This is the ninth of nine reasons we’re going to explore for why we decided not to vaccinate our children. If you missed the intro to this series, please read it here. It contains groundwork critical for properly understanding my motivation for writing this series.
We have concerns not only about the necessity and possible side effects of vaccines, but more importantly, the overall effect vaccines have on the immune and nervous systems. From our first hand encounters and research it seems that unvaccinated children have overall better health. Admittedly, this is not likely due just to non-vaccination; there are likely a dozen different factors that come into play. But our focus in this post is to examine the role of vaccines in health.
Let’s start with first-hand experiences since those have less “officialness” to them. 🙂
Before we jump in, please know that we wholeheartedly acknowledge that health is a gift from God. That we have healthy children is by his grace.
However, we also acknowledge that God set things up to have a cause-and-effect relationship. He set up a sow-and-reap dynamic that applies not only to spiritual life, but to the physical life as well. So, as we discuss the implications of vaccines on health, please keep this in mind.
Erich and I have not vaccinated our three kids at all and seem to have a different medical experience from most typical families with children the same age as ours. Though we have occasional drippy noses and coughs in our house, we rarely encounter anything that we can’t treat easily with better nutrition, rest, and sunshine. While most families visit their pediatrician multiple times per month for various illnesses, we’ve been to see ours only once last year and that was just for Madeline’s kindergarten well-visit. Anson is the only one who has had an ear infection, and that was only once in his life.
A number of families I know who do not vaccinate experience similar health. Here are the stories of a couple of them.
Jane Hedger, mother of 7, says:
I can’t remember if Peter had any vac’s, but I think he had one round as a newborn. None of the other kids has had them. They didn’t have earaches and didn’t get sick very often and when they did they recuperated quickly. They had chicken pocks and Ben got whooping cough which I think was the worst thing we dealt with besides Ashley’s appendicitis. I love the book How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor by Dr. Mendelson.
Shelly Hill, mother of 4 says:
My children are 10, 8, 5, and 3. My husband and I vaccinated the older two kids as babies but stopped after learning of the harmful ingredients added to them. We will not allow them to get the “recommended” booster shots. My younger two children have never been vaccinated and as long as it remains a “recommendation” and NOT a federal law, we will continue on the same path.
I’ve really thought through the health differences in my kids. They are a relatively healthy bunch, mostly in part to our frequent use of essential oils. I do believe that my two vaccinated children are prone to get two recurring illnesses which are ear infections and 24 hour stomach bugs. I have noticed that most illnesses especially those contagious ones are brought in to my house first by these two children. My nonvaccinated children have definitely been healthier since birth. You could count on one hand the number of visits needed to their pediatrician due to illness in the last 5 years. They are not getting the so called “12 colds in a year” that you hear typical children get. Also, the nonvaccinated kids have been relatively fever free for their whole lives.
So, three families have similar stories. So what, right? It doesn’t prove anything. There could be any number of variables that account for the relativie healthiness of these kids. But is there any research – official, medical research – that might relate this health back to a lack of vaccines?
In fact, there is.
Research: Clinical Pediatrics Journal
One study was conducted to note illness patterns observed in babies before and after vaccination. It was published in Clinical Pediatrics in 1988. Dr. Randal Neustaedter summarizes:
If vaccines cause a weakened immune system, then we would expect to see a higher incidence of illness following vaccination. In that study conducted in Israel, the incidence of acute illnesses in the 30 day period following DTP vaccine was compared to the incidence in the same children for the 30 day period prior to vaccine. The three-day period immediately following vaccine was excluded because children frequently develop fever as a direct response to vaccine toxins. A total of 82 healthy infants received DTP, and their symptoms were reported by parents and observed by a pediatrician at weekly intervals. Those babies experienced a dramatic increase in fever, diarrhea, and cough in the month following DTP vaccine compared to their health before the shot.
To boil that down even further, kids healthy before vaccinations experienced a “dramatic increase” in sickness in the month following receiving vaccinations.
Francoise Berthoud, pediatrician and homeopath, takes a tour around the world showing the difference in health between vaccinated and unvaccinated population in his paper The Marvellous Health of Unvaccinated Children, published in the International Medical Council on Vaccination. Of the two – vaccinated and unvaccinated – he shows that unvaccinated populations around the world experience better health.
Dr. Berthoud also acknowledges that lifestyle choices play an important role in health and points out these other common choices among the healthy populations: breastfeeding, simple therapies, good food (often vegetarian), a tranquil living environment, and trust in the capacity of the body to heal itself.
In 2009 Dr. Mercola did an interview with Dr. Larry Palevsky who talked about the statistically significant differences between the health of vaccinated and unvaccinated children. He said:
In the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology in April of 2005, we finally had a study that looked at the health outcomes of children who are fully vaccinated, who are partially vaccinated, and who are non-vaccinated.
All the investigators asked the parents to do was to report atopic illness -atopic illness meaning allergy, asthma, eczema, hay fever. The investigators were blinded, so they didn’t know which category the parents belonged to – whether they were partially, fully, or non-vaccinated. And when they accumulated the data they found that the largest number of reports by parents of children with atopic illness were in the kids who were fully vaccinated. The second highest reports were in the families who were partially vaccinated. And then the lowest number of reports were in the children who were unvaccinated. . .
In this study, parents whose children were fully vaccinated reported greater incidences of atopic illness than parents whose children were unvaccinated. The investigators, in their conclusions, could not understand how this was possible because our teaching is that vaccines are completely safe and completely effective.
We’ve already challenged the notion that vaccines are completely safe and completely effective in previous posts. Now let’s get a little deeper into why exactly non-vaccinated kids would be healthier.
Benefits of Contracting Some Diseases (Yes, you did read that properly!)
Donald W. Miller, Jr., MD has brought up an interesting consideration, which vaccine proponents do not address:
Could contracting childhood diseases like measles, mumps, rubella, and chickenpox play a constructive role in the maturation of a person’s immune system? Or, to put it another way, does removing natural infection from human experience have any adverse consequences?
The viruses that cause measles, mumps, and chickenpox have infected countless generations of humans, akin to a rite of passage for each member of our species. Contracting these diseases strengthens both parts of the adaptive immune system, Th1 and Th2. Mothers who have had measles, mumps, and chickenpox transfer antibodies against them to their babies in utero, which protect them during the first year of life from contracting these infections.
Detriments of Vaccinations
Vaccinations do not have the same effect on the immune system as naturally acquired diseases do. In fact, they work negatively by:
- Stimulating predominantly the Th2 part of this system. Over-stimulation of Th2 causes autoimmune diseases.
- Weakening the Th1 side of this system. The Th1 helps to fight cancer. If the Th1 side does not become fully developed in childhood a person can be more prone to have cancer as an adult. Women who had mumps during childhood, for example, are found to be less likely to have ovarian cancer than women who did not have this infection. (This study was published in Cancer.)
Could the fact that cancer has become a leading cause of death in children be a result of vaccinations? Only a randomized controlled trial can conclusively answer this question.
In the meantime, we are very comfortable with our decision to avoid vaccines altogether.