Anti Vax or Pro Vax, either way you're wrong

Katherine - posted on 01/07/2011 ( 35 moms have responded )

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Vaccines are an insanely heated and polarizing topic. Former doctor Andrew Wakefield fueled the fire by fudging records to show that MMR vax caused autism. And as with most issues, middle ground voices frequently go unheard, but are incredibly important for people who haven't chosen a side yet and feel lost and confused.

For many, the choice is much more complicated than most people give them credit for. I am in the delayed and selective camp, which often puts us under fire from ALL sides, because we're not doing enough or way too much.

The thing is, I think that both extremes are missing some seriously important points.

We know that plumbing, filtration, and personal hygiene significantly lowered the rate of diseases, and that's obvious in third world impoverished countries where babies literally die just from drinking the water when not breastfed and gaining generations of immunities from their mother. However, vaccines have helped decrease the rate of spread and contraction of many diseases, too. Hygiene and running water and vaccines work together, not against each other. In countries where that is lacking, vaccines save many, many lives and often are easier to afford and distribute than, say, a country-wide water filtration system, though UNICEF also gives out mosquito nets, cooking utensils, soap, and clean water.

But here in the US, I know people who had a child vaccinated who then suffered from seizures, loss of speech, and major allergic reactions. If that were my kid, I wouldn't vaccinate anymore either. Anyone can argue that it was something else, the timing, or an outside source, but to tell someone else you never met whose child was hurt or suffered that they don't know what they are talking about is plain ridiculous. Maybe it wasn't the vaccines, but who knows?

We also cannot ignore the fact that vaccines do not ensure that your child doesn't get the illness -- it only decreases the chance. So sometimes your kids are going to spread illness whether they are vaccinated or not. A lot more emphasis needs to go on prevention through healthy diet, breastfeeding, and not damaging the immune system with sugars, chemicals, and other common toxins -- something the anti-vax camp rightly prides themselves in, but the pro-camp often ignores entirely.

Government-run Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System or "VAERS" pays out plenty annually to children who are injured. Like any medication, there are risks. The insert tells us so. Millions of people take amoxicillin every day with no side effects but I'm deathly allergic to it and wear a medical alert bracelet because even TOUCHING it causes blisters. If something that is considered effective and safe can kill me, why is it that hard to accept that vaccines could hurt or kill certain children, too?

As far as delayed and selective scheduling, my pediatrician only barely tolerates my choices, but she did say something about the reason vaccines are given so close together and combined. In lower income families, getting to the doctor can be difficult, and for those with co-pays, sometimes the appointments can be prohibitive. One appointment and two shots (that contain 6 diseases) is more affordable for the average family than 4-5 appointments with 2-4 different shots.

Sadly, you usually can't get individual doses even if you ask, so that can leave you again choosing between too much or none. I think more people would vaccinate if they could get single doses. Combo shots have been under fire for higher rates of complications. The same shots given on the same day, had less side effects than the same two shots given as a combo shot.

Babies' bodies are more susceptible to many things, such as disease, yes. So in that case, vaccines are good. But there is concern about overdoses and build-up of toxic chemicals from vaccines.

While it pains me deeply to say that Jenny McCarthy might actually be right about something, the "Green Our Vaccines" movement is probably the smartest, most middle-ground, and positive solution there is, which moves to remove known toxic and damaging chemicals from our vaccines, and review and revise the schedule to stop forcing so much into tiny bodies that can't handle it. Less likelihood of negative reactions, less complications, less problems, same benefits for those who choose to vaccinate, and more incentive for a lot of those who choose not to, though many obviously will still opt out as is their right. Where's the problem with that?

http://thestir.cafemom.com/baby

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Jen - posted on 01/19/2011

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Tracey, my child has autism and I too would move heaven and earth to make it go away. Her autism affects her life in every way, and I am scared to death for her future. She is beautiful, intelligent, and funny. But she cannot grasp the meaning of language, the fundamental rules of social engagement, or sensory input that she cannot control.

When she was first diagnosed, I read about courses of action to take from ABA to secretin injections. My husband and I decided that we would only do what was non-invasive and could not physically harm our child.

