Are There Safer Ways to Vaccinate Our Children?

Are There Safer Ways to Vaccinate Our Children? Maureen McDonnell, RN

“There are unanswered questions about vaccine safety. We need studies on vaccinated populations based on various schedules and doses as well as individual patient susceptibilities that we are continuing to learn about. No one should be threatened by the pursuit of this knowledge. Vaccine policy should be the subject of frank and open debate, with no tolerance for bullying. There are no sides—only people concerned for the well-being of our children.”

Bernadine Healy, M.D., former director, National Institutes of Health (NIH), and current health editor, U.S. News & World Report

Now that my 5th grandchild has arrived and I am surrounded by lots of young parents, the question comes up more and more frequently: Should we vaccinate? As I’ve posted before, I’ve been a pediatric registered nurse for 33 years, but more relevant to this discussion is the fact that I’ve interacted with hundreds of parents of autistic children as a clinician, as well as during my ten years as the coordinator of the Defeat Autism Now! Conferences.  Because of these experiences, I get many inquiries from family members, friends and clients regarding this very hot and very controversial subject. My reply to these young parents is “It’s not as black and white as your pediatrician would have you believe. Please do some homework on this subject before adhering to the guidelines set forth by the American Academy of Pediatrics and or the CDC.”  I also tell them a must read is the updated version of the book by Dr. Stephanie Cave, MD What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Childhood Vaccinations.

We all know it’s easier in the short term to trust the “authorities” regarding health care for our children.  However, in my experience I have seen that when parents take the time to do some in-depth research on their own into this subject, everyone benefits.  The degree of skepticism that typically occurs as a result of their investigation can make decisions regarding vaccines a bit more challenging.  But without question, informed parents make better choices for their children.

Although almost every article you read on this subject in the mainstream media claims that all the studies have shown there is absolutely no link between vaccines and autism, that is simply not true. There is good science pointing to a connection (some studies listed below) (1) and more importantly there are hundreds, if not thousands of parents of sick children who can tell you they had a normal child up until he or she received several vaccines in one day, or he or she was sick and still got their vaccines. More research needs to be done for certain (especially examining the differences between vaccinated and unvaccinated populations, which to date government agencies have refused to do). But these accounts by intelligent, observant parents cannot be discounted, and to me are equally, if not more important, than ANY scientific study.

For the purpose of practicality, let’s say a parent does decide to vaccinate. Here are some ideas and suggestions that in my experience help minimize problems associated with vaccines:

1. Instead of following the “one size fits all” approach, choose which vaccines to give only after careful consideration of the individual child’s history and or genetic background. For instance, if a child was born prematurely or if they have had recurrent ear infections or if the parents have a history of autoimmune disorders or allergies, these are all indicators that a child may not respond well to vaccines and certainly not when several are given at one time. I’d like to say discuss all of this with your pediatrician, but unfortunately most would not agree with the suggestion to postpone, spread out or avoid vaccines based on a family history or current illness. As a matter of fact, I have heard several high ranking pediatricians say that a child’s immune system could handle hundreds of vaccines in one day. Honestly, what are these people thinking? And where are the studies proving their theory? They don’t exist! Finding a pediatrician who is at least open to  discussing selective vaccination is essential when parents are trying to make the best decisions for their children.  See Dr. Cave’s book for suggestions on an alternative schedule.

2. Some pediatricians are no longer suggesting that Tylenol be given after a vaccine.  Here’s their rationale:  Tylenol is one of the substances that can block the formation of glutathione which is a tri-peptide needed for proper detoxification.  Long story here, and I won’t list all the questionable ingredients in vaccines, but I will tell you that adjuvants like aluminum and squalene are added to vaccines to provoke an immune response. Since we need our detox pathways to be in good shape to handle these substances, some are calling into question giving a child a medication which interferes with the body’s ability to detoxify. (2)

3. Make sure the child is very healthy and hasn’t recently been on antibiotics. One study indicated that the toxic effects of mercury are more pronounced when a child is on, or has recently been taking antibiotics. (3)

4. Prior to vaccinating, some pediatricians such as Julie Buckley, MD from Ponte Vedra Florida suggest in addition to making sure the child is in good health, its good to “prime the pump”.  In other words give immune boosting supportive nutrients like Vitamin D, ½ tsp cod liver oil (a great source of Vitamin A and D and essential fatty acids), some Vitamin C, Elderberry and if the child is not allergic to ragweed: Echinacea.  I gave these to my own children before, and for a week or two after their very limited vaccinations, and they never had a reaction.

