Showing posts with label vaccines. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vaccines. Show all posts

Friday, September 2, 2016

In the "Mommy Wars" there are few things that will get people as riled up as mentioning vaccines. On one side are parents who say "All vaccines are poison, avoid all of them!" On the other side are parents who not only vaccinate their own kids, but who want to pass laws that will force all parents to vaccinate their children on the CDC schedule or be excluded from school.

So who's right?

Not being a doctor myself, I think it is smart to refer to one when I am considering choices regarding the medical care for my children. Maybe you agree?

Since not many doctors are willing to "go there" and actually talk to you about informed consent for the vaccines and medical procedure they recommend, I feel really privileged that my pediatrician WILL have that conversation. I'm also really thrilled that my pediatrician will make recommendations based on science and not just on the size of the kickback check he gets from vaccine manufacturers. Oh? And he wrote a book about it.

So what does my doctor say about parents who aren't vaccinating their kids?

Thursday, April 16, 2015

DisclaimerThis is a personal opinion piece. We are not a doctors. This article is not intended to be medical advice. For information on the authors' religious theologizing credentials, see the author bylines at the bottom of the post.

Last month a senator from North Carolina boldly (and incorrectly, I might add) declared that the only groups that have religious grounds for declining vaccines are the Taliban and Christian Scientists (read more here). Earlier this year, a senator from Oregon also started trying to remove the religious and personal belief exemptions which are currently available for school children to opt out of vaccines in Oregon. She claimed that the religious exemption was no longer needed since there were no religious groups which decline vaccines based on their religion (read more here)

Seriously? Where are these senators doing their research? While we are unsure about other religions' means of cataloging belief, we can can tell you with certainty that Christian faith and practice is more than its collection of faith statements and official confessions. For example, mainstream Christian denomination, the Assemblies of God's 16 Fundamental Truths - which are the key doctrines all Assemblies of God churches must agree with - says nothing about murder being contrary to their religious beliefs. But you can bet your bible highlighters that if you actually ask any pastor or official from the denomination, they will tell you in no uncertain terms that murder is contrary to their religious beliefs (see the ten commandments in Exodus 20)

Additionally, we personally know Christians who feel a deep check within themselves about vaccinating their kids and they are not sure if they can legitimately claim a religious exemption. These two situations are why we decided to write this post. Because in addition to plenty of logical reasons why you might want to avoid some vaccines, we are here to tell you: 
Christians can legitimately claim a religious exemption from vaccines.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

I have been an outspoken advocate of vaccine choice for several years. As a result, some have labeled me as anti-vaccine and this is not the case. I simply believe that parents should have the right to make the best healthcare choices for their individual kids. Is that such a crazy thought? According to the Oregon state legislature it just might be and they are seeking to eliminate all parental choice in regard to childhood vaccines.

Don't live in Oregon? Don't go away. Other states are considering getting rid of their religious and philosophical exemptions to vaccines as well. This is an issue that affects us all - even if you choose to vaccinate your kids on the CDC's recommended schedule.

Parents have the right to decide

The doctors and scientists who work for the CDC have a tough job - they have to write vaccine recommendations for an entire population regardless of gender, race or family background. As any plus size girl who has tried on a "one size fits all" dress can tell you - one size never fits all.

Currently, parents are allowed to balance the CDC's recommendations against their own family medical history and risk factors to determine if that schedule is right for them. And if it isn't they can modify it. If they have a family history of bad reactions to vaccines, they can be selective in which ones they let their kids get. If nobody in their family is positive for Hepatitis B, they choose to wait until closer to the time the child will need the immunity from the vaccine to give it - ensuring that when they become sexually active, they will still have protection.

Empowering parents to make their own vaccine choices is working! Most families still vaccinate their children (even if it's at a different time than recommended by the CDC) and measles is far from running rampant (get facts about measles here). Even though a few hundred people catch measles every year, nobody in the United States has died from measles in more than a decade. Sounds like whatever we are doing is working. Why do we need to strip parents of their rights to change a plan that isn't failing?

Religious freedom is essential

Did you know that the vaccines for chickenpox, rubella, hepatitis A and shingles are made in fetal embryo cells of electivly aborted babies?(source) For some of you that's not a big deal. But for others, to use medical technology developed using aborted babies is unconscionable. The people who oppose these vaccines on religous grounds have a constitutional right to opt out - these people deserve the constitutional right to opt out - even if you think they are silly for believing what they do.

