Have there been huge changes, within the last few years, in the way vaccines are made? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 15 Old 12-06-2013, 11:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Dh just took dd1 -- who is 13 and hasn't had any vaccines since she was four months old, because we learned things that really concerned us and quit vaccinating -- to her doctor for a checkup.

 

I haven't really looked into it again lately. When she started public school this fall, after homeschooling up to then, I filled out our state's (MO's) religious exemption form and turned it in with all her enrollment paperwork. Several weeks after school started, I guess the nurse started going through the files and called dh in to say that we needed a doctor's signature -- but then she dropped it after some other people in the office told her that wasn't required.

 

Anyhow, Dh took dd in for a checkup and they again brought up the issue of us not vaxing, saying that they were very concerned and also that all of the ingredients that people were concerned about have been removed, and vaccines are now made through bio engineering, or something like that. He has stepped out and I can't remember exactly what he said.

 

He said dd told him she doesn't care one way or the other, but she wants me to look into it and have her get the shots if they're safe now.

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#2 of 15 Old 12-06-2013, 03:04 PM
 
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The only thing that has been removed or lessened AFAIK in the last 13 years is thimerosal.  It is still in many flu shots, btw.  

 

I am confused by your doctor saying he is "very concerned."  Concerned about what?  Most diseases that we vaccinate for are quite rare and/or fairly benign.  He or she probably knows this.  My guess is that your doctor is probably more concerned that your daughter is not contributing to herd immunity, and that you are not being compliant on this issue, rather than concern for the health of your daughter.

 

I do think the teens are a good time to revisit the decisions around chicken pox and rubella for girls.  Maybe the heps as well.  I am not saying to do or not do them - just get clear on the risks of each decision.

 

Good luck,

 

Kathy

 

ETA:  there might be less anitgens in some vaccines as well.  Antigens were not what typically bothered people, though ;)

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#3 of 15 Old 12-06-2013, 04:20 PM
 
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The only difference from 13 years ago (other than a bunch of new vaccines added to the schedule) is that most of the vaccines are now supplied in single dose vials that don't contain thimerosal as a preservative. A big exception is flu vaccines, for which a majority of the available doses in the U.S. still come from multi-dose vials containing thimerosal.

 

You can read the package inserts for any vaccine available in the U.S. Every vaccine package insert lists the ingredients and a long list of possible side effects.

http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/Vaccines/ApprovedProducts/ucm093833.htm

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#4 of 15 Old 12-08-2013, 07:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Aren't there lots of ingredients besides thimerosol to still be concerned about? It's weird that when dd was little, they were saying thimerosol wasn't a concern, and now they are saying vaccines are okay because the thimerosol was removed. It seems like in a few more years, there will be other stuff found to be dangerous and removed from the vaccines.

 

They are really pushing us to vaccinate dd now because she was diagnosed with asthma a year ago -- but since vaccines are linked with autoimmune disorders and I think asthma's an autoimmune issue, it doesn't seem like such a good idea to put anything into her system that could make her asthma worse.

 

I guess you can tell I'm behind in my research.

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#5 of 15 Old 12-08-2013, 09:08 AM
 
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I don't think anything else will be removed from vaccines. Thimerosal was easy to remove because all they had to do was switch from multi-dose vials containing 10 doses to single dose vials. The other ingredients are part of how the vaccine is made (how the culture is grown, or how the antigen is deactivated, or aluminum, which they use to induce the immune response. Aluminum is a big problem because its purpose is to get the body to attack the antigen, but it can also cause the body to attack itself (autoimmunity).

 

Then there are ingredients that aren't even supposed to be there, such as pig viruses PCV1 and PCV2 in the rotavirus vaccines. The FDA first pulled one brand off the market when it was found to contain PCV1, but when the only other rotavirus vaccine was found to not only contain PCV1 as well, but also PCV2, both vaccines were deemed safe (with no studies to back that up) and the previously pulled vaccine was reinstated. Rotavirus vaccines are only given to babies, so that's not an issue to your daughter. But of course the doctor will be recommending Gardasil, which contains, but is not supposed to contain, HPV DNA bound to aluminum. Before that discovery, the FDA specifically said Gardasil was safe because it did NOT contain HPV DNA. Once it was found in the vaccine, the FDA said it was not a concern.

