Married to Medicine

Married to Medicine

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Vaccination: A Layperson's Perspective

- by Lisa Murakami

Needles:  Scary.  No medication - not even Tylenol - is 100% safe or side-effect free. 
Neither is highway driving, for that matter.  
But vaccines are a thousand times safer than driving.  


Fulminant Meningococcemia:  I'll take the needle, please!

Polio:  A vaccine success story; completely eradicated in the U.S. (though not globally, yet).  Smallpox too; Smallpox eradication has been so successful that
we no longer vaccinate for it.
Even though there's an alleged pharmaceutical conspiracy forcing us to get vaccines we don't need...
If this guy found out that you could vaccinate your children but chose not to... 
NPR article from 9/30/2013:  Study confirms that a recent whooping cough epidemic in California that killed ten babies was due to failure to vaccinate and receive boosters. 
People who lived in areas with high "personal belief exemptions" from public school vaccination requirements were 2.5 times as likely to live in areas with high incidents of whooping cough.
Link to original study appearing in Pediatrics.

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As a medical "layperson," it's ironic that I'm blogging about vaccination - or at least think it is.  While my husband slaved away on all the pre-med courses in college, I avoided science like the plague (terrible pun, I know.).  When he scored within the top 2% of MCAT takers I was pretty impressed, but truthfully I don't know much about the MCAT.  While he busted his butt - to put it politely - through four years of medical school and two years of grant-funded medical research, I studied the health care system... in law school.  And over the past 4.5 years that he's been putting in 60-100 hour weeks in medical training at the #1 hospital in the U.S., I've thankfully managed to continue to ... not study or practice any medicine.  That means that he has 14.5 years of grueling medical training that I don't have.  And - conservatively estimated - 28,160 hours.  My father has infinitely more; he's seen tens of thousands of patients over the course of his forty-year career as a pediatrician.

Clearly, I can't run a google search on a complex medical topic and eventually cobble together a better answer on it than these two can.  Not even if I spent ten hours on it.  Not even if I spent forty.  Not even if I spent weeks.  They don't hand out medical degrees for running google searches.  Or for talking to midwives... or doulas... or anybody else.  Imagine if they did though, and you got in a car accident or you had a heart attack, or you needed a liver transplant or something.  Um... yikes.

But the problem is that lay people are blogging about vaccination.  And they're meeting up and talking about "vaccine choice."  They're imagining conspiracy theories and refusing to trust anyone other than each other.  And they've managed to convince others of their "practice of medicine" to the point where there are schools at which only about half of the children are vaccinated and many states are falling below vaccination levels considered to provide herd immunity.  "Herd immunity" is real and it protects us all (see this explanation by an immunologist mom), especially those who are too young to receive their first vaccines or who are immunocompromised because of a childhood illness like cancer (see the comments for further discussions on this).  Herd immunity even protects the vaccinated, as vaccines are "only" 90+% effective, not 100%.  Herd immunity is the reason we're not currently in this situation (or this one, or countless others).  Would anti-vaxxers still refuse vaccines if they had to travel to one of those nations? And if not, are they only refusing them here since the rest of us do vaccinate?  

This topic is so vast and so complex that I'm not going to pretend to be able to address it in single coherent blog entry (unlike so many anti-vaxxers).  But I do want to put together a bullet-pointed list of what I, as a layperson with personal access to the medical community, believe that you, as a layperson without that same access (clearly - if you're considering not vaccinating) might want to know.  I've followed and participated in many discussions on this topic and there are some repeat misconceptions or missed points that are worth cobbling together.  Here are a few of them:

(1)  Vaccines do not cause autism See also this, this, this, thisthisthis and this.  Kudos to Dr. Andrew Wakefield for getting published in a legitimate medical journal, since everything else on this topic either wasn't, or has been misleadingly taken out of context and interpreted by non-medical minds to mean something it doesn't mean to any other physicians, who are also parents themselves.  Too bad though - after other labs were unable to get any results by repeating his study, and after he was unable to reproduce the results himself, the original study was found to have fraudulently falsified its data (this "caught ya!" process is called peer review, and it's why we can rely on science).  He made millions and children died.  Not sure what that makes him in your book, and I don't want to mention what that makes him in mine.  Maybe we should honor those deaths... by vaccinating.  Here's some more persuasion though, if that's not enough:
  • We've been vaccinating since the 1950s, so we vaccinated for many decades before autism rates went up.  The spike has been most significant over the past five years, in spite of the decline in vaccination rates.  Hmm.  Doesn't seem that vaccines are the cause, does it?
  • Maybe you know or have heard about someone who went from "normal" to autistic right after his shots.  Well, autism is an early-childhood onset condition, and it happens that we vaccinate early in childhood.  There are lots of children out there whose symptoms started shortly BEFORE their shots, too; they're just not organizing themselves and speaking out about their experiences.  Anecdotal evidence, while compelling to those personally experiencing it, does not show or prove correlation (let alone causation).  Medical studies do, but they have repeatedly disproven that vaccines have any relation to autism - every single legitimate, peer-reviewed study (see the links above).  If that weren't true, and this was, then your pediatrician wouldn't be vaccinating his or her own children - at rates even *higher* than the official recommendations.  
  • Okay okay, you still can't be convinced, and perhaps you would like to speak at the next national AAP conference on this topic, and present to them the articles you found on the internet.  Well how about the point that my friend made?  Her brother is autistic.  She loves him just the way he is, and would much rather an autistic brother than a dead one; she takes more than a little offense when people don't vaccinate for fear of autism.  I'd rather an autistic child than a dead one myself, personally.  But thankfully, we don't have to choose ... because vaccines do not cause autism! 
(2)  On "alternative schedules."  Some people acknowledge that vaccines don't cause autism, but remain convinced that all those pediatricians out there who are vaccinating their children "on time" - meaning, on the schedule created and monitored by the AAP and the CDC, among other professional organizations - are sadly mistaken.  They believe there is a "true" best vaccine schedule out there but that pediatricians aren't recommending it - or using it on their own children - because:

(a) it's more convenient for doctors to lump the shots together; or

(b) the U.K. doesn't vaccinate for chicken pox so perhaps the U.S. is "shot-happy" since we're "for-profit"; or

(c) they read one book by one physician, Dr. Sears, the "schedule" in which has been completely discredited (see also thisthisthis and this for further confirmation of the safety of the current schedule); or

(d) they think we are vaccinating too early because we want to get kids vaccinated before irresponsible parents stop bringing their children to medical checkups.

Well, (a) and (b) cannot possibly both be true, since more visits means more money.  So pick just one first, please.

(a) is not true.  Doctors wouldn't care if people came in a few more times to get shots; what's it to them?  And again, they vaccinate their own children on the AAP/CDC recommended schedule.  It's actually more convenient for your child to be poked less with a needle.  But none of this is about convenience; vaccines are simply given as early as they can be, because the sooner a baby is vaccinated, the sooner he or she is safe.  Just last winter a baby boy at Boston Children's contracted whooping cough from an unvaccinated toddler.  He died - just days away from his first vaccination.  So did this child, and many others.  Pediatricians are now advising parents on how best to protect their newborns, until their babies are vaccine-eligible.  

(b) Different nations have only very minor differences in their recommended vaccine schedules, and that should help make it clear that vaccines aren't a "Big Pharma" conspiracy.  Indeed, if our vaccines weren't medically necessary, our insurance companies would be the first to let us know by not covering them - they LOVE to do that, and they employ hundreds of physicians whose sole jobs are to review claims so that they can deny coverage for any medical care that is even arguably unnecessary.  You can also check out this story about a mom in the UK whose daughter died of chicken pox, not having been vaccinated since the chicken pox vaccine (Varicella) isn't on on their vaxx schedule.  And this BBC story wherein cost and a flawed fear of increased shingles were given as the UK's reasons for not including varicella.  As it turns out, that particular US/UK difference probably does come down to money - not that we're "for-profit" but that they aren't, and in this particular case they cut costs in an unfortunate way.

(c) why are you trusting someone with whom no other expert agrees, and who is making millions off of this, instead of your own moderately-salaried pediatrician(s)?  Okay I get it - you've had a crappy doctor (or doctors) before.  Me too.  Not everyone is willing to bust their butt like my husband does.  But this debate isn't pediatrician-to-pediatrician.  This debate involves a clear, essentially unanimous medical consensus among all our leading experts.  See, also cited above, this, this, and this.  When you vaccinate on time, you're not "just" trusting your pedi; you're trusting all the top experts on topics including virology, immunology, microbiology, statistics, epidemiology, pathogenesis ... and of course, medicine and pediatrics.  We're talking the guys who went to Harvard and the like, and got MD's and PhD's and devoted their careers to research, which generally pays much less than private practice.  These tend to be, FYI, super nice and super nerdy guys (and gals) - and most of them are also parents.  They make up the AAP and the CDC and other organizations that put their heads together and come out with the schedule.  I truly hope that you don't think that you or I could come up with a better answer than they have, by googling or by doing other layperson "research."  If we were so capable, then what's preventing us from coming up with the next curative cancer treatment, which is another thing we can expect of Md/Phd medical researchers (like the husband I've barely seen for the past decade)?  See also this article - delaying vaccines can increase the chance of a reaction because older infant bodies are better able to mount stronger immune responses; see this, too, for a further discussion.  See also this video on the dangers of under-vaccination - children who skip doses of their DTaP vaccine are 18x as likely to get whooping cough.

(d)  We aren't vaccinating earlier than "we should" just because some parents might "flake out" on later appointments; we're vaccinating as early as possible because unvaccinated newborns are unprotected and they could, and do, catch things like whooping cough in hospitals and at checkups (and from relatives and friends - especially those who haven't had their boosters) and die.  Do you really think that the CDC, AAP, etc., came out with a "truly ideal" schedule, but are keeping it secret because of flakey parents?  If so, why do you think that all these physicians and experts follow the recommended schedule on their own children?  Again, pediatricians are now advising parents on how to protect their newborns until they are vaccine-eligible.

What about Hep B, they give that one at birth, why??  That's because the Hep B vaccine also protects against "vertical" transmission, meaning transmission from the mother (or father ... or father to mother to child), which usually (but not always) occurs perinatally (meaning at birth).  Because there's no risk in giving this vaccine at birth (none *proven*, other than the mildest of reactions for this vaccine - see discussion in comments below and what I quote from UpToDate, and ignore what you read on non-reputable websites), and because doing so for the entire population will prevent cases of this terrible disease (and probably eventually eradicate it), that's standard procedure.  Studies on this topic have shown that prenatal maternal testing is not a good way of preventing or predicting perinatal transmission, or childhood acquisition of unknown origin (think a bite from another child, or perhaps food prepared for you or your child by someone with an open cut who gets careless about hygiene) - this is discussed in greater detail in the comments following the post. 

(3) Won't breastfeeding offer the same or better protection?  No.  How would there have been polio epidemics in the early 1900s if that were true?  Polio (as one example) was eradicated in the 1960s as we started vaccinating for it.  People actually nursed less in the 1950s and 60s than they do now; nursing fell out of favor when commercially marketed formula was presented as and believed to be "better" than breastmilk.  My mother-in-law was breastfed but she still remembers how horribly sick she was with the measles.  Check out this woman's story about how extended breast-feeding and all the crunchiness in the world didn't save her from multiple illnesses when her parents failed to vaccinate.  And no, these diseases didn't just disappear because of clean water and sanitization - things we had for decades while we still had epidemics.  Here's a great article debunking that myth.  

(4) What if you keep your kids largely at home with you, should you still vaccinate?  Yes.  You and your children could end up in a medical waiting room at any time, and that's where the sick kids will also be.  See the story above, about the boy who died last year here in Boston.  Plus, even if you home school, your kids will be at museums and basically, in public.  These diseases are highly contagious - much more so than a common cold or GI bug.  You don't have to share a toy or even a doorknob to catch them.

(5) But my pediatrician approved my proposed alternate schedule.  Ask your pediatrician:  How would he or she vaccinate his own children?  That's the truth of the matter.  Delaying a vaccine leaves you vulnerable until you take it, while offering no proven benefit whatsoever.  It's a small chance, but it's getting bigger as we've seen in the news lately.  Skipping doses is even worse - again, see this video on the dangers of under-vaccination - skipping a DTaP dose makes your child eighteen times more likely to get whooping cough.

(6) But what if it's just a hoax that vaccines are even effective at all?  I mean why else would vaccinated people care whether I vaccinate?  Vaccines do not offer 100% protection (more like 90+% depending on your age, when you had the vaccine, and which vaccine we're talking about).  They don't work for everybody, and they can wear off.  That doesn't mean that they don't work at all.  We've already seen what happens when nobody vaccinates.  And if you happen to be one of the people for whom a particular vaccine doesn't work, you'll much prefer to be surrounded by vaccinated people than by unvaccinated people.  That's called herd immunity.  You know what else offers herd immunity?  Hand-washing.  Washing your own hands is great, but you're far better off if everybody else washes their hands too.

(7) Medical Malpractice.  Here's another point, since I'm a lawyer and I studied health law:  Physicians these days practice medicine defensively, in fear of getting sued.  Yet they continue to advise their patients to vaccinate and to vaccinate on time.  Don't you think that pediatricians would stop recommending vaccinations if vaccinating was anywhere near as dangerous as not vaccinating?  Or perhaps their liability carriers would force them to do so, or jack up their premiums??  Instead, doctors are increasingly fearing a new kind of lawsuit:  Lawsuits from their immunocompromised patients and newborns who might come into contact with infected, unvaccinated children in their waiting rooms.  They're discussing a new ethical dilemma:  Do they deny care to the unvaccinated, or do they risk creating a highly contagious, potentially lethal waiting room for their other patients?

Ah, and yes, there DOES exist a fund to compensate people for ultra-rare severe reactions to vaccines.  Want to know why they need a fund for that?  Because it's still safer TO vaccinate, so those (VERY rare - far, FAR more rare than people dying of vaccine-prevantable illnesses) people could never win any money by suing their doctors.  You can't sue someone who made the safest possible choice for you - not even in the good old U. S. of A. - so we've established a fund to compensate those children anyway.  AND we've even lowered the standards for getting the money:  Whereas in a law suit you have to prove legal ("proximate") causation, to recover from the fund you just have to prove that your "symptoms" happened within a certain timeframe and that the vaccines in some way contributed to your final condition.  Because of this, and because there are very rare people born with conditions in which a simple fever will set off a chain of reactions in them resulting in cognitive decline, there are a few cases in which claimants have recovered lots of money from the vaccine fund even though all the vaccine really caused in them was a fever, and they would eventually have had a fever from another source - you can't escape life without a fever, unless you literally live in a hospital bubble.  (One last side-note - as a plaintiff's attorney I only accepted about 1 in 5 calls we got, the others were too bogus to take ... so take the alleged vaccine injuries and get rid of 80% of them to give yourself a better estimate of whether vaccines are dangerous... or don't, because even if every claim were true it would still be far safer to vaccinate than not to vaccinate).

(8) False Sense of Control.  I see a lot of anti-vaxxers say "You can always vaccinate later, but you can't take a vaccine back."  Of course, the problem with this thinking is that you cannot vaccinate yourself after you get sick.  In this way, the vaccination fears are much like fearing flying more than driving.  Driving is far, far more dangerous than flying, but people are more comfortable driving because driving gives them the false sense that they will be able to prevent or minimize any collision because they are in control of their own car.  Another good analogy for vaccination is seatbelt wearing.  In almost all situations, it is far safer to wear a seatbelt, and seatbelts have saved hundreds of thousands of lives since they became standard in all cars in the early 1960's.  But there are occasional cases in which a seatbelt causes injury ... probably even cases where a seatbelt effectively traps someone in a burning car, causing death.  That doesn't make it safer to never wear your seatbelt - or to "selectively" wear it!

(9) Social Contract.  Anti-vaxxers get really offended when you try to appeal to their sense of social justice.  (Note:  If social justice on a certain topic offends you, you might be on the wrong side of things.  Just sayin'.).  But the fact is that the choice not to vaccinate is at best paranoid and at worst selfish (the choice... not the person... I'm sure some really good, smart people get fooled by anti-vaccination quackery); anti-vaxxers only have the (false) luxury of not vaccinating because the rest of us continue to vaccinate, thus keeping epidemics back in the history books where they belong (herd immunity).  Meanwhile, anti-vaxxers are endangering not only their own children, but they are especially endangering children who are already suffering from childhood illnesses and conditions like cancer and HIV.  Those children cannot safely be vaccinated with any live vaccines; their immune systems are compromised, so they would risk contracting the illness rather than having a successful vaccination.  And non-live vaccines are less likely to work for them - plus, they have less of a chance of fighting off any serious illness they contract.  I'm sorry, but how would you feel if your paranoid choice resulted in the death of a child who was trying to fight cancer??  Plus, like I said before, vaccines can fail - whether you're immunocompromised or not.  Could you live with yourself if your paranoid choice killed someone else's child, or your own?  Because it happens a lot more often than even just the the alleged internet "vaccine deaths."  And I think it should be considered negligent homicide.  (See this for a discussion of the potential legal ramifications for failure to vaccinate your child).

I'm not writing this blog entry to convince the unconvinceable - and that's why I'm not sugar-coating it.  I'm writing it for the people who are on the fence:  the middle ground that we've been losing by being too nice about this because there is such an outrageous amount of false and misleading information on the internet that appears reliable.  I have absolutely no bias or financial gain in this equation (neither, by the way do the salaried pediatricians or pediatricians in small practices that sometimes lose money on vaccines, or the history textbooks).  I'm not a physician and my husband is going into cancer research.  My father is nearing retirement.  I have nothing to gain but what I do have is access to two brilliant medical minds who carefully considered this issue when choosing to vaccinate their own children.  My father and my husband have heard, through me, all the arguments brought up against vaccines and expertly batted them away.  Perhaps your pediatrician isn't taking the time to do so with you; that may simply be because there is not enough time built into a well-child visit for it, and you probably don't want to pay out of pocket for 30-60 minutes of your pediatrician's time and expertise (much as you're willing to spend hours of your own time googling).  Or perhaps your pediatrician has simply given up because it's so rare that he or she changes anyone's mind - see this recent article on the frustrations physicians are facing out near me in Western Massachusetts.

What I would love to see happen is for each pediatric office to publish a brochure on vaccines that answers the most common questions and addresses the most common misconceptions.  Until then, here's a brief list of resources for the curious.

** And I'd like to just note here that I am unable to "link to" a lot of the sources provided to me for this blog entry.  That's because you have to have to pay for a subscription to a lot of the major medical journals and other legitimate scientific sources - or make the big trek to your nearest medical school's library.  In other words, a lot of the best stuff out there isn't available by googling the internet.  And in fact, some of the very worst stuff is - check out this recent sting operation that found that some of the online journals will actually publish fake science for a fee.

** Also, comments will be disabled as of Friday, October 18th.  With nearly 500 comments, I can't imagine we haven't covered it all... and I need to get back to doing other stuff with the limited free time I have as a busy mom of two healthy, vibrant, fully vaccinated children.  Many of the comment threads are fascinating and informative, with lots of physicians and other experts responding.  A Command+Find search *after* you scroll and upload to the end of all the comments - which you now have to do several times to reach the end - might help you find threads that are of interest to you.  I took care during the nearly one full month since this was originally published not to delete a single comment.  So you can rest assured that the integrity of the comment threads is fully preserved.




