by Robyn Landis
© 1997-2002 Robyn Landis. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Not for reprint or distribution in any form without express writtern permission of the author.
Following is an unpublished piece that was originally prepared as a chapter for Herbal Defense.
Recent renewed interest in the subject of childhood vaccine exemptions--some of it focused on the author's own home town of Vashon Island, WA--prompted her to post this piece in order to share what she learned during her research in 1995-1997. This piece by no means represents all of the information available on the subject, *NOR IS IT INTENDED AS MEDICAL ADVICE.* It simply reflects one writer's research, observations, and conclusions. However, it does contain some relevant data.
A reading list on this subject is provided at the end of the article, as well as a current-events list of links to recent stories about the issue. By all means seek other sources as well--I encourage people to educate themselves fully about all angles of this controversy.
"...as the German immunologist Wolfgang
Ehrengut said, when it comes to vaccine side effects, the prevailing attitude
among physicians is 'What must not be, cannot be.'"
Richard Moskowitz, M.D.
The immune system (theoretically) produces antibodies long before the virus can return to full strength. In practice, however, there are problems associated with this concept, which will be discussed here.
As disturbing as the evidence for vaccination ineffectiveness and danger is the fact that participation in mass vaccination programs may not be up to us anyway. Government mandates for childhood vaccines in the U.S. take the choice away from most parents: if you want your child to go to school, in most states your child must receive certain vaccinations. The issue of whether or not our government has the right to mandate what drugs you do or do not put into your own or your child's body is a powerful social, moral and ethical dilemma, apart from the physiological concerns.
My goal is not to convince anyone to avoid all vaccinations under any
and all circumstances. Rather, as with everything else, it is to consider
potential dangers (and benefits) about which you may not have been informed;
to stimulate consciousness and purposeful thought about everything that
goes into your body (and the bodies of your family members); and to provide
you with alternative perspectives that you may help you make more conscious
An eye-opening introduction
Barbara Loe Fisher is the co-founder and President of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC). She served on the first National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC) from 1988-1991 and chaired the subcommittee on adverse reactions. Her oldest child suffered a severe reaction to his fourth DPT shot, at age two, and now as a teenager struggles with permanent disabilities from that reaction.
The NVAC was founded in 1982 and worked for five years with vaccine manufacturers, the American Academy of Pediatrics, federal health agencies, and legislators to draft and pass the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986. That law in part created a committee to which she made a lengthy statement in Washington D.C. on December 26, 1994.
The legislation's purpose was to achieve optimal prevention of human infectious disease through immunization and "to achieve optimal prevention of adverse reactions to vaccines." The latter is what concerns Fisher and her group the most. She says in her statement, "...in all of the compromises that were proposed during negotiation on this law, there was unanimous agreement among parents and legislators that no compromises were going to be made when it came to the vaccine safety provisions. Vaccine safety was put at the top of the priority list because the inherent ability of vaccines to cause death and injury in some children made the compensation legislation neccesary in the first place...This formation of the National Vaccine Advisory Committee, then, with its dual mission, was an attempt by legislators of good faith to protect the individual lives of American children--whether from injury and death due to vaccination, or injury and death due to disease."
Fisher made this testimony to the NVAC because she did not see this dual mission being fulfilled. Protection from vaccine injury and death was supposed to be given as much attention and investigation as protection from infectious disease, but what Fisher and others had observed since the creation of the committee was a continuing, unquestioned force-feeding of the national vaccination program to doctors, parents, and children. This has been coupled with a nearly total lack of action in response to the reports and feedback the law was in part designed to generate, and to mounting evidence from many different sources that vaccines may be ineffective at best and deadly at worst.
Says Fisher in her statement: "After twelve years of study of the scientific literature and vaccine policymaking, after working for more than a decade to institute safety reforms in the mass vaccination system, it is becoming clear that very little changes when those with institutional control have no incentive to change, and every incentive to maintain the status quo."
Yet, unwilling to give up, Fisher implored the Committee, any Congress member or any Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) staff member in a position of power, to "...have the courage and the vision to acknowledge that something is very, very wrong with a mass vaccination system that turns away from vaccine victims and pretends they don't exist; that something is very wrong when it is official government policy to place a higher value on the life of a child who suffers from disease than is placed on the life of a child who suffers from a vaccine reaction; that something is wrong when federal health officials choose not to do everything they can to find out why a child dies or is injured after vaccination, or do everything possible to find ways to prevent the vaccine injuries and deaths from recurring."
