reversing cancer without all of their drugs and procedures. Procedures they said you would need to do or you would eventually die.
How after all of that could I easily believe that “the need for my child to have vaccines or else” is somehow different?
The point is, in our culture we are taught from an extremely young age and then indoctrinated into adulthood that there is only ONE way to prevent and treat illness and disease, and that is to vaccinate fully and on the CDC recommended schedule.
The truth is that there are risks and benefits, no matter which way you choose to modulate or support your child’s immune system (as there are risks to anything in life), but you have to find your peace, make your choice, and then accept the responsibility and risks that come with it.
My Primary Concerns About Vaccines:
Like I said before, when I was pregnant with my oldest daughter in 2009 and found myself having to decide my stance about vaccines, I was still dealing with my own cancer diagnosis and healing. Choosing natural therapies required intense lifestyle overhaul. I was learning that so much of what we use in our modern world is toxic and unnatural to the human body outside of living in the woods and eating plants straight from the ground.
Pesticides, EMF’s from technology, chemicals in water, pollution from cars on the road, chemicals in your hygiene products, deodorant, shampoos, face wash, chemicals in tampons, chlorine in the pool, flame retardants on your carpets, mattress, and clothes….and you know you are probably thinking of at least 10 more as you read this list!
I told you it’s maddening.
And I was gradually but fervently removing all of this from my life in efforts to restore my health.
So knowing all of this and seeing the healing that was taking place in my body from IMMUNE SYSTEM cancer, I became extremely uneasy about the idea of INJECTING harmful chemicals and foreign biological products into my daughter to modulate her own brand new, immature immune system.
She had my genetics…and a long history of cancer in my family.
I couldn’t imagine how the ingredients in a vaccine and the amount of DOSES required of that vaccine throughout my daughter’s first five years could be helpful. Could I prevent those diseases in another way? Could we wait until she was older if at all?
With this discomfort there, I knew that if I changed my mind about vaccination I could always vaccinate slowly or gradually if there were a particular concern, but I could never UN-vaccinate.
I had to find peace between my fear of the vaccines’ chemicals and long-term implications from bypassing the body’s natural defense barriers through injection- and the diseases that they could be susceptible to if we didn’t vaccinate.
It’s important to note that NONE of my vaccine concerns came from an anti-vax website I read, an anti-vax celebrity I heard, or horrible vaccine injury story.
It came from within my own healing experience and months and months of education around healing my own body from cancer. I had a basic understanding of how the immune system worked, but I didn’t feel I was “expert” enough about the actual reality of these disease risks and vaccine ingredients to make this decision. I needed to understand and wanted to inform myself to make an educated decision.
The first book I found extremely helpful for starting off was the ‘The Vaccine Book‘ book by Dr. Sears. It was extremely helpful since it took a balanced, middle-ground approach to vaccination and the risk-benefit for each vaccine and the diseases they are used for.
(A side note: The best place for vaccine ingredient research and where Dr. Sears’ got his information for his book from, is going to be the actual vaccine insert on the current schedule. Here’s a list with access to all of the vaccine inserts online or get them from your pediatrician.)
Here’s a bit of my initial concerns once I started reading the book, some of which I was quite shocked from!
- Multiple vaccines contain cells, cellular debris, protein, or DNA from aborted babies including the childhood schedule vaccines of Polio, Dtap/Polio/HiB combo vaccine, Hep A, Hep A/Hep B Combo, MMR, MMRV, and Varicella (chicken pox.)
- There were other troubling ingredients: thimerosal (ethyl mercury), formaldehyde, propylene glycol, aluminum, polysorbate 80, and monosodium glutamate, among others.
- I was especially curious as an immune system cancer patient (lymphoma) about the unstudied effects on the immune system by modulating artificially through injection (bypassing the natural barriers to infection), regardless of what the ingredients were.
I also had a lot of other questions like:
- Although each vaccine is tested by the drug manufacturers, have the compound effects of several vaccines on the same day or even the vaccine schedule as a whole been studied?
- Why is it that the vaccine schedule in the 80’s or even 60’s was significantly less than now and yet we haven’t seen an epidemic increase in disease in those generations?
- Why is it that even though we have had IMMENSE advancement in emergency medical care since the 60’s, we have more than tripled the number and dosage of vaccines?
- Why is it that autism occurrence has skyrocketed since the 80’s and the number of autoimmune disorders are increasing in kids?