  1. AAP article discussing the problems with alternative vaccine schedules and the concerns vaccine-hesitant parents have.
  2. "Do You Believe In Magic?  The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine"
  3. "Deadly Choices:  How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All."
  4. How to Protect Your Newborn from Whooping Cough by Dr. Wendy Swanson.
  5. Vaccine FAQ's from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
  6. How Physicians Immunize Their Own Children:  Differences Between Physicians and Non-Physicians from the AAP.
  7. Excellent article on the Chicken Pox vaccine from "Seattle Mama Doc" Wendy Swanson.
  8. NPR article from 9/30/13 confirming by location that failure to vaccinate and failure to get boosters caused California's recent whooping cough epidemic that killed ten infants in 2010.  Link to the original study, which just came out in the journal Pediatrics.
  9. On whether vaccines are made from aborted fetal tissue.
  10. On the safety of the current vaccine schedule.  See also this.  And this.
  11. NPR article on a recent sting operation that found that some of the online journals will actually publish fake science for a fee.
  12. Interview with Dr. Paul Offit, Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and co-inventor of the Rotovirus vaccine, credited with saving hundreds of lives daily.
  13. Excellent explanation of what vaccines are, what they're made of, and how they work, given by experts interviewed by Real Simple Magazine.
  14. Many states are falling below vaccination levels considered to provide herd immunity.  
  15. Video on the dangers of under-vaccination.
  16. Two articles (this and this) discussing studies that have found that delaying vaccines increases your child's chance of having an adverse reaction (but note that all but ultra, ultra rare adverse vaccine reactions are fairly benign).  
  17. On the lack of profit margins because vaccines are so expensive to produce.
  18. Discussion of potential legal ramifications for failing to vaccinate your child.
  19. More on the fake science used in the past to propagate the damaging - indeed, deadly - myth that vaccines cause autism.  If you've stumbled across any work by Mark or David Geier, you need to read this.
  20. Pakistan polio outbreak puts global eradication at risk - "Health teams in Pakistan have been attacked repeatedly since the Taliban denounced vaccines as a western plot to sterilize Muslims and imposed bans on [them] in 2012 ... dozens of children, many of them under the age of 2, have been crippled by this disease in the past six months." 
  21. On vaccine package inserts:  "Inserts are a problematic source of information for a number of reasons. They are legal documents, not scientific documents. They do not include science done after the insert was approved. They include ingredients, but do not show you that you are already exposed to those ingredients naturally and how tiny the amounts in vaccines are. They have to report on every adverse event that allegedly happens after a vaccine, whether or not causally related. In short, they are usually more misleading than useful, and my experience is that most readers get them wrong. My favorite was the anti-vaccine proponent who insisted that the vaccine insert said a child cannot eat fruit and vegetables for six weeks after getting the vaccine."
  22. Brand new study this past summer:  "The Number of Antigens in Early Childhood Vaccines and Neuropsychological Outcomes at Ages 7-10 Years."         
  23. Want to be "educated" on vaccines (and all these citations aren't enough)?  Well, "A new report found that parents wishing to exempt their children from required vaccinations due to personal beliefs should first be educated on immunization, the Colorado Department of Public Health said . . .  The stakeholder report was led by three partner organizations, the Colorado Children’s Immunization Coalition, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Keystone Center, a neutral, third-party facilitator. The report studied the state’s personal belief exemption policy in an effort to update the policy."  Full article here.
  24. On whether we were magically saved from all these diseases right at the same time vaccines came out, but not from the vaccines themselves.  (Yes, that really is a common allegation).  
  25. The whooping cough vaccine does not increase your chance of getting whooping cough, see this and this.          
  26. Excellent explanation of herd immunity and fantastic information on each of the vaccines by an immunologist who is also a mom, here.                                            

482 comments:

  1. Absolutely. I am so happy to hear more people blogging and coming out with "Yes! Vaccinate! This is the right, responsible thing to do!" :) Also I *loved* Do You Believe in Magic. It was very enlightening. (Not sure if you're familiar but there's several groups on FB: Voices for Vaccines, Vaccinate Your Baby, and a few others).

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    1. Who says that it is the "right, responsible thing to do?" I bet if you had a child or know of a friend's child who was harmed or died after their recommended vaccinations, then you wouldn't say "Yes! Vaccinate!"

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    2. Likewise if you had a friend whose baby died of whooping cough, infected by a non-vaccinated child, you would tell everybody to vaccinate. Physicians see all these cases - they see the rare and almost entirely (entirely, for most vaccines) mild allergic reactions to vaccines and they also see the preventable illnesses, disabilities, and deaths. They have access to everything we do on the internet and then far more, and they are better able than we are to distinguish fact from fiction on the internet, and to determine which facts are medically significant and which are not. They choose to vaccinate their own children.

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    3. The whooping cough vaccine does not vaccinate against whooping cough. It is not a true vaccine. It simply makes the symptoms of the disease less, so that you don't realize HOW sick you are. That way, you can still go to work and school. If you know an infant who got pertussis, it was probably from a VACCINATED person who was sick, and didn't even realize they were carrying pertussis, not a common cold. Because when an unvaccinated family gets whooping cough, you KNOW, and you don't leave the house. An unvaccinated person does, and brings the germs into society.

      The thing is, people don't know stuff like this. They believe that vaccines are keeping us safe. They're not. We haven't had true herd immunity since the 50's. The author might bash those of us who do our own research, but at least we are doing research, and taking responsibility for our own health care.

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    4. This response is an example of a little knowledge misinterpreted. Adults and teenagers with pertussis almost never have full blown pertussis, and rarely know that they have it. That is true regardless of vaccine status. Infants are the ones at risk, and the vaccine, which is a true vaccine, is about 90% effective in protecting them against death and severe illness. As it wears off, it is less protective so booster doses are needed. And yes it is true that vaccinated people have less symptoms, but the source for most illness is adults and teenagers who never have had classic symptoms.

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    5. I forgot to add that the vaccine also greatly reduces infection of older children and adults, and does provide herd immunity. That is why there is much less pertussis in highly vaccinated populations, and why the new adult vaccine is recommended for parents and grandparents (and doctors) who will be around new babies.

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    6. Thank you Dick Ellis. Kristi had NO idea what she was talking about.

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    7. As the mother of a child who almost died 46 years ago of whooping cough, contracted just as he got his first DPT and the friend of the person who discovered and developed the Rubella vaccine...I say VACCINATE!

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    8. Kristi: Are you on drugs? Please list all the education and unbiased research you have done to substantiate your arguments. We havent had herd immunization since the 50's? Are you insane? Have you even seen 1 case of chicken pox in the past 10 years? Cause when I was a kid those were seen left and right and I have been a physician for 10 years and have only seen 1 case. This is due to vaccines. Whooping cough kills; mainly babies. It is important that adults vaccinate so we dont pass it to unvaccinated children. But whatever... youre probably too big of an idiot to understand this.

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    9. Kristi's comments are an example of a layperson with a little knowledge which she does not wholly understand. The pertussis vaccine does not prevent Bordetella pertussis (the bacterium that causes the disease) colonization; instead, it provides immunity to the toxin created by certain B. pertussis strains. Because it requires so much energy to create the toxin, if the host is immune to the toxin (which is what causes the illness), then harmless B. pertussis, which many of us already carry as a commensal, will outcompete the dangerous strain, preventing us from becoming ill. This also allows the harmless strains to become dominant and be spread amongst the populous, which may allow the disease to eventually be eradicated. However, this evolutionary-medicine based vaccine only works if everyone, or as nearly as possible, is vaccinated. Any immunologically naïve individuals will allow the toxin-generators to regain a foothold and begin to spread again, because in someone not protected from the toxin, they have a major advantage over the harmless strains.

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  2. Even WHEN I vaccinated my first, I requested the inserts and I had to go to the pharmacy to get them. I was told no on EVER asked for them before and I was being overprotective.(1991) And yes, I read them but back then there was no internet and I didn't know anyone who didn't vaccinate. And when my son had that 1 in a million reaction, I did the best I could and only allowed on per visit from then on. I didn't know I could/should stop.

    And my biggest regret is EVER getting vaccines or doing well baby checks. I know now that if I had homebirthed back then (Used birth center/cpms then) I never would have vaccinated, no reactions would have happened and my 2nd son probably would not have Crohn's.

    SO BITE ME! You are ignoring the FACT that reactions do occur, they can kill, diseases are less frequent with proper sanitation and simple handwashing and that you have NO RIGHT to tell me what to do with my child. My completely unvaccinated children have never had an illness that requires an antibiotic, no ear or throat infections and never had the flu. My first two vaccinated kids got ear infections and throat infections and the flu and every other bug out there.

    Stop pushing your drivel and accept the fact that vaccines are not proven to work and that it is a right of every parent to make the choice for their child. Each of us are unique and our epigenomic make-up is very susceptible to variation that can trigger autoimmune diseases by the very shots/immunizations/vaccinations you are pushing.

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    1. can you please point to a single source that is not from a crazy person that shows that vaccines are not proven to work? i am sorry your son had a bad reaction. that does not disprove science. you are really taking it an extra step and encouraging people to skip well visits which is highly irresponsible. it is disgusting. i hope you don't live near me and my children don't encounter yours at the park.

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    2. I wouldn't know what I'd do without the internet to research now! Researching each vaccine & weighing the risks on both sides is what I've been doing.
      I'm so sorry that your son had a reaction to vaccines. It's scary! I can always give my son shots, but I can not take them back! So we denied Hep B at birth, then said we were delaying, & now we probably are not getting any! I would much rather delay & research, than get bullied into giving my son the tons of shots in the recommended times & dosages that harm him & could even kill him!

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    3. i'm glad you have logged as many hours googling on your sofa as the thousands of hours that hundreds of researchers and medical professionals have logged trying to make people safe and healthy. good for you.

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    4. Wow..Shannon^
      Hoping that you don't live near her only shows that your faith in vaccines isn't great.... If you think that vaccines work so well & your children have been vaccinated, then why should you be worried about her unvaccinated children coming in contact with yours???

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    5. did you even read this post? because it is well explained. please scroll up and read again. carefully. #8- "Plus, like I said before, vaccines can fail - whether you're immunocompromised or not. One story that drives me to write this entry was told by a local oncologist. She was caring for an elderly woman who was dying of cancer. On her deathbed, the woman said that the one person she could not manage to forgive was her neighbor. Her neighbor hadn't vaccinated her children, but still saw fit to have the (now-elderly) woman's daughter for a play-date. The daughter's vaccine failed and she contracted whooping cough from the unvaccinated child. The unvaccinated child managed to live, but the woman's daughter did not. Could you live with yourself if your paranoid choice killed someone else's child, or your own? Because it happens not infrequently. And I think it should be considered negligent homicide."

      try again.

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    6. and i also am pregnant so i am at risk and my infant will be at risk until he or she can be fully vaccinated so yes, i would be concerned about sharing play space with someone who thinks they know better and doesn't care they they are putting other people at risk.

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    7. i would also make the point that you never know who are are sharing space with. i have a dear friend with severe lupus. if your unvaccinated kid with whopping cough sat on the same bench as her she would, with certainty, DIE. this is serious and has consequences for others. you are selfish.

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    8. I think it is highly irresponsible to tell all parents, without knowing the health history of their children, to get vaccinated following a schedule that is very overwhelming. Many parents skip well visits as a way to try to keep their children from picking up all the various germs that lurk in doctors waiting rooms. That is not irresponsible. A mother is the expert of HER OWN CHILDREN. No one else. Not a doctor. Not a pharmacists. Not some bitch on the internet trying to make a mom feel bad. If a mother doesn't feel the vaccines are right for her children, that is her legal right as an american citizen and the right of her family. This is why vaccines are not mandated by law. This is why there are waivers available to children who are unvaccinated. A child can always be vaccinated. We can't go back and unvaccinate. If you don't like that then you can write to your congressman(woman) and explain. However, as I see it, I live in the US. I pay taxes for my children to attend a public school and I am morally opposed to injecting my child with those chemicals. If you want to debate that you can kiss my ass. I am sick and tired of hearing how parents who choose an alternate lifestyle are endangering the 'herd immunity'. It is a well known fact that a certain percentage of people have to be vaccinated, get boosters, etc for the herd immunity to be present. Unless everyone who was originally vaxed goes and gets boosters according to the CDC schedule, they are considered to be lapsed. They are unaware of how long the immunity actually lasts, hence the need for boosters. Have you had your boosters for all your childhood vaxes? If not you are contributing to the decline in 'herd immunity'.

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    9. I am not ignoring that fact. I state up front that no medication, not even Tylenol, is 100% safe and side-effect free; did you know that the occasional ultra-rare person can have a serious reaction to Tylenol as well? ... Or at least they can think it was from the Tylenol? Check this out:

      http://www.consoleandhollawell.com/law-blog/fda-warns-of-life-threatening-tylenol-generic-painkiller-skin-reactions/

      That's an ADULT in that picture, so imagine what Tylenol could do to babies (assuming it's all true, as we're now doing about pictures and stories on the internet)? And all Tylenol prevents are aches and pains, not deadly and crippling illnesses!

      I also stated later on in my post that delaying vaccination can increase your chance of side-effects, and I cite to an article from Family Practice News. So no, I am not "ignoring" the fact that reactions occur. Neither, by the way, are all the pediatricians who vaccinate their own children.

      Vaccination - and taking any other medication - and driving your car - is about the weighing of risks and you cite to absolutely nothing (let alone anything legitimate) to back up your opinion, that **no one** with medical training agrees with, that it's less risky not to vaccinate. My children are fully vaccinated and have also never had any illness requiring an antibiotic, no ear or "throat infections," etc. No study has ever linked ear infections to getting vaccinated. But even if they did, I'll take the vaccine because they have DEFINITELY linked *not* getting vaccinated to getting diseases far worse than ear infections.

      They had "proper sanitation and simple hand-washing" back in the first half of the 1900's, when these diseases were quite common - before the vaccines came out. We have simple sanitation now too but you can still catch whatever's going around, unless you live in a bubble.

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    10. also you never know who is at the park with your unvaccinated kids. or the store, or the library. a dear friend of mine has severe lupus and if she sat next to your unvaccinated kid, hacking up a lung from whooping cough, she would DIE. almost for certain she would lose her life and it would be because you are selfish.

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    11. my post double posted, i didn't think it went through. my apologies for that.

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    12. If your friend has 'severe lupus' she is responsible for her own health. She should be following universal sanitation practices to keep herself from catching illnesses. Meaning not being around children as they are known hotbeds of illnesses. DUH. That is not selfish, that is life. I am not going to risk the life of my child in the unlikely event that my child MAY contract whooping cough, and MAY sit on a bench beside an immunocompromised individual. It is stupid to think that an unvaxed child is guaranteed to contract these diseases simply because they are unvaxed.

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    13. and yes, i have all my boosters. but like i said, i am pregnant so you'll forgive me if i skip kissing your ass. for the health of my baby. since i am the EXPERT.

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    14. so she has to be a shut in because you want to ignore science? i will let her know that some smartie pants who is totally ignorant and paranoid but who has had a child (because everyone who has given birth is also given some kind of expert degree, even those crack heads who get knocked up). she'll be thrilled to be enlightened.

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    15. Danielle, I have had all my boosters. I certainly wouldn't want to get my own children sick. It's true that adults who don't get their boosters do endanger children, especially those in their care. See:

      http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2013/09/27/pertussis_march_of_dimes_vaccination_campaign_with_sarah_michelle_gellar.html

      Also, lots of children are immonocompromised - not just adults who can try to avoid children (*try*). Just ask any pediatric oncologist about all of his or her patients and the risks they face going to public schools. Out here, at least, the waivers are for religious reasons only. But anti-vaxxers don't seem to have many qualms with lying.

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    16. Shannon to answer your question, I am not a medical expert, by far and away. I am not an expert on children because I have children. I am an expert on my own children. Because no one else knows them like I do. I do happen to have a degree in early child dev and education. so forgive me for having an opinion. EllaMura- I am not lying when I get the waiver and it is inconsiderate to assume you know someone's religious beliefs and to assume the majority of people antivax are lying. You have no right to assume such a thing and perhaps they aren't willing to risk their chance at their belief of heaven to 'protect' other's health.
      I take my kids to the park, the library, to church (the horror!). We have friends who have cancer, a young son of a best friend who has TARS and they don't seem to have any issue with being around my unvaxxed children... maybe they have more faith in their own vaccinations? I don't know. I stand by my statement. I live in the US. I have a LEGAL RIGHT to refuse vaccinations for my child and I have a LEGAL RIGHT to continue to let them be a part of society. Just like your sick friend. See, that is the beauty of it all. No one can force me to vaccinate my child.
      I am however interested in knowing if you are prepared to be responsible for calling yourself an 'expert' to a parent who reads your article and decides to vaccinate their child- God forbid something catastrophic happens. See, that is why this pisses me off. You post an article giving your two cents, a parent reads it and thinks, 'oh, they are an 'expert''. They must be right.' (yes, we all know there are these parents out there). Instead of posting an article stating how we are doing something so dangerous...why not leave it to your husband to individually council his patients on what is best for them on an individual basis?

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    17. Just as you have a legal right not to vaccinate, we have the legal right to speak our minds on the topic and point people to legitimate medical resources.

      Legally (and I am a lawyer), a religious exemption to a public policy law requires you have a good-faith, genuinely held religious belief against the requirement of that law. In order to show a good-faith, genuinely held religious belief you must show that both that your professed religion is indeed a religion, by showing that it answers the "ultimate questions" about human existence, and then you must further show that the legal requirement would violate a commonly held tenant of that religion. I know of no religion that *truly* prohibits vaccination, not a single one. I have seen discussions on my local list serve and on the internet of anti-vaxxers helping each other to get around the requirement and it all focuses on "getting the right wording" and basically making up things that the vast majority of other adherents to that religion - if a religion is even mentioned - don't believe. Just the fact that anti-vaxxers are out there asking HOW to create a religious exemption and "are there any religions that prohibit vaccination?" shows that they *don't* already have a genuine religious belief they feel is being violated. Just google and you'll see limitless such discussions.

      I am *all about* telling people to leave this decision to their pediatrician. This blog entry is intended for all the people out there who are refusing to believe their pediatricians and are instead turning to the internet and using other laypeople and non-scientific, anecdotal evidence as their new "doctors."

      Plus, this entire entry has been approved by two physicians. My question to you is: If you really want to avoid dangerous situations by urging people to follow their physicians' advice rather than something they read on the internet, why aren't you out there on all the anti-vaxx sites? Those sites are NOT physician-approved and are spewing hyperbolic, non-scientific, often utterly false information and making it appear reliable. My entry is directing people to the very sources that physicians themselves use, and educating people on how the schedule is made, who makes it, what kind of expertise goes into it, and what physicians do for their own children, etc.

      If ever someone's physician does give them a different recommendation than that of the CDC/AAP schedule, I would never disagree with that. In fact, I am writing this FOR those very children, the children who have legitimate REAL reasons they cannot vaccinate. But unless your 3 month old does have a specific medical condition that compromises his or her immune system, you will not find a pediatrician who will advise you not to vaccinate or to substantially delay vaccination. There is simply no medical or scientific reason to so advise anyone, which is why we see the universality of physicians vaccinating their own children on time and in fact giving their children additional vaccines not required under the schedule.

