Thursday, September 17, 2009

Vaccine Russian Roulette

Very often, I seem to be catching flack from people who disagree with my opinions on vaccinating my kids. 


The school seems to think I'm exposing my kids to dangerous germs.  Other parents believe that by not vaccinating my kids I'm somehow endangering theirs--an argument that makes absolutely no sense, because if the vaccine works, and their kids are vaccinated, then vaccinating my kids would be completely irrelevant to the health of theirs.


Granted, there are quite a few disagreements over certain vaccines and their effects on people:


1.  Thimerasol (mercury):  Depending on who you ask, this is either a deadly toxin or "such a small dose as to be absolutely harmless."  Many parents blame this additive for autism.  I'm not taking sides in this debate, but I have a problem with injecting any amount of mercury into a child's body for any reason whatsoever.


2.  Side effects (Swine Flu, 1976):  How do you ensure that the vaccine you're providing doesn't kill more people than the disease it's supposed to be effective against? 


3.  Contaminants (Monkey virus in the Polio vaccine):  What do you do when you discover--years after the vaccination--that it contained a virus or other contamination, and that you've exposed fifty million Americans to a substance that causes cancer?


4.  Profit margin (Gardasil):  I have a philosophical/moral/libertarian problem with government passing a law that requires citizens to buy a product from a company.  Whether the vaccine works or not, ordering people to boost the vaccine maker's profit margin seems like a basic misuse of the law.


5.  Risks versus Benefits:  There have been 1500 cases of polio, annually, worldwide, and the WHO calls the entire Western Hemisphere "Polio Free."  Every case of polio in the United States over the last twenty years is directly related to the polio vaccine itself.  90% of the people infected with polio brush it off like a case of the flu, and nearly 98% of the people infected with polio have a full and complete recovery.  Do the dangers of the vaccine--five different doses for kids before they turn 12--outweigh the risks of even being exposed to the disease, let alone being harmed by it?  The mortality rates for flu, measles, whooping cough, and chicken pox are negligible; are the side effects from the vaccinations worth it?


6.  Expiration dates on vaccination immunity:  The vast majority of the vaccinations children receive provide only temporary immunity.  Only Tetanus antibodies survive in the body for thirty or forty years.  The Hepatitis B shot?  Gone in 7 to 12 years, at most. 


7.  Can we compare against non-vaccinated kids?  For example, the Amish don't vaccinate, and strangely enough, there are no recorded cases of autism in Amish communities.  And Dr. Eisenstein, a Chicago pediatrician, doesn't believe in vaccinations--and the 35,000 kids who have moved through his practice have remarkably low statistics when it comes to autism, asthma, diabetes, and other problems.


I'm sure other people can easily add to this quick list if they wished.  But these are all side issues that don't touch on my real opposition to the concept of vaccination in and of itself.


Basic biology says that the heart pumps blood into the arteries; they carry it to the capillaries, which then feed the cells they touch with the oxygen in the red blood cells before sending the empties back up the veins.  Capillaries in general are barely big enough to allow red blood cells to march through in single file.  Call it a blood-cell bucket brigade to the cells.


A vaccination is meant to kick the body's immune system into overdrive--crank up white blood cell production, and "program" the body to recognize this particular virus and attack it with massive force, should it ever be encountered again.  The needle contains millions or even billions of virus particles for the body to identify and destroy.


Here is a question, then.  What would happen if the body ordered five hundred white blood cells to pursue a microbe into a capillary?


After the first dozen or so arrive, stuffing themselves like marshmallows into a garden hose, nothing else gets through.  And after a very short while, whatever was supposed to be fed by that capillary...dies.


Now, granted, this might only be a handful of cells fed by this one capillary, and there are billions of capillaries.  But at the same time, there are billions of virus particles in one injection; how many of those actually make it down to the capillaries?  Two?  Two hundred?  More?


Perhaps the cells that die are the brain cells that would allow this person to learn to play Mozart.  Or perhaps they are the ones that allow a kid to sit still and pay attention in class.  What if those cells are involved in the processing of Vitamin D or insulin?


I will fully accept the risk that my child might spend a week in bed with measles--in return for their ability to learn to play Mozart.  I would much rather risk exposing my child to chicken pox than chance destroying some critical cell in their body and ruining their future.


Every virus particle is a microscopic bullet, with the potential to kill something small but critically important in the body into which it's injected.


There are billions of these bullets in every needle.


And the average child gets, what, fifty needles before they turn 12...?



For more information, read the work of Drs. Andrew Moulden, Mayer Eisenstein, and Shari Tenpenny

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