Enough people have asked, so I’m going to just blog about it and then point people here:
I think it’s very important to carefully consider possible harm vs. probably benefits before subjecting your child to something. When we did that, we concluded that the vaccination regimen that is prescribed in the U.S. today is clearly much more likely to do harm to our child than to help her, even just using statistics provided by the Center for Disease Control itself. (No need for wild speculation here – just read below).
I outlined my thoughts in an email from Nov 28th, 2012 to my cousin-in-law Zed, who was about to have a baby and was doing research. He had just attended a vaccination class and had shared his class notes with me for comment. Due to my laziness, I’ve just kinda block-quoted that email, with a few [added notes] inserted to clarify some points:
Thanks for [your notes on the vaccination class].
As you may know we chose not to vaccinate Noor at all for now.
(Of course, if we decide to go globe-hopping or she decides to become a missionary in Africa, we’ll revisit this decision… 🙂
The simple reason is that the incidence of most of these diseases in the whole US (forget about affluent areas), is just so friggin low… It’s literally IMPOSSIBLE to catch ’em… and when you do, most are non-fatal / with no permanent damage.
Diseases like Measles, Mumps, Rubella, etc, are just a 2-6 week inconvenience max when handled properly, with maybe a hospital visit. They are nothing to even think about really, given the incidence rate — unless, of course, you make money scaring people and selling them something based on it.
If you don’t believe me, here is the infection rate (not death, just infection) of these diseases from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) for the whole U.S. for all 2012:
Measles: (a non-life-threatening disease) : 54 people
Mumps: (a non-life-threatening disease) : 69 people
Rubella: (a non-life-threatening disease) : 7 people
Anyway, the odds of [just catching] one of these is lower than winning the lottery: literally 1 in 6,000,000 for measles which is the most common one! And if you do, so what, they’re non-life threatening!
Yet, CDC reports Severe Adverse Reaction (aka Encephalitis or Brain Damage!) for MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) vaccine at 1 in 1,000,000 (6x the infection rate!). (click here for report – scroll down page)
And then there are some other really scary diseases (but just look at the 2012 US infection rate!):
Diptheria (life threatening w/ 10% death rate.) : 1 person (first person in the last 5 years!)
Tetnus: (life threatening w/ 25% death rate) : 36 people (means 7 people in the US died of this in 2012! ok? But 7 probably died of ingesting too many gummy bears too… so what?)
Polio: (life threatening 30% death rate) : 0 people (none in past 5 years!
HiB: (life threatening w/ 5% death rate) : 23 people
The odds of [just catching] these are like winning the super-lotto (or even impossible!), literally 1 in 10,000,000 for Tetanus which is the most common one!
Yet, CDC reports Severe Adverse Reactions (aka Encephalitis or Brain Damage!) for DTAP (Diptheria, Tetanus and Pertusis) Vaccine at 1 in 100,000 (100x infection rate!) (click here for report – scroll down page)
Then of course you have more common diseases:
Pertusis (whooping cough)
Rotovirus (diarreah for god’s sake!)
But these are just not life threatening in any way for most health people! Vaccinating against these for a healthy person (child or adult) is just wrong imho. Because getting each, while not great fun, stimulates your bodies own immunity and makes you stronger. Think: that means that each infection is not only a lost vaccination charge, but means fewer potential hospital visits in the future! (Terrible for the system, good for you). For instance, getting Chicken Pox once when you’re young is preferable to getting vaccinated several times, developing shingles (recurring chicken pox light) as an adverse side-effect, only to get full blown chicken pox later on in life when it’s much more complicated and dangerous. (Trust me, I was vaccinated young, but still got it at 20 and it was no fun at all!)
Now, all this purely mathematical, [clear cut statistics from the CDC itself!!] aside I think it’s safe to say that all vaccines also [could have unknown / disputed side effects too — after all, each vaccine has a bunch of foreign substances that you probably wouldn’t want to ingest, much less have an infant to be exposed to, unnecessarily. Now, while I don’t believe there is hard and fast evidence of any direct association other serious health issues like autism, etc., I’d rather be conservative when it comes to trusting that it’s all perfectly safe.] Also, I don’t trust most sources for being totally on my side when it comes to disclosing [any health risks] in a proactive conservative manner. For instance, let’s say autism were linked to one of these vaccines. I’d assume that the parent pharma company would go on for years spending tons of money to dispute the claims, muddy the waters, etc., before it was totally proven beyond a shadow of a doubt (global warming anyone?) — But, it’s quite telling that these same companies have already “cut a deal” with the gov so you can’t sue them for adverse reactions, through which they have already paid out [updated: $2,503,673,201] in settlements to petitioners! I’m sure this isn’t out of the goodness of their hearts, and imagine what the dollars involved must be, and what the real damages must be if this is their “advance settlement.”
So, onto the last remaining issue, which is herd immunity or “doing your part.”
Well, even for the most virulent of deadly diseases like Polio and Diptheria, the % vaccination needed for herd immunity is about 85%. So, with vaccination rates well above 85% for almost everything, I don’t think you need to worry too much about that. Would you vote for a presidential candidate in a Democratic CA where you’re sure the delegates are going to the Democratic Party, if there was a chance you could get brain damage when you did it? Umm, no.
Anyway… that’s kinda where I stand on it.
The whole thing smells like a good idea gone wrong. It was a great to mass immunize when we had epidemics and needed to eliminate these diseases and obviously if you’re likely to be exposed, or if there is a crazy epidemic you should reconsider. However, a “herd mentality” to vaccinate everyone for everything from age zero? Especially if the chances [for brain-damage are orders of magnitude higher from those same vaccines, and there may be] consequences of a compromised immune system and other side-effects just mean more $$$ to the same people vaccinating you? I’m sorry, but NO. I’m just not going to go for that.
To me this looks like a big money profit-making scheme that has used our overall ignorance of Math / Statistics, and subverted our medical professionals to do its marketing.
So for Nooricakes, we follow a simple logic: Look at the numbers and prioritize issues.
Anything that is a < 1 in 1,000,000, we try not to worry about at all, (especially if the thing in question is not even deadly!), because when we spend an hour on worrying about that, logic would dictate that should spend thousands of hours worrying about things that are still unlikely, but 1000’s of times likelier to be a problem. And life’s too short to spend that much of it worrying! 🙂
That said, if you do want something to worry about for your baby, here are some topics to consider, in order of priorty:
1) Sugar intake : major helper of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, you name it… killing millions of people each year and I don’t see anyone sending me “Sugar Panel Notes” 🙂
2) Food intake (quantity) : weight issues affecting 200,000,000 (2/3rds of the population)
3) Food / Water / Air intake (quality) : Nutrition, artificial additives, contaminants, preservatives, in food, air, water disrupting our natural biological systems
4) TV / Consumer commercialism pervading our lives with empty ideals and a sense of fear & loathing… Something that’s basically fucking the whole US. 🙂
and way in the distance after those:
5) Accidental Injury or Trauma : >900,000 ER visits and >9,000 deaths (more than 10,000x more likely to be an issue for your child than anything to do with immunization! Still deaths are almost inconsequentially rare here: like 9000/73,000,000 kids in US or ~1 in 10,000)
All in all, there just isn’t that much to worry about outside of the top 4. But, of course, those make the system too much money to talk about… so, they are conveniently ignored. 🙂
Anyhow, now that I’ve spent 3 hours on this, I literally am not allowed to speak about this again for the rest of my life (according to my own rule above. 😉
So enjoy the coming baby and remember
don’t worry… be happy! 🙂