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    18. Well enjoy your legal freedom to speak your mind. I will enjoy my legal freedom to choose what is injected into my child.
      Biblically, (and I am an ordained pastor), we are commanded to not defile the temple. With our bodies being the temple. Follow me for a second here, if the vaccines were once grown from an aborted fetus (which it is well documented that it was) than as a christian, we are commanded not to have that injected into our bodies. I believe that Jehovah Witnesses and Jewish believe the same thing. http://www.rtl.org/prolife_issues/LifeNotes/VaccinesAbortion_FetalTissue.html

      So, yes, many religions speak against it. And even more so, we may choose not to 'profit' from a vaccine that was created using a dead child (who was aborted for no medical reason). I, myself, feel bad knowing that some child's life was taken from them (believing that life begins at conception) without their consent (because they were obviously unable to consent) and then from their death (which was not natural at all in scope) we grew these vaccines. Show me a vaccine that didn't originate from aborted fetal cells and a company that created it and does not profit on 'the side' from vaccines created from aborted fetal cells- and I will happily have a more in depth discussion with my dr about vaccinations. Until then, I stand by my moral obligations.

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    19. I need some proof for your statement that vaccines are made from purposefully aborted fetal cells.

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    20. an interesting link regarding vaccines and aborted fetal tissue:
      http://www.drwile.com/lnkpages/render.asp?vac_abortion

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    21. I don't like to doubt people, but I have never once heard of vaccines linked to Crohn's. I'm sorry that happened to your son, but what is your actual evidence linking it to vaccines? That sounds like a guess, at best.

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    22. HAHAHA Vaccines don't cause chron's? YEARS AND YEARS of my medical training, research, reading, board exams have never proven a link of vaccines to chron's? Are you kidding lady? so you decided to put so many other children at risk because you googled and few times and believed a few lay people that vaccines caused Chrons? WOW people are getting more and more stupid every day. NO SUCH LINK.

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  3. Picture of reaction to Hepatitis B vaccine which they readily admit they give to EVERY infant because they won't come back for it when they MIGHT have risky behaviors:

    http://www.autismpedia.org/wiki/images/9/93/Child-with-hepb-reaction.jpg

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    1. that is not a reputable source. try again.

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    2. I checked out the website from which you posted this picture and just a brief glance at it found HIGHLY misleading things. It makes the statement that the rotavirus vaccine causes rotavirus, and when you click to actually read the footnote you find that (DUH) it causes rotavirus in severely immunocopromised individuals, the type of which should not be given vaccines.

      My husband looked at the specific article from you took that picture and found that it is actually about a child who was inappropriately vaccinated when he was already quite ill, with a fever of over 100, and it is not clear to what extent his condition was or was not caused by his underlying illness versus the vaccine. The Hep B vaccine is extremely safe, statistically speaking. To use YOUR logic, I could say, "My kids were both vaccinated from Hep B and they never had any reaction at all! And they've never had ear infections so it works for those too!" It also cannot be ignored that Hep B is *not* uncommon in society today. Chronic Hep B can lead to cirrhosis of the liver, potential need for a liver transplant, liver cancer that is basically untreatable, and death. Once you develop symptoms, there is no cure.

      Here is a direct quote on adverse reactions to Hep-B, taken from UpToDate which is the authority that the physicians out here in the Harvard system use. It requires a paid subscription so I cannot link to the full article or infringe copyright by posting the entire thing. As I said above, Hep B is given at birth to protect from vertical transmission, not because they're worried parents won't come back (why wouldn't they give them all at birth if that were the case?). It also says, on vaccinating at birth:

      "All neonates — Universal vaccination of all newborns regardless of maternal HBsAg status is necessary for global eradication of HBV infection. Experience in the United States demonstrated that vaccination programs targeted at high-risk groups had very little impact on the incidence of HBV infection [32]. Other than healthcare workers, the recognition and recruitment of high-risk individuals have been poor. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that only 7 percent of high-risk individuals were vaccinated by 1988. In addition, a high proportion of chronic infection acquired during childhood occurred among children born to mothers who are NOT infected with hepatitis B virus [33]."

      And on "reactions":

      "ADVERSE REACTIONS — The most common adverse reaction is soreness over the site of injection, which occurs in fewer than 25 percent of the vaccinees. Other adverse reactions reported by 1 to 3 percent of vaccinees include low grade fever, malaise, headache, joint pain and myalgia. These adverse reactions are usually mild and do not result in any serious clinical sequelae. Hepatitis B vaccines have no teratogenic effects and can be administered during pregnancy [81,82]. (See "Immunizations during pregnancy".)

      Several rare adverse events have been described in case reports but the strength of these associations has not been clear.

      A series of reports on a possible association between hepatitis B vaccination and multiple sclerosis prompted the French Government in October 1998 to suspend routine school-based vaccination for hepatitis B. However, at least six subsequent studies from the United States [83-88] failed to show a statistically significant temporal or causal association between hepatitis B vaccination and multiple sclerosis. Based upon the current evidence and the proven benefit of the vaccine, the World Health Organization recommended that all countries should continue to have universal infant and/or adolescent hepatitis B immunization programs and to immunize adults at risk of hepatitis B [87]."

      You are certainly free to choose whether to vaccinate. It's a choice, and my purpose is to educate people about their choice - through legitimate, medical and scientific sources rather than a google search.

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    3. Another statement that is based on partial and false information. Hepatitis B vaccine is given to newborns in the hospital because vertical transmission (from mother to child) can occur in women who have been tested but acquire hepatitis B later in pregnancy. If the infant catches hepatitis B, he/she has a high probability of becoming chronically infected. If chronically infected, he/she has a high chance of chronic liver disease and death from liver cancer. That is why infants are vaccinated in the hospital.

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    4. Your pasted information states that infants are vaccinated for Hep B because at risk populations were not getting vaxed later in life, then you claimed that the statement isn't true. I loved this blog post, but I guess I'm a bit confused how some of the information is being interpreted. Can you help me out with that, please?

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    5. Both are true. Vertical transmission is most likely at birth, and occasionally from close exposure in infancy. This is the most dangerous because virtually every infected baby gets chronic infection as noted above. However, the majority of transmission is person to person at an older age by intimate contact and needles. Starting vaccine in the hospital greatly reduces vertical transmission. Finishing the series give longterm immunity which protects against later transmission. Some medical personnel may need further boosters. My latest Hep B booster was at age 61.

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    6. Yes, thank you. And to paraphrase the UpToDate, but in simpler terms, it says this about Hep B vaccination: Out of the millions of Hep B vaccinations we've already given, we have never seen reactions more than mild and passing malaise, which is found in 1-3% of cases. Out of ALL these vaccines given, there have been just a few reported cases of stronger "reactions" but a review of those cases shows that it is not clear whether the "reactions" were from the Hep B vaccine itself or of a different origin. Meanwhile we are finding that if we don't vaccinate at birth, babies contract Hep B, often through their mothers or their father to their mother, and are chronically, life-long sickened by it; it damages their livers causing liver cancer and death, and there is no cure. When we tried giving the vaccine only to high-risk adults, it did not decrease the incidence of Hep B in our communities and of course, it didn't reduce it at all in infants and children. Plus, a high proportion of the Hep-B positive children are children whose mothers tested negative for Hep B when pregnant (probably they unknowingly acquired it after their test from their spouse or partner). Therefore, because there is no shown risk after alllllllllllllll these vaccines given, and because we will save lives, and because it is impossible to predict in advance which children seem to acquire it during childhood, standard procedure will be to vaccinate newborns - saving lives at no proven risk to anybody, whatsoever, even after having already vaccinated millions.

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  4. thank you for this post. amazing work.

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    1. Thanks. It's been a labor of love but it's getting an insane amount of hits and I'm not sure I'll have time to reply to all the comments I'll get. I appreciate your help in that!

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    2. i'm in your area and am glad to know that people like your husband work in out hospitals!

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    3. Thanks! His patients are very lucky. We have sacrificed a great deal as a family both for his training and for the time he devotes to his patients. He is hardly ever not working. I'm hoping our family life gets better once he's doing full-time lab research starting this January.

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  5. Will try to make this as short as can be, mostly so I'll head to bed soon!

    -I am not comfortable with how many vaccines are given now. http://vaxtruth.org/2012/02/cdc-recommended-immunization-schedule-2012-birth-through-6-years/

    -I am not ok with what is in vaccines chemically & morally
    Chemically- Ingredients like aluminum, mercury, & formaldehyde- just to name a few. Expanding on one a little- Formaldehyde is a preservative that is typically used to embalm the deceased. It was never intended for use in a living person. It is a known carcinogen, and even breathing air contaminated with it can be cancer causing, let alone shooting it straight into the blood stream.
    http://www.vaccinesafety.edu/components-Excipients.htm
    http://www.novaccine.com/vaccine-ingredients/
    Morally- Many vaccines contain or were made from aborted fetal tissue. As someone who knows human life is precious & starts from conception, I am not ok with this.
    http://www.rtl.org/.../VaccinesAbortion_FetalTissue.html

    These are just a few of the many reasons why I am not comfortable with vaccines. & being more naturally minded- health doesn't come in a needle. Eat right & take care of yourself. I do not want my or my family's immune system compromised by purposefully injecting our bodies with all of these viruses and chemicals.

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    1. And of course you are fully entitled to your choice. The point of my blog entry is that all of our top physicians and scientists have access to everything that we do on the internet, and then far more. They still choose to vaccinate their own children - essentially universally. It is my opinion that they are far better situated than we are to tell fact from fantasy on the internet, and to know which facts are medically significant, and which are not.

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    2. It's also such a luxury to think that health can come in the form of simply eating right and taking care of yourself. That's simply by virtue of the world where we live in, where most people ARE vaccinated and most of these serious spreadable viruses have been nearly eradicated. Those who want a "natural" lifestyle are still wanting a natural lifestyle within the very safe, secure comfort zone that the US provides.

      I would argue that taking care of yourself INCLUDES preventative measures like getting immunized for serious, very infectious diseases. You can't possibly avoid some of these illnesses simply by eating lots of kale and exercising regularly. If you or your children come into contact with somebody who is infected, you will be likely to contract the illness yourself. I understand other "natural" instincts, like eating fresh, organic, locally grown food, staying away from preservatives, co-sleeping and baby-wearing and sewing your own clothes, using cloth diapers, etc. But this is quickly becoming a public-health issue that is affecting more and more innocent people, and it's a totally unnecessary public-health issue.

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    3. I used to nanny for an anestethiologist (I know I spelled that wrong, even spell checker can't help me there) at a local level 4 trauma hospital. He and his wife chose not to vaccinate their 3 daughters. I also know many nurses at the same hospital (one of the largest in our area) who choose an alternative vax schedule or to not vaccinate at all. Maybe they are just having the information hidden from them?

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    4. The purpose of eating healthy and exercising isn't to avoid the illnesses, but have your body in a state of health that it can combat the illnesses and act as designed.

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    5. I am assuming you nannied awhile ago if you're now an ordained pastor. The original study linking vaccines to autism was given some (hesitantly skeptical) credence in the medical community; it was done by a legitimate MD and published in a legitimate journal. But then nobody else was able to reproduce any significant results on the topic, including the original researcher, and an investigation showed that he fraudulently falsified his results. The same is true for alternative schedules - they've only recently, but thoroughly, been discredited in terms of offering any benefits. It takes awhile once a new practice starts to thoroughly study it. As far as what physicians these day do, see the body of my post - it links to an AAP study showing that 97% of physicians vaccinate their children and physicians are actually most likely to use additional vaccines that aren't even on the schedule, to protect their children.

      As far as nurses I cannot comment. I would refer you back to what physicians do. My friend was a nurse and became an MD and she says she was often second-guessing the physicians she worked for, but when she went to medical school she found she "wasn't even aware of" the many factors going into their decisions. She "didn't even know *what* she didn't know."

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    6. No, the luxury is that I can do both jobs simultaneously. :)

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    7. The decision to not vaccinate is in fact a healthy one. If vaccines are proven to not be 100% effective and the side effects can be deadly then why in the world would anyone who has done valid research choose to inject their sweet babies with nasty chemicals that are harmful! Example: my sisters children have had every vaccine on the market for their age and they are always sick, have terrible asthma, and their allergies are wayyyyyy worse than most people I know! & that's just one of the many people I know whose families that vaccinate are sick way more often than all the families that I know that do not vax.

      This is just some article from a know it all mom who likes to brag about her families medical success make you feel on the fence about your choices. Also the photos used of the sick babies are very old and outdated. Medical technology has advanced enough now that it would not get that bad for any baby unless he or she was neglected. There is always a possibility of a child getting sick vaxed or not.

      ^& I mentioned how medical technology has advanced enough now-- so I'm obviously not all one sided- I believe that medical resources are great when needed. One medical resource that is not necessary is injecting all the children & people across the world with as many vaccines as they can get away with. I'm sorry, but I'll never ever buy that vaccines are good....

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    8. This is not just "some article;" it has link upon link upon link upon link to reputable medical articles and peer-reviewed scientific studies. One of them discusses the very ingredients in vaccines that you're worried about. The medical resources that are "great when needed" are, unfortunately, being needed unnecessarily more and more frequently because of anti-vaxxers (see the doctors commenting below). WHAT are you talking about that medical technology has advanced far enough that it "would not get that bad for any baby?" Again, see the doctors' commenting below.

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    9. "If vaccines are proven to not be 100% effective and the side effects can be deadly then why in the world would anyone who has done valid research choose to inject their sweet babies with nasty chemicals that are harmful"

      It is fairly easy to find the answer if you look. You can compare the risks and the benefits. What is the risk of the disease? Who is at risk? What is the risk of the vaccine? How likely is the vaccine to work? If the benefits far outweigh the risks, and if the risks are very small or negligible, then the vaccines are recommended. After they are recommended, they are still monitored for rare side effects. For example, the first rotovirus vaccine was taken off the market after a few months due to a rare side effect. But the fact is, the rare side effect was found and the vaccine was taken off the market. Nothing in life is perfectly effective or perfectly safe. But with recommended vaccines you are much better off to get them than to not get them.

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    10. "If vaccines are proven to not be 100% effective and the side effects can be deadly then why in the world would anyone who has done valid research choose to inject their sweet babies with nasty chemicals that are harmful?"

      You could make the same argument with seat belts. It would sound like this:

      "If seat belts are proven to not be 100% effective and the side effects can be deadly (trapped in a burning car) then why in the world would anyone choose to make their sweet babies wear seat belts that are harmful?"

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    11. surprised how blind you all are...October 2, 2013 at 5:03 PM

      Stupid comparison. Let's stop being dumb...
      In wearing a seatbelt you are not injecting toxins into your body. A seatbelt is pretty easy to undo...vaccines, not so much.

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  6. Thank you for this well-reasoned, educated, and evidence-based summation of an incredibly important topic. As a physician I find it heartening that there are individuals in society who are willing to take up this fight alongside the medical establishment. It speaks volumes that you're willing to expend time and effort to dispel such pervasive myths when your only potential benefits are a safer society and the well-being of others' children, while your guaranteed cost is having to converse with some of the least logical and most passionately deluded people in this country. I greatly appreciate you performing this very, very frustrating deed. My future (obviously vaccinated) children thank you as well.

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  7. Your blog post is great! I have a conclusion though that the sociopathic "know it alls", sofa googlers, etc. Their minds will never be changed because they think they know it all. Keep shouting it from the roof tops. Then at least the fittest will survive.

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  8. As a physician, a board certified pediatrician and neonatologist to be exact, I want to praise your blog here! I've had to put breathing tubes and central lines in too many babies, and hold too many weeping parents whose children have died from vaccine preventable diseases.
    You critics are correct, you can choose to put whatever you want into your child while they are in your care. However, when they get sick with a vaccine preventable disease, I get to choose which medications to pump into their body, when to put the breathing tube down, and when to stop resuscitation when I can't save them. Not trying to scare you, just telling you MY reality and MY choices.
    As for home birth to avoid the medical system and vaccines, it's a good thing people haven't shunned cars because of accidents, because I'm going to need a quick way to get to your house when your birth plan goes out the window and the baby tanks. Once again, not scaring you, just letting you know the calls I get several times a week.

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    1. WOW. Love this comment. Thank you for bringing in your own very real, very scary anecdotes. People need to hear these stories way more.

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    2. I just gave birth in February and my midwife pushed homebirth as an option EVERY time I went for my pre-natal visits. I was low risk, in good health, and had 2 previous natural unmedicated births (in hospital). I was an "excellent candidate," they kept telling me! My husband wouldn't hear of it. THANK GOD!! Just as I entered active labor I suffered a full, spontaneous placental abruption. Pain like I have never felt, and don't forget I have delivered two children completely naturally! The doctors at the hospital said without a doubt if we had not already been on our way to labor and delivery when this happened both my daughter and I would have died. She was delivered via emergency C-section less than 10 minutes after arriving at the hospital, unresponsive but was miraculously able to be revived. I had hemorrhaged a great deal and ended up being transfused 11 units of blood and spent 2 days in ICU. I will trust my doctors, and you better believe my baby has been and will continue to be vaccinated ON SCHEDULE! When enough people stop vaxxing and enough babies die from illnesses that were obsolete 5 years ago, people will begin to see the light, but unfortunately, that's what it's going to take. Everyone thinks they can be an expert. And if history has proven anything, it's that humans are incapable of not repeating history!

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    3. Oh yes. I could do another entry exactly like this one on home birth. There is actually an OB out there who does essentially that. "Hurt By Home Birth" and "The Skeptical OB" are the websites to check out.

      One fact that's worth noting that escapes so, SO many people is that ALL of the *known* high-risk pregnancies are ALREADY always delivered in hospitals. So EVEN IF the statistics showed that home births were slightly safer - which they don't, EVEN pro-home birthers are out there arguing that the stats show home birth is just as safe, but those stats are faulty, see the OB's website!!! - it would actually STILL mean that home births are quite dangerous. Because the "sample taken" for home births *already* excludes all the known-high-risk pregnancies. The multiples, the pre-eclampsia, moms with health conditions, on and on and on!!! If you're excluding ALL those, and finding that your practice is only just as safe or slightly safer (which is STILL not true), heaven help you!!!!

      One other thing that escapes people on home births is that home birth practitioners do not carry liability insurance! Nobody will insure them! So when home births go wrong and end up in hospitals, you CANNOT sue to get compensation for all the lifetime of future medical treatment your child will need, or pain and suffering, or anything!!

      Check out this article from JAMA:

      http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1682946

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    4. Thank you for your reply. It is scary but it's reality. The problem is the parents making the choices to not vaccinate have never seen or know anyone who has suffered from the diseases.

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  9. As a pediatric nurse I want to say thank you for writing this. Yes people have the right to choose what they want but I encourage them to not make the decision lightly and read the facts before they decide its " not for them".

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    1. All of the families that I know that do not vaccinate or do a delayed/selective vax schedule have definitely not just said "oh that's not for us". Most of these families are focused on what is best for their children, not just what the doctors recommend, the media, & what's mainstream. For every decision, not just vaccines, these families research, weigh the options/risks, and decide according to the facts, their beliefs & convictions, & overall, what they decide is best for their child. Each mommy is the expert of their child.

