Volume 3 Issue 6
by Danielle J. Emel, ND/PhD
Medical doctors, as well as alternative health practitioners, can be found on both sides of the fence, fiercely arguing the pros and cons of vaccinations. Fear tactics are used to pressure parents to “protect” their children from “preventable” diseases. The myth of a society with no disease, thanks to science and immunization is rampant.
As a homeschooling mother of seven, and Doctor of Naturopathy/Natural Health, what follows is the reasoning that led me to NOT vaccinate my children. My decision was based on personal experience, as well as on research through books and articles.
First of all, what is behind the immunization philosophy? It is the belief that if we give a person the disease in a milder form, the body will, hopefully, remember how to fight it off, should it ever contact it.
I had been vaccinated against measles, whooping cough and mumps...and got all three of them, together...well, one following the other! The vaccination I had against tuberculosis was checked positive one week, negative the other, on and off during my school years. I could not use my arm for three days after a tetanus booster, and the smallpox vaccine given to me in my teenage years (before traveling to Eastern countries) got me quarantined for three weeks because my arm had swollen so badly (I could not put a sleeve on) and was oozing...Yuk! I was considered contagious! The irony of it was that during the time I was recovering, the World Health Organization decided that smallpox vaccinations were no longer required!
When it came time to immunize my first child, I hit the books. With each child, I turned back to research to find out what more had been discovered. Nothing I read in the literature about vaccinations positively convinced me that the benefits outweighed the risks, quite the contrary. Instead of approaching the subject through each specific disease/vaccination, I summarized their common traits.
1. Infectious diseases seem to rise and fall, whether we use vaccinations, antibiotics or nothing. Infectious disease rates had fallen sharply (95%) before vaccinations and antibiotics were introduced. The decrease seems to be due to improvements in public and personal hygiene and was noted in countries where immunizations became popular, as well as in countries not using vaccinations.
2. Vaccines are made by growing viruses/bacteria on decomposed proteins, taken from pig/horse blood, dog/monkey kidney tissues, chicken/duck egg, as well as from aborted fetuses. They must then be preserved, with chemicals such as mercury derivatives, formaldehyde, aluminum, acetone, etc,... which are known to be toxic; not really what I want to put in my children’s bodies.
3. Vaccine safety is highly questionable: SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) has been linked to early vaccinations. A baby’s immune system is not ready for this onslaught of poisonous substances. There was no recorded case of autism before vaccinations. Serious neurological disorders and brain damages have been associated with vaccines. Hyperactivity, nausea, vomiting, sore throat, retardation, headache, rashes, anorexia, convulsions, allergies, screaming...are some of the “milder” symptoms.
4. Vaccines offer questionable protection against the disease: From 30 to 99% of the population contracting the disease have been previously vaccinated.
5. Some vaccinations seem to actually cause the disease more frequently than it prevents it (polio, meningitis, pertussis, iphtheria).
6. When we come in contact with a disease, it goes through the normal channels, such as nose, throat, digestive ystem...where our immune system encounters it and builds its defense system naturally. With vaccinations, we inject the disease directly into the body/blood, bypassing the designed first-line response to antigens. If the body is strong enough, it will violently react to this unnatural assault and reject it. In extreme cases, the person may die. AS is more usual, the body will tolerate and adapt to the poison, until later years, where its tolerance abilities are “used up” and multiple chronic/degenerative diseases show up. Another thought: vaccines contain protein, which can only be digested properly in the stomach and intestines, which they bypass. What is our body doing with these proteins? Some research shows that rheumatoid arthritis, lupus erythematosis, leukemia, some forms of cancer, and other auto-immune diseases could be related to that problem.
7. Vaccinations seems to reduce our ability to fight other diseases, since quite a portion of the T-lymphocytes (agents of the immune system) get committed to specific antigens (foreign bodies). It is believed that with routine immunization, as much as 30-70% of the immune system can become committed to fighting those specific diseases, leaving us with little to fight the assaults of “new strains”. Moreover, the amount of antibodies we carry against a specific disease does not seem to influence our resistance to it!
8. Vaccinations are based on the germ theory, which says that bacteria/germs cause diseases. However, during the time that Pasteur introduced his “germ theory” (1822-1895), Bechamp demonstrated that bacteria function in whatever medium they find themselves, changing shapes and functions with the medium. In other words, Pasteur theorized that germs cause diseases and Bechamp that diseases cause germs. (Flies are attracted by rotten meat, but do not cause rotten meat). Claude Bernard, considered to be the father of modern medicine, sided with Bechamp, saying that the general condition of the body, known as the terrain, was the principal factor in disease. Pasteur eventually rejected his germ theory, and on his deathbed is reported to have said: “Bernard was right. The seed is nothing, the soil is everything.”
People may carry meningitis bacteria, or microbes linked to influenza, tuberculosis and other illnesses, yet never develop the disease. On the other hand, people having a specific disease are not necessarily infected by a specific germ. In research, different strains of bacteria have been put into a uniform medium: soon afterwards, they were all similar. On the other hand, when a specific germ (pneumococcus) is put into a certain medium, it can change into a streptococcus: if we put it into a different medium, it becomes a staphylococcus. Back to the first medium: you get a pneumococcus again.
Why then, do we cling to the germ theory? It seems to be a part of human nature to prefer to blame external forces for our ills, rather than discipline ourselves. Also, there are political/economic reasons for continuing the myth. Immunization is big business: conflicts of interest rise when faced with disclosing adverse reactions or failure to protect. Results can be manipulated, biased and/or ignored.
9. Are childhood diseases that disastrous anyway? Statistically, a child has more risk of dying in a car accident, then from dying from any of the childhood diseases combined. If children were to contract such a disease, they could be monitored by the medical establishment, as well as helped with complementary medicine, such as herbs, homeopathy, supplements, etc. Furthermore, it is believed that childhood diseases help the body get rid of toxins on a regular basis, as well as teach it to fight small battles, keeping it in shape should it ever have to fight a big one.
10. The immunization decision has be to based on a comprehensive approach to health. Naturopathy is based on the premises that the condition of our body is of utmost importance in regard to maintaining health. In accordance to this belief, the real focus should be to keep a healthy immune system, by balancing proper nutrition, rest, exercise, and a cheery disposition. Loading the body with unnatural substances, which it does not know how to digest, living sedentary lives between concrete walls, feeding our minds scary information (news, movies), ignoring our needs for rest and relaxation, predisposes us to disease. People under stress are more apt to “catch a bug” than peaceful, happy individuals.
In our family, natural healthy lifestyle has always been a priority. My children have had colds, maybe once a year or every other year (usually after the Birthdays/Thanksgiving?Christmas season, where we relax our standards a bit), but get over them quickly. They may have had a bout with whooping cough, several years ago: we had little sleep for three weeks, but got over it. At the time, I had 5 children: four got it, one did not. My children have been around kids with chicken pox numerous times, but never contracted it. I believe they were strong during those particular times.
Known facts that are worth mentioning: breast-fed children are immune to polio, as long as they are nursing. Increased consumption of sugar has been linked to polio outbreaks, as well as lower immunity in general.
There are other ways to prepare against possible outbreaks. Dr. A. Pulford wrote “No disease will arise without an existing predisposition to that disease. It is the absence of the predisposition to any particular disease that makes us immune to it. Homeopathy alone is capable of removing these predispositions.” (quoted from Homeopathy and Immunization, by Leslie J. Speight). Also, people who have come in contact with a disease such as whooping cough and poliomyelitis were administered homeopathic preparations, and none of them developed the disease. During the cholera epidemic, it was well documented that homeopathic treatments were superior to traditional approaches.
In the end, the vaccination decision is not based on sound scientific principles, but on philosophy. Philosophy is based on beliefs and assumptions, in which one must develop faith.
The best and most exhaustive book I have read on the subject to date, which has extensive sections on each vaccination, with its reaction and failure is: “What About Immunizations? Exposing the vaccine philosophy, a parents’ guide to the vaccination decision” by Cynthia Cournoyer. Price $12.95, a worthy investment if you need help gaining peace of mind concerning your decision, or as a reference book in case you are questioned by well-intentioned medical people, family or friends. It can be ordered through Clear Communications, 7185 Redwood Hwy., Grants Pass, OR 97527. Tel. (503) 474-7886.
Other resources, besides numerous articles from different magazines, were: