By Sarah Cimperman, N.D., Well Being Journal, Vol. 23, No. 6.
In the United States, we give children more vaccines than in any other country in the world. Just three decades ago, kids received eight doses of three different vaccines, and now they receive seventy doses of sixteen vaccines, and twenty-six are given during the first year of life. It’s all part of a plan to prevent deadly disease, but our infant mortality rate is still unacceptably high. The United States ranks fifty-fifth, behind many developing countries and every developed country except Poland. Research studies confirm that increasing numbers of vaccines are associated with increasing incidence of infant death and countries with the lowest infant mortality rates are among those who give their kids the fewest immunizations—notably Sweden, Japan, and Iceland, where kids receive only twelve doses.
As parents are becoming increasingly concerned about adverse effects and doctors are becoming increasingly concerned about kids going unvaccinated, it’s time to reevaluate immunization protocols. We can begin by weighing the risks and benefits of vaccines on a case-by-case basis, implementing alternative vaccine schedules, utilizing harm reduction strategies, treating symptoms of sickness promptly, and keeping kids healthy. Offering options other than the current one-size-fits-all approach might increase immunization rates among families who would otherwise choose to not vaccinate at all, and could reduce the risk of the most serious side effects when children are immunized.
The purpose of vaccines is to trigger the body to produce antibodies against antigens such as bacteria and viruses so that if we ever encounter them, we will not become infected with a harmful disease. Different vaccines are made with different triggers. Some contain whole live viruses (chickenpox [varicella], rotavirus, measles, mumps, rubella, flu nasal spray) or viruses that have been inactivated (polio, hepatitis A, injected flu shots). Others are made with proteins, sugars, or toxins produced by bacteria (Haemophilus influenza type B [HIB]; pneumococcus; diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis [DTaP]) or they are artificially engineered (hepatitis B, human papillomavirus [HPV]).
Vaccines are used to promote herd immunity against contagious diseases. In theory, when most of the people in a community are immune to certain viruses or bacteria, those diseases will eventually disappear or become rare enough that some people can be safe unvaccinated because the chance of catching them will be extremely low. However, immunizations have varying degrees of effectiveness and studies show that outbreaks of infections such as measles occur among fully vaccinated children. Also, because certain microbes, such as pertussis, influenza, HIB, and HPV, evolve new strains to replace ones that are disappearing, vaccines may reduce the risk of illness but those microbes are unlikely to ever be completely eradicated.
Vaccines can contain several ingredients in addition to the trigger itself. Human tissues (such as lung cells from aborted fetuses) and animal tissues (such as monkey kidney cells, cow blood, and chicken and guinea pig embryos) are often needed to grow the bacteria and viruses used to make vaccines and sometimes they are found in the final product. They have the potential to trigger autoimmune reactions and allergies including anaphylactic shock, a life-threatening allergic reaction.
In some cases, aluminum is added as an adjuvant to vaccines to make them more effective. Aluminum is widely recognized as a neurotoxin, and it has been shown to induce autoimmune reactions.
It also makes shots more painful. When multiple vaccines are given at once, the total amount of aluminum administered often exceeds safe levels.
Other additives may include mercury, monosodium glutamate (MSG), gelatin, antibiotics, and formaldehyde. Mercury is used in the form of thimerosal, a preservative added to certain vaccines (DTaP and some flu shots), and it too is a recognized neurotoxin. MSG can cause allergic reactions in humans and has been shown to cause nerve damage in animals. Gelatin and antibiotics may also cause allergic reactions, and the overuse of antibiotics is contributing to the rise of antibiotic-resistant superbugs and increasing rates of life-threatening infections. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen.
It’s difficult to estimate the effects that tiny amounts of these chemicals have on children, but we do know that their bodies are most vulnerable to toxins while they’re still developing, and that the most rapid immune and neurological development takes place in the first two years of life. We also know that infants do not have fully developed detoxification systems and their immature bodies may be unable to eliminate harmful vaccine ingredients during their first six months. And the smaller the body, the bigger the relative dose, yet eleven-pound two-month-old babies are given the same vaccines as forty-five pound five-year-olds, who weigh more than four times as much.
For full article, author bio, and references see Vol. 26, No.6, November/December 2014 of the Well Being Journal.