Vaccination Talk

I’ve started a vaccination post numerous times, but every time I do, I always end up staring at a blank screen for minutes. The thing is, vaccinations are such a complicated thing. There are so many things I don’t understand about it. I know what is recommended by the CDC and by doctor’s, but that doesn’t mean I think they’re completely right. I know what book’s say. I know what the research is saying.

I know that doctor’s are saying vaccinations don’t cause autism. I know that. My son’s pediatrician  has told me a million times. He agrees with me that there are too many unnecessary vaccines available today and that they’re not all necessary. 

I believe that diet, lifestyle choices, and the environment play a huge, huge roll in our health- especially the health of our children. Diseases, sickness, disorders, behavior’s, and our quality of life, in my opinion is highly determined by those things. I know there’s genetics- that’s a factor too, sure. 

One of the things that scares me about vaccinations, is that I don’t know exactly what’s in them. I don’t understand exactly how they work in my tiny baby’s body. And I want to know. When I feed my baby food, I want to know the ingredients. I want to know exactly what is entering his body. I want to know how the food is grown and how it’s made. If my nurse is going to stick a needle in my fragile baby, I want to know exactly what’s going in him. I want to know how it works to prevent a disease. I want to know how his (and everyone’s) body handle’s vaccinations. All of it. And- I don’t. I don’t know nearly enough to feel educated enough on the subject to trust that what is going inside my baby is okay.

Phew. Glad to get that out.

Have it be about vaccinating your child, deciding on the food they eat, circumcision, the school’s you send them to or anything you’re faced with when raising them,  I think we have to make our own decisions based on our own findings and belief’s.   Just becuase a book says it’s right, it doesn’t mean it’s right. Just because a doctor says it’s right, doesn’t mean it’s right. It certainly may be, but it certainly might not be. I think that as parents, as mothers, we have to do our own research on anything that we do or don’t do for/with/to our children. I don’t believe in asking my doctor a question and doing exactly as he says just because he’s my doctor. I respect my doctor, I like him, and I think he is smart and highly educated. But, I still believe in learning things for yourself and deciding what is best for your child based on that.
Having said all that, I’m not for vaccinations but I’m not against them either. I stand somewhere in the middle. As for my son, my husband and I haven’t decided completely what we’re doing with vaccinations. I take them very seriously and I haven’t felt confident enough to make a certain choice yet. As of now, and what will most likely coutinue to be, we are choosing to delay some vaccinations, avoid some completely and offer some at a delayed schedule.   I would share with you which we’re choosing to avoid, but the truth is, I don’t know yet.

So there you have it. I stand in the middle.

I realize that heated debates usually arise around vaccination discussions. There are probably a few of you that agree with me, a few that think I should vaccinate my son at all, and a few of you that disagree with me whole heartedly and will tell me to get every single vaccination on the day thier recommended. Thank you for having an opinion. I welcome a debate. In fact, I’d love to hear what others think on this issue and why you think that way. Just please be respectful and kind of others (and mine!) thoughts and comments.

Published by Samantha Mellen

Certified personal trainer & health coach helping women transform their lives through fitness, abundant mindset coaching and internal peace. Mom of two boys, living life in Alaska.

27 thoughts on “Vaccination Talk

  1. I know that a lot of people believe that vaccinating leads to autism and I think it is linked to the metal that is in the older vaccines but I believe wholeheartedly that every parent should get their children vaccinated no matter what. Would you rather have a living child with autism or have your child die of the measles or polio?

  2. I also stand in the middle, being able to reliably prevent diseases such as polio and measles is wonderful. That said I am uncomfortable with vaccines that are largely to reduce people missing work: chicken pox and prevnar. We are vaccinating our daughter, just at a delayed schedule.

  3. Sam- your mom blog is so cute! I love all the topics you have brought up I just randomly came across it today after missing out for awhile haha!

