Sunday, October 16, 2011

hot topics

okay, so i'm going to be talking about some rather controversial topics over the next week.  i don't want to offend anyone, but would love to hear your two-cents/sense.  this is partially because i am feeling rather ignorant when it comes to many topics, and partly because i am taking an analytical moral reasoning class and it is causing me to really think more deeply in my life.

so...i would seriously love to hear what anyone has to say, but ask only that if you reply or respond to someone else's comment (or even what i say on the blog) that you do so with respect, regardless of your own opinion.  everyone has the right to believe what they want, and we should respect that.  we don't have to agree with it, but it is good to listen, consider, do our homework and then see what we can add.

some of the topics may not be super controversial necessarily, but may raise emotions for some as well.  i welcome it!  people who are passionate about something usually have a reason.

i would also appreciate if you quote something or share something from a website that you've read "somewhere" that you do the courtesy of sharing said link, book or whatever it might be.  i might also be sharing something you say in the comments area, but will ask your permission first if i have a way to contact you.

if you have the time, go ahead and start researching now so you can contribute to topics.  this first topic is particularly controversial and is one that i'm struggling with myself right now.

topic for this week:  


here are some questions that i've had so far:

  • who does the studies for the vaccinations that says that they are safe?  that there are no links to SIDS or autism, etc?  are these studies biased?  if so, by whom?  is there proof?
  • if the medical community claimed (and still claims) that thimerosal was not a safety hazard in vaccines, why did they end up taking it out of vaccines overall?
  • which vaccines are truly necessary?  which ones are not?  (example:  i had chicken pox as a child and remember it being kind of a rite of passage of childhood.  why is there a vaccine for it now?  is that necessary?  isn't it okay to have the chicken pox?)
  • there are loads of stories all over the internet of parents sharing stories of their babies dying of SIDS (supposedly linked to DTaP?  proof?  do we need proof?), of parents who say that their children have autism because of some reaction to vaccines, etc.   although i don't know what to believe, their stories still frighten me a bit.  should i not believe them just because they aren't scientifically proven?  do they need to be?  
  • why did my pediatrician chew me out for me asking about the safety of vaccines?  he didn't even want to consider why i was asking.  he was clearly mad.
okay, so there's just a few things for now.  

ready, set, go and learn and share!


Robin Baker said...

oh goodness. this one takes time. lots of time. there is so much info out there mama.

Go on a FB natural parenting forums and pose these questions. You will get answers ASAP from all over the world. It's amazing what info you can get on FB in zero seconds flat, lol.

When my baby(ies) were born, I asked the doctor in the hospital "can you tell me why my ONE DAY old baby is at risk for HEP B?" and he said "he is not." So I declined it. After all, my baby will not be having sex or doing drugs anytime soon... ah hem.

I read several books while pregnant with my first about vaccines, all very biased against them. Because we already have the PRO side - the drug companies and hospitals and doctors make zillions of dollars of money off these drugs, so trusting what they say or their own studies does no good. Then I read "The Vaccine Book" by world renowned and trusted pediatrician Dr. Sears. It is very cut and dry, just the facts. Not biased either way. I used this info to come up with my own schedule for my kids based upon what my husband and I thought was the best for our family. I have the book if you'd like to borrow it.

Basically we looked at the risks vs the benefits and decided that the risks of the vaccines themselves were far greater than any of the diseases they were trying to prevent. We were breastfeeding and having in home day care. We did not vaccinate our first until the age of 3 when he went to preschool. Then we did ONE at a time and there are some we don't do at all, period. Our second son didn't receive his first vaccine until age 2 and our third started at age 2 months but again we only did ONE or TWO max at a time. We started our second and third child earlier because the older the eldest got he was increasingly more exposed to more people (big day care/school). But guess what? They have never been sick with anything that would've been prevented by the vaccines - even when they were vax free. And their first year of the flu shot? Yep, they had the horrible flu. A lot of my friends that get 5 shots per visit because that's what their pediatrician said to do, have very sick babies. Especially for days after the shots. High fevers, etc. Delaying our vaccines or getting very few per visit was easy on my kids. They never had a reaction at all.

What I do like is that our pediatrician and nurses that work at Kaiser are VERY respectful of our schedule and never hassle us. So you may need to find a more friendly ped if he "chewed you out" - there are many to choose from! It is your right as a parent to choose the best for your child with the knowledge you have. It IS NOT LAW that you have to force drugs upon your child. THEY CAN GO TO ANY SCHOOL with no vaccines, or partially vaccinated. This is not public knowledge and there are scare tactics to try and get you to think otherwise. You simply turn over a piece of paper and sign. That simple.