Fisher refers to a centralized Vaccine Adverse Reaction Reporting System (VAERS) that was part of the safety reforms of the 1986 law. It was created because the DHHS had absolutely no idea how many American children suffer injury or death following routine, mandatory vaccinations. Also, it is estimated that only about 10 percent of doctors who witness adverse events following vaccination ever report them.
Fisher testified that:
Also, adds Fisher, "...[doctors] have been carefully led to believe by the vaccine policymakers that reporting an adverse event will only add to the 'myth' that vaccines can cause harm. So few doctors are willing to report."
Still, continues Fisher, 33,000 reports were made by conscientious doctors since the 1986 law was passed. What has been done with these reports, she asks? What has been done, for example, with the 482 adverse events reported since May 1993 following the administration of the newly licensed DPTH vaccine? Of them, 175 children wound up in the emergency room. Fifty-six had convulsions. Seventy-eight were hospitalized. Seventeen more never fully recovered; 35 died.
The majority of these children were under one year of age, and more than half suffered the event within 24 hours of their vaccination. Moreover, more than 80 percent experienced the event within 48 hours of vaccination.
What has been done, she asks, with reports of hemophilus influenza b (Hib) infection one to four weeks after the Hib vaccination in many children? What about the evidence apparent upon examination of any one DPT vaccine lot? She cites as an example DPT lot 2K31068, which resulted in 197 reported adverse events. Of them, 84 of them required a trip to the emergency room or doctor, 18 were hospitalized, and four died.
Fisher reports, "One infant who had been injected with DPT, HIB, hepatitis B and OPV at six weeks old screamed every day from the day after vaccination until he died two weeks later, and his death was written off as SIDS." She describes high fevers, seizures, hyperventilation, shock and apnea seen in infants after vaccinations. She cites a case in which a four-month-old baby had his first afebrile grand mal seizure within 24 hours of his DPT/HIB/OPV vaccinations--following in the footsteps of his older brother, who had such a seizure at the age of five months after his vaccination. The CDC and AAP had told doctors that a family history of vaccine reactions is no reason not to vaccinate.
These patterns, stated Fisher, are seen over and over throughout the 33,000 reports--which represent the tip of the iceberg, if only 10 percent of all adverse events following vaccination are actually reported. The patterns have been described in detail in over 60 years' worth of studies in professional medical literature.
Fisher acknowledges that certainly not every one of these adverse reactions are causally related to vaccinations. But clearly, enough of them fit into patterns to warrant serious investigation. The lack of follow-up is what prompted her appeal to the Committee.
She asks, "Where is the substantive proof that it is safe and effective to vaccinate babies with DPT, OPV, HIB, hepatitis B and MMI on one day? Or that it is safe and effective to vaccinate sick children or children with family histories of vaccine reactions?" (The few studies that have been done exclude children in those categories from participating, so we don't know how they will react.)
"What are the FDA criteria for recalling a suspicious lot of DPT vaccine? The release of information...may jeaopardize a manufacturer's competitive edge, but what about the need to know in order to protect children's lives?"
Fisher asked the Committee to seek release of this information in order to put to rest questions about variability in potency and reactivity from lot to lot. She also called for comprehensive studies to monitor the long-term effects of vaccines and assess whether the multitude of immunological and neurological disorders that are increasingly prevalent in our society can be traced in part to childhood vaccinations; whether vaccines are changing the epidemiology of diseases; and whether genetic changes occur due to oral polio vaccines (OPV) containing animal retroviruses or cultivated in animal tissue.
Fisher closed her appeal by imploring scientists to challenge newly proposed vaccine programs that will carry us further down the road of unquestioning reliance.
"With the advent of more than 45 new vaccines, particularly the
supervaccine that will reportedly contain raw DNA from 40 different kinds
of bacteria and viruses that will be squirted into the mouths of all newborn
infants and time-released in the body throughout life, you had better be
absolutely sure that the vaccine policies you endorse today do not weaken
the immune and neurological systems of whole generations of children tomorrow.
