Do You Vaccinate Your Children?

Posted August 22, 2008 by

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After we had our son, we went back and forth about whether or not to have him vaccinated. One of the reasons for our indecision was the fact that a friend of ours had a seemingly normal child who started exhibiting signs of autism after getting the MMR shot back in the late ’90s.

Ultimately, since my child was in a daycare setting at my university with kids from other countries, we decided to go ahead and vaccinate, and then worked with our pediatrician to spread out the shots as much as we possibly could. (We also made sure none of the shots included the mercury-containing preservative thimerasol– which many see as one of the links to autism.) I’ll tell  you the truth–like so many parenting decisions, the choice was not an easy one.

You probably heard that a government report came out this week saying that the number of measles cases in the U.S. is now at its highest level since 1997.  (Here’s the link to the story posted by NewsAnchorMom blogger Jen Christensen.) Apparently, nearly half the cases originated from people who do not have their kids vaccinated.  The CDC’s review also noted that many of the children were home-schooled, and therefore not required to have the shots. Relatively speaking, the number of people who caught measles is still small, at 131 people infected in the last 7 months, but doctors are still troubled by the trend. (None of the patients, who were almost all 19 or younger, died, but 15 were hospitalized.)

What do you think? Do you vaccinate your kids? If not, please share your concerns about vaccinations with the EP community.


Elisabeth Wilkins was the editor of Empowering Parents and the mother of an 10-year-old son. Her work has appeared in national and international publications, including Mothering, Motherhood (Singapore), Hausfrau, The Bad Mother Chronicles, and The Japan Times. Elisabeth holds a Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Maine.

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  1. phoebe yeh Report

    my duaghter just turn 2 years old now. she is strong and smart, also healthy.
    but we havent give her any shout other than two shot the doctor gave to her before she was 2 month old, first one was giving after her birth, the sencond one was gaving after a month old.
    i did a lot reserch about vaccination for kids, after the reserch i am terrified to give shout to my baby. i am afraid to take any risk.
    by the way, i dont know people relise it or not, i have compared my duaghter to my many friends’ child (same ages), they all follow the doctor’s information to give their kids vaccination, but they getting sick more ofter than my duaghter who have not been vaccinated.
    and she look more healthier than them.
    aslo im 27 years old mom, i dont remember i have get many vaccinated when i was kid, in my memory i only rember one shout when i was in 3 or 4the grade. my mom told me i didnt get any other shout before that. and i am health. so think about it people. cdc is a company, it’s a business who wants to make money, they dont care about people, the money is the most important for them, not people. wake up….

  2. leakaye Report

    I chose not to vaccinate my children because of the risks involved. I don’t think doctors give us enough information or even ask us if we’d like to know more about side effects. It’s not a fair or informed choice if most parents only know half the story. It’s such a shame.

  3. Kellen Report

    Dear Parents:

    My daughters are 38 and almost 41. They received 10 vaccinations beginning in 1968 and 1971. There are no family members for several generations back that were left handed. Both my daughters are and they also both had mirror image dyslexia which we could help them overcome. I knew nothing about the side effects or what the ingredients were in their vaccinations.

    Thankfully, I now know the truth and have shared it with my daughters. Sadly, the oldest decided to vaccinate her son and daughter. Her daughter suffered for a year with high pitched crying caused by her reactions to the vaccinations. Her son has eczema and has some struggles in learning. She now knows that these were caused by the poisons in vaccines.

    God created our bodies to develop our immune systems slowly. In fact, the blood-brain barrier is not fully developed until a child is over two years old. The shots our babies receive in their small bodies are taking a toll on their undeveloped brains since the barrier does not stop the aluminum, mercury, MSG! formaldehyde, aborted human fetal tissue, animal organ tissue and blood, antifreeze, phenol, etc. Please Note: A complete list including possible side effects of each ingredient can be found at:

    I sincerely hope you will check this out and recognize that a baby or for that matter any of us, should not be pushed to accept these poisons in our bodies. The first vaccination they expect a newborn baby to deal with is the HepB and the dose they give the baby is the same dose given to a 275 pound adult.

    Is it not a crime against our children and their families when a perfectly healthy baby must deal with the results of their compromised immune system? PLEASE research and learn how to protect your children before you allow ADD, ADHD, ODD, asthma, eczema, diabetes, CANCER – this normally adult heartache has increased to huge numbers of our children – and so many other health issues to be caused by these compromising toxins.

  4. pittcus Report

    All of these nervous neelys that are so scared that polio will come back if we stop vaccinating for it why not ask yourself this: The answer is yes if we also go back to the practice of allowing medical personnel to stop washing their hands and practicing basic hygiene before handling patients…do you really think that is gonna happen? Vaccines are the sacred cow of medicine and it is not be questioned even though there are hundreds of thousands immediately harmed by them and millions of others harmed thoughout their lives with maladies such as autism (which is epidemic now) fibromyalgia, allergies, diabetes, etc. etc….is it really worth it? HELL NO

  5. Sara C. Report

    Hi, I am currently pregnant and living in Iowa. I do not want to vaccinate my child. Do I need an exemption ready at the hospital? Can I just verbally tell them I don’t want my baby vaccinated or should it be in writing and notarized? Also, I had my first prenatal appointment since moving back to IA a couple of days ago (I’ve had the majority of it in Columbia, MO. I’m almost 8 months along), the nurse that filled out my chart asked for my religion, (I didn’t tell her. I’m wondering if that’s even legal for them to ask) I was never asked that at the other clinic in MO. I didn’t think it was any of their business. Can they (doctors/ hospital) force me to vaccinate? If we say,”no vaccinations or vitamin k shot” they have to respect our wishes as the parents, right?