The thing about the research is... who has the money? The big drug companies selling the drugs. Are they going to conduct a study that proves their vaccines are harmful? NOPE. They would be cutting off their money supply.

You are exactly correct about normal childhood illnesses we all got and survived. Now there are vaccines - THAT DO NOT GUARANTEE YOU WILL NOT GET THE DISEASE. And some of them are KILLING PEOPLE in clinical trials (HPV for teenage girls). The FDA approves all kinds of drugs that are harmful to people with really bad side effects - and later recalls them. Hmmmm, and if thimerisol was no big deal (hello mercury!) why was it taken out? Will they take out the formaldehyde and other metals too, just because?

Ok, I can't see what I've written and I'm dead tired. Hope that helped your thought process some. Let me know if you want to borrow the Vaccine Book :)

Kierst said...

Let me start by saying that everything I say is completely my opinion so take that how you will. First of all, I think that Autism is much more widely diagnosed than it used to be, so maybe kids were really autistic, but they weren't diagnosed as such. I definitely think that vaccinations are a necessity, but I don't necessarily believe that our kids should get everything all at once. BUT I do believe that we have the options of not vaccinating and still feeling safe BECAUSE others DO vaccinate so the diseases that our kids are receiving vaccinations for are not widely spread. Have you heard of "herd immunity?" Basically we are more immune because nobody's getting the disease. Many of the diseases that we are vaccinated for are VERY contagious dangerous and since our generation hasn't seen these diseases, we don't know how horrible they really are. That said, we all had chicken pox as kids and we all survived (I'm not sure how our parents did). And as for the flu shot, well, my whole family (except me) go it last year and they all got sick. Except me. But I think that's different. For the most part, I believe that vaccines are necessary and I don't believe that they do more harm than good. I've vaccinated both of my kids according to schedule and neither of them have had many (if any) side effects at all. Every child and every little body is different and deals with these things in different ways.

And for your doctor chewing you out? He really should be more respectful of your questions. I can imagine, though, that he gets frustrated with those who don't vaccinate.

Shelise said...

Brooke, I'm so thankful to have come across your blog about this. I have two young boys that are my world, and I'm terrified of injecting them with questionable toxins to hopefully not get sick. I have heard things supporting both sides of this and have dragged my feet to making a decision because I don't know where to find the right answers. I decide to go with my gut and decline only to feel like a negligent ignorant mother after a thorough scolding in the pediatrician's office. I love that you have decided to take the reins and try to find out for your self.

My husband and I air on the side of minimal western medicine and are weary of pharmaceutical companies pushing for these vaccinations. But what if my babies catch one these diseases they are trying to prevent i.e. chicken pox... If most children are vaccinated, and my son does not come in contact with it until he is an adult... Isn't that deadly? Or is that an old rumor? Polio? Whooping cough? Has modern medicine advanced enough for these things to not carry the treats that they used to? Or do I carry a false sense of security in my little bubble?

I spend so much energy feeding my children unprocessed, unrefined whole foods. Clean our home and clothes with eco friendly or natural products. I try to give my little guys the best chance I could possibly provide for a happy healthy life. Which brings my to my standstill... to vaccinate or not to vaccinate? I have a lot of questions I still need answered, but I love Robin's decision to keeping them down to one or two at a time. I didn't realize I could choose that. It's a good start.

Mama Birth said...

The Vaccine book, as mentioned is the best resource because he has the diseases, their kill rates, the vaccines, what is really in them (some stuff you see quoted by anti-vaccine people is a little He also takes into account lifestyle, like breastfeeding or daycare, things that could impact health and disease spread. It is less emotional and more reliable in my book-
I think if you do them or not has a little to do with how you view the body and health. Also- I remember that either way there are unpleasant consequences. I have had a child have a reaction, and then two of my children that I didn't vaccinate come down with a vaccine preventable disease that was really awful to deal with. They survived but it wasn't pretty. There are no easy answers and there are no choices without consequences. - Good luck!

Kiera said...

Most of the studies were done by the vaccine corporations, so I think there is a conflict of interest. Also, two studies were found to have fraudulent activities and the doctors are/have been prosecuted for them.

Not sure why they took thermisol out if it really was safe, I can only guess that they wanted more people to get the vaccines and there was so much controversy about the ingredient that they were trying to please more. Or that they found it wasn't so safe afterall.

In the Vaccine Book it gives more info on the pros and cons of vaccines, why you may want some and not others, etc, but for instance, chicken pox is less common now, so to have natural full immunity someone would have to catch it in childhood and then be exposed to it numerous times in childhood.

