April 7, 2008

Vaccines are not One Size Fits All

I was hesitant to touch on this topic because for some unknown reason, it is so "taboo" in our society. But because I am tentative to discuss it, is all the more reason that I should. As parents, we need to be more aware of the dangers and risks of childhood vaccinations.

*Note: there are countless parenting blogs on the web, including this one, that are screaming (rightly so) about the dangers of toxins in toys, plastics, baby bottles, formula, lotions and shampoos, but when I visited these same blogs for their takes on vaccines, the search was fruitless. I truly believe people are afraid to take a stand on the immunization front, and that needs to change.

I could go on for pages and pages here, but suffice it to say, when I interviewed pediatricians before Olivia's birth, one of my questions was whether or not I'd have to strictly adhere to the immunization schedule set forth by the CDC, or whether I could tailor it for my daughter and never give her more than 1 to 2 vaccinations per visit. I can't begin to tell you how badly I angered doctors with this simple request. I got read many a riot act, and I am surprised they didn't literally pat me on the head. I was demoralized, patronized, and told how "naive" I was. Doctors shook their heads at me and sent me on my way with pamphlets, brochures and fact sheets about different vaccines, all written by the pharmaceutical companies that manufactured each shot being touted, so of course their harmful attributes weren't included. Pediatricians dropped like flies off my list as each told me I would have absolutely no say in how, when, or why my daughter would be immunized. Some told me they wouldn't even consider having my daughter as a patient. I thought this was America. What happened to our freedom?

*Thank goodness we DID find a pediatrician who respects our rights and our wishes and has supported our decision to veer from the one size fits all schedule.*

Before everyone freaks out, let me say, I DO believe in immunizing our children. I know that vaccines are helpful in disease control. But the facts that have been brought to light by those courageous enough to speak out against the current schedule are downright appalling and I'll be frank: if you're not questioning the methodology behind which shots you are giving your baby, their ingredients, the quantity of shots you're giving them at once, and whether they are totally necessary for their age and stage of life, than you are doing your child a huge disservice. You are your child's only advocate, act accordingly.

Jenny McCarthy is on the front lines of the heated issue that vaccines are linked to Autism. From the reaction she is getting from the public and doctors, you would think she was out there trying to stop vaccinations altogether. She believes her son was injured by the MMR vaccine and descended into Autism, and that very hard work, determination, and a gluten/casein free diet have helped him emerge from Autism. McCarthy still backs the advantages of immunizations, she simply wants the schedule changed so that children aren't receiving a boatload of shots in such a short amount of time. She also wants to know why doctors aren't beating down her door to ask her how, as a mother, using intuition and the Internet, she healed her son. I want to know why doctors aren't lining up to speak with her as well.

Please read one of her latest articles here. Two facts alone make this topic worth your time: 1 in every 150 children in the United States suffers from Autism, and in the 1980's, children received 10 vaccines by the age of 5, and today children are given 36 vaccines, most by age 2. THIS IS NOT OKAY, and parents need to take a stand. McCarthy's book on these matters headlines this post if you're interested in reading it.

Thank you Ms. McCarthy for your courage and your wisdom and for putting a face and voice on this highly sidelined topic.

For those of you willing to walk the road less traveled, your journey will be more difficult, but more rewarding as well. I wish you every success. I saw a gentleman wearing a T-shirt the other day that read: "Question Authority. Jesus Did." I think that's an inspirational launching pad. Dare to be bold.


LadyElmo said...

Thank you for addressing this issue. I am preparing to have my first child this summer (June) and have been wondering how and when to start looking for a pediatrician. Do you have a resource for questions to ask or a timeline in which to start looking? I'm already the patient "that reads way too much" and "asks too many questions." I want to be educated in a way that I can remain level-headed during this emotional time.

Thank you, too, for your blog in general. It's a pleasure to read.

Petite Planet said...

Hi Ladyelmo! Thanks for your comments. I have decided to dedicate my post tomorrow to answering your questions, so please stop by and read it when you get a chance! Congrats on your baby to be!

Anonymous said...

Please, no! Vaccines do not cause autism! I think the way you (PetitePlanet) went about the 'vaccine debate' in your life was awesome, and a really great way to wean out pediatricians. Especially since that topic is such a hot one. But, please don't reference Jenny McCarthy, and don't tell first time parents that vaccines cause autism. Studies have shown, especially in europe where the ingredient in question has been outlawed in vaccines for YEARS, that autism rates are still on the rise. I have a sister-in-law who refuses to vaccinate her children, and so I have had many discussions with her about this. As a child, I could not have the opportunity to receive the DTP (Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis) vaccine due to a severe reaction I had to the Pertussis in the shot. I had six or seven seizures when I recieved my first one. Imagine my first-time mother, who had to deal with that. Yet, instead of refusing to allow her children to be vaccinated ever again, we were all vaccinated. I just received a DT shot. When a family in my neighborhood contracted Pertussis/whooping cough, our whole family had to be quarantined, because not only could I contract the disease, but it could possibly be deadly to me. I firmly believe (and I'm going to get religious on you) that if God helps us to have this knowledge, it is our responsibility to use it to protect our children He has entrusted us with. I would die if something happened to my children that I could have easily prevented with a simple shot. I honestly believe anyone who states that vaccines cause autism hasn't done enough research. Good luck with your blog article!!!

Petite Planet said...

Hi Anonymous- Thanks for your response. I am not telling parents that vaccines cause Autism, as to date, there is no direct evidence that they do...just a ton of intuition on behalf of parents, which is arguably the best information available. That said, I simply want to encourage parents to research and be AWARE of all of the risks and benefits of vaccines and to tailor the immunization schedule to suit their child. My title of the post that vaccines are not one size fits all is my main point.

Christine said...

Great post. I also believe that God has given us brains to discover new things and technologies. I also know our selfishness, our impatience and our greed has clearly caused us to utilize new things without first understanding the repercussions.

The U.S. has a history of approving medications, chemicals and other things that have only later been discovered to have dire consequences. Heck, there are things that have been banned in other countries because of their effects, but the U.S. keeps allowing companies to pop them out like reproducing rabbits.

Yes, God wants us to use our noggins. Sometimes that means discerning who the "experts" are on a subject (are they paying for it and/or are they getting paid?). What are the side effects, etc.? In a world that is moving and changing so quickly, it is vital that we question and self-educate - not follow blindly.

LadyElmo said...

Just to give you some more info... check out notquitecrunchyparent.blogspot.com
Wednesday, April 9, 2008's post is about "Tips on Spacing Vaccinations."

Jill said...

As a mom of an autistic son who was typical until his MMR shot, I can tell you that just because vaccines don't CAUSE autism doesn't mean they don't CONTRIBUTE significantly. It is easy to say that you would do anything for you child, but when you see your child go from typical to autistic after his MMR, tell me you wouldn't fight like hell to get him back! This isn't controversial in my opinion, vaccines triggered my son's autism. Period. Thanks to the gluten, casein and soy free diet and MANY nutritional supplements and a lot of behavioral therapy, my son is getting better. Don't preach about God. Did God want my son to be autistic? Maybe. Maybe he wanted my son to be autistic so that I could spread the word about the things we are doing to our children is wrong and dangerous. Thank you Petite Planet for talking about this topic. Don't stop being an advocate for your daughter and for everyone's children.

Petite Planet said...

Thank you for writing in, Jill. I agree with you on all counts.