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Old 09-16-2006, 09:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've been frequenting these boards since 2004, and they have certainly changed my views on how I want to raise my future children. I didn't create an account until this year when I decided to try posting in the Not Mamas . . . Yet tribe. Since I've started posting there, I've become a little more confident about posting elsewhere. So, here I am.

I thought about the vaccine issue a lot, and I decided that I would prefer not to vaccinate my children. But, I've just thought of something that's made me realize that I need to reconsider this issue.

I am currently planning a world backpacking trip, and I initially accepted that I would get all the recommended vaccinations. This caused a great deal of disharmony in my mind. How can I accept the thought of vaccinations for myself while planning to not get them for my kids? Am I being irresponsible with them or myself? Is it a different situation if one is expecting exposure in developing countries? Do I know what I'm talking about at all?

I haven't been researching vaccination for very long, and I'm nowhere near fully informed. (I've been working my way around the boards slowly adjusting my thoughts on family life.) I need advice on where to research from here, and I would like everyone's opinions/advice.
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Old 09-16-2006, 09:36 PM
 
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Vaers shows alot of deaths from adults having reactions to simple vaxes like the flu......I personally wouldnt vax myself or my dh for anything anymore, even if I were travelling.
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Old 09-16-2006, 09:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm obviously not nearly as sure about the vaccination issue as I thought. I very easily see the silliness of the idea of vaccinating against childhood diseases. I also never put much stock in the flu vaccine. I, myself, didn't finish my boosters, as I've been avoiding doctors since I turned 11. Please correct me if I'm wrong (and any studies/evidence would be greatly appreciated), but if the chance of reaction is equal with different types of vaccinations (which I'm sure it isn't), wouldn't it make more sense to get the vaccinations for more dangerous diseases (if one gets vaccinated at all) than more benign ones?

Also, do the risks of a vaccine correspond to how dangerous the actual virus is?

Please do note that I'm not being argumentative. Not vaccinating feels right to me, but I will have to convince my DP, and in order to do that, I have to first convince myself.
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Old 09-16-2006, 09:58 PM
 
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I'm not are well researched as the other women on here.....but from what I've read, the most dangerous diseases also have the lowest occurances. And they also seem to have far more reactions to the vax as well.

not to mention, one of the two potential "dangerous" diseases (tetanus and polio) polio very rarely causes any symptoms (95% get it and are asymptomatic) and of the 5% who get symptoms, only 1% are paralysied.

for both diseases, if you are in good health, and are following good hygiene and wound care, it is VERY VERY unlikely to get or be affected by either.
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Old 09-16-2006, 11:54 PM
 
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I asked myself the exact same question when I was deciding about vaxes for dd. And I decided that if I wasn't comfortable giving her the vax, that I wouldn't vax myself for it. Honestly part of that was simply because I was bf'ing and if she was going to get something I wanted to get it so that I could help her with antibodies.

My dd is no longer nursing, and I still won't be doing any shots for myself. I look at it as if I'm not willing to take the risks myself, how can I expect my dd to take the risks of catching a disease?

Honestly though, over time and with more research, the diseases that had been "scary" to me, simply aren't anymore. Yes, I worry about getting measles as an adult - I know I only had 1 MMR because they weren't recommending the booster yet, and I'm sure it's long worn off. So some diseases I worry about simply because I'm an adult and I know it could be hard on me if I got sick. But, I would rather deal with measles for 2 wks or however long than deal with rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes for the rest of my life. And if I had just had the diseases as a kid, I wouldn't be in this position now. I guess what helps me feel more comfortable is knowing that dh has had measles & mumps, so if I do end up getting them, somebody will be able to take care of dd. (We've both had chicken pox.)

So I guess that's kind of a long winded way of saying I asked myself the same question, and decided that it did seem hypocrytical to get vaxes for myself but to say they weren't effective enough & had too many risks for dd. My dh has also quit getting vaxes too...

I think it takes time and research to get comfortable with not vaxing. It's engrained into us from the time we're born that without vaxes we'd all die from disease, and it's hard to undo "programming" that we've lived with for so long. Keep studying the diseases, read the vax inserts and follow your heart. You've got lots of time to make the decision about future children, so I'd suggest starting with what vaxes you were considering for yourself... look at the effectiveness, side effects, what age group they were tested in, if you got the disease is it treatable? What's the worst case scenario if you got the disease? Can the worst case scenario be prevented in most cases by good diet, vit C or other healthy living? Most diseases are treatable whereas vax reactions can't be reversed...

