The beginnings of an educated decision
Our first step toward deciding not to vaccinate our (now adult) children came as a surprise. My husband and I were both at the pediatrician’s office for a routine well-baby check-up for our 4th child. Up until then we had just done what I had been taught in nursing school and what was apparently expected. In our minds, vaccinations were the medical norm offered by benevolent sages of superior intellect.
Then, I read the package insert. I don’t know why I hadn’t examined this myself before. Sure, I had been previously counseled in how to deal with mild side effects, like low-grade fever or trouble at the injection site, but the serious possibilities were ignored. I hadn’t heard of them.
It could also be that as a nurse, I knew that there were always a plethora of troubling side effects listed on any drug, but had basically been taught not to take them seriously. In retrospect, this was at odds with the requirement that I memorize many of them. Regardless, side effects were presented as both normal and unlikely.
What caught my eye this time was that the fine print stated the horrible side effects of the vaccine were more likely than side effects from the disease! I was stunned! I thought maybe I wasn’t reading it correctly, because who in their right mind would put that right on their package insert?
I asked my husband to read it and he verified what I saw. We promptly left the office without vaccinating the baby.
This was years before the vaccine debate became as hot and heavy as it is now. We were just making an informed decision, and were motivated to do more research.
What I am not
Before I get further into my story and evaluation of vaccines, please let me say what I am NOT.
- I am not against appropriate medical treatment, as agreed on by the patient or the patient’s parent.
- I am not against soliciting advice from people who have studied or have experience with health issues, especially if such a person is humble about the limits of human understanding.
- I am not against medication, although I do think it is often used excessively and ineffectively.
- I am not claiming that the natural way is always best, if that can even be defined to everyone’s satisfaction.
- I am not someone who just wants to let children die because of some crusade against interference in the cycles of life.
- I am not blaming vaccines for all the health problems that people have.
- I am not saying that all intervention or prophylactic measures are suspect.
- There is probably something else I am not, but I can’t think of it right now, so on with my story.
Discoveries in the limitations of science of the vaccine world
As you might expect, reading that insert was just the beginning of discovery. Below are some of the things that influenced our decision to never again vaccinate a child. You will have to forgive me for not citing sources for two reasons.
1) My investigation was many years ago (pre-internet!), and
2) everyone has their won favorite studies to supposedly prove things.
I think you can easily find reputable instances of what I mention. However, I don’t think our conclusions are dependent on knowing exact sources of anything, because it turns out that they don’t really matter. And, there is something a priori which I will discuss more later.
While I do consider some research evaluation, it is more in the light of showing that there is quite a bit of contradictory evidence. Once I began to evaluate how many of the studies were done, I remembered what I had learned in my statistics and research method classes while getting my BS in Nursing from UCLA. Subject groups were questionable, data collection methods were biased, data points were scattered, evaluation models were presumptuous. When I fully realized that vaccinations were based on similar research, I knew I had been duped.
- Vaccines do not stimulate the immune system the same way natural exposure to the disease does.
- Graphs showing vaccine effectiveness are selectively displayed to hide the fact that most of the diseases were significantly declining before vaccinating began.
- Vaccines were only given to a fraction of the world’s population, but some diseases have not be observed for years anyway.
- There are other substances in vaccine solutions that are not normal to inject into the body.
- When someone who has been vaccinated presents with symptoms of the disease, it is often labeled as something else because “it couldn’t be the disease.”
- Vaccinated people are known to present with strange and often more chronic manifestations of the virus that was vaccinated for.
- Outbreaks continue to happen among vaccinated people.
- Scientific studies are routinely shown to be wrong, falsified, or impossible to apply to reality.
- There are too many children who have suffered debilitating nervous system and developmental side effects.
- Claims that vaccines might be harmful are dismissed with an arrogant vehemence and allegiance that no other drugs get.
- Parents who have witnessed their own children immediately show life-changing symptoms after a round of vaccinations are made fun of by both industry and peers. This does not happen with other illnesses and rivals superstition.
- Accounts of initial “vaccines” against small pox were nothing more than rubbing some pus on an open wound and then getting the disease to some degree or another.
- Claims about the effectiveness of vaccines fail to take into account other major concurrent health improvements.
- Other likely causes of the diseases were not only ignored, but were actively sidelined, probably because they didn’t have as much profit opportunity.
Making sense of personal experiences
On the personal side, there were four main events that made me more concerned about vaccines. The first, I am ashamed to admit, should have shaken my stance on vaccines quite a bit earlier. When our oldest daughter received her 2 month shots, she immediately developed an extremely high fever and wailed in high pitch for hours. I remember the despair I felt at that, but I didn’t think I had any choices. I was so glad when it was over that I just put it out of my mind.
