Thursday, April 1, 2010

Vaccines: Our Story

I know vaccines are a hot topic now-a-days, and they also happen to be a very emotional one for me. My intent in posting this is not to offend anyone in any way, but merely to share my story and what I have learned through my experience with my daughter's vaccinations. I haven't shared this story with more than 2 people since it happened, but a friend of mine just posted something on her blog about vaccines and she inspired me to share. Her post made me realize how I wish I would have had more information on vaccines before I made my daughter's first doctor's appointment, so I would like to share with you why I made the decision not to vaccinate my children, and to provide you with resources where to find more information on the topic if you are interested in doing your own investigating.

Abby at 12 months, a few weeks after her appointment

Abby was always very bright and had started speaking very early- at 9 months she was saying as many words as Stryder is now at 18, and she was holding full conversations at 11 months. She was incredibly curious, self motivated, and could sit in her room for 2 hours all by herself looking through her books.

Like any first-time mom, I tried really hard to be a perfect Mommy: I read books on how to be a good mom, and followed everything to a tee. I went to all her doctor appointments with a list of questions to ask. There were so many things I was worried about, and vaccinating Abby was not one of them. I had never questioned vaccinations, or even thought about the option to refuse them. After all, why would I want to? I had been vaccinated as a child, and all the parenting books I read said they could save my daughter's life if she ever comes in contact with any of those horrible diseases. After all, they are harmless, right? WRONG!

After Abby's 12 month check up, everything changed. For some reason, she hadn't received all her 6 month vaccinations, so the doctor sat down with me at the appointment (with a concerned look on his face) and asked my permission to 'double her up'. I said, "Sure, they won't hurt her, right?" "Of course not," he assured me. "She might have a mild fever tonight and be cranky for the next few days, but that's completely normal." I held her little legs tightly as they administered 7 different shots and my baby cried out in pain.

We left the doctor's office around 1pm, and she seemed fine. She was her happy, talkative self. As I was preparing her snack at around 3pm, it started. She walked into the kitchen, started to whimper, and threw up. For the next hour or so I carried her around, and she would point to the kitchen sink every time she was going to be sick. I would hold her over the sink as she vomited, over and over. Then things got worse. Much worse. She rapidly became weaker and less responsive. I laid with her in my bed all night with towels underneath us, as she had become unable to lift her head or even wake up to vomit. At one point she went into such a deep sleep that I couldn't wake her, and I was worried she was in a comma. I picked her up and lightly shook until she came out of it: it took almost a full minute. Her fever measured in at 102. I called the doctor's office. I explained the situation to the doctor on call and said she was having a bad reaction to her vaccinations and asked what I could do. The doctor assured me that it was a "coincidence" and that there was no way her vaccines would have caused that reaction. This infuriated me.

6 1/2 Months

As mothers, many times we have to trust our instincts. Sometimes we just KNOW. In this situation, I just KNEW, and it blew me away that the doctor not only didn't draw a connection, but refused to even acknowledge the POSSIBILITY of a connection.

Abby stayed sick for 2 days, but it was when she began to feel better that I immediately knew something was wrong. She wasn't herself. She seemed 'spacey' and had lost some of her vocabulary to name the most obvious changes. I thought she would come out of it, but days passed, then weeks and she stayed in a daze. Eventually she began to learn her words again, and she became better at staying focused on stories, but I felt as though she had been knocked back several developmental months. In a way, I felt I had lost who my baby girl was.

13 Months

I knew her reactions had something to do with vaccines, but I didn't know why. After all, they were harmless, right? About 6 months later, when I was trying to decide whether to take her in for her shots at 18 months, I received my Parenting magazine in the mail. It had a story in it about a mom and her son with Autism. Her son had a similar reaction to Abby's after receiving vaccinations at his 18 month check up. However, he remained in a daze, and just grew worse and worse. The part that really caught my attention was that the doctor claimed it had nothing to do with the vaccinations, but this mom KNEW differently.

I started researching more articles and stories about kids with Autism, and I was amazed at what I found. We are told that studies prove no connection between vaccines and Autism, but the one similarity I found between all the stories was that the changes in the children became apparent within a week or two following the vaccinations, and all the mothers KNEW it was a reaction to the vaccines even though their doctors said it wasn't. If you have ever had an experience with your own 'Mother's Intuition,' you know all those mothers can't be wrong, I don't care what the scientific studies find or the doctors say.