Well, I personally have a 6 year old daughter who had a vaccine reaction to MMR at 2 months. She had a rash, didn't seem to be smiley or "there" the rest of the day. She slowly snapped out of it, or so it seemed. Now she has asperger's. However, other things were at play. She lacked oxygen at birth, she had colick, etc. I HIGHLY recommend looking at the GAPS diet because if you follow that diet you can heal the body and have less reactions from things like vaccines IF you choose to get any. In my humble opinion I could care less if it's scientifically proven or not, it affected my child in some way and it has in other children as well so I am going to do my best to protect her and my other children from further damage. Plus since her ped has not believed us about anything, I cannot trust that others haven't been through the same and not been taken seriously. Therefore, there is less reports and I'm sorry but that makes the studies invalid.
I am not sure why your ped chewed you out. You have perfectly great questions that EVERY single parent should be able to ask. Should know to ask! I commend you... I wish I knew to do research when my first was born.

Malerie said...

Tough and rough conversation, I know! I live with a doctor, so I hear his very strong opinion when this comes up. He's not a pediatrician, but has worked with quite a few, studied, and has dealt with these questions.

I know one of the frustrations for Matt is that we have finally controlled or eliminated serious diseases that not long ago were a scary and real problem. Parents today don't see children with those diseases and he believes they don't realize how severe/fatal they could be for their children because they're not around anymore. It's hard for him to understand why parents would not support vaccines from a medical perspective- and he's a dad, too - but he would never chew you out, so your doctor should chill out!

He also gets frustrated because there is no evidence that vaccines cause autism. The one study that seemed to support it was retracted last year.

I'll ask him if he has any thoughts on your specific questions. Good luck! :)

Our Little Rock Stars said...

Most of the studies are done by the drug companies themselves. Vaccines are tested individually. They are not tested as given in the CDC schedule, with 4 or more at a time. The synergistic effect of receiving so many at once, is NOT known. The cumulative amount of Thimerosal and/or Aluminum used as a preservative, is also way over the FDA approved amount. The two agencies do not agree in this area. They give the same dose to a 7lb baby, that they give a 150lb adult. That alone, seems a bit scary. Good for you to ask questions. :)

Our Little Rock Stars said...

In the case of Autism...UC Davis did a study showing that better diagnosis is not the cause for the dramatic increase in cases. Our son for one is 5 years old and can not speak (even though he tries very very hard) many kids did you know growing up who were like that? I didn't know any.

Paula said...

Brooke, I like that you are asking these questions and doing what you find is best for your children. After all, that is what we are all trying to do. From a medical perspective I have to admit that I am very leery of not vaccinating at all. True, chicken pox in most cases is not deadly, but it can be very painful and can lead to shingles later in adulthood. Also I have to admit that I do worry for children who are not vaccinated against pertussis (whooping cough) especially as so many adults are not up to date with their pertussis vaccination. Adults get whooping cough more often than we realize but it can be diagnosed as bronchitis or something else. I also worry about streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) or Haemophilus INfluenzae (Hib) - both dangerous bacteria which can cause meningitis which in my opinion is not worth risking as it is such a dangerous disease which can lead to death or lifelong complications such as hearing loss/deafness.

That said, I understand the worry in giving an infant so many vaccinations at once. I'm no expert, but it does sound more reasonable to give one vaccination at a time than what the CDC schedules suggests.

Every parent is entitled to their opinions and to question the recommended schedule. I'm sorry that your pediatrician chewed you out. Perhaps he is like my pediatrician who has seen very sad results from not vaccinating. (my pediatrician had one boy suffer severe brain damage when the boy suffered from lack of oxygen when he caught whooping cough - which he did not get vaccinated for).

I don't tell that to scare anyone, but just as a cautionary example. While we can put off vaccinating, I also encourage caution in this. Perhaps your kids may not be going to daycare, but I can’t help but think about how often my little girl comes home from church and nursery with a runny nose. Unfortunately we can’t always keep our kids home.

~M~ said...

We go strait to the CDC. You have to read between the lines as they like to phrase things {just} so, to make it sound a certain way. But it is good to read the actual numbers. Also "Vaccines: Are they really safe and effective?" was good book for understanding the tricks that the CDC uses to make numbers look how they want. ie, if they want rates of a disease to go down, they can just change their definition of the disease to include fewer symptoms.
Oh, and I would recommend not relying on The Vaccine book for your sole source of information. He is clearly biased as he still recommends vaccines. I feel that reading from both sides of a bias is best, so you see the critiques on both sides. The book I mentioned above is extremely anti vaccine, so she would still need to see what the other side's argtument is.