A few years later, in two completely separate incidents, the 2 month old babies of friends died from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) right after getting their 2 month old vaccines. This may be what subconsciously made me read that package insert.
Finally, the son of someone close to me changed dramatically right after getting the 2 year old vaccinations. One day he was communicating, smiling, eating well, but then he wasn’t. He was diagnosed with autism.
Understanding the diagnoses of SIDS and autism
SIDS and autism are what is called “syndrome diagnoses.” That is, if enough symptoms or details of a situation fall within a broadly agreed on description, the label is attached. Because of this, it is quite possible that different things may be causing similar symptoms and are erroneously lumped together.
When someone says “this or that doesn’t cause” these types of syndromes, it is a ridiculous claim unless they clearly know what DOES cause the condition. It reminds me of when my children would lose something and would say, “it isn’t there, I looked!” It became a game for me to answer, “Until you have found it, you don’t know where it isn’t,” because too many times it actually was in a location that had been previously looked in.
The point is that some SIDS and autism may be caused by vaccines. According to some parents’ experiences, there seems to be a strong reason to suspect some sort of important connection. For some researchers who have studied vaccine effects on rats or do research at the behest of vaccine companies to say otherwise is insensitive at best. For those who haven’t even been involved in the research to respond the way they too often do shows how much they don’t understand or refuse to admit about research.
My a priori
Maybe some of you are still wondering what my a priori position is? It is this:
If the body is working properly, invasive intervention is both unnecessary and probably harmful.
To attempt to improve bodily function that is designed to work a certain way (and that we continuously discover we know very little about) is folly. It is not the same as upgrading a machine that we built or learning to harness a force of nature.
The immune response is complex and individual. Much of what we think we know about it is inferred and not directly observed. Let me attempt a parallel scenario to explain.
Exhibit A: The digestive system
No one (that I know) says, “Let’s just move nutrition and digestion along by smashing up the food and injecting it into the intestines!” Instead, there seems to be at least a subconscious understanding that not only does chewing mix the food with important enzymes, but it stimulates the rest of the digestive system to be better prepared.
Besides that, the mouth is a handy gate keeper for foreign objects and temperature extremes. Using the mouth actually allows us to partake of a wider variety of foods and foods in their freshest forms. The stomach acids can neutralize or kill some things to help avoid infection or illness.
The food preparation and food storage dilemmas that any “semi-digested” food might create are not fun to think about, but they pale next to the issue of invading the body in places or ways that would probably cause injury. To access the intestines, we would either have to develop a way to get down the esophagus without perforating it or surgically build a portal in the abdomen. Hopefully you are cringing by now. Because of bowel diseases, we know quite a lot about the possible infectious and odorous problems. No one wants to do this to themselves on purpose.
Now think again about the immune system
Trying to skip steps in the body’s immune response may not be as obvious, but it should be just as concerning. It would be much better to support the body while it heals, to avoid sustained exposure to pathogens when possible, to eat well, to be clean in ways that inhibit the spread of human diseases.
As for people who can’t or won’t provide themselves or their children with those advantages – why would they want to then subject such a compromised body to the stress of vaccines? When one of our daughters was beginning chemotherapy, the doctors were almost frantic to tell us not to get any vaccines. If strong bodies work best without them and weak bodies are threatened by them, who needs them?
Immunization versus vaccination, not just semantics
I try not to use the word “immunizations” when referring to vaccinations because it implies an interaction with the immune system that is misleading. A breast-fed baby get passive immunization benefits from his mother. A person who allows his body to fight off disease from the very beginning of his bodily defenses almost always develops life-long immunity. A vaccine is likely to make a person oddly ill, but not confer any lasting benefit.
Who is the real risk to be around?
It should be obvious by now that I don’t see any evidence that a non-vaccinated person is any risk to the population at large or to a vaccinated person. Quite the opposite. Some simple observation suggests that vaccines may be the source of outbreaks of both the diseases they purport to control and the cause of other not well understood health issues.
You can try to throw studies and statistics at me, but you would be trying to engage in trench warfare and I won’t engage. If you don’t understand the unreliability of so-called scientific studies, the discussion is pointless. “Proven science” notoriously changes over time. Data evaluation is known to be strongly influenced by the politics of getting funding. Peer reviews are a false front presented to hide the competition to get anything published.
There is no good reason to invade a finely tuned, well working body to experiment with something that can’t be shown to work and may very well cause complications. You are free to inject your body with whatever you like. Make the best decision you know how, but don’t justify it by trying to act morally superior and more scientific. Just call it a personal decision and be happy with it.