AD

Growing Up Unvaccinated: Scary Potential, or Healthy Reality?

admin January 10, 2014

growing up unvaccinated

Image by USACE European District

There is a pro- vaccination article circulating the internet right now.  You may have seen it — most people have.  It was originally published at “Voices for Vaccines,” and later republished on Slate, Jezebel, and several smaller blogs.  The blogosphere is abuzz with this story.  It’s called “Growing Up Unvaccinated.”  There are two general thoughts about it right now:

Good, finally.  Maybe all those silly anti-vax people will finally listen and get their kids vaccinated.

and

This is pure propaganda nonsense.  Who is she kidding?  You can drive a Mac Truck through the holes in this story.

I can’t prove one way or another if the story was real.  Maybe it was.  Or maybe it is only propaganda.  Here is the most important thing to remember, though: this is one woman’s story and opinion.  It is not science.  It is not data.  It is not a reason to make a decision on this very important issue.  Anecdotes from either side are just that: anecdotes.  Ignore them.

Why All The Fuss?

For some reason, many people who strongly believe in vaccines are very fond of saying “The plural of anecdote is not data,” and they immediately dismiss any story about vaccine reactions or any anecdote that may be “anti-vax” no matter how many there are.  Yet, they’re spreading this story as far and wide as possible.  They’re championing it.  What a great story!  What a great way to get peoples’ attention!

It should be understood that everyone, regardless of their opinion on a topic, will naturally side with information that confirms what they believe, and will be naturally critical of information that goes against what they believe.  It is called confirmation bias.  That is exactly what is happening here.  The people sharing the story don’t seem to understand that they are engaging in this behavior; if they do, they don’t care.

Since I’m not a fan of emotional manipulation and attempts to force people into making certain medical decisions, I’m going to break the article down and explain why so many are angry about it.  I’ll point out all the sections that have raised questions or concerns and explain why they have.  Then I’ll leave it to you to decide whether you believe this story or not, as well as — as always — what decision on vaccines is right for your family.

I don’t abide by bullying…and that’s what this was (or at least, that’s how it’s being used).

Breaking Down the Story

My goal is to share several inconsistencies as well as simply incorrect or abusive statements.

I was brought up on an incredibly healthy diet: no sugar til I was one, breastfed for over a year, organic homegrown vegetables, raw milk, no MSG, no additives, no aspartame.

Aspartame wasn’t approved in the UK until 1982, and wasn’t used in many popular products until the late 80s.  The author, according to her bio, was born in 1976.  It wouldn’t have been an issue for the author, very likely, since it wasn’t really in common use until she was older.

…I would’ve killed for white, shop-bought bread in my lunch box once in a while and biscuits instead of fruit like all the other kids. 

This statement sets up resentment towards the parents — implying that parents who offer their kids a healthy diet are doing them a disservice, that their children will rebel, and dismissing the impact that a healthy diet has on a person’s overall health.

As healthy as my lifestyle seemed, I contracted measles, mumps, rubella, a type of viral meningitis, scarlatina, whooping cough, yearly tonsillitis, and chickenpox, some of which are vaccine preventable. In my twenties I got precancerous HPV… 

There were no vaccines for most of these illnesses.  Only measles, mumps, rubella, and whooping cough.  Viral meningitis, scarlatina, tonsillitis, chicken pox, and HPV did not have vaccines at this time.  Mixing these illnesses all together in a long list makes it look scarier than it really is.  Vaccines, even if they work as intended, do not prevent against other illnesses (like tonsillitis).  Some parents believe that they do, but this is simply false.  HPV is a sexually-transmitted disease that can be prevented by abstinence, safe sex practices, and regular pap smears.

…mummy might have cancer before it was safely removed.

I can’t help but note that the author overcame all the illnesses she faced.  She did not have any complications, lasting damage, and obviously did not die.  She doesn’t even mention any hospitalizations (until age 21, which was not for a vaccine-preventable illness) — so they couldn’t have even been that bad.

So having the “natural immunity sterilised out of us” just doesn’t cut it for me. How could I, with my idyllic childhood and my amazing health food, get so freaking ill all the time?

This statement implies that the steps her mother took — alternative health and good food — were (are) useless to prevent disease, and that vaccines are the only (best) solution.  It casts doubt on relying on a healthy lifestyle.  (Although, again — she may have gotten sick — but she came through just fine!  Could that have been because of her lifestyle?)

My two vaccinated children, on the other hand, have rarely been ill, have had antibiotics maybe twice in their lives, if that (not like me who got so many illnesses which needed treatment with antibiotics that I developed a resistance to them, which led me to be hospitalized with penicillin-resistant quinsy at 21–you know that old fashioned disease that killed Queen Elizabeth I and which was almost wiped out through use of antibiotics.

Ah, there it is.  Vaccines are the solution.  They prevent (all) illness.  But, wait a minute — she developed resistance to antibiotics by the age of 21?  Most “super crunchy” parents do not get antibiotics very often, if at all.  They use natural remedies to treat.  So why did she have antibiotics all that often?  Either her parents weren’t really crunchy, or they are trying to say that when natural remedies “inevitably” fail, people fall back to using antibiotics (apparently frequently).  Casting more doubt on using natural remedies.

As for quinsy, it occurs when you don’t treat strep throat (but wait — didn’t she have antibiotics a lot?  wasn’t it treated?), it did not kill the queen, who was 70 years old (in the 1600s, when this age was extremely old).  It’s also extremely uncommon because strep throat is usually treated early on.  These are simply a bunch of false statements to make antibiotics look like major champions and natural remedies look useless.

 I struggle to understand why I know far more people who have experienced complications from preventable childhood illnesses than I have EVER met with complications from vaccines. I have friends who became deaf from measles. I have a partially sighted friend who contracted rubella in the womb. My ex got pneumonia from chickenpox. A friend’s brother died from meningitis.

The most likely explanation for the first statement — that she hasn’t met anyone with complications from vaccines — is that it isn’t something people talk about.  Plus, vaccines weren’t that commonly used until the late 80s in the UK, so cases of these illnesses were more common and vaccine reactions, obviously less common.  It certainly isn’t something the media talks about.  But it’s everywhere.  As for the other illnesses, these complications are, in fact, rare.  Knowing a few people who did have complications doesn’t mean that they are actually that common.

…anecdotes are the anti-vaccine supporter’s way.

100% incorrect and insulting.  There is a wide body of scientific evidence to support the notion that vaccines may not be as safe as believed, and that there may even be benefits to catching some of these diseases.  Anyone who says this clearly hasn’t done a thorough search into the anti-vaccine science and is attempting to discredit the entire notion.  There are even doctors and researchers in prominent positions who have spoken out and asked for more research into vaccine safety, but the have been ignored.  (Bernadette Healy, for one.)

 I was studying homeopathy, herbalism and aromatherapy; I believed in angels, witchcraft, clairvoyants, crop circles, aliens at Nazca, giant ginger mariners spreading their knowledge to the Aztecs, the Incas and the Egyptians and that I was somehow personally blessed by the Holy Spirit with healing abilities. I was having my aura read at a hefty price and filtering the fluoride out of my water. I was choosing to have past life regressions instead of taking anti-depressants. I was taking my daily advice from tarot cards. I grew all my own veg and made my own herbal remedies. I was so freaking crunchy that I literally crumbled. It was only when I took control of those paranoid thoughts and fears about the world around me and became an objective critical thinker that I got well. It was when I stopped taking sugar pills for everything and started seeing medical professionals that I began to thrive physically and mentally.

This entire paragraph is nonsense.  It’s mixing ‘normal’ things — like being cautious about fluoride in water (which, by the way, the vast majority of the UK doesn’t even have) — with ‘out there’ things like tarot cards and clairvoyants.  It’s subtly suggesting that anyone who believes in anything natural is basically crazy and believes in magic, not solid, science-based natural options.  It also suggests that herbal and natural remedies are ” sugar pills” and that this sort of natural life is driven by paranoid, irrational fears.

Where to even start?  I can’t.  It’s simply nonsense.  Perhaps she had these issues (some have said she’s been diagnosed with bipolar), but this is not how most people who choose a natural lifestyle think. 

If you think your child’s immune system is strong enough to fight off vaccine-preventable diseases, then it’s strong enough to fight off the tiny amounts of dead or weakened pathogens present in any of the vaccines.

This is a red herring.  Nobody who chooses not to get vaccines does so because they think their child can’t handle the antigens.  They are concerned about the other ingredients in vaccines — a fact that almost all pro-vax people intentionally ignore.  Injecting aluminum (injecting, not consuming orally, which is very different) into a tiny body is very concerning.  The actual antigens are not.

Don’t teach your child to be self serving and scared of the world in which it lives and the people around him/her. And teach them to LOVE people with ASD or any other disability for that matter, not to label them as damaged.

This is calling all parents who don’t vaccinate selfish.  And saying that by saying that children with ASD need to “recover” from vaccine damage (which many mothers do believe), is labeling them negatively.  I don’t have a vaccine-injured child, but I can only imagine how heartbreaking it is to read these words if you do have one.

…knowingly exposing your child to childhood illnesses is cruel; even without complications these diseases aren’t exactly pleasant.

No, they’re not.  But neither are potential vaccine complications.  No parent wants to see their child suffer, but they have to weigh the risks and benefits of any choice so that they can do what is right for them.  Parents who choose not to vaccinate don’t do it so that they can get their kids sick.  And if their kids do get sick (no matter what they have), they don’t leave them to suffer, they offer comfort measures!  This is…implying parents are heartless and don’t really love their children if they don’t vaccinate, which is ridiculous.

Those of you who have avoided childhood illnesses without vaccines are lucky. You couldn’t do it without us pro-vaxxers. Once the vaccination rates begin dropping, the less herd immunity will be able to protect your children. The more people you convert to your anti-vax stance, the quicker that luck will run out.

Another appeal to herd immunity, and a subtle threat to vaccinate “or else.”  Most people who don’t vaccinate don’t believe in herd immunity and are not afraid of these illnesses.

On a personal note, my kids have had rubella, pertussis (including the baby) and likely mumps, and we have had no issues.  Nothing scary.  No complications.  Not even a visit to the doctor.  Kids can, and do, come through these illnesses with no problems.

The Bottom Line

There have been wild accusations flying around, accusing the author of actually being an employee at the CDC.  I can’t find anything to confirm that.

And you know, maybe it is just one mom’s heartfelt, fervent story.  Maybe she did have a terrible, illness-ridden childhood and she now believes vaccines are the answer.  And that’s okay.

What isn’t okay is the way her words are being used.  They’re being used to judge and shame parents.  They’re being held up as an example of what will happen if you don’t vaccinate your children.  They’re being regarded as some sort of universal truth.  That is terrible.

One person’s story is one person’s story.  Nothing more or less.  It may jumpstart your desire to research an issue, but it shouldn’t push you into a decision.  And anyone who would send you such an article and then tell you that you should make a decision because of it is wrong, and to be ignored.  (I know some people send it out of concern, like “hey, did you see this?” and that’s okay.  It’s the people that say “See, you were wrong, here.” that’s bad.)

If you are an unvaccinated adult, would you fill out this quick survey please?  Thanks!  (Survey closes on 1/18.)

Have you run across the Growing Up Unvaccinated post?  What do you think?

Confused about vaccines?