  6. Aimee Report

    I have a question. I have three daughters and am choosing to do a delayed vaccination schedule with my baby. She is 10 months and only had her 2 month shots. We went to a third practice today and I told the dr. that I would be delaying my baby’s shots and he told me I had to leave the practice. His main reason – they can’t afford to pay their nurse staff for families coming in each month to vaccinate on a delayed schedule. He completely disagreed with me and told me that there have been two reported cases of deaths this year from children dying from a disease who were unvaccinated. He said he would not allow me to sign a waiver because it was not a legal binding document that would stand up in court and if my child died from a disease that I did not allow her to be vaccinated from, than I could sue his practice and they can’t afford unnecessary law suits. I have a govt. type of insurrance or my children and I believe this is making it difficult for me too. I can’t seem to find a dr. willing to listen to me and support my right as a parent. I find that I am getting into heated conversations with these pediatricians. Help. I need to find a pediatrician for my family.

  7. Ronda white Report

    This is a subject that has been hotly debated for years. I remember, believe me. I have 4 kids and NONE of them were EVER immunized. They are now 26, 23, 19, and 16. None of them ever got any of the diseases they would have been immunized against. Yes, they got sick, but not severely. I had no problem getting them into school (right, I didn’t home school them) and the only time I got flack was with my first child, from a couple doctors. Most of the decreases in diseases we see are from better living conditions, better water, better nutrition. Check it out. The events coincide. My granddaughter has had shots up to 18 months. She is now 3 and doing well.

  8. fourkidsmom Report

    I agree with Michelle. Even the kids that are OVER vaccinated may not have 100% immunity. OVER vaccination does not mean your child is immune. Can’t say it enough: To those who want to vaccinate for some or all, Tell your provider you will only agree to do so if they agree to check your childs “titers” after the second shot. If they do not agree, FIRE them and move on to a provider who is not ignorant to the over vaccination of our children. Lets remember the drug companies reccommend to the CDC and AAP ( Amer. Assoc. of Pediatrics)About the schedule (how much and when). I am a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner—-That means Masters in Science. I do not stand alone in my profession. I have met many MD’s along my 20+ years in medicine who chose not to OVER vaccinated their own children and patients!!! Wake up all you who OVER vaccinate!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Start saying NO, my kid DOES NOT need 4 or 5 shots of the same thing. Does anyone else think its a little strange that a child will have as many as 36 to 40 vaccines by the time they are 2 yrs. old?? Do the math!! It is that many!!

  9. Michelle Report

    I just can’t believe the ignorant comments made by people! My first son was vaccinated up until the age of 18months! My other 2 children are not! I totally regret doing that to my first son…maybe the world needs to educate themselves on certain subjects and not make comments like it is unfair that my vaccinated child got whooping cough from an unvaccinated child! If he was vaccinated, isn’t it suspose to keep him from getting it? What if he got it from a vaccinated child? That would be ok? Give me a break… think before you speak! All I know is that people look what is is a can of pop or certain food… but they don’t research what is in a vaccination before they put it in their childs body! Unbelievable! The body is an amazing machine… it will do what it is suspose to do as long as we put good things in it and take care of it! You can’t put oil in the gas tank and expect a car to run!

  10. Julie Report

    I am a RN that chooses not to vaccinate because of the cases of children I see that are subject to lifetimes of painful procedures that I believe are related to vaccinations. So many children that are diagnosed with chronic disorders which didn’t even use to exist. Is it worth it? Our bodies can handle an infection better than it can handle toxins. I will not risk my daughters health.

  11. Upset Mother Report

    Here’s another spin on the subject. I vaccinated all 3 of my boys. Not a speck of trouble. My youngest son, was diagnosed with post pertussis-whooping cough, a slight case and I would hate to see a full blown case, last week. I can respect others and their decisions…until it effects me and my family! How do we deal with the two differences in opinions in the world? It just doesn’t seem right that I vaccinated my sons and my son caught the disease from an un-vaccinated child.

  12. Marilyn Report

    I’m a grandmother and my children were both vaccinated – no question. My grandson is another story. We discovered he had a hyperactive immune disorder ‘too late.’ He had developed autism after his shots and it was only after the 2nd horrific allergic reaction following a DPT that we pieced the puzzle together.
    He is truly one who should not have had nor will ever have more vaccinations.
    His medical Dr. was in full agreement after the last reaction.
    We realize that his is a rare condition.
    We have lived ‘if only’ for years, but all that matters is that we love him like crazy.

    My husband had polio as a child. The decision for our children was a no-brainer and we were convinced that vaccination was necessary. It might be advised for most of the population. There is one thing we have learned – the decision may not be the same for every person or every child. There must always be room for the personal, thoughtful, educated choice of the family.

