Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Against my better judgement I've decided to write a post about vaccines. I know this is a touchy subject so I'll try to tread lightly.
Now, before you come charging at me with pitchforks, you should know that I'm not for or against them. It's such a deeply personal and private decision that I would never claim to know what the best thing is for anyone's children except my own. That being said, I think there are still too many parents who don't do their homework on the subject. We just go with the flow trusting that the government officials who are responsible for compiling the list of recommended childhood vaccines are actually looking out for out best interest. I'm not saying that they're not, but it doesn't take much digging to find out that politics and big pharmaceutical money are major driving forces when it comes to jabbing our children with needles.
In Utah, there's a slogan, "immunize by two, it's up to you". Catchy right? To their credit, they did get at least one part right. It's up to you indeed. But medically speaking, there's NO reason whatsoever to cram 16 vaccinations into the first 2 years of a child's life (throw in 2 flu shots and you're up to 18 - wowzers!). And from what I understand, the reason they advocate getting it done by two years of age is because that's when medical care providers have the most access to your child. The majority of your child's wellness check ups will be within the first two years of their life. But in reality, children are actually better off when their vaccinations are spread out over 4-5 years.
But to prove to you that I'm not advocating for one side or the other I'm going to let you in on a few of the decisions I've made for my kids. Some vaccines we get, others we don't. Take the MMR (measles mumps and rubella) vaccine for example. After much research, I came to the conclusion that those diseases posed more of a threat to my children's health than the vaccine itself. That's not to say that I wasn't concerned about the risks associated with injecting them with live viruses, but I knew the vaccine had a long safety record which put my mind at ease.
The chickenpox vaccine however, wasn't quite as cut and dry. When I looked at the number of children who've had complications related to the illness as compared to the number of children who've had complications related to having received the vaccine, something didn't add up in my mind. I even brought it up with our pediatrician at the time. His solution? "You really should vaccinate your children." Which was a suuuuper helpful piece of advise. I thanked him profusely right after I gave him an atomic wedgie. Needless to say we decided to forego the chickenpox vaccine. After all, I survived it just fine and I suspect they will too if they ever come across it.
The point I'm trying to make here is that as a parent, it's your job to make informed decisions regarding the health of your children. The CDC, FDA, and even your pediatrician are there to advise you. But at the end of the day it's YOUR choice. Read. Study. Inform yourself on the topic. Weigh the risks. Consider the benefits. Find a pediatrician you trust and who listens to your concerns. Don't let them throw the one-size-fits-all net over you. But above all, trust your gut.
So, now that I've spewed all my vaccine rhetoric at you and at the same time claimed that I have no opinion one way or another, I'm going to totally contradict myself. Because there is one vaccine that I honestly believe NOBODY should get. And that's the HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine. HPV is thought to be closely associated with cervical cancer. Actually, I don't doubt that it is. The problem is that the vaccines available only protect against 2 strains of HPV, which is all fine and dandy until you consider that there are over 100 strains of the virus. And those are just the ones we know of. For the past 5 years it has been recommended by the CDC and the FDA that girls between the ages of 9-11 receive 3 doses of the vaccine. Did I mention it costs $120.00 a pop? That's $360.00 for one round of the vaccine that's only active for 5 years!!! But that's the least of my concerns. I've been following this issue since it first appeared on the national radar (about 5 years ago) and I'm telling you it's dripping with suspicion. The ingredients are as mind boggling as they are frightening. I've come across story after story of little girls who's lives were changed forever because they're parent's were trying to keep them healthy. Recently I came across this:
This vaccine scientifically has problems. Aluminum which is the adjuvant is a definite neurotoxin. SPI Pharma, Inc.had this to say "Accumulation of aluminum in the body may result in neurological damage, anemia and bone softening." Polysorbate 80 The National Toxicology Program by the Department of Health and Human Services has information about testing for Toxicity Effects "potent cardiac depressant" "a coronary vasodilatory effect" "there was equivocal evidence of carcinogenicity" "showed 40% incidence of metastasis". The European Chemicals Agency had a lot to say about Sodium borate. "as toxic for reproduction category 27, R60-61 (May impair fertility. May cause harm to the unborn child)." "Repr. 1B; H360-FD (May damage fertility. May damage the unborn child)" It amazes me that people are still led to believe that it is safe. Read more here.
But the kicker is that today the CDC decided to officially place it on the recommended vaccine list for boys ages 11-12. You guys, I have a 10 year old son! And let me tell you, he's NOT at risk for catching HPV. Which leads me to my next point. HPV is a sexually transmitted disease which automatically means that if you're opposed to vaccinating for it, people may jump to the conclusion that there's some sort of moral issue behind your decision. As a conservative mormon who will teach her children to "keep it in their pants" until they get married (that's how my husband puts it - he has a way with words), I have to tell you that this has absolutely nothing to do with why I'm opposed to the vaccine. I was a teenager once. I get it. No wool over these eyes. But I wholeheartedly believe that if your kids are out sleeping around by the age of 11 or 12, you're not doing your job as a parent, and no vaccine on earth will make a lick of difference. My main concern is about the safety of the vaccine itself. Or lack thereof. And as of right now, I plan to keep my kids as far away from it as possible.
Look here for more mind blowing information.
Okay. Stepping off soap box now.