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Immunologist Challenges Current Vaccine Theory

on March 22 | in Health | by | with 66 Comments

Dr. Obukhanych has studied immunology in some of the world’s most prestigious medical institutions - Rockefeller University, Harvard and Stanford.   Her book, Vaccine Illusion, challenges current vaccine theory. Click through for full review.

Hey y’all, each week I share a useful tip, insight, or recipe from a book I’m reading. As you might imagine, I get a TON of books to review every month. Today’s review is Vaccine Illusion by Tetyana Obukhanych, PhD.

Careful, there’s a biological weapon next to your coffee

No, it’s not the [insert incredibly nasty thing your child most recently brought home], which has joined your family for breakfast. According to this Salon.com article, it’s your child – if you don’t vaccinate, that is.

“Little Camden Cutler is weaponized to spread disease,” said the magazine of reality star Kristin Cavallari’s son after she revealed that he isn’t vaccinated. Naturally, the new baby she is expecting with her husband, NFL quarterback Jay Cutler, is also likely to be considered “weaponized” – as are other children whose parents who have chosen not to vaccinate. And so the celebrity ping-pong match of opinions continues:  

  • Jenny McCarthy says that vaccines made her son autistic and that diet helped him recover
  • Amanda Peet calls parents who don’t vaccinate parasites, then apologizes (source)
  • Robert F. Kennedy publishes “an article on Salon.com claiming that the government was trying to conceal the hidden dangers of vaccines.” (Source) Salon.com later removes the article and he publishes it on his own website. (You can find it here)
  • Jennifer Lopez becomes a spokesperson for the Silence the Sounds of Pertussis campaign, which encourages parents to get their kids the DTap vaccine.
  • Mayim Bailik, who plays a neuroscientist on The Big Bang Theory, reveals she doesn’t vaccinate. (Interestingly, she holds an actual PhD in Neuroscience from UCLA, so there’s that.)

Of course, celebrities and news media aren’t the only ones talking about vaccines. It EVERYWHERE – at playdates, in our living rooms, on Facebook. As useful and sometimes informative as this discussion is, it can also be confusing and frustrating. 

For those of you who are looking for an intelligent presentation of the skeptics perspective, I highly recommend Vaccine Illusion by Dr. Tetyana Obukhanych.

“I never imagined myself in this position”

As the title implies, the book details the reasons behind Dr. Obukhanych’s gradual disillusionment with vaccines – a direction no one seems more surprised about than Dr. Obukhanych herself. “I never imagined myself in this position,” she writes, adding that she was “very enthusiastic” about vaccines in the beginning.

Dr. Obukhanych has studied immunology in some of the world’s most prestigious medical institutions – she earned her PhD in Immunology at Rockefeller University in New York and did postdoctoral work at Harvard Medical School and Stanford University. Vaccine Illusion a handbook for parents that draws on her formal training. 

“This book is intended to give parents essential immunologic background for making vaccination decisions for their children,” she writes, adding that making a decision about vaccination is  “an important responsibility that should not be left to any medical or scientific authority.” [Quick note: The book has a few grammatical irregularities. I have heard Dr. Obukhanych speak, and it is my guess that these irregularities stem from the fact that English is not her first language.]

I had to re-read a few sections to grasp certain concepts, but overall it’s very easy to understand. It’s also short and to the point – I was able to read it during one of Levi’s long naps last week.

So what does it cover, exactly?

This book is not a bunch of random facts to sift through. It is a well-organized, cohesive look at how vaccines got started, what we do and don’t know about them, and how Dr. Obukhanych believes they’re impacting us today:

    • Vaccine Illusion describes vaccination theory as flawed from the beginning, and says the flawed thinking continues today. “Every new generation of immunologists is initiated into this illusion and inadvertently takes immunologic research in the direction that is further and further away from understanding the true basis of immunity.”
    • You’ll hear the story of how ‘serum sickness’ led to the introduction of formaldehyde into vaccines, and why Obukhanych believes this alteration in method radically shifts how our bodies respond.
    • You’ll get an insider perspective on the “double standards of scientific scrutiny” taking place in vaccine research
    • She also challenges the generally accepted understanding of “immunologic memory,” which is cornerstone of vaccine theory. I learned some stuff in this section that was brand new to me, especially as it may relate to the alarming rise in children’s allergies.
    • She explains why live vaccines are used in some formulas and killed in others, then describes why she thinks they aren’t effective.
    • She also tells us what it means when immunologists say vaccines are “safe,” why we’re winning battles but losing the war with vaccines for bacterial diseases, how vaccination is putting vulnerable groups at risk, how diet and nutrition play a role in disease outcomes, how financial incentives drive research away from the study of natural immunity, and of course questions parents should ask when evaluating whether to vaccinate.