Vaccine_guide_ck

Get our FREE no-nonsense vaccine guide. Answer your questions with rational, fact-based information instead of fear.

Powered by ConvertKit

This is the writings of:

admin
AD

82 Comments

  1. I read this article too, and I found it irritating due to the holes in her story. Thanks for analyzing it.

    Reply

  2. I’m at the point where I’m going to very soon have to make a decision about vaccinations. My baby is 4 weeks old. My husband is very anti-vax, my mom is very pro-vax and I’m somewhere in the middle, if that’s even possible. I was wondering if you could clear something up for me.
    One of the arguments from pro-vax people is that you should vaccinate in order to protect those who cannot vaccinate or those with weakened immune systems (elderly, very young). However, my understanding is that a vaccination will not prevent you from passing the illness on if you are exposed, even if you, yourself don’t get sick. If someone has measles and I come in contact with them, am I not able to pass the pathogen on to others, even if I don’t get sick myself? ie: if it’s on my hands and I come in contact with someone else before washing my hands, could I be passing the pathogen on?

    Reply

    • You are right, you can pass it on without being infected. In some cases you can even pass on an infection from getting a vaccination. My son got pertussis three times from the dTap and the last time he passed it to a couple other children. 🙁

      Reply

      • Sorry to hear your son was ill with pertussis. Its a really serious horrible illness. Did his physician confirm that he contracted it from getting a tdap?

        Reply

        • Pardon me if I am reading into this, but it sounds as though you are implying that if a physician didn’t confirm it, the Dtap didn’t cause it. If she saw it multiple times, it’s unlikely that it’s coincidence. (Why re-vaccinate when getting sick immediately after the first one? Immense pressure–see all the “Voices for Vaccines.”)

          If we believed everything physicians believed was gospel, we wouldn’t be here. As Jessica Gianelloni so aptly pointed out, who protects the vaccine injured?

          For lists of possible reactions and adverse effects from the pertussis shot, please see Neil Miller’s Vaccine Safety Manual.

          Reply

      • You cannot get pertussis from the DTaP. There is no bacterium in that shot.

        Reply

      • After vaccination, vaccinated kids should not go around other for something like 21 days after DTaP (which CDC states can cause those who get the vaccine to become silent carriers able to spread the disease vaccinated against), 6 weeks after the flu/varicella vaccine (and you should avoid fruits/veggies/medications after those two as well per the vaccine insert). I wish all knew this before accepting the risks of vaccinating.

        Reply

    • Hi Joy! I have four girls and I was at a crossroads situation myself, until I found a doctor that practiced the states standards and homeopathic ways. She flat out told me if I was undecided about vaccines, to wait until the children were AT LEAST 3 years old. Then go back and talk to her. That was the best advice I had received from ANY doctor. As far as my eldest vaccinated child was concerned, she told me to wait until she turned 12, and that was when she was 6. Talk about the flack we got from our family! But they didn’t have anything to say when any illness was cleared up super quick by practicing natural remedies. You’ll figure it out. If you don’t have peace with it, don’t do it. :0)

      Reply

      • great advise…thx

        Reply

      • Hi Reyna. My doctor told us the very same thing. She encouraged us to do as much research as we could, and was against vaccinating until at least three. She said if we did want to vaccinate earlier, that we should go to the US where we could get each shot individually. But she warned that even that was not as safe as waiting. We ended up doing a lot of researching, and realizing that after three years old, a child’s likelihood of dying from any of the diseases they’re vaccinated for goes down significantly, essentially cancelling out the need to vaccinate in the first place. Our almost-eight-year-old is fully unvaxed to this day. 🙂

        Reply

        • Unfortunately, it is NOT possible to get individual shots in the U.S. My older kids were vaccinated and now I have a 14 year old with ADHD and bipolar disorder who had a bad reaction to the dTap. My nine month old so far is unvaxxed and will remain so. Check out the book Vaccines 2.0…full of good, mostly unbiased research and info. We use natural medicine and my boys are rarely ill. In fact, we had to re-register my seven year old at the doctor’s office because it had been so long since he had been there.

          The 2015 CDC schedule recommends 26 shots, most of them combinations, by age 4. That’s insane. As a kid, I think I had seven shots. My mom grew up with having had only two; she is in her late 50’s and doing fine. There is no real solid evidence that vaccines actually prevent disease…when vaccines were introduced, sanitation was improving, which likely had more impact on disease prevention than vaccination.

          Reply

    • Guess what? The beautiful thing is that you really don’t have to make a decision soon! Whenever you get to it, you get to it. You don’t HAVE to vaccinate on what is called the “suggested schedule”. If you decide at three months or three years that now you’d like to have your child vaccinated, then you can start, and you can do them at whatever rate you’d like. You’re the parent, and these are choices that you get to make for your child. 🙂

      Reply

      • I heard a quote the other day that really made sense to me. “You can always vaccinate your child, but you can’t un-vaccinate them” We started out delaying vaccines because I couldn’t come to terms with subjecting my son to toxins when he was so little. He’s two and we’re still delaying. Not sure when we’ll start. But I can always vaccinate him down the line, I wouldn’t be able to un-vaccinate him. (Honestly, I don’t think we’ll ever vaccinate, but saying we’re delaying seems to help my pro-vax parents and relatives. 🙂 )

        Reply

        • We were going to do that, but finally we are comfortable telling others that we don’t vaccinate. Amazing how so many are amazed at the health of our kids. Somehow it is thought that vaccines=health, and that not vaccinating should equal no health, when it is opposite…

          Reply

    • Most people are somewhere in the middle… The thing is, the moment you question the schedule’s timing or one or more vaccine you are labeled and ‘anti-vaxxer’. There are several alternative schedules out there, and most begin with delaying vaccines anywhere between 6 months and 2 years. Then they give the vaccines they find necessary one at a time. Keep researching and don’t feel rushed! You don’t have to do anything at the 2 month check up if you haven’t decided, and even if you decide to do the whole schedule you can catch up easily.