  13. Darlene Scott Report

    My first 2 children recieved all their vaccinations. When my third child recieved the MMR booster before 7th grade, she was paralyzed as a result. I did not allow her or my 4th child to have any more vaccinations. It was very hard to get a release from any doctors for the school, but my pediatrician finally wrote a release. During my daughter’s lengthy recovery, I researched her diagnosis (Transverse Myelitis) and found out it is not unusual to have this type of reaction to the vaccinations. Rebekah is now expecting her first child and probably will not allow him to be vaccinated.

  14. Jennifer Logan Report

    touchy subject…almost as sensitive as the breast feeding debate! 😉
    i did vaccinate my twins, and i have encouraged my twin sis to do the same for her new baby boy. however, the vaccines should be spaced out. vaccines are dangerous, as dangerous as the diseases. i feel that genetic predisposition does play a strong role. this is the mother’s choice. if she wants to be frightened and fear mongered by the CDC and the AMA, then it is her choice. and if a mother wants to be suckered by anyone else it is her choice. let’s just do what we believe is right for our kids, and not try to impose our motherly wisdom on everyone else. that’s what natural selection, and survival of the fit is all about. If my twin doesn’t want to vaccinate her son, i think it is a good informed decision, and if i vaccinate my baby on the way, well, that might be a good idea too because if you look at the vaccine risks and disease risks they are about the same. VACCINATED CHILDREN STILL GET THESE DISEASES! i always recommend homeopathic immunizations.

  15. L. Koschak Report

    Most of the diseases are NOT dangerous. Measles can be cured with Vitamin A. Pertussis can be helped with large doses of Vit C.

    I know of cultures that will cut off an arm that received a forced vaccination…not all indigenous cultures line up for vaccines. I do not for a minute believe that we only mean good when go out to vaccinate other cultures. anyone remember small pox, blankets and American Indians?

  16. L. Koschak Report

    We do not vaccinate. I don’t believe that our bodies were meant to be filled with the toxins that are in the vaccines. The diseases were on the decline before the vaccine’s were introduced in many cases. The only cases of Polio in the US in the past 25 years were from the shots. As for “having” to them for school…not the case. Every state has exemptions you can sign. Only one(?) has only one, which is a medical exemption, which is really hard to get and can be taken away. Most have Medical and Religious exemptions and some have philisophical or personal. Anyone can claim a religious exemption…definition of religious is “personal belief”… I personally believe that vaccination aren’t good for our bodies, in most cases. They can’t ask you what your religious belief is. It is illegal for them to do so. Aviva Jill Romm has an excellent unbiased book out on Vaccines and so does Stephanie Cave.

  17. jean Report

    Lets get facts right: this year the U.S. Amish had 2 cases of paralytic polio in their unimmunized group from visitors (attn: Melissa). And there has never been a case of injury attributed to thimerserol: this is an urban myth and people spreading unsubstantiated rumors to concern others. Colorado has one of the highest rate of measles and pertussis due to the unimmunized: As a parent, I vaccinate my kids, yet know not all vaccinations “take” 100%; the more likely my kids are around the unimmunized, the greater the risk they will get the diseases, albeit milder than never been vaccinated. The unimmunized count on not coming in contact: in this small world, how can you assume it? Ask someone in the third world: they know how severe and deadly these diseases are: they line up for vaccinations (I personally saw it in Nicaragua in the 1970’s). One last comment: be careful of your data sources, and make sure you listen to fact, and not the internet talk (where anyone can make any claims, no matter how true or false, and not be held accountable).

  18. Judi Report

    My son received all the usual vaccinations. It wasn’t until his 2nd MMR as well as his 2nd Varicella that he went into anaphylaxis. I then decided to NOT VACCINATE ANY FURTHER. When my second son came around, I chose certain vaccinations to abstain from including the MMR and Varicella. I have friends with children who had more severe reactions. My sons are currently 8 and 3. My eldest appears to have Aspergers and the youngest is an “over the top” busy preschooler. I old enough to remember getting measles and mumps and I survived. I would much rather have the disease than neurological damage. I say pick the most severe diseases and vaccinate, the others, up to you!

  19. fourkidsmom Report

    It is true all states allow medical and religious exemption, except W. Virginia. No exceptions allowed there anymore. Some states still allow Philisophial ex., but not all. You do not need to belong to any one particular religion. There is a very good lawyer in Westchester, ny who over the phone can work up papers for you if you are having a hard time. I could post her # if anyone needs it. Her fee is a few hundred dollors. To those who do vacinate: Do not allow them to be what I call over vacinated. We spend so much time thinking and rethinking how to give them, together, alone and so on.But do not give much thought about do the kids really need them ALL. Unlikely. I really do believe children are being over vacinated. ( along with getting ones they do not need when they are small children– like hepB: contracted in 3 ways: born to a hepatitis B positive mom, IV drug use or sexual contact—if you or your beautiful one day old and/or infant does not fit into this category, why would you vacinate???????) The one size all vaccination schedule is for the convenience of the health care providers. Did you know that the AAP ( American Ped. Assoc. )and the CDC follow the recommendations of the drug companies when it comes to how often and how much vac. to give. I don’t like that!! If you want to know if your child “needs” more or another “one”, then have their titers drawn. They will draw a small amount of blood and the test will determine if your childs immune system provided enough immune response. If it did, They need no more for now. Everyone gets caught up on the schools say they need two, or 4 or 3 of whatever, but what they do not tell you is it is immunity that is required by the school. Even though they need none to get into school. It is even easier to avoid ant or over vacination w/ private schools. So if one shot of the MMR gives your child enough immunity then there can be no argument from anyone. It took 2 tetinus and only one MMR for my kids to be immune. Waiting until they were two like most all other industrial countries. And as one previuos poster wrote, when you read the scare tactics from the CDC& AAP on the “deaths” they never include that infact many of those children had underlying health problems and died from secondary infections and complications. Good luck to everyone. it can be a long and sometimes lonely road, this vaccination thing!!