Because if, in your zeal to achieve a 100 percent vaccination rate and eradicate
disease from the earth, you lose your perspective and fail to be good scientists
and do not continually re-evaluate your goals or make honest, scientifically
unbiased inquiry into the long-term side effects of vaccines, your legacy
may be to compromise the biological integrity of the human race."
There is a perception of polio as a dreadful disease in which most or all people infected either die or are permanently paralyzed. This perception is false, according to Neil Miller, author of Immunization Theory vs. Reality: Exposé on Vaccinations and Vaccines: Are They Really Safe and Effective? In his article "Vaccines and Natural Health" (Mothering, Spring 1994, listing 68 references to support his data) he explains that natural exposure to the polio virus produces no symptoms at all in over 90 percent of those exposed to it, even under epidemic conditions.
He also charges that "no credible scientific evidence indicates that the vaccine caused the disease to disappear." The polio death rate had declined significantly in both the U.S. (47 percent) and Europe (55 percent) before Dr. Jonas Salk's killed-virus vaccine was introduced.
And a few years later, when Dr. Albert Sabin's live-virus vaccine was introduced, the standards for defining polio and for defining true "paralytic polio" were changed, interestingly, to make it harder to confirm and tally cases. Basically, a person had to be sicker for longer to "qualify" as paralytic; and more deaths per 100,000 had to occur before it as officially an epidemic. And suddenly, a similar condition called aspetic meingitis which had once been counted among the polio cases became classified as a separate disease. All of these factors skewed the reported effectiveness of the live-virus vaccine, making it appear as though cases were fewer and that paralysis was reduced.
Miller notes that the diptheria rate also declined well before the vaccine for the disease was introduced, yet the vaccine is assumed to be the cause of the decline--an assumption that vaccine proponents do little to discourage. The fact is that between 1900 and 1930, the U.S. had already experienced more than a 90 percent decline in diptheria deaths.
Another disease, measles, is a good example of an infectious disease for which the risks of vaccination may far outweigh the intrinsic dangers of the disease. While one in 100,000 cases can result in a fatal brain complication, and adolescent/young adult victims are at higher risk for serious complications, most cases simply are not serious. Symptoms generally last one to two weeks.
Peeka Trenkle notes in her article "Vaccinations: An Alternative Perspective" (Journal of the Northeast Herb Association, Winter 1995): "I and all my brothers and sisters has measles and I remember my mother putting us all in bed together so that we would all get it at once and be done with it. I don't even remember itching or having a fever--it was simply a matter of course: we were sick for a while and then we were well." I have many friends and family members who had the disease as children and don't recall it being any more dramatic than a modern cold or flu.
Also, once again, measles incidence had declined a dramatic 95 percent between 1915 and 1958 in the U.S. and England, prior to introduction of a vaccine. In addition, according to Miller, the death rate from measles in the vaccinated mid-1970s was the same as it has been in the pre-vaccine early 1960s.
Pertussis (whooping cough) had also declined both in incidence and severity long before the vaccine was introduced--around 80 percent in both the U.S. and England by 1935.
Hemophilus influenza B, yet another disease for which infants are routinely
vaccinated, usually right after birth, is perceived to be extremely contagious,
yet research shows that it actually is extremely difficult to contract,
even when children come into contact with an infected child.
There is evidence of two important facts concerning the effectiveness
of infectious disease vaccines:
Says Miller in the Mothering article: "According to CDC figures, from 1980 through 1989, every case of polio contracted within the United States was caused by the vaccine." In addition, five people traveling abroad contracted the disease while out of the country. Three of them had been vaccinated.
About half of all diptheria cases occur in people who were fully vaccinated. Miller quotes the Bureau of Biologics and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stating that the vaccine "is not as effective an immunizing agent as might be anticipated."
A World Health Organization study shows that the risk of contracting measles is 14 times greater for vaccinated people than for those who are not vaccinated. Also, Miller quotes Dr. William Atkinson of the CDC acknowledging that in some large measles outbreaks, there is a history of vaccination in over 95 percent of the cases.
Miller also references studies showing the effectiveness of pertussis vaccine to be as low as 40-45 percent and that immunity may not be sustained, with susceptibility as high as 95 percent by 12 years after full vaccination. Yet according to Dr. Harold Buttram, M.D., writing in the Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients (November 1995), "the pertussis vaccine is one of the most strongly supported measures by public health services in the U.S.A."