      Reply

      • Yes. As I was posting on facebook today, there is little to no mercy for those who prefer an alternative schedule. If you want the word on the street on that, google Dr. Sears and see how he’s been excoriated.

        It is hard to maintain a middle-of-the-road position; in my limited experience you’ve lost the goodwill of the medical community or the vaccine enthusiasts. (Voices for Vaccines has one little story by a woman who says she thought she was “compromising” with an alternative schedule, but NOW she realizes the only compromise was of her child’s health.)

        But from my reading on vaccines, they are all negative; they are all part of an agenda; and it is SO much worse than just too much, too soon.

        Reply

      • Yes! I recently discovered this myself. Especially if you are selective, because you don’t fit into either ideology.

        Reply

    • I HIGHLY recommend the book Jabs, Jenner, and Juggernauts by Jennifer Craig. When I had my son, I knew the vaccine schedule wasn’t right for us and I felt I might vaccinate him a bit at two years old, but I didn’t even know for what. This book was a deciding factor for me. It is written by a woman that was a nurse who spent her entire career vaccinating babies without question. Near the end of her career, she was a public health consultant and wrote the public health policy for the northern interior of British Columbia. Once she retired, she starting learning about the other side and asking questions that never even occurred to her during her career. Her book details her years of research into vaccines and how she drew the conclusion that no one should ever receive a vaccine. The book is truly eye opening and written by a well educated woman who believed in vaccines whole heartedly her entire working life.

      Reply

    • One thing I have noticed lately is that those who follow routine medical advice and vaccinate live with the assurance that they will not get the illness. Right now, we have several families in our church who have unrelenting, serious coughs. The doctors don’t know what is wrong with them. They’ve been on antibiotics (therefore they are “not contagious”) and yet they are still coughing up a lung, coughing all night long. My first thought is, “have they tested for whooping cough?” I do not think they have! It is simply believed that because these people (adults and children) are vaccinated, it couldn’t possibly be whooping cough. Meanwhile, they continue to come to church and therefore exposing many elderly and young with something the doctors cannot even identify. This frustrates me. As a family that chooses not to vaccinate and also do not take antibiotics unless we are in a life-threatening situation (not happened yet), we avoid at great costs those who are sick. We also do not take our coughing, sneezing, or otherwise symptomatic children around others. We have 6 kids — when one of them gets sick, it may take 2 months before it makes the rounds. So we do everything we can to avoid it and we wish others would be conscientious too. Our daughter went through cancer treatment several years ago when she was 6, and so we know what it’s like living with an immune-compromised person. Strangely, the doctors didn’t put her into isolation because it was inevitable that she would be exposed to *someone* who was harboring a sickness (and yet unsymptomatic) or had just been vaccinated. If the threat was as great as it is advertised to be, why do they let cancer kids with very low immunity go to school or walk the hospital floor? There was a point at which her immunity levels were so low that they advised her staying at home, but they didn’t advise the rest of our kids to stay at home or for my husband not to go to work and risk exposure. It just struck me as very odd. Incidentally, we caved into pressure to give her the flu vaccine while she was undergoing treatment during the winter of the great H1N1 scare. Well, she got the vaccine and later she got the H1N1 flu. And even then, with the apparent seriousness of having an immune compromised child undergoing cancer treatment with full-blown flu symptoms, her attending physicians treated it as if it were mundane. OK, I’m writing a lot. I’ve thought about these things a lot. I see so many inconsistencies. But it does bother me that people with obvious symptoms have no compunction about being around other people if they have had antibiotics or displaying symptoms of an illness that they have been vaccinated for. I find this irresponsible. I cannot fathom why these same people find *me* irresponsible for not vaccinating, even though I have indepth knowledge of these illnesses as well as an arsenal of natural treatment remedies. That is not irresponsible; it is prepared. If you choose not to vaccinate, do not do it with the idea that your children will not get these illnesses. Do it with the understanding that they can and may get the illnesses, and be prepared for how to handle them. I say that the woman who wrote this article is not seeing her situation clearly. She is an adult who has avoided a ton of bad stuff successfully and has what few people in the modern First world has — naturally acquired, lifelong immunity.

      Reply

    • Joy, I don’t know the answer to your question about passing on pathogens, but I do know it is possible to be neither pro vax or anti vax. The importance is to be educated and have a good doctor who is willing to talk to you about the pros and cons. I have four children and have seen more vaccines added to the “required for school” list with each one. Whenever I take my babies in for their well child check ups, my doc and I review the recommended vaccines for that visit and discuss which ones would be a good idea to hold off or dismiss. The vaccination schedule that we get from the local health department is based very much on convenience for doctors and parents, to eliminate extra visits. Something to consider is the combo vaccines, Dtap and MMR are examples of vaccines that combine three different illnesses. If you choose to immunize your child with these, you can request to have them administered separately. It’s your child, it’s your choice, and it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

      Reply

    • Joy A, it looks like this was over 8 weeks ago, so I don’t know what decision you have made!

      Put simply, vaccine-induced herd immunity is a lie. I would urge you to check out the writings of Russell Blaylock, a neurosurgeon. Here’s an excellent blog post on herd immunity…yes, I know, just a blog. But she references MANY professional sources: http://gianelloni.wordpress.com/2013/09/13/the-myth-of-herd-immunity/

      If you would like some additional sources, or if you would like some hints about the money trail that trains and forces people to recommend vaccines, please feel free to email me: katiecrystal23@yahoo.com.

