How do you sift out the "truth"? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 35 Old 09-11-2006, 06:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm having a hard time here--I do believe that vaccines have value. My boys were born extremely prematurely, and thus far have been fully vaxed. We made this decision because many of these nasties, were they to contract them, would be devastating to them in their compromised state. They both have histories of lung issues.

We're coming up on MMR, and I'm nervous. I've asked my doc time and time again about thimerosal, and he reassures me repeatedly there is no thimerosal in the vaxes they use, not even trace amounts. He's a DO, and I like him and trust him...but...but...

I don't want this to turn into a slugfest about thimerosal. I don't want non-vaxers to tell me I put poison in my child. How do you decide who is telling the truth when both sides use fear to advance their agendas?
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#2 of 35 Old 09-11-2006, 07:13 PM
 
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The pro/anti propaganda really turned me off too. I ended up doing most of my research on sites like the CDC site and VAERS. Hard numbers. I weighed each vaccine- ingredients, reactions etc. against each disease- numbers of cases, treatments, chance of death etc.

FWIW the MMR never had thermerisol in it

-Angela
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#3 of 35 Old 09-11-2006, 07:32 PM
 
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Betsy - I totally hear you. We also vax. And I've done enough reading by now that there are things I hear from both sides that make me roll my eyes. There is so much oversimplification either way, and it can be hard to work out what sources are trustworthy.

Your doc is correct about the MMR, there is no thimerasol in it and never was. On the other hand, those are live viruses, and there is good reason they are not done until a year. First of all, if you want to stay "on time" with shots, why not at least wait till your preemies are one year old by adjusted age - in other words, if they were born two months early, you'd wait till they are 14 months. But you know, there's not a lot of measles, mumps, or rubella chasing around NY. So there's not likely to be much harm in delaying further. The CDC site should be able to tell you what the incidence of those diseases was in the last year.

We are definitely getting the MMR at some point, but delaying at least until 18 months, possibly later. I'm working on getting an info packet together for DH. Feel free to PM me if you want to discuss further...
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#4 of 35 Old 09-11-2006, 08:21 PM
 
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I feel your pain. My twins have suffered with major lung problems since birth. I've decided to hold off on the MMR until they are 3 to give me more time to research and make a decision. My firstborn had his mmr at 2 years but I think that's too early for my twins. They have been getting vaxes since 4 months although at a pace that's comfortable with me. I also don't do vaxes during the months we get the rsv shot. Please feel free to pm me if you want to discuss this further.
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#5 of 35 Old 09-11-2006, 10:08 PM
 
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I've asked my doc time and time again about thimerosal, and he reassures me repeatedly there is no thimerosal in the vaxes they use, not even trace amounts. He's a DO, and I like him and trust him...but...but...
That's an easy one. Get each vaccine insert and look it up online for yourself. You don't need to trust someone else to tell you this. It isn't about choosing sides. It's a matter of fact, that is easily verified. Here is a link to a chart that has the amount of thimerosal (including those with "trace" amounts) in most US vaccines:
http://www.vaccinesafety.edu/thi-table.htm The vaccines with an asterisk next to them contain trace amounts. For those, thimerosal is used in the manufacturing process then filtered out afterwards. It is impossible to filter it all out, though, hence the trace amounts.

The MMR does not contain thimerosal and never has. No live virus vaccine can contain thimerosal, so the new rotavirus vax and Varivax do not contain any thimerosal. Also, to get the best results from MMR, it should be given at 15 months, not 12 months. At 12 months, efficacy is about 5% lower than at 15 months. This is a well-known fact that I don't have the time to dig up right now, but it should be easy enough for you to find the research on that, if you care to look. If you're vaccinating, this should be important to you, as there's no point in vaccinating if the vaccine doesn't work.
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#6 of 35 Old 09-12-2006, 12:13 AM
 
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Are you more nervous about the MMR vaccine or the diseases it is supposed to protect against? Maybe research the diseases and the vax and see where you are more comfortable at.
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#7 of 35 Old 09-12-2006, 12:28 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Rainbow Brite
Are you more nervous about the MMR vaccine or the diseases it is supposed to protect against? Maybe research the diseases and the vax and see where you are more comfortable at.
This is what I did. It was the only way I could approach the problem from a fact-based standpoint. For us, at this time, the risk of complications from catching the diseases is less than the risk of adverse effects from the vaccines. (Did that make sense? )
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#8 of 35 Old 09-12-2006, 01:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Part of my fear comes from the fact that our kids don't have "normal" immune systems--something a healthy kid could fight off, like pertussis, could mean a serious setback for preemies with already compromised lungs. My one son spent nearly 2 weeks on the vent, and the other one has chronic lung disease. I am afraid of mumps, too, since it can cause sterility.
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#9 of 35 Old 09-12-2006, 01:22 AM
 