We took out a second mortgage and got her private ABA therapy (my husband took on extra work, too). The school system provided speech therapy and OT and a special educator to work with her. We changed her diet to the CF/GF one. We added B6 and Magnesium to her regimen. We added CoQ10 and B12. We even titrated an antidepressant under the prescription and supervision of a pediatric neurologist.

The ONLY thing that worked was the ABA therapy. And in the meantime...
In August of 2006, a 5-year-old boy with autism died in Portersville, Pa., while receiving an infusion of Endrate in a physician’s office. A coroner later ruled that the treatment killed the boy. Endrate is what is used in chelation therapy.

The doctor who first "discovered" the connection between vaccines and autism has been uncovered as a fraud and a greedy one at that. He was supposed to create a vaccine scare so that he could create a testing kit and make millions off the fears of responsible parents like you.

Tracey, when my daughter was almost 4 years old, I found myself in a puddle of tears outside her classroom one day, just floored by how severely disabled she was/is. Her teacher came out and gave me the name of a mom with an autistic child who ran a support group. I called her, but because I was not using a DAN doctor or chelation therapy, this mother told me I was irresponsible and that I could not join her group.

There are zealots out there, and frauds, and cheats. Please, use medical research to make your decisions -- doctors truly do want to help. They are not out to make a buck at your child's expense. They are not out to hide information from you. If they could cure autism, they would. If they could prevent it, they would. Trust the people who spent their youth learning how to, and now spend their lives trying to heal others.

Hope that helps. I know your pain.

[deleted account]

Tracey, of course it's not wrong to try and cure a disability BUT misleading people that you have IS wrong and only focusng on curing them IS wrong. Nobody thinks that doing everything you can to make your child's life better is being anything other than a responsible parent, that includes trying to do things to cure them even when it seems impossible, some parents though are not using/ on waiting lists for the treatments that can make their child's life easier because they are too busy trying to cure them even though it is very unlikely to happen, that IS wrong and is unfair to the children.

Amanda - posted on 01/18/2011

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Id like to add to Kates statement, the components a lot of the "Green" movement want removed, actually make the vaccine work correctly.



Here’s middle ground for you, the food you put in your child daily has more additives, preservatives, and chemicals (even organic food have these) then all the shots put together.

Rosie - posted on 01/19/2011

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jen, my sons ability to focus increased so dramatically while on meds. it's amazing the difference. he also doesn't turn into this thoughtless robot that people claim kids on meds are like. he's just grant, except able to focus on what he's doing better.
my friend with the 2 autistic boys, her oldest one started adhd meds as well, and his behavior and ability to focus has increased dramatically as well, in fact she thinks they are a huge reason as to why he's doing so well now. he started talking, is potty trained, can write, read, and do most of the things he couldn't do before. he even goes to "normal" school, and has a friend! she's over the moon! lol!

Jen - posted on 01/19/2011

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Kati -- we just got a prescription for adhd meds. I'm hoping that makes some impact on my kid's ability to focus. The CF/GF diet only works if your kid has a reaction to wheat and/or dairy. In fact, we first took out the casein (easy -- rice milk, rice cheese, tons of substitutes out there), and after a few months took out the gluten (not so easy -- it's in everything, even ketchup!). We didn't see any differences in our daughter's behavior or mood. She started having more trouble sleeping through the night after we took away the casein, but that could be coincidental.

Anyway, after 8 months of this we had a power outage, and we ended up in a neighborhood restaurant. We decided to just let her have the bread and butter she loves and see what happens. Nothing happened.

Two weeks later, our daughter made a breakthrough in therapy. Now that is significant only because the people who were coaching me through the diet insisted that it takes lots of months to see improvement. If we had stayed on the diet and then seen the breakthrough she never would have had wheat or dairy again!

Children grow and therapies work. You can try a diet -- it can't hurt -- but if you don't see results, your child is not sensitive to those foods.

Good luck!

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Jen - posted on 01/19/2011

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Cassie, I totally understand: The celebrities who end up as spokespeople sometimes come across as if they suddenly acquired expertise where they clearly haven't. Jenny McCarthy is particularly problematic because her son's recovery is the dream we all had for our kids. I'm glad her son is better. But chelation therapy is dangerous for someone who isn't poisoned by heavy metals. And the position of no vaccines is just uninformed.