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    2. Unfortunately your "research" is not fact-based. Obviously, if you read the above blog, you didn't comprehend the message. The vast majority of the links you have posted in your multiple comments are not evidence based, and not really even science based.
      I'm a family physician. Your "research" can in no way compare to the vast number of MD's, DO's, and PhD's that research vaccines at the AAP, ACIP, and CDC. These are the only websites you should be looking at for information on vaccination schedules. Anything that is not an evidence based, peer reviewed study is GARBAGE. It's unfortunate that the internet is "believed" to be a substitute for sound medical advice.
      In my waiting room and each of my exam rooms there is a great book published by The Texas Childrens Hospital entitled "Vaccine Preventable Disease." It tells the stories of numerous families and children whose children died or were handicapped by preventable diseases like Meningitis, Whooping Cough, and even Polio.
      Here's an example for you: I have a baby coming into my office for a 1 month old well baby exam, they have only had Hep B Vax #1 in the hospital. While they are in my waiting room, you sit next to that mother and child with your sick child who comes in due to cough with vomiting. Your child coughs and aerosolizes Pertussis bacteria into the air that fall on that 1 month old, who is too young to be vaccinated for Pertussis. The baby contracts Pertussis and dies.
      Another example: You contract Pertussis because while you were vaccinated as a child, your immunity wanes over time and you haven't gotten your TDAP booster. You cough in the air in your home and your young child contracts Pertussis and dies because their tiny bodies and immature immune system is too weak to fight off the infection.
      These things happen every day in medical offices across the country these days because irresponsible, YES IRRESPONSIBLE, parents refuse to appropriately vaccinate their children based on ABSOLUTELY FALSE information on the internet. (Here's a hint, if there's "wiki" in the website, you should realize that anyone with an internet connection can alter or add information to that site. Also, if you read an article by a "physician" who says they're anti-vaccine, I would encourage you to look them up on www.quackwatch.com or www.sciencebasedmedicine.org)
      My children WILL be vaccinated ON SCHEDULE according to the AAP, ACIP, and CDC guidelines. All my children will get the HPV vaccine. In my personal and professional opinion, vaccinations should be MANDATORY to enter public OR private school. My children will not be around or play with children who are unvaccinated ON PRINCIPLE and for their SAFETY. There needs to be public safety initiatives in place to keep people from spreading preventable disease and I suspect that it will be coming in the future if diseases like measles and pertussis continue to pop up and kill children. I certainly hope that YOUR children do not get anything serious. Lastly, you mentioned "beliefs." I hate that word. So many people use it as a cop out. "Belief" is not a substitute for "medical fact." You might want to get your FACTS straight before you tout the evils of vaccination.

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    3. Until a vaccine is given to the general population, all potential adverse events cannot be anticipated. Thus, many vaccines undergo Phase 4 studies-formal studies on a vaccine once it is on the market. Also, the government relies on the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) to identify problems after marketing begins. The VAERS system and how it works is discussed further on this website.
      http://www.fda.gov/biologicsbloodvaccines/developmentapprovalprocess/biologicslicenseapplicationsblaprocess/ucm133096.htm

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    4. Thankfully, "Phase 4" studies on vaccines have already have already been going on for decades. Physicians are well aware of the risks of vaccinating but they are also aware of the risks of not vaccinating. It continues to amaze me that the risks of not vaccinating are so entirely ignored by anti-vaxxers.

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  10. As a physician, I find it refreshing to read a blog post this well-researched, this comprehensive, and yet still digestible. Kudos to you.

    I realize that the "anti-vaccination community" have done a lot of "research" on this topic of vaccinating vs. not. As was pointed out countless times in the comments above, the SOURCE is what matters. Point to me one single article in a REPUTABLE peer-reviewed journal showing a double-blinded placebo-controlled randomized controlled trial showing that the relatively minimal risks of vaccination are not outweighed by a huge magnitude by the benefits. They don't exist. Don't you think that scientists would have shown such data by now, if it existed?

    Now, I went to Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, the #1 medical school in the US, and I went to Hopkins School of Public Health - the #1 public health institution in the entire world. All this is not to boast, but to say that my credentials do mean something. I was trained by some of the very people who are literally saving millions of lives a day in the field. Now, if the brightest minds in medicine at places like Hopkins and Harvard, the ones on the cutting edge of all the studies on vaccines, the ones who have Vaccine Institutes which test these vaccines and all - if those minds are all (at least 99%) FOR vaccines, what really can stand up and say that they are not worthwhile, i.e. that their benefits do not outweigh their risks? It is as if a layman were to say that a certain bridge were not built correctly to a team of architectural, civil, and structural engineers. Are those opinions worth much? Not even a grain of salt, in my opinion. Don't you afford your car mechanic certain liberties with your car when you get it repaired? What's different about medicine? I can attest to you that I went into medicine for the right reasons, and the main reason is to heal and ease suffering. I think it is grossly and entirely irresponsible and a true failure of parenting to neglect your children's health by not getting them vaccinated. Sure, do your research. Sure, there are adverse reactions (as the author points out, even to Tylenol). Nobody is stopping that. But I'll bet you'll be right there in the hospital WHEN (not if) your poor children get sick with these preventable illnesses. You (the "anti-vaccination community") really are stomping on strong, sturdy shoulders of giants in medicine who have established the safety & efficacy of these vaccines, and you have no right to do so. It's a shame that your children are subject to your selfish decisions. But alas, one day they will not be. I pray that from birth to 18 years they do not encounter these organisms which cause severe morbidity and even kill many patients around the world, where vaccines aren't available. Why not leave the medicine to us? And tend to your own wares? We (the medical community) have no stake in you giving your child vaccines. But we are stewards for the health of our patients, which you are preventing us from doing. No excuses.

    (continued below)

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  11. (continued from above)

    Those same minds I was speaking of are the ones who prescribe you medicines for pain, for high blood pressure, for high cholesterol, to help you have your baby in the first place if you don't progress in labor (oxytocin), but somehow those minds turn malicious or misguided or uneducated when it comes to vaccines? Why trust them for all the other medicines (many of which can have harmful side effects) they prescribe? Doesn't make much sense to me. If people are against them in the first place, seems that they have to be against all the pharmaceutical establishment. Please hand over your metoprolol, furosemide, oh and all antibiotics that you do and will take throughout your lifetime as you get sick. We wouldn't want you to get autism now. Now, don't get me wrong, I do have my problems with Big Pharma (i.e. it's a multi-billion dollar big business), but Hopkins, Harvard, Penn, Duke, Stanford, Wash U in St. Louis, and all other reputable institutions have done independent studies (i.e. not funded by vaccine makers) on vaccines before they added them to their formularies (i.e. what they can prescribe their patients). Why would they do this if they were harming their patients?? You think these institutions would ALLOW things to be prescribed to patients that caused more harm than good? In fact, with vaccines, it is even arguable is there is much harm AT ALL that is done. And I defend that to the end, because I've reviewed countless peer-reviewed article on the topic. Nothing (reputable) EVER says there's any sort of lasting detrimental effect but EVERY article says that lives are saved. Just because you don't see the diseases they prevent doesn't make them any less of wonder drugs. A simple task: look up statistics on rates of measles, mumps, rubella, typhoid, polio, yellow fever, etc all of the vaccine-preventable diseases in the US vs. any third-world country. Then go to YouTube and find a video of any of those diseases - a kid crying in pain from them. Those are REAL. I've seen them - more on this later.

    Case in point - not a SINGLE article in a top medical journal in the US or abroad (i.e. New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association, Nature, Science, British Medical Journal, The Lancet) - not a SINGLE article in any of them about how vaccines cause autism or any other notable ailment. Any transient side effect they may cause is FAR outweighed by the gross number of lives they have saved. It's in fact, SUCH a stark difference of risks and benefits, that it is a non-argument.

    The case in pediatrics is just blown way out of proportion because everybody is ultra-sensitive about what their kids get. They think they're being good parents. Quite the opposite. My wife is a pediatrician - i.e. she knows better than me and better than ANY other doctor in medicine (other than other pediatricians), what vaccines do and if they should be given to kids. She, like 99% of physicians, advocates vaccines for all children she sees. But it is a similar case in adults actually - for the flu vaccine. There is a precious small community of healthcare workers who are opposed to flu vaccine even, and most hospitals now are MANDATING that they take it, or they will have to leave their jobs. And guess what? It's legal. Because the American Medical Association says that it is NOT okay for you to put patients at risk because of your decision to not vaccine. In my opinion, same goes for kids. Your job is to protect them from harm, not cause it.

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  12. What a great, reasoned, level-headed blog post. Thank you. I'm planning to share this on Facebook because I'm surprised by how many people aren't even aware of the more recent developments in the scientific community regarding the safety of vaccines. As a nanny who'd seen a child go from a developing toddler to being diagnosed with severe autism I was as eager as anyone to point the finger at vaccines. It would have been great to have a simple explanation for what causes autism. But science has shown that it's not. I'm pregnant with my first child and he will definitely be vaccinated according to my pediatrician's recommendations.

    I did find a few things in your post troubling. Your friend with an autistic brother may love him just the way he is but to imply that every parent who fears that their child may be stricken with a terrible disease if vaccinated (whether their fears are justified or not) would rather have their child die than be autistic is really unfair and insulting. I definitely see your friends' point, but it's an emotional argument and one that will only drive people away or give them a reason to feel even more wronged by the pro-vaccine community,

    My other issue is with the story of the elderly cancer patient. It's not only that it's highly anecdotal, which is what you're warning against in the non-vaccinating arguments, but specifically I don't understand how the woman was "elderly" when the anti-vaccine push is relatively recent. Were there people who refused to vaccinate in earlier decades? Maybe it was her granddaughter?

    This is why second-hand, unverified stories bother me. A minor quibble though, and a great blog post overall. Thank you!

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    1. These points are well-taken. I removed the local oncologist's story. I am not going to take down my friend's point though, because I think it is a really important one and I want to give people in her situation a voice in my blog entry. She feels insulted when people don't vaccinate for fear of autism because it really is like having someone say *to her* (even if not *to themselves*) "Well, we'd rather risk death than risk having a child like your brother." I think people need to be aware of how offensive that is, especially considering it's not founded in any fact whatsoever. Not to mention all the parents with autistic children who have bought into the autism hoax and are living with so much unnecessary guilt and pain over wishing they'd made a different choice when the reality is that it is NOT their fault. If anti-vaxxers are uncomfortable with all that, well, that's just a natural consequence of the reality of what's going on here, and my aim is to point out reality, not hide or sugar-coat it. I really am, as I said above, writing this for the people who are on the fence and don't know who to listen to. People who only have access to one doctor and then their google search engine. People who have already decided to be anti-vaccine - in my experience, you cannot change their minds no matter how much legitimate science you show them. Just look at all the comments here!

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    2. Thank you for this point about autism. Two of my three children from my first marriage are on the spectrum (one mild, one classic). Their paternal uncle also, is autistic. while the exact causes of autism are not known, there is a wide belief within the scientific community that autism may have a genetic link. In my case, I believe this to be a contributing factor, rather than the hokum that their vaccines did it (by the way, that uncle: never vaccinated).

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  13. Thank you for writing this article. I feel like the anti-vaccine crowd has been so vocal that everyone stops to listen, but those of us who are pro-vaccine, and always have been, do not get vocal enough. This is not a simple issue of whether to breastfeed your child or use formula. It is not about attachment parenting vs. Babywise. Those are personal decisions that only affect the individual child/family. Choosing to not vaccinate your children affects not only your children, but MY children and everyone else's child.

    As a mother of a daughter with cystic fibrosis, I am extremely passionate about vaccinations. Emily not only has her own health battles to fight, but she also is immunosuppressed. Should I have to keep her in a bubble at home and never let her play with other kids to ensure that she doesn't contract whooping cough from some unvaccinated child? The life expectancy of a CF child is only 37. That number becomes greatly reduced when exposed to life threatening lung infections.

    If you are indeed on the fence about vaccinations, please think about my sweet 9 year old when you make your choice.

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    1. Thank you for this comment! Children like your daughter are exactly who I'm writing this for. Hugs to you and to her.

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    2. Thank you for humanizing this for us. I WILL think about your daughter next time I happily vaccinate my own children.

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    3. happily?? ...this blog & these comments are making me sick! i can maybe "get" if you feel so inclined to vaccinate.. but i would never ever do so happily! it is not just a black & white decision. & even if it was, i would not smile happily while my child is being injected with toxins galore! *smh*

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    4. Well, you would indeed happily vaccinate, if you lived during the time when these vaccines first came out and everyone knew kids who had died or were permanently disabled from these illnesses. You'd probably also happily vaccinate if you were currently planning a trip to a 3rd-world country where these diseases remain common due to low vaccination rates.

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    5. i would not "indeed happily vaccinate!"
      but it's not that time period.. & we are not traveling..
      no point to load my kids up with chemicals.
      & even if i was- happily? no way!
      you all can have your kids with reduced immune responses, cancers, allergies, asthma, ADD/ADHD, ...just to name a few.

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    6. So are you admitting then that you would vaccinate if you were traveling to a third-world country? And if so, doesn't that mean that the only reason you're not vaccinating here in the US is because the rest of us are?

      By the way my kids have none of what you listed, I don't even think either has ever even had the stomach flu.

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    7. no, not at all. the rest of you can do what you decide to do. third-world countries do not have as good sanitation, that is why i would consider it. but even then, i would look at each vaccines individually & the ingredients, & decide if i am more comfortable with the risks of the vaccine or of the disease. not at allll because the rest of you all do or don't.

      well then your kids are some of the lucky ones. but you have no clue how they will be when they are older. they are only adding more and more recommended vaccines for children... way more than any older generations had.

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    8. Well, as seen in the study I linked to, physicians give their children even more vaccines than are on the official schedule. I guess we will have to agree to disagree. I've seen the training that goes into it and I'm trusting the physicians.

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    9. I was raised by a physician and received every single one of the recommended vaccines and some that were not yet "routine" (and now are). I am now the physician and the parent. Not only has my child received all of the recommended vaccines, my husband and I both received the boosters we needed. This is what I tell my friends when they are concerned about vaccinating their children.

      On a side note, how do people who are anti-vaccine feel about antibiotics? The unvaccinated children I've seen in the emergency department usually (and thankfully) have nothing more than the common cold, caused by a virus. Their parents are some of the most vocal I've come across demanding antibiotics (which don't work on viruses!) for a viral infection. Now, as a physician, I am WAY more concerned about the potential side effects and harm antibiotics can cause than vaccines. I find it ironic that the parents who don't want to harm their children with vaccines are perfectly willing to harm them with antibiotics. I repeat, my child is vaccinated. He has yet to have any antibiotics. Also, how many anti-vaccine people use "antibacterial" cleaners, hand soap, hand sanitizer, etc?

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    10. Thank you for pointing that out. It's not surprising ... both positions involve believing that you, as a layperson, know more than your doctor. And in some cases laypeople DO know more than their own doctors - about their own bodies though, not about obvious, repeatedly proven scientific and medical facts.

      It's too bad that the risks of overuse of antibiotics aren't more known. But people who either deny the existence of herd immunity or who outright admit that they don't care; they'd rather put others *and themselves* at a greater risk than accept the most minimal, almost entirely mild reaction-risk from a vaccine... they also probably don't care that their overuse of antibiotics for lingering common colds is contributing to antibiotic-resistent infections and potential superbugs. One of the anti-vaxx blogs I link to above talks about throwing away prescribed antibiotics after just 3 or 4 doses. So dangerous, and so irresponsible.

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  14. Thanks so much for writing this article. It's so nice to see an intelligently written and well researched post. There is so much great evidence based medical research out there and so few "laypeople" understand how to access reliable information. It's unfortunate that so many people "believe" (the worst word in the English language) that everything they read on the internet is factual. I appreciate the time you put into this and as a physician I am happy to share it with my friends.

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  15. I love seeing more and more bloggers speaking up about being Pro-vaccine parents! It's so sad to see so many comments against you and giving you a hard time for trying to make them feel like bad parents for not vaccinating when ALL the Anti-vaxxers sites are specifically driven to make every Pro-vaccine parent feel like a horrible parent for not doing their research and choosing to vaccinate.

    For the rest of you, If you take offense to being told you should vaccinate when you have already chosen not to then you obviously are questioning your own decision.

    As for the mother who commented that her vaccinated children were always sick and had more ear infections compared to her non-vaccinated children well, all 3 of my kiddos are 100% vaccinated, even the flu vaccine each year, and they are 3 of the MOST healthy kids I know.

    I, like a previous commenter, also have a degree in Early Childhood Education. I have both worked in and ran my own child care. I am PRO-VACCINE!!! Nothing in my education and career years has EVER taught me or given me ANY reason to be against vaccination.

    Thank you for this article :)

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    1. Oh, and thank you so much for the link about fetal tissue! I have questioned this only because I have heard about it from anti-vaxxers, I have only ever found reading material on it written BY anti-vaxxers and have wondered where it was coming from and if it was true. I can only hope those whom I personally know who choose not to vaccinate solely because of fetal material will see and read this.

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  16. I just want to add I take offense that ALL medical professionals chose to vax their children. I am an RN and I have chosen NOT to vax my youngest child. My oldest had a bad reaction and it was something after careful research, time and prayer that I decided not to do with my youngest. I also know of several doctors that I discussed this with and agreed with some of the information I was able to dig up. There are several local to me that dont vax or use a delayed/altered schedule. I encourage all parents (pro or non vax) to research and do whats best for their families.

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    1. Well, if you read my blog entry in full, you'll see that I am not making a simple unfounded assertion that "ALL medical professionals choose to vax their children." Rather, I link to an AAP study on how **physicians** vaccinate their own children. I never said anything about other "medical professionals." We've seen out here that lots of "medical professionals" are now refusing to get their flu shots, and so their jobs are now threatened because hospitals don't want to endanger their already-sick patients. How many of those "medical professionals" refusing flu shots are doctors, do you think (I think, literally, none)? The study shows that 97% of physicians vaccinate their own children.

      I don't know when you dug up information (was it before they disproved the autism link? was it before they [recently] definitively disproved any advantage to alternate schedules? was it before they came out with the most recent versions of the current vaccines?), or what information you dug up - you're welcome to cite it here - or whether the doctors you spoke to, as so many do with their own patients on "alternative schedules" just tacitly agreed with you even though they would not have followed your advice for their children. I don't know these things. Show me the medical source.

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  17. Thank you! I think I relaxed so much after I read your post that I melted under the table! I have been chomping at the bit to respond to all the anti vaxxers that have been relentless as of late, but my husband has forbidden me since most of them are relatives of some kind. Anyway, I appreciate your time and research. Totally rad. My incredible 6 yr old son is autistic, and my amazing 22 yr old brother is also autistic. I share the same feelings as your friend. I can't help but feel protective when small minded bullies imply that autism is such a horrible fate that they're cool to just roll the dice and hope their kid doesn't get any of these very real and deadly diseases that could have been prevented from a vaccine. Tsk tsk...I am also sick and tired of beig called a bully because I use science and reason to validate my argument. Obviously if you refuse to accept factual data we probably won't be best buds, and I truly don't badger anyone about vaccinating or not vaccinating. I only feel the urge when paranoia and complete bogus are being spouted as truth. Doesn't it seem like the level of crazy has been recently raised? I haven't gone more than few days at a time in who knows how long without having some soapbox via FB about natural healing and blah blah yada blah. So I thank you for your post! And I will happily share!

