Immunizations - A Matter Of Course Or Choice? Part I & II


It has almost become a rite of passage. Whether soon after birth, on beginning school, entering college, travelling to a foreign country, or after joining the ranks of senior citizens - immunizations have become a nearly automatic procedure repeated throughout the lives of most people in the modern world. They were devised as a method to protect us from many common epidemic diseases which spread through the population, leaving its victims weakened, crippled or dead. Today, perceived as an act of commonsense, good citizenship and intelligent parenting, they are close to a mandatory exercise, demanded by medical authorities, schools and government.

But there is another side to the issue. Doubts have been raised about the long and short term effects of immunizations. Some types are being associated with the possibility of negative reactions that vary from mild fevers to chronic seizure activity to death. There have been suggestions that perhaps some may have outlived their usefulness.

In the face of conventional medical beliefs and education, any discussion that might challenge conventional ideas concerning immunization no doubt will be controversial. It is precisely because this procedure has gained a widespread, non-discriminating acceptance that I dare to risk raising the ire of some. If one looks at the issue with open eyes, there indeed is much cause for concern.

Inevitably, the question arises as to just what is the effect of injecting a killed or weakened microorganism directly into the bloodstream. Modern medical science states that it stimulates the immune system to create a type of memory in the form of antibodies that will protect the organism when it is invaded by the infecting agent. Although serious side affects are recognized in some cases, it is claimed that the risks involved in contracting the disease are much greater than the risks of getting immunized itself.

Undoubtedly, many lives have been saved through vaccinations. I remember a conversation I had with a physician from China who practiced both western and chinese herbal medicine. I was curious about his attitude towards immunizations in light of his background in orthodox and natural healing. He responded by saying that when the measles came to his town, thousands of children died from it. He was adamant that given the hygenic conditions in China, immunizations were indeed necessary. Under those circumstances there was no leeway for him to contemplate unknown or theoretical long term effects that the shots might have.

While immunization programs have generally been credited with controlling or eradicating many such diseases, some researchers claim that other factors are more important in understanding why epidemics diminish in frequency and virulence. For one, when hygenic and nutritional standards are low in an impoverished nation, epidemics run rampant (as in Peru today). As the standard of living rises in a society, nutrition and hygiene also improve. Consequently, the resistance of individuals in the general population toward a bacteria or virus is greatly enhanced while the spread of the disease carrying agents is checked.

Another possibility is that diseases seem to have a "lifetime". Historically, contagions are particularly active over a certain period of time and then tend to disappear. At a later time, it is possible that another cycle of the same contagion will reappear. Or else, a different contagion will arise.

Long before the implementation of immunizations, whooping cough,TB, cholera, typhoid had diminished dramatically in the United States. For instance, statistics show that in the ninety years from 1850 to 1940, before compulsory immunizations were instituted, deaths of children under the age of 15 from scarlet fever, whooping cough, diptheria and measles had already declined by about 90% (1) On the other hand, "in Germany, where compulsory mass immunization was introduced in 1940, the number of cases (of diptheria) increased from 40,000 to 250,000 by 1945, virtually all among immunized children."(2)

The basic question is whether it benefits us as individuals or as a society to have immunization shots. Although it has been assumed that the positive aspects outweigh the negative ones, the answer is not as black and white as some would like to believe.

(1) James, Walene. "Immunization: The Reality Behind the Myth". (Bergin & Garvey, New York, 1988) pg.25 (2) Ibid. pg. 31



Everyone would like to to protect their children and themselves from the possibility of contracting a crippling or fatal disease. Immunization shots are commonly held out as our best bet to do so. But, contrary to the commonly held orthodox views of this procedure, there is evidence that such shots may not always be in the best interest of the recipient.

A thinking person will ask two basic questions: (1) Are vaccinations effective?, and (2) Are they safe ? Last week we touched on the possibility that the credit for eliminating many diseases which has been claimed for immunization programs might as well be given to improved living conditions and the natural "life-time" of diseases. That is, there is documented evidence that the virulence of epidemic diseases was reduced by improvement in nutrition and hygiene before the implementation of widespread immunizations in many cases. Moreover, these diseases seem to have a peak period of contagion which gradually reduces overtime without any medical, hygenic or nutritive intervention.

Another piece of research quoted in the book The Immunization Decision by Randall Neustaedter, OMD (North Atlantic Books, Berekely, 1990) suggests immunization might not be as effective for many current diseases as we might expect. For instance, it is possible that the result of vaccinating young children is to protect them from contracting a disease for a period after they are vaccinated but making them more susceptible when they are older. Statistics show that while twenty-five years ago, 23 % of the population over the age of fifteen contracted rubella (German measles), five years ago it was 40%. Richard Moskowitz, MD, in the article Immunizations: A Dissenting View published in various journals, sights a study of an outbreak of whooping cough in Britain where over 50% of the supposedly immunized children contracted the disease. Another study show that 75% of children immunized for measles nevertheless contracted it during an outbreak in New Mexico.

