Why We Choose Not to Vaccinate

14

UPDATE: MAY 2013: In March 2013 the Center’s for Disease Control (CDC) estimates autism cases now affect 1 in 50 children.  Read more about the false science associated with Autism in this April 2013 article.

UPDATE: MAY 12, 2012: Dr. Laura Hewitson at the University of Pittsburgh discovers baby monkeys developed autism after routine CDC vaccinations.

Sept. 12, 2010: It’s that time of year again when thoughts turn from sand, summer and sunscreen to reading, writing and arithmetic.

And vaccines.  And flu season.

If you haven’t heard, there’s a raging debate going on in America: amongst parents, pediatricians, scientists, pharmaceutical companies and autistic organizations.  It’s called Vaccinate or Not Vaccinate, that is the question.

Both my husband and I were born in the ’60s, a time when parents rarely questioned whatever their pediatrician told them.  We also were born during a time when the schedule of vaccines was minimal compared to the almost 30 vaccines available today.

Regardless, I am convinced that as a small child my immune system and my digestion were slowly compromised because of vaccines I received and the basic premise of western medicine which is “one size fits all.”  In other words, in western medicine, we treat symptoms by applying a single concept across the entire population.

Here are the highlights: From birth I was a very colicky baby who — at the advice of my pediatrician — was given formula INSTEAD of breast milk.  By two, I was a regular penicillin taker as I was continuously plagued with strep throat, tonsillitis and colds.  I can still vividly remember my parents having to hold me down to get me to take the penicillin, as well has having traumatic memories of ice-cube baths in the middle of the night to bring down fevers associated with strep and tonsillitis.   Having zero population of good bacteria in my system, I was on a downward spiral from there.  I remained a scrawny child, extremely thin, consistently plagued by regular diarrhea and vulnerable to every bug that came along — including a very bad case of salmonella that I contracted at a state fair that landed me in the hospital for a week at the age of 10.  At 16 I contracted mononucleosis, and believe me, it had nothing to do with kissing.  At 19, I started experiencing chronic gall bladder attacks that western medicine treated with 1) placebos (it must be in my head); 2) tranquilizers (it must be stress).  Never once was diet questioned.  By the time I was in my 30s I had unexplained infertility, chronic acne and chronic fatigue, chronic sore throats and was taking antibiotics every 3-6 months.

Now western medicine does some things really, really well.  Like trauma, and reproductive medicine.  And it’s getting more and more holistic as humanity continues to evolve and become more and more enlightened.  However, it wasn’t until I started studying Ayurvedic Medicine that I was able to learn of the body’s ability to heal itself.  One reason I so love the teachings of Ayurvedic Medicine is that is sees each person as unique as the different snowflakes that fall.  That means that different healing modalities work for different people when we are in a healing crisis, and no one concept works for everyone.  It was through Ayurveda and yoga that I was empowered to reverse my symptoms and finally give birth to a healthy baby boy at the age of 45.

You can imagine my trepidation when it came time to vaccinate our perfect, beautiful child.

It actually started before he was born.  In the process of making my birth plan, I was shocked to learn that as a matter of standard practice, all hospitals give the Hepatitis B vaccination at birth.  Now, Hep B is contracted one of two ways: shared needles and unprotected sex.

Huh??  My newborn? Unprotected sex? Shared needles?

Upon further investigation I learned if the mother has Hep B it can be passed to the child during child-birth.  By connecting the dots I soon realized this was more about the hospital protecting itself from a lawsuit than it was about protecting my son.

First vaccine: No.

As I continued to examine the evidence by reading books, searching on the internet and talking to friends, family and health care professionals that I respect, the case against vaccinating began to mount.  Including a rate of autism in boy babies in California that is 1 in 90.

Then, I came across this video.   It’s an interview from Dr. Maurice Hillerman, a doctor at Merck who developed vaccines.  In the video he talks about how vaccines were injected into millions of Russians and Americans, knowingly, that were laced with undetectable, cancer-causing viruses.  That, combined with very compelling research on how polio was on the decline BEFORE the polio vaccine was developed, really got my attention.