Are you a vegan? You may not realize that between incubating vaccine strains in eggs and kidney cells from monkeys being present in some vaccines that most vaccines aren't vegan. Do you want to option to opt your kids out of non-vegan vaccines whether for religious or philosophical reasons? You need to oppose this bill.

What's worse is that this bill will affect even religious private schools - including those schools whose theology would prevent them from following the CDC vaccine schedule. Say you are a conservative, pro-life Christian and want to opt out of the Hep A, Hep B, Chickenpox, MMR and HPV vaccines for religious reasons. Your child attends a private, conservative Christian school who backs up your theological position. If SB442 passes, your child will no longer be permitted to attend that school - even though the school shares your religious beliefs and practices.

Parents can respond sooner

Back to parental rights: If this bill succeeds and you'll only be permitted to opt out of vaccines for pre-approved (by the state) medical reasons. Regardless of how much research you do, your kid will become a state guinea pig since you will no longer have any say about opting out. Here's how:

Say you do your homework and get yourself and your children tested for the MTHFR genetic mutation. It comes back positive. While much more research needs to be done, initial studies seem to indicate that those with MTHFR defects may be at a higher risk for an adverse reaction to vaccines (see one study on MTHFR and vaccination in the Journal of Infectious Diseases here). As such, you want to work with your doctor to selectively vaccinate your children to minimize their risk of an adverse reaction. That means you will delay some vaccines and may even skip some vaccines for diseases they are unlikely to encounter.

Sounds reasonable, right?

Not according to the state of Oregon! If your child's condition is not on the list of pre-approved medical reasons to opt out of vaccines, your child must be vaccinated or they may not attend school. MTHFR mutations are unlikely to be listed as a valid reason to opt out until a certain number of children with MTHFR mutations have bad reactions and then the state connects the two. 

If they need 500 positive cases to prove a connection and your child is the 450th to be vaccinated? You will need to march them straight to your pediatrician's office to have them vaccinated for whatever vaccines the CDC puts on the schedule - even if they are clearly not the right fit for your family (see my first point above about one size fits all vaccines).

Leaving these decisions in the hands of parents and their doctors - instead of the specially selected, state-approved doctors- will allow families to respond much more rapidly to emerging bodies of evidence when a medical exemption might be warranted - even if their condition is not yet listed on the state-approved list of conditions which warrant exemptions.

This is the first step on a terribly slippery slope

If the state thinks it is prudent to solve social problems by mandating forced medical procedures and medications it's only a matter of time before the teen pregnancy rate is solved by mandating all menstruating girls to take birth control pills or your child deemed "too active" by their school teacher will be required to be medicated for ADD and/or ADHD. 

Even if you take no issue with the current CDC recommended schedule, there are hundreds of vaccines currently in the research and development phase(source). What happens with routine vaccines for Ebola are added? Or syphilis? If this bill passes, you are subject to the whims of the CDC and what they want to place on the schedule. If you want to stay in control of what vaccines are given to your kids, you must oppose this bill.

If the state finds that they need to improve their vaccine rates, education and a slick marketing campaign -  not a mandate would be the best way to get what they want without stripping citizens of their rights.

Please, for the love of liberty, religious freedom and parental rights, join parents across Oregon to oppose SB 442.

 How to Get Involved:

1) Join the coalition:
(click image to visit the website)

2) Like us on Facebook

3) Write to your senators and representatives
Writing to your senators and representatives is actually easier than it sounds. Visit this page to get info and contact information for the senators on the health care committee.

About the Author: 
Carissa is an Oregon mom who believes strongly in the right of parents to raise their children as they see fit. She is also a strong advocate of religious freedom for all US Citizens.

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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Disclaimer: This is a personal opinion piece. I am not a doctor. This article is not intended to be medical advice. 

At this point, every parent in the United States has heard: There is an outbreak of measles happening in relationship to Disneyland. Anytime there is an "outbreak" of any disease for which a vaccine exists, the internet breaks. The media covers the story round the clock. "Health experts" urge everyone to vaccinate. Even parents who had been delaying or avoiding the vaccine for various reasons start to second guess themselves. People's claws and fangs come out and people start breaking up friendships and family reunions over others' vaccination statuses. Some people are even threatening to sue.

What do I think parents really need to be doing in response?

