As parents, we are given an immense responsibility to protect our children physically, emotionally and spiritually as they grow, until they are able to make choices for themselves. There is no more significant decision facing parents than whether to vaccinate their children or not. The reason for this is there is no absolute right or wrong. It is not a single issue on its own as there are medical, social, political, moral and ethical elements to the debate.
As a Homeopath, I am constantly asked for my opinion on this subject, of which I have both a professional and personal belief. Professionally I believe it is up to the parents to decide what is best for their child after researching and reading all available material on vaccination. It is all too common that I see parents who have sought information either through literature or from health care professionals, who give them only one side of the vaccination debate – and almost always an extreme perspective. When put together this most often results in confusion and fear – what are the consequences if I do vaccinate and what are the consequences of not? While my education and training, once again both professionally and personally, effectively puts me on the “non-vaccination” side of the fence, I do respect any decision parents’ make.
This article is an attempt to rectify the imbalance of knowledge, provide information on alternatives and support freedom of choice in vaccination decision making. Firstly, the most important aspect is to gather information from a variety of bipartisan sources. This will lead to the facts about vaccination instead of incorrect knowledge, evidence and statistics. Regardless of what you may have been told, you do have a choice weather to vaccinate your child or not and there are other options available so a happy medium can be found. In the end the best decision, whether you decide to vaccinate your child or not – is an informed one.
Vaccination – Some Unknown Facts
Since vaccination was introduced, there has been increasing evidence outlining the lack of effectiveness of vaccinating children, while at the same time highlighting the possible dangerous consequences of doing so. Vaccination is often held responsible for the decline in some infectious diseases and is promoted as a fail-safe method of protecting us against the onset of serious disease. In truth, before the introduction of vaccines, most of the major infectious disease had declined up to 90%, due to improved standards of living – nutrition, sanitation, hygiene and education. You may have seen graphs showing the introduction of vaccines for given diseases, followed by a sharp decline in their incidence. What you have been shown is a small part of the complete picture. In most cases the disease would have been on the decline, which you will see in research and graphs looking back over the pattern of disease for decades, if not centuries before.
Conventional medical approaches are based on the theories of 17th century scientist Louis Pasteur, who believed germs are the cause of disease. Most Homeopaths believe that germs are not enemies of your body but are an important waste removing mechanism. It is when the balance of our body is in disharmony (either physically, emotionally or spiritually), and in turn our immunity lowered, that a favourable environment for germs to produce toxic waste products is created. In fact believing that germs cause disease can be likened to believing that flies cause rubbish. Louis Pasteur contradicted his own theory before he died saying “The seed (germ) is nothing. The soil (body) is everything.”
Another concern of vaccinations is the way they are administered. By injecting toxins directly into the bloodstream and bypassing the normal route of immune defence of the body – i.e. skin, mucous membranes of the nose and mouth and the liver, the usual immune response of the body, and consequent recovery, is bypassed. While this produces an antibody reaction, it is not a normal defence reaction by the body. Reactions to infectious diseases such as fever, rashes and coughs do not occur as they should, so the cycle of natural immune system stimulation, recovery and subsequent natural immunity and ability to respond quickly and easily to other illnesses in future, is compromised. Children suffer from a wide variety of illnesses while their little bodies are learning to cope with disease. It is not always a good idea to suppress these symptoms or indeed prevent the onset of certain infectious diseases. The body of a growing child is learning and acquiring resistance to disease, which invites and provokes an immune response. Childhood diseases are therefore part of growing up and a child who is able to cope with them naturally, will be laying the foundation for a healthy maturity and a strong illness free adulthood.
In many cases of vaccine reactions and adverse effects, the exposure of the given toxin (or 2 or 3 e.g. DPT, MMR vaccines) directly into the system is only partly to blame. It is the other highly toxic substances that go into the manufacturing of vaccines that are to blame. These include mercury, formaldehydes, animal proteins, diploid cells from aborted foetuses, aluminium and chemical preservatives, all of which have a detrimental affect on the body. In nature, disease products enter and inhabit the body in a “pure” form and are not altered by chemicals and heat, which prolong its survival in the body. The quantity of modified toxins administered via vaccination is massive is comparison to that acquired naturally, with no consideration given to the dose administered to an infant or adult – it is exactly the same. It is up to parents to decide if the risk of acquiring and recovering from a disease naturally is greater than the possible side effects of trying to prevent it by conventional vaccination.
Studies indicate that vaccinations do not always provide protection against the diseases they are trying to prevent and in many cases can lead to its onset. As many as 50-90% of people affected by infectious diseases, as recorded in medical journals, were vaccinated against the disease. Both the viral and preservative components of vaccinations are stored in the body, often mutating and can emerge many weeks, months or years later in the form of other chronic diseases, most commonly, eczema, asthma, recurrent ear infections, tonsillitis, arthritis, food allergies and intolerance, learning and behavioural disorders. It is believed that like the administration and over prescribing of antibiotics which has lead to bacterial infections mutating and acquiring resistance to treatment, so too have many infectious diseases due to vaccination. Could it be that the discovery and prevalence of many chronic diseases over the last century has come from the suppression and subsequent mutation of common and mild infectious diseases?
The indiscriminate administration of vaccines is alarming when you consider how common and how broad the range of adverse reactions are. It is unnerving that many parents are not informed of the possible risks of vaccinations by their doctor, let alone an individual schedule devised for each child depending on their state of health. Homeopaths would agree that debate and controversy over vaccination can only be a positive scenario as the only thing worse than an ignorant parent (and by that I mean one who is either adamantly for or against vaccination without doing any research or knowing the facts) is one that does not realise that there is cause for concern in the first place.