Anne Steenblik said...

I have no problems with vaccinations or with the given schedule. Life is such a crapshoot - will the vaccine make them sick? Will not vaccinating them make them sick? Will they get vaccinated but end up with head trauma in an accident? I feel like there are things I can do to minimize risks and then leave the rest up to faith and hope. And I trust the doctors and the pharma companies even if they are getting rich off it. They aren't trying to hurt my children. You can find "evidence" for either position. Do what works for you and don't look back. Rock on sister!

Rachel Powell said...

Hey Brooke...So. I may have a very skewed view on vaccination since I a) am a scientist and b) work for corporations that make money off pharmaceuticals. This I feel works in my favor though. I know how much time, money and scientific experiment was put into developing these vaccines (including the excipients that they are formulated in). Years and year and years. That's not to say that, due to scientific progress, things that were once considered safe are now known to not be safe (for example, Phen-fen, Thalidomide, etc.) or that there aren't alarming and scary side effects (although the autism link has been throughly debunked. Dr Wakefield, the UK scientist that first published the connection, was found out to be falsifying data and actually taking bribes. He is no longer allowed to practice medicine. Also keep in mind that to publish data there is no government agency factchecking. To get a drug or vaccine approved in the US, there is years of factchecking and research that are checked and rechecked by the FDA). But the idea that the pharma companies are only out to make money is ludicrous. They make these to help people, to save from terrible disease. Look into how many vaccines are donated to third world countries to prevent the spread of these horrible diseases. And yes, they do make a buttload of money in the process. However, most companies make money off of selling pharmaceuticals for daily uses for various chronic diseases, not vax. In fact, the profit margin for vaccine research is a LOT lower than for chronic disease.
Okay, all that being said, I do think that you need to make sure you know what the dr's recommend for the vax schedule, and see if any of it is necessary. Hep B? Chicken pox? Flu? Are these really necesary for babies? Maybe not. But Pertussis, Dtap, MMR? I would say a definitive yes. I see no problem in cherry picking which vaccines you want your children to get and spacing them out so that they aren't getting 3-4 at once if you would like. And your pedi should be open to discussion for this. The fact that he made you feel you were in the wrong for asking is ridiculous. I can understand that he is frustrated with the anti-vax families, but this would have been a good time for him explain how he feels on the matter. My pedi is wonderful. We have had very open vaccine conversations, so if you would like to change, let me know. She may be far for you though. Anyways, I hope this helped in some way. I have vaccinated my twins for most things on the vax schedule, but not all. And I did try to space it differently. I had no problems with any reaction too.
Love you and The cute fam!

Rachel Powell said...

Sorry, one other thing. To feel safer about the vaccines, you should research how drugs and vaccines are approved for use in the US. Full disclosure is the name of the game. If any side effects or links to anything is discovered int eh clinical phase of the vaccine, then it has to be disclosed to the FDA. The FDA then makes the decision whether it is still safe for public use (albeit with warnings listed). This is why drugs for things like cancer often have such harsh side effects...its likfe and death. But with quality of life drugs (for MS, diabetes, lupus, Crohn's, etc) the FDA are a lot more stringent about the allowable side effects. The same is true with vaccines. These are neither life nad death nor quality of life. The side effect risks have to be very low to have FDA approval.

Robin Baker said...

From my friend Dawn Thompson - a mother of 5 and experienced birth doula in SD
"The vaccine book by Dr. Sears is great. Comprehensive and really lays out the risks for each vaccine to help families make the best choice for them. He is our pedi. We planned to do some but wanted to wait until 18 months but once we learned that she had passed the age of true risk of sever injury if she contracted anything, the risk of vaccine danger was greater than the risk of even getting any of the diseses. So even though she is not vaccinated, she could still contract obviously but she would more than likley recover from all the illnesses. Dr. Sears also based things on, where you live, do you travel outside the US when your children are small, how long did or do you breastfeed, is your child going to be in a public or private daycare and where you live. All of these things change the risk factors. I hope that helps."

Robin Baker said...

From "Organic Baby University" on FB:

Dr Mayor Eisenstien's Book Make An Informed Vaccine Decision for the Health of Your Child is the best book I have read on the subject. Also he has tons of webinars from scientists and doctors on his site Also Dr Tenpenny has wonderful resources including DVDs and a website you can google.

Our Little Rock Stars said...

Andy Wakefield was mentioned in one of the comments...just thought I would post this for anyone that wants a run down of what actually happened...I heard him talk in person for over 2 hours about the whole fiasco...I've read both sides and come to my own conclusion...apparently so did the physicians in this video.