Calming the F down.
(I helped you out and kept this safe for work)

I get it. You're going all mama bear because you perceive a threat to your cubs. Measles is something that not very many people in our generation have experience with, so it's really scary. It's understandable. People often fear things they do not understand.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Facts about the MMR vaccine and mumps - comparing the risks of MMR vaccine to mumps

Disclaimer: This is a personal opinion piece. I am not a doctor. This article is not intended to be medical advice. 

Last fall I wrote a post called "Why We Said No to the Measles Vaccine." In it, I explain how according to the CDC's own data, vaccinating your child with the MMR vaccine carries a higher risk of complication than catching wild measles. As a result, we are not choosing the MMR vaccine for our children at this time.

One response to the post that I heard a few times was: What about mumps? Admittedly, I wasn't terribly concerned about mumps when I wrote the first post. Really, until about a year ago, I'd never even heard of people in the US getting mumps. Several outbreaks on college campuses (and a particularly large community-wide one in Ohio), however, have brought this issue into the public spotlight, so I wanted to respond:

So, What About Mumps?

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Disclaimer: This is a personal opinion piece. I am not a doctor. This article is not intended to be medical advice. 

Before we had our son in 2010, I never dreamed I would be a mom who wouldn't vaccinate her kid "on schedule" - let alone one who would advocate that others should consider doing the same. Before he came, though, we did some research on the individual vaccines recommended by the CDC and after meeting with our pediatrician, came up with a personalized vaccine schedule for our son.

The schedule included the pertussis vaccine known as DTaP - designed to prevent whooping cough (among other things).

At the time, this seemed like a no-brainer. Working through the Eight Questions to Ask Before Vaccinating Your Child, we decided that even though there was aluminum in the vaccine (170-850 mcg depending on the brand), the worst whooping cough outbreak in the last decade was making its way up and down the west coast of the United States - where we live. Whooping Cough can be deadly to infants, this was offered as a way to prevent it, it seemed like an easy decision.

What changed?

We made the decision to go ahead with the pertussis vaccine in mid 2010 - at the start of the outbreak. Now, almost 4 years into the whooping cough epidemic, we have some more information that simply wasn't available four years ago. This information changes everything. Specifically: the pertussis vaccine isn't terribly effective and may actually be the CAUSE of the outbreak.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Please note that I am not a doctor. This is a personal opinion piece and should not be considered medical advice. Please consult a doctor or naturopath regarding your family's personal vaccination and health care plans.
We are a family that does not do flu shots. Reasons we skip this vaccine include:
  • Flu vaccines are one of only three vaccines that still contain mercury, a known neurotoxin.(source)
  • H1N1 vaccine is linked to increased incidence of miscarriage.(see the abstract of study here)
  • A 2011 study showed a significant connection between receiving the flu vaccine and subsequently catching H1N1 flu.(read the study here)
Whether your family does flu shots or not, you'll want to adopt some extra practices during cold and flu season to keep your family in tip top shape.  Here are 15 ways to keep your family healthy and flu-free this winter.

15 Natural Ways to Avoid Getting 

the Flu (No Flu Shot Required!)

1) Wash your hands before eating. I admittedly am horrible at this normally. It's easy to just pull up a chair at the table to eat. But take a couple minutes to wash your hands first -especially during flu season.

2) Wash your hands before and after you use the restroom. Starting with clean hands before you touch delicate areas can help prevent you from introducing germs to an area where you are susceptible.

3) Use a paper towel to turn off the faucet. It might feel wasteful to let the water run a bit longer while you get a paper towel but it will go a long way to prevent re-contaminating your freshly washed hands in public washrooms. If you're in a paperless bathroom, use your elbow to turn off the water instead.

4) Open restroom doors with paper towels. Again, you don't want to contaminate your freshly washed hands with bathroom germs. If you're in a paperless bathroom, grab some extra toilet paper or keep a travel pack of tissues in your purse for this reason.

5) Sanitize frequently. I'm not normally a huge fan of hand sanitizers but I keep a bottle in my car and one in my purse specifically for use during flu season. Be sure to avoid sanitizers with the toxic ingredient triclosan. My favorite is this Aloe & Witch Hazel Hand Sanitizer from Burt's Bees.

6) Use cart wipes. Use cart wipes to clean shopping carts or shopping basket handles before use. Most stores provide these but I keep some extra Seventh Generation Disinfecting Multi-Surface Wipes in a baggie in my purse as back up.

