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San Clemente Journal

The Question of Vaccination Are Childhood Vaccines Necessary or Safe?

Feb 05, 2006 12:32PM ● By Don Kindred

by Helen Chade Mahshi

For most parents of pre-school aged children, vaccines totaled just a handful in childhood. For our children, the schedule set by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) is much more rigorous. Four or five shots are given in one visit and vaccines are scheduled every two to four months during the first two years of a child’s life. By the time a child is two, the recommended guideline for vaccines set by the CDC is about 20 shots.
What’s behind the push for so many vaccinations? Do kids really need them and are they safe? Most parents have a hard time getting accurate answers to these questions. And most parents trust that the doctor knows best. But, do doctors really know what’s in the vaccines and the possible risks they pose? 
A popular book called, “What your doctor may not tell you about childhood vaccines,” should probably be called, “What your doctor doesn’t know about childhood vaccines,” according to Dr. Bob Sears, pediatrician in Capistrano Beach. 
“Doctors aren’t trying to hide any of the risks about vaccines,” asserts Dr. Sears, “they just don’t really know what all the possible side effects are. Doctors are busy and most trust the FDA and CDC to do the studies necessary to test for safety. They simply don’t have the time to study the subject thoroughly.”
Public schools won’t accept your child if he or she is not fully immunized unless a parent has filled out a “personal reasons” form explaining why they chose not to vaccinate. Some private schools may not accept unvaccinated children for any reason. Most pediatricians in Orange County will not accept patients whose parents choose not to vaccinate. So it’s fair to say that parents feel a great deal of pressure to vaccinate and to not questions or “rock the boat.”
Dr. Bob Sears will accept patients who choose not to vaccinate. He recommends long-term breastfeeding for children to build up the immune system, and to avoid daycare. For parents who choose to vaccinate, he adheres to a schedule that is different from that set by the guidelines of the CDC. 
“I worry about giving five vaccines to a little baby at one time,” he said. “I like to give them gradually and spaced out over a longer period of time.”
Much has been written in recent years about the rise in autism in this country and worldwide. Although it hasn’t been proven, there is a suspected link between autism and the mercury that was used as a preservative in vaccines. Mercury is known to harm the brain. Logically, it makes sense, but no one has been able to statistically prove that the mercury in vaccines caused the autism. Another publicized, but unproven, link to autism is the MMR vaccine. 
“Researchers have found a high rate of measles infection in the brain and intestines in children with autism,” reveals Dr. Sears. “They don’t find it in these kid’s siblings. And it’s vaccine measles, not wild measles. So we don’t know if these autistic kids happen to have measles in their body that isn’t causing any harm, or if it somehow contributed to the development of autism. Epidemiological research has shown no link between MMR and autism.”

Chemical Exposures in Vaccines
Mercury has been removed from vaccines for several years. But other chemicals are still present, including aluminum (in four of the vaccines), formaldehyde and MSG. 
“The FDA doesn’t research these chemicals by themselves,” said Dr. Sears. “For example, are they carcinogenic or toxic to brain tissue? But it’s like 1,000 other chemicals that we inhale in our environment everyday that we don’t know if they’re harmful or not.” 
Animal parts and human tissue such as lung tissue from a human fetus are used to make some vaccines. All of this information is found in the package insert. They use human blood proteins from donated blood and they filter out the proteins from the blood and use it to make the vaccine. They use monkey kidneys, cow blood and a whole list of different animal and human parts to make the vaccines. 
“They are probably harmless, but are there disease entities that we don’t know about yet, or don’t know how to screen the blood for? The blood is treated chemically and we don’t know how those chemicals affect us,” commented Dr. Sears. “About 40 years ago, many millions were given the polio vaccine that was contaminated with a virus from a monkey. This virus, called the SV 40 virus, causes cancer in both humans and monkeys. Many people got infected with this virus. However, when these people were tracked later in life, their rates of cancer were not higher than those of the general population,” explained Dr. Sears. “This is a good example of entities that may exist in blood that science currently doesn’t know about but may be discovered in the future. These ingredients are in vaccines to nourish the germs and keep the vaccines alive. No one has found any harm in using these items. At this point, it is not known if these risks are real or theoretical.”
So why vaccinate at all given this list of ingredients? Vaccines have eradicated or significantly lowered the incidence of disease in this country. Examples include: Polio, mumps, measles rubella, HIB meningitis. Some of these diseases can be relatively mild, others are life threatening. Because of vaccines, parents today don’t worry about childhood diseases robbing their child’s life. 
An American-born friend who spent much of her childhood living overseas told me “I would never choose not to vaccinate my children. I saw too many kids who got sick and died from diseases that don’t exist in this country because vaccines have gotten rid of them.” 
“We (the medical community) look at the risks posed by vaccines as very small, and the risk of diseases as a greater risk,” said Dr. Sears. 
Mild side effects of vaccines include swelling at injection site, fever and irritability. Very rare, but real side effects listed in the package insert can include death, brain damage or permanent immune system disorder. 
When asked if he had ever experienced a patient with a rare side effect from the vaccines in his practice, Dr. Sears answered “Yes, I had one child whose blood became very thin and wouldn’t clot after the chicken pox vaccine. This side effect is listed in the package insert. He became really bruised and started bleeding a lot. He had to be hospitalized for a bit and watched closely for six months. I also saw a child come down with the measles from the measles vaccine.”
There is no doubt that vaccines have saved millions of lives. This fact cannot be taken lightly. But are new diseases emerging because of vaccines while old ones are eradicated? These questions are disturbing and an Internet search on vaccines reveals many articles implicating vaccines in creating neurological and autoimmune disorders. If a parent starts searching for the truth, they will find extreme opinions out there, and digging for the facts is difficult. However, each parent should be encouraged to become informed. The health of an entire generation depends on it. b