The road to wellness isn't straight, clear, or predictable. It's a path you forge yourself.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Hot Shots

Here's a hot topic:  shots!  As in immunization vaccines for your baby.  The question is to shoot or not to shoot, or use an alternative shot schedule?  My baby is due in June 7th, so this is a topic I am very interested in. 

Why not use the recommended shot schedule the way it is?
You read all kind of scary stuff about shots, mainly the link between the MMR shot and autism.  People in the medical profession swear up and down that there's no scientific proof that the MMR shot leads to autism in any way.  However, there are SO many accounts from parents who take their baby to get the MMR shot, then they "are different" immediately, and develop autism very soon after.  I know there's no scientific proof to back up these claims, but I really don't think these people are making it up.   A mother knows her baby best, and she would know exactly when a change like that would occur.

In addition to autism, there are claims that all these shots are responsible for the increase we're seeing in autoimmune diseases in children.  (Like athsma, MS, etc.)   Also, there are claims that the increase in behavior problems and ADHD are linked with the mercury levels in shots.  Luckily, this isn't a problem anymore because all shots for babies are now thimerasol-free.  (Thimerasol is the preserving agent that contains ethyl mercury.)  The problem I'm worried about is: what do they use for preservatives in shots now, and are those as or more harmful than the thimerasol?  I've heard they use aluminum and other bad things now.    

Also, the pharmaceutical companies would be out a LOT of money if there were proof that their shots were harmful.  I believe that if it's in someone's financial interest to not find something, then it won't be found!  Who do you think funds the research on these shots anyway?  Of course they're not going to find anything.

....but you still need to get your baby the shots! 
Now, I'm not saying I'm going to be like those crazy people who just don't give their baby any shots at all.  I feel  like that's just irresponsible.  First of all, the diseases that these shots immunize against are horrible diseases that can kill.  Some are making a comeback, like whooping cough.  Whooping cough used to barely even exist, and now there are more and more cases showing up because so many people are choosing not to immunize.  This is a dangerous disease where the babies can't breathe and can die.  Second of all, by not giving your child any shots at all, you are relying on "herd immunization".  This means that your baby benefits from all the other ones getting shots.  This strikes me as very unfair.

Alternative shot schedule 
What I think I'm going to do is an alternative shot schedule.  This seems to be a good "middle of the road" option.  My baby will still get all of her shots by the time she's 5 years old, but we'll start a little later (4 months instead of  2), and we'll spread out the shots (so she won't receive 17 immunizations in one day).  Currently, I'm reading Dr. Stephanie Cave's book on the subject.  It must be said however, that I spoke with 3 pediatricians and they all disagree with her.  They will, however, do Dr. Cave's shot schedule if I sign a waiver.

MMR Separation and evil pharmaceutical companies:
Since the MMR shot is the big bad one, many people want to separate it into 3 shots.  However, the pharmaceutical companies have taken away this choice.  (!)  They no longer make it in separate doses.  The triple combined MMR is the only one they make in the US any more.  They do make it in Europe, but the FDA has not approved it from Europe and your doctor cannot immunize your baby with shots from there.  This makes me so mad!  I don't like big companies making that choice for me.

I have heard some promising news that Merck will be making the separate shots again in 2012.  I hope I can put off the MMR for my baby until then.

What do you think?
This is a really controversial issue and I would really be curious to know your insights in this topic.  Also, if you have any websites or books to recommend on the issue, I would be really interested to hear about them. 


  1. I believe in the shots. I don't believe that autism is caused by immunizations.

  2. I think the researcher who first declared the immunizations as the source of autism has had his research techniques ripped apart.

  3. Thanks for your comments!
    Dot - don't get me wrong, I believe in shots too. However, I don't see anything wrong with being cautious and delaying and separating the shots just in case.
    Zooflute - You're right. I just wonder how much of that was a snow job by the pharmaceutical industry. There doesn't seem to be conclusive proof either way. One of the pediatricians I spoke with admitted that the research being used now to refute the claim, only used 12 people and therefore is not good research in his opinion.

  4. For concerned (and confused) potential parents like me:
    A friend of mine recommended "The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decisions for Your Child" by Robert Sears, MD, FAAP. I've had a look at it and I think it is really good. It is not anti-vaccine, nor does it use any scare tactics or finger pointing. It just presents the scientific data in a factual manner so that you can make an informed decision.

    There is also a website to check out.

  5. I read all kinds of stuff on this many moons ago and made up my mind that I had great faith in my daughter's immune system as it was created. I know immune systems can be compromised by various things but she started out very healthy, and I think that so long as I continue to feed her well and make sure she gets lots of good bugs in her body all the time, and is well nourished over all, she will be able to fight off most things pretty well. So far, so good. She usually doesn't get super sick, and always heals quickly.

    Basically your immune system is mostly in your gut, not completely but mostly, so if you have a good healthy gut, you'll probably be okay in most cases. Of course there is always the 'what if' to think about. What if something terrible goes around and she gets it? But you really take a risk either way. Many vaccines do not work they way they are supposed to. Or they require multiple doses that actually suppress the immune system and make it weaker over the long run. Some may cause lifelong health problems. And some are made with cells of aborted babies, a practice I personally do not support.

    And lastly, I look at it this way. I could either put some dangerous toxins into her system and potentially cause a debilitating disease to persist throughout her lifetime, like ADHD or autism or any number of other things, OR I could do nothing and she could potentially get a bad acute illness for a short time. Either way you take a risk. I'm not saying I'd never vaccinate under any circumstances, but my personal preference is to forego it entirely. Call me a crazy kook if you want. Like every other mom, I'm just trying to do the best I can for my kid.

  6. Sorry, I probably shouldn't have used the word "crazy" in there. It sounds like you are well informed and have weighed the consequences. I'm doing the same. (...although I'm coming to a different conclusion.) We all have to do what we feel is best for our children.

  7. Absolutely, and I didn't mean to come off as defensive. I hope my tone is interpreted correctly. It's by far the toughest decision I've made in parenting thus far, and one I still think about from time to time.

  8. I didn't think you sounded defensive at all, I just didn't want you to be insulted by my comments. It IS a tough decision! It's like you're stuck between a rock and a hard place on this one. If my child had anything bad happen to her because of the shots, I would never forgive myself. But then again, if she got some horrible disease from not getting the shots, I would also never forgive myself. Tricky.