Buttram references the seldom-publicized history of the pertussis vaccine in Sweden, which banned the vaccine in 1979 following an epidemic in which 84 percent of infected children had been fully vaccinated. (This very closely corroborates data on the Cincinnati whooping cough outbreak in the summer of 1993, in which more than 80 percent of the children under five who contracted whooping cough had been fully vaccinated.)
Sweden, which has banned this vaccine, has the second lowest infant mortality rate in the world. In first place, by the way, is Japan, which raised the age for pertussis vaccination to two years old in 1975, and noted a dramatic decline in SIDS (also called cot death) immediately afterward. By comparison, the U.S. ranks 20th in infant mortality rate.
The hemophilus influenza B (Hib) vaccine is mandated in 44 states and
is recommended for all children two years old and up, even though, as Miller
notes, 75 percent of all Hib cases occur before two years of age.
He cites research showing no effectiveness in children younger than 18 months
and only marginal effectiveness in children 18 to 23 months of age.
For that dubious level of effectiveness, here's what you risk:
According to The Health Kinesiologist (Fall 1995) the CDC now is on record that "the evidence is consistent with a causal relation between DPT (vaccine) and acute encephalopathy" and that "development of an acute encephalopathy within seven days following DPT vaccinaton is a contraindication to receipt of additional doses..." (Encephalopathy is inflammation of the brain.)
The article points out some boggling conflicting information in this particular report: it insists that acute ("temporary") symptoms are acceptable and not cause for alarm, yet elsewhere the report states that "about one-third of the persons with acute illness appear to recover fully." One-third? What about the other two-thirds? (What about "appear to"?!)
Miller states, "The measles vaccine may cause ataxia (inability to coordinate muscle movements), learning difficulties, mental retardation, aspetic meningitis, seizure disorders, paralysis, and death." He also suggests it may contribute to multiple sclerosis, Reye's syndrome, and juvenile-onset diabetes, among others.
Pertussis vaccine has been implicated in brain damage and even autism. Dr. Harold Buttram in the Townsend Letter refutes a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) which attempted to dismiss a causal relationship between pertussis vaccine and these conditions. He points out that the study was limited to seven days, not allowing for the possibility of delayed reactions--logically, at least as likely and certainly as relevant as immediate ones.
A few resources suggest that some of the chronic fatigue disorders and autoimmune disorders may be at least partly set in motion by damage from childhood vaccination. Several have pointed out that the majority of chronic fatigue disorders today appear to occur in people in their 20s and 30s, a generation born just as the mass vacination program was getting into full swing.
Dr. Buttram notes that a key finding in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) patients is an excessive elevation of interleukin-2, which stimulates excessive production of memory cells (those dedicated to "remembering" specific antigens, for the purpose of what we call humoral immunity.) At the same time there is an abnormal reduction in the cells uncommitted to specific immunity, called "naive cells" (those crucial to heading off new challenges not previously "recorded," for what we call cell-mediated immunity). In crude terms, the cells stimulated by vaccinations are going crazy, and the cells needed for general immunity are suppressed.
Buttram suggests these are exactly the sort of changes an immunization would be likely to create, and wonders whether such changes would be apparent in children if they were tested after vaccination. If these changes were present after vaccination, it would certainly implicate childhood vaccinations as playing a role in immune dysfunction disorders in young adults.
What immune system?
Something that also must be considered is the questionable logic of dumping live or killed pathogenic material into a newborn, whose immune system is nearly nonexistent--basically just raw material yet to be refined. By no means does an infant have an unlimited reservoir of immune resources to deal with the strenuous challenges introduced by vaccines.
It is suggested that much of the damage caused to babies by vaccines is due to just this fact: that the body simply does not yet have anywhere to turn with these affronts at so early a stage. Trenkle asks, "How can a vaccine stimulate an immune system that is not yet functioning?"
Newborns are, for example, routinely given hepatitis B vaccines at the hospital before going home, even though it is common knowledge that babies are entirely dependent on the mother's milk and the natural, normal cycle of environmental challenge for developing immunity.
The mature development of the immune system is not achieved by unnatural assaults with vaccines. Rather, it is achieved by a series of naturally-occurring, far gentler challenges which, Buttram contends, occur about every six weeks without illness actually manifesting. This is generally accepted wisdom cited in standard pediatric texts.
