Guest Posting: Hear Me Out!
Why I Am NOT Following The
Prescribed Vaccination Schedule
(DISCLAIMER: This post is a reader’s response to a piece GEM contributor Dave Manoucheri wrote called, Our Story Begins: Tackling The Vaccination Consternation. While we here at GEM like to present a variety of viewpoints, these are the personal views of the writer, not of GoodEnoughMother.com. As always, we welcome respectful debate).
“You are selfish.”
“You are an idiot.”
“You are uneducated.”
“You are a terrible parent. Don’t you love your kids?”
The list goes on and on of what I have been called, what we have been asked, all because we choose a different vaccination schedule than the one the CDC recommends.
When I was pregnant with my first born, I remember reading all the books. Something just didn’t sit right with me-the sheer number of vaccinations and how early we start now in the US. You see, I was a child and am now an adult who has bad reactions to vaccines. Some said my reactions are good; they are showing that my body responds to the vaccination and are working. I say being sick for a week following any vaccine is worse than most illnesses it is supposed to protect me against.
I refused them while pregnant and I set out to learn as much as I could about why the shift to vaccinate so much younger. Why so many shots? Where they all necessary? Do they really work?
For a frame of reference back in 1975 you would have received 6 different vaccines over a course of 8 pokes and 16 years (poke=the actual shot). You can view as far back as 1983 on this site and there’s a history link on that same page as well that goes back to the 1940s. In 2013 you receive 14 vaccines over a course of 30 pokes and 16 years. For 2013 you would also receive a yearly flu shot and, if you are a female, three doses of HPV as well.
So I begin devouring as much information as I could. I read books, read articles, went to vaccine education seminars. I compared what other developed countries did at the time. And I interviewed six different pediatricians, a cranial sacral therapist, a naturopath, and my OB/GYN. To say I was thorough was an understatement. In the end we didn’t land in one extreme camp or the other.
Here are just a few of the things I learned that helped me make an educated, well-informed choice based on our children’s risk factors.
1) A baby’s immune system is not fully developed at birth and in fact most babies don’t have the ability to produce the antibody immunoglobulin A until about 6 months. These are the antibodies you find in your nose, mouth, etc. that act as a first line of defense against infections that enter in those ways. Even at 6 months the rate at which a baby can produce these is slow up until about 12 months of age. This is a fairly common fact in the field of immunology. So if you are giving a vaccine, which has the intent of building up IgA before six months, it isn’t as effective. Wonder why we have more doses now? This is why.
2) If you are breastfeeding your child, all five antibodies (IgA, IgD, IgE, IgG, and IgM) are passed to the baby from your milk. This is called passive immunity and it is why breastfeeding is so much better for your baby. That’s really another post in and of itself.
3) Babies are not able to effectively create T-cells until about 12 months old. So any vaccination that is meant to create these white blood cells to help fight off diseases is not as effective prior to 12 months.
(These are fairly common facts in the field of immunology. To read more, reference the Newborn Immune System on Wellness.com, Your Baby’s New Immune System on BabyZone.com, and Baby’s Immune System on NaturallySavvy.com).
So if a baby can’t even fully respond to these vaccinations until 6-12 months, why are we starting them at birth? Turns out the CDC does have some logic behind its reasoning. The children who are most likely the highest risk category are not typically taken to the doctor’s office after a year of age. The CDC schedule is derived from the well check visits to ensure the highest risk population is immunized. Dr. Heather Zwickey, PhD, Immunologist and Dr. Hilary Andrews ND offer understanding of this in their courses they teach (www.vaccineconsult.com and Talking Vaccinations With Dr. Heather Zwickey are both excellent sources for more information).
I get that. But why can’t my pediatrician help determine if it is really necessary for my child’s risk factors? Wouldn’t we all be better off if the doctors and parents were allowed to evaluate the risk instead of catering the entire vaccination schedule to those who are the highest risk? Why should I be forced to give my child a vaccine they can’t even fully respond to and subsequently need more shots because it was given too early just to make sure that another child gets just one shot? I completely understand why the CDC recommends what it does but I do not agree that every child should follow this schedule.
For our kids, we do vaccinate but do eliminate some and delay all. Neither child started before six months of age; our oldest started a little later because his risk factors were lower (he didn’t have any germy siblings like his brother did). Both children were breastfed until 9 months old, neither attended daycare or school during their first year, and we live in a non-smoking home.
Other than from an immunology standpoint, we also had concerns from a toxin standpoint. I do not believe vaccines=autism, because we do give some vaccines. I do believe that every child and person has a limit to how much toxin he or she can receive. So we have made a conscious effort to reduce the amount. What’s in these shots? Would you be surprised to learn that formaldehyde, aluminum, and thimerosal (mercury)? Yes all of those are still in present day vaccinations. What amount is safe? There is no clear answer on that.
In Texas, it is my right under state law to make this choice for my child. We are one of about 17 states (this is constantly changing), that allows parents to opt out of vaccines for philosophical, medical, or religious reasons. You to have an affidavit notarized that outlines which vaccines you are eliminating or delaying and the reason. It is an official document, numbered, and recorded with the state that is tracked and must be kept on file with any school or daycare.
I don’t get angry with other parents for their choices. I acknowledge they and their medical team know best for their situation, their risk factors. I do get angry when called names for choosing differently for my child. I get angry when a stranger thinks they know my child’s risk factors and needs better than I or my doctor.
So to the Mr. Manoucheri’s of the world, take a step back. It is insulting to imply that a parent who chooses differently than you is not well-informed. I am going to assume that parents who vaccinate on the CDC schedule researched and made the best choice for their child. It would be refreshing to receive the same courtesy reciprocated to those of us who follow a different schedule.
What are your thoughts on Melissa’s choice? Leave your (respectful) comments here.
Melissa Ulrich is a small business owner. She is the mother of two energetic boys and wife to the most patient man she knows. Together they love sharing their passion for Disney with other families. Melissa is a Disney travel expert and can almost always be found planning another trip to the mouse.
Linked In: http://www.linkedin.com/in/melissaulrich