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#6 of 15 Old 12-08-2013, 11:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, dd and I just had a conversation about the issue, and she let me know that she'd said she didn't care one way or the other because she didn't want to get into an argument with her dad in front of the doctor -- but that she'd actually like to get the shots. She's started to feel "like a freak" when she goes to the doctor and they keep bringing up the issue and saying how good it would be for her...also, on the day when dh had been called into the school nurse's office about dd supposedly needing a doctor's note if she wasn't going to get vaccinated, apparently the nurse had initially called dd out of class and told her she wouldn't be allowed to return to school until she'd had her shots. Even though the nurse later learned she was mistaken and we were in total legal compliance, dd still felt rather singled out.

 

She feels like she's not being allowed any choice in the matter. And I told her that I just want her choice to be a fully-informed one, because the stuff that goes into her system will stay in there. I said it's perfectly normal not to want to feel like a freak, but if she gets vaccinated, I want it to be because she really feels it's the best thing for her health. She talked about how long many doctors study, and wondered if I really thought they were all liars. And I said no, I don't think most doctors would deliberately lie or do anything to harm anyone, but they also believe what they're taught in medical school. I shared the example of how a few years back, the consensus was that thimerosol was safe to use in vaccines, but now it's been deemed unsafe and removed, and I explained that there are other elements to be concerned about, and described what ma2two just said about aluminum, and I said that maybe a few years down the line, those elements will be deemed unsafe and removed, too....

 

I feel like I'm trapped in a very tight place right now, because I still have a responsibility to make the best decisions I can to protect  my children's health -- but dd1, at 13 in a public school setting, now has her own opinion regarding the best ways to protect her own health. Since I can't say with 100% certainty that not vaccinating couldn't result in her dying or being severely harmed by a disease (though I can say I'm 99.9999999% sure that my decision won't harm her physically), do I have a right to deny her a form of treatment that she currently wants -- a form that the mainstream medical and scientific communities currently uphold as a necessary preventative measure?

 

Dh and I were both fully vaccinated, and as far as we know, we didn't suffer any ill effects from this. But chances are, if we hadn't been vaccinated, we probably wouldn't have suffered any ill effects either. All those years ago when dd was a baby, it just made sense to put more trust in the body's ability to build up immunities and protect and heal itself, than in medical opinion which is formed by people who've spent years and years focusing on what can go wrong.

 

I'd just started learning about the wonders of human milk production, and was struck by some of the negativity I encountered in the medical community -- for example, one of my nurses got really stressed at me when, the day after dd was born and she was spending lots and lots of time at the breast, I couldn't tell her how many minutes dd had been actively feeding as compared to comfort-sucking. She needed a number for her records; if I'd been more experienced, I could have just rattled off some figures, but I'm afraid my mind wasn't very organized in those early days. So I got a big lecture about how I shouldn't just be letting her spend all that time on my breast -- but later learned from the lactation consultant that I'd actually been on the right track all along.

 

In those early years, it seemed like the healthiest thing to do was distance myself from doctors as much as possible, and just tune in to my own children and my own inner sense about various things. But now, with dd1's recent development of asthma, I've obviously realized that sometimes medicine can be a real godsend. Where to draw the line -- especially now that dd1 is weighing in on this matter and is feeling like she has no say in her own healthcare decisions?

 

Have any other non-vaxers encountered similar issues with their own teens -- and if so, how did you proceed? I know that no one can tell me what the exact course should be for my own family, but I'd appreciate any input anyone has.

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#7 of 15 Old 12-08-2013, 12:18 PM
 
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Yes, you absolutely do still have the right to say no to vaccines for your 13 year old child. And be very thankful you do have that right. For example, in California, children ages 12 and older can get the HPV vaccine and hepatitis B vaccine without a parent's consent, or even knowledge. And if any new vaccines are developed for diseases that can be sexually transmitted, those will be on the list as well.

 

Your daughter's main concerns seem to be about fitting in and blindly trusting the medical establishment. I wouldn't expect a 13 year old to understand all the complexities in conflicts of conflicts of interest in medical recommendations, nor would I expect her to be able to resist "peer pressure" completely on her own. She's lucky she has you to help her and protect her.

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#8 of 15 Old 12-08-2013, 01:09 PM
 
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Just a comment that many don't accept thimerosol was removed because it was believed to be unsafe. There's no good evidence it's unsafe. There's an argue meant that it was removed because the sense was public opinion was so strong against it that leaving it in would stop too many vaccinating.

I know many posting here will vehemently disagree with this view, but I share it because I fell it will add some balance to this thread.

Mother of two living in UK. Daughter (2007) born in USA, son (2010) born here. I'm pro natural birth, midwife care, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, baby wearing and a keen advocate of cloth diapering. I'm a full time working research scientist (physical sciences) and I'm pro-vaccine.

