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Vaccinations: Pros & Cons
by Rebecca Dirks, ND

General Vaccination Information

School immunization laws: All states have exemptions for medical contraindications, 47 states have exemptions for religious beliefs against vaccination & 15 states have exemptions for philosophical reasons to oppose vaccination.

Washington State has both exemptions available.
Schools will send the child home for days if there is an outbreak (for the child's protection)

Taking exemption from vaccination requires time & responsibility of the parents. Educating your child on proper behavior to minimize disease is very important.

Doctors are required to provide vaccine information statements before administering the vaccine.

Breast-feeding does protect the child from diseases through the motherís immunity but it does not protect against Pertussis.

Vaccination timing: Typically, the 1st shot in a series provides full immunity to 70% of the population. The 2nd shot in the series brings it up to 80% & the 3rd to 90% of the population.

A blood test can be done to show immunity to a disease after vaccination or after contracting the disease (antibodies will present in the bloodstream).

Immunizations provide long-term immunity, not lifetime immunity.

Most of the vaccines given now do not contain live virus.

Vaccines can cause allergic reactions/ sensitivities to certain foods like eggs & gelatin as well as certain medications (antibiotics).

Severe allergies to eggs, gelatin or antibiotics can result in severe deadly reactions to a vaccine containing these substances.

Consider the risks of contracting the disease in your decision to immunize your child. High risks include overseas travel, frequent plane or bus travel, urban day care or school, & poor sanitary conditions.

Vaccination Internet Hype:

American health authorities are considering a complete change of policy in the face of strong evidence that all cases of polio are caused by the polio vaccine. Change has occurred with the polio vaccine due to cases of vaccine-associated paralytic polio. It is no longer an oral vaccine of live virus but an injectable vaccine of inactivated virus.

The Lancet reported that West German authorities had listed 27 neurological reactions to the mumps vaccine, including meningitis, febrile convulsions & epilepsy. These are risks of the vaccine but donít let this statement fool you, we donít know the time frame or the total amount of vaccinations given to result in this number.
Dr. R. Mendelsohn said, ďThere now exists a growing theoretical concern which links immunization to the huge increase, in recent decades, of auto-immune diseases. No scientific research has proved or disproved this theory.

Keep in mind other factors in our environment that have changed in the past 20-30 years (air quality, pesticides, increased medication use, modified foods, etc.).

Mercury is a common preservative used in vaccines & is causing neurologic deficits in infants worldwide. Mercury does cause neurologic impairment in long-term low doses & also in short-term high doses as found in vaccines. It is a concern to the FDA & the EPA &, since 1999, has been removed from most all vaccines. If you want to be cautious, ask your doctor to check the label for Thimerosal.

Vaccination proís & conís

Hepatitis A:

  1. In high risk populations it can prevent the disease (other countries, communities with prolonged outbreaks).
  2. The disease is contagious to family members if careful hygiene is not followed.
  3. Death can occur from the disease (very rare).
  1. The disease is self limiting & gives you life-long immunity
  2. Mild symptoms occur with the vaccination in as little as 1 out of 6 people
  3. Severe allergic reactions & death can occur (very rare)

Hepatitis B:

  1. 9% of Hepatitis B occurs in adolescents (14-19yo)
  2. 45% of Hepatitis B occurs in ages 20-29
  1. JAMA article 2001 states that there is no scientific evidence to justify HBV before the age risk factors become relevant. Risk/benefit analysis show HBV vaccination among children carries one of the largest unjustified risks & substantial financial costs.
  2. HBV immunization associated with 53 deaths & 828 serious injuries
  3. Rate of child under 10 getting HBV infection is 191/38million
  4. There are mild symptoms associated with the vaccine & severe reactions are rare

MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella):

  1. Those not vaccinated are 35 times more likely to contract measles.
  2. Symptoms can become severe.
  3. If planning on getting pregnant Ė to protect against possible contraction of Rubella

  1. In a population mixed with vaccinated children & unvaccinated children, those vaccinated had a
  2. 5 - 30% chance of contracting measles depending on the number of unvaccinated children in the population. (JAMA 1999;282:47-53)
  3. Mumps-like virus has been showing up in immunized children
  4. Side effects to the vaccination are very similar to the disease itself
  5. This vaccine has a higher likelihood of moderate to severe reactions
  6. Seizures, 1 out of 3000
  7. Joint pain or stiffness 1 out of 4
  8. Low platelet count leading to bleeding disorder 1 out of 30,000

Chicken Pox:

  1. Symptoms can rarely progress to severe skin infection
  2. 12,000 people are hospitalized each year & 100 deaths (that is approx. 1 in 250,000 people hospitalized & 1 in 3million die).

  1. Contracting the chicken pox gives lifetime immunity
  2. The vaccine immunity lasts about 20yrs. so a booster is required
  3. Mild symptoms from vaccination are similar to the disease & can be contagious
  4. Seizures occur with vaccination in 1 out of 1000 people

Polio Virus:

  1. The disease is still common in developing countries

  1. No cases of wild polio have been reported in the U.S. for over 20yrs.

DTP Ė (Diptheria, Tetanus, Pertussis):

  1. DTaP is a safer version of the older vaccine DTP.
  2. Tetanus is a severe disease that is often fatal
  3. In 1999, 400 reported cases of Pertussis; 5 cases were hospitalized in 1998

  1. Pertussis is a disease of younger children only. Anyone over 7 has no need for DTaP. (Td is offered)
  2. A booster is required every 10-12 years for Tetanus
  3. Diptheria is eradicated here in the U.S. but can be found in developing countries
  4. Side effects are more common with the DTaP vaccine. Mild problems occur in 1 out of 4 kids.
  5. Seizures & high fever occur in 1 child out of 14,000 & 1 out of 16,000
  6. Non-stop crying for 3hrs or more occurs in 1 out of 1000 kids
  7. Severe problems like long-term seizures, coma, brain damage are rare
  8. Any child with moderate to severe reactions should not get another dose of DTaP

Haemophilus Influenza (Hib):

  1. Hib is the leading cause of bacterial meningitis among children under 5yrs.
  2. Before Hib vaccine, 1 out of 1500 children got Hib each year & nearly 1 out of 30,000 died
  3. There were 9 cases of Hib Epiglottitis at Childrenís hospital last year

  1. Children over 5 years old donít need the vaccine
  2. Fever is common with this vaccine; 1 out of 20 kids

Pneumococcal Vaccine:

  1. Conjugate vaccine is available for children under 2 years.
  2. The vaccine help prevent diseases that are becoming resistant to antibiotics

  1. If you commonly get ear infections, or respiratory infections you donít need the vaccine


  • Institute for Vaccine Safety website
  • National Immunization Program Home page:
  • Center for Disease Control Home page:
  • National Immunization Hotline: 1-800-232-2522
  • Public Health Foundation: (877) 252-1200
  • The Immunization Decision: A Guide for Parents by Randall Neustaedter

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact the Northwest Center for Optimal Health at (360) 651-9355.

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