Whats with the vaccine controversy?

~The other day I had asked my Breastfeeding Mama Talk members what they would like me to blog about and the winning topic was vaccines. If you are reading this blog because you want to read something that has a definitive answer on whether or not you should vaccinate, then this is not the blog for you. I’m not going to come in hating on vaccines or come in preaching that you should vaccinate. I’m coming from a non bias view and will just give you all the information that is already out there.

~I really don’t want any of my readers to read this and think that I’m shoving MY opinions or facts down your throat, because I’m really not. I honestly do see both sides to this. I can understand why someone would choose NOT to vaccinate and I can definitely understand why someone would choose TO vaccinate. I’m hoping that with this blog I can get more people to see both sides as well. I have seen many people get riled up over this topic so that is not what I’m looking to do with this blog. My 3 year old is currently up to date with all his shots except for the flu shot, but just because I chose the vaccination route doesn’t mean I think that everyone else’s children should be vaccinated too. 

*Why wouldn’t someone vaccinate their kid/s? I will be honest, until up to a year ago I thought that people who didn’t vaccinate their kids, didn’t because they were lazy or just didn’t care to either way. And that was very ignorant of me, I admit. But for most of the parents on the anti vaccine side, that isn’t anywhere near to the truth. I will talk about some of the personal reasons I have learned from just talking with other people on why they are not comfortable having their kids vaccinated. Which then sparked my curiosity to research more myself.  The main thing I hear  often on the non vaccine side is  that they argue children’s immune systems can deal with most infections naturally, and that the possible side effects of vaccination, including seizures, paralysis, and death, are not worth the risk of safeguarding against non-life threatening illnesses. They contend that numerous studies prove that vaccines may trigger problems like autism, ADHD, and multiple sclerosis. 

*If I don’t vaccinate will my child be allowed to go to school?  This question comes up A LOT! Some people will vaccinate not because they want to, but because they thought they HAD to. Depending on the state, children must be vaccinated against some or all of the following diseases: mumps, measles, rubella, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, and polio. Although vaccination is required, all 50 states issue medical exemptions. Resource for that info. found here. So if you happen to qualify for one of the exemptions then you would fill out the form and go from there. Forewarning you that the school districts, or so I have heard, are not that friendly when it comes to giving that info. out. So I would suggest you do some research of your own for the laws in the state you live in, if you truly do want to exempt your child from vaccines. Of course most school districts would prefer no one utilizes these exemptions, but that is not their say and is not the law. The exemptions are out there.

*So tell me about the exemptions.

1.) Philosophical Exemption- The following 17 states allow exemption to vaccination based on philosophical, personal or conscientiously held beliefs: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin. New Mexico’s religious exemption statute as currently (7/2012) written is inclusive of philosophical/personal belief exemption. Though technically New Mexico doesn’t have a personal belief exemption statute, it can reasonably be considered the 18th state allowing for personal belief exemption due to the flexible wording in its religious exemption statute.

Here is an example of what a philosophical  exemption form looks like. Remember these forms can differ from state to state though.  Click the image to see full sized version.

Here is an example of what a philosophical exemption form looks like. Remember these forms can differ from state to state though. Click the image to see full sized version.

2.) Religious Exemption- All states allow a religious exemption to vaccination except California, Mississippi and West Virginia. NVIC notes that California’s personal/philosophical belief exemption statute is inclusive of religious belief in wording, but not in statute definition. It is for that reason NVIC has listed California as not having religious exemption to vaccination.

The religious exemption is intended for people who hold a sincere religious belief opposing vaccination to the extent that if the state forced vaccination, it would be an infringement on their right to exercise their religious beliefs. Some state laws define religious exemptions broadly to include personal religious beliefs, similar to personal philosophical beliefs. Other states require an individual who claims a religious exemption to be a member of The First Church of Christ, Scientist (Christian Science) or another bonafide religion whose written tenets include prohibition of invasive medical procedures such as vaccination. (This kind of language has been ruled unconstitutional when it has been challenged in state Supreme Courts.) Some laws require a signed affidavit from the pastor or spiritual advisor of the parent exercising religious exemption that affirms the parents’ sincere religious belief about vaccination, while others allow the parent to sign a notarized waiver. Prior to registering your child for school, you must check your state law to verify what proof may be needed.