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#9 of 15 Old 12-08-2013, 02:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I fully agree that I'm still the parent and have a responsibility to protect my child -- this is just such a tough area for me because I can't see with complete clarity what the right course is. I see risks on both sides -- and while I currently see not vaccinating as most likely to be the safest and healthiest course, not being one hundred percent sure about this makes it very hard for me to insist that we're not going to follow medical advice even though dd so strongly wants to. Whether it's partly due to peer pressure or not, I know she is also listening to professionals she trusts -- professionals who have helped her get her breath back on more than one occasion.

 

So I think I'll spend the next few days re-looking into this issue and talking with dh. If we do start vaccinating, I think I'd want to only get those that are really deemed mandatory. We've talked a lot about the importance of using protection for any kind of sexual contact, including oral sex, at whatever point dd decides to become sexually active, so I can't see the need for the Hep B shot or the Gardisil. I understand that they push those because they assume most teens will disregard the advice to use protection, but dd is a thinking teen, and I see those vaccines as truly unnecessary for most thinking individuals, unless they are eventually in a committed relationship with someone who's previously had unprotected sex and want to be able to have unprotected sex with this person. Even then, I think the partner should be willing to be checked for STDs so their loved one would only get all that stuff injected into their system if there was really something that they needed to be protected from.


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#10 of 15 Old 12-08-2013, 03:18 PM
 
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Yes, you absolutely do still have the right to say no to vaccines for your 13 year old child. And be very thankful you do have that right. For example, in California, children ages 12 and older can get the HPV vaccine and hepatitis B vaccine without a parent's consent, or even knowledge. And if any new vaccines are developed for diseases that can be sexually transmitted, those will be on the list as well.

 

Your daughter's main concerns seem to be about fitting in and blindly trusting the medical establishment. I wouldn't expect a 13 year old to understand all the complexities in conflicts of conflicts of interest in medical recommendations, nor would I expect her to be able to resist "peer pressure" completely on her own. She's lucky she has you to help her and protect her.

:yeah

 

I have 2 teens.  I would not have let either decide to be vaccinated at 13 - it is not a decision they can undo (unlike being unvaxxed, which you can undo).

 

Her grounds don't really sound the best -pressure from school, nurse and doctors, and feeling a little odd man out?  Nope.  

 

I would try and protect her from medical influence though.  Once upon a time the school was influencing my then 6th grader to do something I was not going to let him do - I really felt the pressure was unfair, and told them to knock it off.  Pressuring a child to do something their parent will not allow is wrong.  

 

I am a little surprised by the "do you think the doctors are liars?" comment.  It sounds almost straight out of the mouths of some pro-vax  arguements I have heard here, lol.  I wonder if she is simply parroting someone?  In any event, I think a conversation or two are in order on how we can respect someones training and opinion, know they want the best for us, but still choose differently.  I can think of several examples, but personal examples will probably be more meaningful.  

 

As per vaccines, and to get you started, I would look into influenza, pertussis and pneumococcal for  a child with asthma.

 

For your consideration on the flu vaccine and asthma:

http://summaries.cochrane.org/CD000364/vaccines-for-preventing-flu-in-people-with-asthma


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#11 of 15 Old 12-08-2013, 03:57 PM
 
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So I think I'll spend the next few days re-looking into this issue and talking with dh. If we do start vaccinating, I think I'd want to only get those that are really deemed mandatory. We've talked a lot about the importance of using protection for any kind of sexual contact, including oral sex, at whatever point dd decides to become sexually active, so I can't see the need for the Hep B shot or the Gardisil. I understand that they push those because they assume most teens will disregard the advice to use protection, but dd is a thinking teen, and I see those vaccines as truly unnecessary for most thinking individuals, unless they are eventually in a committed relationship with someone who's previously had unprotected sex and want to be able to have unprotected sex with this person. Even then, I think the partner should be willing to be checked for STDs so their loved one would only get all that stuff injected into their system if there was really something that they needed to be protected from.

 

I just want to the STD and protection part of this.  I think it is fantastic you have an open relationship with your daughter and safe sex is of vital importance, of course.  I also support whatever you decide about any and all vaccinations.  However, condoms will not protect against HPV all that well.  Also a large large percentage of sexually active individuals have HPV and men who do go for STD testing are not tested for HPV.   Also, although rare it is possible for a mother to transmit HPV to their child in utereo, making it possible for a partner who has maintained virginity to transmit HPV to a fellow virgin.

 

Also, Hep B is not just sexually transmitteded.  So as part of your discussions please include other precautions that she may not think of.  Namely, not sharing toothbrushes (usually not a problem this isn't high on teenagers list of shared items) or Razors (a bigger issue).  I know when I was a teen girls starting to shave their legs often got together in groups to do it.  Include the dangers of this as well.  