    Vaccinations- very controversial. I know you have your stance but being in the pediatric field and now in the OB with new babies what I say to parents is do your research. Yes, it is A LOT of vaccinations which make your baby uncomfortable, but I truly believe, that if we don’t continue vaccinating kids, polio will emerge again and take lives. Because in other countries children do have polio, thankfully in the US we have vaccinated enough people to keep it from coming back but now the recent trend of not vaccinating kids you never know what may come back. My stance is, if the vaccination does not harm the kids (such as autism, which has been proven false time and time again), why not help protect them against possible diseases?? Last year kids in Minnesota died from rota virus, a virus that could be prevented from the vaccines. So that’s my stance, I have gone back and forth especially after giving vaccinations to kids, but in the end I see the long run benefit and think we can not fail our kids by not vaccinating them just because. Because we know they do prevent disease and in general help keep kids healthier than non-vaccinated kiddos.

  4. I blindly vaccinated for the first nine months. I assumed that the shots were necessary, and I closed my eyes and mind to the arguments. That is, until Levi had a mild reaction to the vaccines. He wasn’t himself for a few days, and it shook me up a bit. I started doing research and reading book after book on the subject. When I realized the number of unnecessary shots being given, I was appalled. Vaccinations have turned into a big business, and our babies are the target of it. They prey on parent’s fears to convince us that we need each and every product they produce. I truly believe that as parents it is our obligation to know what’s going into our children. Blindly following the “smart” doctors just doesn’t cut it. We need to educate ourselves and make decisions for our children. Doctors should be seen as advisors not dictators, and drug companies, well, letting them make our decisions is sort of like buying things just because an advertisement says we should.

  5. You need to read the vaccine book by Dr. Sears. He goes through every single vaccination, lists all of the ingredients (which many are creepy), and talks about why the vaccine is important but also what may be controversial about that particular vaccine. I decided with Gabe that I would do most of the vaccines, but that I would spread them out more (Dr. Sears has an alternate immunization schedule for parents who want to vaccinate but want less aluminum or other questionable ingredients in one round). I also postponed the MMR until Gabe was 19 months old (they usually do it at 12 months) as that is one that many kids have bad reactions to. I also skipped a few non essentials, but I can’t remember which ones right now at the top of my head.
    So there you have it.. I am somewhere in the middle to. I think that vaccines are so important, but I wish I felt better about what is in them…. oh and for the autism thing… I have my own theories on if there is a relation… we can chat about sometime if you ever want to hear my ideas 🙂

  6. I forgot to mention that I get a tad irritated with the focus on autism as the only side effect. There are other potential side effects that make autism look good…like death for one.

  7. we vaccinate. i choose to because my friends son has a heart defect. if MY kids got him sick because they were not vaccinated and he got very sick, i’d feel awful. i haven’t done a load of research. maybe i’m just to naive. but i also feel that a parent has a right to choose and not be judged for it. that’s the problem more so. people judging people FOR vaccinating and others judging for NOT. it’s quite irritating. :0) thanks. i feel better now. :0)

  8. Another vote for Dr. Sears’ book here. It was the most down-to-earth, most informative book on vaccines I’ve read. No scare tactics, just the facts I needed to make decisions for my son’s care.

    More than 1 in 100 baby boys in the US are diagnosed on the Autism spectrum. Do I believe vaccines *cause* autism? Well, not exactly, since I believe autism is more complicated and complex than that. But, I do believe vaccines can be a trigger in children with a pre-disposition towards autism. There are no studies to determine how much injected aluminum a baby can safely receive. Aluminum, a neurotoxic metal! We pump it in our tiny childrens’ bodies without any research showing it’s safe, and plenty of research showing it probably isn’t.

    My son’s chance of being on the spectrum is greater than 1%. His chance of dying of measles, Hib, chickenpox (for goodness’ sake!), polio, etc., is far, far, FAR smaller. I’ll take my chances with those diseases to improve his chances of staying healthy and off the spectrum.