      Best wishes for you and your new baby. Congratulations! It’s so fun…

      Reply

    • The latest respiratory virus that is hitting children. enterovirus EV-D68 or something. The children displaying symptoms are those vaccinated.

      http://www.cnn.com/2014/09/07/health/respiratory-virus-midwest/

      Reply

  3. Thank you! I have not had time to counter this since it started appearing daily on my newsfeed. Now I can just share this with everyone. 🙂 As always, I appreciate your non- combative approach. The “vaccine wars” are getting old.

    Reply

  4. I would love more information on the the “herd immunity”. Is this a valid argument for getting immunizations?

    Reply

    • No, Cindy; herd immunity is a lie. It is used to bully parents who have concerns. “You’re not willing to take this TINY risk even though there’s someone else immunocompromised out there…”

      Please check out Russell Blaylock, neurosurgeon, and http://gianelloni.wordpress.com/2013/09/13/the-myth-of-herd-immunity/.

      As a rule of thumb, if an argument makes no sense to begin with, it will make even less sense after you read the proponents’ explanations for a few hours. 🙂 Best wishes to you.

      Reply

    • Another great resource on herd immunity are the talks given by Dr. Tetyana Obukhanych, a PHD immunologist. She’s is on youtube. (Hint: many people lose the immunity of the Measles vaccine in as little as a year.)

      Reply

  5. Excellent – fantastic! Very well written!

    Reply

  6. Thanks for analyzing and writing it so beautifully Katie! I love your research and have shared it with my FB community. Hope others do too!

    Reply

  7. Thank you for this thoughtful response to this article!!

    Reply

  8. Thank you, Kate! Loved the post. It was a perfectly written and presented argument. I’m so glad that you tackled this topic. – Angela

    Reply

  9. Well, I am so over this whole argument. i just closed my Facebook account for this very reason. Do you think this decision will matter in eternity? You say you don’t want to shame people? It is posts like this that really make me regret reading them. I just wish we could move on from this. What I do with my kids is no one’s business.

    Reply

    • Kristy, I have to disagree here.

      You are free to make the decision for your own kids. Are you aware that many want to take that right AWAY from us? You only have to skim blog comments other places to find those who would like to force us all to live on an island or feel that we’d be better off if vaccines were forced or if there was enforced quarantine–permanent–for anyone who didn’t. (And of course keeping kids enclosed in a house 24/7 would be seen as child abuse, leading to CPS intervention…etc.)

      We HAVE to raise awareness of vaccine dangers in order to rouse sleeping people and awaken them to the need to defend our rights.

      Will this matter in eternity? I am not sure. But it matters an awful lot now. Ask a full-time unpaid mother/ caretaker of a vaccine-injured child. I could connect you with several. Do you think the Lord doesn’t care when moms who are hesitant are bullied into vaccinating? Do you think the Lord doesn’t care when marriages crumble under the stress of dealing with violent vaccine-injured children, when their siblings bear the pain possibly for the rest of their lives? Surely not.

      What Kate writes is truth, and the truth is what will set us free. When the truth is known, we will move on, just as we have moved on from bloodletting and it’s not (commonly) debated in the blogosphere.

      Reply

  10. If your children never had a visit to the doctor when they were experiencing ” rubella, pertussis (including the baby) and likely mumps”, how did you know they had them? You self diagnosed them at home? My friend’s 5 week old son contracted pertussis from an vaccinated adult and spent 7 weeks in the NICU and almost died.

    Reply

    • I cannot speak for anyone else, but my doctors do not do blood work to check for a disease. Due to the cost of the tests, the rather mild symptoms, and the turn-around time for lab results, it seems pointless in most cases. I teach university research methods and, just like me, our doctors look up the common symptoms in the medical literature (or compare photos of rashes), and come up with a “likely” diagnosis and instructions for how to alleviate discomfort at home until the disease has run its course (usually only a couple days). However, if you know the symptoms are mild, and there’s no known treatment for a disease, why risk going out in public and spreading it around?

      With recent published, peer-reviewed studies indicating the vaccinated (not unvaccinated) population is spreading disease, we’re left with many questions — including how do we know where all our anecdotal (or hypothetical, even) “friends’ babies” get pertussis? One recent example of this data is the most recent study of the pertussis vaccine (which is uncovering the mystery of why a 95% vaccinated population has an outrageously high rates of infection):

      http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/26/health/study-finds-vaccinated-baboons-can-still-carry-whooping-cough.html

      From the research team: “When you’re newly vaccinated you are an asymptomatic carrier, which is good for you, but not for the population,” said Tod J. Merkel, the lead author of the study, who is a researcher in the Office of Vaccines Research and Review in the Food and Drug Administration… But scientists say the problem of surging whooping cough cases has more to do with flaws in the current vaccines than with parents’ resistance [to vaccinate].”

      Reply

    • I wish the hospital would have given high doses of vitamin C (not ascorbic acid). That is spectacular against pertussis and really wipes it out fast.

      Whether you vaccinate or not, you should know how to treat the disease… Vaccines don’t prevent you from being exposed and getting sick, if anything, the shedding/”silent carrier” makes it more likely you will be exposed to be able to get sick…

      Reply

  11. I meant an unvaccinated adult

    Reply

  12. Holy moly! Your kids have (likely -I guess you aren’t sure) had mumps (which can make males sterile), German measles, and whooping cough (they coughed for 100 days and didn’t need a doctor visit?!) in the five years you have been a mom? Yet, you never mentioned, that I can recall, these illnesses (except possible mumps) on your blog or facebook? All of these potentially serious diseases would freak me out! You are a calmer woman than me Kate Tietje!

