It wasn’t until right after the little girl had received her third and final pertussis shot that all hell broke loose. One of five children in a Christian homeschooling family I know well, the child suffered an extreme and life-altering reaction to the common childhood vaccine. Today, perhaps 15 years later, her family’s life largely revolves around taking care of the now-teenage girl, confined to a wheelchair, unable to speak, her life decimated by a “required” vaccine shot.
Indeed, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, part of the federal Department of Health and Human Services, was set up years ago to pay for the care of just such vaccine-injured Americans. If you or your child suffers from anaphylactic shock or brachial neuritis as a result of getting any tetanus-toxoid-containing vaccine, you’re eligible. Develop encephalopathy – literally, disease of the brain – from pertussis antigen-containing vaccines, or from measles, mumps and rubella virus-containing vaccines, and you qualify. What about chronic arthritis from rubella virus-containing vaccines, or a vaccine-strain measles viral infection from a measles virus-containing vaccine?
What about contracting paralytic polio or vaccine-strain polio viral infection from a polio live virus-containing vaccine, or intussusception (prolapsed intestine) from vaccines containing live, oral, rhesus-based rotavirus?
These are just some of the vaccine-caused injuries suffered by Americans, conditions quietly being cared for with federal dollars.
To report journalistically on vaccination controversies is a real challenge. On one side you have the medical establishment, including the federal government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which endlessly repeats the mantra that vaccines are safe and effective and everybody should get them. To question their wisdom makes you a paranoid conspiracy theorist.
On the other hand, you have a substantial and growing movement of skeptics, including many medical professionals, who openly question vaccines. Some are strident, claiming all vaccines are bad for all people at all times and places, and a few even impute a sinister motive to vaccine manufacturers and the doctors that give the shots. But many others are careful and nuanced and very well informed. They consider each vaccine individually on its merits as well as its known and suspected negatives – and still come out holding up a big “caution” sign.
For years, the vaccine debate was confined largely to the traditional childhood vaccines like DPT (diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus), MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) and polio. Even then, there were major concerns. The pertussis vaccine, for example, is notorious for having rare but horrendous side effects, and most polio cases in the world in recent years have been caused by the live-virus vaccine itself! These are widely known facts the CDC will not contradict – although it certainly doesn’t go out of its way to advertise the dark side of vaccines. (The U.S. government stopped using the live-virus polio vaccine in 2000 because of the incidents of vaccine-related polio, the last U.S. case of which was documented in 1999.)
But in recent times, many new childhood vaccines have been introduced, from rotavirus and chickenpox to hepatitis B, meningitis and pneumonia, each with their own controversies and, in some cases, scandals. At first, the new vaccines are just ”suggested,” then they became ”recommended” by pediatricians, and before long they’re ”required” before entering public school.
As a result of all this vaccine-mania:
Right now, state after state is attempting literally to force young, prepubescent school-girls into getting a brand-new vaccine, with an unproven safety record, to prevent a sexually transmitted form of cancer. The manufacturer, pharmaceutical giant Merck, has lobbied state politicians to make their vaccine mandatory. It is as though we assume all these girls will act like prostitutes in a few years. (Indeed, one can easily argue that forcing girls to take this shot would serve to encourage risky and immoral sexual behavior, as they might feel protected from the consequences of such activity.)
Surprise, two weeks ago WND reported at least three deaths and more than 1,600 adverse reactions including spontaneous abortion and paralysis have already been connected to the Merck vaccine, called Gardasil.
There’s major movement toward an AIDS vaccine. Once approved by the government, will there be another push like the current one to immunize schoolgirls against a sexually transmitted disease, only this time to mandate the AIDS vaccine for everybody?
Despite all the negatives, the subject of vaccines is not black and white, although both sides in the controversy tend to make the issue sound that way. The truth is, vaccines have saved countless lives. They also have a history of disastrous side effects and suspected or proven dangers – a dark downside utterly covered up by the public health establishment.
So, I’m not going to advise you that “Vaccines A, B and C are bad – don’t get them. Vaccines D and E are good – get them.”
Rather, the purpose of this column is to begin to expose you to the rest of the vaccine story – the part you never hear about from other media. An unfortunate mindset permeates the medical world (and elsewhere) with the message that citizens are either too ignorant, uneducated or just plain dumb to do their own research and come to their own conclusions. Yet this is one area where each of us must do just that. If you have young children, you need to research for yourself the subject of vaccines and look at each on its merits.
For instance, many will tell you the vaccine to regard with the most suspicion would be pertussis, due to the disastrous outcome that sometimes results. On the other end of the spectrum, tetanus seems to evoke the least concern about side effects, and to confer the most tangible benefits, especially if you live in a farm area and work with animals.
The bottom line is that all of us need to research this subject with an open and critical mind. Vaccine decisions can be difficult, as you attempt to balance the promised benefits with known and suspected negative effects. Along with obtaining good information, we have to consider our particular situation. And intuition also plays a vital role.
It’s critical to understand clearly that most “health officials” concerned with immunology are not focused on what is best for you and your individual child, but on what they perceive to be the best interests of the population as a whole. And from that macro viewpoint, they strive to maintain what they call the “herd immunity.” In other words, if large numbers of people opt out of vaccination, even for the most wholesome and sensible of reasons, the medical establishment will oppose it out of fear that once-eradicated (like smallpox) or near-eradicated (like polio) diseases will come back.
And yet, because there are real dangers to vaccines, we owe it to our children, to ourselves and to God to become informed, and then make our decisions based on what is truly right for us, not on other people’s notions of what they think serves the collective good. They might well be wrong.
Remember, despite the medical establishment’s paramount concern over “herd immunity,” we are not cattle.