Recently legislation was introduced in the Vermont legislature that would amend the law regulating vaccinations. Currently, the state permits children entering school to be exempted from vaccinations for medical, religious or philosophical reasons. The bill, Senate 199 and House 527, would revoke the philosophical exemption, forcing parents to either vaccinate or find another means to educate their child. This bill was proposed at the behest of the public health and conventional medical establishments, which invoked the concept of ‘herd immunity’ as a rationale for its implementation. Simply put, it postulates that if enough people in a certain group or community are immunized against a specific disease, then the germ that carries the disease cannot find enough carriers to spread amongst the non-immunized, and presumably outbreaks of the disease disappear.
But despite official insistence about the critical importance of immunizations for children as well as assurances that minimize the risks associated with them, there still remain valid reasons for thoughtful, concerned parents to protect their children from the possible negative consequences – both short and long term – associated with vaccinations.
For instance, in May of 2011, a study of the infant mortality rates (IMR) in nations with compulsory vaccinations programs was published in the journal “Human and Experimental Toxicology”. (http://het.sagepub.com/content/30/9/1420.full.pdf+html) Using a statistical analysis method known as ‘linear regression’, the authors were able to make a correlation between the IMR and the number of routine vaccinations.
The results indicated “a highly statistically significant correlation between increasing number of vaccine doses and increasing infant mortality rates”. The United States, which spends more per capita on health care than any other nation on earth, ranks 34th in IMR, right below Cuba and San Marino. The nations at the top of the list with fewest deaths - Singapore, Sweden and Japan – mandate 50% less vaccinations in comparison to the United States.
This is only the latest of a number of studies that should serve as a warning that vaccinations, especially multiple vaccinations given to infants, might be the source of serious medical conditions and death. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDs) or crib death, practically unknown before national immunization programs, increased dramatically as the number of required vaccines increased. One study showed that an infant was over 7 times more likely to die of SIDs within 3 days of a DPT vaccine than from a period starting 30 days after the shot.
Results of research performed in the African country of Guinea-Bissau during the 1990’s indicated that young adults who were vaccinated for measles after the outbreak of an epidemic were twice as likely to develop allergies as those who recovered from the illness.
A former researcher for the NIH, Dr. J.B. Classen, has published data showing a correlation between vaccinations and juvenile diabetes: in New Zealand after a hepatitis B vaccination campaign during the late 1980’s there was a 60% increase in juvenile diabetes, in Finland during the 1970’s, diabetes increased by 147% in children under 5 after the introduction of new vaccines. Classen subsequently did research with Desert Storm veterans, again correlating an increase in diabetes with multiple immunizations given to soldiers entering that theater of war.
In the last two decades since aggressive childhood immunization schedules mandating 26 vaccines and multiple dosing have been implemented, we have not witnessed an increase in the quality of health of our nation’s children. Quite to the contrary, rates of neurological disorders like autism and aspergers disease, learning disabilities, hyperactivity, diabetes, asthma, allergies, auto-immune disease, obesity and cancer for this population has increased – in some cases, dramatically. Vaccinations are probably not the sole cause of this phenomenon, but they may play a contributory role.
The mechanisms by which vaccinations are thought to possibly cause children (and adults) harm are as yet not fully understood. A lot of attention has been given to the fact that they have contained (and still do in some cases) mercury-based preservatives. But just as worrisome and even more insidious is the likelihood that vaccinations introduce into the still immature immune system of a child disease specific ‘immune complexes’ that remain in the body for years and can attack tissues and organs. (http://www.whale.to/v/coulter.html)
Concerns about vaccinations are actually nothing new. As a homeopath, I have been exposed to a medical literature dating back two centuries that is full of references to various ‘ailments from vaccinations’ such ‘imbecility’, anxiety, restlessness, eczema, asthma, kidney inflammation and paralysis – to name but a few. Certain ‘constitutional’ or, in modern day parlance, genetic types have also been identified as being more susceptible to these reactions.
Clinically, I have worked with numerous children adversely affected by vaccinations over my decades in practice: children who became dull and lethargic, who developed diabetes, autism, high fevers, seizures or eczema, amongst other conditions, after being vaccinated. And these were only the cases where there was a clear cause and effect based on the sequence of events. No doubt there were many more cases where the causality of vaccination was obscured by inattention or the passage of time.
To further compound the problem, parents of these children often found their observations and concerns either minimized or dismissed. It would appear that the children were ‘collateral damage’ in campaign to implement a nationwide immunization program.
Many questions remain to be answered: What is the medical imperative of immunizing against common childhood diseases such as measles, rubella and chickenpox. Does it strengthen or weaken the immune system for children not to contract these diseases naturally? If vaccinations are truly effective, what threat does the presence of an unvaccinated child pose to vaccinated classmates? Does profit motive on the part of the pharmaceutical industry play a role in vaccination policy?
But ultimately, the issues that swirl around immunizations come down to one fundamental question: are the dangers posed by the illnesses that the vaccinations are designed to prevent greater or lesser than the dangers posed by the shots themselves?
Arguments can be made for both sides of the issue – but in the end it is a matter of what one chooses to believe. People often don’t like to think that there is any place for ‘belief’ in the field of medicine. But medical history is full of examples of dogmatically held convictions falling in and out of favor depending on evolving scientific understanding and evidence.
Whenever parents or expectant parents ask my advice about the pros and cons of vaccinating their child, I feel a responsibility to first make sure they understand that there are no incontrovertible answers. Despite personal and professional experiences and opinions, I encourage them to educate themselves as much as possible from as many responsible sources as possible before making an informed decision about this highly charged and controversial issue.
It is not easy to make an objective choice in an atmosphere where strong pressures are often brought to bear on parents by those who ‘know’, who would assume authority over them and the health of their children. It is easy for parents to become intimidated when their doctor rebukes them for not vaccinating their children – or refuses treatment. It is also natural for parents to yield when they are coerced into vaccinating because their children would otherwise be denied access to public education.
Even so, it is ultimately the parents – not a pediatrician, a relative, a school nurse, a homeopath or a government bureaucrat – who should determine what is best for their child. Passage of S.199/H. 527 would make it even more difficult for parents to exercise their best judgment.
Postscript: At the end of a recent consultation with client - an older woman who happens to be the wife of a medical doctor and a long time faculty member of one of the regions most highly regard medical schools - I happened to mention the above proposed legislation. She suddenly became quite agitated, and her normally upbeat, cheerful countenance was transfigured into an expression of barely concealed anguish and rage. After a few moments, she practically spat out, “My grandchild became autistic after one of those shots – not mildly autistic, severely autistic. My daughter’s life was plunged into an unimaginable hell. And I, too, live with that every day.”
I encouraged her to share her story with others, especially her representatives, but she demurred, “ They don’t want to listen. My daughter too has given up trying to convince anyone. Its all about influence and money.” Even so, I replied, Vermont is a small state and if enough of us speak up somebody will surely listen.