  20. Jody Report

    There is no state that does not allow parents the right to make decisions concerning immunizations. All states departments of Health have Religious waiver cards or Philisophical waiver cards that can be signed and submitted in lieu of immunization records. Please get educated about this. You are not a victim and no one can force you to immunize your children if you think it is best for them not to be.

  21. Sarah Report

    I am a birth doula, and one of the moms I worked with recently is a pediatrician. We discussed vaccines because I wanted her take on this debate. She told me that the American Academy of Pediatrics is aware that giving combined vaccines is a danger to kids. They worry that parents won’t bring their children in for separate visits and get all of the recommended vaccines if they encourage parents to only get one vaccine per injection per visit. Therefore they allow the endangerment of many children because they don’t know how to deal with the ever increasing numbers of vaccines that they require for our children. This is crazy! I vaccinated both of my children per schedule 30 and 32 years ago. My oldest developed Obsessive Compulsive Disorder when she was just 2 years old. I could not trace it to a particular vaccine but always felt it was related.

  22. Caroline Report

    Here’s a question that I don’t think anyone has adequately answered yet: If we all stop vaccinating, won’t the diseases of our parents’ and grandparents’ generation make a comeback? I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to face another polio epidemic. I agree with Mandy: not immunizing is not risk free.

  23. Elizabeth Report

    It seems this debate seems to get stronger each year. I first started researching about vaccinations when my son was born in 2001. Let me tell you, it has been an uphill climb to not vaccinate. Some people think you are backwards or endangering their children. However, I have found that most (not all) of the ones who choose not to vaccinate have done considerable research on the subject. This is a tough decision, and one that my husband and I did not take lightly. I believe in the concept of vaccinations, I think that they are a blessing, but everytime I find myself questioning whether I have done the right thing I research a little more and I am so thankful that I have not. When my son was born he received the HepB shot (they make you feel like a criminal if you don’t let them). I didn’t know what they had in them back then or the side affects. I stopped shortly thereafter. Interestingly, out of all 4 of my children, he is the only one who has severe allergies.
    My questions are simple: Why can’t a drug company make a vaccine that utilizes compounds that are not toxic to the body?
    If we are so bent on not using deodorants with aluminum in them because of cancer and alzheimers, then why are we shooting it up into our children?
    Why are we working on vaccines for chickenpox which is relatively harmless to children instead of tuberculosis?

  24. Passing by... Report

    Often times, I think parents tend to go to one extreme or the other in terms of raising children. Sadly, we live in a fad culture and a good percentage of parents base their techniques on what is popular at the time (IE wooden toys, oust plastic…homeschooling, oust normal social interaction…adult talk, oust baby-talk…) One popular or “hot topic,” is whether or not a parent or guardian should have their children vaccinated. I have many different opinions on this and feel ashamed that many parents seem to be following a trend on this, rather than truly researching the material and being informed on decisions.

    First of all, do your research! There are vaccinations that you can do without (I could list references here, but I think each parent has to decided personally what they think is important). For example, if you keep a low profile for your baby in the first 8-12 weeks, then DTaP (especially Pertusis) can be eliminated. They are really only suceptible to this initially. Why inject them, when you can protect them?

    It unnerves me to see a parent that refuses to vaccinate their child, yet has them out at the latest and most hip restaurant at 5pm on Friday evening. Your baby is a gentle and breakable possession! They are SLOWLY learning how to process sight, sound, and touch. Not only that but they literally have a minimal immune system. Yes, they need to be exposed to elements to build one, but this can come from mommy, daddy, grandma, grandpa and those people that will come into contact with the baby in a controlled environment.

    Secondly, you must remember that vaccines were created FOR A REASON. And, trust me parents, they weren’t created for super drug companies to make money. Yes, unfortunately, I think that drug companies can and do easily take advantage of the uninformed public but, remember that vaccines are created in response to an OUTBREAK of a serious illness/disease, etc. I hardly believe that a group of silly scientists are huddled in labs configuring ways to take advantage of the general population. Especially in the form of injecting innocent babies. This revolution came about in reaction to serious outbreak!!