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Originally Posted by BetsyNY
Part of my fear comes from the fact that our kids don't have "normal" immune systems--something a healthy kid could fight off, like pertussis, could mean a serious setback for preemies with already compromised lungs. My one son spent nearly 2 weeks on the vent, and the other one has chronic lung disease. I am afraid of mumps, too, since it can cause sterility.
thats where me as a non vaxer and you differ......I would see that as even more reason not to vax, because their immune systems are more vulnerable to reactions.
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#10 of 35 Old 09-12-2006, 01:49 AM
 
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Mumps can *only* cause sterility in sexually mature males. It is utterly impossible for mumps to cause orchitis (the testicular swelling that sometimes, rarely, leads to sterility) in pre-pubertal males. Therefore, you could delay this one until puberty, if that is your only concern. You could then test for immunity, because 1/3 of mumps infections are completely asymptomatic, so there would be a good chance they would already have had it, given that mumps is still relatively prevalent in America. It is also safer to split up the MMR, so it's not a bad idea at all.
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#11 of 35 Old 09-12-2006, 09:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, well, romans_mum, what can I say. They're my babies and I'm trying to do what's best for them. I don't want them to suffer a vaccine-related complication, but I don't want them to end up back in the hospital either.
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#12 of 35 Old 09-12-2006, 12:11 PM
 
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Here's sort of a loose description of how I began sorting out the truth.
Take one disease at a time...let's take Mumps...now, you've researched enough to be worried about sterility...good...now you've posted that worry here, and Plummeting has said that's only a worry during and after puberty...is she right? Never just believe anything you read on a message board (I know you know this)... so fact check her.
If it turns out she's right, and you have no additional worries with Mumps, you know at the very least you can postpone that one till puberty.
(I'd also encourage you to look up the incidence of mumps induced sterility even in post pubescent males, too.)

Mumps is going to be one of the easy ones. But it'll be a good starting point for that very reason. Pertussis is really, really complicated. No one...and I mean not even the doctors and epidemiologists...know what's going on with pertussis. The CDC just admitted last year that only a small fraction of actual pertussis cases have been correctly diagnosed for decades, and it appears that vaccination has done nothing at all to prevent the spread of the disease. (But the new pertussis vax for adults is the new plan to fix that, of course.)The effectiveness of the vax is somewhere between 33% and 88%. Pertussis is unique among the VPDs in that even if you should be immune, and technically are immune, once your immune system identifies it, the bacteria has a way of hiding from your immune system and making you sick anyway.
Anyway, that's what I found after about a year of trying to figure out whether or not to vax my son for this disease that I was terrified of. Ironically, by the end, he was big enough to where it was no longer so scary anyway. So that's kind of a catch 22.
Anyway, the other side is the vax. What are the risks of the vax? Is the actual pertussis antigen dangerous? (I'm thinking not, jmo.) What about the aluminum adjuvant? What is an adjuvant? Are adjuvants necessary?

Anyway, it takes time and dedication.
On the bright side, it's all very interesting once you get a feel for it.
And if you fact check everything, you won't be misled by fear tactics from either side.
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#13 of 35 Old 09-12-2006, 01:35 PM
 
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here is my method...

avoid the pro and anti vax sites
research the heck out of the individual diseases and viruses
only vax if you discover that you are realistically more afraid of the disease/virus than you are of the vax

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#14 of 35 Old 09-12-2006, 02:11 PM
 
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I would say not to look at it from a pro vax anti vax perspective. Find out what you need to know about the disease and what you need to do to protect your children. What would you do if your vaccinated child still got the disease? Once you are armed with that information it should be clear as to where to go.
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#15 of 35 Old 09-13-2006, 04:15 AM
 
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Definitely go on a disease by disease basis when you research. Forget all the pro and anti for sure. That just gets confusing : and you'd still be basing your decision off what OTHER people say and not what you are most comfortable with based on your concerns with the diseases and/or the correlating vaccinations.

