Childhood Vaccinations: Boon or Bane?

When I was about nine years old, my brother and my cousin got polio. We lived in a small town and the lone doctor was old and didn’t diagnose them right away. My brother seemed to recover but my cousin was, at one point, almost completely paralyzed and spent many months in Children’s hospital in Oakland, Ca. She recovered partially but was left with permanent paralysis on one hand and damage to several back muscles. My brother began dragging his right leg and had to undergo a very painful series of re-habilitation exercises administered by my mother. A couple years later the first polio vaccine was administered at our school and in no time a dreaded and fairly common childhood disease was pretty much wiped out. I tell this story because it goes to any biases I have regarding vaccination.

The basic argument

The argument in favor of childhood vaccinations goes as follows: many diseases have attacked humankind resulting in suffering, disability, or death.

Through vaccination, children can be prevented from contracting these diseases and some illnesses, smallpox, for example, have been eliminated worldwide. Study after study has shown vaccines to be safe.

The argument against childhood vaccinations is this: we don’t quarrel with the fact that vaccinations have done much good but there are other ways to combat these diseases. Childhood vaccinations have led to autism, asthma, diabetes, and developmental disabilities.

The common childhood vaccinations

DTP protects against diptheria, tetenus, and pertussis. Diptheria can lead to heart failure and death. Tetenus, or lockjaw commonly leads to death. Perussis, or whooping cough, can lead to pneumonia, convulsions, and death.

IPV or polio vaccine prevents polio. Polio, or infantile paralysis, can cause paralysis, even paralysis of the muscles used to breathe. Even today there are people who have spend the last 50 or so years of their lives in an iron lung.

MMR protects against measles, mumps, and rubella. Measles can lead to more serious problems such as brain swelling and even death. Mumps can lead to meningitis. It can also cause boys to become sterile as adults.
Rubella, or German measles, can cause brain swelling or problems with bleeding. If contracted while a woman is pregnant, it can cause her to lose her baby or have a baby who is blind or deaf.

Hib prevents Haemophilius influenza type b. This is a leading cause of serious illness in young children. It can lead to meningitis, pneumonia, and severe throat infections.

Varicella vaccine protects against chicken pox.

HBV prevents hepatitis B that can damage the liver and lead to liver cancer and death.

Pneumococcol conjugate vaccine protects against a bacteria that is a common cause of ear infections which can lead to meningitis and bacteremia (infection in the blood stream).

Some vaccines should not be given to children who have certain types of cancer or certain diseases or who are taking drugs that lower the body’s ability to resist infection. MMR should not be given to children who are allergic to eggs.

The argument against childhood vaccinations

Childhood vaccinations have led to the marked increase in childhood asthma, diabetes and autism. Most vaccines contained Thimerosol, which has mercury as its main ingredient. Mercury is very toxic and if all vaccines are taken they will have mercury levels 2,370 times the allowable limit. There is really no safe limit to mercury. Before it was banned, 12 of the 18 common vaccines contained Thimerosol even though it caused neurological disorders.

Many parents of autistic children report that their children were moving and talking normally until they received a vaccination, especially the MMR. After getting the MMR vaccine, these children lost the ability to talk, showed repetitive movements, and self-destructive behavior. MMR started being given in 1991, the same year that marks the beginning of the dramatic increase in autism. Vera Scheibner has done numerous tests showing the link between this vaccine and autism. Many children with autistic type behavior showed very elevated levels of mercury. When these children are rid of the high levels of mercury, their behavior and abilities return to normal.

The problem is that increased numbers of vaccinations also increased the amount of mercury put into the child’s system raising the levels to toxic levels. The other danger that increased numbers of vaccinations poses is that a young child’s immune system can be overwhelmed, leaving the child vulnerable immune deficiency diseases like asthma and diabetes, both of which have increased dramatically in recent years.

Barbara Loe Fisher is the co-founder of the National Vaccine Information Center and has repeatedly called for studies on the dangers of childhood vaccinations. Many people feel these studies aren’t done because the big drug companies make so much money on vaccines.

The argument in favor of childhood immunization

Childhood vaccinations have prevented untold suffering, disability, and death. Small pox has been wiped out world wide, polio now occurs only among non-immunized populations, whooping cough went from 2,000,000 cases in 1983 to 346,000 globally, measles deaths are down 95% in the industrialized world. And on and on.

Studies have been done on the safety of childhood vaccinations. The British Medical Research Council, the WHO, and the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Research all studied the incidence of autism in vaccinated and non vaccinated populations and showed that there was no difference in the rates of autism in the two populations.

In August of 2005, a Danish study was published that showed no increased risk for 800,000 children who received a standard set of vaccinations. They found that the child’s immune system is not overwhelmed or weakened.

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