  9. Hi! Thanks for following my blog!

    We vaccinated our girls and didn’t have any problems with any illness after the shots were administered. My SIL doesn’t have her children receive the flu shot because her daughter is allergic to eggs and there is some sort of egg by product in the flu shot.

  10. I have vaccinated both of my kids… Never had any issues with the vaccines or side effects.

    I don’t know everything about vaccines, but I think that my greatest question is- what has changed in them from when we were kids and had the very same vaccines to now in order for people to think that they cause autism? I do not remember kids having autism when I was growing up yet it seems to be so common now.

  11. Thank you everyone for your great responses. I love hearing different views on this and your reasonings.

    Courtney- I ask the same question myself. Over and over again in fact. 🙂

    I need to get that Dr. Sears book- thanks for the recommendation!

    Amanda- I agree with you. Too many people judging one another!

    Madeline- I also completely agree with your statement. I think there are way too many vaccines now a days and some that are just not necessary.

  12. I can see both sides of the vaccination argument. I have friends that feel very strongly about their decision on both sides of this issue. My stance is this: for those that choose NOT to vaccinate – you are doing so because you want what you think is best for YOUR child. I totally get that. But what about other children? Basically those that choose not to vaccinate or even to do so on a delayed schedule are counting on the MAJORITY of parents that DO vaccinate their children and who do so on schedule to avoid getting a serious disease. Like “it’s ok for other children to be exposed to it but not theirs so you all do it and I won’t, than I won’t have to worry about exposing my kid kind of a thing.” Get what I mean?

    I know of a family whose child had not received a specific vaccination yet (due to a delayed schedule or due to age, not sure) but was exposed to Measles by a child who had traveled to another country without being vaccinated, and had been exposed to it. This child died from that disease because he was exposed by another child who was not vaccinated and received a mild case because those parents chose not to vaccinate.

    How is that fair?

    The other problem I see with this is the school/daycare issue. Vaccinations are there to protect people from getting serious diseases and illnesses that can be prevented. Not just children, but people in general. If a few kids are not vaccinated but are allowed to enter the public school system or daycare, regardless of not having the required shots, how does that protect those children that can’t get certain shots because of allergies to the shot themselves or those with immunodeficient disorders? Or like the previous poster mentioned someone with a heart condition? I urge people to really think about the whole picture NOT just YOUR child when considering whether to vaccinate or not.

    I have many friends who are vaccinating on a delayed schedule and sometimes it makes me think twice about having playdates with them and their children. My daughter is under a year and has not had all vaccinations. She was born slightly early and is prone to upper respiratory infections. How would I know if she was exposed to something serious by a child who had not gotten the proper vaccinations?

    Food for thought.

    Sorry – didn’t mean to go off. Just wanted to throw some additional thoughts out there.

  13. Hey mama, I third the Dr. Sears book. I made a chart of all the vaccines and what was in them, the risks, pros and cons, etc. I can send it to you if you’d like- it sums up the info in the book. I plan on delaying vaccines for my boy. Autism just wasn’t talked about way back when. I don’t think they even knew much about it and if you don’t know about something how can you inform others? Now that we do know a lot more it seems more prevalent. I don’t think vaccines are the cause of Autism but I think they may play a part. The first thing I thought of when I saw a show with a family who had 6 children with Autism was “I’d love to see what she was doing and was exposed to while she was pregnant.”

    I don’t think it’s the actual vaccine, but the metals in them. Pollution, chemicals, metals…I think they all play a part along with genetics. I don’t feel comfortable NOT vaccinating at all, but I have decided not to give more than one at a time, and not start them until a year, or 6 months at the earliest. But I won’t be putting him in school or daycare until he’s 3. I plan on him having all the chosen vaccines at that point. I don’t think Chicken Pox, Flu, and Rotavirus are necessary. The ones that prevent meningitis I will get for him. I wish I could get dTap without the Tetanus and Diptheria. I’m on the fence about MMR and Polio.