Then I looked for books on Amazon to see what others have found. If you read the reviews, many people provide references to the best books on the subject. That's how I found this book: Vaccines: Are They Really Safe and Effective by Miller (click on the link to find it on Amazon). Neil Miller is a medical researcher who started looking into private vaccine studies when he was deciding whether or not to vaccinate his first child. I like his perspective because he is not anti-medicine or anti-drugs, and he examines each vaccine individually- the severity of the disease it prevents, how it is created, its efficacy and known side effects. Here are a few things I learned:

1. Vaccines aren't tested to determine their safety. We test baby shampoo before it is released on the market, but not vaccines?! Crazy!

2. All the major drug companies have stock holders on both the FDA's and CDC's Board of Advisors, and they frequently use the leverage to their advantage.

3. Vaccines are created in batches of millions of shots (billions of dollars in product). Sometimes certain batches of vaccines are deemed to be 'Hot Lots,' which means that unusually high incidents of 'severe reactions' have been reported (severe reaction= coma and/or death) among the children who have received the vaccination. Keep in mind that a certain number of severe reactions are expected with every batch (What? Expected?!?), but these batches have UNUSUALLY high numbers. When a batch of vaccinations is deemed to be a 'Hot Lot,' the drug company that created it is not required to notify the doctors or pull the vaccinations from the shelves. Not one of the many 'Hot Lots' reported have been pulled from the market, which means the remaining millions of shots are currently being administered to children all over the world. It also means there is no way of knowing if your child has received or will receive one of these shots.

4. Many of the vaccinations we receive are truly unnecessary, as the diseases had become virtually non-existent BEFORE the vaccines were ever created. Other vaccines (like MMR) have been created for diseases that are either easily treatable or virtually harmless and were previously known as common 'childhood' illnesses, like the Chicken Pox. *P.S. The vaccine for Chicken Pox has recently been determined (by private studies, of course) to be very harmful... especially when combined with MMR and Polio.

5. Drug companies themselves have found vaccines to be ineffective before the age of 2. Before the age of 2, the body's immune system is too immature to process the vaccine. That's why they have Boosters, which are also ineffective. It's amazing to read in this book the studies that have been done of outbreaks- almost all of the children who contracted the diseases had been vaccinated for them.

6. ALL of the studies that have been done that show "No connections between vaccines and Autism" were funded by the drug companies themselves. There are many private studies that DO show a connection with Autism, as well as ADHD, Cancer and SIDS.

7. When a child is injected with a vaccine, their body reacts to the 'foreign agent' in a similar way to any disease: their immune system attacks and causes a fever, vomiting, diarrhea, etc. as their body tries to purge. Some reactions are more severe than others, and that depends on each child's genetics. One commonly reported reaction to vaccines is that the brain swells and the mylenation around the brain stem deteriorates. This is the reaction that is believed to cause changes in the brain and can lead to Autism, ADHD, and more. Swelling can occur at all different levels of severity: mild (like Abby's) up to severe. In the more severe reactions, brain swelling can cause coma and death within a few hours. How do you know how your child's body will react? Every child is different, and you don't know until it's too late.

8. I was astonished to read in this book how little we actually know about the immune system and how it functions. We are learning that the immune response begins the moment bacteria or viruses enter the body, and by the time they get to the blood stream the immune response is in it's final stages. With this knowledge, it's no wonder that people continually contract diseases they had previously been vaccinated for: by injecting dead viruses into the blood, there is no way the body can generate an effective immune response because it hasn't gone through all the steps. It's even less likely that the body will be able to fight off the disease in the future.

And my favorite...The Flu Vaccine.
9. I have to quote from Miller's book, because he explains it better than I ever could: "To understand why flu vaccines are so problematic, it is important to know how authorities try to control this unpredictable virus. Production of each new flu vaccine, to be distributed in fall, usually begins in January. Therefore, officials must guess one year in advance which mutated strains of the flu virus will circulate throughout society. If they guess right, the vaccine is thought to be about 35% effective at temporarily preventing that year's flu in the elderly. If they guess wrong, as often occurs, or the circulating strains mutate again between January and the end of the year, which is likely, the vaccine may be worthless.