Good luck, and good for you for starting your research now. This topic is one that has so much info available and it can really be mind boggling trying to understand it in a hurry. There's lots of very knowledgeable mama's around here, so keep lurking and ask questions. I'm sure you'll learn more than you ever wanted to know.
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Old 09-17-2006, 01:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I once read in a psychology book that people generally believe whatever they are told/read/overhear/etc unless they have prior knowledge to the contrary. If they are given time to allow the belief to set, many will hold onto it quite violently, ignoring comments and evidence to the contrary. Only the most solid evidence (if anything) will sway them if enough time passes.

I believed the statement instantly (although I think the second part may've been exaggerated a bit).

As such, I took it as a certain amount of evidence. (After all, why else would I know a couple dozen people who think they swallow eight spiders a year each.) I'm often shocked to hear myself repeating something I've heard as fact without having any evidence.

I've become quite good at reminding myself to question everything I hear. I try to consider carefully if something makes sense. Once I've done that, I often research an issue further. Occasionally, I will think of something I was told long ago (and accepted as fact) and realize that it makes absolutely no sense.

Alas, I am rather longwinded, and I have not yet stumbled upon my point.

Everyone "knows" that vaccines prevent illness. The idea never quite resonated with me, so it was very easy to disregard. The idea that vaccines are dangerous and ineffective resonates very clearly with me. As such, I worry that I'm too easily accepting the belief.

I am of the opinion that ignorance lies in the extremes. I worry that I might become so devoted to the anti-vax position that I might stumble into that "ignorant" category. Is it possible that all vaccines are harmful to all people? Most certainly, it is possible. But that does not necessarily mean that it is true. If I take this position of anti-vax, might I be blinded to possibilities and exceptions?

Am I getting too philosophical? Probably.

Anyway, I think I was primarily concerned with Malaria, which seems to be quite treatable. I had a friend who was traveling in Africa when she ended up infected (and no, she was not vaccinated, in case anyone is curious). She has recovered fine. And she did lose those last stubborn 20 lbs . . .

One of my concerns is that some countries require proof of certain vaccinations depending on where you've recently traveled according to the CDC page. Does anyone know if there is a way around these restrictions?

I do plan on further researching the recommended travel vaccines. I would just hate to fall violently ill in the developing world. Mind, I suppose a vaccine reaction could preclude having any trip at all.
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Old 09-17-2006, 02:02 AM
 
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There is no vaccine for malaria. There are antimalarial drugs you can take, but no vaccine. There is a vaccine for yellow fever, which some countries require proof of before entry. The yellow fever vaccine is the only vaccine that is ever required for entry into any country. Someone (I think Bestbirths) recently posted that there was a way around that, but I don't know what it is.

I don't believe that educating oneself on the dangers of vaccines can ever result in ignorance, so I do believe you're waxing a bit too philosophical on that point. Education doesn't beget ignorance.

Basically, you've already had your childhood vaccines, so the diseases left to worry about are:

Hep B (if you didn't get that vax as a child - it depends on your age)
Hep A
Polio
Japanese Encephalitis (if you will be in certain rural parts of Asia)
Yellow Fever

So, some basic info:

Hep B: Most adults (95%) clear it on their own within 12 weeks or so, suffering no long-term consequences, many never even knowing there were infected. It is transmitted through unprotected sex and sharing dirty needles. There is the theoretical possibility that you could get it some other way, but it just. doesn't. happen. If you're considering this vax, have titres checked first - you may already be immune.

Hep A: An acute illness that does not become chronic - ever. It is more serious in adults, but not deadly. You probably already had it as a child and didn't know it. Check titres before vaccinating - you may already be immune.

Polio: The rate of paralysis is actually not 1% - it's only 0.1% Only 1 in every 1000 infected will develop paralysis. Check titres before vaccinating, you may still be immune from childhood vaccinations.

Japanese Encephalitis: Mainly asymptomatic infection, I used to have the info on % of asymptomatic infections, but I can't find it again. It is mosquito-born and generally only found in rural areas. This vaccine has massive amounts of thimerosal in it and is not available in a thimerosal-free version. Each of the series of 3 shots would contain 39.5 mcg of thimerosal, IIRC. That's a looooooot more than the 25 mcg that was mostly removed in other vaccines. The Japanese Encephalitis Virus isn't even considered the ultimate cause of Japanese encephalitis, but only a main contributing factor. Obviously, you need the virus to get the disease, but they know that there is something else going wrong at the same time. My bet would be that it's some kind of nutritional or gut flora thing, since those are the big things that can cause susceptibility to disease.

Yellow Fever: I've never really looked into this one, to be honest. I'm sure someone else will have some info for you.
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Old 09-17-2006, 02:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plummeting
I don't believe that educating oneself on the dangers of vaccines can ever result in ignorance, so I do believe you're waxing a bit too philosophical on that point. Education doesn't beget ignorance.
I certainly didn't mean to imply that education oneself creates ignorance, and I'm not sure how I gave that impression. I was actually trying to say that I worry about the possibility of taking this position too firmly and not considering any future evidence (much as pro-vaxers refuse to look at evidence that supports an anti-vax position) or future vaccines. Keeping an open mind and educating oneself hardly qualifies as subscribing to an extreme.

So, I suppose there is no problem with taking anti-malarial drugs, huh? The only other vaccine (or perhaps the only vaccine) I was concerned about is yellow fever. I already knocked out the Japanese encephalitis one based on what I read, and I've already done enough reading on the hep vaxes.

Edit: Oh. I reread my post, and I see how I gave that impression. Poor wording on my part. Stand assured that I certainly didn't mean educating oneself leads to ignorance.
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Old 09-17-2006, 02:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plummeting
So, some basic info:
Thank you very much for the information. I seem to have forgotten to say that in my last post.

Since you seem very knowledgeable on this topic, do you know where I should start researching the issue further? Is there somewhere with a list of studies or possibly a book that will give me a better foundation? As an aspiring scientist, I like to look at these kinds of things. (The studies, that is.)

Quote:
Japanese Encephalitis: Mainly asymptomatic infection, I used to have the info on % of asymptomatic infections, but I can't find it again. It is mosquito-born and generally only found in rural areas. This vaccine has massive amounts of thimerosal in it and is not available in a thimerosal-free version. Each of the series of 3 shots would contain 39.5 mcg of thimerosal, IIRC. That's a looooooot more than the 25 mcg that was mostly removed in other vaccines. The Japanese Encephalitis Virus isn't even considered the ultimate cause of Japanese encephalitis, but only a main contributing factor. Obviously, you need the virus to get the disease, but they know that there is something else going wrong at the same time. My bet would be that it's some kind of nutritional or gut flora thing, since those are the big things that can cause susceptibility to disease.
I looked at the VAERS reports for individuals between 18 and 29 who died, and a quite a few of them died suddenly with no obvious symptoms within days of getting the above vaccine (or plague. Or both). I think I'd rather accept the unlikely chance of actually getting the disease if I mysteriously get lost and end up in a rural area.
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Old 09-17-2006, 03:49 AM
 
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I didn't really think you meant that learning about vaccines could lead you to become ignorant - that's the reason I had the laughing smiley. I just meant that generally people who are considered "anti-vax" have gotten that way due to the fact that they are so educated on the topic. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, but most people who don't vaccinate know more than their doctors about vaccines and vaccine-preventable diseases, so I was trying to say that it was education, not ignorance that led to the "anti-vax" state of mind.

What you might be considering ignorance is really confidence. I am confident that the vaccines in existence today really DO cause more harm than good. I have read tons and tons and tons of information from various sources that supports that opinion (which I consider fact, but anyway....). Therefore, I am very suspicious when I read anything that claims vaccines are safe or vaccines are better than VPD's. I will not believe vaccines are safe until they've been reformulated and the new formulations have been shown not to cause autoimmune diseases, allergies, neurological problems, etc. It isn't ignorance that led me to this conclusion - it's a thorough look at all the available information.

I'm not telling you all of that because I feel attacked or judged by your post, so no worries if that crossed your mind. I think you've been very friendly and you seem to have quite an open mind. I just wanted to explain my POV.