7) Do a daily wipe down. Once a day, take a minute to cruise through your house and wipe down the door knobs and faucet handles. These are high contact areas where germs will build up. Wipe them down every day to mitigate the germs being shared with your family. Check out some great cleaning supply recipes here.

8) Boost your immune system with probiotics. The more we learn about the immune system, the more science is saying that a lot of our immunity is based in our gut. Probiotics from yogurt, kefir or a supplement (we like American Health Acidophilus and Bifidus Chewable Tablets, which come in several flavors, are lactose free and taste good) will help enhance your natural immunity by boosting the population of beneficial bacteria in your gut. When shopping for supplements, be sure to find one that measures the quantity of bacteria in the billions.

9) Boost your immune system with vitamins. Ideally you would get all the nutrition you need from the food you eat. The sad truth is that most Americans just aren't able to do that because our food is so nutrition poor. I personally prefer vitamin gummies like Nutrition Now Gummy Vitamins because they are more pleasant to take than swallowing pills. Nutrition now makes several formulations including one for kids, women and more. My son takes their kids line of vitamins and I take their women's multivitamin. Pay particular attention to how much Vitamin D and C are in the vitamins you shop for.

10) Prevent the flu with elderberry syrup. Elderberry syrup is a natural preventative and protects cells from being able to be infected with viruses. Make your own (it's really easy!) or buy it on amazon.

11) Get enough rest. When we don't get enough rest, our systems start to stress out. When our systems stress out they are not as efficient at fighting off the the daily germs we come in contact with. I know this can be easier said than done for most moms, but if possible try to take advantage our our increased number of dark hours and turn in early.

12) Reduce sugar intake. Too much sugar suppresses immune system cells responsible for attacking bacteria. Even consuming just 75 to 100 grams of sugar (about the same as in two 12-ounce sodas) reduces the ability of white blood cells to overpower and destroy bacteria. This effect is seen for at least a few hours after consuming a sugary drink.(source)

13) Stay hydrated. If plain water isn't for you, try hot tea or iced tea (make your own!). Despite Coca Cola's campaign to tell you otherwise, soda and coffee do not count. These beverages tax your system instead of supporting it. Stick to water and tea-based beverages.

14) Stay home. If there is a particularly bad outbreak in your area, stay home except for essential trips. Avoidance of sick people goes a long way to keeping you healthy.

15) Wash hands as soon as you come home. If you're been out and about be sure to wash your hands once you come home to avoid contaminating your personal space with germs you picked up on your hands while out in public.

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Friday, September 13, 2013

Disclaimer: This is a personal opinion piece. I am not a doctor. This article is not intended to be medical advice. 

PLEASE NOTE: The statistics and risks in this post were updated on April 16, 2014 to more accurately reflect the risks of the MMR vaccine when taking the CDC-prescribed two dose course. If you only receive one dose of the vaccine, your risks are less. If you require a booster beyond your first two doses, your risks of complication will be higher. I also updated the rate of infection of wild measles to reflect data available in 2014, which was not available when the post was first written in September 2013.

This morning, CNN ran a news story: U.S. measles cases in 2013 may be most in 17 years. Even though the outbreak was sparked by someone from Indonesia bringing measles to Texas, CNN's conclusion is still this: Unvaccinated children are bringing measles back from extinction and are a threat to us all. Smart parents get their kids vaccinated.


Now, before we get started, let me make something clear: I believe it is a parents fundamental right to make their own health choices for their kids. Which also means if you think it is best to vaccinate your child for measles, I still want to be your friend. In fact, I'm mostly sure my best friend is going to vaccinate her child for measles. I am not here to judge you. Truly.

My Background

I want to make clear that I do not have a medical background. I am a mom. And I'm not just a mom. I'm a skeptical mom. My husband and I both have strong research backgrounds. If you're going to start making assertions about something that goes beyond opinion, you better be able to back it up if you want us on your side. I'm also the granddaughter of two highly regarded scientists (they were chemists and rocket scientists. literally). Science and medical facts get extra scrutiny. All that to say: "fluffy" science does not fly here. None of the information below is from a pseudo science or conspiracy theory website.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Disclaimer: This is a personal opinion piece. I am not a doctor. This article is not intended to be medical advice. 

Vaccines are a hot button issue for sure. There is buzz going around that immunizations that may or may not work (or worse, cause injury). Some vaccines contain known neuro-toxins such as aluminum. At the same time, I see at least one commercial a day urging parents to vaccinate themselves and their children for everything from the flu to HPV.