    Does anyone recall the drug in the 80s that was used to alleviate the symptoms of morning sickness in pregnant women? It was called Thalidomide. Shortly after it was placed on the market, women were showing signs of birth defects (limb loss in the infant at birth). This is a great example of a preventative drug gone terribly wrong. It happens, yes. It is tragic, absolutely. Is it avoidable? YES! This is very much a part of modern science. We test on animals but never truly know how the drug may or may not affect humans. Yet, we cannot avoid this on all accounts. This is something to consider when doing your research on vaccinations…

    Also, has anyone considered our society’s diet when trying to correlate autism rates in young children with vaccinations??? I did an extensive study in college based on the diet in American now compared to the 1950s, 60s, 70s, etc etc and the earlier age of puberty in both girls and boys. Our food contains injected hormones, harsh antibiotics and unnecessary enhancers (note: eggs in the grocery store with added Omega 3 or fiber…what happened to eggs in their natural form?). I believe that the rate of childhood obesity should be studied alongside the raising rate of autism. What we feed our children is just as important as what we inject into our children. Oh, and note here as well, when referencing the Amish community (which I think is quite ridiculous, personally)… the Amish do not inject their food with harsh chemicals, hormones, or antibiotics do they? And, are they self sustaining? Yes! They eat what they grow and raise. SO, maybe the Amish eat better….? Either way, let’s steer clear of making assumptions on other cultures without truly knowing what that culture is about. We cannot base our ideas about autism in the Amish culture unless we consider them as a whole, NOT just in the vaccination sense. Just an idea, parents….

    I think children can be placed on alternative vaccination schedules. In fact, I think they SHOULD be placed on alternative vaccination schedules. Alternative meaning not at the current recommended age, but rather at an age in which your child is ready to process these vaccinations, both mentally and physically. An age in which they can somewhat comprehend what is happening to them and why it is beneficial (I am sure I have parents shaking their heads right now but, it’s true. We need to explain things to children, no matter what age, they are smart beings and can retain and understand information, even if they can’t respond vocally). Not only that, but when the child’s body is more developed, they can process these vaccinations in a more reliable way. Their organs are more developed and have been exposed to more.

    Parents who are concerned about global warming, genocide, green living, the future of our economy, organic eating (and living), and any other threat to the future generations should seriously consider what COULD happen if this generation of parents abruptly stop vaccinating their children. Pick the vaccinations you give your children carefully and mindfully. Remember that if you are a cautious and concerned parent, you can protect your baby, while in infancy, and shield them from illness….all the while preventing the need for some early vaccinations. KEEP IN MIND, not all vaccinations are made for illnesses that you can easily shield your child from. Furthermore, if we stop vaccinating our children entirely, we are guaranteeing a future in which illness will be less predictable and the cure (or treatment) may be more horrendous than a simple shot at a young age.

    Oh, and this is all from a 24 year old college graduate who currently has 0 children.

    Do your research!

  25. mandy Report

    We had to go to the emergency room with my second son after his DPT shot. Lots of swelling. After that, he was still vaccinated, but the doses were split into partial doses. He is now 31 years old.

    My third son was never the same after the second MMR shot. Symptoms showed up WITHIN 3 weeks of the immunization. He was reading at 2 1/2 years and couldn’t read afterward. His coordination was messed up and he ran into the door jam instead of making it through the door. I told the pediatrician who said that the child wasn’t reading at age 2 1/2. I used techniques from the book Understanding Children’s Play and one by Doman about brain injured children to devise ways to play with him to help retrain the brain. I ended up home schooling him in 1st and 2nd grades because he didn’t learn the way other children learned, etc. etc. He is now 28 yrs and builds computers.

    My second daughter has been immunized, mostly. DPaT didn’t make her sick, but her first dose was the old DPT and she was sick. We chose the injectible polio vaccine although the oral was still the recommended form at that time. We chose injectible because MY father was ill and HIS immune system was in question. With the oral dose, the three forms of the virus in the vaccine plus a fourth form of the virus are shed in the feces and an active though attenuated form of polio was a risk to my father.

    I am old enough to remember polio – a friend of mine (my age) lost his brother and has gone through life in a wheel chair – there were national campaigns to immunize everyone with three rounds of oral vaccine. I am old enough to remember measles and the complications, including “minimal” brain damage. . .

    I was immunized for 3 day measles back in the olden days when the various types of measles immunizations were just on the market. I was immune through vaccination until the immunity titre fell. We discovered it during a pregnancy. Unfortunately, I was exposed to three day measles and lost the pregnancy.

    With my second daughter, we held off with the second MMR shot. BUT we had her immunity titre tested. She had immunity still so we felt she didn’t need an additional assault on her immune system in the light of family history. When her titre falls, we will immunize.

    The University requires 2 MMR shots. BUT the community college does not. She enrolled in the community college and started her first class this week. She is 11.

    Immunization is not risk free.

    Not immunizing is not risk free either.

  26. amanda and Darin Report


  27. Kathleen Wills Report

    I highly recommend the book “Biological Treatments for Autism and PDD,” especially the revised 2002 edition, by William Shaw, PhD. The material in the book is crucial for all of us, not just those with autism or other problems.

    The book includes excellent discussions of the roles and relationships of vaccines, antibiotics (e.g., for ear infections), heavy metals, viruses, etc. in damaging our gastrointestinal tracts. This gives rise to food allergies, behavior problems, fuzzy thinking, and a host of other problems. While Shaw’s explanations often go into great detail, his style is very accessible. At the same time, he cites ample references to mainstream medical journals. And, to the extent these conditions are reversible, he discusses testing and treatment options.