Yet we violate this every time we insist that an infant's highly immature
and undeveloped immune system grapple with an onslaught of concentrated,
infectious exposure. Vaccines attempt to accelerate a process
that perhaps does not want to be, or cannot be, accelerated.
It should also be considered that the excessive effect of vaccines, given the relative helplessness of the immune system of an infant or young child, is further intensifed by the delivery route into the child's system. It has been pointed out that the method by which vaccine material is introduced into the system--through direct injection with a needle--bypasses all of the other systems which our body normally employs to soften the blow.
Direct injection gives a pathogen, in all of its full-strength glory, a red carpet into the bloodstream, unfettered by any interference from all the other systems that would normally step in to counter it. Under normal circumstances, that pathogen would have to contend with the mucosal immune system, respiratory system, an/or gastrointestinal system. These systems often stop or weaken infections before they reach the blood.
How can it be a coincidence, then, that children experience more infections after a vaccine? Is it out of the question that overstimulating and taxing an infant's incomplete immune system--especially repeatedly--will interefere with the normal development of that system, and/or drain it of what little resources it has?
The stresses of these premature confrontations, playing themselves out inside a defenseless infant's body, may also be what intereferes with the normal development of the brain that may lead to autism and other brain damage, as discussed above.
Miller again: "Research reveals that children die at a rate eight times greater than average within three days of getting a DPT shot," and that "85 percent of SIDS cases occur among babies one through six months of age, with the peak incidence appearing at two to four months of age." He notes that the three primary doses of DPT are given at two, four and six months.
Researchers monitoring episodes of abnormally shallow breathing and cessation of breathing before and after DPT vaccinations found that the vaccine causes an extraordinary increase in these episodes, which can recur for months following the vaccination. Dr. Viera Schreibner, Ph.D., author of this particular study and of Vaccination: 100 years of Orthodox Research Shows that Vaccines Represent a Medical Assault on the Immune System, concluded as a result that vaccination is both the most common and most preventable cause of infant death.
Buttram cites a JAMA survey that showed pertussis-vaccinated children were six times more likely to develop asthma than unvaccinated children. Other research has uncovered similar findings. This could be a contributing factor to the 46-percent increase in asthma deaths between 1977 and 1991.
Dr. Buttram cites research, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, that showed cellular immunity is depressed in adults by routine tetanus vaccination. In some of the tetanus-injected subjects, T-cells dropped to levels seen in full-blown AIDS patients. He writes, "This was the effect in healthy adults. One must wonder what the effects of multiple vaccines given to infants must be on various parameters of the immune system, but as far as I am aware this has not been tested." (his emphasis)
And how could it be tested? First of all, what scientist wants
to? Secondly, with social policy on vaccines as it stands, where do you
find a large enough sample of people who have not been vaccinated? Meanwhile,
we continue to vaccinate children.
Viral and Chemical Contamination
In addition to immune suppression and neurological damage, another risk of vaccinations is viral contamination of the vaccine.
Live virus vaccines are incubated in animal tissues--for example, oral polio vaccine (OPV) in monkey kidneys and measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) in chick embryos. Incubating oral polio in monkey kidneys involves the risk of contamination by simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), a disease carried by African monkeys--a mutation of which is now generally believed to be responsible for the AIDS epidemic.
In fact, the earliest known cases of AIDS in Africa were in close proximity both physically and chronologically to polio vaccine programs being conducted there. Polio vaccines are screened for AIDS virus contamination, but SIVs have mutated before and they could mutate again. New strains are still being discovered.
Also, vaccines contain stabilizers and other substances that are toxic or even known carcinogens. These include mercury, aluminum, formaldeyde, and foreign proteins. These chemicals are deposited, again, into the bodies of children not even yet possessing fully-developed immune systems.
We discuss elsewher in Herbal Defense how the liver is burdened
with the task of processing such chemical toxins. The liver plays a crucial
role in overall immune function. Can a young child's liver have the strength
to fully and safely expel all of these toxins; can the liver endure the
siege without injury or weakening; and what happens to the toxins if they
are not successfully excreted?
Influencing the evolution of disease
Another point: we risk cultural as well as individual dangers. For example, mass vaccination against measles may have shifted the epidemiology of the illness, the age pattern in which it occurs. Once a childhood disease, it now has a peak incidence in adolescents and young adults, when risk of serious complications are highest. Is it better to leave well enough alone?