Cassie - posted on 01/19/2011

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Just to defend myself, I was honestly referring to Jenny McCarthy not all parents of autistic children. Reading back through my comment, it did come across as crass and not at all as I had intended. I was honestly writing out of frustration towards people like jenny mccarthy who claim they have a "cure" and vaccines were the bad guy when in fact, there is no "cure" (at least that we know of) and as of now, the best we can do is provide interventions. I also understand the frustration of not enough interventionists. As a 3rd grade teacher, I see so many students who would truly benefit and thrive with a little intervention but sadly, there aren't enough out there to provide the support that we need.

I am sorry for the way my comment was worded. It truly was geared towards celebrities and "experts" who lead people in the wrong direction for their own wealth and monetary gain.

Rosie - posted on 01/19/2011

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cassie mentioned something about people trying to cure autism instead of helping them live with it. which sorry cassie, i don't feel anybody is out there doing.

my friend has 2 autistic boys and she spends all of her time driving them back and forth to therapy, having respit workers come to her house, she's doing everything she knows how to make it so her boys can function in society. i havn't heard of her once trying to cure her kids with diet, she deosn't think her oldest one would be able to handle not having his milk, he'd have a fit.

for me, with grant while he's not been officially diagnosed with it (high functioning autism, or PDD- NOS), only social anxiety disorder and adhd, i have been pondering very heavily about changing his diet to gluten free, dairy free. i still take him to therapy every week, and take him to a chiropractor, and give probiotics, and adhd medication and anti-anxiety meds to him. a combo of both is what i think most people would be doing.

i guess there would be a few out there that don't give medication, but i can't foresee anybody not having therapy for their children. :)

Katherine - posted on 01/19/2011

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The thing is, is that thre are so many theories on what causes autism...could it be vaccines? Could it be genetics? Could it be chemicals? Could it be diet? Could it even be a mother's prolonged exposure while pregnant inhaling toxic fumes while living near an expressway? (true study)
I have an LO who is 22mo and damned if I'm not terrified one day she might stop talking. Paranoia I know.
I've worked with autistic children and they are great. I loved it. Are you a member of the autism community, Tracey? I had posted an article there about how curing your child would make them a completely different person. It was a really good article.
Anyways, back on topic.

Jodi - posted on 01/19/2011

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Who said anything about it being wrong to try and cure a child's disability? Or that parents weren't trying to help their disabled children? Did I miss something?

Tracey - posted on 01/19/2011

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So its wrong to try and cure your child's disability? Do you have a disabled child? I would move heaven and earth to cure my son's disabilities, does this make me a bad parent? I love my son for who he is and what he has and I find the comment that he is somehow missing out on support because I try to improve his life deeply offensive. As for lack of intervention have you seen the waiting lists? 3 years for speech therapist, 2 years for respite, can't even get on the waiting list for behaviour management as it is too long, want to see a consultant - that's 8 months, psychologists & social workers so overworked they sign you off after a few visits even if you want more help. Don't you dare suggest disabled parents aren't trying to help their children.

As for a link between vaccines and autism this will never be proven whether it exists or not because the compensation would bankrupt governments.

Kate CP - posted on 01/18/2011

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Warning: Off topic but...

Lisa: You should go check out the thread about early introduction of solids. Please? ;)

Jodi - posted on 01/18/2011

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Yeah, the propoganda is astounding, isn't it? I think sometimes people grasp at straws. YES there are risks with vaccines. but YES there are generally greater risks with not vaccinating. Obviously it depends on circumstances. I can understand why some people choose not to vaccinate - for that child or family, the risk may outweigh the benefit. But when you really do the research, there are so many conspiracy theories, and so much propoganda, is it any wonder parents get confused and struggle with their decision?

Kate CP - posted on 01/18/2011

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Yes, it's total crap, Lisa. The amount of aborted fetal cells in a vaccine is minimal and is actually about 20 years old and it's only DERIVED from human aborted fetal tissue. Even the pope is okay with vaccines because the relationship to the fetal cells is so far removed.

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How irresponsible, she is using her celebrity status to spread lies and scaremonger - the MMR has been proven time and time again not to cause autism!

I'll still make sure Ethan has his MMR tomorrow, I'm actually annoyed because he has had to wait 3 months to have it - he should have had it when he was 13 months but our surgery had a delay, so we had to wait, but he is getting it tomorrow as long as ths runny nose doesn't turn feverish...