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  18. Thank you for writing this! My husband is a pediatrician resident, and I can totally relate to this. I am not good with word's, and debate is not a strong point here. It seem's when non-vaxxers get going, I cant find words. And usually they wont listen to reason anyway. And just for those natural living people, I am a baby wearing, breast feeding (I have even donated my milk to other's I think it is so important), cloth diapering, organic when I can afford it. And I live in southern California where it's everywhere. I am all about taking care of my health and that of my kids as naturally as I can. And I vaccinate because I am informed! If you have ever done any genealogy, go back 100 years. Tell me how many family's you find that didn't lose 1 or more children to these illness' that are so rare today.

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  19. I just wanted to point out that the only reason I am posting as anonymous is because this is linked to my husbands account, and I don't think it appropriate to post in his name.

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  20. Elle,

    Thank you for your excellent research and clear writing. As a practicing pediatrician I love to see things like this put out there. I'm sorry that you've been inundated by people with strong anti-vaccine feelings. I've read through many of your accurate and thorough rebuttals of their "arguments." By any reasonable standard, you have buried them.
    I've been thinking about this for some time and now believe that _no_ amount of rational discourse or facts can alter these people's beliefs, because their position is primarily an emotional one.
    People like kidsmomofmany or Starla place a great deal of value on the smug feeling of superiority that comes from deciding not to vaccinate. They are strong, intelligent women and they know better than anyone how to care for their children. This is not about their children, it is about them. They are the moms who care enough to spend the time Googling. They are the moms who care enough to watch YouTube. They value this feeling above the health of their children, above the health of children and adults around them. They believe the deaths of thousands of Americans are a small price to pay for their right to feel this way. They live in a echo chamber filled with the deluded.
    I'm not certain of the best way to reach them, but presenting them with exquisitely researched and clearly written arguments won't do it. I think there's literally nothing you can say that can change their minds. There needs to be something that undermines their self-satisfaction. Perhaps more pictures of sick children. Perhaps a whooping cough echoing through their chamber.

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    1. Yeah, you are probably right, which is so frustrating to us rational folks! Elle does say, however, that she is trying to reach those on the fence who are truly trying to wade through all the noise, not necessarily the smug know-it-alls whose minds are already made up.

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    2. wonderful that you call them smug know-it-alls... because it could be said like-wise about you all...
      http://www.modernalternativemama.com/blog/2013/08/26/monday-health-wellness-why-the-anti-vaccine-movement-exists/#

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    3. This "modernalternativemama" link is great, the one caveat though is that it gives a lot of credit to people doing their own "research." The point of my blog entry is that because there is (a) so much legitimate-appearing but either false or highly misleading information on the internet that *really does* require medical training to distinguish among; and (b) quite a bit of the most legitimate information and studies are NOT available to the general public without a paid subscription; and (c) this is a topic that really does require layers of medical knowledge and training, not just reading some published studies --- my point is that because of those things, people should trust the actual physicians, scientists, and experts: They have an essentially unanimous consensus on this issue and they DO have access to all of the stuff we do AND their patients bring it to them too. Especially when we can see what the experts are doing with their own children. To that extent I don't disagree with Sam that some level of arrogance or hubris must be present in many people (not all) who insist on ignoring all of our experts. A lot of people who try to handle their own law suits are well-intentioned but there is a reason that professions require training and degrees. Think about whatever your own profession is and whether someone with no training could figure out a better answer or do it better than you could. That's true even of careers that require a fraction of the training of medicine and science.

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  21. The reason doctors are not afraid of being sued over vaccines is because the government has protected the vaccine manufacturers and has set maximum allowances for damages. You, as a lawyer should know about VAERS and the laws governing the liability of the vaccine makers. This to me points to the fact that the government knows vaccines can, and do, cause severe harm to some. Also, with all your hot air about "non credible sources" last time I checked, pubmed was a pretty reliable source, as well as the cdc themselves. 15 studies showing there may be a link between autism and vaccines http://www.regardingcaroline.com/pubmed. According to the cdc, the unvaccinated ARE NOT responsible for the outbreaks of pertussis. Q: I've heard about parents refusing to get their children vaccinated and travelers to the U.S. spreading disease; are they to blame for pertussis outbreaks?
    A: Even though children who haven't received DTaP vaccines are at least 8 times more likely to get pertussis than children who received all 5 recommended doses of DTaP, they are not the driving force behind the large scale outbreaks or epidemics. However, their parents are putting them at greater risk of getting a serious pertussis infection and then possibly spreading it to other family or community members.
    We often see people blaming pertussis outbreaks on people coming to the US from other counties. This is not the case. Pertussis was never eliminated from the US like measles or polio, so there's always the chance for it to get into a community. Plus, every country vaccinates against pertussis. http://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/about/faqs.html#travelers. Additionally, reading the list of side effects for vaccines is enough to scare anyone. And I'm talking about the actual list of side effects, not the little paper that your doctor is required to give you. For many vaccines, the list is long, and no one can guarantee your child will not be the one to suffer adverse consequences. And you know what? The doctors don't really know how common these reactions are because many are never suspected to be caused by vaccines.
    Just take a scroll through VAERS and read some case law about large payouts due to vaccine injury. If that is a risk you are willing to take, all the power to you. But don't pretend like it's not a risky preposition.

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    1. The government has "protected vaccine manufacturers and set maximum allowances for damages." Protection for drug manufacturers is NOT protection for doctors, so the first part of this comment doesn't make a point at all. Most states DO cap damages for ALL law suits against doctors, these are recent caps and you can find out about your own state by reading up on your state's tort reform.

      Pubmed is NOT a source. It's just a search engine for journals; it encompasses a spectrum of reliability. Why don't you see today's Pediatrics article about whether the unvaccinated (and undervaccinated, or without boosters) are responsible for pertussis outbreaks? You can't beat Pediatrics for credibility:

      http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2013/09/24/peds.2013-0878.abstract

      What you cite to isn't even Pubmed, which like I said is just a search engine. You cite to a personal blog called "RegardingCaroline" that purports to give a bunch of links to legitimate studies finding a link between vaccines and autism. But of the six links it gives, not ONE is a credible medical study. The first two links link to a "study" but the page is no longer found - perhaps it was taken down. The next link takes you to a personal blog by a non-physician - a hollywood actress actually - that also doesn't link to a single study. The next link is yet another personal blog. The final link I cannot even tell what it is.

      It's interesting to me that you cite someone saying that not getting DTAP makes you 8x more likely to get pertussis, and then you say that the side-effects of vaccinating are what scare you. Ten children died in the whooping cough epidemic in California two years ago, do you really think that ten children also died from their vaccines in California that year?

      You can peruse all the other comments to my blog and you'll see many physicians talking about what they see. They say that they've "had to put breathing tubes and central lines in too many babies, and hold too many weeping parents whose children have died from vaccine preventable diseases."

      I refer as well to my seatbelt analogy. Just because in the ultra-rare case, a seatbelt may kill by trapping someone in a burning car, that doesn't mean it's safer to not wear your seatbelt; seatbelts have saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

      I refer you as well to other comments in which I quoted from UpToDate, which is what the physicians out here in the Harvard system use, and it's a paid subscription so I cannot link to it and you cannot find it on a google search. I quote verbatim about the risks of the Hep B vaccine. I don't have time to do that for all the vaccines. But the idea that vaccinating is more dangerous than not vaccinating is simply a false one and if that weren't true, like I said 97% of physicians wouldn't be vaccinating their own children.

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    2. " the government has protected the vaccine manufacturers and has set maximum allowances for damages."

      I would like a reference to what law you are quoting. The only federal law I am aware of requires arbitration of vaccine injuries before any law suit, and provides federal compensation to the patient for any injuries determined in arbitration. It does NOT prevent patients from going on and suing after arbitration if they are unhappy with the outcome, and it does not set any limit to subsequent damages in a law suit.

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    3. Here is a link to explain federal vaccine law

      http://www.nvic.org/vaccine-laws/federal-law.aspx

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  22. I would also like to add, that my physician does not support the current vaccination schedule. I had a conversation with her about her thoughts on vaccines and this is what she said "I'll tell you the truth, mom, I'm supposed to tow the party line and tell you don't worry, everything will be ok. But honestly, I think the current vaccine schedule is too much." She personally spaced out and selectively vaccinated one of her children. She also said she would never give her child the flu vaccine and would rather see a child get the flu a few times and build up some natural immunity. And no, she is not a natrapathic, homeopathic or chiropractic doctor. Just a regular, main stream, nurse practitioner with over 30 years of experience in pediatrics.

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    1. If that's actually true, your doctor must be among the 3% of physicians who skip vaccinations for their children. Where does she practice? Where did she do her medical school and training? Personally I'm sticking with the 97%. And every doctor I know out here in the Harvard system.

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    2. She went to Columbia for her nurse practitioner and Georgetown for her nursing degree.

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    3. So your "physician" is not a physician.

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  23. I swear I have written this exact same article myself - I'm a lawyer who studied health law, married to a pediatrician, daughter of a microbiologist. We have the exact same point of view. My husband never gets any grief about vaccines from the most highly educated among us - the fellow doctors/lawyers, etc. B/c we all are smart enough to know what we don't know, and to trust the experts in the field. It's the "mid-level" educated people who believe they are outsmarting the system, while meanwhile endangering us all.

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    1. That is so neat! What do you do now? And yes, totally agree.

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    2. I take issue with your statement about "the most highly educated among us." I have a masters and my husband is a lawyer and we question vaccine safety.

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    3. I think all of the above "anti-vax" people are not just shrugging their shoulders, or trying to go against the recommended just because! I I think they are all questioning the SAFETY of the vaccines. Address the safety, or lack there of, in your next blog post, k? ;)

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    4. Safety is thoroughly addressed in my blog entry and in many of the discussions and comments following. Why don't you see the comment in which I directly quote from UpToDate (paid subscription) on the "adverse reactions" to the Hep B vaccine. Also, "safety" is the vaguest, broadest word ever for a request. Address safety of vaccines: It is far safer to vaccinate than not to vaccinate. See: U.S. history early-mid 1900's and lots of nations without adequate vaccination access. There you go.

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    5. The list of adverse reactions is very long, scarily long. I'm not with you on that it is far safer to vaccinate than not to vaccinate. & we have no clue what the future outcome will be from all from all of these vaccines.
      Addressing the biggest concerns we have about vaccines. Mercury in vaccines and it's safety/threat to injecting it straight into our blood stream. The religious conflict for those who aren't ok with vaccines including aborted fetuses DNA and blastoplysts. The autism "link" is actually not one of the biggest concerns/threats out there for vaccines. We see more seizures and other reactions to vaccines than we do autism links.
      Also, how is it the unvaccinated girl's fault that the VACCINATED girl's vaccine failed and she died of the disease? I don't see that at all. First, if the vaccines fail so often, then why do we do them again? And second, doesn't It seem odd to you that the children who are vaccinated DIE from diseases, when unvaccinated ones don't? Who has the stronger immune systems? Why do you think that's so? And I understand that most vaccines wear off over time and most adults don't get boosters, so the whole herd immunity thing is all a moo point because even if we vaccinate ALL the children, you still have the adults walking around without boosters. Not to mention all the adults who didn't get all these newly administered vaccines these days. When I was a child I didn't get ALL the same shots being administered today. And I've never contracted some of these diseases. So how does that play into herd immunity? Why so many doses of the same shots? For example DTaP... 5 doses by the time they are five years old. But in other countries it's only 3 doses. So there are discrepancies across nations... Since you said that ALL nations agree on vaccines... Um, they don't. In fact some countries discontinue specific vaccines when a handful of children die from them. Oh but not in America... I know I didn't get 5 doses of DTaP when I was a child. I wouldn't consider myself entirely anti-vaccine, but I'm sorry... This blog has failed in answering many of the questions I have about how and which vaccines to administer just as the medical community has done. I'm still not convinced.

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    6. A lot of these concerns are addressed in earlier comments. There is a link about the fetus issue, for example, and it is great. I don't have time to rehash or to "hash" all of this, with the volume of comments now. I will leave it to some other commenter to perhaps take this one up. But yes, we should all get boosters and children die when cared for by people who haven't had their whooping cough boosters. If you have a personal physician, or your child's pediatrician, I would direct these questions that way or perhaps someone else can write a lengthier response, as many doctors have been commenting on this blog.

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    7. 1. There is no mercury in childhood vaccines any more except multi-dose influenza vaccine.
      2. We do see febrile seizures after vaccines. These are scary but do not cause injury.
      3. Vaccinated children do die of the diseases because vaccines are not perfect. They are at lower risk from disease, not zero risk. Unvaccinated people die more often of the diseases, but don't always die. They are at higher risk, but not at 100 % risk. The vaccine story is reducing overall risk.
      4. Adults don't get many of the new vaccines because they are not at risk (HIB vaccine for example) or they are at lower risk (meningococcal vaccine for example) or they are probably already infected (HPV vaccine for example) or even if they get the disease it is less serious for adults (pertussis and hepatitis B for example) or because kids are the main source of infection (Hepatitis A for example) or adults had more severe side effects from vaccine (the old pertussis vaccine for example).
      5. There are serious complications from vaccines, although rare. There are also serious complications from the illnesses that the vaccines prevent. As posted elsewhere, it is an issue of comparing risk from illness, frequency of illness, risk of vaccine, and effectiveness of vaccine. If it is a bad illness with lots of complications and a good vaccine with rare complications, I'd go for the vaccine.

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  24. ***For the "on the fencers"***
    If you are unsure about what to do, you should continue to delay all future vaccines until you are completely sure of your decision. You can restart vaccinating at any time, but once a vaccine is given, you can't "ungive" it.

    Take your time with your research. Vaccines are not emergency medicine.

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    1. You should probably also advise them to get a few paid subscriptions if they're going to do their own research. And if they come up with a different answer from the essentially unanimous consensus of all our leading experts ... they should definitely go speak to a real expert about that first.

      People should be sure of their decisions, but not if they googled something.

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    2. If there really are so much more resources out there that we don't have access to, why not silence all the anti-vaccinators with these resources? Why not make them available to the public so we understood? Why the secrecy? Don't believe this... It's at least an exaggeration. I'm able to sign up and access certain resources that show research and such, but nothing that isn't already released at least in summary to the public. Those resources are just more detailed and in depth parts of the studies. Believe me, if there was something out there that made it clear that vaccines were safe and effective, they would put it out to the public so that they can continue to vaccinate without resistance from the public.

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    3. That's how it is in all professions. For example, if I were to open a law firm, one of the biggest costs I'd have to factor in would be a subscription to Westlaw or Lexis, because the text of most legal cases and even laws is not on the internet.

      There are medical sources like UpToDate that are intended for practitioners only. They wouldn't even be all that readable to laypeople. If you look above in the comments I quote at length from UpToDate on the topic of Hep B. I would be infringing copyright if I reposted the entire thing on the internet.

      Physicians and hospitals put out a lot of information on vaccines and vaccine safety. I have many, many links in this entry to legitimate peer-reviewed scientific sources. Again, this is not an issue in which there is some big debate among experts on vaccine safety, like you might have debate about whether eating organic food offers any tangible benefits. They all agree; they all vaccinate their own children.

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    4. OR you could go to the "hard copy" at one of the huge medical libraries they have in medical schools. How many people out there "doing their own research" are really doing anything but googling?

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  25. There were 159 cases of measles in California and the MEDIA called it an OUTBREAK.

    There are now "according to the media" (which is really all "lay people" have access to) 1 in 50 children diagnosed with Autism.

    Now THATS what I call an OUTBREAK.

    I don't know WHAT causes autism, but theres been a SIGNIFICANT increase in the amount of vaccines given in the past 20 years. As the number of vaccines given increases -----> the rate of autism and "autoimmune" disorders increases right along side it.

    Who here can give any thoughts and answers to what is happening to a WHOLE generation of children???? 1 in 50. 1 in 110. 1 in 150. The numbers vary by news media outlet. They are all staggering!!!

    Pediatricians are quick to rush you in - stick your children with life saving vaccines - hand you a few fliers - rush you out. If any mom that I have ever talked with has EVER has a question about ANYTHING outside of a little cough or runny nose, they are dismissed. Oh its NOTHING. Your child is just FINE. You're just being paranoid. A mother knows her child best. She knows when something is wrong. Moms are just brushed off because they're just "lay people" and don't have as many fancy letters after their names. In a utopian world - real doctors would bust their TAIL to find REAL answers to what's going on with the patients they see. NOT write out a script for an antibiotic for every visit and say see ya in 10 days. Good luck! No pediatrician I've ever seen has given me ANY reason to place trust in them.

    This week - a close friend and nursing mother was prescribed a steroid and told that it was completely safe to take while nursing her infant son. Thankfully she had that gut instinct that it didn't sound right and consulted two other physicians who assured her that it was NOT in fact safe and that she should "pump and dump" her milk for at least a week. These are the doctors that we have to trust in good faith that they know what's "best" for our families. This is not just a one time occurrence.

    Again, I have NO IDEA what causes autism or the vast increase in "autoimmune" disorders and ADD/ADHD that children are being diagnosed with at an exorbitant rate. But what I would like to know from the medical community is WHO IS trying to find out???? I've heard NO one talk about how "we know vaccines don't cause autism but we're doing XYZ to find out what DOES." I've heard no doctors even show any concern about these alarming increases in the medical decline of a whole generation of children??

    Just my two cents........I'm sure its not worth much here. See my credentials below. Nothing too fancy.
    Love,
    Mom,
    U.P(unpaid), U.V. (undervalued), L.U. (loves and is loved unconditionally by her family)

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    1. The reason you're not hearing about the medial community researching what is causing these sicknesses is because their "research" if/when done unbiased, would lead straight back to the food that is allowed on the shelves in this country, the vast amount of vaccines give in one day to a tiny human being whose immune system/gut is still developing, and the big pharma companies who are profiting billions by "coming to the rescue" with their miracle drugs to save all of these children. We wouldn't want doctors to out these guys right?? what would that do for profits? Too many CEO's of these food companies in bed with their cronies at the FDA, CDC, and AAP.
      Thanks for writing this "mom". We appreciate you!

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    2. scaredforthefutureifweonlylistentodrsSeptember 30, 2013 at 9:15 PM

      <3 to you momma!
      Appreciate your post, although I know it won't be worth much on this page, I can tell you that!! :/
      Love,
      Also a Mom,
      who is also U.P, U.V., & L.U.
      :)

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    3. None of this is true. I cite to three studies from the most legitimate, peer-reviewed sources that were unable to find any link to autism. The medical community DID give some skeptical credence to Dr. Wakefield's study when it first came out. It prompted study after study to find out more but all of the studies found no connection whatsoever and THEN even HE could not reproduce his results under scrutiny and he was investigated and found to have fraudulently falsified his data. This is a topic that HAS been studied at great length and there is a unanimous medical consensus on it. If that's not enough for you, nothing ever will be.

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    4. And I am also U.P. and L.U. But I'm happy to say that I'm not U.V.

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    5. Yes, if only you knew how many people go back and forth between the FDA/CDC and the pharma companies. Its a joke.