As far as I can see there are five options you have regarding vaccinating your child. On either end of the scale you can have your child fully conventionally vaccinated, or not vaccinated at all. You may choose to employ Homeopathic Prophylaxis (which I will discuss further below) as an alternative to the conventional vaccination schedule or use a combination of all these methods – vaccinating conventionally for some diseases, not vaccinating for others or using some Homeopathic prophylaxis medicines for certain diseases and not others. Alternatively you may wish to support your child with Homeopathic medicines or supplements to lessen any side effects and prepare your child’s immune and nervous systems, both pre and post conventional vaccination. Once again, it cannot be stressed enough that you must make an informed decision about all of the options available to you and choose the method/s that you feel most comfortable with and feel is best for your child.
To fully understand how Homeopathic Prophylaxis (HP) works, it is important to comprehend the principles and practice of Homeopathy itself. Some of you may be aware of this already either by using Homeopathic medicine or from my articles in Natural Parenting Magazine on previous occasions. Unfortunately, space does not allow me to go into detail now. You will need to consult a fully qualified Homeopath before proceeding with a HP schedule for your child in order to fully comprehend the concept of it and that of Homeopathy.
The Homeopathic medicines used in the HP schedule are known as “nosodes”. They are in effect potentised preparations of the disease substance (e.g. Pertussin is the potentised expectoration from a whooping cough patient). It must be made clear at this point that unlike conventional vaccines, only the disease agent is used (in potentised form) and not other ingredients such as formaldehyde, mercury etc. used in conventional vaccine manufacture. Conventional vaccines have been potentised Homeopathically and are used only in cases when there has been a reaction/adverse affect from the conventional vaccination i.e. in treatment rather than a preventative measure. Like the immunity acquired via natural exposure to an infectious disease, which is minute but produces changes on a dynamic level, the HP nosode is the disease potentised to a dynamic and energetic substance. Therefore, HP preparations copy the process found in nature, having a similar effect by changing and lowering the susceptibility to infectious diseases on this dynamic, energetic level. In other words, HP nosodes stimulate the immune system both specifically and generally and in doing so provides protection against the given disease without the side effects. Unfortunately there little formal ”scientific” research to support this theory, but plenty of clinical evidence to advocate it.
The HP schedule in theory starts at 1 month old and runs through to 5 years, however the schedule and the timing of it is adapted to suit the individual child and parents’ wishes. All diseases that can be conventionally vaccinated against are covered in the HP schedule. The schedule consists of a standard programme and a supplementary programme which is used in cases of an outbreak or exposure to a given disease, either instead of or in conjunction with the standard programme. The reason behind the supplementary programme is that while the success of the standard HP schedule alone is very high, no system can be guaranteed 100% effective. Consequently, the availability of the supplementary programme is there to complement the standard programme if your child has or may have possibly been exposed to a definite source of infection. It must be made clear that the HP schedule is used as a preventive measure against the diseases and not as treatment for them. If your child acquires an infectious disease then a qualified Homeopath should be consulted and the appropriately selected medicine administered on the basis of the individual existing symptoms. Fantastic outcomes can be achieved using conventional Homeopathic prescribing in these cases, regardless of the method of protection if any used previously to prevent it. HP like conventional vaccination will not prevent all children from acquiring infectious diseases – no method can promise complete protection. Parents who do choose the Homeopathic alternative can at least be assured that there are no short or long term compromises to their child’s immune system or general wellbeing. HP like conventional vaccination is not for everyone but I believe it is perfect for parents who do not want to conventionally vaccinate their children but at the same time do not want to do nothing at all
Other Natural Forms Of Protection
- Breastfeed for as long as possible. This will ensure your baby receives adequate nutrition and natural immunity, especially against infectious diseases to which the mother has antibodies for (this is most applicable up to the age of 6 months).
- Provide and promote a nutritious diet and healthy lifestyle to ensure good health, wellbeing and decrease susceptibility to disease. This includes exercise, fresh air, a happy, loving home and limiting the use of toxic chemicals around the home and for personal hygiene.
If You Do Decide To Conventionally Vaccinate
- All of the above advice is valuable.
- If you feel comfortable, wait until your child is 2 years old before you start conventional vaccination. If not, 6 months is more ideal than before this time as your baby’s immune system will be more fully developed, enabling them to cope with any side effects.
- Vaccinate separately for individual diseases (e.g. MMR, DPT). This will require previous arrangements with your doctor.
- Vaccinate only for the diseases you feel necessary to protect against.
- Prepare your child as much as possible prior to the shots with Vitamin C, Olive leaf extract and Homeopathic medicines. Dosage will depend on age and weight so contact a qualified Homeopath before before administration.
- Choose a doctor who respects your concerns (if you have any) and will inform you of the possible side effects and how to respond to them, preferably by showing you the prescribing information including adverse effects and contra-indications that go along with the product.
In the end the decision to vaccinate your child is in your informed hands after considering all the options and the effects of them. There is no easy answer or right or wrong choice, as all options have points for and against them. To assist you in your education, below is a list of some of the books and agencies to inform you further.
- http://www.homeopathyoz.org/ for a list of qualified and registered Homeopaths and to read the Australian Homoeopahic Association’s policy on Vaccination and HP
- Vaccination – a Review of the Risks and Alternatives by Isaac Golden
- Vaccination Roulette – Experiences, risks and Alternatives, published by the Australian Vaccination Network (AVN) or visit http://www.avn.org.au/
- Vaccinations – The Medical Assault on the Immune System – by Dr. Vera Scheibner
- Vaccination Awareness and Information Service (VAIS). Ph: (07) 3893 3232 Fax (07) 38932423
- DPT – A Shot In The Dark by Harris L. Coulter and Barbara L Fisher
- Every Second Child by Dr. Archie Kalokerinos