    Dr. Obukhanych has studied immunology in some of the world’s most prestigious medical institutions - Rockefeller University, Harvard and Stanford.   Her book, Vaccine Illusion, challenges current vaccine theory. Click through for full review. Where To Buy Vaccine Illusion

    A good discussion on vaccines can only happen when we respectfully consider the best arguments on both sides. For that reason, I think this book is valuable reading for all who are interested in learning more about vaccination.

    (Vaccine Illusion is available on Kindle here)

    If you don’t have a Kindle, you can read it on this free Kindle Reader App for your computer, iPad, iPhone, Android, or Blackberry device.

     

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    66 Responses to Immunologist Challenges Current Vaccine Theory

    1. It will be nice to have a reference like this to tell people about that are uneducated!

      • Raquel says:

        from amazon.com’s review:

        I am also a fellow immunologist that studied vaccines, and a mother of two, and I was eager to read this book because I was hoping that a scientist will provide an honest balanced narration of the history, efficacy and future challenges of vaccine programs, and raise some real questions that is worthy of thoughts. However this book can make Fox News and MSNBC News seem fair and balanced.

        I intend to write a full length review approximately the same length as the book itself, with proper references to the statements I make. But it will take time, and I don’t want more readers mislead by the lack of negative reviews, so here is a shorter version.
        Here are the major problems I have with this book:

        1) Lack of reference. The author make various statements which are critical for her stance against vaccination that is not reference at all. For example, she claimed that Jenner’s smallpox vaccine was only effective for an undefined “a few years”, and yet, all my searches yielded rather long effectiveness of vaccinia vaccine ([...]). The author seems to choose references that would suit her argument but ignore those that contradict hers.

        2) Totally biased. I guess I can’t really blame her for writing a book titled “Vaccine Illusions” and only criticize the efficacy of vaccines, but what I have a problem with is her disguising this book as a scientific book that can be used to educate parents who are trying to make vaccine choices. No, this book is for those who have already made up their mind to not vaccinate their children and are looking for validation for such a decision from somebody that can be perceived as “credible”. This book has never given any figures on the widely available data from WHO on the amount of deaths for each vaccine preventable diseases before and after each vaccine campaign. Nor did she ever mention the frequencies of disease outbreaks among those who are vaccinated vs those who are not. Yet, she raises questions that seems legit to the untrained eyes, but totally idiotic to those who studies immunology. For example, she mentioned that tetanus toxoid acts in the CNS, mentioned that antibodies can not cross blood brain barrier, then asked seemingly intelligently:”Then how does antibodies protect you from the toxin?” Any Stanford trained immunologist would sure know that antibodies constantly circulating your blood would prevent any toxin from ever getting to the brain from your infection site. Questions like this makes me believe that the author was intentionally deceiving her audience. Another example, she mentioned original antigenic sin, and attribute flu vaccination as a culprit. However, she did not mention that original antigenic sin was first discover not with vaccination, but rather actual viral infection with similar viruses. And since the author knows quite well that actual virus infection leaves with stronger memory immunity, and as she claims vaccination is not effective for a few years, one could easily argue that getting the flu would leave you way more susceptible to original antigenic sin than getting the vaccine itself.

        3) Raise questions about vaccine that she knows that can not be answered the way she wanted, and use that to discredit all vaccine studies. For instance, one of her problems with vaccine is that it’s efficacy is not directly tested with a real infection. She knows that no human trials where people are given the actual virus/bacteria will ever be approved. Yet, she takes in no consideration of the very low mortality rate directly due to any diseases in countries that have vaccine programs versus the high rate in countries that do not have vaccine programs, or even historical data in the same country.
        4) Make vaccine immunity as your only line of defense so that it better be perfect or you are screwed. The most widely mistaken fact about vaccine is that it has to protect a person from ever getting infected. Vaccine would rarely prevent you from being infected, in most cases, it buys you enough time so your own immune system would keep the infection under control so that you would show no symptoms of infection; in some cases, you still show symptoms but less severe; and if the vaccine is a good one, you would rarely have full symptoms. Vaccine safety is a huge issue for vaccine producers, and CDC takes it very seriously, and there is a national vaccine safety hotline for each vaccine. Therefore vaccines should be viewed more as an extra safety net to lessen the assault of an infection on your own immune system. Some of the questions author raised is legit, such as reduced amount of antibodies in breast milk of mothers who are vaccinated vs those who had the disease. However, author did not mention that without vaccines, some people never got a chance to become mothers.

