To vaccinate or not is often a choice that is influenced greatly by where you live, local health threats, personal values and your risk tolerance. In Europe, some countries (UK and France) do not fund vaccinations through their government. In Canada vaccinations are fully funded under the basic health care system. In the US, parents must sign a waiver saying that they do not want their children vaccinated (for religious or personal reasons) before they are sent to school. This is a highly personal choice, and one that must be done in the context of your own experience and values .
How Do Vaccines Work?
Vaccines originated in China where a person was infected deliberately with smallpox to help prevent future infection. Vaccines basically stimulate the body’s natural immune system to create antibodies to fight infection and disease. By introducing a foreign virus into the body, such as influenza, the body’s organs will secrete natural enzymes to fight and kill the bacteria.
Link To Autism
Vaccinations have long been linked to autism, but this is a hotly debated connection. Many parents have said that they have seen behavioural symptoms that can be similar to autism after a vaccination has occurred. In Canada, the schedule for beginning vaccinations starts as early at 2 months old, and continues until the child is at least 4.
Is Mercury Still in Vaccines?
Some vaccinations still do (yes, I called our pharmacist) contain trace amounts of mercury. It is used as a preservative, and necessary during the process. Some vaccines have been recently developed which are preservative free, and are available in single dose applications which don’t require preservatives (typically multiple doses of vaccines are pulled from a single vial), however they are expensive and not widely available. Influenza and Hep B vaccines in Canada currently do contain Thimersol, which is 49% mercury by weight. It is important to note also that preservatives such as Thimersol cannot completely eliminate the risk of contamination of vaccines.
Many other vaccines contain MSG (monosodium glutamate) which is a known neurotoxic (harms the brain) and is also linked to autism, aluminum (correlated to Alzheimer’s Disease), and Amonium Sulphate (commonly used in fertilizer).
Which Vaccines Are Most Important?
Which vaccine to apply (if at all) depends on the age of your child, your local health threats, and the likelihood of travel to high risk areas. If your child steps on a rusty nail, for example, a tetanus shot vaccine is recommended as a precaution. However, vaccines are rarely able to be isolated, and usually come bundled by the drug companies into 3 to 5 at a time. As I learned locally in B.C., this is also a bit of a ploy by the healthcare system to ensure wider adoption of the other vaccines. Here, they aim to try to vaccinate at least 80% of the population to attain herd immunity.
Locally in Nelson, B.C., a town of 10,000, there were over 120 cases of whooping cough (pertussis) last year, so this would be a considered a high risk threat. It is rarely life-threatening, but can cause scarring of the lungs in some cases. Quadracel is the recommended vaccine which innoculates against polio, diptheria and tetanus as well. Unfortunately, they don’t isolate the whooping cough vaccination or provide a single vial dose (preservative free) in B.C.. as far as I’ve found out.
Influenza – The flu shot is recommended for children aged 6 months and older. The viruses used in the vaccine change each year, having your medical system stay current on the latest virus is difficult. No single virus causes the flu, and no one vaccine can protect you from all of them, especially since vaccines and viruses vary from year to year. As a result, as many as 50% of those innoculated may still get the flu.
Whooping Cough (Pertussis) – About half of babies with whooping cough get the illness from their parents, most risk for infants under 6 months. As a result, it’s generally recommended that expecting parents (mothers) take the vaccine.
MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) – With recent outbreaks in Europe (Italy in particular) and the US (Illinois, midwest), travel to these areas can increase your risk of infection.
Hep A – This is a very common bacteria, has no long term liver damage, and generally results from unclean areas. This vaccine contains formaldehyde as a preservative, which is classified as a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The real need to vaccinate against Hep A is unproven, but often can prevent an unpleasant sickness while vacationing in tropical destinations.
Hep B – This results from exposure to infectious blood or body fluids containing blood. Unless inherited by a mother, this is highly unlikely for children to get, despite the fact that it is often recommended at birth, and 6 months for infants.
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) – In Canada the only available vaccination is Gardasil, approved by Health Canada in the Summer of 2006 for females between the ages of 9 and 26.
So What Are My Best Options?
- Do not vaccinate at all. There are many harmful preservatives in vaccines including mercury, aluminum, and MSG. There is extensive research that proves they these preservatives are not fully eliminated from your body, especially infants with undeveloped immune systems. Correlations between vaccines and autism, behavioural issues, and chronic immune deficiencies have been made for many years. Your child may never encounter many of the diseases/viruses addressed by vaccines (e.g. Hep B), and if they do, your child’s immune system is the best natural defence. Breastfeeding has been proven to boost the immune system and fight toxins in babies and children. The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding until your child is at least 2 years old.
- Delay vaccination until child is older. Research has shown that infants and babies under 2 years old simply do not have the immune systems developed enough to properly react to vaccines. Breast feeding up to the age of 2 will provide huge benefits to ward off infection. Significantly lower rates of diarrhea, ear infections, lower respiratory illness, and childhood lymphomas occur among breastfed infants and children in the West. Breastfeeding has also been reported to protect against necrotizing enterocolitis, bacteremia, meningitis, botulism, sudden infant death syndrome, urinary tract infection, early childhood caries, juvenile diabetes, and inflammatory bowel disease.
- Vaccinate selectively, focusing on local threats. If whooping cough is common in your region, then you may want to address that health issue with a specific vaccine. Most children are at very low risk to Hep B unless a parent has the disease. Polio is also highly uncommon, so unless you are travelling to 3rd world regions where this is a risk, it may not be necessary.
Written By: Chris Charlwood