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    6. Well my husband is an MD-researcher himself, and will ultimately be using his training to have his own lab doing cancer research specifically with blood cancers. The labs coming out with the studies I cite to are not compromised labs. Do you really think that all these doctors are vaccinating their own children because they don't know something as obvious as the conspiracy theory you are postulating? They have every incentive to protect their children than we do but they know the industry and have an incredible amount of training that we don't have. Clearly you "Anonymous" are one of those who cannot be convinced, even though you have no science backing you up. I don't have the time to further devote to this.

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    7. As I stated - I have NO IDEA what causes autism. I'm not qualified to know. I'm not saying its vaccines. But since you and your colleagues have access to such amazing resources that "lay people" do not have access to - then instead of continuing the arguing til people are blue in the face of whether vaccines do or not cause autism, lets REFOCUS.

      As a humble, plain old MOM, I am relying on people like YOU and the medical profession to be held accountable for what I would consider an OUTBREAK of autism, autoimmune disorders, "SIDS", ADD/ADHD, pediatric arthritis, and the list goes on............

      I DON'T know whats causing the alarming increase in any of this. But why is NO ONE in the medical community giving ANY answers as to what IS causing it? I'm just a mom. Asking questions. With no bias. No agenda. I'm not upset. I'm not being rude or insulting anyone.

      I would just like to know that SOME one in the medical community is voraciously pursuing the goal of figuring these things out. Instead of the answer being "we just don't know" and "here's the latest drug big pharma has rushed onto to the market without proper testing" - take two and hope it works! If it doesn't - we have another drug you can try on top of that one. Drugs are amazing INVENTIONS. They save lives. Millions of lives! But they are not the ONLY answer. The answer to this precious generation of children CAN NOT be a trail of prescription drugs. It just can't. :( Breaks my heart.

      So lets all REFOCUS - the new topic at hand is.........what medical journal, physician, group, is pursuing the answer? If you say it isn't vaccines, I'll go with that. I can't refute (nor have the time to click on) your link after link after link. I'll just have good faith that they're accurate and true.

      I understand that the medical community can't have an magical answer over night - but send us some links to show what progress is being made to figure out what IS causing autism, autoimmune disorders, ADD/ADHD, etc etc etc.

      Give us something to HOPE in - not just shoving your credentials down parents throats.

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    8. In my experience with "non vaxers" - the only way you will ever "get through to them" is not to send link after link of medical jargon. Its to give them something to hope in like this mom said. the reason most of them are so beligerant is because something happened to them and they need something to blame it on. if its not vaccines then the medical community needs to quit wasting their time arguing with them (since they only take up 2% of the population) and start pointing the finger at the true causes. whatever they be.

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    9. I agree completely! ^The medical community has saved millions of lives- but I don't want to see drug after drug, & vaccine after vaccine as the answers. I do not want that for my child or my grandchildren & great grandchildren. At this rate, my great great great grandchildren will have their daily doses of Rx meds & daily vaccine... Not the healthy future I want for them.

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    10. Well, I do agree with all of that but as I linked to in my blog post, there are now pockets with up to 50% unvaccinated (not 2%).

      I also want to add that I, too, am a mom - not a doctor. I was driven to write this blog post because several times in the past *I* have been tempted to believe what I've read on my local list serves and whatnot - not just on vaccination but for example on induction at 41 weeks pregnant. I have been *so* thankful that my husband is able to look into it for me and find me the real and best information out there. Like the fact that inducing at 41 weeks doesn't increase your chance of c-section (because waiting and having a big baby also does) and it actually decreases the morbidity rate. I wish everyone had this type of access, for ALL of their questions. I also wish everyone had a physician as devoted as my husband even though I personally live the toll it (at least the training) takes on us as a family. This blog entry is my way of sharing my perspective on vaccination, as it is informed by two great medical minds who I know are NOT biased. Because *I* would want to know that they think, if I didn't already.

      I *get* the cry for more answers. But I don't think we can blame the medical profession for "outbreaks." They are doing their best to figure out why and to fight whatever they can. Someone like my husband, for example, will make a FRACTION (literally, 1/3) of what he could make in private practice medicine but he is driven to do cancer research rather than practicing oncology because it is what he feels called to do.

      On autism, there have been studies now definitively linking it to the age of the father and to being hereditary. There are a lot of theories about ADD and autism having been under-diagnosed in previous decades (or over-diagnosed now, with ADD).

      That's all I have to say because I simply don't have the time to further devote to these discussions; my kids will be up in 6 hours.

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    11. Great. Now of course this occurred to me and I can't sleep until I add this -

      Had we lived back in the 1930's we *would* have been crying out just like we are now, but about different illnesses and different childhood tragedies. And really if you ask anyone still alive today who was around back then, those illnesses and that overall situation was much worse and made for much bigger worries for one's children than the situation today. That IS because of medicine.

      Now I really have to give up on this and go to bed!

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    12. To the anonymous friend with the EXCITING USE OF CAPS! There is much mystery surrounding what causes all cases of autism. I am a genetic carrier of an autism gene. CRAZY stuff HUH! Here's how it worked in my family. My son was diagnosed with autism at 23 months. When the developmental pediatrician we were working with learned that I also have a brother with autism, she encouraged us to undergo genetic testing. This was almost 5 yrs ago. At that time the it was explained to us that researchers had uncovered 120 genetic markers for autism. Fascinating right? They were stoked at the rapid rate scientists were finding various causes for autism. So back to me: I'm a girl therefore I have two X chromosomes. One of x's is extra special lets say, and has a genetic marker for autism. Guess who else has that gene? Yep, my mom. So we both carry this extra bit of awesomeness yet we are not autistic. That's because the "normal" for lack of better word X chromosome we were given from our fathers cancels out the "special." So in girls in our family, we are carriers but not affected. Boys that get our special x, of which it's a 50/50, will be autistic. So this is what is causing autism FOR MY FAMILY. Personally, I feel families with autism should all get genetic testing! It's fascinating, and helps the research along. So anonymous friend, perhaps you might consider donating much needed money to various organizations that promote and directly fund autism research? Participation and support are great ways to increase your feelings of value.

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    13. “Genetics loads the gun and environment pulls the trigger.” – Dr. Francis Collins

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    14. If you are not hearing about the medical community looking to answers to autism, asthma, and autoimmune disorders, it is because you are not reading medical journals. I just went to Pubmed, a search engine for medical articles, and entered "cause of". The first item that came up was "cause of autism". Click on it and you will get 1045 articles linking to cause of autism. Why do you think medical people are not looking? How many of those articles did you read before you posted that medical people are not looking for causes?

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  26. I am the mother of seven adult children. All were vaccinated according to the recommended guidelines at that time (polio, DPT, mmr & boosters.) To me, it was and is the responsible thing to do.
    I myself was not vaccinated at all, and neither were my siblings, because our father did not want us to be. He, too, was an MD. My sisters and I are now in our fifties and sixties and all of us are healthy, have never had a serious illness, knock-on-wood, nor surgery, and do not take any daily medications. I do not cite this as proof of anything, just as background.

    In the last twenty years, the list of required vaccinations has grown a lot. And yet -- the health of America is lower today than it was in the last generation.
    The US has the heaviest vaccination schedule in the world. And yet --
    worldwide, the US does not even make it into the list of the top 20 healthiest nations in the world.

    We need to look at the whole picture. The whole body, The whole lifetime.

    I think it is legitimate to think about and question the wisdom of pumping so many toxins into little bodies within a short time.
    And I definitely think it is legitimate to question the motivation of drug companies and their advertisements, which so many people buy into .

    In general, we are an over-medicated nation. This is very hard on our bodies and minds. The comment was made that "even tylenol can have side-effects", meaning "even something as harmless as tylenol can have side effects."
    Tylenol is not harmless! It is hard on the liver, which is a very vital organ. Again, the effects are cumulative, and everything ties into everything else.
    Tylenol does not heal anything. It masks the symptoms temporarily.

    Parents, please think about looking at tylenol and all other drugs with respect, and with a little bit of reluctance. You will be glad you did.

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    1. It *is* legitimate to question. But it's not legitimate to "question" and then ignore the unanimous answer on a specific topic. Vaccine risk and efficacy have been so thoroughly and continuously studied that there is a unanimous consensus among all of our experts. There is no medical debate here.

      I agree with you that we're an over-medicated nation. One reason my husband was relieved to finish his medicine residency and start his cancer fellowship was it gets very frustrating for doctors when their patients constantly push them to prescribe more and more drugs, rather than dealing with the underlying causes of their conditions, like health and lifestyle. A crusade against over-medication should start with the constant barrage of pharmaceutical advertisements on television; not with vaccines that have been proven time and time again, study after study, over a lengthy history of administration, to save so many lives.

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    2. To say nothing of the people who push their doctors to over-prescribe antibiotics every time they get a lingering cold! See the comment from a physician above -

      "The unvaccinated children I've seen in the emergency department usually (and thankfully) have nothing more than the common cold, caused by a virus. Their parents are some of the most vocal I've come across demanding antibiotics (which don't work on viruses!) for a viral infection. Now, as a physician, I am WAY more concerned about the potential side effects and harm antibiotics can cause than vaccines. I find it ironic that the parents who don't want to harm their children with vaccines are perfectly willing to harm them with antibiotics. I repeat, my child is vaccinated. He has yet to have any antibiotics. Also, how many anti-vaccine people use "antibacterial" cleaners, hand soap, hand sanitizer, etc?"

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  27. A well written article. Thank you. The comments on the other hand, make me lose faith in humanity.

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  28. Yes! Angie I agree with you. People wonder why we are skeptical-
    "trust me, I'm a doctor and its FDA approved" said the doctor who prescribed VIOXX http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vioxx
    "Trust me, I'm a doctor, and its FDA approved" said the doctor who prescribed his pregnant patient DES http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diethylstilbestrol
    Trust me, I'm a doctor and its FDA approved approved said the doctor who prescribed....The list goes on and on. Doctors and researchers don't always know the full truth. They make the best decisions they can with the information available.
    Does your husband have access to a long range study comparing the health of completely unvaccinated vs. completely on schedule vaccinated children? I'm talking neurological conditions, ADHD, autism, ashtma, seizures, diabetes, immune disorders, gut disorders, a COMPLETE picture. Please tell all your researcher friends at HARVARD this is what we want to see. When you have completed this study, and can show that the current vaccine schedule is as safe and effective as you claim it to be, I will be the first one to line up and have my children completely vaccinated.If such a long term overall study has already been completed, please share it with the masses so that we may correct the error of our ways. Doctors and researchers are only now starting to understand the dangers of pthalates http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pthalates and BPA http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bisphenol_A in our food. How do you know vaccines are any different?
    It's only now starting to be revealed how a polio vaccine that was used between 1955-1961 was contaminated with SV40 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SV40 are now getting cancer.
    And you wonder why people are skeptical of your "trust me, I'm a smart Harvard doctor" line.

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    1. Then BE skeptical, Hanna. Be skeptical, but know that if you were able to do fully competent medical research - NOT a google search - what you would find is that vaccines are some of the *very most* studied medications out there on the market, and study upon study upon study has shown they are also some of the very safest. If not THE very safest when you consider what they're protecting from. All of these non-vaccinated kids have just as high rates of autism and everything else they've ever studied on vaccines. So BE skeptical, but don't be a reality and science denier. My father has spent 40+ years reading every single legitimate study on this topic as a physician and he chooses to vaccinate. This isn't a new or unstudied topic - QUITE the opposite.

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    2. Is this legit? http://progress.umb.edu.pl/sites/progress.umb.edu.pl/files/129-141.pdf

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    3. I am going to say no for these reasons:

      - Journal is very new, so certainly not one of the big credible journals, as it just came out in 2012

      - When I search for the journal's "impact factor" which is a rating assigned to journals for their credibility, it doesn't show up, meaning it is below the radar of even the journals who are assigned impact factors

      - The stated purpose of the journal is to compile published papers from non-physician medical personnel, and none of the listed authors has any credentials noted behind their names, not even R.N. Lots of papers published in the big medical journals are published by non-doctors but usually those will be PhD scientists. Certainly people with some credentials.

      - I tried to google the authors' names to see if they are in fact doctors or scientists but I get no results by google.

      - Journal appears to be a very obscure journal out of Poland, brand new, with no record of reliability and authors do not appear to have credentials.

      That's just my layperson take. Maybe one of the physicians reading these comments can better inform us.

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    4. Hanna, please also see this article - a recent sting operation found that many of the lesser-known and lesser-respected online journals will publish fake science for a fee:

      http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/10/03/228859954/some-online-journals-will-publish-fake-science-for-a-fee?sc=tw

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  29. Wikipedia is not a credible source for anything. Ever. It is open to anyone to submit opinions which are then believed to be fact by those who don't know better than to believe everything they read on the Internet.

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    1. That may be true, but the things I cited above, with the exception of confirming a link between cancer and SV40 are things that have been documented by the FDA, it was just easier to reference wikipedia. Furthermore, wikipedia does have editors and makes notations on articles that are biased and missing information.

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  30. What you're married to is deception. Research. In 1955, right after the polio vaccine was introduced, the CDC radically changed the definition of the disease, literally eliminating upward of two thirds of the cases of paralytic polio that would thenceforth be diagnosed. Over the following few years, doctors began re-labeling all cases non-paralytic poliomyelitis, which in the years preceding the release of the vaccine had made up over half the cases of polio reported annually.

    It's a con game - a sham - and the same tactics are used throughout the vaccine industry. They thrive on fear, statistical manipulation and denial of information that is critical to every parent's vaccine decisions, like the simple fact that every vaccine on the CDC schedule has killed some kids, and catastrophically debilitated many others, and doctors have no way to accurately predict what child - or adult - will react adversely. So, realistically, in total fulfillment of the ethical tenet of informed consent, the final question to every parent should be, Are you willing to sacrifice your child for the herd?

    You can't eliminate risk from life, but the risk of damage from vaccines far outweighs the risk of damage from disease.

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    1. This comment makes no sense. If we eliminated polio by changing the definition to eliminate the paralytics, how come nobody in the US has some other newly-named disease that looks EXACTLY like paralytic Polio, and is caused by the VERY SAME bug?! Polio disappeared in the 1950's and 60's as we vaccinated for it. A HUGE accomplishment of the science and medicine that anti-vaxxers arrogantly refuse to believe in, even as they happily use it for their own (1) antibiotics (2) heart attacks (3) cancer (4) diabetes (5) injuries etc etc etc etc. "Are you willing to sacrifice your child for the herd"? Your child IS the herd.

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  31. Shawn, think about what you said (without any references). Assume that what you say is true, and half or even 3/4 of the cases of polio were eliminated by changing the definition (I don't believe you, but just in case). The vaccine eliminated all polio from the Americas and Europe and the world except a few countries that don't vaccinate. How is that a sham?

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  32. THANK YOU!!!! This is a very smart, well researched blog and I have enjoyed reading your comments to the non-vaccinators. I worked in the Immunization Program for our local county and also the Hep B office and it was so frustrating because there is so much BAD information out there! Research means reading "Scholarly Articles" but sadly people will find "evidence" to support their faulty beliefs. I have a 2 year old and she is fully vaccinated, there are always risks and that is explained in the VIS statements they give you at the well baby visits. I knew the risk of vaccinating, but also the risk in not vaccinating and that was a much higher risk. As a mom, I would never claim to be the only expert on my child, how arrogant! I do know her better than most, but also trust others know things that I DO NOT. Nothing is this world is full proof, but I can make the best decision possible given all the research. So thank you for including your research and writing an intelligent blog.

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    1. Yes! Could not agree more. Thank you for this post.

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  33. WONDERFUL post. Thanks so much for the documentation, clear arguments, and thanks to all the physicians and others who contributed well thought out and informed comments. What's been said has basically put my instincts, whenever I see another "vaccines have pig brains in them! Say no!" post on Facebook, into words. I think the problem on any side of an argument is when someone believes it's impossible that they could be wrong, and therefore refuses to even listen to the other side. Some interesting points have been brought up by non-vaxxers, but they've all been refuted with sound logic and legitimate research. I'm truly sorry for those who have had unfortunate experiences, but I think your seatbelt analogy is perfect. Thank you again for going through all this, with these ignorant people attacking you!

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  34. Thanks for your post. I currently work as an Emergency Medicine physician at a busy urban medical center. Prior to my career in medicine I was a therapist for children with autism. I've seen the pain of autism and I've seen the pain of infectious disease. I've seen too many cases of sepsis and serious infections - may of which were caused by pathogens we regularly vaccinate against. I intubated and admitted a 21-day old infant with pertussis who died 6 days later - he developed multi-system organ failure (he spent 2 days on ECMO in a desperate attemptt to save his life - Google a picture of that). That child could not have been vaccinated so it is the herd's responsibility to protect the vulnerable.

    Please vaccinate your children. It doesn't cause autism. The data presented by Andrew Wakefield in his study that triggered much of this panic were lies - not small manipulations of true data. Millions of children have lived normal, healthy lives after vaccination.

    And regarding home births: I'll second my neonatologist colleague's feelings from above. When they roll into my ER, a few minutes old, not breathing or without a heartbeat after a home-birth, I don't hear anyone cursing modern medicine after we save a newborns life with medication and state-of-the-art procedures

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    1. YES. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

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  35. I would just like to point out, as someone who is NOT anti-vax, that the article cited to "completely discredit" Dr. Sears is written by Dr. Offit - the co-inventer and co-patent holder for the RotaTeq vaccine. Seems like a huge conflict of interest to me...

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    1. Thanks for pointing this out. I just went in and added two other links to further support that point. I had meant to find more supporting links for that before but hadn't gotten around to it yet.

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    2. Did you stop to think about the conflict of interest that Dr. Sears has in writing his book and raking in profits from the sales? If you are concerned about conflict of interest, you should look at both sides.

      Here is a link on safety of vaccine schedules from healthychildren.org :

      http://www.healthychildren.org/English/news/Pages/AAP-Agrees-with-IOM-Report-on-Safety-of-Vaccine-Schedule.aspx

      Here is a link to the Institute of Medicine reports of vaccine safety issues including giving multiple vaccines at one time and other issues:

      http://www.iom.edu/Reports.aspx?Activity={43C096A7-F094-43D0-985A-B6BF561A7C5D}

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    3. read the report on SIDS and vaccines from the link you shared with interest. The following line is of concern to me "Based on this review....the evidence is inadequate to accept or reject a causal relationship between other vaccines and SIDS, SUDI, or neonatal death. " Basically, we are not sure, but keep vaccinating anyway. I also read the report on immunological issues and vaccines. Again, I find the same line to be disturbing "They also found that epidemiological evidence regarding risk for allergic disease, particularly asthma, was inadequate to accept or reject a causal relationship. The committee recommended continued attention in the form of policy analysis, research, and communication strategy development to inform those concerned about these issues and to encourage parents to vaccinate their children."
      There is so much we DON'T KNOW not just us "lay people" but researchers.

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    4. I completely agree that Dr. Sears is making a profit on his book, but there is no doubt Dr. Offit is making a huge profit on his vaccine as well... I pointed this out, not to support an argument that vaccines are wrong or there is a conspiracy theory or vaccines cause autism - I personally know un-vaccinated children who have developed autism- BUT I do believe this issue is far from black and white, and to make a condescending argument for one extreme or the other, as many people are, is ignorant. There is no doubt that vaccines have saved thousands of lives, and play an integral role in disease prevention...and there is no doubt that there are children who have reactions to vaccines - some very mild and some severe (as stated in the product inserts themselves).