That is what Dr. Buttram suggests in the Townsend Letter: "In earlier times, measles, mumps and rubella were referred to as minor childhood diseases because, in the vast majority of instances, children passed through these illnesses without serious complications. Could it be that these minor childhood diseases were friends in disguise, compelling the immune system through struggle and exercise to become strong and better able to defend the body?"
Peeka Trenkle, who had measles herself as described earlier, thinks the
answer is yes. She now has lifelong immunity to measles, and her children
inherited constitutional resilience and passive immunity through her nursing.
On the other hand, young mothers today who were vaccinated as children now
have no natural immunity to pass on to their children. So if and when their
children are exposed to measles, it will be as a virgin population with
no natural resilience, starting the process from ground zero all over again.
We may have made the disease more dangerous by wiping out "herd
immunity," passively acquired by children from the milk of immune mothers.
The moral question
There is fear that if it is optional, so many will refuse to vaccinate that a relatively unprotected population will become prey to epidemics rivaling those of the past.
But how do we address the right of people to exercise free choice over what happens to their bodies? Peeka Trenkle observes, "It is a kind of enslavement for a government to insist on a particular medical procedure for an entire population." Dr. Buttram asks, "Does government have the right to compel parents to vaccinate their children against their (the parents) wishes?" This is a serious civil rights issue.
The moral question will become even more urgent if the planned "supervaccine" (which reportedly will contain raw DNA from 40 different bacteria and viruses) hits the vaccine scene. This genetically engineered monster-vaccine--not only the vaccine itself, but the very thinking that led to its development--is the epitome of disease phobia, testimony to the questionable goal of forever eradicating all infectious disease from the face of the earth "once and for all."
If all goes as planned, this "supervaccine" will be squirted directly into every hospital-born newborn's mouth and will automatically time-release future vaccinations throughout the life of the person. We might well be terrified at the physical/health risks as well as social, moral, and other implications of such a project.
Trenkle emphasizes: "No research is being done to address the questions: What if there is a reaction to the first dose? How can future doses be stopped from being released? How will the injection of raw DNA affect our genetic coding for future generations?"
Several resources predict that the more people opt out of vaccinations, the more will be developed and the more attempts there will be to make them mandatory. This is a stark image: a "pushing" of the unwanted product in response to public vaccine rejection and loss of market.
One example: Viera Scheibner, Ph.D. quotes Dr. George Peter, Chairman of the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommending the hepatitis B for all infants--"Hepatitis B remains a public health problem which sometimes occurs outside of high risk groups; high risks groups have not accepted vaccination or have been difficult to reach; children are accessible."
Children are accessible? How do you interpret this statement? I hear, "The people who are at risk of hepatitis B, our natural market, are not complying. But babies are handy and cannot argue."
Dr. Buttram points out that freedom of choice, the power of refusal, imbues the power to force change: "As long as parents have the option of rejecting vaccines for their children, they have it in their power to compel technologic advances which would bring greater safety in the field."
Our suggestion: in this as in all things regarding your health, don't
give your power away. Carefully consider the possible consequences/ramifications
of your actions.
These are usually less discussed than the physiological repercussions of vaccination, but Peeka Trenkle's article "Vaccinations: An Alternative Perspective" raises some valuable points. She observes that the entire experience surrounding vaccines can instill early on a sense of fear, distrust and other negative feelings and associations, both with the vaccinations and with illness itself. Shots often hurt. Kids may feel sick after receiving them. The child may associate pain and fear with "health care," and may come to see suffering as a necessary prerequisite to health.
Parents too may have an instinct that "something is not right," but instinct has about as much status as "anecdotal evidence" in the medical and scientific communities. So parental instincts are often dismissed as inferior to medical expertise--a disempowering experience for parents, whose intimate knowledge of their own children should be highly valued and respected.
The question of whether to vaccinate can also create emotional havoc
in relationships. The issue is emotionally charged, and family rifts may
occur as grandparents battle parents or spouse battles spouse.
A link to the "alternative medicine exodus"
The current appeal of natural medicine to a growing number of people is part of a revolution against disease-obsessed medicine that strikes out violently at every perceived threat. Vaccination represents a microcosm of our whole approach to health care.
The concept of vaccination underscores differences between holistic health care and allopathic (conventional) medicine. The former acknowledges that threats and challenges exist and always will, and focuses on stengthening us to deal with whatever comes our way. Holistic and natural care typically works on strenghtening what's in you.
Conventional approaches typically focus "out there," hoping to weaken or kill external threats. Standard medicine funnels its resources into trying to control away every threat in the environment, imposing itself upon every microorganism. This pursuit of pathogen eradication is rarely balanced by cultivation of individual healing resources, or focused on creating strong, disease-resistant "hosts" (people).
Hyperavoidance and attack/destroy strategies are as common to treatment of cancer, menopause, arthritis, and allergies as they are to that of infectious disease. Trenkle asserts that "vaccines are the cornerstone in a fear-based culturally-held paradigm of health care."
Allopathic medicine continues to advance in this direction. The chicken pox vaccine was proudly introduced when it won approval from the FDA in 1995, trumpeting "prevention" of this "last major childhood disease."
Yet this is not the kind of prevention I find exciting. Some who receive this vaccine will develop a mild form of chicken pox; it is expected to be 70-90 percent effective, and it introduces a virus that stays in you forever, the same as being naturally infected, leaving you just as vulnerable to shingles later in life.
What excites me is the possibility of skirting illness thanks to your very own natural defenses. And this is so much more attainable than most are led to believe.
Muses Trenkle, "If we raise our children with the belief that the
way to wellness is through the injection of poisons into the body, we are
contributing to a way of being that also believe that the only road to peace
is through a strong military defense." The cycle of warfare is maintained;
the bitter, aggressive battle against disease prevails over a positive,
peaceful crusade for health.
A multifaceted issue
A NOTE: I do not suggest nor believe that vaccines are the sole cause of the crippled immune systems so many individuals struggle with today.
I do not agree with some of the inferences in the literature that childhood vaccinations can be traced as the sole or even leading cause in the increasing prevalence of nearly every type of immune-compromised condition. In a culture like ours--in which we see so much high-fat, high-sugar, low-nutrient and refined-food eating; smoking and drinking; sedentary lifestyles; high stress and overwork; environmental toxins and pollutants; and use/overuse of drugs both prescription and recreational--we cannot blame the sickly condition of so many Americans on any one cause.
In other words, I say we cannot look at a child who eats Frosty Sugar Crunchies with whole milk (hormone and antibiotics included) for breakfast, aflotoxin- and pesticide-laden peanut butter on white bread with a Thwinkie for lunch, lollipops and candy bars for a snack, burgers and fries for dinner, washes it all down with chlorinated (and possibly locally contaminated) water and sugary soda pop, and sits in front of the tube all afternoon and evening--and say that the reason he suffers from so many colds, flu, allergies, infections and behavior issues is only because of vaccinations.
What I would say, however, is that the vaccinations certainly don't seem to be helping his immune system deal with the various challenges and assaults that American life tends to present.
What seems clear is that childhood vaccinations can indeed cause harm, having both relatively short-term effects as well as long-term ramifications; and that even in cases where clear and severe immediate injury has not occurred, damage and weakening of a more insidious kind may well have taken place.
Furthermore, in a culture where the majority is in fact eating and living as described above, people need all the immune reserves they can get. And it certainly appears that they are not necessarily functioning with a full, strong, well-trained and -practiced immune "orchestra" if they have been vaccinated.
A strong immune system in a child depends on healthy, pure diet; non-toxic environment; rest; exercise; and love, to name a few key factors. A child who lives a life consistent with these factors will no doubt experience fewer and milder illnesses.
Parents should have the choice of nurturing their children's immune systems--as,
hopefully, they do their own--rather than stressing their immune
systems with vaccines that may or may not protect against illness. We should
each be able to choose whether to "fight disease" or foster
wellness. If laws and regulations will allow this freedom, herbal medicine
combined with "the basics" such as nutritious diet can do the
You must make your own informed decision
after reading as much as you can from both sides of the issue and talking
to trusted health practitioners. THIS IS NOT INTENDED AS MEDICAL ADVICE.
© 1997-2002 Robyn Landis. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Not for reprint or distribution in any form without express writtern permission of the author.
|"The current appeal of natural medicine to a growing number of people is part of a revolution against disease-obsessed medicine that strikes out violently at every perceived threat. Vaccination represents a microcosm of our whole approach to health care."|
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