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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

the vaccine question/debate

One of the biggest questions I've gotten since Jordans' autism diagnosis is, "Do you think it was the vaccines?"

not going in to all the details of the debate here....but if you're interested just google autism, vaccines and check out the pages and pages of websites, research, opinions out there. found this source today and it stunned me.

we are researching vaccines at the moment to figure out what to do with Jax (going forward). Because it is not PROVEN that vaccines DO NOT cause autism...then we are trying to play it safe with Jax, especially since he's now "genetically prone" (autistic sibling). I found some great tips at and also a stunning comparision. Here's a chart that shows how many vax's Asah and I received (data from 1983) and then a comparison to a list of current vaccines (2007). It just makes me question why. WHY so many? For these little bodies? We're not anti-vaccine. Just want to be more informed. Especially since there's a big window where vaccines can be given. It does not have to be an "all or nothing" approach or all before 12 months, or 2 years, or whatever. Here's the recommended schedule. The yellow highlighted parts are recommended "ranges" which the vaccines can be given. I cannot have regrets, I can only go with what I know going forward. God is sovereign. He'll give us wisdom if we only ask. (James 1 says that if we lack it; just ask God, who gives it generously!)
Just opening this up. Want to see what you do. What you think. I know this is a touchy subject. Just sharing what we're dealing with.

i thought these tips were helpful.

• Consider delaying vaccines until your child is 18-24 months old.
• Do not vaccinate if your child is taking antibiotics.
• Consider no more than one vaccine per doctor’s visit.
• If you plan to get the MMR vaccine, ask your doctor to give it in three separate vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella.
• Consider giving high doses of Vitamin C (3,000-5,000 mg per day) on the day before, of, and after vaccination.
• With the measles vaccine (MMR), consider high doses of Vitamin A (5,000 IU or more) on the day before, of, and after vaccination.
• If your child experiences any developmental delays, stop vaccinating until you learn more.
• If your child has an adverse reaction to a vaccine, stop vaccinating until you learn more.
• Always ask to see the vaccine insert, and never accept a vaccine that uses the preservative Thimerosal (mercury). For a complete list of vaccines with Thimerosal, see the FDA’s website here. Note: most flu shots today still contain Thimerosal

To be honest, I have not yet taken Jax for his 12 month visit. Isnt that terrible. He's almost 15 months but I've just been afraid of what the pediatrician will say when I discuss delaying vaccines. I feel confident in our decision. Time to schedule an appointment, I suppose!

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Blogger The Summers said...

Tara, you shouldn't feel bad at all about delaying, dividing up, splitting the vaccines, etc. You would be surprised at just how many people do's not uncommon at all. If your pediatrician gives you a hard time, then find a new one. Of course, most all pediatricians believe in the AMA's stand that there is no link between vaccines and autism, but you definitely need a doctor that supports you and your beliefs. Let us know how it turns out! Good luck!

11/19/2009 4:39 PM  
Blogger Jenny said...

From what I've heard/talked to with other mom friends, they've said the same thing: If your doctor gives you a hard time, find another. A friend of mine was scared too, but when she told her doctor, he was like "OK, no big deal." The debate is still out there, for sure, but I don't think you're doing anything wrong by doing what you feel is best for your children without jeopardizing their health. On a personal note, in thinking about future needs, I'm with you on this one.

11/19/2009 4:52 PM  
Blogger allison said...

Tara, we have spaced McKinley's vaccines out and have been pleased. I used the book by Dr. Sears as a resource. I found it very helpful. We felt it was more important to err on the side of cautious. I, like you, am astounded at the number of vaccinations given to such tiny bodies. I had to sign a simple release form at the doctor's office saying that I understood that this was not the "recommended" schedule, but otherwise I have had very little opposition. I have been pleased with spacing the vaccines out and though it has required more visits to the doctor and more sticks with the needle, I remind myself that the pain from the needle is temporary. While there is no confirming evidence with vaccinations and autism I do feel there is some link somewhere to what a child's body today is exposed to. It has been my experience that as long as I approach the nurse and doctor with confidence of what we are doing with each visit then there hasn't been any problems. I knew that if I went in with some doubt then I would cave. We fully intend to give McKinley all the required vaccines over the next 4 years (before starting school), but they will continue to be spaced out. We have also opted to not have him vaccinated for the H1N1 virus, having questions about the haste in which the vaccination was produced. Clearly, this is just my opinion and I have no intention of judging anyone else for their own opinion.

11/19/2009 5:36 PM  
Blogger Mallory and Amy said...

Tara, please know that my opinion is from a medical standpoint of a pediatric nurse (working for a pro-vaccine pediatrician), and that as a mother.

The CDC has tested the vaccine schedule with more scrutiny and caution that you can imagine. Yes, there are more vaccines today than when we were kids, but there are also LESS kids dying of preventable diseases.

I am NOT an advocate for spacing vaccines beyond the recommended schedule for many reasons. 1- the schedule has been tested, and it's proven true. Vaccines do NOT cause autism. The Wakefield study was a myth, a false study skewed to earn money. It is completely void. 2- The schedule was designed to give children the immunities they need by a certain point in life. If you delay until after the first year, there are vaccinations that your child will NOT get due to age. He no longer can recieve them and is therefore at risk for such disease (rotavirus, prevnar, hib). 3- spacing immunizations will cost you more $ in copays and such and will terrify your child of the doctor's office.

If you choose not to vaccinate, some pediatricians will refuse to see you. the office i work at has a policy that all children must be vaccinated and up to date by age 2. If the parents refuse, they are dismissed from the practice. good pediatricians are hard to find, and a good one is one that encourages you to do what is best for your child. This includes vaccinations. Don't blame a pediatriican because they dismiss patients who refuse to vaccinate- it is simply a liability thing- they don't want to be responsible for this patient spreading measles (or something worse) to the entire waiting room. If you refuse to vaccinate, you will find a pediatrician who will support your decision, I'm sure, but I do question the care he/she gives. If he/she doesn't encourage vaccinations, does he/she encourage antibiotics when your child has an ear infection? What about ADD meds? All I am saying is a pediatrician should adhere to the AAP (american academy of pediatrics) guidelines. Once they deviate from those, the standard of care can vary dramatically.

This brings up many more issues such as un-immunized children in church nurseries, daycares, etc. Even if you choose to vaccinate, your child can still catch diseases from un-vaccinated children in close quarters. This is why we have seen an increase in measles in the USA in recent years. Churches and daycares are going to have to start setting policies for vaccination as well.

I too recommend Dr. Sears' book on vaccines as it is very unbiased and straight forward on the truths of vaccines. I also agree with a few tips you mentioned- children on antibiotics shouldn't be vaccinated. if you're concerned about the flu shot, do the flu mist. It's completely free of thimerisol.

I think parents should be informed, educated and do their research. I also think they should trust their doctors. They are not the bad guys. They love kids. They want to help them. They are smart. They want you to ask questions, but they want you to really listen to their answers also.

I hope this helps. I know I have a somewhat extreme opinion on this matter, but it is well researched. I do not understand what it is like to have a child with autism, because I have never experienced that. Therefore, I cannot understand your reasoning on vaccinations. I can only tell you my opinion and my experience.

Ultimately, God is sovereign and he controls all things- NOT vaccinations, doctors, research or even parents. Our children are his and we best demonstrate Christ to our children by showing them our trust in God, not in mankind. We pray for you guys regularly and would love to see you anytime you are in S Georgia.

11/19/2009 9:18 PM  
Blogger Joni said...

Hey Tara,
I'm glad you are becoming more informed! I've read so many different autism theories - vaccines, plastics, new car smell, artificial color/dyes in many theories! If it were just one thing, then everyone would stop doing that one thing! The cause for autism is definitely environmental (the explosive increase rather than a normal increase) but probably is not just one thing. There are so many toxins in our environment, what we put on and in our bodies - just everything is such a burden increasing these childhood illnesses and disorders. I wish we could control it but we can't - but good thing God is in control. However, we can make informed decisions that are right for our families.

I've delayed and skipped several vaccines for my children. I do intend to have them fully vaccinated one day - just not everything by one year old.

I also believe the biggest link to health is through nutrition! What we are eating, or not eating, affects us physically, mentally, emotionally, etc.

11/20/2009 10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tara, i'm so glad that I don't have to make this decision. Like Amy said, I heard that the study that concluded that vaccines cause autism was unfounded and found to be completely false. However, it's still a hard call. I'm a strong believer in "Mother's intuition" and know in my heart that God will lead you to the right decision for your little one. Your faith is inspiring. Love you all. Joy

11/20/2009 3:29 PM  
Blogger Trent and Jaci said...

Tara- I believe you know what is right for the boys! I haven't had to think about these choices yet but I know one day it will come. After Jordan being diagnosed, I now have started thinking what we want for our future children! I too question how many vaccines they want to pump into these small kids!!!! Now days they have a vaccine for everything, I think about when I was little....I got the chicken pox and didn't die! Itched like crazy but was still okay. I think doing TOO much is overboard. That's just my opinion! Trent and I have talked here and there about when we have kids what to do...we will more than likley pick and chose when our kids are vaccinated versus listening to the Dr's. I am just not that confident in our Medical Experts anymore, or our Doctors!!!!

11/20/2009 11:20 PM  
Blogger Shelley said...

i am with you. chips aunt is a nurse and she was really cautioning me when Streed was a baby as to spacing his out. she has 4 kids and i know she spaced out the vaccines of the last two. i was nervous at Nate's last appt when he got his shots. his doc (whom i love) has 3 kids and I really trust her. she held off on one of his because she does not recommend more than 4 shots. one of his was a combo shot so she counted that as more than one. it really is scary and like one of the comments said, it is better to air on the side of caution and trust God with the wisdom He gives. i really doubt your child would catch of life threatening disease (that most all kids are vaccinated against) if you simply post-pone the vaccine. I am def not anti-vaccine but I totally see the benefit of spacing them out. i love the recommendations too. ahhh it is so much to think about being a parent! thanks for all your research. as it benefits your family it benefits us all. much love

11/26/2009 6:21 PM  

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