For example, in 1994 flu "experts" predicted that the Shangdong, Texan, and Panama strains would be prevalent that year, thus millions of people received flu shots containing these strains. However, when winter arrived the Johannesburg and Beijing strains were circulating. In 1995, health officials modified their predictions and created a flu vaccine that contained the Texas, Johannesburg, and Beijing strains. Again, millions of people were vaccinated. However, when winter arrived, the Wuhan strain predominated. During the 1997-1998 flu season, officials once more had to admit that "the flu shot did not make a dent in flu cases because the strains included in the vaccine did not match the strains that actually circulated that year." The vaccine was 0% effective." (p. 85)
Generally, authorities know several months in advance that their vaccine won't be effective, but they frighten the public by predicting a deadly flu season to use up their costly vaccine. Another quote from Miller: "Even when there is a good match between the viral strains in a flu vaccine and that year's circulating flu virus, immunity from the shot is short-lived because antibody levels begin to decline within months, and are often low one year after vaccination. Permanent immunity to a particular strain of flu is only possible by contracting the disease naturally..."For example, in one influenza outbreak in a Minnesota nursing home, 95 % of the residents, and 72% of the staff members with direct patient contact had been vaccinated 4-8 weeks prior to the outbreak. Authorities were baffled when they learned that the viral strain isolated from the outbreaks was 'antigenically identical' to the one contained in the vaccine. In other words, the vaccine was a 'perfect' match for that year's circulating flu virus, yet it was a complete failure. Authors of the study concluded that, "despite widespread vaccination... influenza outbreaks continue to occur...""

13 Months

So basically, what I have learned from this book and others is that vaccines are not only harmful, they are ineffective in preventing the diseases we use them to prevent. There is so much information out there on this topic, and so many parents with stories like ours, and worse. If you are trying to decide whether to vaccinate your child, I recommend reading as much as you can on the subject before making that first appointment.

Today, Abby is doing well. She is still incredibly intelligent, does well in school and is just about perfect in every way. I still notice some things haven't gone away:

1. Severe constipation. Ever since her 12 month vaccinations, no matter what she eats, she is always constipated. I feed her prunes, prune juice, fruits and vegetables, etc. Nothing helps. She has developed a fear of going poop because it is always so painful. I have to give her a laxative or enema about every 4-6 days.

2. She has difficulty with bladder control and has frequent bladder infections. We have tried everything from cranberry juice, changing laundry detergent, to switching from baths to showers. Again, nothing helps.

3. She has difficulty focusing, and is still really "spacey" at times. She frequently runs head-first into stationary objects like walls, chairs and playground equipment because she was in "dream land" or not walking straight.

We have seen our pediatrician so frequently about all of these things that I think I am annoying her. She can't figure out what is causing them, and has even told me that there may be nothing wrong. "It could just be who she is," she said. She refuses to believe that vaccines could have anything to do with these lasting effects. I know she is wrong. I saw the changes take place in my daughter, and no amount of science is going to change that fact.

P.S. If you are curious about the links that have been found between vaccines and cancer, I recommend you visit and read their Letter to Congress in the upper corner of the page. The two parents/medical professionals have found an amazing link between the Polio vaccine and brain cancer.

A friend just responded to this post on Facebook with a book recommendation: Dr. Robert Sears The Vaccine Book. Click on the title for a link to the book on Amazon. This was a book that I have had my eye on for quite some time, but have never had the chance to read. Thanks, Leeanna, for the recommendation!

Another great book that provides insight into how the Immune System works is The Sanctity of Human Blood : Vaccination is Not Immunization by Tim O'Shea. My friend Tara, who is incredibly versed in Homeopathic medicine, got me into this one, and it is an eye-opening read.



Extremely well-put! You write so beautifully! I like when you wrote, "I was vaccinated as a child..." We all were back then, but when I looked at my shot record, I had a total of TEN shots from childhood to adulthood. Today, children receive up to 60 shots on the vaccine schedule! I cannot imagine what you went through after Abby's reaction. I would have completely panicked!!!! Krista, her body may have detoxed just fine, as she has recovered. But like we talked about, she may need some chelation to help her body heal further and help her attention span. The articles I read about chelation with severely autistic kids were astounding! If these kids can be healed to "normal," it can work for Abby. :)

Cherish said...

