Currently there is considerable contention about the benefits and the possible side effects of vaccines. Opinion in the medical community is often polarised.
To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate? That is the Question!
In my many years of practice I have seen many clients that had perfectly normal vaccination experience. I have also seen many negative reactions, some of them extreme. I always encourage my clients to research the vaccines they are considering, and make their own decisions. If they decide to vaccinate I make sure they know what symptoms might be a sign of a negative reaction, and what actions to take in order to detoxify quickly. If they decide against vaccinations, I offer homeopathic protection against many of the common childhood diseases, and advice on supporting a healthy immune system.
How individuals perceive the role of vaccinations in disease prevention depends on the culture they are in, availability, and personal experience within their own families. I was born before the practice of vaccinating immediately after birth became routine in the United States, so my first encounter with a vaccine was smallpox when I was already up and walking. This was not a good experience. My mom said that my whole arm swelled, and I had a fever for days. I just remember being really sick. Despite this, a few months later my mother took me back for the next shot. This one was DPT (diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus). I threw up when I got the injection. This could have been fear after my first experience, but by the time we arrived home I had a raging fever, hives and was barely conscious. The doctor came and gave me another shot of something (my Mom never knew what), which calmed things down a bit. It took over a week for me to return to normal. The doctor told my Mom that since I had such a severe allergic reaction I should have no more vaccines. She took this to heart and I remained vaccine-free until one day, several years later when they gave out sugar cubes at school. I didn’t understand that these sugar cubes contained a polio vaccine, and the school nurse hadn’t bother to look at anyones file, she just gave them out. It was before the time of school authorities knowing much about allergies. I took my sugar cube like a good girl, went back to class and proceeded to pass out and convulse. I woke up in the doctor’s office sometime later. Over the next week I ran a fever, hurt all over, my joints swelled and I threw up almost everything. Hives came and went and my vision has never been quite the same. To say my mother was upset would be an understatement. This prompted her to learn more and begin to build my immune system naturally. I did have some childhood illnesses, like measles and chickenpox, but my body handled them with ease. They were way less difficult for my system than the vaccines. I did have a plain tetanus shot as a teenager after putting a nail through my foot and it went fine, so apparently certain vaccines work for me, or perhaps being much older made a difference. Or it was a dry vaccine with only saline (no preservatives), so maybe it was the preservatives that had been so bad when I was younger. These early experiences have made me very conscientious about what goes into my body. They have shaped my mind to be open to many possibilities. They also taught me to listen to my body and value its wisdom. Perhaps they even shaped my career path. Through my years of practice it has become clear that I am not the only person to have negative reactions to vaccines that perhaps outweigh the protection they may give.
When I began to study medicine, I learned about the “germ theory”, how the immune system functions, and how vaccines work as a means of protection. I would like to share the basics with you.
Germ theory says that our environment is filled with tiny, often invisible, things (pathogens) that are out to get us. We have little or no power to stop them, hence the need for vaccines, antibiotics, etc. However, I was also taught that in a strong body the immune system responds to the invasion of pathogens by creating antibodies that attack these critters and carry them safely out of us via our elimination system.
What is the immune system and how does it work? The immunes system is a finite set-up. It only has so many resources and energy for each day. Despite these limits it does have infinite flexibility. This is where it really shines, and this flexibility is what allows it to handle so many kinds of incoming pathogens (virus, bacteria, molds, pollen, etc.) so efficiently. In addition to combatting pathogens, it is also responsible for helping counterbalance the negative effects of non-pathogenic toxins (chemicals, alcohol, smoke, etc.) and negative emotional stress.
How do vaccines fit in with the immune system? Vaccines are minute amounts of a pathogen (usually dead) that are mixed into a carrier liquid (often containing toxic preservative chemicals) designed to be put into a human or animal. The goal is to make the immune system believe that a particular pathogen is attacking so it will build antibodies. The trick is to get the body and immune system to do this without having the disease symptoms associated with the pathogen. It is also important to pick a non-toxic carrier liquid that doesn’t create negative side-effects. If everything goes perfect the person’s system will build antibodies to a pathogen it doesn’t have. Because it doesn’t actually have the pathogen, there are no symptoms. But this also means the body can never get over it and the immune system will continue to build antibodies forever. The hope is that these antibodies will protect (give the person’s immune system a head start) should they ever come in contact with the actual, live, pathogen thus preventing them from getting sick.
Pros and Cons:
In many individuals vaccines work. In situations where a pathogen-based epidemic is in process a good vaccine can save lives and stop the epidemic. During an epidemic the percentage of negative, even deadly, reactions to a vaccine is probably small enough for the good of the whole to outweigh the harm caused to a few. In the case of a known exposure to a pathogen that causes severe symptoms and often death (for example rabies), a vaccine is critical.
One of the keys to successful immunisation with no side-effects is a non-toxic carrier solution. This is an area where medicine has really failed. Most carrier solutions are preserved with toxic chemicals, for example heavy metals: mercury (thimerosal), aluminium, and formaldehyde (a preservative used in cadavers, basically embalming fluid). These and all the other preservatives used have long lists of associated health problems. This is beyond what health issues the pathogen itself may create. These chemicals are not good for anyone and are often responsible for the most severe reactions seen after vaccinations. These chemicals are cumulative (the body is not very good at eliminating them, so they build up in the system), which means that the more vaccines given, the greater the chances of a toxic reaction. We live in a culture where more vaccines are being created and given to everyone all the time. This means carrier solution toxicity is an ever-increasing issue. Some efforts are being made to shift this, but not nearly enough to consider vaccinations safe.
Carrier solution toxicity is not the only issue. Vaccines limit the immune system’s potential when given in quantity as prevention. Because vaccines force the immune system to use daily resources to keep on building antibodies to pathogens that are not actually currently attacking, they limit the resources and energy the immune system has to deal with other real and immediate threats. So while it is true that if you are exposed to something for which you have been vaccinated you are less likely to become sick, if you are exposed to anything else your immune system will have fewer resources to respond efficiently. I say “less likely” because vaccines are not 100%. Often people still get sick from pathogens against which they have been vaccinated and sometimes, like me, people get sick with disease symptoms from the vaccine itself.
What are potential solutions?
Know your family history. If there have ever been any issues with vaccines or even strong tendencies toward allergies or allergy based issues like asthma, be extra careful. Do your own research. Remember vaccinating is choice, not a law! In the USA, you have a legal right to choose, regardless of how doctors, school, or state governments may present it. This is true in most other countries too.
If you choose to vaccinate:
First, this is not an all-or-nothing decision. You can choose what vaccines to take and to give your child. Always request vaccines with non-toxic carrier solutions. For children, wait to vaccinate until they are over a year, or at least until the first teeth arrive. At any age only give one pathogen at a time. Mixed vaccine cocktails are extremely dangerous. Blood-based vaccines (Hepatitis A/B) are also very dangerous. Most doctors give vaccines in combinations (DPT, MMR), and multiple shots at one visit as it saves time. It is way safer to give them one at a time with several weeks break in between. Doctors can order vaccines as singles if you request it. When vaccines are given one at a time, especially the first time around, it will be clear which, if any, pathogen causes a reaction. It also gives the immune system time to adjust to the work it is expected to do. Don’t give boosters unless they are needed. You can request a tither test. This is a simple blood test that looks at the level of antibodies in the blood to a given pathogen. If the titer is high enough there is no need for a booster. This is a longer, more expensive method of vaccinating, but it is much safer. Many people only need one or two doses to last a lifetime. Every time you take a vaccination, take the homeopathic of it for a few days afterward to help the body balance its response. Also give the immune system some extra help: be sure to have more rest, lots of water, Vitamin C, etc. Remember, the best prevention to any disease is a healthy immune system.
