CHILDHOOD IMMUNIZATION is a hot topic and has been for the past couple decades or so and for that reason this article will maintain a neutral position.
Though I hold a neutral position, much has changed since I first wrote on the subject. Dr. Wakefield’s study, linking the MMR vaccine to Autism, was pulled from the medical journal and he has since lost his license to practice medicine as the study was found invalid.
In the wake of all this, the topic of vaccination has been sensationalized and emotionalized to no end.
Numerous articles on either side of the debate have been published and circulate the web daily. Since the scrutiny of Wakefield’s study, some on the anti-vaccine side have wrongly held the claim that vaccination leads to autism.
Without going into too much detail, autism is not as simple an issue as these groups claim.
However, pro-vaccine advocates now broadcast Dr. Wakefield’s study as pseudoscience – I hesitate to call this ‘reasoning’. By some pseudoscience deduction of their own, the pro-vaccine side has used Dr. Wakefield’s debunked science to send the message that vaccines are indeed safe and any variation of the prescribed vaccine schedule is parental negligence!
This article is in response to those individuals, medical professionals and news agencies who have started the pro-vaccine propaganda, saying
“We now have a measles outbreak because you didn’t vaccinate your kids”.
Being a new mother and being surrounded by concerned new mothers I saw the need to revisit this issue. This time not to merely take a neutral stance but to support my neutrality.
More clarity needs to be brought to this subject for a number of reasons:
- It is dangerous to conclude that MMR causes Autism and hence choose not to vaccinate. True. But it is equally harmful to then assume that since one doctor’s experiment failed, that vaccines are harmless.
- It is wrong to conclude that the harm of not vaccinating outweighs the side-effects of vaccination. This needs to be determined on a case-by-case basis.
- Vaccination side-effects cannot be ignored even though a direct cause and effect link between MMR and autism has not been found.
- When any subject is sensationalized and where innocent infants and children are concerned, we must be careful not to allow our emotions to cloud our judgment or inhibit our rational abilities.
Disclaimer (or more accurately a warning; I’m not using this disclaimer to merely unburden my load of responsibility for voicing my opinion on this topic but a true warning!):
“It is not advisable to not vaccinate your infant or child against certain viruses or to delay vaccination without a thorough understanding of its pros and cons. Please discuss your patient’s health history and vaccination options together.” – Dr. Misaghi.
I will not delve into the topic of the necessity of vaccination as there’s sufficient evidence. I will only discuss what leads me to stand in the grey zone where vaccination according to today’s schedule is concerned.
Using the pro-vaccine arguments, I will try to present the other side of the argument based on the available science.
1. “MMR does not cause autism”
Study (1): “In recent years, the immunization-autoimmunity topic has gained quite a bit of public attention. This is quite possibly because autoimmune diseases are the most commonest manifestations of immunizations [1, 13].
“The MMR has been insinuated as a culprit of gastrointestinal problems in some children with autistic characteristics . Approximately one half of the parents with autistic children reported autistic regression after the MMR immunization .”
While a direct link between MMR and autism has yet to be proven, we can observe through many studies, the link between autoimmune disorders and vaccines. Also, as you can see from the above quote, the author is sourcing other studies to back his findings, none of which are Dr. Wakefield’s fail of a ‘study’.
Animal study (2): “In this pilot study, infant macaques receiving the recommended pediatric vaccine regimen from the 1990’s displayed a different pattern of maturational changes in amygdala volume [the part of the brain responsible for processing social information] following the MMR/DTaP/Hib vaccinations between T1 [4 months of age] and T2 [6 months of age] compared with non-exposed animals.”
Although only an animal study, it is pretty clear that vaccination at such a vulnerable stage of brain development is not without consequences.
2. “Best to give all vaccines and all according to the most recent schedule if you care for the health of your child and society.”
According to the vaccine makers themselves, one should not blindly just follow the vaccine schedule prescribed for the general population.
This herd mentality is what gets us in trouble. Here is my reasoning based solely off of the Pentacel Information sheet:
According to vaccine manufacturers, when considering all ‘Warnings and Precautions’ and their recommendations in case of adverse reactions, what do we get?
>50% of participants following any dose had systemic reaction of “inconsolable crying” which is then cause for reflection before administering a second dose as indicated in the ‘Warnings and Precautions’.
The vaccine manufacturers themselves are asking you, the healthcare provider, and your patients to “carefully consider benefits and risks before administering” but really, how many parents and doctors are aware that inconsolable crying is reason for reflection and not merely another innocuous side effect of vaccinations?
Although it is not clear how long the >50% of participants cried inconsolably, at least 6-16% of the participants should question their doctors on the benefits and risks associated with vaccines after a high fever 48 hours post vaccination.
I ask again, how many parents would actually allow their infants’ fever to reach a high level? With Tylenol so readily dispensed to control fever, how many infants are given vaccines when they shouldn’t be? How would we ever know to reflect on suppressed side effects from vaccinations?
3. “There is nothing wrong with the mercury in vaccines”
The adverse health effects from mercury have already been solidly established, such that it is now Aluminum that replaces mercury (thimerosal) in most vaccines.
Study (3): Environmental mercury exposure is linked to autism:
“for every 1000 pounds of industrial release, there was a corresponding 2.6% increase in autism rates (po.05) and a 3.7% increase associated with power plant emissions(Po.05). Distances to these sources were independent predictors after adjustment for relevant covariates. For every 10 miles from industrial or power plant sources, there was an associated decreased autism Incident Risk of 2.0% and 1.4%, respectively (po.05).”