With premies especially, if you decide to selectively or fully vax, I would personally split ALL of them up. There's no reason to load their systems up with more than one at a time. But do your own research on that as well

Don't vaccinate them until you are comfortable doing so. Don't vaccinate based on fear and don't NOT vaccinate based on fear either. Make your decision because it's the right decision for you - because you've done the research and are comfortable with it.

You might also want to dig up some old medical textbooks... I work at a rummage sale once a year in the books section and I noticed this year that whether a childhood disease was considered dangerous or not in any given book (and I checked 20-30 old books) depended mostly on whether or not there was a vaccine for it... the diseases that had no vaccine were always considered "mild" whereas the diseases with a correlating vaccine were considered "deadly" and "very serious" and "thank goodness there's a vaccine!" It was fascinating and really made me think. It was quite 1984-ish

love and peace.

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#16 of 35 Old 09-13-2006, 04:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BetsyNY
I don't want this to turn into a slugfest about thimerosal. I don't want non-vaxers to tell me I put poison in my child. How do you decide who is telling the truth when both sides use fear to advance their agendas?
I draw the line at the credentials of the person making the claim. If you trust your do, then trust him. He has a lot of knowledge in the area. If you have doubts, ask him for more reading. He will know of places to go and books to read. The rhetoric used in the antivax arguments turns me off tremendously. So, I look for sources I consider to be reliable. Doctors, people who have done research, those in the healthcare business who have training. I trust my naturopath, I like Dr. Stephani Cave's book, I trust in the research that is being done.

Life is not without risks. There are risks associated with vaxing and not vaxing. I think there is a greater risk of not vaxing with the MMR than vaxing with it. But, talk to your healthcare provider about your fears and don't do anything until you are comfortable with it.
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#17 of 35 Old 09-13-2006, 09:23 AM
 
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Originally Posted by grace474
here is my method...

avoid the pro and anti vax sites
research the heck out of the individual diseases and viruses
only vax if you discover that you are realistically more afraid of the disease/virus than you are of the vax

Yep.
I agree with mamakay as well. If you "hear" something here, go and check it out to find out if it's true or false.
If your dr tells you something, do the same.
Like Plummeting said, you can look up the vaxes your dc have received and find out for sure if there's any mercury in them.

It takes a lot of work, but I am so glad I stuck with it and kept reading.
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#18 of 35 Old 09-13-2006, 01:09 PM
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Edited and re-opened...

Dar

 
fambedsingle1.gifSingle mom to Rain (1/93) , grad student, and world traveler earth.gif


  

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#19 of 35 Old 09-16-2006, 01:30 AM
 
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I know this is a hard choice, I myself really struggled with the MMR, because of the relation to autism, I am a therpist and before I had DD1 I worked full time at a psychiatric hospital and we had a unit that worked with children with autism... the mom in me was terrified... what if my child ended up like theses children because of the shot... I would never forgive myself...

But I did my research and talked with my ped., we delayed the MMR and DD had at 20 months... I probably would have delayed it further but we had alot of Katrina hurricane victims and there was an outbreak of measles in our area and I just didnt want to take the chance...

I also talked with the medical director of the hosptial where I work who specializes in autism... to sum up what he said, all his children had the vaccine and for the most part they are safe, however he has patients in his practice whose moms swear that it was the vaccine that spurred the autism, and he said honestly looking at the individual cases he doesnt doubt that it was the vaccine...

But remember that are alot of things to look at, this is just my belief but I dont think autism stems from just one thing I think there are a variety of things that can cause autism, heridity ,envirn., etc.

As I mentioned before because of the outbreak I went ahead and vaxed but I also felt that it would be safe for my little one because I never ate fish or seafood while I was pregnant and very little while I breastfed (mercury in fish), and there was nobody in recent generations in my family that had autism. So I made my choice and I know not everyone will agree how I came about making my choice... I just wanted to give you somethings to think about.

I have a 6 month old now and honeslty I may wait until shes 2 to for the MMR... but we will see!

Good Luck on making your decision in your heart I think YOU will know what is best for YOUR children!