Here is an example of what the religious exemption form looks like.

Here is an example of what the religious exemption form looks like.

3.)Medical Exemptions-  All 50 states allow medical exemption to vaccination. Proof of medical exemption must take the form of a signed statement by a Medical Doctor (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.) that the administering of one or more vaccines would be detrimental to the health of an individual. Most doctors follow the AAP and CDC guidelines. Most states do not allow Doctors of Chiropractic (D.C.) to write medical exemptions to vaccination.

Some states will accept a private physician’s written exemption without question. Other states allow the state health department to review the doctor’s exemption and revoke it if health department officials don’t think the exemption is justified.

Here is another example of an exemption form. Click the image to see the full sized version.

Here is another example of an exemption form. Click the image to see the full sized version.

4.)Proof of Immunity- Some states will allow exemptions to vaccination for certain diseases if proof of immunity can be shown to exist. Immunity can be proven if you or your child have had the natural disease or have been vaccinated. You have to check your state laws to determine which vaccines in your state can be exempted if proof of immunity is demonstrated.

Private medical laboratories can take blood (a titer test) and analyze it to measure the level of antibodies, for example, to measles or pertussis that are present in the blood. If the antibody level is high enough, according to accepted standards, you have obtained proof of immunity and may be able to use this for an exemption to vaccination.

All about the exemptions and the source for this info. found here.

*The Hepatitis B shot is given at birth & they feel since a child can only get the disease from IV drug abuse, sexual activity with an infected partner, a blood transfusion using contaminated blood, or from the mother that the risk the shot can pose verse actually catching Hep B at that age is greater.

 *Some believe that autism is linked to vaccines, although The scientific community has reached a clear consensus that vaccines don’t cause autism. 

*Numerous side effects- such as fevers, headaches, loss of appetite, Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal pain. All about side effects source found here.

 * someone who is vaccinated can still catch the disease, no vaccine is a 100% assurance that you won’t catch the disease so they feel why force the risk of the actual vaccines if there is still a risk they will catch the disease they are getting vaccinated for. So they view it as putting their child at risk not once, but twice.

*Why should I vaccinate my kid/s? Well it’s pretty self explanatory, we all know the reality that these diseases DO exist and the vaccine is supposed to help prevent you and the others around you from catching a dangerous disease. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Physicians recommend that children be vaccinated against fifteen different common childhood illnesses. This information came from here.

 Here is a list of diseases in which vaccines are recommended for which is, Chickenpox, Diphtheria, Hib, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Flu, Measles, Mumps, Pertussis, Polio, Pneumococcal, Rotravirus, Rubella, Tetanus. 

Here is the Vaccine schedule in which they recommend what vaccines your child should get and when.

Click on the image to see the expanded version, Here is the Vaccine schedule in which they recommend what vaccines your child should get and when.

The “PRO SIDE” arguments to vaccines. Stated below:

vaccines work

*Vaccines are also believed to help boost immune systems. 

Although it has been argued on the anti Vaccine side that there are ways you can boost immunity, without the need of vaccines.

boost

Click on this pic to see what the ways are of boosting the immune system naturally.

*According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, most childhood vaccines are 90-99% effective in preventing disease. When children who have been vaccinated do contract a disease, despite being vaccinated against it, they usually have milder symptoms with less serious complications than an un-vaccinated child that gets the same disease.

*Even when diseases seem to no longer exist, outbreaks can still occur if children are not vaccinated. In Boulder, CO, fear over possible side effects of the whooping cough (pertussis) vaccine led many parents to refuse vaccination for their children causing Boulder to have the lowest school-wide vaccination rate in Colorado for whooping cough and one of the highest rates of whooping cough in the US as of 2002.

