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February 19, 2008

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LOVE THIS! Two doctors declined us because we do not vaccinate our son. My husband is one of six and none of them have had their immunizations, and they are the healthiest, brightest bunch I have met! We personally know a child who became autistic after getting her shots. Not risking it with my child!

Circuses are POISON. The only one[s] who benefit from vaccines are ENTERTAINMENT. Lots of elephant shit will protect you from the lions and many other tropical diseases. DON'T be fooled by paid off clown hype. STOP the sickening assault on sanity.

Vaccines are POISON. The only one[s] who benefit from vaccines are PHARMACEUTICALS. Lots of Vitamin D will protect you from the flu and many other diseases. DON'T be fooled by paid off media hype. STOP the sickening assault on humanity.

Excellent post. I really don't think parents are given enough information from their doctors in particular about vaccination. The pediatricians in our practice never discussed why not to vaccinate and if I did question them, they heavily encouraged me to stick to the vaccination schedule. I think it is vitally important that parents do their own research on this topic and determine what is best for their children. Although research, for example, has not conclusively shown that vaccines cause autism, it also has not shown they don't. There is a very interesting debate about autism and vaccines at www.opposingviews.com/questions/are-autism-and-vaccines-linked. It's a very thought-provoking discussion because both sides debate the issue and provide rebuttals to the other side's argument.

Our first is due in a month and we have started interviewing peds. While we have done lots of research, and we intend to fully vaccinate, we aren't fully on board with the current schedule. When we asked a ped we were interviewing about it, we were told that they rarely if ever make exceptions to the regular schedule because it causes "administrative problems" and it's more expensive for him to break the schedule up. Of course, this same doctor treated us horribly for even mentioning that we're not circumcising, and refused to make eye contact with my husband and only spoke to me, even when answering hubby's questions. You can guess where we *won't* be taking our son when he's born...now we just have to find where we will be taking him...

Feminist Breeder--I love your comment, especially in light of the fact that the father of the modern vaccine was also named Jonas :-)

This is real late, but you are coming at it backwards when you ask, "with the cases of Diptheria in this country at 20 last year (20!) and Tetanus at just a bit higher, why are we still giving the highly reactive DTaP, when really, the most prevalent illness, at least for our children right now, is Pertussis."

if you cut the D and the T out of the vaccination, then the cases of D and T will rise. It's happened here in the UK with measles.

also, when comparing 10 studies finding no autism link, that's a pretty big plus when compared to ONE study.

If you don't want the combined MMR that Wakefield claimed to be problematic, then insist on the non combined version and on a schedule that suits you. If there is demand, enough will be produced.

Not vaccinating at all is problematic. There's a good chance, so long as almost everyone else does vaccinate, that your kids won't get measels, mumps or rubella. But there is the chance that they will, and the more people who forego the shots, the greater the chance. At what point, collectively, does the risk of autism outweigh the risk of complications and damages done by these diseases? People have forgotten that part.

I suspect, when this generation of children grow into communal living (college dorms) and child bearing age, suddenly, the risks of catching it, and the risks of damages will be weighed rather differently.

I just found your blog through google and I wanted you to know I found your post very well written.

I taught autistic kids for two years and it was absolutely heartbreaking. Each and every one of the parents believed their kids got autism from the MMR, they swear by it. Even though my ped wasn't all for it, I've delayed that shot until three for all of my kids. I was actually kicked out of a mom's group here when asked my position on it and spoke truthfully. They didn't want their kids playing with mine because they could spread disease to them, because you know rubella is rampant these days. I am still the talk of their small minded message board.

Thanks for the post.

I'm coming in on this a little late, but appreciate your post nonetheless. I am thankful that I can do my own research and make my own decisions regarding my children's health. I cringe at the autism and vaccine debates often because autism isn't the only thing many parents have seen their children suffer from after an injection. With two children that showed severe reactions after vaccines and one that took almost 3 years to get better from uncontrollable seizures, there's no way I'll ever be injecting them or my future children until I feel it would be safe enough. I don't see that happening anytime soon.

Steph

My head swims whenever I think about vaccines. For the most part, my kids are up to date, except with MMR, which I've delayed until at least 2 or 3, or Chicken Pox which I've been really, really on the fence on (but my crunchy, educated, nursing major friend is now going to do it and has a very compelling argument for doing it).

Although my kids are all (seemingly) fine, I wish I had read more about vaccines before I gave birth. Some, like Hep B, I never ever would've done knowing the facts.

First of all, great post and sorry to come late to the party, I stumbled on your site from Caramama's blog roll and this post resonated with me for a couple of reasons.

I don't think you are a doctor's worst nightmare of a patient. I have always been a questioning sort of patient (and I come at them with some obscure things that they probably thought they'd never hear about once they got out of med school, because I'm trained as a biochemist). And I've never had a doctor complain or hurry me out of the office (and yes, I have had HMOs my entire adult life). You are totally justified in firing any doctor who won't take time to answer your questions.

I was actually talking to my pediatrician about the vaccine thing recently, because I live in San Diego, which is in the midst of a measles outbreak and I am the mother of a baby who is too young to have the vaccine yet. From what she said (and from my own opinion), I think what drives some pediatricians nuts is that people come to them questioning the safety of the vaccine because they read some starlet's book or saw some dumb TV show, and then proceed to dismiss as "biased" the overwhelming scientific evidence that the vaccine is safe. They can be told about the 10 studies you reference and the opinion of the scientific and medical community that the MMR vaccine has nothing to do with autism and then say, "but Jenny McCarthy said..." (actual story from the pediatrician). How is a doctor to take that? A patient asks her professional opinion, she gives it, supported by reams of evidence that she takes the time to explain (despite her time being, as you mentioned, at a bit of a premium, she says she always tries to explain the evidence and actually thinks that is one of her most important jobs), and the patient rejects her opinion in favor of that of a starlet who is somehow an expert on how to avoid autism because her son is autistic? How would any of us take it if this happened to us in our chosen professions? I think my pediatrician handles it better than I would.

We left my kids' first pediatrician over this issue, even though my older girls had been going to her for 10 years. I asked to stagger vaccinations and she informed me that I didn't want to follow the American Academy of Pediatrics' schedule, I could hit the road.

I did.

But I was a terrified mother of a new child and I'm still miffed that I was treated like pond scum for having questions and asking to get one shot per month instead of three shots every three months.

After a little searching, we found a pediatricians' group that was happy to stagger shots. It's really not a big deal and it shouldn't be treated like it is one. For me, staggering was an acceptable middle road between following the shot schedule and not getting vaccinations at all.

Doctors don't give full disclosure for a lot of things. It's one reason I don't trust them farther than I can throw them.

It isn't just autism that is related to vax. The chance of a baby dying from SIDS increases dramatically in the 24 hours after vaxs. In Japan, they have a much more spread out vax schedule. They also have a much lower rate of SIDS too.

My last ped was so great that HE was the one to tell me which ones the boys didn't need because they weren't in day care.

But then, he practiced medicine in Europe for a handful of years and saw the American way isn't the only way. He was supportive of a lot of things that most Americans degrade (delayed vax and circumcision)

BTW - I didn't mean YOU, Kristen, educate yourself and put down your doughnut. I meant Americans in general.

Good post, though. Food for thought.

Amen to all of it! I have become somewhat skeptical about some of the ingredients in these child vaccines and Gardisol is not coming anywhere near my daughter for fear of unknown repercussions when she's 30+. Paranoid maybe, but it's healthy to provoke more information vs. passive acceptance especially after situations like Vioxx, the trust level has declined dramatically.

That is some scary info about the DTaP vaccine. And can someone explain to me why I can't get a call back from PunditGirl's school when I have a question about the meningitis scare that's going around here??

There, there you silly mommy, is my sense of their lack of response -- we'll be in charge of these things.

I delayed the MMR for my son. He's 15 months and we are waiting until he's 2. I wanted to separate out any developmental hiccups from the most suspicious & controversial vax out there.

That said - I agree with Zelda MD. Too many Americans are enamored with the idea of UHC. I believe it truly to be a minefield waiting to happen. You think it's too haves-havenots now? Wait until "boutique" health care makes a surge after UHC goes into effect.

UHC is an argument I could go on and on about. My brother is an adminstrator at a hospital in WA State, and they treat FLOODS of Canadians who make the drive everyday.

You are in charge of yours and your children's health. Educate yourself. And put down the doughnut.

Getting a democrat into office and changing the health care system will do nothing to reduce waiting room times and increase the time of the average office visit with a physician.

Quite the opposite, in fact.

If any of the current health care reforms presented by democrats are enacted, that means there will be more people insured (a great thing) and more people with access to care (ditto).

Nowhere does anyone talk about where we are going to get the doctors to SEE all of these newly-insured people.

And with most of the payments coming from Medicare and Medicaid, which pay lower rates to doctors and involve more paperwork than the average insurance company, doctors will have even less time in their day to see patients.

Everyone, get educated about every facet of the health care debate, not just the three soundbites you get on CNN. No one talks about doctors and no one is talking about tort reform anymore. Without making changes in these areas, getting more people insured will do NOTHING.

Very well written. All 3 of my kids did get their vaccinations. The one, and only one that I hesitated was Gardisil for my 13 year old.

I won't respond with my whole thought process on this one, but will say that she did get the 3 rounds and she's done.

I do insist on being very well versed in whatever you want to do to my kids, but vaccination scares weren't even being discussed when my oldest was getting them, rarely discussed when my middle one got them. So, it wasn't until the 3rd that everyone started gasping and taking sides of fences about it.

But the Gardisil, that one will get you thinking.

Great post.

Lawyer Mamma:
I just want you to know that I am totally comfortable covering those unable to afford health (semi)care with tax dollars. This is why I hate our current political system. Either I have to be right-wing or left-wing on every issue. There aren't middle ground candidates.

On a personal level I advocate for my health (semi)care to be left to me because, while I'm in the midst of filing a brief on an insurance company, I still get to choose what I will do and won't do. It is THAT freedom I'm unwilling to give up.

Well written!

I am holding off on our MMR (that was supposed to be given at 12 mths) until she is 2.

I had my MMR when I was at school, right on time and guranteed 10 days later I would come down with a case of measles and mumps brought on by the vaccine.

I am all for vaccination and she will have all of them, but at my pace and to my schedule.

Luckily I have a good GP.

Hi Kristen,

Thanks for your post. It is really good to hear somebody understands that research is not flawless. Every single media interpretation of the studies I have read, along with doctors' quotes" contains seriously flawed logic, or actually the absence of correct logic.

Ignore the fact that some children have visible and documented reactions to vaccines. Ignore the fact that measles is known to sometimes cause mental retardation. (Hm... interesting coinkydink that autism, something similar to mental retardation, is suspected by some to be related to the MMR vaccine?) Ignore the fact that they cannot actually do a proper epidemiological study because almost all children are vaccinated. Ignore the fact that groups who have tried their best to do such epidemiological studies have found correlations.

A reference to an epidemiological study I saw on a government Web site that thinks it disproves a correlation actually contained demonstrably false logic. Scientists and especially doctors are not actually trained in the subject of logical deduction, which they should be because it is crucial. I see this sort of mistake almost all the time.

I am really annoyed by the fact that the official statements suggest that since a link between autism and mercury or thimerisol has not been found, that that somehow supports the conclusion that there is no link between autism and vaccines. Vaccines contain things besides mercury or thimerisol. They seem to think that not researching something constitutes proof that there is no link because by not researching something, you definitely get no evidence.

Well, I'm ranting in your comment box. I'm seriously expecting "interesting" research to be done in the next few years.

However, not getting vaccinated isn't really much of a safety precaution either, as the chances of having serious complications from something like measles is probably not so great.

I was waiting for a "wild" case of chicken pox to come along, and planned to vaccinate my children around age 12 if they were not able to catch it by then. Well, they were able to catch it naturally -- within 2 weeks of each other, at ages 12 and 8. This was in Nov. 2007. My younger son still has a lot of white marks on his body (not on his face), but I'm hoping they will go away with time or with some sun. Except for that, I am very happy that they will now have good protection from chicken pox, for the rest of their lives!

I had chicken pox as a child, and was able to nurse my husband (who had shingles in October - that's where my kids got the chicken pox from), and then nurse both my children through their chicken pox in Nov., with very little fear of having the dreaded "adult chicken pox". One of my son's teachers had chicken pox a couple of years ago, at age 36, and he said it was just terrible - and that was without any dangerous complications (which are much more common in adults than in children). I'm glad now that my kids were able to have a "wild" case. It may not work for everyone, but I'm happy with the way it went for us, anyway...

Two kids at school caught chicken pox from my kids. One had been vaccinated (and had a very mild case), and one had not been vaccinated (she was also age 12). I think we probably did them a favor... neither family seemed to mind.

My oldest son had two serious vaccine reactions (resulting in brain injury) before the doctor or we realized the connection. This was 15 years ago and things have admittedly changed since then.

Because the doctors were unable to determine if his reaction was a result of receiving a hot lot (twice) or a genetic predisposition to react to the vaccine, I spaced my other children's vaccines way out (except for HiB- those were on schedule). In fact, our doctor uses an 'Autism' schedule developed by a colleague. All this to say-

I am not anti vaccine, but I am pro informed parent (and a doctor who will take the time to discuss the issues as they relate to your family is essential).

I spoke with Dr. Offit on an earlier call, and he said many of the same things to me. He has a book coming out soon about vaccines and autism, and I look forward to reading it.

But no matter how much he tried to convince me that autism was a genetics-only condition, I still can't completely believe it. If you look at all of the ingredients in vaccines, it's possible that some ingredient could be the environmental trigger that sets off a genetic predisposition.

Cordy was vaccinated on the regular standard schedule. She has a form of autism. Do I think they are directly related? No. Do I think they could be related? Yes, it's possible, along with several other things.

Mira is on a delayed vaccination schedule. After her 2 month vaccinations, I decided I couldn't give her all of those vaccinations at once. We now do one at a time, and if it means going in once a month and paying another co-pay, we'll do it.

And I'm not in favor of pushing new vaccines on us that I feel she won't need. Hep A is the new one, and I don't understand why it's needed for the general population. If you're an at-risk group, sure. But she's not in daycare, and she doesn't travel out of the country. The chicken pox vaccine is another one that bothers me - a kid is better off getting the illness than having the vaccine wear off and getting a more serious form of the illness later in life.

Mira will get most of the recommended vaccines, but we will continue to delay and do it slowly. Her MMR will wait until she's at least 2 years old. I won't be able to breathe easy until she hits the 3 year mark and is developmentally on track.

The vaccine issue is one reason my kids have a new ped. When I suggested spreading out the vaccines to the old ped(not 5 at one time) of course I'm a bad mom and they cannot do it that way. Totally sucks. My new ped will tell me if something is due, see how my kid is doing and occasionally decide today is not the day to go near them with a needle.

I am sincerely impressed with how well-written, thoughtful and respectful this post is, especially considering you clearly have strong feelings about vaccinations and the medical establishment in general.

I'd hope that the least some of your commenters could do is be equally as thoughtful in their comments. Most are. Most are amazing. But then there are a few here who...well, it's like someone walking onstage at Carnegie Hall and plinking out Chopsticks on a toy piano.

Keep speaking your truth.

I think you nailed it there at the end - the doctor-patient relationship (or lack thereof). Too many parents without access to adequate care, too many parents who don't avail themselves of information or raise questions, too many doctors who treat patients based on their fears of malpractice.

CLK--"I'll stick with what I've got right now, thank you."

The problem is, not everyone has what you've got.

I used to think that being pushy about vaccines was silly. I also used to think that my plastic baby bottles didn't contain estrogen. So, good for you for pushing it!

Don't expect your paediatrician to have any less patients to see if/when the health system changes.

Just take a look at the UK.

From an Australian (with quite a good mix of public and private health)

People are individuals.
Kids are individuals.

And so, things like vaccines should be done according to the circumstances of the individual. (I also believe education should fit the individual, but alas, it isn't practical in our current school system until upper-grades.)

I understand the skepticism on either side. But I don't understand the disrespect towards those of us who wish an alternative schedule or want our child tested for immunity before consenting to a "booster" shot.

It is "funny" how the doctors ask about egg allergies prior to vaccination (since vaccines contain eggs) but they look condescendingly towards the mothers who know their child has serious reactions to other ingredients in the vaccine (or simply to the immunological overload of several vaccines at once.)

My son's severe regressions post-vaccine are not in my head. I have frantic emails from his teacher wondering how he could become a "different person" overnight and quizzical comments from family and friends, "WHAT has gotten into him!?"

As for Eli Stone... it is entertainment. The whole uproar makes me angry. There have not been disclaimers on subsequent episodes or with regard to other topics raised in the show (ie, that having a brain aneurysm makes one a prophet, that pesticides cause infertility, or that all military mothers would rather their husbands go to jail than themselves go back to Iraq.) I am not so naive as to believe everything I see on television is truth.

Why is it that only the autism/vaccine question must create so much condescension and "instruction?" The unsaid conclusion is that as it comes to autism, people (read: "stupid mothers") must be irrational. What a shame!

Amen, sister. Amen.

I have had my kids get vaccinated, sometimes off schedule (Hep B didn't come until 3 months old). But, by and large it is the path of least resistance and I think many of them are important.

We've done things like delay MMR and spread out vaccines, not vaccinate when ill, etc.

My one remaining issue is the chicken pox vaccine.

Yes, chicken pox/shingles is a bad deal as an adult.

Childhood illness with chicken pox provides better protection than the vaccine.

We know that the vaccine does not provide exceptional coverage and will need to get boostered more often probably than some other vaccinations. The kids would get better protection as adults if they had had chicken pox.

None of this, however, would reassure a family who had one of the very rare fatalities from childhood chickenpox.

No decisions are easy as a parent.

My understanding is that the states have to make vaccines mandatory for medicaid to cover the costs for lower income families. I think that's why so many vaccines have become "mandatory".

I opted out of two vaccines for my daughters: the MMR and chicken pox vaccines. Both were created and reproduced with fetal stem cell lines from aborted fetuses. Not many people know that. But I invoked the religious exemption for those two. I would not have done chicken pox anyway, I have tried twice to get my kids exposed but it hasn't worked out yet. There is a non-stem cell generated line of the Rubella vaccine available in Japan, but the US FDA will not allow it to be used in this country yet. If my girls get to their teenage years and I can't get them vaccinated, then I will go ahead and use the current one because it is so dangerous to not be vaccinated against rubella if you are pregnant. Same for chicken pox, if we can't get an alternative or expose them naturally, then they will go ahead and get the vaccine when they are older.

My girls are school age, now I know there are even more vaccines to consider with the next baby. As a parent I find it so frustrating. And don't even get me started on Gardasil for middle schoolers. That'll be another one we don't do... When my girls get older they can decide if they want to get it, but they won't get it at 12.

wow - i feel like a very lucky parent. our pediatrician sat with us on our first visit for almost two hours to discuss immunizations. (he was recommended, incidentally, by our midwife, supported my homebirth, and has two adopted kids with his male partner...sounded so good that i actually drive out to the suburbs for visits.) i also live in louisiana, which despite its other challenges, is on a short list of ten states that allow philosophical objections to immunizations. my point in saying all this, though, is that our doctor said that in most states, it is almost impossible to keep children out of school without the recommended vaccinations. i guess you'd have to have the right lawyer, though.

oh my! i couldn't possibly read all those comments!

i ask questions and weigh the answers. we've done some shots, avoided others. we've had some reactions, avoided others. we have autism in the house and there is no clear cause which is all fine with us as we love and adore our son.

but the vaccines? how they affect the individual once you mix biological/genetic predisposition with toxins in the environment (our food, air, water, earth, textiles, to name a few) well, it's too complicated to say for sure that they have NO AFFECT AT ALL on a child developing autism.

that is clear to me.

We have a great family doc who suggested to us that we wait until the tail end of each suggested window of vaccination and asked did we want to only give single shots at any one time. I considered myself a pretty informed new parent, but he opened my eyes in an area where I would have been inclined to just follow the prescribed path. I am forevah grateful. Unforch, in my state it's an all or nothing proposition if yer kid is going to daycare so in order for me to finish law school we had to choose between no vax and in-home situation or vax and daycare. I felt the dangers of an in home daycare outweighed the dangers of vax (for us) and so we did space them out and do single shots. By 3 years old he had all the same vax as the other kids.

CLK, I think Lawyer Mama was specifically referring to your comment and how that *explains* your level of information re: the health care coverage issue as concerns each of the current candidates. Iow, she was using *your* comment, the one you wrote, yourself, here, in this forum, as the basis for her rebuttal. Not anything about you, personally -- well, other than what you happen to think about a government-run health care program. You weren't coerced to appropriate the space to comment; you did it on your own. If that's not personal, I'm not really sure what is.

Mostly, though, I find it interesting that you take offense to her use of your comment, given that you did not fully explain your theory regarding the subject of a national health care plan, based on your experiences - in fact, I dare you to go even further in your explanation, because I'm curious as to where you've lived that you even had access to universal health care. And what kind of red tape you had to endure - and just why, if a gov't-run program were implemented, that that particular kind of red tape should be refrained from being used within a nat'l care format.

I'm curious, because I think national health care *can* work, and I'd love to see us try to make it do so. As Lawyer Mama said, we are already paying for those without it, so why shouldn't we have a system where things make more sense and there are fewer loopholes and where people do, in fact, die because of the way things currently are - why not do right by everyone? What is WITH this attitude of, "well, it isn't my fault that you can't afford it." (As if to imply that some people just aren't good enough to have health insurance; which brings us back to classism, and I'm getting away from the original point, but somehow that does seem to matter to people; and it shouldn't. Health care should be a basic right. No matter the level of class status.)

(I happen to think that just cutting the insurance companies out of the mix would do wonders. For a start.)

Clearly, the matter of who you choose to put in office is yours and mine.

Certainly we can and will differ.

I did not indicate that UCH will solve vaccination issues. I do believe that it will, perhaps, lend itself to more productive medical care by our physicians, who no doubt would LIKE to spend more time with each patient, but cannot.

But isn't saying 'I'm satisfied with my own health care' limiting? Maybe it's until you're in a situation where you can't afford Cobra at $2000 for three months but you make too much for your own selves to be insured that you might step out your happy and pleasant HMO land and say "hmmm... maybe a change is due."

Lawyer Mama-

Unless you know me personally, could you keep your assumptions regarding my political savvy to yourself? Please :) Just to be clear, I have read plenty about the proposed *plans* and it is MY opinion that universal health care is NOT the the responsibility of the govt. I have experienced BOTH UHC and private health plans- the former was misery for myself and my family. My child almost died because of red tape BS. We don't have to agree on the topic of UHC, but please don't call me uneducated on the subject.

As far as vaccines go- I DO think parents should be able to have more say in that matter (I did with my daughter), but to assume that UHC is the cure all for issue matter is naive, to say the least.

Don't have anything productive to add to the debate, but I just wanted to say that I hope you (Kristen) decided to post this on a day when you don't have anything major to do, because you got some of the longest comments I have ever seen. Good luck!

I'm a big fan of choosing an alternate regime. My son had moderately high reactions to the older DPTP series. SO he didn't have another until he needed a tetanus shot at 9. His sister had a moderated tetanus only series after she was 1. (she's the kind of kid who could find rusty metal in a padded room)

He had menigegoccal (pretend i spelled that correctly) in grade 4, but not hep B or chicken pox.

THere was a mumps outbreak in our province recently because the vaccine given to young'uns in the 80's didn't last. So my kids may have been exposed to mumps and measles, but not rubella. Why should I have to give them a full MMR before they're teens? WHy can't I Just get a rubella shot? ARGH.

Wowser. You're right, Kristen, that some people will choose 1 sentence out of the entire post to focus on.

This comment "For me, government provided health care equals government provided choices. In other words, NO choice. Sure, they'll pay for it (with OUR tax dollars) and we will have to take what THEY choose to give us. And if they say you must get the vaccine, well, then you're gonna have to. They are footing the bill after all, aren't they?"

That comment isn't very informed. The poster clearly hasn't read *anything* about any of the current universal health care proposals of the Democratic presidential candidates. Make no mistake, you're already paying for the care of those who aren't insured. For a nice discussion of the issue, http://momocrats.typepad.com is having an informative discussion about health care this week.

About the vaccines, it really infuriates me when any health care provider won't listen to me and answer questions in a non-patronizing way. Luckily, our pediatrician is not like that and really listens to our concerns.

We are absolutely blessed in that our pediatricians are awesome and when I wanted to alter the vaccine schedule for my kids to allow their bodies to mature before they got certain shots not a single one of the 7 peds we have batted an eyelash. I wish everyone had doctors like them (not them, because then we'd all have to wait eleventy hundred years to be seen).

Amen! Parents need to research all issues on health care for their children, and not blindly accept what doctors say when they don't have time to explain things. I've been prescribed things I'm allergic to by doctors who have my chart in front of them, and I'm the one who has to speak up and say that I can't take that. Since our children can't speak up for themselves, it is our responsibility as parents to look into these issues and make educated decisions. Vaccines as well as other things.

I highly recommend The Vaccine Book, by Dr. Bob Sears, as a great book that is neither pro nor anti vaccine. Just information he learned from doing detailed research into all the studies out there, and his suggestions for a slightly altered scheduled. But even after reading that, make your own decisions based on your situation and your child's health.

Oh, and one thing that DOCTOR Sears points out is that doctors are taught about the vaccines and possible side effects, but few learn much about the diseases themselves. They are taught to just give the vaccine and be done with it. I figure that is probably why they don't want to answer questions about it.

Great post, Kristen!

Am catching up on your blog. COngrats on your pregnancy. WOW. Exciting!

I am old enough to have been part of the mass vaccination process when the Sabin polio vaccine was introduced (I was either in kindergarten or first grade). When my doctor suggested vaccinations, I agreed - no questions asked...

...until recently, when he began selling me on the HPV vaccine for my nearly 12-year-old. I'm a believer in vaccines for public health. I don't want my child to get cervical cancer and don't expect her to be entirely chaste until marriage (especially if she waits as long as I did to get married). But I'm just not sure about this vaccine.

I agree that we should all be allowed to make our own decisions about how and when we vaccinate our children and with what.

I am not sure how you will fell about this post, but here goes.
I am a mother with 2 autistic sons whom were quite normal until certain vaccines were given to them, including talking.
There are going to be alot of variables to autism such as the thiremsol(mercury) in vaccines, too many live virus vaccines given at the same time, too many shots given together period, hot lots of vaccines which through research on my part my oldest was given one of these. A not "clean vaccine",incredible these are not thrown away period.
And a child suppressed immune system with any of the above can probably cause autism. And many other theroies such as genetics.
Both my sons had BAD reactions to the DTP and MMR shots. Especially the DTP, 105 fever, febile seizures, crying for hours. this is caused by the P-Pertuss portion. Which itself when googled, can show many disturbing health problems itself such as, brain inflammation, etc.
At 5 when the DPT is needed again I did the DT only. And made sure no mercury was in the vaccine.
Same for the MMR, first the M, then another M and then the R.
Yes, 3 visits though.
No one became any worse, Thank God.
In Japan, the children have until 5, for all their shots so they are all spaced out and given seprately. Their autism rate is alot less then here.
We are placing too many vaccines in our young babies bodies and a too early age and the immune systems cannot handle it all in some children. Why not 5 here too?
We keep adding more and more and noone ever added the mercury the babies were receiving either.
My oldest son was able to talk until he received his DPT and MMR
at 16 months.
I was so naive and stupid I should have never allowed that much of live viruses being placed in his body. I asked the doctors and was told not to worry at all.
So, where are these doctors now that my son is severely autistic and totally non verbal in his life?

(Kristen, please excuse me for the following)

Dear f&ck you:

Although I would really like to rise above your comment and pretend that you didn't write it, I have to respond, cannot keep myself from doing so:

This is Kristen's blog. She is, therefore, entitled to her opinion, up to and including her political beliefs. If you feel that she is being partisan, i.e., picking sides, that would fall under the "opinion-allowed" umbrella -- something that lives within keeping a personal blog.

Where one talks about things from one's own perspective.

She isn't being partisan. She is speaking her opinion. Partisan is when party affiliates force illegal, (Republican) party-specific hirings within what are supposed to be non-partisan government positions. Like in the current DoJ, where the positions are required to be non-party-specific, where it is illegal to inquire as to the applicant's political party affiliation, and yet, that has not prevented the current administration, a Republican administration, to slip that question into the interviews for those positions. Illegally.

I would suggest that you look into the illegal activities being carried on by the current, extremely powerful, Republican administration before you start nit-picking supposed partisan opinions of people who blog. About their opinions. On things they don't have a whole lotta control over or power to influence.

Somewhere inside your head, f&ck you, you have to see how that makes sense. I believe you have the ability to discern the difference.

(Sorry, Kristen. I'll step down, now.)

When it came time for the chicken pox vaccine, I asked my doctor what he thought. I was very impressed with his answer. He said that he thought the vaccine itself was silly. Most children are merely uncomfortable with chicken pox and don't develop severe complications. The parents, however, are inconvenienced with a week home from work. For this reason most parents want the chicken pox vaccine for their children. And if most children are immunized then my child may not be exposed to the virus during childhood. This is dangerous since chicken pox and shingles as an adult are life threatening. For that reason he suggested that we give our child the chicken pox vaccine. Made sense to me.

great post Kristin

b @ 12:17- I could agree with your more.

I wonder where people thing that the funding for government provided health care will come from...trees?

For me, government provided health care equals government provided choices. In other words, NO choice. Sure, they'll pay for it (with OUR tax dollars) and we will have to take what THEY choose to give us. And if they say you must get the vaccine, well, then you're gonna have to. They are footing the bill after all, aren't they?

I'll stick with what I've got right now, thank you.

While I am glad that people have the choice to vax or not. You better believe if you take your unvax'd kid overseas and they contract the measles, come back and go to the doctor and MY infant who hasn't had vax yet, contracts it from your child, expect to hear from me.

My husband is military, so we travel overseas quite a bit. There is NO way in hell I wouldn't vax my kids. I did delay and seperate the MMR and some others. Just because you DO vax doesn't mean you haven't done your homework, asked questions, or are ignorant on the subject.

Just as some people won't take their doctors word as gospel (which I don't), I'm not going to take the hysterical mommy brigade's.

Are things different in the US compared to hear in Canada???? I know in Ontario and I believe it is across the country your kid is not allowed in school without certain vaccinations...can I assume from many of your comments that the States are not all like that?
Great post by the way - not the typical rant on vaccinations.

We have the same problem here in getting good and accurate information regarding vaccinations...All the doctors just give the standard response in that they are safe and the benefit outway the risk...Not very helpful if you ask me

As the wife of a doctor, and someone who has been a victim of a doctor's/lab's error, I am too familiar with the fact that doctors are human. Now, if only THEY would realize that they are human and that a) they make mistakes and b) their words are not g-d's, and c) our time is just as important as theirs and deserves the same respect. I'm sorry, but I've spent too much time waiting for a doctor naked and with no magazines to read besides Fishing Today to have patience for them not giving my questions the time that they deserve. That is why I am looking for another pediatrician.
As for the vaccines/autism. I taught children with autism for seven years, and I have had the experience of having more than one parent look me in the eye and swear to me that the vaccines did this to their babies and then make me promise I would not give my (then future) children the MMR shot. And I have had pediatricians too busy to look up from the charts where they were busy scribbling "against doctor's recommendation." Who should I listen to? I'm not against vaccines...and my children are ALMOST up to date. But I'm waiting on the MMR.

I too am mostly a lurker I divided the MMR for my daughter, but was unable to do so for my son. Thankfully there were not issues. Did you know that the MMR booster kids are given at 6 is because 3% T H R E E freakin' percent of the population doesn't acquire the measles anti-bodies the first time. HELLO?

I had my daughter tested she tested positive for measles antibodies so we skipped the vaccination she didn't need. I will do the same with my son.

I left the state that I was in when I was pregnant partially due to their vaccination laws. My daughter has never been vaccinated and she's been licking the floors of the school that I work at for all four years of her life. Finding the right practitioner is important - our Naturopath actually encourages NOT vaccinating. Do they allow Naturopathic doctors in the south? You also have to question what kind of cash/stocks etc. doctors are making off of the drugs/vaccines they prescribe.

I have been blessed so for with our family doctor's practice. They treat all four of us and have been doing so for nearly five years.
When I decided not to give my kids the chicken pox vaccine the doctor seeing us at the time said, "Great! That's your choice." and said he would let us know if any kids came in with chicken pox so my two could be exposed and get it out of the way. When I brought my youngest in for his year check-up I kept another doctor for a full hour going over vaccines. Her opinion was there isn't a connection between them and autism, simply the age that autism shows itself coincided with vaccines. Even after saying that, she understood my hesitancy and gave no judgement. Then again, she's also the woman who completely supported my v-bac and didn't blink an eye when I pushed out a 10.5 baby. She just said, "I knew you could do it." I think great doctors are the key, but we must be advocates for our health and the health of our children. I will push and push because, while I don't have a medical degree, I do have the responsiblity of being a parent, and that is huge.

I'm another lurker (mostly) - and while I don't agree with you 100% I would like to offer some kudos. I expected the typical internet mom freaking out rant about the horrible things we inject our children with, with no reason, and a detailed list of the 'ingredients' of the shots.

What you wrote was a pleasant surprise.

I gather that the major part of your post was the issue of doctors not taking the time to answer questions and not treating you like an intelligent human being. I'm with you completely there! I'm appalled by the lack of consideration people who supposedly 'care' for us can give. I appreciate that a ped might see 40+ kids a day. Fine. But look me in the eyes when you give me your flippant answer, see that there's a person there who has the education and ability to understand the issues just as well as (better than in some cases)you do, and talk to me as an equal thankyouverymuch. A doctor doesn't do that for me? I leave immediately. Been effed over too often by doctors who don't listen and make serious errors because of it.

There's my vent for the day :)

On the subject of delay/refusing particular shots? Some of the scheduled ones I can see the reason behind them - like the HIB vaccine. It's timed to get in there before the age when most kids get it, and HIB is still kicking around (I used to work on H.influenzae, different type though). Others? I just can't see the point. Yes, I say vaccinate, but get them all done before 2? In some situations that's warranted. But not all. It's just easier for (most) doctors to not have to think. Poor things.

OH NO!

Libral v. Conservative stuff aside (since I waffle depending on the issue) there is no way in hell I want some bureaucracy controlling my family's health care.

You, who are railing for more choice as a parent want the gov't (famous for restricting choices) to run your health care? Or just pay for it? Because we can be damn sure that everyone will have to have gov't approved vaccines if it's up to Congress (aka: tax dollars) to pay for it.

Take HPV, for one example. When I excused myself to use the bathroom my EX-pediatrician tried to get my kid to convince me that she needed it after I had said no. The ONLY reason I said no is that I had not yet read enough on the vaccine. That's it. No religious rant. No mommy-with-her-head-in-the-sand-about -teenage-sexuality condition. I just was too uneducated at that point to make the call. And that was the turning point for me on gov't health care. Because it will be a cold day in hell before I let someone tell me they know how to parent MY child better than me.

Vaccines are in the internet air today! I'm a lurker here as well. I'm sure this post will bring out many of us.

There's a lot of back and forth going on about "Dr. Google" and of course it all relates back to patients relying on anecdotal evidence they found on the Internet and how that undermines their credibility with their doctors. And of course doctors undermine their own credibility with their patients when they get irritated with "Dr. Google" rather than pointing their patients to credible information.

This whole conundrum is how the autism/MMR link started in the first place. I feel compelled to make a few points.

There IS a pretty darn good reason for the current schedule. The current vaccine schedule is designed to protect a child when she is MOST vulnerable to the effects of the disease. In other words because the effects of measles is the most profound in say a 2 year old who contracts it, your child is immunized at 18 months. An older child may suffer mild effects but a 2 year old is more likely to suffer meningitis or death. You can look this up on the CDC website. I would point you to it but I'm not sure how your commenting system handles links. A quick wiki search of measles will also get you there.

Doctors absolutely need to be better about patient education vs. their current attitude of patient placation or downright derision.

Communication between physicians and their patients might be one of the most important and most overlooked opportunities to build public confidence and achieve ideal immunization rates. It can be exhausting, frustrating and repetitive for pediatricians to try to reeducate each parent who comes in with concerns about vaccine safety. However the pediatrician is the key point of contact between public health organizations and the public on this issue and therefore charged with this huge responsibility and opportunity.

Vaccination is a public health issue and public health is one of the few responsibilities government SHOULD be charged with. The success rates for vaccinations is not 100%, so when about 20% of the population decides to not vaccinate their children, they are not just putting themselves at risk but also putting at risk the ~5% of children who have been vaccinated.

I'm glad you're addressing this - this issue needs to be discussed at greater length until we can figure out a way to optimally protect our community immunity.

While I generally support parental choice in managing their children's healthcare, I am old enough to have actually known individuals who contracted polio. One was reduced to walking on crutches for the rest of his life, the other had one leg so damaged he could never walk correctly or participate in sports as he was so clearly otherwise capable of doing.

The Polio virus still lives actively in many places and there are regular outbreaks in third world areas. With the possibility of exposure to infected individuals greatly enhanced through the freedom of travel today, parents should be very careful how they slectively choose to protect their children. These diseases are public health targets for a reason, the result of infection is life threatening and life altering without recourse.

We decided to do the vaccinations. I've read a lot since having John D. but I swear at the hospital it was more of "We're going to take him to do this." not "Would you like information?" I was so drugged up from the c-section I didn't have time to really evaluate and even though I'm one of those new mom's who was prepared for almost everything, I hadn't read up on vaccinations at that point.

"it was an adequate post until you brought in the partisan bullsh*t about getting a democrat in office."

Mwahahahaha. Um, who does this blog belong to? Just checking. It's wonderful that we have freedom of speech. You're able to comment on your political standings and that "asshat" (love it) is able to leave a stupid comment. God Bless America!

I'm usually a lurker on your blog, but felt a need to comment this time.

I am a mother of a son with Asperger's Syndrome, and I do NOT blame vaccines. Is it possible they may have contributed? Yes! Is it probable? Not a snowball's chance in hell. Yes there are studies that indicate there may be some connection, and there are just as many (if not more) that indicate there is no connection. It's not the studies themselves that sway my opinion either way, but rather who funds those studies.

That being said, as a parent I believe the option to vaccinate (or not) should be a parental one, not a governmental one.

Oh, and putting a Democrat in office and having a National Healthcare Plan will do NOTHING to ease this controversy - in fact, it will likely make it even more of an issue.

Wow... so much whirling through my brain, but we're in the middle of moving houses, so a quick(ish) comment.

Vaccinations are one of the "hot button" issues for parents. Generally, I'm all for parents doing what works for them in terms of issues like home births, circumcision, breast/bottle feeding, etc. I respect their decisions and want mine respected equally.

But I really hate to hear about parents not vaccinating their kids. I fall on the side of the equation that feels it is a general public health risk when parents don't vaccinate. There is NO proven link to autism. And frankly, we live in a world where we don't see all those horrible diseases anymore, so we don't realize the crippling or fatal results of those diseases when they run unchecked.

When a parent doesn't vaccinate his/her child, s/he puts mine at risk as drug-resistant strains of diseases emerge (like newer strains of TB). And for me, that's what makes me speak out.

And, as a Canuck, can I just say that I'd love to see a Democrat in the White House as well. Wish I could vote too.

I am not all that convinced that a single payer health plan is the way to go or would offer you more choices in your health care. Otherwise this is a great topic.

We have delayed our chicken pox vaccination. I would rather my kids get a wild case than to have the weaker immunity from a shot. With the vast majority vaccinating this has proven to be kind of tough and we may end up doing the vaccination any way.

it was an adequate post until you brought in the partisan bullsh*t about getting a democrat in office.

Well, my son has never had a bad reaction to a single vaccination he's been given - and we've done them all. He even got one while he had an ear infection... still... no problems. He got shots the day of his 1st birthday party, and the day of our friend's baby shower, and he wasn't even in a bad mood. People kept sayin "he got a shot today?!?! You can't even tell!"

Now, maybe we just got lucky... I don't know. But I do think that vaccinations are a matter of public health. Given all the hundreds of billions of things I could worry about as a mom, vaccinations are really on the bottom of my worry list. He'll get all his on schedule, so when there is another polio outbreak from all the parents in the country refusing to vaccinate their kids, at least Jonas will be safe.

Now, if only I could vaccinate him against child predators, accidents, broken bones, and the host of other things I worry about all day, I'd be the first in line for those vaccines as well.

More parents SHOULD ask questions! Then maybe the ignorant doctors would study more about the vaccines so they could even answer the questions!!

I sought out the only doctor in a 100 mile radius that doesn't push or recommend vaccines, and I drive my child over an hour to go see him because I don't want to deal with some doctor who knows more about the side effects of Xanax then how to eat a balanced diet, telling me that it's "safe" to vaccinate my kid and making me feel like a bad parent for not.

With a history of autism and Aspergers in my husband's side of the family, my doctor actually recommend that I not vaccinate my daughter, as to avoid the possibility of autism.

I was never vaccinated and neither has my daughter. And not for religious reasons either. I'm not going to put anything in my body or child's body unless someone can tell me with absolute certainty that my baby isn't going to have an adverse reaction or autism from this vile poison!!!!!!

Ok, stepping off the box now. In all seriousness, I understand the need for vaccines, but I'm not about to take that risk.

Good post! More people should talk about this.

I am lucky to have a great doctor for my kids. He's never once pushed vaccines on us, nor held it against us when we forgot a regularly scheduled set (hey it wasn't my fault I was in labor when the same time I was supposed to bring my 15 month in...). He's even let us wait a bit longer to space them out and let their bodies mature a tad before injecting them. Heck, we've still never given any of them the flu shot (which would be frowned upon at the other pediatricians office in the area).

I'm all for the meningitis shot being offered earlier. Having had a child who contracted encephalitis, it's not fun. I hope this shot helps prevent others from going through what we went through.

Hey did you know you now need TWO doses of the chicken pox vaccine? Kids need it at 12 months and then a booster shot before school.

Amen Sister!
(I don't normally go out giving "amens's" but when one is asked for, and deserved...)
Great post!

Great post! As parents we do need to be asking why. Why is my child getting this, what will happen if they don't, is this an immediate threat, etc... Doctors, for all their training, are still humans with biases, errors, and personal beliefs. I've met good doctors, and those who blatently lie to get the parents to do what they want. How dod you know which you have? By doing the research yourself and being informed.

I'm 100% with you. I break down and split apart and create our own schedule. I will only work with doctors who fully support this. I'm all for balancing public health with personal health, as you say, and believe that reasonable.

After a life-threatening reaction to a vaccine landed my oldest in the hospital, I refused to compromise this ethic.

We are responsible about it, on all counts.

But yes, like you, I have had all manner of threats and insults from doctors and other parents, even, who don't understand.

The worst was the doctor who called CPS because I wanted to wait a bit past 12 months for the chicken pox vaccine.

We lost the person in personal at some point.

Great post!

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