        • It is hard to believe you have any background in immunology. Even a beginner knows protection from Jenner’s vaccine waned rather quickly. Additionally ineffective vaccine was often used since it was derived rom infected people or animals or from dried scabs Also utilizing the correct procedure was important and that was often not done since many non professionals gave these primative vaccines. You really should have some understanding of this topic before you spam a blog with your juvenile comments

          Before smallpox was eradicated, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended that international travelers to nonendemic countries should be revaccinated every five to 10 years and travelers to endemic countries should be revaccinated every three years. Lab workers in diagnostic facilities and others more likely to be exposed to the smallpox virus were advised to be vaccinated once a year.

        • Diane says:

          **Applause**

    2. Rachel says:

      So sorry for all the nasty comments this post is getting on Facebook! I think your review was pretty neutral and I love finding all the information I can on both sides of a topic. People really seem to lash out (on this topic especially) out of fear, I hope you don’t take them personally. Just keep doing what you do, you’re great at it :)

      • Heather says:

        Thank you, Rachel. It is such a difficult topic to discuss, but one I believe can really benefit from respectful discussion. Some of the comments are hard to read, so it’s nice to “see” a friendly face out there. Hope you have a wonderful night!

        • Heather thank you for sharing this, and I want to also encourage you to keep posting. I honestly don’t have the *** to post about vaccines because I can’t handle the way people act online in comments. WHY can’t people have rational discussions?? They have to spew nasty abusive insults to people to silence them from sharing information that seriously affects the health of our children! And you didn’t even really post an opinion piece here, just a direction toward a book! Well thank you from someone who fully supports you and THANKS YOU for sharing this resource!

    3. Raquel says:

      So sad to read this on your blog. There are two groups of people right now who persist in an antediluvian campaign against vaccination: the Taliban and other extremely illiterate, extremely religious Muslims in Pakistan, Afghanistan and the other group, pseudo-intellectual Western liberal mothers. Both are wrong because both stand against proven, established science.

      The exact same kind of science that tells us that about climate change. The same mechanisms, the same principles, the same experimental foundations… but whereas the pseudo-intellectual Western liberal mother would never dream of contesting climatologists consensus on climate change, they are all too ready to believe in the hocus-pocus of anti-vaccine “experts”.

      Sigh…

      • Karen says:

        Did you even read her blog? She didn’t come out either way, she simply gave an objective review of the book. And if you take the time to research it, there is no ‘proven, established science’ to support vaccinations. Complacency is the enemy here. Good for her for reading and writing about what she read.

        • Raquel says:

          Hi Karen,
          as much as some may like to believe there isn’t proven science behind vaccines, this is not true. There is. We have a mountain of evidence.

          But fortunately simply not believing something doesn’t change reality. You can stop believing in gravity but an apple will still drop to the ground if you let it go.

          This expert is no expert at all. The problem is that you need to know as much as she does or more in order to see that. For all the others, like yourself, it is all too easy to be impressed by the fact that she took some medical courses at university.

          Believe it or not, there are medical doctors out there that do not believe in evolution. That doesn’t mean they are right and the vast mountain of evidence for evolution is wrong.

          The same goes for any area of science like climate change. I’ve shared the review of the book by another immunologist who also happens to be a mother of two. She points out in detail why the book is riddled with errors.

      • Fiona says:

        Hello, Raquel

        I think one of the better ways to look at the “science” argument is to see who is the most vociferous in the argument against it.

        Who are the loudest voices against climate change? Big business in the form of oil companies, power companies and other big businesses who benefit from the status quo but who would lose money if anything where actually done about climate change.

        Who are the loudest voices arguing against labelling GMOs? Monsanto, Syngentia and other pharmaceutical companies who say the science is sound but won’t release the raw data so that independent scientists can look at it, or consent to labelling GM.

        Who are the loudest voices against the anti vaccination contingent? Pharmaceutical companies and their representatives in Parliament (in the UK) and congress in the US.

        If vaccines were safe and effective, frankly, no one would care one way or the other. Vaccinated children would be healthy, those who didn’t get them wouldn’t and the argument would be already won. Modern vaccines are neither safe nor effective. They take immunity out of the natural system it was designed to serve and puts it in the hands of those who would become rich from designing a chemical system that not only doesn’t work, but also does harm to the children exposed to it – or at least a significant proportion of them.

        Sorry, Heather – I’m doing it again. Quiet now.

        • Raquel says:

          Fiona,
          Yes, I have heard these conspiracy theories again and again. Truth is there are thousands of scientists, immunologists, family doctors, etc. who have ‘no skin’ in the game financially.

          The same type of conspiracy claims are leveled against climatologists who tell us about the dangers of what we are doing to earth. Don’t believe me?
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climatic_Research_Unit_email_controversy

          What fascinates me is that here we have normal people who, on an average day, have no problem accepting and relying on professional opinions and expertise. Whether it be your car mechanic, your butcher, your town’s water safety management, medical doctor’s prescription, etc.

