To Vaccinate or Not?
By Dr. Michelle Hebert DC, CHT
This is often a confusing and emotionally charged topic for parents as they are faced with having to make a decision and feeling the pressure from both sides of the debate. As a practitioner of holistic health methods, I feel that it is my role to provide the information for each parent to review so that an appropriate decision can be made for each child. I see both sides of the debate: I have seen and worked with children who have suffered the consequences of having an overwhelmed immune system where vaccinations were most likely part of the cause. In fact, just recently, a father who was a neurologist made headlines: He sued and won damages through the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program after his 19 month old child received 5 vaccines and subsequently developed neurodegeneration, including signs of mild autism spectrum disorder. In this case, they were able to prove that an underlying mitrochondrial dysfunction predisposed his child to neurodegeneration after the stress of receiving vaccines (multiple antigen insult). Cases like this are becoming more and more common. I have also traveled abroad to countries like India and Nepal where you can see the effects of a population having no access to vaccines. In this case, the crippling effects of not having access to Polio vaccines are devastating to observe. So I realize that there is a time and a place for vaccines, but I also realize that there are many factors to consider. This article serves as an outline for a parent to review and be aware of the considerations.
Here are some important factors to consider when you are trying to decide on vaccinating your children:
- The health of your child: If your child has any health or immune issues prior to vaccination, you must consider that his/her immune system will be even more stressed upon the administration of a vaccine. Adding the extra stress of a vaccine could result in serious health consequences.
- Your child’s nutritional intake: If your child has excellent nutrition (ex. he/she has high sugar foods only occasionally, he/she takes immune boosting vitamins and/or eats plenty of immune boosting fruits and vegetables) then your child will more likely be able to resist infections upon exposure and overcome an infection easier once an infection has set in. Many parents feel that a healthy diet, nutritional supplements and herbs and homeopathic remedies are the best line of defense against any illness and so they choose to not vaccinate their children at all.
- Is your child exposed to a high risk population for the disease you are vaccinating for? In other words, if your child was going to be traveling overseas to a country with poor sanitation, you would need to consider what types of diseases the child might be exposed to and then make an appropriate decision. Furthermore, if you child is exposed to a high percentage of non-vaccinated children (even here in the United States), then you may need to consider the risk of certain diseases.
- How old is your child? An infant does not efficiently produce antibodies until about 6 months old. This one of the many reasons why breast feeding is so important. Breast milk from the mother will contain antibodies and factors that a young infant needs to effectively develop his/her own immune system. The immune system more completely finishes its development at about 4 years old. Many holistic practitioners believe that it can be very harmful to give an infant any vaccinations before the age of 18 months due to the inability of the infant’s immune system to launch a proper immune response.
- Does the vaccine have toxic ingredients? Unfortunately, many vaccines are made with toxic ingredients on purpose. The toxic ingredients are added to preserve or sanitize the vaccine. In the production of vaccines, there is typically contamination from other viruses, bacteria, and microbes that are present in the culture medium. To try and eliminate this contamination, ingredients like Aluminum (linked with dementia and brain problems), Acetone (found in nail polish remover), and thimerosol (mercury compound linked with Autism) are added. Because the evidence linking thimerosol to Autism is so strong, that it would be advisable for any parents who do choose to vaccinate their children, to only vaccinate if it is with mercury and thimerosal-free vaccines. When you go into the physicians office, BEFORE THEY ADMINISTER THE VACCINE TO YOUR CHILD, ask to see the package insert of the vaccine. Do not necessarily trust the nurse or doctor when they say it is mercury free because they may think they know, but they may really not know. I was surprised myself to find that Pharmaceutical companies were even still using mercury in their vaccines (as of July 2010)! Hasn’t there been enough evidence to support the removal of this toxic substance from vaccines? Please visit www.vaccinesafety.edu/thi-table.htm to see a list of vaccines which still contain Thimerosol/Mercury according to the Institute for Vaccine Safety.
- How many vaccinations at one time? It is advisable that a child never receive more than one vaccine at a time. It is also advisable that at least 5 months pass between each vaccine so that the body and immune system can overcome the effects of each vaccine. Combinations of vaccines are far more lethal according to statistical studies of vaccine reactions.
Some recommended websites for vaccination information are: