To Vaccinate, or not to Vaccinate

That is today’s question.

I was brought up in a strict fundamentalist christian sect that taught “no vaccinations” on account that one should rely on God for their healing, not on man’s medicine. Now, however, being out of that, and having just had a Son (welcome to the world, Bryce!), I’m facing this question: to vaccinate, or not to vaccinate?

This question has nothing to do with religious teachings, but on the basis of current popular Vaccination Skepticism; there are many stories about vaccines killing children, and stories (including my own) of people who were never vaccinated and never got sick. Are vaccines dangerous? Are they necessary? Are they some form of Big Brother-ly control mechanism?

Vaccinations are injections of weakened viruses, or sometimes just the parts of the virus that can trigger an immune reaction. The idea is to give you a small amount of a weakened version of the disease (smallpox, polio, chicken pox, etc) so your body can start creating an immune response to the threat–kind of like training for the army.

It seems like a good idea; however, there are so many anti-vaccination advocates out there that I decided to see what they had to say and why.

Ingredients

Those against vaccinations, from what I’ve read, vary in their reasons. Some claim that the very idea of injecting bits of virus into your body is a bad idea, while others balk at the ingredients in the vaccine solution. Some deny the germ theory of disease entirely and claim that, instead, symptoms of “measles” or “chicken pox” are actually just evidence of the body’s mechanisms for self-cleansing. I would wonder, though, why children are in greater need of cleansing than adults (as these are usually termed “childhood diseases”). Some even claim that vaccines are part of an overall plan to reduce world population–because they don’t actually make people healthier, but rather suppress their immune systems.

I won’t spend much time on the idea that the Germ Theory of disease is bunk–things like hand-washing, clean water, sewer and sanitation, well-cooked (and well-stored) foods, etc., appear to be supporting the idea well enough. Further, the rate of world population growth–thanks to a whole host of reasons–is such that, if vaccines are part of a New World Order plot, we can rest comfortably knowing they are failing miserably.

However, as a more realistic concern, are the Ingredients in vaccines. Commonly, vaccine solutions contain aluminum, antibiotics, formaldehyde, MSG, and thimerosal.

Aluminum: Natural News warns us about the health affects of aluminum in vaccines, saying it causes dementia and Alzheimer’s. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, however, doesn’t seem as worried. Their site notes that aluminum is the 3rd most abundant element in the earth’s crust and that we eat and drink rather a lot of it every day–about 7-9mg per day–whereas none of the vaccines even come up to 1mg per dose. Of course, if you follow the CDC’s vaccination schedule, you could receive up to 5mg in a day, which scares some terribly

Vaccines research at the NVGH

. If you’re really worried about aluminum in your diet, be sure not to take any antacids, as they contain 100-200mg per dose! However, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, we needn’t suffer the inconvenience of only buying our beer in glass bottles; and one would expect that if the aluminum-alzheimer’s link were proven and serious, that they, the Alzheimer’s Association, would be the first to tell us to dispense with our aluminum cookware.

Antibiotics: Natural News is also worried about the antibiotics in many vaccines, for they are “chemicals that promote superbugs, which are deadly antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria that are killing tens of thousands of Americans every year”. Well, no, not at all, actually. Saying that antibiotics are chemicals that promote superbugs is the same as saying Police are agents of the state that promote Super-Villains. Of course abuse or misuse of antibiotics leads to the development of superbugs, but even the Mayo Clinic will tell you that. But it is important to point out that the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria as a result of improper antibiotic usage is a very, very different thing from antibiotics being agents that promote superbugs. The phrase seems disingenuous at best…

Formaldehyde: The good people over at VacTruth are worried enough about formaldehyde in vaccines that they are urging people to call their senators and demand action! Why? Formaldehyde is a carcinogen! But again, the people at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia are unconcerned. They say that a baby may be exposed to as much as 0.2mg of formaldehyde as part of the vaccination schedule, but that an average 2-month-old will already have 1.1mg of the substance already coursing through their veins as a natural part of the metabolic process. In high concentrations, of course, formaldehyde is a carcinogen, so be sure to stay away from automobile emissions, cigarette smoke, new carpet, plywood (and I guess new homes in general, for they’re full of new carpet and plywood), new cars, as well as the professions of Lab Technician and Mortician.

Monosodium Glutamate: There are numerous sources of alarm concerning this ingredient; this site tells how different versions of the glumatic acid are hidden in vaccines. Maybe when it was written the CDC didn’t have MSG clearly listed as a vaccine ingredient like they do now, for it certainly isn’t hidden. This site claims a link between MSG and Autism, or at least a link between MSG and Epilepsy. The Canadians, in one of their “Vaccination Components” pamphlets, tell us that “when large quantities are eaten, MSG can cause nerve damage and can affect brain functioning”. They explain that the substance is used in vaccines as a “stabilizer”. So, how much is too much? Apparently quite a lot–it occurs naturally; for example, there appears to be over 900x more of the stuff in a cup of breast milk as there is in the vaccine FluMist. Furthermore, it seems that studies upon the relation of MSG to “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome” have been inconclusive. I guess that’s why Yale Scientific isn’t much worried about it.

Considering that “95% of American parents sacrifice their young children to the vaccine industry”, as Natural News put it, I would expect that if the health risks of vaccine solution ingredients were as real as they are presented to be, then the entire nation should have pretty much collapsed due to the vast majority of the population being deathly ill.

English: Immunization coverage with measles co...

Thimerosal

This ingredient gets special attention, for it is the focal point for the most serious allegations. This substance is a Methyl Mercury compound. “Mercury is highly toxic to the brain. You should never touch, swallow, or inject mercury at any dose! There is no safe dose of mercury!” The website Age of Autism is there to show us “how mercury triggered the age of Autism”.

Well, I called thimerosal a “methylmercury” compound, because that is what Natural News called it. However, the Wikipedia article and the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) say it is ethylmercury. Ethylmercury appears to be rather a bit safer than methylmercury, as it is eliminated from the body much quicker–and it is the build-up of tiny amounts into toxic amounts that is the problem.

So, now that the explanatory detour is over…

From what I have read in studying up enough to write this (as medical issues are not quite my forte), the current skepticism concerning the safety of vaccines arose in the 1990’s; cases of autism went up at the same time the vaccination schedule (in the U.S.) increased. “Correlation does not imply causation”, but many thought it clearly suggested. At the same time came Andrew Wakefield and his paper in the British medical journal, the Lancet, about a possible link between the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine and autism.

Numerous studies have been done, though apparently without success in replicating the findings–and for a scientific hypothesis to be proven, the results must be replicable. Furthermore, on account of the initial scare about “mercury in vaccines”, thimerosal was removed from almost all vaccines in 1999 or 2000. However, oddly enough, the increase in the numbers of Autism cases has not slowed; and it decidedly should have been slowing over the last 100 years considering that we are eliminating more and more sources of mercury from our lives–no more “mad hatters disease“, no more mercury in dental fillings, etc.

Hopefully, the people who fear the Mercury-Autism link are staying well away from fish.

Bottom Line

I am not saying that medicine, or science, in its present state is perfect. People have been practicing medicine as long as they’ve had the cognitive ability to do so, and that’s all we’re doing now. The almost total elimination of all the old “childhood diseases” that used to kill thousands a year, however, seems a good testimony to the accuracy of our collective Learning as it is applied to medicine. Yes, people make mistakes–sometimes innocent errors, and sometimes errors due to some form of self-interest–but those mistakes are nearly always found out and rectified. And yes, as has been mentioned in many sites critical of vaccines, the importance of personal health is not to be under-rated–if you are not a healthy person to begin with, the odds of you catching some disease or other are much increased. Cleanliness and Good Diet are essential.

Skepticism is good, but when skepticism becomes its own dogma, it loses its value. Every “vaccine skepticism” site I visited made reference in some form to Big Pharma or to some larger World Control hypothesis. So, all the information I’ve cited that appears to be sufficient evidence that vaccines are safe and effective? Just part of the BigPharma lie. Sadly, this kind of reasoning reminds me of religious belief–“we already believe that vaccines cause autism or other illnesses and nothing you can say will change that!” One previous link in this post was from an article

ALL YOUR BEHAVIOUR ARE BELONG TO US

ALL YOUR BEHAVIOUR ARE BELONG TO US (Photo credit: v i p e z)

responding to the removal of thimerosal from vaccines: “what did they put in place of the Mercury? Something even more toxic–Aluminum!” Yes, big, highly profitable companies and industries (including the Pharmaceutical Industry) push through products that have not been adequately tested for safety concerns in the interests of higher profits; we know this because there are big scandals about it every now and then. But to have the Pharmaceutical Industry secretly running half the world is about as believable as “the Jews” doing it (which is what used to be the common World Control hypothesis), or the Masons or the Illuminati (unless the leaders in the Pharmaceutical Industry are all Masonic Illuminati Jews).

There is a tremendous amount of information about all of this, and especially as medical topics are not my forte, I advise you to do some research of your own as I feel unable to cover it all as well as I should like. There are some additional links below to get you started if you wish…

Additional Links:

http://www.vaccinationdebate.net/web6.html

http://www.ageofautism.com/vaccines/

http://freedom-articles.toolsforfreedom.com/bill-gates-vaccines-reduce-population-growth/

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/05/28/vaccine-risk-denialism.aspx#_edn2 – “It did not matter that the risky and notoriously ineffective influenza vaccine turned out to be almost useless in preventing infection with the most prevalent influenza strains circulating in the US this year.” That’s not true. The effectiveness was 56%-62% for most of the population. It was found, however, to be less effective than expected for people 65 and over, with a dismal 9% efficacy rate. Perhaps it is that number that they are referencing, but to simply declare that the vaccine is “almost useless” is disingenuous at best.

http://vactruth.com/2012/08/12/vaccinations-killing-kids/

http://www.ivillage.com.au/why-the-vaccination-debate-over/160022 “More Mercury from a can of tuna than a vaccine”

http://theconversation.com/six-myths-about-vaccination-and-why-theyre-wrong-13556

http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2009/08/24/its-so-cute-when-anti-vaxers-try-to/

http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/toxic-myths-about-vaccines/

http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/the-final-nail-in-the-coffin-for-the-antivaccine-rallying-cry-too-many-too-soon/

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5 responses to “To Vaccinate, or not to Vaccinate”

  1. peacefulpresents says :

    I really appreciate your perspective. I have been dealing with questions like this myself. I tend toward natural treatments, but I think I blew it by not looking at the benefits of pharmaceutical treatments in dealing with my rheumatoid arthritis. Now I am seeing how, like you said, the anti-pharmaceutical information is very dogmatic in its own way. We need more resources that are balanced.

    • eSell says :

      Thank you very much for your response!

      I am pro-natural remedies…but only so long as they are actually remedies. If I have a choice between a “natural” medicine and a “pharmaceutical” medicine for a particular issue, I try to choose the “most natural” medicine, but only if the Natural and the Pharmaceutical choices are equally effective.

      It can be very difficult to choose, sometimes, b/c as a general rule, anything strong enough to help you is also strong enough to have unpleasant side effects–and from some of the commercials for Cholesterol medicine (for example) then I think the medicine is worse than what it is treating. And I’m pretty sure everyone has heard the stories of people “sleep walking” while taking Ambien…and the sleep-walking becomes “sleep Murdering” in rare cases.

      So, yeah, sometimes the pharmaceutical stuff is worse than what it is trying to treat, but I think it has to be looked at on a case-by-case basis instead of a wholesale “pharmaceuticals are all evil”.

      • Casey Wollberg says :

        Be careful to steer clear of the naturalistic fallacy also. Just because something can be said to be “natural” doesn’t mean that it is superior to something considered “unnatural” (whatever that might mean). Besides that, pharmaceuticals are natural. The only difference is that the active compounds have been extracted from the source, rigorously tested for safety and effectiveness, and measured out into recommended doses. If anything, the “unnatural” medicine is safer for being more effective (or effective in the first place–an advantage you noted), scientifically understood and regimented, and regulated by government safety standards. It’s fine to talk about the “safety” of, say, treating cancer with herbal tea or something, but we have to keep in mind that there is more to safety than avoiding well-understood and calculated risks of medicinal side effects.

  2. jason sell says :

    always good to be skeptical

  3. Tech Savvy says :

    I am reminded of the commercials that sound very much like this:

    “For use to prevent painful swelling, joint pain, liver damage, kidney damage, brain damage, loss of balance, eyesight, hearing, painful rashes, colon cancer, skin spots and blemishes, heart disease; side effects may cause painful swelling, joint pain, liver damage, kidney damage, brain damage, loss of balance, eyesight, hearing, painful rashes, colon cancer, skin spots and blemishes, heart disease, obesity, insanity and death… in rare cases (?!).

    Take your chances. With some of this stuff. Even aspirin can cause serious problems. And I’m not fond of the obnoxious additives. Why are they there?

    Having said all that (and in the spirit of skepticism), I highly recommend vaccination against shingles, particularly if you are over 50. I know people who have contracted it. It is miserable. You don’t want it. Do all you can to prevent it. I took the vaccination and highly recommend it.

    Here’s the deal: We’ve had this stuff a long time. For some diseases, we even have “community immunity”. The best approach is the balanced one. If it’s going to prevent the plague and it has a small amount of soy sauce in it, well, fine.

    I said “soy sauce” because if we believe J. J. Virgin with her “7 things you should never eat”, soy, corn, sugar (familiar with that one), dairy, gluten, eggs, peanuts, then soy is one of those things which cause the “leaky gut syndrome” which causes you to gain wait, have low level immune reactions, headaches, arthritis, fuzzy thinking (not the same as fuzzy logic — which is nominally a good thing). If this really works (and you can stomach the xylitol so to speak), the need for some medicines may become moot. I’ve tried it and told my doctor on my last examination that it hasn’t killed me yet, so I’m going to stay on it. I lost 7 pounds in three weeks, lost my craving for sugar. I also had interesting times with my intestines — it was something like a colonic. I can’t say I’m better or worse off. It’s just interesting. I also came up with a recipe for mayonnaise which tastes great — better than Miracle Whip.

    You know though, this is the thing: All these people have all these ideas — and some people just make stuff up… you know, like some how taking inoculations is sin as a lack of faith which may result in the Lake of Fire and some nasty rash besides. Where did that come from? It deserves a healthy dose of skepticism, along with the doctrine from a PCG minister that you should abandon your disabled child in a shopping mall (as reported in Monster’s Inc. It gets into daft nuttiness.

    You’ve done the right thing: Asked questions, did research and noted that sometimes skepticism is an excuse for mysticism.

    No one ever said the path of the skeptic was an easy one, given how many daft nuts of every stripe there out there.

    Stay sensible, my friends.

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