*I hope I did a good job in making this article as neutral and informative as possible and that I did both sides justice in the information I chose to include. Please remember there is truly two sides to the vaccine controversy. If you find yourself irate over a vaccine debate, just log off and take a walk. As long as you’re making informed choices for your kid/s then you’re doing everything in your power to protect them. Don’t ever let someone make you think otherwise!

beinghot

~They say that vaccines are perfectly safe, but I have heard many stories in which children have suffered some serious side effects. I guess with any medical procedure there poses some kind of risk. I’m no expert on vaccines and I’m learning more and more everyday. I have given the basics of the info. That is already out there, it is up to you as the parent to go with what you feel in your heart is the best way to protect your kid. Sorry I can not give you a blog that tells you definitively what you should do. 

 I would love to hear some feedback on why you decided to vaccinate or why you chose not to.

~Kristy Kemp (creator of Breastfeeding Mama Talk)

Resources:

VacinnesProCon-Click here

Side effects source-Click here

Vaccine laws-Click here

Natural ways to boost immunity Click here

Do you want a chance to win two dozen of Bessie’s Best Lactation cookies? Click on the link below to get to the official entry form!

OFFICIAL GIVEAWAY ENTRY FORM…

 

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24 thoughts on “Whats with the vaccine controversy?

  1. Good article of facts without putting your personal opinion on them, well done!
    I chose not to vaccinate for numerous reasons. A vaccination is not an immunization. I’d rather not inject a disease he may never get along with things such as aluminum formeldyhyde and mercury when I can take him to the hospital to get treated if he ever ended up sick. I believe from the extensive research I have done, seizures, autism and other mental/behavioral problems can be caused by vaccines. I believe in our natural immune systems and our body’s ability to fight off infectious disease without confusing or altering ourselves by injecting these things deliberately. I believe the risks of side effects from vaccinations is far worse than not vaccinating and taking things as they come and dealing with them. This was by far the hardest choice I have had to make as a parent thus far.

    • Thank you Karen, all I wanted to do was present people with the stuff that is already out there. according to four people so far on the poll they feel I insinuated that people shouldn’t vaccinate. It really sort of bums me out because all I did was present information that is already out there.

    • Karen, how much do you know about toxicology, and what things such as formaldehyde and thimerosal (not pure mercury, a mercury compound) do both in the vaccine and in the body? Because I get the distinct impression that the answer is “very little”. And that’s not very good. The fact is that study after study has shown no link between thimerosal and essentially any adverse reaction, least of all autism. I don’t know what research you did, but it goes contrary to the statements of essentially every major medical organization in the world, and the actual state of the research. Believing in your natural immune system to fight off infectious disease without vaccines is like believing in your natural ability to survive car crashes without airbags – there’s no bloody point. Vaccines do not “confuse” our immune system – do you even know how they work? It’s some of the most established medical research in ages. Look, I’m sorry, I understand that with all of the incredible misinformation on the web, this may seem like a tough decision, but it isn’t. All you’re doing by not vaccinating your children is unnecessarily putting them (and everyone around you who is also not vaccinated) at risk for infectious diseases.

  2. You choose not to vaccinate at the peril of your child. Your whole presentation is full of holes so big I could drive a truck through it. As a pediatrician, I have seen unvaccinated children die of these diseases, and as more of you “educated” people make the wrong decision not to vaccinate, you will play a direct role in allowing these vaccine-preventable infectious diseases increasingly re-enter our population. Acting like the anti-vaccine loons have any scientific basis for what they claim is like allowing someone to argue that 2+2=5 and then agreeing with them. Sorry, but I grow sick and tired of so-called “balance” in these articles. Vaccines do not cause autism. Period.