          But when it comes to vaccines… oh boy! suddenly parents who didn’t even take biology 101 are freakin’ world class expert immunologists!!

          We never go around saying, I know better than the engineer who built that bridge so I’m not going to drive over it. But when it comes to something even more complex, we suddenly “know better”.

          More specifically, this anti-vaccine “expert” cited here provides no real evidence or real information except misinformation. But here’s the tricky part, no one here has the requisite knowledge to be able to distinguish this fact.

          Because for you to be able to objectively measure and analyse what she is saying requires that you have at least an equal level of education (or preferably higher) to be able to see where she makes mistakes or overlooks vital information.

          What is actually happening is that you have already formed an opinion and are overjoyed to learn that someone who is an “expert” can now confirm your previously held belief and make you feel really fuzzy and warm inside and give you what you lacked before… a heady sense of intellectual superiority and almost hidden arrogance.

          Just look at the first comment on here!

          “It will be nice to have a reference like this to tell people about that are uneducated!”

          • I think you confuse conflict of interest with conspiracy theory. You should look up the definitions of both

          • Fiona says:

            Hi Raquel

            My, you’ve had a busy morning here :)

            Conspiracy theories: the thing about conspiracy theories is that they’re not always wrong. A particularly good example is the swine flu pandemic – remember that? After the swine flu pandemic, when the World Health Organisation was persuaded to declare a pandemic, resulting in huge stockpiles of Tamiflu around the world, the WHO released a report indicating that various pharmaceutical companies had had a huge influence on the declaration of pandemic (making dramatic profits in the process) and suggesting that this shouldn’t be allowed to happen in the future. Equally, the Council of Europe proposed this motion: http://www2.wodarg.de/uploads/edoc12110.pdf – suggesting the same thing as the WHO. It’s an interesting read and I’d recommend you study it closely.

            Personally, I prefer to read published studies and official documents, rather than rely on Wikipedia for my information. Reading studies is a bit of a learning curve, as I’m sure you appreciate, but worth the effort in order to get accurate information. Authors of studies can also be researched in order to discover any ties to pharmaceutical companies. You’d be surprised how much information there is out there.

            Further down this thread you have very clearly set out the difference between vaccines and immunisations. That’s an extremely useful bit of information for the readers of this blog – and everyone else who is deciding whether or not to vaccinate their children:

            Vaccines are not built to prevent the disease they are aimed at; immunisations are.

            Most health professionals use the two terms interchangeably, which is, I think, where most of the confusion comes from in this area. Thanks for that – it’s a useful method to distinguish one from the other and to help parents ask the right questions and understand the answers they get from their health providers.

            My understanding of the difference is why my own children had immunisations (polio, diphtheria, TB and Tetanus) but not vaccinations. Vaccinations are not designed to immunise, but, in fact, only reduce the effectiveness of the full disease, resulting in immature immune systems failing to draw the full benefit from having contracted the childhood disease. Immunisations are designed to stop them getting the disease – and dying from it! – in the first place.

            So. My argument, just to be clear, is not an “all or nothing” approach, but a careful choice of which to have and which to pass.

            PS. I have finally found a car mechanic I can trust – not easy, but it can be done.
            I am happy to take prescriptions from my doctor on the odd occasions when I visit – she has targets to hit, after all. But don’t generally fill them.
            Butchers: yes, well, I am very careful with my butcher – took a while to find one that supplies grass fed meat. Not perfect, but at least I can recognise the animal it came from.
            Water safety management: I have a water filter – don’t you?

          • Heather says:

            Raquel, you said “More specifically, this anti-vaccine “expert” cited here provides no real evidence or real information except misinformation.”

            Did you draw this conclusion after reading the book or just reading my review? My review was not intended to provide “evidence,” only to describe what the book is about.

            Also, you stated “Truth is there are thousands of scientists, immunologists, family doctors, etc. who have ‘no skin’ in the game financially.”

            I agree, many don’t! However, have you considered that those who helped to shape their education did indeed have skin in the game?

            “It’s not often that a place like Harvard Medical School gets an F — particularly when rivals Stanford, Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania are pulling A’s and B’s. But that’s what happened recently when the members of the increasingly influential — and increasingly noisy — American Medical Student Association (AMSA) decided to grade 150 med schools on just how much money and gifts they’re collecting from drug companies. The more goodies a school is vacuuming up from the industry, the worse its grade.