    Reply

    • Hi Maegan,

      Honestly, none of it was that bad, which is typical. Mumps can’t cause sterility unless the person is post-puberty — so not in little kids (even then only in males and super rare). Most of the time it’s just like a typical cold, and only in some cases do you see the characteristic “chipmunk cheeks” as they call them. Rubella just causes a low fever and a spotty rash for a couple days — it’s only dangerous if pregnant women get it in the first 10 – 12 weeks and it causes congenital rubella (it often passes in children without their parents really noticing). Whooping cough, well, that was over the summer and it was an annoying 6 weeks or so. But it wasn’t terrible. There was a week of fevers and lying around on and off, then normal life with coughing spells here and there. We didn’t have a severe case, so no one coughed until they threw up or anything.

      Most of these diseases, most of the time, are just not scary. They tell you the worst-case scenarios and then scare you by saying that’s what WILL happen if you get them. But…it very likely won’t. It almost certainly won’t. There CAN be complications, they CAN be bad, but it’s just unlikely. I wish more people understood the actual risks instead of being scared about it all the time, but doctors won’t communicate that way. :/

      Reply

      • Hey, one of my little brothers got pertussis (whooping cough) and you say “most of these diseases, most of the time, are just not scary”..? Seriously? My little brother was vaccinated, yet he did not get immunity (one of the very few cases!) but the rest of us (4 more children) luckily did. If it hadn’t been for vaccines, most of us could have gotten the infection as well, and one of us could have died. Scientists are not saying that vaccines are 100% effective – but they do confer a degree of protection. I really invite you all to read scientifically proven papers. They might not give you all the answers but they might help you understand that there is people out there working to save your children. Vaccines and other public health measures have helped me and my family and hundreds of communities to preserve our health – or at least have reduced the chances of us developing an infectious disease, if expose to an infectious agent.

        Reply

      • when i was growing up my mom would send me to friends when they were sick with mumps, chicken pox, rubella,…. so i can get it and develop natural immunity so i don’t get them when i’m older,,,,so surprised to see people so scared of all this ……i grew up in Croatia

        Reply

        • This is what I was thinking. If the woman was sick so often, should’t her immune system have kicked in and started creating antigens for these viruses like a vaccine is supposed to do? If she wished she got the vaccines, shouldn’t she be happy that she contracted the diseases so that now her body has the antigens without any of the toxins present in vaccines? I feel like she got lucky 🙂
          I was a baby who had meningitis. I am a fully vaccinated adult because my parents just did what they were told and never asked. Since I grew up in Canada, all the vaccines are covered under provincial healthcare. Grade 7/8, nurses come in and administer the meningitis shot. I asked if I needed it since I already had it as a baby and they said I still should get it…why does that make sense? I thought that the purpose of vaccines was to build immunity to it, yet if my body had already had antigens, why do I still need the immunity? Not that I had complications, but I feel now, after researching, that I have been unnecessarily pumped with toxins.

          Reply

      • Though, to be fair, doctors have to communicate in that certain way. They have to cover likely complications, typically the benign not too serious ones, and also the major serious ones. If they didn’t cover the serious ones, and your kid happened to be the unlucky rare child to get that complication, first off you would be extremely mad at the doctor for never letting you know the possibility and secondly there could be a big legal case made from that. Much of the way health care professionals, not just doctors, communicate is based on the way that people are so sue-happy these days and the way the legal system unfortunately often dictates how health care professionals discuss matters with patients.

        Reply

  13. Thank you for analyzing this article. You did a great job! I was disappointed when I first read the article after one of my friends shared it on facebook. It seemed cruel and manipulative to me. My vaccine views lie somewhere in the middle. I have vaccinated my kids cautiously by omitting some and delaying most.

    Reply

  14. According to this, the author of the article does (or at least did) work for the CDC: http://www.luther.edu/alumni/spotlight-archives/?story_id=302763

    Reply

    • That’s interesting… Reminds me of a “discussion” I had about vaccines, not for or against, just about the ingredients (whether or not aluminum is safe in the vac. She compared injecting a small child with an aluminum containing vaccine to covering a casserole with foil. Seriously?). It was with a young woman who worked for the NIH. Coincidence?

      Reply

      • The comparisons people come up with have my eyes rolling back in my head. Much of the time they are not even APPLICABLE. Like “So? Aluminum is in baking powder! Why isn’t anyone looking at the FOOD?” (Um, there are those of us who use aluminum-free baking powder, and people ARE looking at the food.)

        Or “There’s more formaldehyde than that in a pear.”

        Oh, and the incredibly awful “Married to Medicine”‘s blog post on vaccinations, where she repeatedly stresses that even TYLENOL can cause a severe reaction in a tiny minority. Again, she is assuming that EVERYONE uses tylenol. Not the case.

        Reply

  15. Someone posted this on Facebook:
    “Guys, this fictitious article is written by a fraudulent author. Amy Parker is not a piano teacher raised by health nuts. She is a Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer with the CDC’s National Centre for Immunisation and Respiratory Diseases. Here’s the link. Compare the pictures of her and decide for yourselves.
    http://www.luther.edu/alumni/spotlight-archives/

    Reply

    • I also heard that it wasn’t the same person. So I no longer combat it with that. But if you go to Voices for Vaccines, there is a lot of (I say) pretty obviously made-up stuff. It’s very, very “light” reading, no studies, even a light laugh (by a woman at herself) at being the “overinformed” type before. It would appeal to no one interested in digging into what’s actually going on.

      So, all that to say, DEFINITELY serious bias, no matter her actual career.