    I do think you have to take the bigger picture into account. If you’re going to be putting your baby in daycare I think you need to get the basic vaccines, for your baby and other baby’s safety. But if you plan on breastfeeding and staying home I’ve even heard doctors say you can delay vaccinating for the first two years. It all depends on what your environment is like.

    It’s not an easy answer. I don’t think it ever will be. But until they take Formaldehyde, Aluminum, Mercury (Yes some still have traces of mercury!), Cow Blood, Monkey Kidney Cells, Fetus DNA and other nasty chemicals I will think twice about vaccines.

  14. We are choosing to delay vaccinations for an undetermined amount of time. That being said, after reading Dr. Sears’ book and knowing all the potential risks associated either way, we feel that we are extremely low risk for any sort of issues. I am a stay at home mom and will homeschool our kids- if we were doing daycare or public school, it would be different. I understand the previous poster’s irritation with my decision not to vaccinate right now, but quite honestly these are my children and I am responsible for making the decisions I feel are best for them. If she were my friend and chose not to have playdates with me or my family, that is fine. That would be her doing what is best for her family. I believe we should all have that opportunity to choose what we think is best for those we are responsible for and not have things forced upon us or shoved down our throats.

    Another great resource is the VAERS website , which is a government website and stands for Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System http://www.vaers.hhs.gov/scripts/data.cfm. You’d be surprised at all the adverse events that have been reported, and the frequency as well.

    We will eventually get vaccinated for the biggies like MMR, Pertussis (if they ever come out with it by itself), Polio and others, but only after the girls are a little bit bigger and more able to handle the side effects. Thanks for a provocative post!!

  15. I just wanted to say that I’m impressed with all the comments. So many people have so many ideas that are all legit. I personally choose to vaccinate! My reason’s for choosing to do so are basically the same as those who already posted above. Nathan has never had a bad reaction to any of his vaccines and he is having his two year old shot in a couple months…then he’s done for a while! Anyway, just impressed with the different opinions and thoughts on this topic!

  16. We are fully vaccinating our daughter, and on schedule.

    My reason behind this is because my husband has been to Iraq and will probably go back to Iraq or Africa.

    Who knows what he’s been exposed to, and who knows what he could bring home to our beautiful little girl.

    I’d like to make sure his homecoming is a happy one, and not a worrisome time of “what could he be exposing his child to?”

  17. I vaccinate my boys also. I was going to delay the MMR for Tyler until he was 2 but when he was around 15 months old there was a bad outbreak of measles here and a non vaccinated child caught it and died. I remember thinking that if Tyler caught measles because I didn’t vaccinate him and something happened I WOULD NOT be able to live with myself. I was at the doctor the same day.
    It is a personal decision for sure. I do think not all vaccines are necessary (like chicken pox) but I also believe that there is a reason that certain diseases like measles don’t run rampant and we have vaccines to thank for that.

  18. We don’t vaccinate. I always thought that we would until I discussed the topic with my mother-in-law. She was the first person I’d ever met that was extremely against them. She herself had had a bad experience with the rubella vaccine and had chosen not to vaccinate her last two children.

    After hearing about that, I chose to get educated about vaccinations…more specifically, what exactly my LO’s chances of encountering a deadly disease would be if we chose not to vaccinate, what the specific ingredients were in each vaccine, and the overall necessity of them. I also read Dr. Sear’s book and found that for us, not vaccinating was something I felt more comfortable with.

    I’m not saying that everyone should not vaccinate…I definitely think that it is BECAUSE of their existence that I can choose NOT to vaccinate my child. Selfishly, I can take advantage of the fact that most people vaccinate leaving the risk to my child practically null. What does disturb me, is the people who go around decrying vaccinations as something to be avoided by EVERYONE at ALL costs. I think that that sort of philosophy is a little careless. If no one vaccinated, these dangerous diseases like Polio WOULD come back. I am also disturbed by the number of people who choose to never research the subject and blindly follow their doctor’s suggestions regarding what vaccinations and what vaccination schedule to give their child. I just think that the choice is a personal one and needs to be made by each family on an individual EDUCATED basis.