Randomly blog-hopping and you hit a topic near and dear to my heart, so I had to click over and read. I don't have children yet, but I know people that had horrible reactions to vaccines. My sisters and I were never vaccinated and I plan the same lack of vaccines for my children.

You shared some information I did not know previously. Great post!

Amy Snell said...

Thanks for posting!! Both of our kids have not been vaccinated, they are healthy, strong, thriving lovers!! Seriously Mackenzie has never had an ear infection {she's 4}, she didnt get her first cold until she was 2...Mason is a healthy boy too!! I felt strongly that we shouldnt for so many of the reasons you posted...

My in laws are vegan and tend to go the very natural way in many ways {non of hubbys siblings are vaccinated}, we actually only do homeopathics in the way of "medicine", our children have NEVER had true medicine from the doctor...they've had no reason for them!!

Interesting thing I read about vaccinating a 7 pound newborn [just the first set of ones at the hospital], it was the equalivant of giving a 230 pound grown man 30 shots at once!! Their body cant process it!!

You are not alone...its not like the vaccine is a 100% that they wont get whatever they are being vaccinated makes you think :)
xoxo Amy

Meredith said...

Thanks for posting! I don't have children yet but live with my sister and 2 nieces (6 yrs. & 4 mos.) and will definitely share this information with her!

God Bless!


Palmyra said...

I was on a friend's blog and my eye caught your entry regarding vaccines. I didn't initially vaccinate my son because I had read so much on the subject and knew there was something not quiet right with vaccines. However, I was always treated like an idiot by the medical community. They accused me of jeopardizing my child's life. I was refused service by my first pediatrician. Luckily, my son was extremely healthy, never really got sick (perhaps because his immune system had not been compromised).

I decided to vaccinate my son when he was two. He got the polio shot and the first one didn't seem to be too bad. The second time, which was a month ago, scared me so bad. Like you, I still go to bed asking myself if I'm doing the right thing. He was in so much pain, his thigh muscle was cramped up, fever, lethargic, dazed. For two days I prayed that nothing would happen. I'm due for his third and final shot in a month (until he needs his booster) but quiet frankly, I don't want to. Yet, if we don't go to the last one then the first two are for naught. I now know that I don't want to vaccinate my second son and that if I do go through with the Polio it will be his last. I hate the way people look at me when they find out that I have not vaccinated my children, I hate the talks about how bad a mother and ignorant I am (even though I have spent more hours reading up on the subject than many of them put together). Yet, I would feel worse if something happened to my children because I gave in instead of doing what I "knew" was the right thing for us. Thanks for sharing your story.

Krista Jones said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Krista Jones said...

Thank you to everyone who left a comment!
Thank you for sharing! I know exactly how you feel, and it is heart-wrenching making those choices. I wish I could tell you what is right or wrong for your child, but the truth is, only you know. Follow your instincts and pray. Hard. And don't be afraid to skip that last shot, or continue with it if that's what you feel is right. But don't let anyone else make that decision for you... not the doctor, not some mom giving you mean looks in the waiting room... NO ONE. I used to be afraid of mean looks from other moms, but now I welcome them. Every time we are at the pediatrician's office and they ask for our immunization records, I announce as loud as I can, "We don't vaccinate" and I just cross my fingers that someone will ask me why, and I can educate them too. Bring it on! Read the findings in the Letter to Congress on and buy Miller's book for sure before that next appointment.
After getting into an pro vs. anti-vaccine argument with an epidemiology student the other day, I realized that I know more about all this stuff than I thought I did. I matched his every argument, and he has a degree on the subject! It was during that "discussion" that I figured out that the main argument among the medical community is that if we don't vaccinate our children, we put others at risk by threatening their Herd Immunity. I'm sorry, but that is just ridiculous to me. Why would I inject my child with something I KNOW will harm them because you are afraid that IF a rare disease spreads rapidly, and IF my child gets it, that he or she MIGHT cough on your infant or grandmother and infect them? I would like to protect my child from the immediate threat of vaccines, rather than the possibility of a random outbreak in the future, thank you very much. The part that gets me is that if the medical community would just own up to the fact that vaccines MIGHT be causing a problem and actually DO something about it, they would solve the Herd Immunity issue because parents wouldn't be afraid to vaccinate if they made safe vaccines. Yet they still blame us for making "irresponsible" decisions. Go figure.