But even if we assume that vaccinations protect a majority of people from a certain disease, the more disturbing question concerns the safety of vaccinations. Is it possible that we are subjecting ourselves and our children to a dangerous procedure? Conventional wisdom maintains that the side-effects experienced by a minority does not outweigh the vast benefits to the great majority of immunized persons.

There are dissenting points of view. Janet Levitan, MD, a Boston area pediatrician, writes in a recently published article (Resonance, Sept-Oct. 1992)," As a pediatrician I have seen a number of children suffering from both the acute and chronic sequelae (i.e. results) of vaccinations....I do not believe that the immature immune systems of the two-month-old infant is capable of responding effectively to vaccines...In addition to the fact that the vaccines many not 'take' well in young infants, I also have concerns about the possible deleterious effects of exposing such tender, young, delicate organisms, our newborns, to such an onslaught of bacterial and viral particles, as well as the potentially toxic chemicals with which they are processed (including mercury and formaldehyde."

What are the possible acute side-effects? These would be fevers, allergic reactions and convulsions. Mostly, these subside without further complications. But sometimes they don't. Joanie Blaxter, a Brattleboro resident, writes of two sisters Laureli and Melissa who "were hospitalized as babies after their second DPT shot, for high fever and meningitis-like symptoms. When Melissa 's son Jamie was eight or nine weeks old he received his first pertussis immunization. His colicy symptoms worsened and within 48-72 hours he was found dead in his crib. The death certificate read "SIDS"." The side-effects of the pertussis vaccination is the most well documented and recognized.

Dr. Moskowitz writes of a three-year-old boy who began to suffer from appetite loss, swollen glands, stomachaches, indigestion and dairrhea two weeks after the MMR (mumps, measles, rubella) vaccination. The child also exhibited "wild" behavior and irregular sleep patterns along with the syndrome. The boy was seen one month after the shot, and Dr. Moskowitz antidoted the vaccination with a homeopathic remedy. His symptoms disappeared in 48 hours.

In my own practice, I have seen, among other cases, a healthy eighteen year old develop acute mononucleosis one week after vaccinations. In another case, extreme exhaustion with anxiety developed immediately after vaccination in a young man. It lasted for nearly half a year until being antidoted by homeopathic treatment. Both persons were forced to take the shots as a prerequisite to enter college.

Next week, chronic effects of immunizations.


Immunizations - A Matter Of Course Or Choice? Part III & IV


Last week we talked about possible acute side effects resulting from vaccinations. Let us now turn our attention to the possibility that immunization could lead to more chronic, far-reaching and insidious problems. It must first be pointed out that there is no definitive study nor true understanding of the long range effects of immunization. It is not a simple matter to make such a scientific corelation between an event that occurs early in a child,s life and his/her health over the next four or five decades. And, although immunization programs are carried out on hundreds of millions of people around the world, there has been no apparent effort to explore this question by those medical authorities who have the resources to do so. Still, some independent researchers are making correlations from their own observations. Many health care practitioners have worked with patients who have suffered long term ill-effects of vaccinations. I have personally worked with people who have experienced neurological damage that has lasted for years after immunization. I also remember seeing a young child who was brought to the office of a colleague with a seizure disorder. Ever since vaccinations several years earlier, she experienced a convulsion on the order of every 10 minutes. The seizure consisted of flailing of her limbs and a strange cry similar to the braying of a donkey. In his book DPT: A Shot in the Dark, Harris Coulter has documented the severity of the effects of the pertussis vaccination. In a later book, he suggests that vaccines cause many syndromes of brain injury or neurological damage. He postulates that the rise in the occurence of many problems like allergies, dyslexia, autism and behavior disorders could be the result of the wide spread use of vaccination. Coulter suggests a mechanism whereby the vaccination causes an allergic inflammation in the brain which results in neurological damage. Richard Moskowitz, MD, who has also questioned the use of this procedure, offers a slightly different theory. He believes that the introduction of a vaccine into the body that results in the long term presence of latent viruses within the body will create a confusion in the immune system. A vaccination is a method by which diluted disease agents are introduced into the system by avoiding the natural defense mechanisms of the body. They are, in a sense, parachuted behind enemy lines. Without any means to expel these agents, the viruses are eventually incorporated into the cells of the body. This creates a profound confusion throughout the entire organism as to what is actually the organism ("self"), which is to be protected, and what is foreign ("nonself"), which is to be expelled. At some point, the immune system will begin to attack cells within the body to rid the organism of the foreign substance. This results in chronic auto-immune disease. As an example of such a mechanism, Moskowitz quotes the following case. This "was a five-year-old boy with chronic lymphocytic leukemia, whom I happened to see in August of 1978, while visiting an old friend and teacher, a family physician withover 40 years' experience. Well out of earshot of either the boy or his parents, he told me that the leukemia had first appeared following a DPT vaccination, and that, although he had treated the child successfully with natural remedies on two previous occasions, with shrinking of the liver and spleen to approximately normal size, and dramatic improvement in the blodd picture, full relapse had occurred soon after each successive DPT booster".1 The theory presented by Moskowitz is also echoed in a very similar concept offered by a German physician. He suggests that material from vaccines shots becomes attached to the various molecular compounds in the body, creating new, unknown substances in the body. Dubbed "haptens", they are neither "self" nor "nonself". But they have the effect of stimulating auto-immune disease.2 Dr. Robert Simpson of Rutgers University made the following comments in a 1976 address to the American Cancer Society, "Immunization programs...may be actually seeding humans with RNA to form latent proviruses in cells throughout the body. These latent proviruses could be molecules in search of diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, MS, systemic lupus erythematosus, Parkinson's disease and perhaps cancer." Taking all this into account, suggestions that the AIDS epidemic is the result of a contaminated vaccine was used in Africa over a decade ago may seem more credible. Although all this may be dismissed as speculation, the fact remains that we really have very little idea what this pervasive medical procedure is doing to the present and future generations of humanity. We are undertaking an enormous gamble with higher stakes than were first realized.