I know who she is now, it was only while I was reading that web page that it dawned on me the name is familiar I know it...

Minnie - posted on 01/18/2011

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For pro-vaxers out there please confirm that this is utter nonsense for me, because it certainly sounds like it:

An outspoken anti-vaxer wrote today that a child will become genetically mutated due to being injected with vaccines produced from aborted fetal cells.

So...by that logic does our DNA mutate when we receive a blood transfusion?

Cassie - posted on 01/18/2011

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Exactly. But because of her and people like her. Parents are trying to cure their children of Autism rather than supporting them and getting them the intervention they need. And other parents aren't vaccinating for fear that it will cause their children to get autism...

Kate CP - posted on 01/18/2011

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Cassie: Yea, they're pretty much the same symptoms. And with all the lead paint recalls during the time her son "had austism" I don't think he ever had it. He had lead poisoning.

[deleted account]

As has been said it would be impossible to make vaccines ok for everyone because there will always be someone who is allergic or intolerant to an ingredient. Also there will always be people who cannot have them because their immune system is compromised so they need the pack immunity given by mass vaccination.

Cassie - posted on 01/18/2011

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That's exactly what I was going to say Kate. If I am remembering correctly, the symptoms of heavy metal poisoning are basically the same as the characteristics of Autism. Jenny McCarthy treated her son for heavy metal poisoning and cured him but claims that she cured his Autism. She is misleading so many confused people out there. Very frustrating!

Kate CP - posted on 01/18/2011

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Jenny McCarthy's son never had Autism. He had heavy metal poisoning which is why chelation worked on him.

Jen - posted on 01/18/2011

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Jenny McCarthy drives me nuts. All of her theories are based on anecdotal evidence, and that is just not medically sound. I tried the casein free/gluten free diet, for example, and it didn't work. When I asked the pediatric neurologist why the special diet didn't work to help my child, he said, "If there were a cure, or a simple cause and effect solution, we would use it." There have been isolated cases in which a child did suffer what looked like autism because of the schedule of vaccines COMBINED with mitochondrial disease. It's rare, but it happens. But. There is NO clinical evidence to support the idea that vaccines cause autism. None.

Jessica - posted on 01/18/2011

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LOL..thank you for the input. Much like our food who the hell knows what they put into our vaccines

Kate CP - posted on 01/18/2011

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"Green vaccines" are an idea put about by the anti-vax community (and the wonderful Jenny McCarthy) to make vaccines "less toxic". The problem with this is they will lose their stability and the shelf life of a vaccine will drop significantly. This, in turn, will make them more expensive to produce and more expensive to purchase. Prices will rise, vaccine rates will drop even further (because of the cost of vaccinating) and there is still no evidence that it will make a vaccine any safer for any particular child to get rid of the additives (which are in such small amounts it's almost negligible).

THAT is a "green vaccine". In theory. Much like communism...it works in theory but rarely in practice. :P

Minnie - posted on 01/18/2011

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I admit to being someone who is in a near-constant fit of indecision over vaccines.

What I wouldn't give to be firmly planted in my stance, one way or another!

Jessica - posted on 01/18/2011

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Would someone elaborate on "green vaccines" please. i am stuck in the middle somewhere on vaccines, and would lovee to hear more about the more natural way to go about it

C. - posted on 01/07/2011

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Something to think about, though, is that no matter what they put in the vaccines, there is always going to be someone that still cannot have it. There is absolutely no way to formulate a vaccine or medication that accommodates everyone when there are so many allergies and sensitivities.

Tara - posted on 01/07/2011

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thanks for posting this Katherine.
I agree that there is a middle ground that is often overlooked. I don't doubt that vaccines have killed babies, I also agree that vaccines could possibly trigger other reactions in our bodies, the same way other drugs do. Or food allergies, etc...
I couldn't get the flu shot even if I wanted to, it's cultured using eggs somehow, and I am allergic to egg.
So there are many advantages to making all vaccines greener and forcing pharmaceutical companies to be more transparent regarding the manufacturing, adverse affects reported, where they are made, what is in them, all compounds etc. as well as distribution processes. The less mystery there is, the less the situation becomes polarized.

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