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    5. Anonymous - respectfully, this issue isn't about two extremes battling it out, each equally deserving credence. Unlike many other medical and scientific issues, there is a unanimous consensus on vaccination. As you point out, there are risks to vaccinating. Unfortunately, the risks from not vaccinating far outweigh those risks. No physician or scientist in this area of study has ever concluded otherwise.

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    6. To Concerned Mommy above: You are correct that there is a lot we don't know. In this case, what the statement means is that any relation of vaccines to SIDS etc is small enough that they can't find one, but there isn't enough data to disprove any relationship at all. The rate of SIDS in the US has remained constant since 2001 (Pediatrics in Review 2012; 33:314-320; doi:10.1542/pir.33-7-314) and prior to that was dropping. So we know any effect of vaccines on SIDS is not showing up in the sense of more total cases. But it is very hard to prove that it could not happen rarely. It takes an immense amount of data to disprove a rare event.

      To give you an idea, after the release of the original rotavirus vaccine there were 9 cases of intussusception, a bowel complication, reported to VAERS (the vaccine adverse event reporting system). Those 9 cases were enough to raise concern that the vaccine was causing more intussusception than expected (N Engl J Med 2001; 344:564-572February 22, 2001DOI: 10.1056/NEJM200102223440804) and the vaccine was taken off the market. This happened in a short time, because 9 cases in all of the United States was enough to raise suspicion. If we can't show a relation of vaccines to SIDS, you can be sure that any possible increase is very small. And in the meanwhile, as the committee points out in the statement, the concern about SIDS and autoimmune disease is small enough that it does not change any vaccine recommendations

      That gets us back to the point that has been made multiple times. No one is arguing that vaccines do not have risks. It is comparing the risks and the benefits that shows without any question that your child is safer to be immunized.

      In the meanwhile, the VAERS system is continuing to gather data on adverse events of new or old vaccines. They were fast to take the original rotavirus vaccine off the market. That tells us that the system works pretty well.

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  36. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/should-not-vacc.htm

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  37. On the antibiotic point...my unvaccinated children have never had a major illness nor an antibiotic. I do NOT use antibacterial soaps, no commercial cleaning products, no bleach, no petrochemicals at all. We clean with non-petroleum based cleaners, vinegar and water spray with essential oil, biodegradable cleaners and non-toxic products.

    Viruses do not require antibiotics and neither do most things doctors prescribe them for. Doctors who give antibiotics to parents to shut them up are being negligent.

    Again, you can spew your garbage all you want. It doesn't affect me one way or the other. But by pushing vaccines, you are surely to increase the revenue of your spouse and therefore, your own coffers.

    And YOUR vaccinated child, especially when getting LIVE vaccines, is a health risk to those that are immune-compromised. Feces, saliva and sputum all can infect others. I sure hope you ask everywhere you change a diaper or wipe a booger nose if the person is immune-compromised or you just might kill them.

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    1. My husband is going into cancer research. Once he finishes his medical training, he will have a lab researching blood cancers. He will apply for grants to fund the research he does. He will continue to practice in whatever teaching hospital houses his lab, but he will only practice oncology - cancer patients do not receive vaccines. And even his oncology practice will only be about 20% of what he does with his time, mainly to keep up his clinical skills since they will inform his research. He will make less than half what he would make if he "just" became a doctor. Close to 1/3 if you compare different locations. We live as a family of 4 in a 2-bedroom apartment because that's all we can afford since I'm currently staying home. But he feels called to use his talents to further cancer research. Really, as much as my life would be a lot easier if he just went into medicine - or if he weren't such a driven perfectionist - the world actually needs more people like him.

      Your claim that vaccinated children are more dangerous than unvaccinated children seems totally nonsensical but I'll leave it to a physician to rebut, or wait until I can ask one.

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    2. Feces, saliva and sputum are always a contagion risk to others. They present a major challenge in daycares. However, MMR vaccine is virtually never contagious. Varicella vaccine is theoretically contagious, if the child gets pox with blisters, from the blister fluid. Very few cases of transmission have been reported. Rotavirus vaccine is contagious in stool, so hand washing prevents spread. If it is spread, it is the weakened vaccine virus, not the illness virus. If an immune suppressed person is around a bunch of toddlers, the vaccine viruses are the least of their worries in terms of catching illness.

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    3. Kidsmom, it's not garbage, and Lisa or her spouse are absolutely not benefiting financially from vaccines! I am a physician myself, and I know Lisa and her husband personally.

      All physicians-in-training are salaried. Where I work, all physicians period are salaried. There is NO personal financial gain from supporting the use of vaccines, yet we all continue to recommend them. Furthermore, especially in the instance of someone who works with cancer patients, vaccines would DECREASE cancer rates (think hepatocellular carcinoma from hepatitis B or cervical cancer from HPV)-- these preventable cancers still happen at alarming rates, and I have personally taken care of these patients.

      Re: shedding of vaccine. Here is a scientific write-up that dissects what we know on the potential for transmission of live vaccines to immunocompromised contacts as of 2007: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17520544.

      For what it's worth, while UpToDate may not be available to laypeople (and that is just ONE medical resource), there is public access to abstracts on PubMed. PubMed is a database of articles from major journals. While you can't access the whole article without a subscription, you CAN read the abstract and request the full article from your local medical or health professions school. You CAN look this stuff up! From your home computer! (One caveat is that PubMed includes quite a lot of journals, some of which are substantially more reputable than others. In the same vein, there are many, many factors that make a study more or less compelling (e.g. size of the sample, whether the study was prospective or retrospective, etc etc etc.). This is very complicated, and much of medical training is devoted to the evaluation of medical literature. It is, in my opinion, one of the hardest skills in medicine. This is why we convene task forces of people whose sole job is to live, eat, and breathe vaccine research and the evaluation thereof.)



      Gosh, that sounded so dry and boring. Hope that helped at least.

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  38. Thank you for this post! It was very well thought out and put together and I learned a few more things, even as a healthcare professional and a new mom myself. Thank you for all the links too! I am pro-vaccine and will do anything to protect my baby son. The research is out there, and as long as you are going to the RIGHT resources you will always get the right information. Please dont google or wikipedia it. If you have doubts go straight to the doctor or pediatrician you trust. I will continue to vaccinate my child as my pediatrician recommends to protect him from the kids of non-vaxxers. My only thought on the whole 'herd immunity' topic...if everyone thought like the non-vaxxers then there would be no herd to follow. Everyone's screwed :P

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  39. Thanks for writing this! There is so much misinformation out there that I'm glad you added your eloquent voice to the mix. It is very sad that some of the commenters here still stick to their thick-headed beliefs even in the light of reason. I wish they could realize how irresponsible and reckless they are being--both to their children and to their fellow human beings. By the way, you have a beautiful family!

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  40. This is, by far, the best article I have ever read about vaccination. I already shared it on FB and emailed it to everyone else I know not on FB. I also printed it out to keep handy to give to people I run into. Thank you so much.

    Another point to consider is that children with ASD have been so harmed by people refusing to accept that vaccines do not cause autism. One hour of speech/occupational/physical therapy is approximately $75 (usually more). Adaptive communication devices and software run into the thousands. Imagine how many children could have benefitted from all the money wasted on poor, meaningless anti-vaccine studies and propaganda.

    Since anecdotal evidence is so important to those opposed to vaccines - here's mine. I have 4 children. All of them were vaccinated according to the CDC-recommended schedule. My oldest has severe ASD and my others are completely neurotypical.

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  41. Typical one-dimensional opinion formation/spewing from a 'medical-adjacent'. Most of the information above is comically incorrect (like the poster-child polio vaccine actually coming out in 1947 AFTER polio cases had declined by about 80% due to increase in sanitation and the fact that polio was actually not paralytic until AFTER the vaccine came out) and clearly pasted right from a medical textbook. Take the time to research things all the way thru next time.

    Dr. Wakefield has subsequently been shown to be right and innocent of supposed 'fraud'.....see http://www.thelibertybeacon.com/2013/06/21/new-published-study-verifies-andrew-wakefields-research-on-autism-again-mmr-vaccine-causes-autism/.....also note the 28 other studies that back him up listed in the references portion. He also has sued, and WON, against defamation cause by Brian Deer the journalist who exposed his study as 'fraud' only by committing fraud in the exact way he accused Dr. Wakefield in order to do so. And we won't go into the fact that Brian Deer actually has financial ties to big pharma as well because as a 'medical-adjacent' I'm sure you already knew that.

    Nevertheless, that brings me to the part of all of this that everyone is missing.....we as consumers (and that is what we are now that laws in the 70's were passed to allow us to be marketed too by pharma companies) have begun to see the back room connections between big pharma and our supposed regulatory agencies (i.e. most of the panel at CDC that controls the vaccine schedule has financial ties to pharmaceutical companies and thus why a 6mo old child today has as many vaccines as his 30yr old mother did by the time she graduated highschool!....see CDS schedule from 1982) and the lack of oversight and proper testing that it has caused. You as doctors want us to gobble up official doctrine without asking any questions, then portray an image that reassures us lowly peasants that someone somewhere is doing something to counter this tide of unaccountably the pharmaceutical companies and regulatory agencies are so clearly guilty of. Simply being arrogant because you are a doctor fed by those exact agencies perpetuating half-truths is not reassuring anyone. Doctors are the middle-man between us and them....and it's on you guys as a profession to recognize that it's on you guys to do something about it....and mandatory vaccines are not it.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. The Liberty Beacon is one of the most sensationalist, propagandic publications out there.

      That said, as far as what the article cites to, first off, many of the links are "page not found." The one legitimate link I see is a case of a girl who, according to the link itself, was vaccinated 14 years ago and had a mitochondrial disorder, and developed ASD. The problem though, is that study after study after study has shown that autism rates are just as high among the unvaccinated as they are among the vaccinated. You cannot avoid autism by not vaccinating. And even if this particular "mitochondrial" case were legitimate, meaning, even if that girl would never have developed autism had she not been vaccinated - which is not explained scientifically anywhere in anything cited to - how many proven deaths of unvaccinated children have there been in the U.S. since the year 2000, to vaccine-preventable diseases? Even if her particular case were true, it's still far safer to vaccinate. But it is highly doubtful that it is true, because like I said, study after study has shown that unvaccinated children develop autism at the same frequency as vaccinated children. Courts of law are not medical journals, and if you think that every plaintiff who wins a law suit out there must be "right" and must, by their case, prove some sort of scientific fact refuted by all of our experts, then you're sorely mistaken. On top of that, do tell, if your position is correct, where are all the other big autism payouts from kids who developed autism from their vaccines over the past 14 years since this happened?

      As to the "studies supporting Dr. Wakefield's conclusion" at the end of this article, that's quite a stretch. I'll leave it up to one of the physicians reading these comments to hopefully rebut more specifically but I can't imagine they are going to take the time to do so for all 28 when the first few are so clearly not on point. My question for you is, if you really believe that there are 28 studies showing that vaccines cause autism, why do you think it is that not a single physician agrees with you? Why do you think they haven't given Andrew Wakefield his medical license back? "Physician" is not a caste system into which people are born. Upwards of 18,000 new doctors graduate every year in the U.S. None of them agree with the anti-vaxxers. If you anti-vaxxers are so serious about your cause, why doesn't one of you go to medical school, graduate, and then tell the world that you still think that vaccines cause autism?

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    3. Aha. Here's that case discussed in the NEJM. You can't get higher than NEJM:

      http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp0802904

      Here's another, albeit non-scientific link. It looks like the mother is blaming mercury, which isn't used in childhood vaccines anymore. And of course, may never have been the problem.

      http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1721109,00.html

      Here's another link on it:

      http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/on-the-rebranding-of-autism-as-a-mitochondrial-disorder-by-antivaccinationists/

      "So what does this mean? First, one thing that it doesn’t mean, contrary to all the P.R. over the last few days, is that the government has conceded that vaccines cause autism. It hasn’t, and science doesn’t support that contention even if it did. Mitochondrial disorders of the sort suffered by Hannah are genetic in nature and rare, an estimated 5.7 individuals per 100,000 worldwide, and, as described well in this New Scientist article, the subset of these disorders that cause autism-like symptoms is even more rare. It is also known that children with mitochondrial disorders are prone to encephalopathy in response to stress or fever that can cause them to regress. The source of this stress can often be an infection, such as a cold or normal childhood illness, that results in a fever."

      Basically, it sounds like kids with mito are prone to neurological regression if they get a fever, even just from an ear infection. Fevers are a side-effect of vaccines. But you can't make it through childhood never having a fever. That would again explain why the unvaccinated have just as high rates of autism.

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    4. Haha thats an easy one! Because all of the doctors who don't vaccinate their children or who *gasp* question the status quo are immediately called quaks and defrauded.

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    5. You want to know 'where all the cases ruling that vaccines caused autism are'....there are very few because of the system put in place to ensure that....see Rob Schneider narrate a wonderful video of how this legal system of recourse works for consumers and then tell me there is anyone on the side of the little guy really. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xv_IaLHwgAQ

      To add to that protectionist system, it's also very convenient that multiple vaccines are always given to kids at each visit so when a serious adverse reaction happens it is very difficult to assign blame, or worse, cause of death.

      People are questioning these practices and met with a boot-to-the-throat bullying us to just shut up. THIS is what causes the distrust in doctors, pharma, and regulatory agencies!

      ElleMura, you don't see any conflict of interest that the panel at the CDC in charge of the vaccine schedule has financial ties to pharma companies making these vaccines? You're crazy if you don't and just stand to further people like myself in questioning doctors' head-in-the-sand attitude, or heads-up-the-ass of the system.

      They wanted us to be consumers...well don't be mad when we call out the BS we see in consuming.

      Address the bigger issues instead of attacking the few people willing to risk their careers if they so much as even question things. And for the record...there has NEVER been ANY study directly comparing vax kids to non vax kids.

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    6. Okay, first of all, "we" are not consuming anything. How many people do you know who pay for their own immunizations? Our massive, powerful health insurance companies are the consumers here and if you think they aren't every bit as powerful and capable of waging a "conspiracy" as the CDC and big pharm is, think again. In fact, they could very well be the people putting out all this fake information on all these non-scientific websites so that they can get out of paying for all these vaccines for all these babies (except that they wouldn't do that, since they also have to pay for all the care for all the babies then sickened and hospitalized with vaccine-preventable illnesses, like all the people in CA's whooping cough epidemic).

      Health insurance companies are far too powerful and sophisticated to be the innocent victims of a bigpharm/CDC conspiracy. They get out of paying for unnecessary health care and even necessary health care at every possible chance. They have near-monopolies in most areas which is why Obama's original platform (that he ran on the first time) included measures that would have freed up the market for more competition among them. The insurance industry has also been very successful in making us think that medical malpractice lawsuits are out of control - check out states where they successfully pushed through "tort reform" so strict that it's cost-prohibitive to mount most any medical malpractice law suit, and then look into whether medmal premiums for doctors and hospitals actually dropped any after that tort reform passed. Talk about a powerhouse.

      As far as law suits for vaccine reactions, the standard for recovery is actually EASIER for children who have reactions. The case that you (I assume you) cited above shows just that. None of that 1.4 million was for medical malpractice against the doctor. In a medmal case you have to show that the doctor did something wrong and prove a strict "but-for" causation standard - and lots and lots of other stuff in post-tort reform states. In the fund from which Hannah recovered, you don't have to show any of that, that's how she was able to recover just because her vaccines caused a transient fever and the fever triggered her utra-rare condition, which would have been triggered whenever she next had a fever in life anyway. In her case, she also had multiple vaccines administered at the same time and they never found a "specific" vaccine that cased her fever either. Yet she recovered.

      It is good to be suspicious, but not every suspicion turns out to be a true one. You are free to continue believing that vaccines are just a big conspiracy between bigpharm, the CDC, and the doctors, but know that if that were true, fewer doctors would be vaccinating their own children as doctors are every bit as intelligent as we are, they love their children as much as we do, and they have at least as much familiarity with the industry and with the labs doing all these studies as we do.

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  42. I think you're forgetting a huge thing and that is that the pharmaceutical companies pay big bucks to politicians through PACs to get things approved by the FDA, which often get overlooked with out accurate testing. Whereas, you are learned in your medical field, you have failed to research politics and how money runs things.

    In addition, our pediatrician does do a delayed vaccine schedule with her own children, because she does believe that their immune systems are not fully developed yet and that it is too much on their little bodies, so don't group all pediatricians into your opinionated "blog post," because really your post is no different form anti-vax bloggers and for the record I am not anti-vax.

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    1. Are you the same Anonymous from above? First of all, you say "overlooked without accurate testing." I think you mean *adequate* testing. But study upon study upon study has been done on vaccine safety over the past half-century+ during which we've been administering vaccines. Please see all the studies I link to in the body of the blog, and all the studies linked to by other physicians responding to comments.

      If you are a "new" Anonymous, please see the discussion directly above this one in which I point out that the people paying for these vaccines are the powerful, sophisticated insurance companies.

      Your pediatrician must be among the 3% who skip or delay vaccines for their own children. Please see the study I cite in my blog entry that details how physicians vaccinate their own children. Please also see the three links provided that confirm the safety of the current vaccine schedule. Please also ask your physician if she would still delay vaccines for any future babies she had, now that we are having whooping cough outbreaks. Please also provide your physician's medical school and hospital of residency - the only other time in these comments that someone said their physician delayed vaxx for her own children, I asked that same question and found that in fact, the "physician" was actually a nurse practitioner.

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  43. I don't see how people say whooping cough can only be spread by non vaccinated children. That holds no valid truth at all. I truthfully feel as if those who want to vaccinate should and those who oppose it for whatever reason, that is their personal choice as well to do so. I am just not into the blaming all non vaccinated kids for outbreaks. If vaccines work I truthfully do not understand how anyone with a vaccinated child could be scared by this untruth. I have never seen one study...since all on the vaccine pro side use studies to prove they are right...trusting the numbers over all other things on this planet. There are brilliant minds on both side of this equation and to not see that is being hazed out by the blame game. Do what is right for your family but in this battle all of the parents that choose not to vaccinate are being blamed for all things disease and this is not right at all. And don't forget who profits, we all know that this one thing says a lot. Money is power and money makes the rules and society in bulk follows money and the information provided for by that money. This is human nature as sad as it is. Let each side be, don't shame parents on eighther side it is WRONG on the highest level. I have a child who was totally vaccinated and one who is not...I would have to say I can say more than many and again it is my choice and my husbands choice and no one elses. Shaming the side you don't agree with does nothing for society as a whole.

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    1. I wish we could leave this as a "personal choice" topic like whether to baby-wear, or whether to home-school, or whether to stay home or do daycare or get a nanny.

      But the problem is that on this particular topic, there is a clearly safer answer and a clearly riskier answer. For that reason, the goal of my blog post is not to "shame" anti-vaxxers but rather just to counteract all of the false and misleading information that people are finding in google searches. I am trying to better educate people so that they can make the *best* choice for their children. There are not, in fact, brilliant minds on both sides of this equation. All of our scientists, experts, and doctors agree; they aren't debating it, the only people debating it are laypeople on the internet.