            There’s always been reason to worry about the influence of Big Pharma on the practice of medicine. When doctors are being lavished with meals and speaking fees by the likes of Pfizer and Merck, can you really trust them when they later write prescriptions for those companies’ drugs? Medical schools were long considered above such vulgar stuff. Now, however, it turns out that many professors and instructors are, legally, on the dole as well, and students are beginning to worry that what they’re being taught is just as one-sided as what patients are being prescribed. ”

            Source: TIME Magazine: Is Drug-Company Money Tainting Medical Education? http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1883449,00.html

      • Kirk says:

        So sad to read this comment on this blog. I’m neither an illiterate religious extremist, nor a pseudo-intellectual (or a liberal, or a mother), just a passionate father and avid researcher that has spent many, many hours reading books and articles on both sides of the issue (and whose personal beliefs are informed by the knowledge I seek out). You could just be willing to read this book by a credentialed immunologist even if it doesn’t conform to your current beliefs.

        • Raquel says:

          Hi Kirk,
          it isn’t about “beliefs” – this tell tale word gives away the mistake you are making. Jenny McCarthy “believes” that vaccines are bad and give kids autism.
          Never mind that there is no evidence at all for this! Who the heck needs evidence when you have “belief”.
          Vaccines are about science. Proven science. When something is established fact, there are no “two sides”. Just one that is correct and another that was proven wrong.

          • Anna says:

            An FDA report from 2005 titled “Diphtheria and Tetanus Toxoids and Acellular Pertussis Vaccine Adsorbed Tripedia” outlines a number of adverse events reported during post-approval use of the Tripedia vaccine, and one of them is autism. Page 11, paragraph 3: . http://www.fda.gov/downloads/biologicsbloodvaccines/vaccines/approvedproducts/ucm101580.pdf

            Also, “Tripedia vaccine has not been evaluated for its carcinogenic or mutagenic potentials or impairment of fertility.” (p. 6, par. 10) Why not?

            • Diane says:

              Package inserts must include all REPORTED effects, from the patient, even if they are not verified or actually diagnosed by the physician. This is so that all the data has been reported and collected for consumers, but it doesn’t mean that it was an actual side effect. You might also look at frequency data – what percent of patients reported that was it 1 person? Additional data about verified adverse effects can be found on the hrsa website http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/statisticsreport.pdf – the incidence of all adverse effects was 0.000625% from 2006-2012. It was 0.000141% for DTaP.

      • melanie says:

        It is sad that many parents unknowingly allow their children to be used as vaccine science experiments. Raquel, you might want to do a little more research on that “proven, established science” regarding vaccines that you are standing behind. Established it may be, but proven beneficial it is not. Give the truth a chance.
        And climate change is a crock too.

      • Luke says:

        Nice appeal to authority.

        All scientists agree with climate change and vaccines…except for the ones that don’t.

        • Raquel says:

          Hi Luke, this isn’t an appeal to authority, but rather somewhere you have to draw the line and have an established consensus.

          Even after the heliocentric model of the universe was ‘consensus’ among astronomers, there were many who insisted on stamping their feet and holding tight to the geocentric model.

          The same can be said for many, many of the great scientific issues. They are put to bed by the scientific community as a consensus is built around it after grueling clash of ideas, experiments, studies, results, competing theories, etc.. But that doesn’t mean that ignoramus, cranks, conspiracy nuts and others won’t cling to their version for dear life.

          • Heather says:

            “Established consensus” is not always right. For example, bloodletting was considered by the established consensus to be beneficial for cancer and indigestion, when in fact it is not.

            In the end the “ignoramus, cranks” and “conspiracy nuts” turned out to be right, and bloodletting was gradually abandoned.

            • Diane says:

              Established consensus is not always right. People should scrutinize, question, and be skeptics – that’s what the scientific method is all about.

              So, when there are anecdotes and interesting case studies out there relayed by parents, those represent the first step of the scientific process – observation. After that, we form hypotheses and do lots of experiments. After lots of scientists do lots of experiments and get the same results and can predict the results of new experiments, there is consensus and a policy or practice is developed.

              At the moment, the overwhelming consensus is that vaccines are safe and effective. Right now, every accredited medical school in the US, Red Cross, UNICEF, WHO, Drs. Without Borders, The National Academy of Sciences, NIH, Autism Speaks, The Gates Foundation, The Clinton-Bush Fund, the Carter Foundation, and the Catholic Church not only believe in, but promote vaccinations around the world. A whole bunch of scientists got together and published a book to clarify that consensus – you should read this one, too. It’s free: http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=13563

              In the meantime, the anti-vaccination movement is caught up in observation. Once you have those experiments, and a lot of people can get the same results with good predictive value, you can change the consensus. Until then, it’s just not science and it can’t be policy.

      • Alice says:

        I don’t believe in climate change and my children are vaccine free. I think I would call myself open-minded, well-read and thoughtful about all sorts of areas of life. If you choose to call me an illiterate, Taliban, hippy pseudo-intellectual then I’m ‘out’ and I’m PROUD!