So I began digging.  And digging.  Funny thing: when you start to explore a certain frequency, amazingly the universe will respond with exactly what you need.  All you have to do is ask the questions.  When the student is ready, the teacher will come.

Dr. Lauren Feder, our family physician, came into our lives at exactly the right time.  Her book on vaccinations was going to press and came out one month before my son was born.  I had very mixed feelings about vaccinating before I read her book.  What it did was help me get clear on my choice.  I love that she is SO neutral about it, and the book accomplishes the goal of informing, which empowers parents to make the choice that is right for them.

Within six months of making the decision not to vaccinate, stories started to come to us from every direction of individuals who had negative experiences with vaccines: One man in our neighborhood was given the polio vaccine as a child and, as a result, contracted polio.  Our nanny, who we hired to work with us when our son was little, was given several vaccines as a child in the ’80s.  As her mother discovered adverse reactions occurring following a vaccine, she withdrew her daughter from the vaccine schedule and chose not to continue her vaccines.  Our former nanny (who is now a friend) is one of the most radiant, beautiful, intelligent, healthy and glowing individuals we know.  My yoga teacher, who received the pertussis/whooping cough vaccine as a child — and again received the booster as an adult (the whooping cough vaccine is not a life-long vaccine) just last year contracted whooping cough — despite the fact that she was vaccinated for it twice!

Another two strikes against vaccinating.

Then, Jenny McCarthy hit Oprah.

Let me tell you (and if you are a parent, you know): when you hear the truth, especially when it relates to making a decision about your child, you know it.  It has a ring to it.  When I heard Jenny describe how her son LITERALLY went — overnight — from a vivacious, lively child, to one that was dead in his eyes, I knew she knew it was from his vaccines.

Part of making the choice not to vaccinate for me included making a commitment to learn how to cultivate my son’s immune system.  Consciously.  In other words, not vaccinating to me means taking charge of my son’s health in a way that most parents probably never even consider.  It means it is my most important, full-time job.

I also decided I would rather spend my time cultivating his health than reversing negative affects of vaccinations.

I don’t work, I am a stay-at-home mom.  Are there sacrifices with this? Yes.  Do we have the lavish lifestyle that we could have if I also worked? No.  But wealth to me is not nearly as important as taking the time to cook nutrient-rich foods that will build my son’s immunity.  Wealth to me means giving my son the very best start he can have, which included nursing him for 18 months; giving him only breast milk for the first 6 months of life; educating myself on how to stimulate his immune system to grow naturally by using homeopathy; and making sure that his immune system is growing in a way that will prevent him from getting sick in the first place.  If I had to work to put food on my table, I am unsure of the choice I would make.  If I were a single parent and had to put my child in daycare from the age of three months old, I might have chosen to vaccinate because I don’t know that I would have the time or the financial resources to make it work.  That is why this is an extremely personal and individual decision.

Stories of children who get vaccines for the chicken pox and still get them abound.  People with compromised gastrointestinal systems (like I used to have) are walking around unaware their problem may have started when they were very small.  Parents with children recovering from autism have extensive stories how cutting commercialized wheat and dairy out of their children’s diets have improved their children’s symptoms.  And following a nutrient-rich diet, like the one outlined at www.nourishedkitchen.com, benefits the entire family because it’s also delicious.

Educating yourself on how to keep your family healthy is an ongoing process.  All I know is what I see.  My son is now almost three.  We can count on one hand the number of times he has been sick.  We use Dr. Lauren’s book on Natural Babycare as a family guide for us all in the use of homeopathy to treat and reverse symptoms before they become full-blown illnesses.  Recently we saw a HUGE improvement in our digestion by switching to only grass-fed beef and dairy products.  And we continually supplement with green drinks and probiotics as an inoculation against illness.

I hope this has helped those of you who are still making your decision.  It is a very, VERY emotionally challenging choice and clearly there is no guarantee on either side.   I do know that fear has sold a LOT of drugs in this country.  I should know: I used to do investor relations for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.

Namasté.

14 Comments

  1. Forgive me for not considering you a healthcare expert. A college degree, an interest in holistic health, and an internet connection do not make you an authority on vaccinations and public health.

    It’s presumptuous of you to think you know better than public health officials b/c you read a couple websites. And your position would be fine if your choices were only affecting your own child. Unfortunately, you and others like you are endangering other children.