      To address the scientific question you bring up, the reason that vaccinated people care whether or not other people vaccinate is because vaccines are not 100% effective. For example, if I had another baby, I would know that my baby was fully vulnerable to contracting whooping cough until he or she could be vaccinated and then once vaccinated I'd know my baby was 90% protected, but not 100%. Please see the NPR article from last week, cited in the body of the entry above, that includes the Pediatrics study showing that in the recent whooping cough outbreak in California, in which 10 babies died, people living in areas with high "personal belief exemptions" from public school vaccination requirements were 2.5 times as likely to live in areas with high rates of whooping cough. Vaccines are like hand-washing. You can't fully prevent yourself from catching this year's stomach flus by hand-washing but it sure does help and it helps a lot more when everybody else is also washing their hands too.

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    2. It is synthetics being injected into the body of children babies and adults not truly knowing the long term effects of these drugs. Truthfully no one in any medical position can tell any of us if over time 40yrs laterthere won't be issues. We are all guinea pigs in the pharma world and this is fact. And none of these vaccines truthfully have been tested on infants in clinical trials or on pregnant women which many vaccines are pushed, scary. It should never be your choice or anyone else making choices for my family. A body is not a car requiring the same form of insurance coverage to every car owner driving on the road. Big entities making gobs of cash off each vaccination given does seem a bit bias considering all those promoting have a hand dipped in the pot in some way or another. Money plays a huge huge role in this debate. Everything has risks and that includes living in a society with others. You also can't prevent getting the flu with the flu vaccine either. To be honest one can wait out when sick the flu and be just fine, dosing low risk folks and pushing it on everyone with scare tactics is bad medicine. How do I know because when I used to get the vaccine I got the flu last time I ever got it, as did my husbands parents every year (they get the flu and the vaccine) due to them not taking proper care of their body via diet and lifestyle so obviously their immune system is compromised due to those personal choices. Explain to me how some contract these diseases and others just don't vaccine or no vaccine. The root of how disease works, compromised immunity makes it easy for any illness to take hold. It is deeper than a get it or you'll get it kinda answer. These truly are our personal beliefs and if you think that humans don't lie in studies and with statistical evidence you are crazy. Money plays a big part in what many believe in this realm and that is your choice as it is mine. You think your beliefs are more valid and thus giving you a very "educated" voice supposidly to tell me what to put in my childs body is AGAIN completely wrong. If you don't want risk in your life or your childs then YOU must make the choices YOU need to to keep your child in the clear of this scare. Not push what you think others should do on them. It is truly not your place to live in the lives of others. With that said thank you for your information, many will agree with you but unless my children are yours I will continue to live my life with all the experiences I have behind me and say to each his own my experiences lead me to believe differently and that does not make me an uneducated fool. And yes there are many brilliant minds on both sides and for the fact you think everyone who opposes one or many or all vaccines is not brilliant is so sad. The ones that oppose are always thrown to the wolves and called quacks, humans don't like their belief systems to be shaken. Many of them have seen how medicine works and know exactly how training in this world bases everything on. It is like a midwife being called a quack because they see the body as intelligent and allow women to birth how they choose if they are low risk pregnancies, and as soon as births started migrating to hospitals due to the times and fear mongering in the 1940's there was a slander campaign by the medical world telling women that they were only safe at a hospital because midwives are not dr.'s and are not educated or skilled and man lies and untrue stories were told, and wouldn't you know it the slander worked, but lots of money back that propaganda train. Same thing exactly. I will trust my gut and heart, you can trust your thinking brain. This is your choice and mine and I will not slander you for making a different choice than me because your life experiences have brought you to where you are as have mine. There is no open mind if you only question the other side.

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    3. I am not against vaccines as a whole but I do think our culture makes us think that if we don't believe the majority then "you are wrong". We overmedicate for everything, literally everything and western medicine is not very accurate finding the root cause of anything we just veil it with medication. Vaccines can work and there is a time for many of them but acting like the plague is taking over and that all should quarantine against it is not how to help the other side see the truth. Because the truth is all wrapped up in an experiment on the masses.

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  44. And the FDA does not approve for mass use. This is on their website. My definition of mass use is more than a few and with the rates of vaccinated children in this country I would say off of them are considered the masses. The FDA is a joke, they disclose this themselves....hmmmmm....something to think about people.

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  45. And the HPV vaccine...how many children did that vaccine kill. And it truthfully does not cure HPV, many have it cure itself over time with no vaccine. Another hmmmmmm people. Don't repeat mistakes of the past.

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    1. Please show proof that the HPV vaccine has killed any children. Also, the HPV is not a cure for HPV. Vaccines are administered to prevent people from developing HPV; once you develop it, a vaccine will not help you.

      HPV is and has been increasing at an alarming rate in the U.S. and most sexually active adults have it, even married ones. While you can monitor development of cervical cancer through pap smears you cannot monitor such development of oral, anal, and penile HPV cancers. Oral and throat cancers are increasingly being seen as an HPV issue rather than a smoking issue. See these. Back in 2005 when my husband rotated through the head-and-neck cancer ward at Barnes in St. Louis, Missouri, about half of the patients had been smokers and the other half developed this terminal cancer from HPV. And that was nearly 10 years ago.

      http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/16/11/10-0452_article.htm

      http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/oral-cancers-hpv-epidemic-men-preventable-article-1.1361894

      Also, here's what my oncologist friend, who is also a mother of teenage boys, has to say about the HPV vaccine (in comment following below):

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    2. (continued from above - my oncologist/mom friend's comment):

      "A couple of years ago I posted here about the HPV vaccine. I had just come out of a very tough week covering an on-vacation doctor, taking care of several HPV-cancer patients.

      Ironically, I face the same thing next week: I will be covering my partner while he is at a medical conference, and I will once again be taking care of any of his patients who are being treated with HPV-related cancers. It will be a difficult week for me -- these people are so sick and need so much specialized care -- but it of course pales in significance compared to the abject total suffering of the patients.

      It may help to know that I am not an early adopter: I do not adopt all new vaccines (or any new med) immediately. I declined several vaccines in my children's lives (e.g. lyme), and in my own, because I thought they were too early or too untested.

      It took me several years to trust the gardasil (anti-HPV) vaccine but now I do, and I am getting my sons vaccinated for it. Insurance did not pay for my oldest son to get the vaccines, so I paid out of pocket; but insurance companies are now generally paying for boys and my youngest has been treated with only a copay.

      (I might also add that every oncologist of my acquaintance has also had their children vaccinated).

      I did gardasil for my first son based on my analysis of the data. As an oncologist, I found my knowledge of the data was at that point broader that my pediatrician's -- I knew more about the changing rate of oral cancer -- about how it used to be a smoker's disease, but now was a disease of HPV. I also knew more about the horrendous effects of a fatal oral cancer (which leads to a death you don't even want to imagine).

      I do gardasil for my second son both because that data has matured (there's more HPV, more HPV-related cancers, more aggressive treatment), but also because I know much more about brutal the treatment is (outlined in my other email below). It is so horrifying to take care of HPV-cancer patients -- all on round-the-clock narcotics, all with feeding tubes, many hospitalized, all this often with grade school kids at home (patients tend to be in their 40s-prime-of-life) -- that it is inconceivable to me to not be doing EVERY SINGLE POSSIBLE THING I COULD POSSIBLY DO TO PREVENT MY KIDS FROM THAT LEVEL OF SUFFERING.

      I just can't imagine how I would feel if I decided not to vaccinate ("I don't want to have to worry about him fainting. I don't want to have to worry about long-term effects. The chances of cancer are small.") and then my son developed an oral cancer. I would, truly, be incapable of living with myself. I would, truly, be suicidal.

      I beg people -- think of it this way: we have a serious horrible cancer which is rare, yes, but which causes epic unimaginable suffering. And it is PREVENTABLE. Doesn't this sound like it should be a no-brainer? Doesn't it sound like it's worthy of a Nobel Prize, and not a conspiracy theory about pharma profits?

      Well, anyways, that's "my take" on HPV and gardasil in 2013. Below you can see "my take" from a previous post in 2011. Hasn't changed much."

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  46. Are there any studies with real facts that show kids with autisum and had not been vacc.?
    Also what about the mercury that was found in vacc? Have they stopped using that?

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    1. Yes, there are many such studies. Please see everything I link to on that topic in the body of the blog entry and in particular this study. This study was one of the largest if not the largest study of that kind. It studied all children born in Denmark from 1991 to 1998 and found no increase in autism rates for vaccinated versus unvaccinated children. It is published in the NEJM which is probably the #1 journal out there:

      http://www.safeminds.org/research/library/20021107.pdf

      Mercury is no longer used in childhood vaccines. There is a physician in one of the comments above who discusses that.

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  47. Lisa - thank you so much for writing a really wonderful, thoughtful, post. I will be sharing it! I wish I hadn't read the comments because they make me want to go bang my head on a brick wall - but the post itself is fantastic. Bravo!

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  48. I am a registered nurse. Of the 1000's of pediatric patients I have seen, I have only seen 1 child that had a bad reaction. Yet I live in an area now where a lot if people don't vaccinate. I have seen lots of cases of pertussis with complications, chicken pox, meningitis and even a case of tetanus. Vaccines are a must! They protect your kids. There is no reason for kids to be suffering from and possibly dying from these illnesses. There are too many dangers in this world. We should protect our kids from all we can

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  49. Lisa, it's not my job to keep your kids healthy - it's my job to keep my kids healthy. So shove it with your social good argument. And while you deftly ravaged many a straw men in this incoherent missive (very clever rebuttal of the incredibly oversimplistic vaccine causes autism claim- there is NO nuance to this conversation- ah, you're right - bald tires do not cause car accidents, all hail the SAS statistical models!), your ignorance and arrogance (thanks for the photos of the polio victims btw, that was a nice touch) caused you to miss addressing some basic questions (surprising for someone who passed the Bar!). Like: why is there a federal compensation fund for those who experience negative side effects for vaccines? Or: would you ever willingly slip a little formaldehyde and cocktail of other harsh chemicals in your child food? Or how about doing that 50 times before age 6? Harmless, right? Or: what are the infection/death rates of some of these diseases versus the instances of side effects? Or, if there was something to be worried about, would the federal government or pharma companies would have really much incentive at all to study report on the side effects of vaccines on a few when it's already been decided that the benefits to the many outweigh these downsides? Or, do unvaccinated people live shorter or less healthy lives on average as those who are vaccinated- seriously, has this been studied by a peer reviewed journals over large populations?

    Seriously, do you even believe that science understands the impact that the chemicals in these vaccines have on the central nervous system of immunocompromised patients? It doesn't. And until it does, it's better to be humble, and do the best you can raising YOUR kids.

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    1. Talk about a straw man argument. Your attempt to reduce my entire post and all the studies it cites to as only addressing the single issue of whether vaccines cause autism is exactly that. The autism issue was one subset of my post but even if it *had* been my entire post, surely you can tell from the comments that actually (amazingly), the autism issue is *not* a straw man issue - plenty of people refuse to believe that vaccines don't cause autism.

      Additionally, please note that this post states up front that it is an attempt to address some of the most common missed points and misconceptions I've seen in repeated local discussions.

      If you're going to "be humble and do the best you can to raise your kids" you might want to consider the opinion of all of the experts on the topic you're making a decision about. To ignore all of them and every study I cited is anything but humble.

      I included photographs of diseases vaccines protect from because it's clear that lots of people are completely ignoring the risks of *not* vaccinating when they make their assessment of this issue. They are so focused on the risks *of* vaccinating that they could not be convinced to vaccinate unless there was absolutely zero risk. These people are not weighing all the risks; they're blatantly ignoring risks. Either that or they are assuming that everybody else will vaccinate, which we are increasingly finding is not true.

      As to your questions -

      "why is there a federal compensation fund for those who experience negative side effects for vaccines?"

      Because in order to bring a medical malpractice law suit, you must prove that a physician actually did something outside of the standard of care - that he or she did something *wrong*. Because the standard of care is, universally, to vaccinate, none of the ultra-rare cases of vaccine injury could ever recover any compensation in a medical malpractice case. The fund exists to give those people money anyway. That's how you see, for example, the girl discussed in the comments above who recovered from the fund even though she never could have recovered against her doctor. The fever she experienced from her vaccines triggered neurological damage from a mitochondrial disorder she had. She would have had the same damage whenever she next had a high fever but she still got compensation from the fund; she would not have gotten anything from a medmal suit. Nobody is saying that there is no risk to a vaccine. What everybody is saying - everybody with specific education and training in medicine and science - is that the risk from a vaccine is less than the risk of not getting vaccinated. Especially with the current whooping cough and measles outbreaks.

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    2. (continued)

      "Or: would you ever willingly slip a little formaldehyde and cocktail of other harsh chemicals in your child food? Or how about doing that 50 times before age 6? Harmless, right?"

      You need to cite to what source you're getting for the idea that formaldehyde is used in vaccines, since so many people above still think mercury is - there is a lot of misinformation on the internet about vaccine ingredients. Again I am not a doctor or a vaccine expert but I can say that the vaccines I received and everybody else I know received have seemed pretty harmless to me! Pretty healthy over here! But since anecdotal and personal evidence is not scientific, please see the multitude of studies cited to in the body and comments of this post.

      "Or: what are the infection/death rates of some of these diseases versus the instances of side effects?"

      So you would like to compare death rates of these diseases to side-effect rates. That's part of the problem. And let me guess, you'd like that comparison to only be in the US, and to exclude all undervaccinated countries where plenty of people die all the time from these diseases right? Let me ask you: Even limiting our discussion to the U.S., where most people ARE vaccinated, how many people do you think die of their vaccines every year in the here versus those who die from vaccine-prevantable illnesses? If you peruse the comments to this post, you will see every single medical professional talk about how they have seen too many vaccine-prevnatble deaths. Not a single one talks about seeing "too many vaccine deaths."

      "Or, if there was something to be worried about, would the federal government or pharma companies would have really much incentive at all to study report on the side effects of vaccines on a few when it's already been decided that the benefits to the many outweigh these downsides?"

      The people running these labs are trying to make names for themselves. If they could show that vaccines were more dangerous than not getting vaccinated, they'd definitely be doing that. The one guy who did do that made millions off of it, but then was stripped of his license for fraud. Please see discussions above noting that the health insurance industry is also a pretty huge lobby, and it pays for all the vaccines.

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    3. (continued II)

      "Or, do unvaccinated people live shorter or less healthy lives on average as those who are vaccinated- seriously, has this been studied by a peer reviewed journals over large populations?"

      Failing to vaccinate isn't about lifespan. It's about an increased likelihood of getting certain specific diseases. I do know of large populations of unvaccinated people, in fact. Much of the world is undervaccinated and these diseases continue to flourish in those countries - check out Pakistan for polio. If by this comment you are actually asking me to find you studies showing that vaccines work in the first place, to protect against any diseases at all, I have to say that it's a question so obvious that I am not going to bother hunting down early studies for you. But you can check out the study in Pediatrics that just came out that I cite to above showing that in the recent whooping cough outbreak in California, that killed 10 babies, people in areas with high "personal belief" exemptions to public school vaccination requirements were 2.5 times as likely to live in areas with high whooping cough rates. A physician commenting above also noted that the whooping cough vaccine is 90% effective in protecting babies from whooping cough, which would imply that we've studied the rates of whooping cough in vaccinated vs unvaccinated babies. Do you really think vaccines don't work at all for any of these diseases? A quick look at any history textbook or any undervaccinated nation should show you otherwise.

      Yes, it is your job to protect your kids and my job to protect mine. But I include in my job protecting my kids from unvaccinated children - since vaccines are highly effective but not 100%. I do so not by advocating mandated vaccination, but simply by working with two physicians to compile studies and information in a readable form to better educate people who are trying to make this decision for their children. Like I said in my post, I'm not out to convince the unconvinceable. I'm out to clear up misconceptions and faulty info for those who are on the fence, because there is so much false and misleading information on the internet that appears legitimate.

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  50. Inductions do increase C-section rates...big babies are not a medical condition, you are aware of this yes? Due time is 37wks to 42wks +6 (do you know why it is almost 43wks?) and for the fact you cited this as "fact" is a lie. Do you know what pitocin does to the fetus inside when administered?Why do you think the C-section rate in this country is more than 1 in 3? I was given the scare tactics when I opted for a VBAC and man, if I would have trusted my OB's word and medical facts man I would have had another major abdominal surgery. Thank god I trusted me and my body because I had the most amazing labor and birth. Speak what you have studied because you are all about truth you truly should be giving it. I see fox news agrees with your opinion. One can't know the answer to everything in the medical world just because their husband is a Dr. Each medical professional is trained in a specific area and many know nothing of another medical specialty.

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    1. This alone makes me question your words, period.

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    2. In response to "Inductions do increase C-section rates..." above:

      your anecdote is a fine example of "proof by example," which is a logical fallacy.

      that is to say, it does not prove anything.

      so what that it turned out well for you? you have no basis for asserting that your case illustrates the rule rather than the exception

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    3. Inductions do increase your chance of a c-section, but not once you hit 41 weeks. Having a big baby IS a medical condition, actually, it's called macrosomia and it nearly doubles your chance of having a c-section. It also increases your chance of having other complications even if you have a vaginal birth:

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6843930

      http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fetal-macrosomia/DS01202

      http://www.aafp.org/afp/2001/0701/p169.html

      I have a family member who insisted on a vbac and it ruined her body. I believe the end result left her incontinent and infertile. But I'm genuinely happy for you that yours worked out.

      There are many reasons we have a higher c-section rate in the US. Here are a few:

      - We have a much lower rate of other operative vaginal births (forceps and vacuum). We used to have about the same rates as other Western nations but over the past 10-15 years we've decreased them dramatically because c-sections are seen as safer for the baby.

      - We have a much less healthy population. See:
      http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fetal-macrosomia/DS01202/DSECTION=risk-factors

      - We deliver bigger babies due to more gestational diabetes and maternal obesity. See above article.

      - Our prenatal care is lacking because we don't have national health coverage.

      - Our physicians are less tolerant of fetal heart rate variations the have such a strong fear of lawsuits. (Of course if my doctor is fearing a lawsuit, I'll take the c-section).

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    4. Please show me a true valid study that shows that induction doesn't raise csection rates. This is a lie as I stated before. The do increase risk. If science is what you believe then I am sure there is a study showing this. Many pro VBAC OB's know this and share this information with all birth professionals. And crazy they are legitimate Dr.'s. This woman may know some things as may her hubby but that does not mean they know all the information out there for every medical issue. My anecdote is not a "proof by example" it is the reason I educated myself with fact.

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    5. How large was your son @ 41wks? I would assume gigantic by the reason for induction.

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    6. Please read what I've written before responding. I said that inductions DO increase your chance of a c-section but not at 41 weeks and beyond. There IS a study showing exactly this, I had my husband look it up because *I* was suspicious of my OB's policy of inducing at 41 weeks due to the holistic garbage on my local list serves. I was all ready to fight my OB on it until I read the study - it shows that inductions at 41 weeks do not increase c-section rates and in fact they decrease the morbidity rate - albeit very slightly. I will try to have my husband hunt it down again tomorrow because it was on UpToDate which is a paid subscription source for practitioners. He might not be willing to do that though because he's pretty busy and I am personally wasting way too much time responding to all of these blog comments. Ask yourself - if that weren't true, why do you think OB's induce at 41 weeks? It's not because they're trying to make money cutting you open, as so many in the industry who profit from OB-rejection would like you to believe. Most OB's are salaried and it makes no difference to them whether you deliver vaginally or not.

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