4. “Only few vaccines contain thimerosal anyways and there’s no link between Aluminum and any adverse effects. Plus babies ingest way more aluminum through breast milk!”
Study (4): “Aluminum-adjuvanted vaccines may be a significant etiological factor in the rising prevalence of ASD [Autism Spectrum Disorders] in the Western world.
We show that children from countries with the highest ASD prevalence appear to have a much higher exposure to Al from vaccines, particularly at 2 months of age. In addition, the correlation between ASD prevalence and Al adjuvant exposure appears to be the highest at 3–4 months of age.
Of note, these periods (i.e., first 4 postnatal months) coincide with several critical stages of human brain development and bio-behavioural transitions that are known to be impaired in autism (i.e. onset of synaptogenesis, maximal growth velocity of the hippocampus , onset of amygdala maturation  and development of brain-wave and sleeping patterns [82, 83]).
Study (5): As can be clearly observed from the figure below, the body burden of vaccines in the first 200 days of life exceeds the minimal risk level for 3 days post vaccine according to the study authors.
So, although breast milk contains aluminum, the body burden caused by Al from vaccines gets dangerously close to levels associated with risk.
Study (6): “Exclusively, breastfed infants (in Brazil) receiving a full recommended schedule of immunizations showed an exceedingly high exposure of Aluminum (225 to 1750 μg per dose) when compared with estimated levels absorbed from breast milk (2.0 μg).
“This study does not dispute the safety of vaccines but reinforces the need to study long-term effects of early exposure to neuro-toxic substances on the developing brain.”
There’s no question that Aluminum is a neuro-toxic substance but unfortunately the long-term effects of aluminum in infants has not been established.
5. “Babies are resilient survivors capable of overcoming anything we throw at them!”
Study (4): “During prenatal and early postnatal development the brain is extremely vulnerable to neurotoxic insults [1,2]. Not only are these highly sensitive periods of rapid brain development in general  but also, the blood brain barrier (BBB) is incomplete and thus more permeable to toxic substances during this time [2,4,5].
“Further, immune challenges during early development, including those induced by vaccines, can lead to permanent detrimental alterations of nervous and immune system function [6–9].
“Experimental evidence also shows that simultaneous administration of as little as two to three immune adjuvants, or repeated stimulation of the immune system by the same antigen, can overcome genetic resistance to autoimmunity in animals [10,11].”
6. “Current schedule is for optimal protection”
Study (7): “When comparing cases and controls receiving their first MMR vaccine before and after 36 months of age, there was a statistically significant increase in autism cases specifically among African American males who received the first MMR prior to 36 months of age. Relative risks for males in general and African American males were 1.69 (p=0.0138) and 3.36 (p=0.0019), respectively.”
This study very clearly demonstrates that the administration of the MMR vaccine at an early age (prior to 36 months) can have detrimental effects more so for males than females and especially for African Americans (Vitamin D status and immune functioning are some hypotheses for the observed difference between race).
By presenting all the potential dangers and side-effects of vaccines, it is not my intention to add to the fear mongering that currently exists but to help make informed and educated decisions regarding vaccinations.
It is not safe to just follow protocols set by a system aimed to normalize a bell curve where infectious disease is concerned.
The current vaccine schedule is set up to eradicate disease. Those suffering from side effects are understood to bite the bullet for the health of the rest. There is however another way.
Note: It is one thing to read a study with a critical eye noting studies’ funding, author’s scholarly history and associations and weighing the validity of conclusions based on methods and statistical analysis.
It is another to read a study for the sake of understanding some truth and gaining further knowledge in another piece of the puzzle in this maze of vaccine science.
This article was written with the latter objective. As some of you may argue, a few of the articles included here are written by scientists that have links and associations to autism organizations or anti-vaccine advocates.
Ask yourself, who is more of a powerful funder – The pharmaceutical industry or the small NGO’s and groups that are trying to bring light to this subject? As Dr. Joel Lexchin demonstrates in his book and study “those who have the gold make the evidence”, then really, which organizations should we be weary of when analyzing the results of any study?
- Singh, V.K., et al. Abnormal Measles-Mumps-Rubella Antibodies and CNS Autoimmunity in Children with Autism. J Biomed Sci 2002;9:359–364.
- Hewitson, L. et al. Influence of pediatric vaccines on amygdala growth and opioid ligand binding in rhesus macaque infants: A pilot study. Acta Neurobiol Exp 2010, 70: 147–164.
- Palmer, R.F. et al. Proximity to point sources of environmental mercury release as a predictor of autism prevalence. Health & Place 15 (2009) 18–24
- L. Tomljenovic, C.A. Shaw, Do aluminum vaccine adjuvants contribute to the rising prevalence of autism?, J. Inorg. Biochem. (2011), doi:10.1016/j.jinorgbio.2011.08.008
- L.S. Keith∗, D.E. Jones, C.-H.S.J. Chou. 2002. Aluminum toxicokinetics regarding infant diet and vaccinations. Vaccine 20 (2002) S13–S17.
- Dórea JG, Marques RC. Infants’ exposure to aluminum from vaccines and breast milk during the first 6 months. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. 2010 Nov;20(7):598-601.
- Brian S Hooker. Measles-mumps-rubella vaccination timing and autism among young african american boys: a reanalysis of CDC data. Translational Neurodegeneration 2014, 3:16.