    Babies under two months old cannot be vaccinated, so they depend on the rest of society for to create an environment of immunity for them. Because of increasing vaccine refusals, eight babies have died this year in CA from whooping cough thanks to so many families making the choice you made and are encouraging others to make.

    Just b/c your yoga instructor got whooping cough after getting vaccinated doesn’t mean the vaccine is useless. The whooping cough vaccine and booster provide each recipient with 85%-95% immunity, which means a small minority of people who receive these shots will still get whooping cough.

    The vaccine and autism link has been disproven. Ten of the thirteen physicians who published that studied have retracted their support of it and the main author lost his medical license. When autism occurs, it is early in a child’s life. That’s also when kids get their vaccines. It’s a HUGE leap to say that b/c a kid got vaccinated, then got autism, that the vaccine caused autism. Since that the Jenny McCarthy appearance, Oprah has stated that kids should get vaccinated. By the way, Estee Klar is a parent of an autistic child who is fighting to promote childhood vaccinations. Having never appeared in Playboy, she doesn’t get as much attention as Jenny McCarthy, but her master’s degree in Critical Disability Studies probably makes her a just little more qualified to speak on these issues: http://www.esteeklar.com/2010/04/05/neurological-nirvana/

    There’s a lot of noise about alternative medical practioners disliking vaccines, but the fact is, most naturopaths, homeopaths, and chiropractors think kids should get vaccinated.

    I have a child getting ready for preschool. He’s vaccinated, of course. What angers me about your position is that your choice affects my kid’s health and safety. His vaccinations provide him substantial, but incomplete protection against diseases.

    You have every right to not vaccinate your child, if you think that’s what’s best for him. Just keep him at home.

    • Wow, Dylan, I have spent several days digesting your comment and have decided not to address each point in your comment, even though I disagree with much of what you did say.

      What I do want to respond with is that I wish for you the opportunity to consider that our power lies within and that we are not vulnerable to things outside ourselves. Fear is a big driver in this debate, and I feel a lot of fear in your reply. I trust that you are making choices that are right for you, just as I am making choices that are right for me and my family.

      Namaste.

    • Thanks for the question Jane. I have not yet encountered a situation with Alexander where tetanus would be required. If I did, I would consult our family physician about it first and (quickly) research options. I do know you can administer tetanus after receiving a cut from a nasty piece of metal (this happened to me as a kid), so I definitely would only consider it if only if there were an incident like that, but not as a prophylactic.

      UPDATE: Jane, I recently tested my blood for titres to see if I had immunity to tetanus and other diseases. Can you believe that even though I have not had a tetanus vaccine in almost 30 years I STILL have immunity to tetanus in my blood? Proof positive we don’t need to do a booster every 10 years… it’s another way for pharmaceutical companies to drive sales.

      Namaste.

  2. Hi,

    You seem like a pretty nice person and a concerned mother. I am someone who just wants to help educate people on the real science behind vaccination, infectious disease, and risks behind vaccination. I do not want to make any personal attacks on you or your opinions, but rather explain what, as human beings, we currently know about these concepts.

    I want to begin with this:

    http://edition.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/09/17/california.whooping.cough/index.html

    It is a fact that all 9 of these babies would not have died of pertussis – if members of their community had acted responsibly and gotten their children vaccinated. These babies were too young to be vaccinated against pertussis – their parents had no say in their vaccination status (We can only begin vaccinate kids against pertussis at age 2 months)

    So, Their only protection came from what is known in science as “the herd”. Unfortunately, members of their herd did not want to take the “risks” of vaccination. I put “risks” in quotations because as of yet, there has not been one convincing experiment that has proven any significant risks. (These experiments have been repeated by many different scientists, in many different countries around the world).

    Getting back to the “Herd immunity” –

    Let me explain: Diseases like pertussis travel from person to person. Hence, in order to infect one person, they have to had infected another person first. The babies that we read about in this latest Cnn article, were given the infection from an older child. Now, that older child could only have gotten the infection if he/she had not been vaccinated. By vaccinating that older child, we could have made sure that the older child never got the infection- thereby, protecting those babies.

    Fortunately, the older child most likely did not have any serious complications from their disease, so for him/her it was fine. But for the unfortunate baby, who was too weak to fight the infection, it was a different story. The herd failed its duty of protecting its weak.

    As citizens of the great nation of the United States, we try to look out for our neighbors. We want to make sure we don’t accidentally do them a great amount of harm. Thats why we all get all our children vaccinated. Diseases can spread through populations quickly, and therefore we act as herd, and protect our weak. By making sure that our healthy members don’t get infections, we also make sure that our sicker members don’t either.

    Now, you tell the story of the friend who got polio from the polio vaccine. You are right – there was a huge failure on part of the medical field early on, when we did not properly understand vaccination. However, the current vaccines that we produce have extremely, extremely low rates of complications. So low, that as a society we have determined that the risks of not getting vaccinated far outweigh the possible risks of the vaccination. Again, I say possible, because these risks have never been proven.

    I hope you reconsider your positions on vaccinations. The hepatitis B and HPV vaccinations are two vaccines that have greatly reduced liver cancer and cervical cancer in the United States. If you look elsewhere in the world, you can see that they are still some of the top killers in less fortunate countries. Your kids could greatly benefit, and your community would greatly appreciate your concern for their safety.

    Thanks for listening, and please email me if you have any questions. I would love to answer them!

    Tarak

  3. So the shots wear off after time, as likely happened with the Yoga instructor. (There is no reason it can’t last a life-time, but then they couldn’t make money off it repeatedly!)
    BUT WHEN A PEDIATRICIAN OF 6 MONTH OLD CHILD VERIFIES THAT THE DTAP SHOT INFACT gave the infant
    PERTUSIS and “a touch” of DIPTHERIA just after 7 days of getting the very first vaccination – that says a lot!
    The Pediatrician was not at all surprised, saying it was not uncommon for it to happen. The child regressed neurologically and was later diagnosed with Autism!
    From the time of the Vaccination, the child who was perfectly healthy and happy, was sick constantly with strep-throat, inner ear infections, upper respiratory infections, a depleted immune system, with on-going low levels of IGA, IGG! The pediatrician immediately put the 6 month old on Penicillin, of which the child has now been found to have become allergic to, and the child has had to be treated for one form of infection or another, no less than once a month with some form of antibiotic or medication! All to learn that the child presented with recurrent headaches, stomach aches, seizures & behaviour problems(which started within about 5 days of the shot)!
    DO YOU PEOPLE NOT GET IT? THIS IS A GUARANTEE FOR MAKING SURE THAT PATIENTS GO BACK FOR FOLLOW-UP VISITS! IT MAKES THEM MORE MONEY, THEY GET MORE KICK-BACKS FROM THE BIG DRUG COMPANIES! (AND I KNOW, AS I WITNESSED THIS FIRST HAND: A CARDIOLOGIST
    WHO PRESCRIBED THE SAME MEDICATION TO EVERY PATIENT TO MAKE SURE HE GOT THE KICK-BACK HE CHOSE, A CRUISE WITH HIS GIRLFRIEND, THAT HIS WIFE LEARNED ABOUT AFTER THEY RETURNED!)
    None of the child’s Doctor’s had any concerns about the amount of antibiotics the child was being prescribed!
    It has become the norm in Western Medicine. NOW we see all sorts of signs and warnings about not “ASKING” for antibiotics, if you have a virus. The problem is, the DOCTORS DON’T EVEN KNOW IF IT VIRAL OR BACTERIAL!
    WHY? Because they choose to overbook and then they make quick judgements and assumptions and too often are not even concerned if the prescription was really warranted!
    Without doing any necessary tests, they just write out a prescription – along with those famous words of “If it doesn’t get better, come back in 7 to 14 days for follow-up, and we will TRY a different antibiotic!!”
    EVER WONDER WHY OUR HEALTH’CARE’ SYSTEM IS OVERWHELMED with REALLY Sick People? Ever wonder why heart disease, cancer, etc., are continually on the rise!! EVER WONDER WHY HEALTH COSTS and DRUG Costs are continually and quickly rising each year?
    The almighty FALSIFIED QUICK FIX! THE DOCTORS DON’T WANT TO GET TO THE BOTTOM OF THE PROBLEM, THEY DON’T WANT TO CURE ANYTHING! THEY HAVE BEEN TRAINED (BRAINWASHED) IN MEDICAL “SCHOOL” TO ONLY M A N A G E Their patients, WITH EVERY KIND OF DRUG AND VACCINATION YOU CAN IMAGINE!
    IT’S ALL ABOUT BIG BUSINESS! THINK ABOUT THE CONSTANT BOMBARDING OF TELEVISION, RADIO, NEWSPAPER AND MAGAZINE ADS…..TELLING PATIENTS TO ASK THE DOCTOR FOR DRUGS FOR DISEASES THEY DON’T EVEN KNOW THEY HAVE!
    WAKE UP SHEEPLE! ARE YOU REALLY GOING TO ALLOW THEM TO INJECT YOU WITH SUBSTANCES THEY CAN’T EVEN IDENTIFY! NO ONE IN THE HEALTH SYSTEM COULD TELL US WHAT SPECIFICALLY WAS IN EACH VACCINE…..AGAIN, THEY WERE GUESSING…AND ARGUING WITH ONE ANOTHER IN FRONT OF US!
    WHEN IT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT IS!