    So, we choose not to vaccinate. We also do not do well-child visits…mostly because we have found it a bit useless to visit a pediatrician with a perfectly healthy baby. My LO is 5 months old and has NEVER been sick a day in his life…I really attribute it to NO doctor visits and no side-effects or weakened immune system from vaccinations.

  19. Excellent post, Samantha.

    I feel kind of like there <>isn’t<> a good answer. There are risks either way.

    We chose to be selective/delayed vaxers. I believe it’s best for my child, but everyone has to do what <>they<> think is best. I don’t think people who fully vaccinate or don’t vaccinate at all are any more or less right or wrong.

    For me, autism was one of the least of my concerns. The dosages are so great for such tiny little bodies. Although the arguement could be made that the protection is needed more when they are small, I believe their bodies are much more equipped to handle the immunizations when they are older.

    I’m also very concerned by the number of vaccinations that have been added to the schedule in the past 5 years.

    I totally agree with you that it’s a muddy issue that I don’t think I’ll every totally figure out.

  20. Great post and great comments. It’s a tough issue.

    I feel that autism is a highly misunderstood disease. I think part of the reason it wasn’t as prevalent in the past has something to do with the fact that doctors didn’t know enough about it to diagnose it. I think as we learn more about it, and how to diagnose it we will certainly see an increase in the number of children diagnosed. Is there a link between vaccines and autism? There could be. Just because they haven’t found one, doesn’t mean that one doesn’t exist. It’s a valid concern, but there isn’t conclusive data to prove either case.

    I also believe that we carelessly expose ourselves to many chemicals which are unnecessary. It’s amazing what we are exposed to in modern society. Chemicals (namely aluminum) in antiperspirant that people wear everyday has been linked to increased risk of Parkinsons disease. Chemicals in our plastics have been linked to hormonal issues that can result in cancer. Do vaccinations have dangerous chemicals? I would venture a guess that they probably do. In my opinion, you can’t shield your child from everything they will become exposed to. It’s a matter of whether you want it to be a preventable disease or aluminum in a vaccine.

    For my son, we chose to vaccinate. I respect the mothers who don’t, and I can appreciate why they chose the way they did. For me it came down to this: I would rather have a child with autism than one who dies from a preventable disease. (That doesn’t mean those who chose not to vaccinate are wrong. I feel the answer is in educating yourself and deciding what is best for your family.)

  21. I work with kids with autism. The thing about autism is that it is a SPECTRUM disorder. I believe that there are a spectrum of causes, as well as a spectrum of treatments.

    I believe that the majority of the children with autism that I work with do NOT display symptoms of autism because of vaccinations. I believe that the increase in diagnosis is in part due to the wide range of things that is accepted as a dx. We all have autism traits, just some more so than others.

    Talk to your doctor about spacing out the vaccines. It’s what I plan on doing when I have kids. I just worry about putting other children at risk when parents don’t vaccinate, but I don’t have children so I don’t think it’s fair for me to make that assumption.

  22. I vaccinate. Mostly because my daughter had poor respiratory health, and I have pain conditions that wear on my immune system, and I did not want to take the risk of our dying from something completely preventable. I have one friend who very selectively vaccinates, and others who do not at all. It is a personal parenting decision, and I hope those around you remain respectful whatever you choose!

  23. I haven't read through your entire blog, but in looking around I have the feeling we have similar approaches.
    Vaccinations are such a controversial subject – I've gone back and forth with it.
    I've ultimately vaccinated my children, but my son is not on schedule.
    I'm certain that we are not getting the whole picture from either the cdc or the drug companies, there is so much money at stake with millions of children receiving vaccines annually.
    That said, my final decsion comes down to whether I could live with myself if I was in a hospital room with my child for something that could have been prevented with a vaccine.
    With that in mind I look for every opportunity to reduce the things I do expose my children to, from shampoo to bpa's!

  24. My uncle, now 55 years old, contracted polio when he was six months old. He has absolutely no use of his legs, metal bars and hooks all along his bowed spine and chronic debilitating headaches. He was on crutches up until about ten years ago, when he had to have both shoulder joints reconstructed and started using a wheelchair. He has had surgery after surgery his entire life.
    My grandmother went to visit a neighbor who was not feeling well when he was a baby. That neighbor turned out to have polio and my grandmother had to live with the fact that she had brought home the disease to her baby boy. He never learned to walk, could never play sports like his three brothers and did not get to walk his daughter down the aisle when she got married.
    Researching vaccines is the right thing to do, but parents need to spend just as much time and effort researching the diseases that they prevent.
    I have had bacterial meningitis myself and cannot imagine a child being in that much pain. My niece was hospitalized with rotavirus, my sister with chicken pox. How could I live with myself if one of my babies contracted a disease that could have been prevented?
    I couldn't. That's why I educate myself about the vaccines that my children are receiving and about the diseases they prevent and vaccinate them on schedule.

  25. just found your blog via Kirsty at Momedy. Ths is a big issue for me too. We accinated my older son until he had an adverse rection t 12m. Then I did tons of research and came to the conclusion that we would stop vaxing. We have given no vax to our younger son. I do believe we “dodged a bullet” by stopping vax at 12m. I work in pubnlic health, so this was an especially tough decision because people can be Sooooooooooooo judgmental.

    this month's Mothering magazine has an excellent article on the vaccine debate, with a major focus on the “risk” posed to other children. Good points made are:
    1. if the vaccines work, then the children are not at risk. We all know they do not work al th time, so that opens up the debate over whether or not to do it in the first place.
    2. these diseases are SO rare now that the risk of ANYONE getting them is negligible. In fact, after mass vax against polio started, for some years the vaccine caused MORE cases of polio than the “wild” virus. In one year in particular, the “wild” polio virus caused 0 cases, while the polio vax coused 8 cases! Crazy!
    3. it all depends on what ELSE you do to promote a healthy immune system. Like extended breastfeeding, natural.organic foods, time outdoors, lower exposure to other environmental toxins, etc.

    Also, in no other case are parents held “resonsible” for passing on disease.

    re: autism, I do not think vaccines are the one and only cause of autism. I believe, as a pp stated, that it is one environmental fatcor which can set off a child predisposed to autism.

    re: why more cases of autism now, I do not believe it is simply a case of better diagnostics. There simply is more aut9sm now, and that can be attributed to many facotrs, one of which, I believe, is vax. What has changed since we were young is the number vax which are “required.” there are more than 50 required in 17 injections by a child's 18th birthday. that is way more than we ever had. they also put more preservatives (ie thimerasol, aluminum, formaldehyde, etc) so they have a longer shelf life, which is more marketable.

    I do believe there is a time and a place for vaccination, I just do not believe should be mandated. And I don't bellieve that poeple should be judged or not vaxing, I know it is hard because I have experienced it.

    And I have to believe no parent would make any choice irresponsibly. We parents who choose not to vaccinate do so for exactly the reson that we are protecting our children, and I believe most parens who do vax do so for the same reason.

    sorry to go on and on, but it is important, and I do appreciate your openign this up for discussion.

  26. I am not vaccinating my daughter and I don't believe that is a concern to anyone else who has children. Why do you think that YOU alone are preventing the outbreak of disease? Are you God? The truth is that when there is an outbreak just as many vaccinated children get the disease as not, and the outcomes are the same some get over it some do not.
    Take a look at what Tedd Koren says in his 4 part series on utube.
    There are far too many similar effects on helpless babies to think that it is all perfectly safe. It is not.
    And for the many Mothers who HAD a perfectly healthy baby that DIED after getting vaccinated what consolation is there that she was helping to prevent an outbreak of Polio?
    Please my baby is healthy and my God protects her from disease, by our obedience to His instruction.

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