      Reply

  16. Hi Kate

    You can’t choose more than one option of the illnesses you had as a child in the survey

    Reply

  17. Your survey doesn’t allow a respondent to mark more than one choice in questions about childhood illnesses. Just a fyi

    Reply

  18. A group I’m a member of just had someone post that her Dr’s office printed out that blog and is giving it to anti vax parents now! I’m shocked

    Reply

  19. I didn’t like the story when various friends shared it. I truly appreciate knowing I’m not alone in how I feel!

    Reply

  20. My husband and I began researching vaccines in earnest about a year and a half ago, when the flu vaccine mandate insanity hit our state and the hospital where he works. It started with the flu vaccine (our research), and has now extended to vaccines in general as well as the diseases the vaccines are designed to prevent. What we have learned is so disillusioning regarding vaccines, drug companies, the healthcare industry (which is almost completely controlled by the pharmaceutical industry now), and the government and media (which has largely been bought and hence is partially controlled by big Pharma) that not only are we done with all vaccines for good, but my husband is about to take his final pre-requisite class for naturopathic college. You never know how far rolling up your sleeves and digging into the research yourself may lead!

    Reply

  21. This was very disturbing. The lengths our Government and Big Pharma will go to, to keep pushing dangerous vaccines on our children! Sickening!!

    Thank you for the rebuttal and researching it.

    Reply

  22. This is the best deconstruction of that article that I have read so far! Great job!

    My personal opinion is that it is either completely fake or someone exaggerated their personal story so it would have more impact. It is clear that this article has one purpose: to fuel the masses to shame people who forgo vaccines. I wouldn’t be surprised if big pharma or the CDC is behind this.

    Reply

  23. I can’t thank you enough for this article.

    Reply

  24. What a great breakdown of the article! I read it myself, and thought ‘what is this load of garbage’? Anyone over the age of 15 should be able to see it’s a fake. The whole article was done to cast doubt on those who are questioning their decision to vaccinate, which the majority of people, once they have decided not to, don’t doubt, they just know in their soul it is so wrong to do it. I’m in the middle of putting together a website of stories of vaccine injury. If you have a story you’d like to share, any story about vaccine injury, please share it at http://www.myvaccinestory.com – the more the better! So we can stop people doubting their choices.

    Reply

  25. THANK YOU THANK YOU. You published the thoughts in my head so succinctly, writing out what I haven’t had time to do. People need to base their choices on FACTS, not propaganda.

    Reply

  26. Thank you for checking into this article. I have known several infants hospitalized with Pertussis. It is very serious in young infants. I myself had pertussis when I was 9 years old and by the way a time when the immunity is decreased and why we need a booster. It was the worst summer of my life! I coughed so hard and would turn purple and blue. I was taken to the ER several times during that 3 months of illness. I would not wish it on anybody! That being said…I understand fears and concerns and just as the severe illness of death is rare….so are the severe side effects if vaccines. I look at it like a seatbelt…Yes there can be side effects of wearing your seatbelt. But most of the time is saves lives. Just one more thing to add concerning side effects…any person can have a reaction or side effect to something that is ingested, injected, inhaled or placed topically on the skin. I have seen a child go into a life threatening reaction when she had peanut butter and another with gelatin. I have seen severe reactions from milk. The only question I have for myself is do the risks outweigh the benefits? This is why all of my children (I have 5) all wear their seatbelts, eat healthy, take daily vitamins, have used garlic oil for ear infections, cayenne for cold symptoms and are vaccinated. We see chiropractors and Medical doctors. We use natural remedies and think the balance is in the middle. My husband is very healthy. .my kids are too!

    Reply

  27. Thank you so much for analyzing this article, I too had read it and felt very upset by all her claims. You made a lot of very good points that I hadn’t noticed the first time I read her story.

    Reply

  28. My oldest son was vaccinated with whatever vaccines they gave 39 years ago. He was sick all the time. My youngest son was not vaccinated and almost never got sick. He did get the chicken pox but there were no issue with it at all.
    As a child, I had all of them, measles, mumps (which our parents deliberately exposed us to as they wanted it out of the way before a big trip) rubella, and chicken pox. When I was in my late 20s I was working as an X-ray tech and was forced to get an antibody test for all of those. It came back that I didn’t have the antibodies and they made me get the MMR vaccine to keep my job. Within a week I had the measles and then had a horrible reaction where all the joints on my right side ( where I got the shot) started swelling up and were horribly painful. I had to go on steroids for 6 weeks and it was 6 months before my joints were pain free.

    My questions is how do otherwise intelligent people get so brainwashed that vaccines are a must that they won’t even listen to documented research and refuse to do their own. My sister insists on a double blind study before she would believe the sun rises in the east but she just accepts that vaccines are God’s gift to humanity. I don’t get it at all.

    Reply

  29. Great job Kate! I would like to add a bit. We mustn’t fear the microbe or the symptoms they bring. These “diseases” are the body’s response to toxins and pollutants. One study ((you’ll have to search for it as I don’t remember the link) shows that contracting the measles, in childhood, actually confers cancer protective benefits to that individual later in life. This is an amazing find, yet not a peep in the mainstream of things. Imagine what other benefits come from bacteria and “disease” that we don’t even know about. I don’t claim to know everything, but I do believe, to paraphrase Hippocrates, that these little daily sins against nature, such as junk food and vaccines, accumulate and lead to sickness. As far as the holes in this person’s story. Who knows? This story could have definitely been made up by an industry rep. Everything you read should be met with healthy skepticism. Thanks Kate! Keep up the good work

    Reply

  30. Your survey is flawed. I did not have confirmed instances of any of the childhood illnesses listed and so was unable to complete the survey because I didn’t check any of them and it told me this was a required question and kicked me out. I was unvaccinated as a child. I did not get any childhood illnesses, but my family lived in an isolated area and I was home schooled. I got some horrible coughing thing in high school which went undiagnosed and untreated. It could have been pertussis, but I’ll never know. I came through it fine, but it was very, very, very scary. At times I coughed so much I literally could not breathe. I would not wish this illness, whatever it was, on anyone. I have now gotten the DPT shot because I feel that to not get a tetanus shot when one works in the earth (my hubby and I have a small farm) is sheer stupidity. But that’s the only vaccination I’ve gotten so far. I don’t have children. Contrary to popular belief that being unvaccinated means you have superhuman health as an adult, I struggle with seasonal allergies and have chronic migraines. I hope this information is of interest to you.

