18 May 2010

Vaccines- help or harm? what to do...

Now that I've got your attention, I want to be clear from the start.  I am pro vaccine, for sure, but also am extremely cautious with how I allow them to be used with my kids.

My eldest child is on the autism spectrum.  I have struggled with wondering what caused it for many years now and, like nearly everyone with a child on the spectrum, I cannot say for sure what the cause is.  In my opinion, it is a brain injury caused by environmental contaminants of some sort.  When I look back over the years, I can point to several possibilities, although, none is definitive.

First, I had pitocin for 24 hours during my labor and delivery of him.  I've heard a theory that extended use of pitocin could be a cause of autism.  My friend's son, who was born on the same day, in the same hospital, also with pitocin, is also on the spectrum...  Coincidence?

Second, could it be something in the water or environment?  Our neighbor, where we lived when Zack was 3 months - 3 years old, also is on the autism spectrum.  Another coincidence?

Finally, vaccines...  Zack got all the vaccines on the CDC schedule, on the CDC timing.  Sometimes he got 4 injections in one day.  I know that the medical establishment has studied the issue and has decided that vaccines are not the cause of autism, but I wonder if the toxins included in the injections could be another contaminant that contributes to the cause.  More studies must be done.

Scientists have ruled that the MMR vaccine is not the cause, but that does not rule out a theory that the chemicals contained in the vaccines contribute to a build up of toxins and lead to brain injury. 

My theory is that it is a combination of things.  I wonder if some kids can metabolize all the chemicals better than others.  The levels of the toxins build up in the bodies of the kids whose bodies have a tough time eliminating them and they eventually suffer the consequences.  Sometimes, kids get such a high level of toxins in one visit, the brain injury is immediate.  The shock to the child's system is too great.

So, what to do?  How can we, as cautious, worried parents, protect our kids from both the effects of the toxins as well as the terrible illnesses that the vaccines protect them from?  Clearly, we want to stay away from both, but at what cost?

I continue to vaccinate my kids.  I think it is a dangerous risk to leave our kids open to these illnesses.

I watched Frontline's recent episode, The Vaccine War, (watch it here:  Frontline- The Vaccine War ) about this very topic and was infuriated by the misinformed statements by the anti vaccine woman in the show.  She said that since the illnesses are no longer a threat in America, it is not necessary to subject our kids to the vaccines.  Has she not heard of the recent outbreaks of measles and whooping cough?  These illnesses are still common around the world and it only takes one child in a community traveling outside the country, becoming infected and returning to infect all the un-vaccinated kids at home.

Herd protection (the effect of most of the population being vaccinated and therefor protecting the remaining population) is only good in isolation.  One infected child can wreak havoc on a community.   If an infected child brings an illness into a community a baby who is not old enough to be vaccinated can contract the illness and even die. A child with a compromised immune system could quickly become infected and die.  These illnesses are real threats.

It is an isolationist, misinformed (perhaps ignorant) view to say that  the vaccines are unnecessary now. My third son suffered not one, but two bouts of rotavirus.  His 2 year old body was ravaged by the illness, vomiting 10 or more times in a day.  He had to be hospitalized and hydrated for 3 days each time.

Some people would say that a vaccine for this is unnecessary because we were able to control the illness but what about the millions around the world who do not have access to the medical care we had?  My fourth son had the rotavirus vaccine.

Here's how I resolve the issue.  I vaccinate my kids, but on an alternative schedule. I've read books on the issue and consulted with pediatricians and nurses and came up with a schedule I am reasonably comfortable with.  It limits the number of vaccines and combines only vaccines with different chemical make ups at any given visit.

You have to be dedicated to the effort.  It requires extra visits to the doctor's office, but in my mind, in helps keeps my kids safe- both from the illness the vaccines target, and the chemicals the injections contain.

If you'd like to see my schedule, leave a comment on the blog with your contact information and I will send it to you.


  1. Erin I would like a copy of your schedule to give to my daughter who has a 1-year old and even tho' she's had quite a few vaccines, there are still more in her future.

  2. Erin, as always I love your balanced objective informed writing.

  3. I am interested in finding out more about your schedule as I will be making those decisions again starting in September.

  4. Hi,
    I'd be interested in your schedule.

  5. Steph,
    I would need your email address. Please send it to me at Erin@EveryBabyBook.com

  6. Hi, is it too late to get your schedule? I'm a month away from delivering twins (# 3 and 4) and have been very interested in spacing apart their vaccinations. I too am pro-vaccine but with caution. Thank you, Karen

  7. Karen, I would be happy to send you the schedule, but I would need you to send me your email address. You can send it to me at Erin@EveryBabyBook.com

    Congratulations on your pending arrivals!