- CDC’s current recommended vaccination schedule and to their communicable disease symptoms chart
- CDC’s possible vaccination side-effects
It might be interesting to note my personal choice and experience: My seventeen-year-old daughter has had neither the childhood vaccines nor any other and we have traveled all over the world. She is healthy and has had no need for medication, except for injury related pain, and then only aspirin with codeine for a couple of days. I exposed her many times to chickenpox (varicella) in hopes she would contract it, but only managed a high fever one night. She did get whooping cough (pertussis) as a teenager. The worst of it lasted 5 days and the cough an additional couple of weeks. We managed it with natural remedies and aspirin. I have given her regular, oral homeopathic “vaccines”. These work differently than conventional vaccines. I might give her a tetanus vaccine, if she has an accident that really warrants it, and I would definitely give her rabies if she ever had an exposure.
If you choose not to vaccinate:
There are many wonderful open-minded doctors that are willing to support free choice regarding vaccines. You may have to look hard to find one near you, but they do exist, and are well worth the hunt. There are also many organisations that support free choice. They will help you find the right paperwork to legally decline vaccines in situations where they are forcibly requested for school or work. These organisations also help victims of a negative vaccine reaction find help.
Once you have made the decision not to vaccinate it is imperative to consistently take action to build a healthy immune system. This includes: living in a healthy environment, eating a healthy, organic diet, lots of pure water, plenty of good sleep, regular exercise, rewarding work, plenty of peace, and happiness. Super-foods, herbs and supplements are also useful in offsetting the stress that happens if you don’t manage everything on this list perfectly. If you are a new mom, choosing not to vaccinate makes nursing for at least a year really important. There is nothing better than a healthy mom, nursing her baby for building a strong immune system.
Even with these things in place, I still recommend homeopathic vaccines for the major childhood diseases several times per year throughout a child’s developmental years. I recommend a tetanus shot if warranted: for example if there is a potential exposure from a cut; if a person is working the land somewhere that tetanus is prevalent in the soil; or if one is living where tetanus shots are not available in emergencies. I recommend rabies vaccines for people who work with animals (esp. wild) in areas that are know to have it. Remember with rabies, by the time symptoms appear it is too late, so if you or your child is bitten by any animal (especially one acting odd) you need to get tested immediately and bring the offending animal in to be tested too.
It is important to know the symptoms of the major childhood diseases and any other contagious disease relevant to where you are living so you will recognise them at the onset when they are easy to treat. If a pathogen does manage to take hold and presents symptoms, it is important to begin immediate holistic care and seek appropriate medical help. It is also important not to panic. Most pathogens are self-limiting in the presence of a healthy immune system and proper care. They will run their course then be gone, leaving behind a stronger, more intelligent immune system. Everyone I knew growing up had chickenpox. We all lived and we all continued to be strong hardy country folk.
Each pathogen requires care appropriate to the symptoms presented, but all will benefit from the disease-specific homeopathic remedy. Homeopathic vaccines not only help prevent infection from a pathogen, they also help overcome an existing infection. In my experience, homeopathic vaccines do not prevent childhood and other disease 100%. They do work in conjunction with a health immune system to prevent most contagions, and when a contagion does take hold, they help the body to rapidly and effectively respond. The real beauty of homeopathic vaccines are they do all this without compromising the immune system. In other words, they store the information on how to react efficiently to a contagion in the energy field of a person rather than in the antibodies in the blood. Unlike conventional vaccines, they do not require constant resources and energy from the immune system. They free the immune system to use all it’s resources to address whatever the body is currently facing. I have been successfully using them with my own family and in my practice for years. Feel free to contact me to learn more.
Here are resources for learning more about your vaccination choices:
Mothering Magazine constantly runs relevant articles and has a database of articles that can be searched online
The National Vaccine Information Center best non-biases site. A one-stop shop!
Generation Rescue: hope for recovery is an excellent site for help with Autism. Here is their ingredient and side-effect list for vaccines.
Vaccinations: A Guide for Making Personal Choices by Studer, Douch, and Barton – Covers the basics and is fairly non-bias.
Immunisation: The Reality Behind the Myth by Walene James – Gives a more global/political view of vaccination as a practice in our culture, and covers a lot of practical information too.