    • Cphickie, While I agree with you that vaccines do not cause autism which is why I added that it has not been proven that it does. This was just a blog about the common arguments that is already out there. Going in hardcore like the way you’re doing is just going to steer people away from taking in ANY info. and that sort of beats the point. ~Kristy

    • There is no scientific proof vaccines do work! Check timelines of natural decrease in a vaccination vs when the vaccination was released. And they are refusing to do studies now to prove they work! I believe pediatricians are paid by the pharmisutical companies to say what you are saying. Just my opinion, not debating…

      • Okay, let’s see. Measles.
        http://www.historyofvaccines.org/content/graph-us-measles-cases
        Hmm, that timeline seems pretty clear – shortly after the measles vaccine was introduced, Measles cases dropped off almost entirely. Sure, death rates were on the decline before the vaccine, but that’s because we got better at preventative care – the only real measure of the effectiveness of vaccines is incidence. And here, the correlation is AMAZING. You get similar results for most such vaccine-preventable illnesses. What studies, exactly, do you think they should do? Vaccines have been established as functional for decades. There were countless studies on the safety of vaccines in the last 20 years. What information, exactly, are you looking for? What kind of study do you want? And who’s “refusing”? Your claim that “there is no scientific proof vaccines work” is just simply wrong. You either don’t know what evidence there is to support them, or you have no idea what “scientific proof” means.

      • Simply put, my opinion and CHOICE is mine and I am educated, thank you. Not brain washed by pharmaceutical companies. I don’t need to site things as you clearly will disagree. I am mostly against it for autism and behavioral disorders. And don’t tell me it doesn’t when millions of dollars have been paid out through the courts for autism caused by vaccines! The vaccines happen to come out when the decline was already there. Look at polio for example. In fact, the death rates rose a bit after the vaccine came out and then went bank to declining as it already naturally was.
        Anyways, to each their own. We all make decisions we feel are best for our children. Like I said it was the hardest decision but I feel I chose best for my family. Happy holidays!

      • Polio already on a natural decline before vaccines? Huh…

        The graph doesn’t look anything like that! Your “natural decline” seemed to be completely within the bounds of standard variance, but after the vaccine hit, the numbers almost immediately dropped, and after a short uptick stayed at basically zero after the improved vaccine hit the market. I don’t know where you got the impression that this was a natural decline – it wasn’t. This is why we look at long-term trends. Like, to take it from the CDC (http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/polio/dis-faqs.htm) the infections during the 40s were even worse. Look, this is really simple. Take a decent sample size from before the introduction of the vaccine (say, 10 years) and you’ll see ups and downs much like the one you’re touting as “the start of the natural decline”, of similar size and shape. But you’ll NEVER see a quick, consistent, stable drop towards zero like we had after the implementation of the vaccine. Even worse, why else would Polio be on the decline? What possible other reason is there for incidence rate to have declined so severely in such a short time? Vaccines make sense. Nothing else does.

        I’m aware of exactly ONE court which has ruled in favor of claims regarding autism caused by vaccination, and that was in an italian court, where one of the primary sources used was the long-retracted fraudulent Lancet paper by Andrew Wakefield (http://www.forbes.com/sites/emilywillingham/2013/08/09/court-rulings-dont-confirm-autism-vaccine-link/). And you know what? The court could decide any manner of unscientific things, it would not make them right. Italian courts ruled in 2009 that vulcanologists were liable for damages caused by Etna. Why? Because they couldn’t predict the eruption. WOO! SCIENCE! FUCK YEAH! Of course, there might be more. But I wouldn’t know. You know why? Because you didn’t cite any! Are you talking about that awful HuffPo piece? Because it is completely wrong on every conceivable level. (http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2013/01/15/david-kirbys-back-and-this-time-his-anti-vaccine-fear-mongering-induces-ennui/)

        But I think the most telling thing is when you don’t offer me ANY sources. Why not? Because I might disagree with them? Well, excuse me, I disagree with you now, and I know damn well that you aren’t going to even pay attention to my citations. You didn’t even answer my questions with regards to what, exactly, you think they aren’t studying. Why not? I don’t think you’re anywhere near as well-informed as you think you are. I put in work to ensure that my opinions are backed up by solid evidence. And I put in work to show that I do that work. You seem to be dodging everything.

        Merry Christmas. I hope your children are surrounded by people who weren’t misled and who undertook the incredibly social action of taking vaccines for themselves and their children. Because otherwise, you might end up like that group in Boulder, Colorado. Or Wales. Or California. Or any number of other places that vaccine-preventable diseases are popping back up because of people like you who are too misinformed and scared to make the easiest decision in the history of medicine – “should I protect my children from infectious disease?”.

      • (Dear Moderator, please ignore my previous response; I decided that if it’s getting moderated anyway, I should spend some time and strip out he vitriol. I shouldn’t be getting mad here.)

        Polio already on a natural decline before vaccines? Huh…

        The graph doesn’t look anything like that! Your “natural decline” seemed to be completely within the bounds of standard variance, but after the vaccine hit, the numbers almost immediately dropped, and after a short uptick stayed at basically zero after the improved vaccine hit the market. I don’t know where you got the impression that this was a natural decline – it wasn’t. This is why we look at long-term trends. Like, to take it from the CDC (http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/polio/dis-faqs.htm) the infections during the 40s were even worse. Take a decent sample size from before the introduction of the vaccine (say, 10 years) and you’ll see ups and downs much like the one you’re touting as “the start of the natural decline”, of similar size and shape. But you’ll never see a quick, consistent, stable drop towards zero like we had after the implementation of the vaccine. Even worse, why else would Polio be on the decline? What possible other reason is there for incidence rate (not death rate) to have declined so severely in such a short time? Vaccines make sense. Nothing else does. And it’s the same story with other vaccines as well; what, did they all just have miraculous coincidences? That makes no sense.

        I’m aware of exactly one court which has ruled in favor of claims regarding autism caused by vaccination, and that was in an italian court, where one of the primary sources used was the long-retracted, fraudulent Lancet paper by Andrew Wakefield (http://www.forbes.com/sites/emilywillingham/2013/08/09/court-rulings-dont-confirm-autism-vaccine-link/). I’m just not impressed by a court making a decision based on bad science. Of course, there might be more. But you didn’t cite any. Are you talking about that awful HuffPo piece? Because it is completely wrong on every conceivable level. (http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2013/01/15/david-kirbys-back-and-this-time-his-anti-vaccine-fear-mongering-induces-ennui/)

        But I think the most telling thing is when you don’t offer me ANY sources. Why not? Because I might disagree with them? Big deal! Post them anyways; you might learn something or I might learn something. Either way, neither of us gets anything out of staying vague and unclear, by posting obscure accusations. You didn’t even answer my questions with regards to what, exactly, you think they aren’t studying. Why not? I’m sorry, Karen, I don’t think you’re anywhere near as well-informed as you think you are. I put in work to ensure that my opinions are backed up by solid evidence. And I put in work to show my thought process to others. You seem to be dodging everything, and that’s not just bad for debate, that’s bad for an open mind.

        Merry Christmas. I hope you and your family the best. Just… do spend a little extra time ensuring that you know what diseases are kicking around anywhere you visit. Measles, polio, cholera… they’re no laughing matter. 😦 And please please PLEASE check to see if any of your neighbors are immuncompromised. The information that you don’t vaccinate may be life-saving for them.

  3. Here’s my (hopefully constructive) feedback about why I responded that the piece came across to me as anti-vax. You did a nice job explaining the reasons why parents don’t vaccinate in neutral language. But then in the reasons why parents do vaccinate, you started with “for obvious reasons” and a briefinfographic instead of the explanations that the anti-vax section had. Also, including a how-to (including forms) for opting out and a link to “natural alternatives” left me with the impression of this being an anti-vax piece. I think the forms and alternatives would be more appropriate for a follow up piece for someone who’s already decided not to vaccinate, and a better use of that space in this article would have been including more information about compromised herd immunity and feedback from a doctor – I’m sure if you called your child’s doctor who did the vaccinations for you and told him/her what you were working on, they would have gladly shared some information with you. I have done that in the past, my family doctor was thrilled to be invited to share allergy management information with the audience for my work blog. You’ll never please everyone, and overall I thought you did a good job, but if someone on my blogging team had given this to me for edits, that’s what I would tell them 🙂

      • Haha, it happens! I find a lot of times when I try to write “neutral” pieces that I overcompensate when I catch myself leaning to one side or the other 😉

    • Also the title of this blog is, what is the CONTROVERSY involving vaccines. People GETTING the vaccines is pretty obvious and self explanatory. All I did was present the information that is already out there and the most controversial points which involves mainly the non vaccine arguments. I Just find it hilarious that this would be accused to not vaccinate considering I’m pro vaccine for my family. So actually I did my job of not being bias then hahahaha for someone to think a PRO vaxer is a non LMAO!!!!!!

