Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Vaccines

      This was posted on one of the Facebook groups I'm on. It's group for a local store that supports cloth diapering, attachment parenting, breastfeeding and natural child birth.

     The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents vaccinate according to the CDC schedule. My children were all vaccinated. I have a friend who is a physician is curious about why so many parents coming into her practice don't want to vaccinate their children.

     We often use the store and the site as a forum for discussion for all sorts of issues, and people don't always agree.... imagine that. This question of course brought out a lot of people. I thought about commenting but I had two reasons not to. 1) A couple of people were being very attacking in their language towards others. I didn't want to get in the middle of it. 2) I have a blog and this a great topic.

     Firstly let me say I am pro-vaccinations. I think they are a great invention and have saved
thousands of lives. And as cultures become even more city based vaccines will be an even bigger necessity for the health and safety of everyone. It's been well proven that the closer together people live the more likely for a virus or disease outbreak. Immunizations can reduce the amount of people infected and the amount of carriers. So even those who have chosen or cannot be immunized have a better chance of survival.

 
     Secondly I do not agree with the CDC's schedule of vaccines. I do not think that so many vaccines should be clumped together. They have never tested how the body reacts to having the DTaP, Hib, and Polio all at once. Do we know that the immune system handles all that? Sure the system can build immunities but are there as many T cells or complete B cells? I also disagree with the fact that a schedule that was created to make sure high risk, low income, poverty level kids who are less likely to be brought to the doctor are okay, is what the rest of the world has to live by. Yes I want those low income kids to be safe. I just don't want to be forced for something that doesn't fit my life. 

     Thirdly there is family history on both Trey and my side of the families of some nasty reactions. Trey and I are both allergic to metal. Although Trey is fine with shots I'm not. Ever since I was little
the shot sites would hurt a lot longer than usual. In my teen years I started getting site infections and had to go on antibiotics a couple of times. Also we both have siblings who needed half doses to due to reactions. Given the history we had always planned to delay vaccinations. Instead of starting at birth we would start around 18 months and be caught up about 4 years old. Doing one shot at a time, yes that means more visits but it was what we felt comfortable with.

     Then Squeaker came along. Even if we had wanted to give shots according to the CDC schedule. We couldn't tell how sick she was so our Pediatrician wasn't comfortable giving her shots. After receiving the diagnosis of LM the Pulmonologist kept pushing for us to vaccinate but I nor the Pediatrician felt comfortable with it yet. (Side note this is the Pulmonogist I eventually fired) Around 18 months we did do a DTaP.  Which I personally think if you only do one vaccine you should do that one. There is no good treatment for Tetanus and it's something you can contract from a scratch of a rusty nail or staple. It's so easy to pick up. Plus Diphtheria and Pertussis and very fast acting and horrible illnesses. Anyway, Squeaker had a worse than normal but not horrible reaction to the DTaP. Since then we haven't been able to keep her healthy enough to do more, and then we found out about the immune issues.

     Now you maybe thinking at this point that a chronically ill child should be first in line for
vaccines. Most family practice doctors or Peds I know would say would say yes. Most Pulmonogists, GIs, and Immunologist I know would say wait. Even a dead virus found in a vaccine can cause serious issues for someone who is immunodeficient. And not just in reactions but actually contracting the virus it self. It really is a case by case situation. We are still figuring out the immune stuff but right now it looks like a vaccines may not even trigger a proper immune reaction. Which means that even after getting a vaccine Squeaker could still get the disease. All the doctors (Pulmologist, Gastroenterologist, Pediatrician, and Immunologist) agree that for now we don't need to immunize. The other thing that all the doctors agree on is most kids should be getting shots over more time or at least less at a time.

    One last thing to touch on is the Human Stem Cell objection. I have been asked in the past how as a Christian who is pro life could be fine using an immunization that uses Human Stem Cells derived from aborted fetuses. I respond that there was never a chance at true life. Stem Cells for research don't come from abortion clinics. They come form fertility clinics. They are the embryos that are not viable for implantation. Or they are donated to research after the couple is done with fertility treatments. You can check out more here.





2 comments:

  1. Immunodeficient children are prime candidates to _not_ be vaccinated. These are the exceptions that need protection through herd immunity. Such immunity requires at least 80, and preferably 90, percent of the population be immunized. As far as I can tell, if your immunization rate gets as low as 60 percent, you may as well not vaccinate at all.

    The data available seems to suggest that you could do every vaccination all in one day without doing any serious direct harm to a person or a child. However, it's possible that there is a small subset of the population that is susceptible to unintended indirect effects. Without any good way to screen these kids, spacing the shots apart is a good compromise to protect those that are susceptible (less vaccine means a smaller immuno response each time).

    Most physicians I've talked to think the CDC schedule is fine, but also find nothing wrong with doing fewer shots on a more frequent basis. With my kids, we did a shot or two at every well-child visit (instead of every other visit) and we still completed the schedule at two years old.

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  2. Thanks for view of a medical statistician. When your child isn't what the medical world would call perfect it's hard to know what to do.

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