Hmmmm. As far as what to read, I guess it depends on what exactly you want to know. Are you interested in reading about the vaccines (and their VPD's) that are on the regular schedule in the US, or about the ones you might consider for travel? As far as the travel vaccines, I do Pubmed and Google searches for the vaccines or the diseases, so I have nothing special to contribute. Of course, Google always brings up a lot of crap to wade through, but I've found some real gems that way, too. The CDC Pink Book is online and it's a good place to learn about all the recommended US vaccines and their VPD's. There are some great transcripts of FDA and CDC meetings discussing vaccine safety issues, but I'm forever losing them. I'll have to ask a friend for those and post them later.
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Old 09-17-2006, 04:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you. I will start looking at all the things you listed. I would be really interested in the FDA and CDC transcripts, if it's not too much trouble.

On a related note, I don't think the women (or any men I may not have noticed, come to think of it) on this board are ignorant at all. From what I've read, they're all intelligent and have excellent explanations (and resources) to explain their decisions.

I simply realized that I had begun to dismiss all vaccines because of what I'd learned about a few (mostly childhood disease vaxs), and that's where I feel the ignorance comes in. I have no reason to believe anyone here hasn't done their research, but I haven't done enough research. I thought about it a lot, but I didn't research enough. It would be wholly irresponsible of me to swear off all vaccines (which I realized I had) based on my knowledge of about half a dozen of them and the word of other individuals. Furthermore, I also worry that my anti-vax sentiments could cloud my judgment. I'm overly analytical, and I think too much. You may have noticed.

It might be the right decision, but the method by which I was making it was just as bad as accepting a doctor's word for everything.

I really do appreciate all the assistance you're providing.

I'm sorry if my perspective keeps shifting. I'm much better at fleshing out my thoughts by writing about them and bouncing them off of other people.
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Old 09-18-2006, 02:41 AM
 
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hi there; I will share that my good friend got some hep vax several years ago before she went to Russia; at the recommendation of her doctor...

Shortly thereafter she began to have symptoms of MS When she read MT's book she burst into tears... she always wondered if there was a connection, now she knows...

she wouldn't get a vax for anything ever again... neither would I.
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Old 09-18-2006, 06:47 AM
 
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Where is it that you will be traveling to?
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Old 09-18-2006, 07:04 AM
 
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Before moving to Asia, DH and I got the first round of Hep A and Hep B. I had flu symptoms after that and I had just begun studying vaxes and we said NO MORE! But we also live in the city. Once I begin doing mini mission trips to the rural and tribal areas I may be back to do more research.

I have a comment on the Japanese encephalitis. It is one of the recommended shots for coming here. A very close friend got this done (in Canada) before coming. She is now deathly allergic to most foods. Goes into anaphalactic (sp?) shock when eating new foods. She actually went to the hospital and sat there and ate a new food just in case!

After months of testing, her allergies are directly linked to the MOUSE SERUM used in the shot. She said to me, I'd rather die of Jap. enc. than go through this again, and my chances of dying of that are probably nil. She wishes she'd researched it first. She's now back in Canada living on her grandparents farm eating organic and trying alternatives.

So my advice to you is: look at where you're traveling and find the real risk. Weigh the risk of getting the disease vs. the risks of side affects/poisons in the vaccine.

If I remember right, Americans have less restrictions for traveling w/out vax evidence.

Missionary, birth-worker, midwifery student
Mama to love.gif DD (9yr), DS luxlove.gif (3yr), & 2twins.gif UC twin DDs (5yr)

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Old 09-18-2006, 11:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Where is it that you will be traveling to?
At the moment, the route I'm thinking about taking would start out of New York, fly into Ireland, then into London. From there, I'd take some time to explore Europe, ultimately flying out of Athens. Then, I'd be hitting the Middle East. I'm still debating which cities I want to fly into. Then I'd fly into Africa (cities and countries still up for debate). From there, I'd fly into India. Then up to China, into Japan, down to Thailand and Singapore. Next stop, will be Australia. Then, I'm planning on hitting New Zealand, Tahiti and Fiji. I would like to next make my way to South America, but it looks like doing that trip separately would significantly decrease the overall cost, so I'm still up in the air.
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Old 09-19-2006, 01:11 AM
 
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Wow, I'm so jealous!
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