Wednesday, September 10, 2008

What Can We Do Now?

Demand a VOLUNTARY vaccine program, and more research. If vaccines were as safe as the CDC claims, the government wouldn't have to force parents to vaccinate their children under the threat of jail time. [1] Let your legislators know that forced vaccinations are not okay.

My favorite way to explain the vaccine debate is to compare vaccines to antibiotics.
Antibiotics work great for fighting infections. However, there was a time when doctors were prescribing antibiotics for everything because they worked so well and were generally regarded as safe (similar to vaccines). Now we know that's not a good idea because overuse of antibiotics was creating resistant strains of bacteria. Similarly, I believe the use of vaccines has become excessive, and is causing other chronic health issues. Also, no one can argue that antibiotics have saved lives. However, in a few susceptible individuals, antibiotics have also caused deadly allergic reactions. Every medical treatment has both risks and benefits. This is exactly why the government should not be forcing vaccines at the threat of jail time. The law makers who instituted that legislation have never seen my children. A doctor wouldn't prescribe medicine for a patient he or she has never seen, so why have we allowed law makers to enact forced vaccine policies such as requiring the Hep B vaccine for school?

"This vaccine is a potential death sentence for some children," said Dr. Orient. "Government studies show that children under the age of 14 are three times more likely to die or suffer adverse reactions after receiving hepatitis B vaccines than to catch the disease itself." Hepatitis B is primarily an adult disease, usually spread by multiple sex partners, drug abuse or an occupation with exposure to blood. Children are at a very low risk of exposure, unless the pregnant mother is infected." [2]

I gladly had my daughter vaccinated against polio. But she had a bad reaction to the hepatitis B vaccine with all the symptoms of encephalitis and developed patches of eczema one week later. So I don't want to give her anymore doses of this vaccine because, in her case, the risks outweigh the benefits. I also think the chicken pox vaccine is a bad idea since it doesn't provide lifelong immunity.

And finally, the best thing you can do to evaluate the risks versus the benefits for your family is to educate yourself. I highly recommend the Vaccine Book by Dr. Sears because it covers topics such as the risks of catching each disease compared to how frequent or severe the vaccine reactions are for that particular disease. It also suggests an alternative vaccine schedule and a selective vaccine schedule for parents who don't want to adhere to the AAP's current recommendations.
For some further online reading:
Here's a great article about risks vs. benefits:
Here's a great blog with much more scientific data than I could possibly cover: