T Nation


Does anyone have an opinion on the need, or lak thereof, for immunizations for children? Thanks in advance.

Sure I do. The benefits FAR exceed any negatives or perceived negatives. Most of what you hear (i.e. autism) are complete bullshit and appeal to the conspiracy theorist type. They prevent serious illness, are cost-effective, and prevent death in some. If there were truly a problem it would be bigger news.

I have no problem with immunizations and our kids have had no adverse reactions to any of them. I would rather they be immunized than risk the chance of getting some preventable disease. On another note, however, where we live in Canada, they have to be immunized to go to school unless you request a special dispensation on the grounds of …whatever. Before you decide not to immunize your kids find out what the school policies are in your area.

Here in New York, we are on the way to have required immunizations for - are you ready? - chicken pox. Evidently, one in 10,000 children die from chicken pox every year, so we have to have every single child vaccinated. I’m sorry, I think this is a pile of horse shit. Vaccinations for small pox and measels make sense - these are deadly viruses with over a 50% mortality rate. The links between vaccinations and autisum have been shown to be valid in a number of studies, though the medical community chooses to ignore that. I’ll look some up and post them.

This country is obsessive about 'dirt' including 'germs'. Entire strains of bacteria are now antibiotic resistant, and even the medical community agrees that this is because we medicate for every little infection. When we stop every single illness with drugs we stop the natural defenses that we have in the body.

Besides the 'major' immunizations, I doubt I will ever have my children vaccinated.

If one of the parents is registered as a 'Christian Scientist' you can legally prevent unnecessary 'routine' medical procedures. This will save your child considerable distress in their early years.

Michelle, how exactly would you feel if that one child were yours? The chances of it being one particular individual are slim, but it WILL happen to somebody. Trust me, as I’ve seen it. Would you like to be the one who has to explain to the parents, “Well, folks, we have a vaccine, but it inconveniences some folks.” Unvaccinated children come down with diseases that we aren’t used to treating and have a hard time recognizing for that very reason.

You’ll forgive me if I sound a little abrupt here, but this attitude is one that I see frequently and one that bothers me quite a bit. There has been no definitive CAUSAL link between any immunization and autism. The reason it’s not widely accepted is because of this.

As for your comment about “routine” medical procedures, I’d love for you to be more specific and please list the years you attended medical school, where you did your residency, and which websites you visit that give you a greater decision making capacity than those who have years of education and experience upon which to based their clinical judgement.

Forgot to add a nice link that refutes much anti-MMR rhetoric out there.

www.spiked-online.com/ printable/00000006D970.htm

Michelle, what do you mean by “routine medical procedures” and “undue stress in their early years”? Like I posted before, our children have all had the routine immunizations–the ones required where we live. This doesn’t include chicken pox, by the way. The one they are thinking about including is whooping cough, which has risen in incidence quite dramatically in the last few years. Anyways, I think the key to healthy children is–good food, good parenting, exercise, fresh air, and no unnecessary visits to doctors and emergency rooms. Maybe we have just been lucky to have healthy children, but none of ours have ever had the ear infections that most parents worry about. They didn’t spend their early years on antibiotics because we weren’t quick to run to doctors for the least little thing. If something persisted, we went, but that’s it. Kids should be allowed to play outside and get dirty. Exposure to colds builds up immunities. Overdressing and overprotecting your babies is bad–they overheat as easily as adults, if not more. Anyways, I could go on. However, I do think it is important to protect them through immunization from diseases that could otherwise kill them. The reaction to these immunizations is usually minimal (in most children)–a low fever for a day, redness in the arm for a day, and perhaps some soreness. That’s pretty much it.

Thanks doc. What is your take on the mercury problems? A bunch of BS too?

Also its bantied about that some of the immunizations may be unneccessary given today’s risk of infectious disease. Thanks

Yes, Doc T, I think it is unreasonable to immunize millions of children because a very very few could get sick enough to die from chicken pox. Yes, we should vaccinate against diseases that kill half the people who contract them … or even 10 % of the people… if 1% of the people who get a disease die from it we should vaccinate if at all possible. BUT if 1% of 1% get a fatal case, NO we should not vaccinate. There is a point where western medicine has to realize that getting sick is NORMAL and HEALTHY. And yes, of course I feel awful that some child somewhere may die of chicken pox. But since MANY more children are autistic than die from chicken pox, perhaps we should think about them too. As GM pointed out, worrying about every single little germ is more unhealthy than running to the ER every time Suzy has a sniffle.

For those of you who are going to scream at me for what I just wrote, do NOT pull one sentence out of the last paragraph and quote it. IN CONTEXT my feelings on vaccinations are supported.

Since you are a Doctor, you know about this special procedure. When a baby is born premature, it is put on oxygen. The oxygen that keeps the child alive can also cause blindness. Now, of course, they are not going to suffocate the baby to avoid blindness, so some babies go blind. It can not be helped. If they want to check to see if the baby’s sight is being affected by the oxygen they put numbing drops in the eye and then pry the lids far enough apart to examine the optic nerve. Here’s the kicker: even if the baby IS going blind they can do nothing at all to stop it. So, why are we prying at a baby’s eyes? No, they don’t feel it, but it sure is trauma. I have had numerous surgeries in my life, and part of the recovery process is your body dealing with the shock of a trauma it can’t remember but knows happened.

And how about the drops put in the eyes of babies when they are born to prevent the spread of STD’s from the mother during birth? Even if the mother DOES NOT have an STD, the baby has mildly acidic drops put in their eyes as a matter of hospital procedure. Hmm, I bet that feels wonderful! Yes, a mother has the right to refuse this treatment, but is not told that… she has to stop it before hand.

How about circumcision? Shall we talk about trauma??? Nope, don’t numb the baby at all, just snip snip snip! And speaking of circumcision, there is NO medical basis for it. It is a cultural ‘norm’ and completely medically unnecessary.

Please don’t give me the ‘doctor knows best’ line. The ‘clinical judgment’ that you refer to is not always based on current medical knowledge. OF COURSE medical science will refute the link between autism and vaccinations!!! Could you imagine the lawsuits that would come forth if they admitted to it?

Well, Michelle, I guess we differ in quite a few ways. One, I’ve actually seen somebody die of fulminant diseminated varicella. YOU have not. It was a completely avoidable situation, but the parents “didn’t believe in vaccination.” Well excuse the fuck out of me for being extremely sad for this beautiful child that died for absolutely NO REASON AT ALL. I’m so sorry that it inconveniences you and people like you.

My second point is that you don’t all the facts here. Yes, chicken pox in children is not fatal the majority of the time. It does cause kids to miss school, parents to miss work, and money spent on these kids that otherwise would not have been. That’s minor compared to what I’m about to say. Chicken pox in adults is MUCH more dangerous. The morbidity and mortality is much higher. This is in addition to reactivation varicella, also known as shingles, which can be quite debilitating to those who have the misfortune of getting it. This can all be prevented by an relatively inexpensive, SAFE vaccination.

Your second point had to do with retinopathy of prematurity. Yes, oxygen has some role in this. No, it is most definately NOT irreversible, and something CAN be done about it once discovered. Your description (“prying their lids apart”) is unnecessary and horribly exaggerated to serve your purpose. I could describe birth as “the baby being literally pulled to the point of breaking out of the mother” if I had some agenda with that as well. Examining their fundus is a necessary procedure as retinopathy of prematurity is NOT an irreversible situation. You again have your “facts” wrong.

As for drops being put in their eyes, I’d agree with you if we had a 100% STD detection rate. We’re not even close to that. Speaking of babies going blind, how’d you like your child to go blind because your were inconvienced by several simple drops in their eyes?

As for circumcision, there are a few studies that show benefit, but I’d agree with you for the most part. It’s a religious thing. If that’s what parents CHOOSE to do, that’s their choice. Doc’s don’t decide whether to do it or not, so your point isn’t valid.

And last, I’m not giving you a “doctor knows best line.” What I’m trying to get across is that you lack years of experience in seeing patients, yet you presume to know better than those who have just that. The vast majority of people I know and have worked with DO use current medical knowledge as a basis for their practice. Again, firsthand knowledge is much better than heresay. What exactly are your qualifications again? I’m not trying to put down people who aren’t docs. I’d just simply like to know where you’re coming from.

And again, there is no proven link between vaccinations and autism. Get over the conspiracy theory thing unless you want to provide some concrete evidence.

I have to agree with DocT on the circumcision thing. It is purely CHOSEN by the parents and not done routinely by doctors. If it is done to excess it’s because parents are choosing this option for their sons. Ouch!