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#20 of 35 Old 09-16-2006, 01:35 AM
 
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One more thing... another thing my ped mentioned was giving the shots in a singular dose rather then all together... you know just the measles, then just mumps, etc.,she just mentioned that sometimes it is hard to get the indiv. doses... but something you might want to ask you ped and get his opinion.
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#21 of 35 Old 09-16-2006, 02:44 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grace474
here is my method...

avoid the pro and anti vax sites
research the heck out of the individual diseases and viruses
only vax if you discover that you are realistically more afraid of the disease/virus than you are of the vax

This is good advice...

My method is a little different...

seek out the pro and anti-vax sites and see what the extreme positions have to say
look into the major claims of the pro- and anti-vax activists and decide how they hold up logically and how well they are supported empirically
talk about the issue with others from all points of view but naturally view with suspicion those who try to convince with sarcasm, casting aspersions, and fear tactics - instead of logic and factual evidence

Think about it think about it think about it and slowly decide what makes sense!

Repeat repeat repeat

The other thing is...for me...I am not just concerned about DD getting the diseases and what the risks are. I am concerned about a) her passing a disease on to an immunocompromised person or persons and b) the fact that IMO if I choose not to vaccinate her I am helping to weaken the immunity of the "herd" that has allowed parents to make the choice not to vax and to be fairly sure that this is a pretty safe thing to do.

I know that the very existence of herd immunity is met with skepticism here and I also know that the idea of vaccination as a social responsibility is considered laughable. But, those things are important considerations for me.

FWIW my daughter (16 months) has had no vax but we are definitely leaning towards vaccinating her for many of the VPDs beginning around her 2nd birthday. The exact schedule is still up in the air and this decision has not been set in stone. Still following the method outlined above.

I want to feel as sure as possible that I am doing the right thing by my DD, of course. It's a very personal thing and the right answer will be different for different individual families IMO, and thus I believe that there is no reason for one "side" in this debate to demonize the other side. Right now I definitely think that the right thing to do (for my DD, forgetting the social responsibility aspect) is to vaccinate, but not blindly - not necessarily for everything on the CDC schedule - and slowly. That's the choice I am most comfortable with, given what I have learned about the risks and benefits of vaccination.
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#22 of 35 Old 09-16-2006, 08:58 AM
 
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Thanks for a great post, Nora's Mama. It's great to see more moderates posting - those aware of the dangers of vaccination, willing to delay, yet also aware of the benefits, and willing to weigh those thoughtfully.

We too are concerned with herd immunity and civic responsibility...thought I was the only one!
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#23 of 35 Old 09-16-2006, 04:24 PM
 
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seek out the pro and anti-vax sites and see what the extreme positions have to say
look into the major claims of the pro- and anti-vax activists and decide how they hold up logically and how well they are supported empirically
I would just be a little careful about that. There are a lot of, to be frank, stupid antivax claims out there on the more extreme end.
And on the pro-vax end, too.
Figuring out how and why those stupid claims can't be true is good, but it doesn't really tell you what's really going on, kwim?

Just because you can debunk a claim from one side isn't a score for the other necessarily.
A whole lot of the "information" out there is just a bunch of irrelevant nonsense. There's a whole lot of that on both sides.
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#24 of 35 Old 09-16-2006, 05:14 PM
 
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I really hear you about this dilemma! We see an ND and she has totally left the decision in our hands. She has a lot of clients who don't vax at all, but also a lot who delay it, starting sometime between 6 months and a year. She recommmended we read Aviva Jill Romm's book so I put it on hold at the library but with 14 other holds it looks like I am going to have to wait a while. In the meantime, I don't feel like I can trust ANYBODY to really tell me the unbiased truth about this subject. And it's frustrating and a little bit scary.
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#25 of 35 Old 09-16-2006, 08:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamakay
I would just be a little careful about that. There are a lot of, to be frank, stupid antivax claims out there on the more extreme end.
And on the pro-vax end, too.
Figuring out how and why those stupid claims can't be true is good, but it doesn't really tell you what's really going on, kwim?

Just because you can debunk a claim from one side isn't a score for the other necessarily.
A whole lot of the "information" out there is just a bunch of irrelevant nonsense. There's a whole lot of that on both sides.
Oh ITA. But I like to see the range of opinion. And if you look at the "mainstream" sites/books/info and then the "extreme" sites/books/info for any position (WRT vaccines or anything else) you start to see where there is overlap, where there might be real cause for concern and where there is just speculation, or where real causes for concern are being glossed over. You also start to see how one side addresses the other side's claims.