- What about delayed vaccination in these brand new babies? Aren’t they too young for all of that? Have any studies been done on breastfed babies vs. non-breastfed babies and their likelihood of getting any of these diseases?
- What about moms’ diet? Kids’ diet? Does the CDC schedule take variations in diet into consideration?
- Has there ever been a study of the overall health of unvaccinated kids verses fully vaccinated kids?
- Why do we lump the entire population under ONE schedule when the risk for each disease varies depending on the population?
- If my child were to get a “vaccine preventable disease” – what is the emergency care like?
- Does the risk factor change whether a baby is in a daycare situation vs. home care situation?
- Why can’t I pick and choose vaccines for the diseases that concern me the most?
I realized that ALL of my questions and concerns were valid because I wasn’t at peace with the information I was given at that point. I began to trust my gut over the opinions of people trying to scare me into any decisions.
I’m going to address some of these questions throughout this series on vaccines.
Our Decision to Wait
As I continued to go back and forth between the concern over vaccination ingredients and implications and the possibility of disease, another concerning point practically smacked me in the face.
I found out that there has never been a large scale study of vaccinated kids’ overall health vs. unvaccinated kids’ overall health overtime or AT ALL.
I also learned that vaccine manufacturers are completely protected from being sued by the families whose children are injured by the very products they say are safe. I can’t say this surprised me, but taxpayer money is actually collected and placed in large fund for awarding families who go through the often difficult and arduous process of proving their child was injured by a vaccine in vaccine court.
My decision came down to this- vaccines are NOT irrefutably safe. There are no clear, unbiased, unsponsored studies showing the obvious evidence that by fully vaccinating my children on schedule, I am NOT putting them at risk. I especially believed this to be true with the amount of vaccines we are giving SO EARLY in life and the long term and compounding effects that aren’t measurable in any current study.
Even the CDC publicly states that the drug companies are the ones that conduct the studies “proving safety”:
Clinical trials are studies conducted before a vaccine is made available. These studies are carried out by vaccine manufacturers and help the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) make decisions about whether a vaccine is safe, effective, and ready to be licensed for use.” Source: CDC
Really? The vaccine manufacturers conduct the studies? I wondered could there possibly be any opportunity for skewing data or manipulating outcomes.
There is enough sufficient evidence supporting the argument that vaccines can cause harm (especially in the amount and frequency of the recommended CDC schedule) that it deserves attention and concern.
My deep, deep distrust of the pharmaceutical industry and conventional care model of western medicine had a significant influence on my decision as well. I did not need a single study to prove to me what my personal experience and gut instinct had shown me.
Now this is totally anecdotal (and probably not “scientific” enough for even the mildest critics) but it’s something to pay attention to. It is incredibly hard to watch these vaccine injury testimonies without crying (or getting angry.) Listening to the hearts of hundreds of parents as they talk about their child’s vaccine injuries will raise concern for many. Adverse reactions are a reality and vaccines are not without risk.
We have traded the disease concerns of the 19th century and early 20th century for our increasing modern childhood issues of autism, eczema, ADHD, ADD, allergies, and asthma and the sometimes life-altering complications that come with these.
I wonder if finding that gray area of vaccine use would help so much of this disagreement and the problems that arise from a strict belief system- one way or the other?
Our Choice and Our Responsibility
As time got closer to our daughter’s birth and after weighing all of our research- my husband and my decision was to delay all vaccines until we learned more.
I knew I definitely did not feel comfortable with her being so young and receiving THAT many vaccines, but I knew I also had the responsibility to her and my community to help with disease prevention.
I wanted to know what to do in the meantime to protect her and also to become more knowledgeable about the symptoms for each disease and emergency care if I needed it.
My husband also began working from home allowing us to work opposite shifts and keep her out of daycare. This was hugely comforting to me as it allowed her to be in her own home environment as her immune system developed.
All of this bought us time to delay vaccines until our research gave us peace to make a decision.
I knew I could go slowly with vaccination if needed, but like I said before- I could never UN-vaccinate.
Over the next few posts in this series I am going to talk about the next seven years of our vaccine decision journey. I will look into the entire U.S. vaccine schedule by each individual disease and its vaccine profile.
I also want to go much deeper into preventative nutrition and holistic care for any disease or infection. This is the foundation of what allows for our body to heal and should not be dismissed or ignored.
Check out the next post in this series, Part 2: Hepatitis B and Hib.