    Reply

  31. The “growing up” article drove me nuts! I didn’t reply because I didn’t want to get into a FB fight with the person who shared it with me. I am unimmunized, not for health reasons but because my mom was a follower of Christian Science. My immediate response was that the article was false. Okay, no proof right, so if the article was true? She was a sick little girl! So sick! She had such a compromised immune system I doubt even immunizations could have protected her! My first child was immunized and he got measles. I stopped immunizing. All five of my children and my husband had whooping cough one winter–this included my immunized son and immunized husband. It was horrible. The great thing about getting these horrible diseases against which society is immunized is that once we have been exposed, we’re immune for the rest of our lives, no boosters! And, related, if the herd is immunized, I still don’t understand why my child is a threat! Oh, yeah, that’s because the immunizations don’t work!

    Reply

  32. […]  You can find a story about growing up without vaccines here, and someone rebutting her claims here.  There are probably many more that will continue to pop up now and in the future, people passing […]

    Reply

  33. That story sounds bogus and makes me wonder who the author is working for. It also sounds like an attempt to discredit natural medicine. Healthnuts don’t take antibiotics and would use natural remedies preferably.

    Reply

  34. thank you for writing this! i’ve seen this article passed around quite a bit on my Facebook feed, but didn’t want to respond. It’s terrible that people will jump to one side after one story circles around. I believe that respect is key.

    Reply

  35. Thank you so much for your research & sharing on the subject. I have a 3mo. old & am so conflicted as to what I should do. Definitely we will wait, but I’m not totally comfortable with doing nothing.
    A question for you & your readers- has anyone looked into homeopathic alternatives? I’m particularly interested in what Kate Birch has written, but wanted to hear what others might think. http://vaccinefree.wordpress.com/

    Reply

  36. Wow. I would have to agree with those who say the author works for the CDC, big pharma, or something like that (the NIH comes to mind, too, from personal experience). The whole original piece sounds like vaccine propaganda. That part about being “so crunchy” but getting so many antibiotics that she became resistant and believing in boogy-men? (sorry, lumping together tarot cards, aliens, etc.; but never add YHWH to that list. There is a true God!) If all of that was her childhood, not being vaccinated should be the least of her worries!
    Anyway, good rebuttal. I like this website. =)

    Reply

  37. […] doesn’t even touch on the fact the article is Full of HOLES! Not to mention the fact that the pro-vax camp is always chirping “anecdotal cases are not […]

    Reply

  38. Thank you so much for this article. I’ll have to show it to a friend who showed her article to me. 😉

    Reply

  39. Thank you, so much for this excellent rebuttal. The article actually was first published at the blog Violent Metaphors. The author, Jennifer Raff, is an anthropologist at the U of T, in Austin, Texas. Why this blog posting was picked up is beyond my comprehension as it’s poorly written, and the personal history statements make very little sense.

    Reply

  40. Thank you so much for taking the time to break down this article, I loved reading it

    Reply

  41. I love this response!

    I have chosen to not vaccinate
    My child gets sick, but not more then other who are… sometimes even from kids that are vaccinated.
    Everyone comments on how healthy and happy she is. She is progressed beyond her age.
    It upsets me how a lot of parents get agressive (not all) when they find out someone is not vaccinated and say things like ” i wont let my kids play around with un vaccinated kids” if you are so sure your vaccines work there should not be a problem. I did a lot of reasearch before i chose not to.. for and against. I have been vaccinated growing up.. untill i started eating healthy and taking control of my health i was sick all the time.

    Reply

  42. My husband works with the FDA almost daily in a different field. The stupidity that goes on there is mindnumbing. It has nothing to do with the protection of the people. They have rules that you are supposed to follow, if you don’t then you get in trouble even if that means you go against common sense. What he told me is this: If you are not willing to trust the IRS with your money, then why are you willing to trust your health with the FDA?

    Reply

  43. Most of the anti-vaccine movement is made up of people who were once for vaccinating. I can’t believe people can’t see this. These parents at one time DID believe in vaccines, but their child was injured, causing them now to be against them (OR they caught “whatever” disease despite of vaccinating). It’s not as if, as an anti-vaxer, they chose to vaccinate regardless, even though they didn’t want to. That makes no sense for someone to continually make a choice contrary to their beliefs. Why would someone continue to vaccinate if originally they were against it? See what I’m saying?

    Instead, being told vaccines are safe and effective, like very one else, they went and got their child vaccinated. Each shot, on time, starting from pregnancy, because they thought it would work for them and protect their child. And then their child got injured, or sick.

    Why aren’t THEIR stores passed around and flaunted?

    So before everyone gets all exited that a new person decided to leave the “antivax” movement and now vaccinates their child (like Amy Parker), remember this:

    EVERY. SINGLE. CHILD who is vaccine damaged once had a PRO-vaccine parent.

    Reply

  44. I am not up to date on any of my vaccines. I have not received any booster shots in the last 20 years (I know I’m not the only one!!!). Does that make me unvaccinated? I want to fill out the survey! Can I? I received vaccines as a child, but they have worn off, so, I am not currently vaccinated.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I’m Kate, mama to 5 and wife to Ben.  I love meeting new people and hearing their stories.  I’m also a big fan of “fancy” drinks (anything but plain water counts as ‘fancy’ in my world!) and I can’t stop myself from DIY-ing everything.  I sure hope you’ll stick around so I can get to know you better!

Meet My Family