      • It wasn’t an accusation 🙂 I saw your comment about being bummed that people saw bias in the article, and that the header of the poll was about wanting feedback for future articles. My Neverland blog is a side project, but writing and editing is a big part of what I do for a living so my only intention was to give you some structural feedback like you asked. I agree with your reasoning, and I think you did a great job with a touchy topic 🙂

  4. No I’m just tripping over here because there is 3 votes saying I’m swaying towards insinuating people should vaccinate, then 8 votes saying I’m insinuating people don’t vaccinate then almost 30 say neutral. So it just goes to show that no matter HOW I presented it people would have saw me as taking one side or the other. LOL. I’m new to this blogging thing and it’s scary writing blogs with these kinds of topics, but my followers kept requesting vaccines or circumcision and I’m definitely not blogging about circumcision haha. ~Kristy

  5. I’m going to be quite frank here and say that while this article did a decent job of being neutral, neutrality is as called for on vaccines as it is called for on a debate about whether or not the earth is flat or whether or not breastfeeding causes Ebola. In both of those cases, it’s incredibly clear that the evidence is entirely on one side of the debate, and as a result, “neutrality” is not only unnecessary, but also harmful, as being “neutral” means giving the side of the debate which has no evidence far more credence than it deserves. Vaccines are overwhelmingly safe and effective. It’s largely thanks to them, along with the compounding factor of herd immunity (which is INCREDIBLY important!) that we’ve all but wiped out diseases like Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Pertussis, Cholera, Rotavirus, Polio, and Diptheria (just to name a few) in the western world, and could potentially go in that direction with seasonal influenza!

    The fact is that the “risks” involved in vaccines are overwhelmingly overblown. Clinical trials do show that there _are_ risks, but these risks are both very rare (Japan suspended its HPV vaccine schedule temporarily over a severe response of something like 12.8 per million, just to give you a sense of the scope) and almost never life-threatening. So where do the stories of death due to vaccine injury come from? Well, they come from parents who don’t know ho to divide between correlation and causation; parents who give their child a vaccine, and then watch the child die of a malady which may or may not have had anything to do with the vaccine (most likely not, thanks to clinical studies). The VAERS database is notoriously full of these, because nobody checks them. In reality, most of these simply aren’t true.

    That said, two things I have to commend:
    1. Calling bullshit on the vaccine-autism link. There was never any strong evidence of this, and now it’s looking more and more like autism develops before vaccination even begins.
    2. Having a much better sense of balance than people like Katie Couric, who spend most of their report listening to heartstring-pulling tales of bereaved mothers with no understanding of post hoc ergo propter hoc and only talk about the actual science for about 5 minutes at the end.

    Remember, you don’t just vaccinate your children for your children’s sake. You vaccinate your children for society’s sake, for that all-important herd immunity that helps protect those who cannot get the vaccine and ensure that the 90%+ rate is enough for all involved.

    Have a lovely day, much respect,
    -Jonah

  6. I think its so naive when people say vaccines are just the pharmaceutical companies making money. wow you really think they aren’t vaccinated or their children or family or friends? Or that they are gonna try to push these vaccines that are suppose to create all these problems in everyone?! This is why they do the studies, and they can get in A LOT of trouble if they do not report everything accordingly. you really think that the world is going that far into hell?! OPEN your eyes and your mind, the world is NOT as evil as you think it is. Yes of course their are risks, like in everything else, but the benefits outweigh the risks. quit being a hippie and evolve with science.

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