An Earthy Mother sharing her experiences in today's world....

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Childhood vaccination- fears, hopes and realities.

When we realised we were pregnant with our firstborn, one of the first topics to come up about parenting was vaccination. I lauched into all the information I had been collating pre-pregnancy about the risks associated with vaccines, the hours I had spent sourcing vaccine product pamphlets,  my concerns about vaccination. As it turned out, my partner had never been vaccinated- his parents had chosen not to vaccinate any of their children. It is a pleasant relief to discover someone with the same views as you! Taking into account vaccines, toxins, disease statistics and our baby's newborn immune system, it was an emphatic no.

I never realised how provocative this decision would be to almost every person I came across!

It wasn't until 3 months into mother's group that I let it slip that my son was unvaccinated- they asked about the Rotavirus vaccine, and I said "Oh, we don't do that." Her: "Do what?" Me: "Vaccinate." I've never seen someone look so shocked- or so concerned. I imagined she must be really uninformed! At the next mother's group, the other mothers visibly moved their children back when they rolled near my son, chastised their small babies for trying to play with my son's lovely wooden toys (obviously, they were diseased!). I was sure I was paranoid. But the next time I arrived, there was a posse of 3 standing on the footpath before the hall, waiting for my approach. They made it very clear I wasn't welcome. It was as simple as one of the mothers saying "Oh, we thought you might have noticed, we think it might be best if you don't come to our mother's group- some of the mothers are concerned that their kids might catch something." The other mothers nodded, and I laughed, waiting for the punchline. They all smiled and walked inside, locking the door behind them. No punchline, just a good social ousting.

I realised then that I had made a choice which was common sense to me, but which was difficult for the uninformed to grasp. It's difficult to inform people when they are essentially misled on the topic of vaccination.

For starters, here is an example. When you give a child a vaccine, you are vaccinating them. In Australia, our government calls it an Immunisation Schedule. However, vaccines don't necessarily provide immunity. In many cases, they don't provide immunity at levels which will protect a child from the disease. So why is it called Immunisation, when this is misleading?

My mother was appalled when she discovered that my son wasn't vaccinated (my dad had known all along, and kept it to himself). I've never realised how ignorant most people are until that day- my own mother, an intelligent woman, a CEO, a strong educated powerful woman, turned to me and asked "But how can you put your son and other children at risk like that!!" I tried not to laugh. Where do intelligent, intellectual people get such backward ideas?

If you believe that vaccination protects babies from diseases, then why would you fear an unvaccinated child- your child 'should' be protected, so what's the difference? 

So I started asking a lot of people about how they felt. "Vaccinating your child is REALLY important!" Why? "Because it protects them from diseases." How? "Because vaccines give your child immunity." Do they? More often than not, people told me they vaccinated their child because "That's what you do." Most people aren't aware of the real risks of vaccines. Most people aren't aware of the real risks of the diseases. Most people don't even know what is in the vaccines they are letting their children have, let alone what diseases they are being vaccinated for. Let's break it down.

Hepatitis B- most babies receive this vaccine at birth, 2 months, 4 months (+6 months if one dose missed)
Hep B is a blood-borne disease which is contracted through the use of intravenous drug needle sharing and sexual intercourse. Around 99.3% of the children in Australia are not at risk at risk of contracting Hepatitis B from a parent. The 0.7% of children who are born with a Hepatitis B positive parent or who have a family member who has Hepatitis B should consider vaccination or infection control procedures to prevent transmission. Worldwide, 5% of people have Hepatitis B.

*I'd also like to point out that many midwives are opposed to the Hep B birth vaccine as it causes side effects which interfere with bonding and breastfeeding- it can cause lethary, decreased appetite, fever, pain, gastric upset, excessive sleepiness and irritability. These can all dramatically effect a newborn baby and their breastfeeding relationship.

Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Haemophilus influenzae type b, Polio- vaccines at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months.
(Note these 5 vaccines along with Hepatitis B are combined into one injection- Infanrix. So your child receives 6 vaccines at once. That's quite an assault on an immune system.)

Diphtheria- The last outbreak of Diphtheria was a group of 23 people in an indigenous community in the Northern Territory. This was in 1991. One of the people who contracted it died, the other 22 recovered.

