I have been asked several times about our stance on vaccination controversy, why we do what we do. I decided I was tired of writing it out on comment pages for all the blogs and websites I have been on.
First off, I have a degree in environmental, health and safety (EHS). I also have an associates in hazardous materials technology. I have spent 15 years working for a variety of companies, in the EHS function. In other words, it is my job to assess whether or not the company is following EHS rules, and ensuring employees are safe on the job. Every place I have worked has had an impressive array of chemicals onsite in order to make whatever it was they made (semiconductor chips, aerospace components etc.) I have had years of experience sorting through material safety data sheets, and studies on the effects of chemicals on people. This not only includes the workers, but also their offspring- in other words- pregnant women, nursing women etc. I have read a lot. I have spoken with chemical companies, consulted doctors, toxicoligists, you name it, in order to make sure my coworkers, and myself were safe at work in regards to chemicals.
I am not your average mother when it comes to chemical safety.
So, when I became pregnant, we started researching the types of vaccinations were available, and which were safe, questionable or unsafe. We also looked at different schedules of vaccines. The first choice we made was to have our daughter at a birth center. She received no medications there, no drops to the eyes and no Vitamin K shots. We read about the necessity of such things, and determined that they were not going to be our choice. We did administer vitamin K drops instead.
Most of the information I read about vaccines questioned why we were giving so many shots at one time to a small infant. I read the-
The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child (Sears Parenting Library)
information on delayed scheduling, and felt like this was a good fit for us, with some slight modifications. Our pediatrician has many patients that use a modified schedule, and they are comfortable with this. They are also ok with us omitting certain shots, as long as we have done our research and come into the office informed. We make our appointments for “shot only” visits, and the insurance company also has no issue with this ( and we have crappy insurance.)
We made the choice that I was going to stay home with my daughter, breastfeed and she would not be going to daycare until at least she was a year old, so we knew her risk of exposure to other kids was low. She has few relatives that she even interacts with and they are all vaccinated. She is now 2, and still at home with me.
What did we choose?
In general, I feel that the number of vaccines given to tiny babies is concerning. It is also new. When I was a child, I did not get half the number of shots that kids get now. The phenomena of all these shots is new. The shots are sometimes new.The metals are higher than safety levels for full grown adults in some cases. That is all fact. I fully support some incredible medical advances that have been made, and chose to embrace them, but not all of them, and not at once.
If you care to look at studies showing the effects of heavy metals like mercury and aluminum and even formaldehyde, they are scary. Many are neurological.
We are injecting this into babies. Yes, there is a risk and benefit trade off. I am aware of this, and have made my choices accordingly. I am not against all vaccines. I do understand that the dose makes the poison, and when injecting the metals in my child, I choose to spread that dose out, to lessen its effect while still getting the benefit of the vaccine.
If you read stories from families where a child started regressing after a vaccination, you cannot help but feel bad for them, horrified in fact to think that the family thinks they caused their child harm. Whether or not you buy into these situations being caused by vaccines, it has to give you some kind of pause. It must make you want to look into this a little more. Even if it is not the vaccine, what is it? I don’t know. And bear in mind, when I say neurological effects, I am not even beginning to talk about this whole autism debacle. I have other thoughts on that, related to antibiotics….that is another post.
We decided that due to the high numbers of kids with whooping cough in our county ( I looked it up on the County health website) that we needed to be protected for whooping cough. It is a nasty disease, can be life threatening, and we wanted to get this shot. We also read about the limited side effects of using the shot, and we were not too opposed to it. It comes along with diptheria and tetanus, so we had to get that. We did it at 2 months, 6 months, 8 months and then once more at the year later mark. We got that shot alone.
We looked at the safety of the polio shot over the years. The vaccine that is being used now has been used for a long time. Side effects were minimal. Even though there is not a lot of polio about, we decided that we felt comfortable with this shot, separate from the others and given at 8 months old.
PCV was another shot we wanted to get for her. For the life of me, I cannot find the report we looked at in 2012, but I recall seeing the numbers were high in Arizona, and there were deaths associated with this. I also recall hearing my doctor express some concern over this particular vaccine, which she did not for others, so it made me perk my ears up. The vaccine again had few negatives reported for the version she was getting, and we felt it was safe based on what we read. I referred today to this report on the CDC site, but this may not be what we looked at.
Rotavirus was the final vaccination we chose. Again, on the delayed schedule. Still looking for the 2012 data I looked at, but this disease has actually increased in the West for some reason. The vaccine is not reported to be overly hazardous ( the new version), and it is oral so there are no heavy metals contained. ( per CDC)
What we didn’t pick:
HPV- really- a 2 year old isn’t getting this. At 9 when it is suggested, we will revisit this. It will have had time for more side effects to show, and more testing.
Personally I find the flu shot to be a cash cow for companies. There is fear mongering and aggressiveness used to promote this. None of us receive this vaccine and we do not intend to. I do not care for the metals contained, and I do not feel that the effectiveness has been proven.
Anecdotally- when I was pregnant with my daughter 40 out of 80 people in my office got a nasty case of flu. There were massive employee outages, with confirmed cases of flu. Almost every one of the people that got it had received the flu shot that year. I realize that the flu shot does not contain every possible strain, but in this case they really missed it. I didn’t get sick oddly enough.. I launched a huge handwashing campaign, and avoided groups of people where I could avoid it. But what was the point of the vaccine that time? It seemed like that happened more years than it didn’t. Not effective, and not worth the risk.
Personally I have had chicken pox. I remember it well. Itchy, sitting around unhappily for a few days covered in calamine lotion. Not the worst thing I have ever experienced. I understand some people have different experiences, but they are in the minority. I find that the studies on this vaccine are not intensive enough, and it has not been around long enough for me to feel comfortable with. We are passing on this one. We are not signing up for chicken pox parties however.
Hib, Hep A, B
We did not get these as the rates of transmission are low, especially when the child is not exposed in daycare settings. We made a note to reconsider these at a later time if daycare was going to become an option.
Ok- this got too long, I am going to give MMR its own post, but those are some of the thoughts I wanted to share on vaccination controversy, why we do what we do.