Since my last post on my concerns regarding immunizations, Lee and I have done a lot of reading and research regarding childhood vaccinations and the mounting concern surrounding them. I have hesitated to post about this because I have not wanted to seem like I'm trying to persuade people to feel the same way I do. But, I am interested in hearing what others think so I will be posting a slightly edited version of what we're thinking. A couple of weeks ago, I bought a very informative and interesting book that I would actually recommend anyone read, even if your child has already received all of his or her vaccinations. It's called, "What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Children's Vaccinations." I like this book because she presents the issue from an even ground without being overly radical either way. She gives you all the information regarding every vaccination and essentially leaves it up to you, as the parent, to decide what's best for your child. The first half of the book goes into the specifics of all the controversies and statistics regarding vaccinations. Reading that information literally made me sick to my stomach and I was all ready to decline all vaccincations for Landon. But the second half of the book tells you about the history of the vaccines, why they were introduced, the consequneces of the diseases that they are meant to prevent and other information that gave me a much clearer picture of what they are for. This half of the book also calmed my spirit. That's not to say that I don't regret doing this research sooner and being more aware when Sloan and Tia were born.
The thing that stuck out to me the most is the fact that while there is certainly no proof that vaccinations have caused the incidences of autism and countless autoimmune disorders to increase so dramatically, there is definately evidence that there could be some potential for harm in them. Proof cannot be found if no one is looking for it. And that's what concerns me. No one can question or doubt the good that vaccinations have done. When I read how nasty diseases like polio and pertussis and diptheria, etc...are, I definately see the benefits of working to prevent them. The problem, however, is that I think the medical community, the CDC and the governments are now taking it a step too far in requiring so many vaccinations in such a short period of time for every child, regardless of their genetic makeup. This is where most of my concern lies.
As for Lee and I, we have decided that there are several vaccines that we are going to decline altogether for Landon. What I'm realizing now is that I have very ignorantly gone about this whole procedure from the beginning. It never crossed my mind until I read this book what vaccinations actually were. It never even occurred to me that they were actually injecting my children with these diseases so that they could build an immunity. That's how ignorant I was about the whole process. And I had no idea what most of the diseases were before now. Did you know that hepatitus B, while undoubtably a nasty, wicked disease, is only transmitted through IV drug use and sexual activity (or from mother to child during birth if the mother has it)? I didn't know this! So why are we all being told that our children need to have this injection before they even leave the hospital? This makes little sense to me. There are others that we will be declining and I would be happy to share those with anyone who's interested and why we've made that choice. I don't want to share it all here because I believe it's a personal decision and I don't want anyone to feel uncomfortable or bad if they don't feel the same way that we do.
I don't fault anyone who decides to vaccinate their children. I don't fault our pediatrician for recommending and giving the vaccinations to my children. I do, however, fault the CDC, FDA and government for mandating them and thereby stripping our rights as parents to decide what is best for our children. And I fault myself for not being more aware earlier.
What we've decided to do at this point is continue to receive several of the major vaccinations, but at a different rate. When I looked back at Landon's 2 month record, I was sickened to see that he got 8 vaccinations in that one day! 8! They were combined into 3 shots and one drink. It's these over-combinations that are causing the most contrversy. It's not that the vaccinations in and of themselves are necessarily terrible. But giving that many at one time to a child whose immune system is not ready to combat against it is dangerous. No one tells you that. So we've decided that we want him to have no more than 2-3 vaccinations at one time. Which means if they want to give him the DTaP, then that's the only shot we want Landon to have that day. We'll go back a month later to receive Hib and Polio. We will also be waiting until he's older for some of the others that we're still on the fence about.
Anyway, I take Landon to the ped. next week and I am dreading the conversation I will be having with her. I do not like to rock the boat. I don't like to confront people or be controversial. I do not want her to feel that I am questioning her judgement as a doctor because I'm not at all. I like our pediatrician and have been very satisfied with the care our children have received. But ultimately, what I've realized is that these are my children and it's my responsibility to look out for their well being. For some reason, I feel very strongly that Landon needs us to protect him this way. I have to go with my gut on this.
I know that to enter school there are federal mandates that require all these injections, but there are exemptions that the state of Missouri allows and we are exploring those. We're still navigating these waters. We will see what happens. If nothing else, we may end up getting all the vaccinations, but not until Landon is much older. But if it's possible there are 3 that we will definately avoid, and two more that we're not sure about. Sometimes I wish I would have never opened this can of worms becuase ignorance truly is bliss!
I hope I've not made anyone uncomfortable by talking about this. We each have to make the decisions that are best for our own families. I have no problem with people who choose to vaccinate their own children. That's your call to make, not mine. But I would love prayer for Lee and I as we discuss this with our doctor. If she is not willing to meet us where we are with this, then we have another doctor lined up. He is a doctor of Homeopathy (and also an M.D.) here in St. Louis. I had a consultation with him this morning and really like him. So we'll see what happens. Sorry this is so long. It's been a strange journey to go through. Thanks for listening with your eyes!