I tend to find that when looking into ANY issue that has "sides" that there is almost always merit to both the "pro" and "anti" arguments. So then you have to weigh the arguments, decide which ones hold more water. Not everyone will look at the same information and come to the same conclusions. It is NOT obvious one way or the other. This is where I get annoyed with both the mainstream (doctors who brush off questions about vaccines with arrogance, and don't see how anyone could possibly question their safety and efficacy) and the anti-vax activists (people who believe that if one has the "correct" information about vaccines, they will not choose to vaccinate - therefore if you choose to vaccinate, you are obviously not informed enough ).
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#26 of 35 Old 09-17-2006, 05:16 PM
 
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I also sifted through the opinions of people I REALLY trusted in real life. There are more than a few really smart people here on MDC but there are also a few nuts whose stories don't add up until you look at weeks or months of postings. Just remember that a high posting count can mean someone has had something important to say OR that they just "talk" a lot.

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#27 of 35 Old 09-18-2006, 06:12 AM
 
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I draw the line at the credentials of the person making the claim. If you trust your do, then trust him. He has a lot of knowledge in the area. If you have doubts, ask him for more reading. He will know of places to go and books to read.
Nothing personal, but I think this method of decision-making is a cop-out. First, there's no reason to take a dr's word for it when you have the factual information at your fingertips on the internet...information that, most likely, your doctor has never read. Secondly, having the credentials of being a medical doctor is absolutely no indication that they have a lot of knowledge about vaccines. Thirdly, you can be 99.99% sure that any reading material they pass onto you is going to be pro-vax propoganda with very little facts on the disease prevalence and the safety/dangers of the vaccine.

This is not to say that what comes out of your doctor's mouth is completely useless, just not often very useful. And, again, why take the easy way out by allowing someone else to make the decision for you, which you are essentially doing by only going on your doctor's word and the info they pass out to parents, which is written by the pharmaceutical companies or the AAP, CDC or AMA - all who want you to vax.
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#28 of 35 Old 09-18-2006, 06:20 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Mommy To Baby Roni
Nothing personal, but I think this method of decision-making is a cop-out. First, there's no reason to take a dr's word for it when you have the factual information at your fingertips on the internet...information that, most likely, your doctor has never read. Secondly, having the credentials of being a medical doctor is absolutely no indication that they have a lot of knowledge about vaccines. Thirdly, you can be 99.99% sure that any reading material they pass onto you is going to be pro-vax propoganda with very little facts on the disease prevalence and the safety/dangers of the vaccine.
AMEN!

There are plenty of docs who will still say it's good to circ--less UTIs and most babies have it done. And there are plenty of mamas who blindly trust these doctors.

I can't support someone telling another poster to just trust her doctor without doing independent research.

Kelly, mama (12yoDS), doula, RN, and writer.
There's no where you can be that isn't where you were meant to be, its easy
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#29 of 35 Old 09-18-2006, 08:34 PM
 
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The thing that helped me the most in sifting through the information was looking at the page on the CDC's website which lists the cumulative totals for the year of all infectious diseases. You can find it here:

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/mmwr_wk.html

Then click on the last PDF download, "Notifiable Diseases/Deaths in Selected Cities."

When I looked at that, at the government's data on how few cases there actually were of the vax diseases, I felt a lot more confident about my decision to delay, and ultimately, not to vax my second child. I saw that, according to the CDC data, the disease being diagnosed the most frequently by far among kids in the US is pediatric AIDS. Not any of the vax diseases.

When I first started researching this I felt much like the OP. Turned off by what looked to me like emotionalism and scare tactics on both sides. But facts are facts.
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#30 of 35 Old 09-18-2006, 08:57 PM
 
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I'm another one who does more research on the actual disease than the vaccine. I am not afraid of most of them, granted I have a very healthy boy. There are only two vaccines that I certainly am not getting Varicella, and MMR. IF my son tests negative for antibodies when he is in puberty we will probably vaccinate then. I feel ok with pertusses (actually, I am pretty sure we had it), but diptheria and tetanus are diseases I really would rather avoid. I will accept the small risk of the vaccine for those. However, I am going to do everything in my knowledge to lessen his chance for reaction (immune support, getting DT in a single- thimerosol free- dose without aP)

This is my choice because I feel I know the diseases well enough to be comfortable at this stage.

Maybe I will learn more and alter my plan. . .

At any rate I am taking things VERY SLOWLY.

~laura
and planning to eat it again
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