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Vaccination: Black and White?

Posted Jan 09 2010 12:00am

Informed By Maureen McDonnell, RN

Now that my 4th granddaughter 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 pediatric registered nurse for 32 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." It's easier sometimes to blindly trust the authorities because in this case, once that homework or research begins it typically creates incredible doubt on the whole vaccine safety issue. Although almost every article you read on this subject in the mainstream media says that all the studies have shown there is absolutely no link to vaccines and autism, that is simply not true. There is good science pointing to a connection (some studies listed below) 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 etc. More research needs to be done for certain (especially examining the differences between vaccinated and unvaccinated populations). But these accounts by intelligent, observant parents can not be discounted and to me are equally if not more important than ANY scientific study. For the purpose of practicality, lets say a parent does decide to selectively vaccinate. Here are some ideas on minimizing potential problems which could be caused by vaccines:

1. Choose which vaccines to give only after careful consideration of the individual childs' 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!

2. Do not give Tylenol as it blocks the formation of glutathione which is tri-peptide that is critical in the process of detoxification. Long story here, but adjuvants like aluminum and sqalene are added to antagonize the immune system and we need our detox pathways to be in good shape to handle them. Tylenol interferes with those pathways. See study below.

3. Prime the child's system with immune boosting support nutrients like Vitamin D, cod liver oil (a great source of Vitamin A), some Vitamin C and if the child is not allergic to ragweed some Echinacea or Elderberry syrup. I gave these to my own children before and for a week or two after their very limited vaccinations.

4. Make sure the child is very healthy and hasn't recently been on antibiotics, one study showed that the toxic effects of mercury are more pronounced if on antibiotics.

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.

If selectively choosing vaccines for your child does not resonate with you and after researching this topic you decide not to vaccinate, research the laws surrounding exemptions in your particular state by going to , The Vaccine Information Center.

Also if you choose to not vaccinate or you do vaccinate selectively, nutrition (actually: super nutrition involving organic fruits and vegetables, lots of pure filtered water (no need for juices), all organic sources of protein (chicken, eggs, turkey, meat, nuts), fresh squeezed organic juices and a good children's supplement program are the keys to keeping kids healthy. The AAP and the pharmaceutical industry have convinced us that the main way to protect ourselves against infection is through vaccination (oh yes, and hand washing.) We are all smarter than that. The main way in my opinion is through fresh air, exercise, an excellent organic diet, supplements that include a great multi, Vitamin D, fish oil, periodic use of herbs that give our immune systems an extra boost (like elderberry and echinacea etc).

Do your homework and TRUST YOUR GUT! As parents, we can not 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.

Maureen H. McDonnell, RN cofounder Saving Our Kids, Healing Our Planet ( and the blog, Raising Healthy Kids Naturally

Herbert MR. Autism: A brain disorder or a disorder of the brain? 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

Thompson WW, Price C, Goodson B, et al. Early thimerosal exposure and neuropsychological outcomes at 7 to 10 years. N Engl J Med. 2007;357(13):1281-1292.
Williams TA, Mars AE, Buyske SG, et al. Risk of autistic disorder in affected
offspring of mothers with a glutathione S-transferase P1 haplotype. Arch Pediatr
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Vargas DL, Nascimbene C, Krishnan C, Zimmerman AW, Pardo CA. Neuroglial activation and neuroinflammation in the brain of patients with autism. Ann Neurol. 2005;57(1):67-81. Erratum in: Ann Neurol. 2005 Feb;57(2):304.

Kawashima H, Mori T, Kashiwagi Y, Takekuma K, Hoshika A, Wakefi eld A. Detection and sequencing of measles virus from peripheral mononuclear cells from patients with inflammatory bowel disease and autism. Dig Dis Sci. 2000;45(4):723-729.

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

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

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