[Editor's note: The following is an opinion piece, and should not be taken as medical advice. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Pregnancy.org. We encourage you to carefully research the choice to postpone vaccinations for the first months of a baby's life and thoroughly discuss it with your pediatrician or healthcare provider.]
by Christine Silva
After many months of soul-searching and multiple failed attempts to get information from my pediatrician, I decided to do some research on vaccines and the risks to my newborn. It was difficult to understand why my old vaccine record from 1974 had only seven vaccine stamps on it, but my pediatrician wanted to give my newborn over 40 vaccines over the course of the next four years.
The medical community recommends at least four polio vaccines, six hepatitis B vaccines, five DTaP vaccines (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis), at least two MMR vaccines (measles, mumps, rubella), two influenza vaccines, three PCV vaccines, three HIB vaccines, and at least two varicella (chicken pox) vaccines, and two Hepatitis A vaccines. All together, these average over 40 vaccinations before the age of two.
Other medical communities have chosen to recognize possible dangers from vaccines. For example, in the late 1990s, over-vaccination was definitively linked to cancerous tumors in domestic cats and dogs. At the time, I worked for a veterinary office, and the doctors were extremely concerned about the health of their animal patients. They decided, within a month, to modify their vaccination recommendations to a more conservative regimen, even though it would cause a decrease in income. The health and welfare of their clients was more important than the possible profit loss. It is unfortunate that human doctors cannot come to a similar consensus regarding infant vaccination. Until then, it is the responsibility of parents to educate themselves regarding vaccines and their risks, and make appropriate choices.
Why has the medical community deemed it necessary to vaccinate a newborn child over 40 times, when just thirty years ago, eight vaccines seemed an acceptable number? And, although the medical community refuses to link vaccines to autism, or Attention Deficit Disorder, it is extremely difficult to reconcile the fact that autism and vaccine reaction rates have skyrocketed in the last twenty years.
Using my experience in education and research, I have compiled a more conservative vaccine schedule for my child based on risk factors. As a parent, I want to do whatever I can to protect my child from disease, as well as possible side-affects from any medication or medical treatment.
Many of the vaccines given to infants seem ridiculous and unnecessary, and the risks do not outweigh the benefits. For example, the tetanus vaccine is routinely given to newborns, even though the risk to newborns from this disease is infinitesimal. Tetanus is usually spread by the urine or feces of an animal on an outdoor object, such as a rusty nail. When an object enters the body, the bloodstream is infected by the toxin.
Now, I remember getting a tetanus vaccine as a young teenager after piercing my palm on a rusty hook. My father grumbled, looked at the wound, and took me to the hospital for a shot. My father received his first tetanus vaccine in his forties, after stepping on a rusty nail while clearing brush.
So, if this toxin enters the blood through a puncture wound, why does the medical community insist on vaccinating newborns against this disease, especially if they cannot walk, and probably have no contact with sharp objects, much less filthy outdoor objects that may be covered with animal urine and feces?
Fewer than 50 cases of tetanus are reported every year in the United States. That makes the possibility that your child will have tetanus in their lifetime about one in 220 million. Compare this with the possible risk of autism, which is about one in 220.