    Only indirectly related to vaccines, but equally relevant to our children’s health, are the many books discussing our increasingly deficient food supply, such as Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats, by Sally Fallon; The Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan; Fast Food Nation, by Eric Schlosser; and The End of Food: How the Food Industry is Destroying Our Food Supply–And What We Can Do About It, by Thomas F. Pawlick, to name a few.

  28. Chris Report

    I think it is irresponsible for our legislaters to require our children to recieve immunizations. It is obviously a very personal decision based on the above comments. I think people just assume that if the government requires it, it must be the best thing for my child. So they just go along with it. Our state requires many vaccinations for non-life threatening illnesses, such as chicken pox. Yes, it is potentially a dangerous illness for the very young, very old and pregnant. However, all three of my children recieved the immunization and one of them has already had the chicken pox along with a whole bunch of kids they go to school with. My point is, “they” don’t know enough about these immunizations before they start making them a school requirement. Or in our instance they would have known the chicken pox vaccine requires at least one booster or purhaps, a lifetime of boosters. I wish more detailed information, education and flexability were available to the parents who are forced to make these potentially life altering decisions on a whim because they don’t know any better. This type of education should be offered to women who are pregnant so when the child is born, the parents are prepared to make an educated choice that is truly their own choice and not what the state decided for them.

  29. Jeff Report

    It’s very understandable that many people associate the vaccination of their children with the onset of autism. Unfortunately, the fact that these two events happened at about the same time in a child’s life does not imply a cause-effect relationship. As it turns out, the incidence of autism is not statistically higher in vaccinated and unvaccinated children. And, in unvaccinated children who develop autism, it usually manifests at about the age when most kids are getting their vaccines.

    There are a lot of things to be afraid of in this world, and it’s true that vaccines do carry the risk of a negative reaction in a small portion of the population. But the risk of the disease (both for the individual and the community) is higher than the risk of the vaccine.

  30. cindy Report

    When my oldest was 15 months old, I went to a seminar on the dangers of vaccinations and what is actually in the vaccines. I chose to no longer vaccinate. I continued research and also found out about parents groups across the world that are against immunizations because of the damage caused to their children. There is a personal exemption form in my state (Utah) and I believe others also have it. You do not need to immunize to put your children in school. If there is an outbreak, they will call you to come and get your child. They are very good about that. Once they called because a child had chicken pox and I had to let them no my son had chicken pox already so he was allowed to finish out the school day. It is very personal decision and no one should be badmouthed for their decision. I have 4 sisters. Me and another sister choose not to vaccinate. And the other 3 do. We respect that.

  31. Teresa Report

    I am a dentist, and my husband has a PhD in biochemistry/genetics/molecular biology — so we come at this from a somewhat different perspective. Also, we had a baby a year ago, and we have another one on the way. So this is a topic that my husband and I have talked about and researched to the “nth” degree for the past 2 years.

    For a variety of reasons, we believe that vaccinations are important. I think that building a healthy immune system is important. If you look at studies in third world countries, you will see virtually no allergies — as opposed to here in the US, where almost every one of us suffers from allergies. We all have hyperresponsive immune systems here. That may also be related to putting too much stress on an immune system at one time — it causes our immune systems to react to everything. But allergies are another topic. On this topic, after thoroughly researching the topic ourselves, we also do absolutely believe that the increase in autism has a direct correlation to vaccinations.

    HOWEVER, I don’t believe it’s because of the thimerosal. And I do believe that people have allergic reactions to vaccinations, but I also believe those are very rare, and are likely more related to the carrier media — like the egg albumin in the flu shot — than to the actual attenuated viruses. The reason I believe that autism has increased is because of the sheer number of assaults on the immune system that the average 12-18 month old gets with the 5 vaccinations they get at one time. That is when most of the cases of autism get started or noticed, by the way. The parents take the kids in at 12-18 months for their vaccinations, and report that their child is not the same person 2 days later.

    Have you all ever counted the number of things the child is being immunized against during that time? Look at the CDC’s recommended immunization schedule for children 0-6 years old. There may only be 5 shots, but there are 13 different diseases they are being vaccinated against. THIRTEEN. All at once. You can’t expect ANY immune system to NOT be overwhelmed when you introduce 13 different things at at the same time. That is why so many kids get fevers after immunizations. It’s very overwhelming for their developing immune systems to be under that heavy of an attack by so many different agents at the same time — even if it is attenuated (weaker) forms of the viruses. If our fully formed adult immune system can handle only one flu shot and we still get mild symptoms of the flu, why would I expect my child’s immune system to be any stronger?

    I also believe it is likely that a lot of the kids getting the autism have genetic predispositions to it. But again, not in the way that you would think, and I believe that even that is linked to vaccinations. Let me explain. I was hosting one of the leading authorities on bioterrorism during a dental conference, and we got on the subject of vaccinations when I took him out for dinner afterwards. He believes that the kids that are getting autism get the genetic predisposition from their mitochondrial DNA (which is passed on exclusively from the mothers), which he believes was damaged in the MOTHERS when the mothers got THEIR vaccinations as children. That is why I still think the autism has a direct link to vaccinations. He said he had seen some interesting studies that were leaning in that direction. And he believes it isn’t abnormal dna in the mitochondria, but it’s just more FRAGILE — it breaks easier — so there was no autism in the mother, just their mitochondria was made more fragile by one or more of their vaccinations when they were children. So there is no real way to tell WHO is predisposed to the autism with any kind of genetic test. BUT, he believes the damage doesn’t occur under a normal assault to the immune system. He believes it breaks under an overwhelming assault to the immune system — as in 13 different vaccinations at one time.

    So he was all for what my husband and I decided to do with our children — only one shot at a time. That’s it. The DTAP and the MMR are actually 3 vaccinations in one each, but those are the only ones that can’t be separated, and they have been giving those to children together since before I was a kid. The rest of them can be given separately. So we do one at a time. And we space them at least one month apart, so our baby’s immune system can have a chance to process and recover from one assault before we subject it to another one. Our children will end up at the pediatrician’s office once a month for the first 3 years of their lives, in order to get all of the vaccinations they need. But we won’t take a chance on overwhelming their immune systems with more than one shot at a time. Because I don’t know whether my children will end up with autism.

    I don’t know if my mitochondria is fragile, or if that is really the reason why autism has increased so much, but why take a chance? I figure that I can at least control how much of an assault to their immune systems my children get at a time. That part of it is under my control. I don’t know if my dna is damaged. But I do believe that it’s important to immunize. But I also believe that if I can do something to minimize the risk of them getting autism, I am going to do that. Anyway, that is my opinion, for what it’s worth…

  32. Dana Report

    Being uneducated about vaccines, I let the doctor vaccinate my first child. We didn’t have any problems. She is a very healthy young lady who rarely even gets a cold. Four years later, my son was born. He was delivered by emergency c-section and had food allergies at birth (That is a whole other book about how I figured out what he was allergic to….when the doctors counldn’t!!!). Our doctor wanted to delay giving him any vaccinations. This raised my curiosity, so I started reading up and asking questions about the vaccinations. I found out some pretty eye raising information. At 8 months old our doctor felt we could start to get him up to date on the vaccinations. Reluctantly, I agreed, not fully sure of all that I had read and had learned about the vaccinations. Some information is biased and it’s really hard to sort through all that information when you hadn’t slept a good nights sleep in quite a few months.(I’m sure some of you can relate to that!!) So he was given a few shots that day….. and life was never the same. Within 36 hours he was having trouble breathing. Five years later he still has breathing problems. Our doctor calls it R.A.D. It is kind of like asthma. He spends alot of time on the breathing machine and takes a couple other medications to keep it under control. I thank God that this is the only reaction he had to the shots….It could have been much worse. Our doctor recommended not to continue with the vaccinations although she would not write that in his medical chart. Go figure!! He has not had another shot and he will never. I had not put him into school either because he would have missed more days than he he would have been there. We just did all the pre-k and kindergarden work at home. Now that he is 6 and in first grade I decided to put him in school. He has missed 4 of the 11 days since school started. He is at a private school and not having vaccinations is not an issue. Nor is it with the new doctor we started seeing. She just says it’s my choice. You do have options about school and vaccinations. You will have to do some research on the subject…when my daughter was at public school in kindergarden she was not up to date on her shots and the issue was not pushed. And I’m not screaming religious reasons either. I have a friend who doesn’t vaccinate and all she did was write up a letter that she didn’t beleive in the shots and she had it notorized. That was good enough.
    My suggestion to every one is DO RESEARCH. Find out what they are putting in our babies tiny bodies!!!

  33. Melanie Report

    To the women who commented, “How do you know the Amish don’t have outbreaks?” There was a study, you may be able to find on the web that there are less than a few cases of autism among Amish. The theory is that because they don’t vacinnate they don’t have children who are autistic. I don’t remember exactly how many cases there were but it was only 2 or 3 and these cases where in a group of Amish who vacinnated.

    It is a personal choice, but to say that it is irresponsible is unfair. As a parent who chose to stop vaccinating after educating myself, I would hope that you would at least look at the facts on both sides. No one is asking you to change your mind.

    It is important to note that our bodies are designed to fight disease and it is from introducing chemicals that our bodies don’t recognize, whether it is food, over the counter medications or pharmaceuticals, that our immune system is weakened and thus more prone to illness. It is important to realize that the pharmaceutical companies are publicly held and subject to laws that require them to be profitable. Is that who you want making the decisions for your family? Not me.

  34. Sheila Report

    Are vaccines really required to enter school, look deeper for the real answer. I have a 1st grader who has been in school for the last 4 years…I have always signed the waiver on the back of the vaccine card. Most admin staff will tell you its required because it is part of their processes, but if you speak to the principal and ask…Can I sign a waiver? I believe you will get the real answer and be able to elect out based on person reasons, religious reasons, etc. Keep in mind you will be the first one to be required to pull your child from school if there is a breakout.

  35. George/concerned parent/paramedic Report

    If you all want the final word on vaccines check out this website.
    They have been on the front lines of Big Pharma abuse of the public.
    And don’t vaccinate unless absolutely necessary.

  36. Amber Report

    I vaccinated all three of my children. I did the research with the assistance of my doctor. I felt the benefits outweighed the risks. I would do it again, in a heartbeat.

  37. Dorcas Taylor Report

    I would suggest that you contact your local Naturopathic Doctor. Ours has a series of liquid drops that can be used to immunize naturally. It is not that expensive and definietly safer.

  38. Jamie Report

    Anne, which vaccines did you rule out with your kids? And does anybody know if there’s a way to tell if your child has a genetic predisposition to a vaccination? My kids are 3 an 5, and I’m wondering if I should be more careful about their shots.

  39. Anne Toale Report

    I do vaccinate my children (mostly). I am an attorney who represents petitioners in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, which is a federally funded program paid for by per dose assessments on vaccines, i.e. we are self-insured as a nation for adverse side effects. Vaccine side effects are very rare statistically, but they do occur. Generally, they occur in people with a genetic predisposition.

  40. Brenda Report

    I have two friends who have a child that is now autistic after receiving vaccinations. This is very scary to me. Their children were perfectly normal functioning children who interacted very well with other children until they received a round of vaccinations. In both cases they had received vaccines previously without problems but had a reaction this last time. There is no reversal for these reactions. I have decided to only allow my child to get vaccines that are mandatory for him to attend school and not until they were absolutely necessary. I really don’t want to subject him to vaccinations but I don’t feel that I have a way out either. He’s never had a reaction so I don’t have that as an out. I can’t say that it’s a religious thing because I don’t see anywhere in the Bible where God tells us not to vaccinate. What other choice has the government given me?

  41. Jan Report

    Well put Keri!
    There is a great book out “What your Doctor may not tell you about Children’s vaccinations”, Authors Cave M.D. & Mitchell.
    Interesting read…

  42. Sheri Report

    I had both of my children vaccinated, per doctors’ recommendations. They are 15 & 17 now. However, I believe the Hepatitis B shot that was required before my youngest son entered kindergarten caused him to get diabetes. We have no family history of diabetes, and I know that’s not a determining factor whether your child gets diabetes or not, but he started losing weight & having mood problems after the Hep B shot. And two years later, he was diagnosed with diabetes. I researched it on the web and found out that the Hep B shot caused diabetes in mice who had other autoimmune diseases in their family, like arthritis, etc. It’s very scary & I worry about my future grandchildren getting shots and what will happen to them.

  43. Kari Report

    I vaccinated my first child fully until he was five years old. My second sild passed out while she was getting her 5-year old vaccinations. I spoke with a very good friend of mine, who was also a nurse at a major teaching hospital, who told me about vaccinations. She did not vaccinate because she felt the risks outweighed the benefits. When she told me how children were all required to get the same shots–regardless of their family history, environmental risks (do they live on a farm where they will be exposed to manure, for example) etc.. I decided not to have my youngest two vaccinated. They are, by far, my healthiest and strongest children. I believe it is a personal decision for the parents. It’s the same with homeschooling or staying at home or going to work when your kids are young. What works for me may not be right for you and vice-versa. I’m not going to berate anyone whether they do or don’t vaccinate–and I don’t expect them to berate me for my decisions. We all need to do what we believe to be right for our own family.

  44. Jan Report

    In my opinion, it’s not irresponsible to not vaccinate, it’s irresponsible to not hold Doctors accountable for throughly researching the neccessity of all the vaccinations they are giving our children. As well as, how the shots are administered.Some vaccinations i.e, Polo are important, however others are not as critical and could be harmful i.e MMR.
    Clearly, most of the parents that have chosen not to vaccinate are doing so after throughly researching the issue, as well as, going by personal experience.
    What’s irresponsible, is to vaccinate blindly with out understanding the possible risk.
    Let’s face the facts, pharmacutical companies make a lot of money off drugs, vaccinations, etc.
    Lets be careful how we are drawing our conclusions on whom is being irresponsible.

  45. Melinda Report

    I do vaccinate my kids, because I think it’s irresponsible not to do so. If everyone stopped vaccinating, we’d see polio outbreaks and the return of some diseases we don’t want to deal with again. Why risk it?

    P.S. How do you know the Amish don’t have outbreaks?

  46. Concerned Mom Report

    I no longer vaccinate after reasearching both sides of them. My child also suffered a allergic reaction after receiving 5 shots in one visits at 6 months old.
    As for the MMR, Measles is not usually very serious and the CDC & news makes it out to be deadly, etc. Mumps is also usually not serious either. Most complicaitons from either of these come from secondary infecitons, not measles or mumps.
    Rubella was orginally introduced to protect pregnant women who are not immune but it filtered down to give it to infants, jsut like the hep shots have. Anyway, Rubella is only dangerous if pregnant women are not immune and catch it while pregnant. Doctors fail to tell them they can catch it from a recently vaccinated child.
    Live viruses shed and can be more easily caught from the vaccine. I wonder how many of these children were vaccinated who caught it. I don’t believe it it was all homeschooled kids not vaccinated. They use them as a scape goat. Just becuase you homeschool does not mean you don’t vaccinate.
    Also, has anybody ever quesitoned why the amish never have these outbreaks and they do not vaccinate? Somehitng to think about….



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