    4. Fiona says:

      Good post, Heather – *love* the idea of children being “weaponized” (not!). The point is that if modern vaccinations worked, how could not vaccinating your children be a problem to the ones that are?

      When I was a kid, childhood illnesses (measles, mumps, what we used to call “german measles”, chicken pox etc) weren’t anything more than a nuisance. When one of the local kids got whatever it was, the mum would invite all their friends to a [whatever] party, so that all the local children could get it over with all at the same time. People used to know how to deal with these illnesses.

      The reason governments and health authorities can intimidate parents into vaccinating is that people have forgotten how to look after their children when they’re sick. They’re afraid of illness, rather than welcoming the challenge to their children’s immune systems that bring benefits in later life. In the old days, grannies could look at a school playground and pick out the ones who hadn’t had measles by the fact that those kids had allergies, or things like asthma or excema. These days, kids are getting the vaccination, which doesn’t challenge the immune system, resulting in said immune system not recognising what belongs and what doesn’t. Auto immune conditions abound.

      Thank you for this – it’s a useful and fair minded review of a book that I hope will bring good information to parents and help them to make informed decisions.

      PS. Just so you know: my kids are vaccinated for the real killers (polio, diphtheria, TB and tetanus), but not for any of the others. They’ve all had chicken pox, one of them has had measles and all of them have had the non pc “german measles”. Oh, and one of them had swine flu and has never been sick since. Go figure.

      • sandra says:

        Fiona, you are apparently forgetting the thousands of children that couldnt walk because of [polio or the hundreds that died from measles. go to an old graveyard and see how many babies and young children had to be buried because they had no vaccines. I do agree that there are some issues with additives and the efficiacy is exaggerated but overall most vaccines are productive and helpful.

        • Fiona says:

          Sandra, apparently you didn’t read my comment fully, since I said this at the end of my post. But here it is again: my children are immunised against polio – and the others that kill.

          They are *not* vaccinated against normal childhood illnesses, any more than I am.

        • Becky says:

          Sandra, with all due respect, I believe you are forgetting about the routine childhood tonsillectomies that made kids susceptible to polio. Have you ever wondered why they abandoned that practice? It’s an interesting research topic!

          • Raquel says:

            wait… are you really suggesting that the abandonment of childhood tonsillectomies, not Salk’s vaccine removed the scourge of polio? or am I reading you wrong?

            • Luke says:

              Actually, tonsillectomies have been implicated in the polio epidemic of the first half of the twentieth century. Even the pro-vaccine Mayo Clinic recognizes this. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/polio/basics/risk-factors/con-20030957

              I know, the nerve of someone to question your point of view. how unscientific.

            • You do realize removal of tonsils was a cause of polio? Or am I reading this wrong? You do know polio was down about 50% before widespread use of the vaccine, right? And you do know vaccines were another cause of polio, right? And you. And you do know they started using a more restrictive definition of polio just as the vaccine was being rolled out making a diagnosis less likely. You seem to know very little about this subject.

          • melanie says:

            true! polio used to be like a summer flu. most folks didn’t even know they had it. it didn’t kill people until after the introduction of the DTP shot. there is some research that points to a link between these 2 events. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1538150

            • Fiona says:

              Not quite, Melanie

              Polio epidemics killed thousands of children every time they arose, with those who survived often left with limb weakness and debilitation for the rest of their lives. Children walking with calipers on their lower legs were a frequent site, even when I was growing up in the 50s.

              The polio immunisation was a miracle, which saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

              An open mind is a useful prerequisite to learning … but be careful to make sure your brain doesn’t fall out …

            • Diane says:

              Most people infected with polio do not have symptoms (95%), but about 2% of people end up with meningitis or paralysis. In 1952, that amounted to 21,000 children. The first vaccine was developed in 1952 and was given to children in 1954. That clinical trial expanded in 1955. So, plenty of children were paralyzed by polio before the vaccine was introduced, and the frequency of paralysis has not changed since the introduction of the vaccine.
              http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/polio.pdf

    5. Brittany says:

      I always love getting information like this from you. You are good at researching and finding GOOD sources of helpful Information. This was no exception; it’s a great post. I look forward to reading this book soon. I’m so sick of debating (or watching others debate) this topic. It seems to be a hot button issue! But I want to be able to defend myself beyond “it’s what we feel is best for our family”.

    6. Thanks for posting this Heather! I really want to read this book!

    7. Meg says:

      Thank you for the well written book review and resource to look into. I find it very important to read educated perspectives on both sides of the vaccine issue. It boggles my mind why adults can not discuss this issue with respect and without such hatred and judgment. Maybe the problem is those acting with disrespect and disdain for any view contrary to their own have not researched both sides, or researched much at all. If they were truly content and confident in their own decision then they wouldn’t have to lash out at others. Keep doing what you are doing Heather!

    8. Susan says:

      Our Chiropractor has never vaccinated any of their 6 kids and they are all very healthy! He always told his patients “Don’t ever get the flu vaccine and not to give children the flu mist either”!
      This family in our neigborhood went thru a long struggle to get their little boy back to normal after he was vaccinated. It’s scary to see how vaccines can do so much damage.
      Thank you for posting this info and I hope that you and others will read about Reagan.

      http://thestradtnerfamily.com/findingournewnormal/

    9. shelly says:

      Great article!!! Very well said and thank you for giving this new reference on this very touchy, but misunderstood subject.

    10. Belinda says:

      Thank you so much for writing a post on this, especially during a time when there is lots of negatively out in the media and among Americans about non-vaccination. I have done *countless* hours of research on this topic, on all sides of the issue, simply trying to weigh the pros and cons of vaccination. I think what finally convinced me were two things:
      1. You can always decide to go ahead and vaccinate, but you can never undo it. So we waited, now our daughter is 2, and we continue to “wait”.
      2. Vaccination is not immunity. They are two entirely different things that people now interchangeably. Once I understood this, I decided what I would really want for my daughter in terms of survival and health, is immunity.

    11. Mindy says:

      Thank you for sharing this review! Parents should research the ingredients listed in each vaccination and ask themselves, “Am I willing to digest these ingredients? If not, why inject them into the precious bodies of those I love?” Why are there so many pro vaccination supporters angry about MY freedom to not vaccinate? My family=My choice! Quit being vaccination bullies!

    12. Becky says:

      Look forward to reading it! Keep up the good work! :)

    13. Heather, I totally respect that you reviewed a book that would inspire such a debate. It takes courage to share such contraversial topics, and introduce them into the public sphere. As a clinical practitioner (with a degree in human sciences) I will be honest and say I’ve seen it all in the 15 years I’ve been in practice: kids who have had adverse reactions to vaccines, kids who developed severe neuro-and motor skill problems after vaccinations, one child who died after vaccination – and then kids who had no reaction at all.. I am humbled by this topic, and have come to appreciate it’s not black and white. I think it’s denialism to say that all science is good science, close our eyes and trust “Science” while we go ahead and vaccinate our children. I’ll never forget what one of my Prof’s (an MD) said to to us one day in immunology – Science is not black and white. What “science” knows today about the immune system can, and likely will, radically change within 5 years. Just look at the history of medicine – there are medical practices even 50 years ago that were practiced loud and proud that today would be considered dangerous and barbaric. There’s a lot of grey when it comes to health sciences. Just think about all the new information that’s published annually in peer-reviewed journals.

    14. Abby says:

      Well said, Seraphina! I am a Registered Nurse, and I couldn’t agree more. I used to have to administer Hep B vaccines to newborns within the first few hours of life as well as hold down baby boys for a circumcision. I no longer work in OB because I so strongly disagreed with these practices. I think the real issue lies in the fact that the average young parents aren’t educated, and are very much pressured to pump every single vaccine into their kid before age 5. Science really is a grey area and I am constantly having to update the lastest preventative screenings, CDC recommendations, nutrition advice (although I have to bite my tongue half the time from saying just stop eating commercial grains!) and the medical information is constantly changing.
      I vaccinated our children with a very heavy heart because homeschooling is not an option to us. I also could not get past the fear of the “what ifs” that has been drilled into my brain from my education and profession. I also had two girls and I might have resisted if I had boys and there was a history of autism in our family.
      People’s opinions are probably not going to change too much after reading this book, but I appreciate that there is additional information to help educate new parents or at least get them to consider some different research that is out there.

    15. Angie says:

      Reading the comments, I can’t help mentioning that online PR campaigns are real–people are paid to make disagreeable comments online, especially about controversial things that might cut out some corporate profits. I can’t help wondering if “Raquel” is one of these.

    16. Jessica says:

      just wondering what your take is on this and other stories like it, that are apparently becoming more and more common.

      http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/21a0si/iama_58_year_old_woman_who_contracted_polio/

    17. Helen says:

      Thanks for sharing, I read the book following your review and it definitely made me think twice about further vaccinating my son. I had heard of the link between some vaccines and autism but never the idea that they might be connected with the rise in allergies. If anyone has any recommendations for further reading on the subject (something you have read that really informed your choice) I would much appreciate them.

    18. Paula says:

      For sometime I thought I wasnt going to vaccinate my kids, but sadly, i met three different families last year that lost a child due to this ” non vaccine” hype. That changed my mind. After all, my parents did vaccinated me as a child and i turned perfectly healthy.

