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To Vaccinate or not to Vaccinate

*Edit: April 22, 2022

Ah, yes. That is the question. The topic of vaccinations incites heated debates among medical professionals and mommies alike.

Edit: Since becoming a parent, my stance on vaccinations has evolved based upon research and a clearer understanding of how the FDA, CDC, and WHO operate. I am not writing this to share my opinion, but rather to spark the flame of empowerment that comes with doing your own research and feeling confident that you are making the best choice for your family. 

I am not going to tell you to vaccinate your kids or not. That choice is yours. Instead, I have provided you with some resources so that you may embark upon your own journey of taking control of your and your child’s health.

What is a vaccine?

Vaccines are biological substances made from various ingredients, depending upon the type of vaccine, used to create antibodies against specific diseases. Types of vaccines include pills, injection, or nasal spray. After vaccination, the body builds these antibodies to create an “army” and ward off a particular disease. Creation of these vaccines is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

Here are 6 commonly mentioned topics regarding vaccines

Myth #1: Vaccinations cause autism

This myth of our times was academically discredited despite the growing numbers of autistic children in the U.S. You can read that study here: lancet.com.

 However, interestingly there have been some cases where regressive autism (autism symptoms that arise only after two years of age) resulted from a reaction to a vaccine. These patience have been able to improve and recover from autistic symptoms through “biomedical and holistic approaches”.

Additional studies, such as this one, have found a strong relationship between mercury found in the blood and autism symptoms (See Myth #6). Dr. Christopher Exley also conducted a study on aluminum content in the brains of a sample of ASD diagnosed patients. The study found beyond normal concentrations of aluminum in various parts of these individuals’ brains, and though the direct cause is difficult to pinpoint, the article remarks that “One of the most pervasive routes of modern-day exposure to neurotoxic aluminum is via aluminum adjuvants in vaccines. (Vaccine manufacturers use aluminum adjuvants to intensify the vaccine recipient’s immune response.)”

Myth #2: Vaccines contain live viruses

This is partially true, some do. According to Vaccines.gov, measles, mumps, rubella, rotavirus, smallpox, chickenpox, yellow fever, and shingles contain the live virus. 

Myth #3: If I’m vaccinated, I can’t get the disease/virus

Not always, as we have seen this past winter with the flu shot being only 17% effective against the most prevalent flu strain during the season. It is acknowledged that “about 2-10% of healthy individuals fail to mount antibody levels to routine vaccines” (source), and waning immunity should also be considered.

Myth #4: Vaccines contain fetal tissue

In the 1960’s, two voluntary abortions resulted in the fetal tissue that is still used today to create some vaccines

Myth #5: Vaccines have eradicated many illnesses from society

According to the NIH, in the United States, vaccines have reduced or removed nine diseases from circulation since the beginning of the 20th century. These include measles, diptheria, smallpox, rubella, polio, and tetanus among others.

 

Myth #6: Vaccines contain mercury

Mercury is an ingredient in thiomersal (C9H9HgNaO2S), a chemical compound used to kill bacteria in vaccines. This compound is used in some flu vaccinations as a preservative (which is 25 micrograms of mercury per .5 mL dosage), but is not recommended for use on children under age 2. Some other vaccines may contain trace amounts of the substance as it prevents growth of deadly bacterial infections such as staphlococcus (staph infection).

What to consider

This is an extremely personal choice to make, and I would urge you to not feel pressured or intimidated into any direction. Here are

  1. Look at the data. Find the actual numbers these studies are using and consider the sample size, participants’ demographics, methods and amounts of testing conducted, and dates of information collected. Also try to learn whether any data was excluded from final findings and why.
  2. Consider your individual needs. Weigh the potential risk with the likely benefits for each individual and for each vaccine.
  3. Use sources other than government agencies. You expect fast food ads to play up their food items because of course they want you to buy what they’re selling, so why do we ignore the bias of the FDA and vaccine manufacturers? These agencies are effective for cumulative data collection, but be sure to read the fine print (see point #1).
  4. Beware of dismissive or generalized language. For instance, “safe and effective” or “rarely occur”. These terms are not quantitative and largely relative. They are used to encourage a quick dismissal or premature resolution to a topic search.

Further Research

List of Vaccines Licensed for Use in the United States including trade names

List of vaccine ingredients

Excipients in Vaccines per 0.5 mL dose

National Vaccine Information Center

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: Vaccine Education Center

Procon.org

Whether or not you vaccinate, it is your choice. Do not make other parents feel guilty or negligent either way, for they are exercising their own rights. Educate and decide for yourself. Remember, you are the best mama for your kids!

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