I’ve shared extensively on vaccines, including an entire series on what they contain, and posts looking at each disease and each vaccine and weighing the risks and benefits of each. I’ve also shared that our family doesn’t vaccinate.
This year, pertussis is epidemic across many parts of the country, including in my area. People I know have had it — severely. For many, the personal stories as well as the CDC’s new (ridiculous) recommendations have made them think twice about vaccines. Several are seriously considering vaccinating now, even if their children were previously unvaccinated.
I understand the fear. I have three small children, and I’m pregnant. Baby will be born in early March, before the flu season is over. I want to protect my family’s health as much as the next mom. And I fully understand that these moms are upset, confused, and worried about what might happen to their babies. The thing is, they’ve made a serious mistake: many seem to believe that vaccination is the only thing that offers protection!
(I can’t even understand the logic, personally, that one would choose not to vaccinate yet believe that vaccines are the best form of protection. If you believe that…why don’t you vaccinate? And if you don’t believe that…why are you considering vaccinating now? If you don’t vaccinate and have no plans to do so, but are not opposed to it either…what is your thought process? I’d really like to know.)
Given the current fear, I felt that I needed to address the issue again, as well as share our family’s decision and thoughts on the matter. This is largely opinion, not a scientific research paper.
New CDC Recommendations
Because of the pertussis outbreak, and the potential severity in newborns (which is very real), the CDC is now recommending that all pregnant women receive a Tdap vaccine in their second or third trimester, and that after birth, all family members and anyone who comes into contact with the baby be up to date on their Tdap and flu vaccines. The Tdap vaccine and flu vaccines have not been tested for safety in pregnant women.
In both the U.S. and Britain, there are trials going on to see if the DTaP vaccine can be offered to newborns on day 1, before they leave the hospital. Currently, the vaccine isn’t given to babies under 6 weeks, because babies under this age usually fail to develop significant antibodies. The only reason they are trying again now is because of the recent outbreaks.
These new recommendations have led to such hysteria that some new moms literally will not allow anyone to come and visit unless they are current on both their Tdap and flu shots — some are even requiring people to show proof! (Who walks around with their medical records?) I have to wonder, when I hear this, if the parents are also planning to keep their babies at home until at least 6 months of age, when the primary series is completed — because even the scientific literature says that the DTaP vaccine is not really effective until that point.
Of course, most of these parents don’t seem to think twice about going to church or the grocery store; they just won’t allow anyone to visit their home without the vaccines. This is silly because it’s far more dangerous to take baby out in public — where people will not only not be vaccinated, they may be actually sick — than to allow a healthy, unvaccinated person into your home.
Even if parents are somehow managing to keep them at home that long (which I highly, highly doubt is possible for most families), adults will still need to leave to run errands or go to work, and *they* may still come into contact with something and bring it home to their newborns. Most adults do not get seriously ill with pertussis; they experience it primarily as a mild cold and slightly nagging cough. They don’t realize what it is, and they pass it to their newborns.
Since many cases are being caused now by B. parapertussis (against which the vaccine is not designed to protect) and/or protection is waning far sooner than anticipated, parents who have been vaccinated still may bring home pertussis to their newborns. Additionally, pertussis can live on clothing and other surfaces for up to 5 days, and adults who are recently vaccinated can become “carriers” of the bacteria (from exposure to sick people) even if they themselves are not ill. There are many ways in which adults could inadvertently make their babies sick.
Not to mention, of course, the ethics and safety of giving a Tdap vaccine to a pregnant woman, not knowing how it will affect her unborn baby. They have no data to prove that this is safe. Nor do they have data to prove that the flu vaccine is safe. I understand that they are doing “the best they can” to offer protection when even the CDC is scrambling for a better solution, but this cavalier use of technology is just breathtaking.
Protecting Your Babies
I fully understand that parents want to protect their babies. To think that something serious is going around that could cause your baby (or young child) to become seriously ill or even die is scary. And as parents, you want to do something to protect your child. Of course! Nobody wants their child to fall victim and everyone wants to do absolutely everything in their power to make sure it doesn’t happen.
I, too, want to protect my babies. I just (still) don’t think vaccines are the way to do it.
Vaccines “work,” in some cases, in that they expose the body to a particular strain of illness and if the person comes across that illness, with the right strain, they will probably not get sick. But they still might — some vaccines don’t work as well as others do, and DTaP is one that doesn’t work so well (DTP worked much better but also caused too many serious reactions, which is why it was replaced with the DTaP in the 90s). And of course some people fail to develop antibodies no matter what.