Regardless of what the vaccine is for, make sure you ask these eight questions for each vaccine suggested for your child before you consent:
  1. Vaccine Name:
  2. Does it contain aluminum or other known neuro toxins?
  3. How much does my child weigh? Translate into kilograms (KG):
  4. Multiply KG weight by 4 (4mcg per KG of body weight is recommended daily limit for aluminum)
  5. How many Micrograms (mcg) of aluminum are in the vaccine? 
  6. Is there more more aluminum in this vaccine than recommended for my child at his current weight (question 4)? 
  7. Is our child at risk for contracting the disease this vaccine prevents? 
  8. If he were to contract this disease, is it life threatening? 

Hepatitis B
Here is what that set of questions looks like when filled out with the information for the Hepatitis B shot, which is currently recommended for all newborns.
  1. Vaccine Name: Hepatitis B
  2. Does it contain aluminum or other known neuro toxins?: Yes, aluminum
  3. How much does my child weigh? Translate into kilograms (KG)10.3 lbs --> 4.6KG
  4. Multiply KG weight by 4 = 17.84
    (this is recommended upper limit of mcg of aluminum to receive per day to avoid brain damage or other undesirable side effects)
  5. How many Micrograms (mcg) are in the vaccine? 225-450 per dose, depending on brand
  6. Is there more more aluminum in this vaccine than recommended for my child at his current weight? YES - 12-25 times more than recommended daily limit
  7. Is our child at risk for contracting the disease this vaccine prevents? No (Hep B is transmitted by birth if the mother is Hep B positive, intravenous drug use and unprotected sex. I do not have Hep B. My newborn is not having sex or doing drugs.)
  8. If he were to contract this disease, is it life threatening? Rarely

Based on this information, we decided NOT to get the Hepatitis B shot for our son. The main deciding factors were that the aluminum load of the vaccine greatly exceeded the recommended daily limit for a child his weight. Taking this risk was not worth it to us because he is not at risk for the disease.

So am I anti-vaccine?
I'm certainly anti Hep B to newborns (we're going to wait until our son is older - probably about 12 years old to start Hep B). People who are reading this and getting angry about now will be interested to know that I am not anti-vaccine. Instead, I am all about parents making informed decisions about which vaccines are right for their families.

Here is an example of that the questions look like when filled out for a vaccine we did choose:

Vaccine Name: Hib
Does it contain aluminum or other known neuro toxins? No. Our doctor uses aluminum-free hib vaccines
How much does my child weigh? Translate into kilograms (KG): n/a
Multiply KG weight by 4 (4mcg per KG of body weight is recommended daily limit for aluminum)= n/a
How many Micrograms (mcg) of aluminum are in the vaccine? Zero
Is there more more aluminum in this vaccine than recommended for my child at his current weight (question 4)? No
Is our child at risk for contracting the disease this vaccine prevents? Yes, invasive hib occurs most often from 3 months- 3 years of age
If he were to contract this disease, is it life threatening? YES Hib can cause a wide variety of serious infections, including pneumonia, severe throat swelling that makes breathing difficult (epiglottitis), and infections of blood, bones, joints, and the covering of the heart. Complications of Hib meningitis include blindness, deafness, mental retardation, learning disabilities, and death. About 5% of children (500 out of every 10,000) with Hib meningitis die despite antibiotic treatment.

Using this information, we chose Hib because the vaccine is low-toxin and low-risk while the disease itself has a significant risk of complications.

Don't let anyone tell you that vaccines are all or nothing. You can absolutely pick and choose and decide to selectively vaccinate your child.

But what about school?
What happens if you decide a vaccine is not right for your child but it's on the required list for public school students in your state?

Many states offer religious exemptions from vaccine requirements. Depending on your state, your religious exemption clause may also include wording to include philosophical persuasions in their definition of "religion."

Our pediatrician has a great set of online videos about vaccines including one about claiming religious exemptions from vaccines. If you choose not to vaccinate (or selectively vaccinate) your child and are worried about public school, be sure to check it out:

*Please note. I am not a doctor nor do I play one on TV. This article is intended to be informative in nature but should not be considered medical advice. Be sure to discuss the issue of immunizations with your child's pediatrician.

**I highly recommend The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child by Dr. Robert W. Sears for parents interested in finding out more information about vaccines from a trusted medical professional.

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