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#12 of 15 Old 12-09-2013, 08:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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kathymuggle, thank you for the link to the article on the flu vaccine for asthma patients. This is one they've really been pushing for dd -- but from my understanding, it still has high levels of mercury (thimerosol) and has been linked to Alzheimer's. One nurse who tried to push it on my dh a few years back actually agreed with him that it could increase his risk for Alzheimer's, and said something along the lines of "but the flu can kill you, so which is worse?"

 

I agree that this is not an issue that dd should have the full burden of deciding for herself. I think I need to have dh put a letter in dd's medical file stating that we do not want this issue to be brought up to or in front of our child anymore.

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#13 of 15 Old 12-09-2013, 09:55 AM
 
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If you can get a single vial flu shot it will be thimerosol free. Flumist is also an option without thimerosol.

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#14 of 15 Old 12-09-2013, 10:00 AM
 
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You might be able to get a flu vaccine without thimerosal in it if that is your primary concern- you need to ask, and it should be in a single vial.

 

I also have a child that has chest issues.  She does not have asthma, but from  about 9 months to about 9 years old (she just turned 11) she got a chest infection requiring antibiotics every year. She had a birth defect than has made her more prone to chest infections. It was very scary.  

 

About 2 years ago I started wondering if I should get her the flu shot, as the flu in her can lead to pneumonia.  I ultimately decided not to, and here is why:

 

1.  Even without the shot only about 2-4% of the population gets the flu that is in the flu shot in any given year.

 

2.  The flu shot is only about 50% effective - it might be a little higher in tweens, though.

 

3.  The flu shot is only effective for about 3-4 months

 

4.  Here is a biggie for me:  people seem to get sick after the flu shot.  I do not think the flu shot gives people the flu, but there is some evidence  it makes people more likely to catch other stuff going around.   There is this article, showing those vaccinated for seasonal flu were more likely to get H1N1

http://metronews.ca/health/363279/canadian-problem-maybe-not-study-finds/

 

There is this article as well:

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2011/11/29/flu-shots-may-build-fewer-antibodies-in-kids/

(although it is small and I wish it would be replicated in healthy children)

 

There are also hordes of people who insist the flu vaccine made them quite sick.  

 

So, I decided against it.  

 

When all is said and done, I don't think the flu vaccine offers much value, and I am not really afraid of the flu, anyways.  I am afraid of pneumonia.  I ended up getting her  the pneumoccocal vaccine (the only vaccine she has).  I am not plugging it, just letting you know the decision I came to.

 

I won't say she will never have a flu shot, even under my roof.  If she ever had a really bad lung-health year, I might try the vaccine under the theory of any protection is better than no protection (but I would still worry the flu shot might make her sick).  We are not there, and knock wood, we never will be.  She is doing much better with her lungs - we have instituted a serious hand washing policy, I have lectured her on actively staying away from sick people, we try to eat a little better.  She also has lung exercises from the lung clinic that she is to do at the first sign of gunky lungs and that has helped - a lot. I am still working on trying to get her to be more physically active (she is the more arty sort)  She actually just got over a cold and no chest infection. :bouncy

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#15 of 15 Old 12-12-2013, 02:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Kathy, I'm so glad to hear she didn't get a chest infection!

 

The other day, I tried to start a conversation with dd about my concerns, and she just cut me off and didn't want to hear about it, basically saying, "That's fine." I get the feeling that she'd rather not think about the issue that much in depth, and would rather just be able to tell anyone who brings the issue up to her that she wants to get vaccinated, but her mom won't let her. This is similar to a time when she acted upset when we said she couldn't spend the night at the home of a friend we didn't feel too comfortable with -- we'd thought she was really ticked off at us, but then, once her friend left, she told us that she really hadn't wanted to go but just didn't want to be the one to say no.

 

I'm going to prepare a letter for dd's medical file, giving them my email address and encouraging them to feel free to send me the links to any information they think might be helpful to me in my ongoing research, and stating that I want to stay well-informed but at the present time, my current research has me thinking that not vaccinating is the healthiest route -- and stipulating that I want any further concerns on this issue to be addressed with me privately -- not to or in front of dd. Then if they bring it up to dh and/or dd in any doctor's appointments that occur while I'm working, they can just say, "Please read Susan's/Mom's letter, and email any concerns you have to her. She's asked that this not be brought up in any more appointments."

 

I think this should resolve dd's issues for the time being. She honestly doesn't seem that stressed over not having the shots -- she just feels uncomfortable when professionals start talking to her like her parents are idiots who don't have the slightest idea how to protect her health.

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