But in another way, vaccines don’t work. They don’t boost the body’s overall ability to fight off infection before it becomes too severe or overwhelms the body. They don’t (can’t) address any underlying deficiencies in the immune system. And they can even cause the immune system to become weaker because the body doesn’t have to undergo normal immune challenges, i.e. natural infection. Vaccines also bypass the body’s first line of defenses — the mucuous membranes — which some believes results in chronic inflammation and a tendency towards auto-immune conditions.
Although people are getting sick more often now, it’s been proven by the CDC and other mainstream organizations that it’s not because of people who are refusing vaccines. Also, these facts about vaccines haven’t changed.
I did hundreds of hours of research and ruled out vaccines as a valid way to protect my family years ago. It does not matter to me how many people get sick or how severe the outbreaks are. I do not feel that vaccines are the best way to protect my family’s health or to ward off illness, at least severe illness. My beliefs about the body are that it is possible to fight infection from the inside out, and that giving your body the tools it needs — via excellent nutrition and herbal immune boosters — is a far more effective way to ward off serious illness than a vaccine, which addresses only a tiny part of the immune system (which is still poorly understood) anyway.
(If you do not vaccinate but have not yet reached this level of confidence, keep on researching until all your questions have been answered. You should feel fully confident in your decision, whatever it is.)
What We Believe and Will Do
I’m not immune to the fear. I don’t want my babies to become seriously ill. And I’m going to protect them in the best way I know how.
Since we do not believe that vaccines boost the overall immune system or help to ward off illness in general, they are not an option for us. Vaccines have not changed and since the way they work is what it is, they will never change. At this time, I cannot imagine a circumstance in which I would accept a vaccine.
However, we will be doing the following:
- Limiting sugar/refined grains (even natural sugars like honey or maple syrup)
- Increasing the amount of soup we eat (ideally, we’ll have stock at least once a day)
- Increasing the amount of probiotics we get (at least once a day; preferably some with each meal)
- Increasing the amount of coconut oil we consume (it contains lauric acid, a powerful immune booster)
- Eating watermelon as long as it’s in season (it contains glutathione, another powerful immune booster)
- Taking FCLO/BO daily to boost our vitamin D and A levels (deficiencies in these areas are responsible for a lot of severe illness)
- Taking elderberry syrup if exposed to an illness or at the first signs of illness, especially respiratory
- Using other herbs (namely wild cherry bark, fenugreek, and slippery elm) to reduce respiratory symptoms at the onset of illness. The combination helps to produce more mucus, thin it out, and eliminate it from the body more quickly, reducing the length and severity of respiratory illnesses. These herbs are found in my cough and cold lozenges and syrup.
- Get regular exercise, outdoors as long as weather permits
- Get plenty of rest
- Avoiding sick people when possible
- Seeing a chiropractor at least monthly (for the kids) or weekly (for me)
- Visiting our alternative doctor if anyone should get sick, the above is not working, and we have a concern
That’s a long list.
I’m not taking this lightly. And in case anyone does get sick, I’ll be doing a lot more than I’ve even listed — things like warm baths in epsom salts, magnesium oil spray, various other essential oils, extra breastfeeding for the littlest one, etc.
The “threat” of potential illness is real. But I’m capable of calmly doing research and finding the best ways to protect my family ahead of time, so that even if we do get sick, I can mitigate the chances of the worst illness.
I do not think I can prevent everything. I fully accept that my family might get sick. If you don’t vaccinate (and realistically, even if you do), you have to understand that someone might get sick. You have to be willing to accept that risk. You have to be realistic about it and know what symptoms to look for, especially symptoms that might be concerning or serious. You have to know when to call someone for help. Most of all, you have to feel fully comfortable with the decision that you’ve made.
Although I understand the risks, I accept them and I feel completely comfortable with the decision we’ve made. It is the right decision for us.
I encourage everyone to keep reading and researching and praying until you, too, feel that comfortable with your decision.
Fear is a Powerful Motivator
What this has all underscored for me is how powerful fear is.
Many of these parents who don’t vaccinate, or who do on a selective/delayed schedule seem very scared right now over what might happen to their babies. And while a month ago some wouldn’t have considered vaccinating, they are seriously considering it now.
I suggest to everyone that fear is not a good reason to make a decision about anything.
You should not vaccinate because you are suddenly afraid you might get sick.
You should not refuse to vaccinate because you know someone who had a vaccine reaction.
These are anecdotes and they are fear-based. Do your research instead: read all about the disease(s) and the vaccines and learn how to boost your family’s immune systems naturally and discover what you really believe about all of this. Do you believe vaccines are really the best way to protect your family? Then you get them. Do you believe they are unsafe and do not really work? Then you don’t get them. But this is a decision you should make from a place of sound research, not fear or anecdotes. It is too important for that.
This winter, protect your families. Keep them safe and healthy.