1 - Immunizations: A Dissenting Point of View, Richard Moskowitz, MD. 2- Homotoxicology, Dr. Hans-Heinrich Reckweg.



Most of what has been presented diverges from the standard views held by most conventional medical practitioners. Yet, I sincerely do not wish for anyone to construe the information presented in these articles as an attempt to dissuade people from vaccinating themselves or their families. It is presented for what it is - information and interpretations of data. It is not orthodox, and therefore will probably incur the wrath of those who are philosophically, emotionally, and/or materially invested in the orthodox view. But it is important information provided us by sincere people who have researched the facts. Just as importantly, it is information that is not distributed at the office of your local family practitioner or pediatrician. The reason why it is not readily available is simply because this point of view is not incorporated into the educational background of orthodox health care providers. Patients sometimes ask me, "Should we immunize our child?", or, "Should I take a flu shot this season?" It is a hard position to be put in because it is such a hard question to answer. All of us wish for a life that is free from disease and suffering. To some extent or other, we all take steps to enhance that possibility. But nothing can be absolutely guaranteed, nothing is absolutely safe. That is the human condition. Vaccinations cannot guarantee anyone freedom from sickness, they offer a choice. On the one hand, a refusal to vaccinate chances contracting a possibily preventable disease. On the other, vaccinating will chance the possibility that there will be either short-term side effects, long-term complications like possible weakening of the body's immune system or other yet unknown problems. The solution? I know what I have chosen for myself and my family. But only you can educate yourself and make an informed choice. There is no absolute black and white on this. Be reasonable and avoid the rigid dogma of either side. You can choose to accept all the immunization procedures, refuse them all, or select the ones that seem most important and/or less likely to cause side-effects. Do not be overwhelmed by the pressure put on you by family, peers or medical and educational institutions. If you do make a decision that does not follow conventional wisdom, be prepared for the possibility that one, some, or all of the above will try to force you to change it. Sounds easy, no? Well, you do have a right to your choice - legally and morally.

Here are some reference sources for information on vaccinations: (1) The Case Against Immunizations by Richard Moskowitz, MD. Short and concise but technical, theoretical information. Write: NCH, 801 North Fairfax Str., Ste 306, Alexandria, VA 22314 Call: (703) 548-7790. (2) Immunizations published by Mothering magazine. A collection of articles with many points of view expressed by professionals and laypeople. Write: Mothering Magazine, POB 8410, Santa Fe, NM 87504 Call: (505) 984-8116 (3) The Immunization Decision : A Guide for Parents by Randall Neustaedter, OMD.North Atlantic Books,1990, Berkeley A fairly concise, user-friendly and reasonable investigation of the facts and non-facts surrounding immunization. Discusses immunizations as a whole or indiviually. (4) DPT: A Shot in the Dark by H. Coulter and B. Fisher. Harcourt Brace, Jovanovich Publishers, Orlando, Florida, 1985 A scholarly documentation of the destructive side-effects and politics related to the pertussis vaccination. (5)The Assault on the American Child: Vaccination, Sociopathy, and Criminality by Harris Coulter. North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, 1990 An investigation into the possible relationship between childhood vaccination and many medical/social problems that plague our society. Fascinating and terrifying. (6) Immunization: The Reality Behind the Myth by Walene James Bergin & Garvey, New York, 1988 A grandmother's personal account of the medical and legal struggles her family faced when confronted with the problem of immunization. Full of facts and anger. (7) How to Raise a Healthy Child...In Spite of Your Doctor by Robert Mendelsohn,MD. Contemporary Books, Chicago, 1984 A commonsense guide for parents on how to avoid the pitfalls of conventional medicine for their children.