Tetanus- The last known case of childhood tetanus in Australia was in 1969. Tetanus is a bacterium called Clostridium Tetani. Clothridium Tetani lives virtually everywhere, but the human body doesn't provide the right conditions for the bacterium to grow- infection can only occur when Tetani are introduced to the blood stream deep inside the body- such as a deep cut or puncture wound. Good wound management is more effective in killing Tetani than post-infection vaccination.

Pertussis (Whooping Cough)-  Pertussis poses the highest risk to babies under 6 months old- yet vaccination does not cover them until they are 6 months old. Whooping cough is still prevalent in many parts of the world, but studies have shown that up to 84% of children who contract Whooping cough have been vaccinated for it.

Haemophilus influenzae type b- Also known as Hib, is incredibly rare in Australia- however some cases are still reported in Indigenous communities. In Africa, 0.06% of children contracted Hib before vaccination was introduced. In Australia, the chances are even smaller. The most fatal strain of Hib is not covered by the Hib vaccine.

Polio- Polio is most prevalent in India, where in 2009, 741 people contracted it. The population of India is 1,147,995,904. This means that in the country where Polio is seen as dangerous, the percentage of people who contract it is 0.000006%. In Australia, the last case of Polio was seen in 1986.

Measles, Mumps, Rubella- Which of these pose a real risk to a child today? They can pose a risk to a woman who is pregnant and her unborn child, but so can chickenpox. Why should we vaccinate small children for these diseases which are merely skin rashes? Some people will argue that Mumps can cause sterility in males, but only 15-30% of men who get Mumps will get Orchitis- and sterility is a very rare side effect of Orchitis, occuring in only 2% of men. The Rubella vaccine is grown on Human Fetal Diploid Lung Fibroblasts. (That's a revolting froth of fetal parts.) This vaccine is one of the most dangerous, as it is a live vaccine, not a dead strain. This is why they wait until 12 months to vaccinate a child, as this vaccine is an enormous assault on a child's immune system. Putting aside suspected links to Autism, what is the point of this vaccine?

Then of course we have new vaccines, like the ones for Rotavirus. Rotavirus is basically Gastroenteritis.  Interestingly, exclusive breastfeeding a child protects them against Rota Virus more than any vaccination ever could.

I don't agree with vaccination for many reasons, but here are a few of my own personal reasons (I will stop after a few, as this blog is becoming very long, and has been typed out twice!):
(1) Vaccination doesn't guarantee immunity. There has never been specific antibody testing to determine how much immunity anyone will develop as a result of a vaccine.
(2) Every time you vaccinate a child, you are also injecting them with vaccine additives- antibiotics, formaldehyde, viruses grown on human foetal cells, animal products, surfactants, preservatives (some vaccines contain thimersol, which is 48% mercury), aluminium, sorbitol, yeast, ammonium sulfate, MSG, sodium peroxide.
(3) Contracting illnesses in childhood is how we develop life-long immunity. Vaccines only provide short-term immunity.
(4) A healthy child has a better chance of fighting any illness. Vaccinating a child damages their immune system, attacking and weakening it before it has developed properly. We are supposed to be exposed to smaller viruses before we are exposed to larger viruses so our immune system can develop and strengthen. Vaccinating a newborn child is an assault on their immune system.
(5) There is no harm in delaying vaccination until a child is older. You can wait until your child is 1, 3, 5, and still vaccinate your child if you feel the need.
(6) I believe that vaccination poses a larger risk to my child than the diseases the vaccines are supposed to prevent. I know children who have had huge vaccine reactions. I know a child with vaccine-induced brain damage. I have seen bright-eyed children become duller, slower, less intelligent after vaccination. 
(7) I am not concerned that my children will get incredibly ill from any of the diseases they could be vaccinated for. I would rather take the slim >5% chance my child might get an illness than take the 100% chance of my child being injected with toxins, viruses, chemicals, antibiotics and additives. I would rather support their immune system than attack it.
(8) Many children who have been vaccinated have no immunity to the diseases they have been vaccinated for. Why should I expose my child to a vaccine when it may not provide any immunity?
(9) I live in Australia; where clean water supply, good medical care, infection control and adequate nutrition means that my children are at negligible risk of getting seriously ill from any disease.
(10) The antibiotics used in vaccines aren't recommended for use on children under 6 months old, nor are they recommended for intra-muscular use. Why are they in vaccines?
(11) SIDS has been linked to vaccination. In Japan, they made the decision  to raise the vaccination age to 2 years of age, following a link to SIDS.
One of my children has had a needlestick injury at a park, and despite not being vaccinated at all, he did not contract anything from his needlestick injury. Neither of my children have contracted a vaccine-preventable disease. As a matter of fact, none of the unvaccinated children I personally know (who number around 50) have EVER contracted a vaccine-preventable disease. On the other hand, I know many vaccinated children who have contracted pertussis, measles, rubella.

One thing that always stuck with me was this: you can always delay vaccination until you inform yourself properly about every vaccine. There is no harm in waiting to vaccinate your child. However, once you do vaccinate your child, you can't take back the vaccines that you've injected in your child. You can't undo the damage that vaccination does to a growing child's body and immune system.

If you want to research more yourself, consider looking up some links like this:

It is also a good idea to look at the manufacturer's pamphlets from companies such as Merck who produce and distribute vaccines. Simply looking at vaccine ingredients and finding out what they all are can be a powerful lesson to us all.

Government websites can also be a good place to start, as they state many interesting facts without actually backing them up. They discuss the dangers of specific diseases but fail to tell us what the actual risk that the disease or the vaccine poses to our child.


  1. Wow, this is great and so true. I did vaccinate my firstborn because "thats what you do" When I had my second child, I started to feel uneasy about it and with good reason. He was nowhere near as robust as my firstborn and he suffered after the 12month vaccines. I should have trusted my instincts but because that is just what you do I vaccinated my unwell son. It affected his health and don't think it protected him from anything.
    I decided to delay with my third child and after much research I don't see myself vaccinating any more of my children.
    I wish I had waited and resarched in the first place.

  2. Thanks for breaking it down in simpler terms.
    I have vax'd all of my 4 kids, but not with the newborn hep B shot.
    Every time I have had a child they have brought out a new vax, so none of them have had the same vax schedule.
    I was uneasy about the rotovirus, but I went ahead and did it.
    Now I feel sorry that I hadn't looked into this sooner.
    My son is 14mths, I am feeling sure at this point I will not continue the vax schedule for him.
    The world is so messed up!

  3. Ok, you can laugh at this. But do you think the decrease in some of these diseases stated is because we have been vaccinating against them? For instance, wasn't Polio a very real problem in Australia? If so what stopped it from being a problem? Vaccination?
    So now there is no real risk of the disease in Australia, but if we stopped vaccinating against it altogether, wouldn't the risk rise eventually?


  4. Christina, all of the diseases that now have vaccines were in decline long before the introduction of vaccines.

    If you have a good google and look up some graphs and statistics on Polio for instance, you will find that vaccination hasn't contributed to the decline in any visible way. All epidemics peak and then ebb away.

    In Japan, they do not vaccinate their children until they are 2 years of age. Their infection rates and childhood mortality rates remain the same- if not better- than other countries who do vaccinate children from an earlier age.

  5. Excellent summary. I would like to point out that the DTaP vaccines does NOT prevent transmission. Guess what, it's not only the "dirty vaccine free" kids who are spreading germs. DTaP, if it works, only reduces symptoms in some people. This effect wantes over 5-10 years. Also, a child at 6 months is not fully vaccinated. A final dose between ages 4-6 is needed.

    To the person who believes vaccines have done come no disease has been eradicated in our world? Indian citizens have more doses of polio vaccine than we ever had on our schedule and they still can't get rid of it. Maybe it's because they use DDT still.

    When America and Europe banned DDT, our cases of paralytic polio disappeared. Interestingly, Europe did not have a widespread vaccine program like us, and their cases still dropped.

    This site has some good charts to chew on:

  6. The CDC's information and the product labels are what turned me off of vaccination entirely. If only for their lack of acknowledgment of questionable situations where children died shortly after being vaccinated; they seem to ignore some of the most obvious consequences of vaccination and continuously reiterate that there's no correlation, when to say so ignores clear evidence. Also, I found out that the CDC panel that determines the schedule is composed of some of the doctors that developed the vaccines and pharmaceutical sales reps; as with so many things, I cannot give their recommendations merit with that kind of financial interest vested in everyone taking them.

  7. Hey there, was very interested to read your take on immunisation, and was impressed by some of the points. However, I was hoping you could clear up some of the more vague points; specifically, the statement that disease epidemics "peak and ebb away", and some of the anecdotal evidence you have used, such as knowing someone who has had it.

    This particular document is a short, concise account that cites sources, and is relatively recent (2000). It also is at odds with much of your argument.

    I believe that your statement of weighing up risks for your child was compelling, but I think your anecdotal evidence leads readers to mix correlation with causation; something that can only be determined by large-scale clinical research. I would be interested to discuss this further, if you wanted to take a look at the document.

  8. Hi Sam,
    I read most of that document you posted. The links in the document seemed to have been invalid, or perhaps my browser wasn't working?

    I found this blog very straight forward and clear. My son reacted to his MMR and the hospital staff were very reluctant to admit it was the MMR which caused the sudden onset of acute asthma that he has not had since (he is 4 and a half years old now). The attack came on around 4 hours after the injection and progressed over the day and night and by the morning he was blue and in and out of consciousness. It was after seeing the doctors refuse to admit it was a reaction to the vaccine and then having our own pediatrician admit it but tell me to keep it hush hush, that I decided to research more and to no longer vaccinate my children on the schedule.

  9. Sam, I am happy to respond to you. I don't see where I have used anecdotal evidence- all of my statistics came from looking at diseases cases vs population. (I also am not sure which one you were referring to when you said I knew someone who had it- do you mean the child I know who is in a wheelchair, unable to speak, when she was a healthy, walking child before her MMR?)

    My statement about disease epidemics "peak and ebb away" was a response to another question, but here is a little bit of information about how epidemics peak and ebb- you will see it time and time again, a disease's 'life' generally peaks and then ebbs away.

    Here is a chart from WHO about Wild Poliovirus (different from the Polio usually discussed)
    Swine flu-

    If you have a look at most graphs representing disease epidemics, you will see that they all have a peak before a slow 'dying off'. It's a pattern most diseases follow. It's very interesting.

    As for the link- it cites no sources, it offers no proof, it merely states an opinion. It is a regurgitation of vaccine 'facts' which have no supporting evidence. Just because it is written by a doctor (we have to trust them on that) doesn't mean he is unbiased- do you know how much money doctors receive from vaccine manufacturers for having a specific percentage rate of their paediatric patients vaccinated? Why do doctors need huge kickbacks from these companies if vaccines are in the best interests of children?

    Interestingly, this line was the one which made me laugh:
    "And it is not only that unimmunized child who is at risk- diseases that begin
    among those who choose not to be immunized can become epidemic in the community at
    Which one is it- do they believe that their vaccines cause immunity, or do they believe that they are ineffective in providing immunity? How can vaccinated people who are 'protected' by the vaccines contract these diseases if the vaccines are effective? It is very strange to suggest that unvaccinated people could become a breeding grounds where diseases can reach epidemic proportions. This has no scientific evidence to support it and is again, based on myth. Vaccinated people are just as likely to contract diseases as unvaccinated, vaccinated people can also be carriers and spread the diseases post-vaccination.

    Vaccines do not guarantee immunity. Over 80% of our population remains unvaccinated in adulthood- yet we don't see these diseases rampant in adults. Diseases are contracted by babies, teenagers, adults and the elderly; and yet, we don't see adults dying of Polio, Diphtheria. To see how flimsy an excuse vaccination poses, look at your own immunity. I have had blood tests and checked immunity for all of the diseases I was vaccinated for- the only immunity still remaining is for Rubella, Measles and Whooping cough- all of which I have had- despite being vaccinated prior to infection.

  10. Come to me with more evidence that "Gellin- Should I vaccinate my child." If you are making a decision to vaccinate your child then first get a real grasp of disease statistics, read vaccine product inserts, read about what a specific disease does to a child. I have read medical journals, looked at pro and anti-vaccine information, tried to find an unbiased source so I could come to a place where I was informed. I have spent over 800 hours looking at information. If you only read one document before deciding if you should vaccinate your child, I would suggest you put a little more thought into it.

    If you walked into a doctor's surgery and he gave you a handful of pills, stating they would be 'good for your child' and should be given at specific age intervals, you would be concerned and want to know (a)what is in it (b)why your child needs it (c) if this is the only option (d) if it is really necessary. Yet most people turn up to have their child injected without even knowing what they are being injected with, or what the vaccine is.

    Informed people make better choices, so inform yourself before you let anyone vaccinate your child.

  11. Earthy Motherhood,

    I found multiple uses of anecdotal evidence within your article, such as knowing 50 unvaccinated babies who are fine, or any other story related to people that you know or have heard of. I am not suggesting you don't include these, as this is your blog and your opinion, I am simply pointing out you are connecting this evidence to conclusions that you cannot possible prove.

    I see little point in arguing over the details of where your evidence is from, or how our opinions differ, so I'll just ask you this question.

    Other than correlation, how has anyone proved without doubt that there is causation linking immunisations and harm towards babies? This obviously does not include listed side affects in small percentages of babies. A link to any reputable case studies or respected journals in regards to this would be great.

  12. 'If you walked into a doctor's surgery and he gave you a handful of pills, stating they would be 'good for your child' and should be given at specific age intervals, you would be concerned and want to know (a)what is in it (b)why your child needs it (c) if this is the only option (d) if it is really necessary. Yet most people turn up to have their child injected without even knowing what they are being injected with, or what the vaccine is.'
    Sadly this was me. It didn't occur to me for one minute to question because its what you do, right? Its what is 'best'.
    The medical profession drives fear at you and you respond.

  13. I selectively vax on a delayed schedule. That said, I'll confess - I worry about my children playing with un-vax'd children. Not for the sake of MY children, for the sake of the other children. My children have had the diseases in question introduced to their immune systems. The non-vax'd child very likely has not, and nature can play some unexpected pranks. I talk with the other child's parents, assess whether they've gone into the non-vax land with adequate knowledge, and go from there.

    A very recent example of my reasons for being cautious about allowing my children to play with non-vax'd children: My son contracted pertussis at just over four weeks old. My daughter did as well, but hers presented as nothing more than a mild cold. His infection was considerably worse, worse enough to warrant an inpatient hospital stay. I immediately phoned my daughter's un-vax'd playmates to inform their parents that we had pertussis in the house, and allowed them to make the decision about whether we'd have playdates during that time.

    It's sad and worrisome to me that not everyone who vax's is thoughtful enough to contact those who have chosen not to vax and give them the same courtesy I afford our friends.

  14. I can't tell you how much I appreciate reading about other parents' heartbreak over this issue. I have not vaccinated any of my five kids and have received all manner of crap about it over the years, from lectures to scoldings to the slammed-door-in-the-face treatment. It's a lonely road and it's nice to run into a friendly face once in a while.

  15. I would like to know something clever to say to people when they say things like, well, it's THOSE kids (the unvaxed) that spread everything around. I can have all the statistics in the world but it's hard to convince people my son is not a threat to their children, like your mothers group thought.

  16. So informative! I absolutely loved this post.

  17. Thank you so much for this post...I am going through this decision making process and finding it so hard - this is a big help!

  18. Hi EM,
    I follow your page on Fb and thought you might be the best person to offer me some advice in a situation I am currently dealing with. My 2 boys are un vaxed, as was my choice when I first found out I was pregnant. My youngest Childs father and I have separated, and to start with he was in agreement with me choosing not to vax. I have a trip coming up this October, to visit family for a reunion in Hawaii. My ex has decided that if I don't vaccinate my youngest, he will not sign the passport forms or allow him to go. He says that he is concerned, with the child being indigenous (aboriginal and TSI), he will be more at risk of 'something happening'. He is also telling me that he has sought legal advice, and that if I don't vax and something happens, I will be charged with neglect. I have tried not to enter into an argument with him, as I feel it is just something for him to hold over me. I am comfortable with my parenting choices and feel I am doing the right thing by my kids. I wonder if you have ever heard of this sort of legal issue, is it possible for me to be charged? Doesn't the conscientious objection form clear me of any 'wrongdoing'? The only thing I have said in response so far is that i'm not taking the boys to a 3rd world country, I have access to medical aid if needed while there (my aunt is a paediatrician), and that I would be willing to discuss the matter honestly if he would enter into it with an open mind rather than 'telling me how it is'. If I absolutely HAD to vax, I would do so selectively, but i'm not even sure which to pick, as i'm so against it to start with!
    Any advice you may have would be really really appreciated, i'm not sure where else to turn.
    Thank you.

  19. I'm so glad I found this article because I too believe vaccination is dangerous. I agree with all your points and I understand the feeling of people thinking you are putting your kid in danger. How stupid people are. My son's first doctor kicked us out for refusing vaccines! GREAT points. I'm saving this page.

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