5. If a child has missed their well baby check and the pediatrician wants to “double up” on vaccines. Do not allow this…Spread them out.

6. Ask for the package insert to be certain  that the vaccine does not contain Thimerosal (a mercury based preservative.) Additionally, you may want to special order a single dose vial if available for the particular vaccine you are considering as multi dose vials are more likely to contain preservatives including Thimerosal (which remains in most flu vaccines).

If after researching this topic you decide not to vaccinate, find out the laws surrounding exemptions in your particular state by searching the National Vaccine Information Center.

Also if you choose to not vaccinate or you do vaccinate selectively, nutrition (actually: “super nutrition” which includes organic fruits and vegetables, lots of pure filtered water, organic sources of protein – chicken, eggs, turkey, meat, nuts –  fresh made vegetable juices and a good children’s supplement program) are the keys to keeping kids healthy. Although the AAP and the pharmaceutical industry have tried to convince us that the main way to protect our children from  infection is through vaccination (oh yes, and handwashing.), we are all smarter than that! The main ways to keep our children healthy are: by making sure they get plenty of fresh air, sunshine, exercise, eat an excellent organic diet, take appropriate supplements that include a great multi, Vitamin D, fish oil, and periodic use of herbs that give their immune systems an extra boost (like Elderberry and Echinacea)

Do your homework and TRUST YOUR GUT! As parents, we cannot abdicate the responsibility for the health of our children to the CDC or the American Academy of Pediatrics. They have their role, but somewhere along the line, they became the authorities on children’s health and given their less than stellar track record and financial ties to the pharmaceutical and vaccine industry, it’s time we as parents TAKE BACK OUR POWER and learn and practice safer ways to vaccinate.

1. Autism: A brain disorder or a disorder of the brain?  Herbert, M Clin Neuropsychiatry. 2005;2(6):354-379

Hepatitis B triple series vaccine and developmental disability in US children aged 1-9 years
Gallagher C, Goodman M. Toxicol Environ Chem 2008 90(5):997-1008.

Aluminum hydroxide injections lead to motor deficits and motor neuron degeneration
Christopher A. Shaw; Michael S. Petrik.
Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry (2009) in press

Early thimerosal exposure and neuropsychological outcomes at 7 to 10 years.Thompson WW, Price C, Goodson B, et al. N Engl J Med. 2007;357(13):1281-1292.

Detection of measles virus genomic RNA in cerebrospinal fl uid of children with regressive autism: a report of three cases.Bradstreet JJ, El Dahr J, Anthony A, Kartzinel JJ, Wakefi eld AJ. J Am Phys Surgeons. 2004;9(2):38-45.

Chronic low-level mercury exposure, BDNF polymorphism, and associations with cognitive and motor function.Echeverria D, Woods JS, Heyer NJ, et al. Neurotoxicol Teratol. 2005;27(6):781-796

Endoscopic and Histological Characteristics of the Digestive Mucosa in Autistic Children with gastro-Intestinal Symptoms. Gonzalez L, et al. ArchVenez Pueric Pediatr, 2005;69:19-25.

Detection and sequencing of measles virus from peripheral mononuclear cells from patients with inflammatory bowel disease and autism. Kawashima H, Mori et al Dig Dis Sci. 2000;45(4):723-729.

Similarities in features of autism and asthma and a possible link to Acetaminophen use. Becker KG, Schultz, Med Hypothesis . 2010 Jan:74(1):7-11.

Risk of autistic disorder in affected offspring of mothers with a glutathione S-transferase P1 haplotype.TA, Mars AE, Buyske SG, et al. Arch Pediatr  Adolesc Med.

Mercury, Lead, and Zinc in Baby Teeth of Children with Autism Versus Controls, Adams, James

Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A, 70: 1046–1051,

Maureen H. McDonnell, RN

I am a registered nurse with a strong interest in helping to reverse the escalating number of children affected by chronic illnesses. After coordinating the Defeat Autism Now! Conferences for 10 years, I joined forces with Jill Urwick to form Saving Our Kids, Healing Our Planet. This website and our conferences focus on the role nutrition and toxins in the environment are playing in Autism, ADHD, childhood cancers, etc. More importantly, our goal is to offer solution-based information that is both practical and affordable.

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