  4. I read the first comment above and I have to say, that’s the knee-jerk response of anyone who automatically thinks the health “experts” know it all. I have an almost 8-month-old son and we have not to date vaccinated either. My baby does NOT need the Hep B shot (absolutely ridiculous unless the mother is infected), nor does he need Pneumovax, the flu shot, and many other of the unnecessary junk they pump into kids from birth. It’s a racket, plain and simple. I agree, some vaccines are necessary, but it’s getting out of hand. Soon, there will be a vaccine for everything. Hello, kids get sick!! As long as it’s not a life-threatening disease (which the flu and chickenpox are NOT unless you’re severely immunocompromised), why vaccinate for it? The answer is simple. Money!! People need to do their research, find out what’s in the vaccines that could be HARMING their child instead of helping them, and stop blindly accepting everything the medical establishment tells them. I have family members who have had bad experiences with vaccines, and I refuse to believe they are harmless. So, crucify me if you will for trying to protect my child….I really don’t care. I am a stay at home mom as well and I nurse, and am doing everything I can to keep my son healthy. We could get caught up in having a certain lifestyle as well, but raising a healthy baby who needs his mommy is more important. I applaud the author for her choices.

    • Well said, Jessica. Thank you so much for your comment. And congratulations for following your instincts to protect your baby! The documentary “The Greater Good” is a great one to watch, if you haven’t seen it already. Until the pharmaceutical companies and the federal agencies that govern them clean up their act, the vaccination program protects no one. We are all at risk.

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  6. Hi,
    I commend you for having the courage to speak your mind and explain your decision. If only people would learn to respect your choice. The same way you respect other people choice to vaccinate, not vaccinate, cloth diaper, disposable diapers, formula or breastfeeding. It’s all about letting people live and have the freedom to make their own decision in this free country.

    And for all the other people getting worked up about anyone else’s decision that different from theirs. Just get over it I’m not freakin out about you consuming fast food and killing yourself or me with the pollution the company makes when you purchase their food. Or should I be ? Wouldn’t that go against your own personal decision ?

  7. I just went to my son’s two month check up they have him 2 vaccines and one orally. I rejected the hepatitis B and instead they have him penacillin?? Why that? Was i wrong to accept it?

    • Hi, I believe we communicated about this directly. But I would never give a child penicillin in place of a vaccine… They are completely separate. What I do know is that it is extremely important, whether dealing with your child or yourself, to always question whatever kind of medical treatment or care you are being offered, and to use your gut instinct (as well as research) to find out what is best for you. I walked out of a pediatric dentist because they wanted me to sign a form saying they could — at their discretion — give my son nitrous oxide and strap him down if need be. For a cleaning! To boot, they would not allow me back into the treatment room with my child. I simply said to the front desk, “Thank you very much, this is not the right dentist for me,” and took my child by the hand and walked out. A year later that dentist is making headlines for unethical practices.

      Always listen to your intuition and find a doctor that will honor that.

      Namaste.

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