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Vaccine War? Not Really

New York State vaccine requirements for school admission.

Full disclosure: I did not see PBS’s The Vaccine War. I was asleep by the time it came on, a rarity for me. But I did read many of the blog posts about its production and editing.

The producers went out and interviewed two doctors — M.D.s — who aren’t necessarily for or against vaccines. Dr. Robert Sears and Dr. Jay Gordon. Both doctors are pro-vaccines but against the current vaccination schedule. Their take on it: Children are given too many vaccines given in too short of a time frame and too many vaccines at once. Both doctors have publicly questioned if the constant assault of vaccines is contributing to the rise of allergies, autoimmune diseases, ADHD, ADD, and autism. They spoke about those concerns during the interviews they graciously granted the PBS folks. These are not rebel physicians calling for the abolishment of vaccines. They simply want more spacing and fewer unnecessary shots. Oh, and maybe waiting until a child is more than five minutes old to give them that first shot.

People who watched the show, though, didn’t get to hear any of that thoughtful, research-based opinion or knowledge because PBS left both doctors on the editing room floor. Dr. Gordon wrote and posted a letter to the show’s producer expressing his distaste for their decision. Instead of a balanced, smart piece the “documentary” pits parents against parents. “Smart” caring parents who vaccinate versus “evil” parents who delay, space or choose not to vaccinate at all. Just what we need. More reasons to hate each other. More reasons to fight among ourselves. More reasons to distrust one another.

I don’t know why they did that. I also don’t know why none of the traditional media companies — aside from The Huffington Post — have even addressed the unbalanced coverage of the topic. You’d think someone somewhere, whether they are pro-vaccine, anti-vaccine, or completely objective, would take PBS to task over this lapse of judgement. I will say that I agree with Dr. Sears and Dr. Gordon. Vaccines, at least some of them, are all about money. A vaccine visit is a quick visit. A quick ka-ching for a doctor. And a big ka-ching for drug companies. And before you stop reading, take note. First, look at the image above. Click on it if you can’t read it. It’s the vaccine schedule for New York State. Those are the vaccines you need — unless you have a medical or religious exemption — to get into school. The total: 17 vaccines. Now look at this schedule:

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests a lot of vaccines. A lot.

That’s more than 30 vaccines for kids under the age of six. The AAP’s vaccine schedule for kids over six is tough, too. Okay, so if the AAP thinks all those vaccines are so important, why aren’t they mandated for school? Do I really need a vaccine for rotavirus? Or an ear infection? I don’t think so. What ever happened to letting kids get sick once in a while? When we don’t get sick, our immune system doesn’t do its job. And, some researchers think that’s why it turns on itself and we end up with all these autoimmune diseases. Not to mention the fact that we’re hammering our babies with chemicals like aluminum, formaldehyde, antibiotics, hydrochloric acid and preservatives, among other things. Don’t take my word for it. Look at the ingredients list that the Centers for Disease Control puts out there.

I could go on and on, but I won’t. What I will say is that vaccines have saved lives. Vaccines do work. But that doesn’t mean we need to add more and more of them into the mix. Sometimes too much of a good thing can hurt us.

Where do you stand on the vaccine question? Have you ever thought about it? Did you know you, as a parent, can determine and control your child’s vaccine schedule? Did you know you can say no to multiple shots at once or vaccines that aren’t on the school admission list. Or no to any shots?

6 Responses to “Vaccine War? Not Really”

  1. Melissa says:

    Karen –

    Science is evidence based, not “hunch” based. What is the evidence that these doctors point to about the schedule for vaccinations? I would like to read it.

    From what I understood, there is NO confirmed scientific evidence that autism is caused by the MMR shot. There is a plethera of evidence that suggests otherwise. I would like to read the evidence that you list about vaccines contributing to ADHD and ADD.

    There is an abundance of evidence gathered from communities who chose to not vaccinate. There is a HUGE resurgance of diseases that have been erradicated for decades. When we choose not to vaccinate, it gives viruses/bacteria a chance to reproduce, and possibly mutate into a form that is drug/vaccine resistant. Passing these highly contageous, resistant viruses is potentially dangerous. Just look at multi-drug resistant TB just as one example.

    Overall, I agree with a parent’s right to decide to do what they feel is best for their family. But I hope their decisions are fully informed — both on the pro and con side.

  2. kb says:

    I think there’s also something to be said about the fact that in Amish counties, where they do not vaccinate, there is a very, very low incidence of autism. I don’t think there’s something in the vaccines. I think it’s the number of shots and the way so many shots at once taxes the system. Look at all the ingredients in the vaccines. You’re injecting that — in some cases — into 10, 15, 20 pound humans. How is it right to give a three-month-old baby the same shot and the same amount of chemicals that a five-year-old child might get? I think it’s wrong. And yet it happens.

    I am not anti-vaccine. I just can’t believe that there can be a clear debate or good research when so many people stand to make so much money.

    Thanks for your response and for starting this debate!

  3. Laura says:

    Just curious…which vaccine is for ear infections? My son at 4 has never had an ear infection and I would be annoyed if I was told he needed this. I do vaccinate, but one against ear infections on a child who has never had a problem does seem silly to me.

  4. Melissa says:

    Normal Rates of Autism
    Commentators also argue that the rates of autism are low in the Amish community. Again, this is not true. Pediatricians who work with the Amish community report that members seek out treatment for their children for symptoms that resemble autism or can easily be diagnosed as a form of autism. Dr. Kevin Strauss is a pediatrician at the Clinic For Special Children in Lancaster County. Mr. Strauss states, “The idea that the Amish do not vaccinate their children is untrue.” Dr. Strauss also states, “We see autistic behaviors along with seizure disorders or mental retardation or a genetic disorder, where the autism is part of a more complicated clinical spectrum.”

    Dr. Stauss and Dr. D. Holmes Norton are the authors of a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine that studies of Old Order Amish children. The authors have, ” identified the genetic mutation that causes a previously unknown disorder, with seizures that progress to autism and retardation.”

    The Amish are members of a very closed community that cannot be taken as representative of the community at large. Many members marry inside of the group. As a result, members often carry a shared gene that does not resemble that of their fellow Americans. Common ailments among the Amish include Maple Syrup Urine Disease and Crigler-Najjar Syndrome. These disorders are found very rarely found in the general population.

    Autism among the Amish is common. The Amish vaccinate their children with rates that are comparable to the rate found in the general population. Vaccinations (or lack of vaccination) among the Amish do not tell us anything about the origins or causes of autism.


    Wakefield, Andrew and others THE LANCET Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children 1998 Feb 28;351(9103):637-41

    Read more at Suite101: Autism Among the Amish: A Vaccination Myth Deconstructed http://autism.suite101.com/article.cfm/autism_among_the_amish#ixzz0maRIm6uL

  5. Melissa says:

    I found that article above…
    Again, not sure if I’m totally happy with my kid getting so many shots; but also don’t want her to be unprotected.
    It’s a tough dilemma for all parents I think?

  6. MarthaandMe says:

    Both of my kids have an autoimmune disease and I can’t help but wonder if the vaccine schedule had something to do with it.

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