      • Paula, where in the world did you meet three families in one general area that died from “vaccine-preventable” disease that weren’t vaccinated. I never read or saw this in any news or medical outlet. I’m sincerely interested to know.

        • Paula says:

          Just to mention one case , goggle blanca vicuna ardohain. Her mom is an aquaintace and neighbor of mine. Her daughter had a complication from flu and ended in haemorragic pneumonia

          • Fiona says:

            Paula, I don’t speak spanish. However, I did find a facebook page about a little girl with that name who seems to have died at age 6 in 2013. So very sad – she looks like a very sweet little girl.
            This was in a country in the southern American continent. There is no mention of the parents beating themselves up about not having had her vaccinated (which would be expected, if they had chosen to not have the child vaccinated and she had died as a result). I wonder if vaccination programs are even available in whatever that country is.

            In fact, I think perhaps you have chosen this little girl at random to somehow “prove” your point.

            If so, that is a really unpleasant action, Paula and you should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself.

          • Yes, Paula, I have to agree with Fiona…I’m scratching my head a bit right now about your comment. This couple (the parents) are a very famous south American couple- dad is an actor from Chile, and mom is an actress from Argentina. Are you their neighbor? Do you live in South America? Hemorrhagic pneumonia as a complication of influenza is as rare as it can possibly get. Getting “regular” pneumonia from influenza is rare as it is, but that is typically treatable. While I don’t dismiss diseases occurring in other countries since we live in a world where people travel and can bring “bugs” to any country from any country, I have to say that this is the worst possible argument you could give for American families trying to decide between the risks of getting vaccines and the (much smaller) risk of fatal complications from contracting “vaccine-preventable” diseases. I would ask what your other two examples of people are, but even if you are truly friends with these celebrities and living in South America, is a very poor argument for me personally, living in the USA. Also, in case you are not being truthful, please know (all you vaccine pushers who troll the comment sections on posts like this across the Internet) that most of the people participating in the “vaccine conversation” are very aware of your presence, your bad science, your insults and your lies, and we can figure out who you are very quickly.

            • Paula says:

              I do know personally this couple. They are from Argentina where the vaccination plan is exactly the same as USA. The girl got sick during a trip to Mexico. And like I said, I know her personally, so I know the inside and details of the story.
              Im not a vaccine pusher, in fact I said I wasn’t going to vaccinate at first and then I did. I am also scared of vaccines and may have some doubts, but again, I had to weight risks vs benefits. I did a modified vaccine schedule for my baby were he only gets one vaccine at the time in order to not to overload his immune system. He doesn’t get the flu, neither do I since many years ago because we divide the year living in three different countries (France, Argentina and USA), so I am never around flu season.
              I am not going to bring any other name for you to bash it, the other people I know are not famous, I only mentioned that one so you can believe me. Vaccines not only prevent life threatening diseases, they can avoid secondary effects too….my grandfather got blind from shingles (a remaining virus from chicken pox. I got shingles myself too and is nothing fun to have.
              I am not a troll and I am not attacking anybody, the only one who attacked and accused is you (and threatened!), I just said my point of view, as you said yours, so that is it. I don’t intend to change anyones mind.
              PS: Please don’t respond to my comment, . You can rest assured that I’ll never back here.

    19. Heather says:

      Paula, I doubt you will see this but I want to thank you for your comment. I believe you are sincere and I’m very sad to hear about your grandfather. One thing you may want to consider, however, is that the chicken pox vaccine may be the very thing that is driving the “shingles epidemic” in older people. I wrote a post exploring why that may the case here: http://www.mommypotamus.com/pox-parties-proven-immunization-or-russian-roulette/

      Wishing you all the best. Splitting your time between three countries every year sounds lovely!

      • Paula, I agree, and please forgive me. I do hope you see this comment and return because Heather does a great job here! Your situation was very unusual, but I did make it clear that you were either being truthful and you have a very rare situation, or possibly not (and that would create reason for my response). I’ve seen people comment like that before- share a big news story to try to scare other people. There are many horrible people out there who are actually hired by companies to troll websites and leave insulting and argumentative comments. I personally deal with this on my own website and it is a challenging battle to fight. This is a sensitive subject and it is important for people to share their opinions and views no matter what they are. I had to question you because this is a serious topic for me and it would be pertinent information to know if 3 children had died in my country (USA) from “vaccine preventable” disease in a local area. That may even influence my own vaccine choices, so I do appreciate you sharing your experience. The fact that you live in multiple countries is reason to question the decision not to vaccinate at all…I know I would.

    20. merle says:

      A few things:

      As an expectant mom – I am SO CONFUSED. Do I vaccinate? Not? The answer is not black and white. I do not WANT to vaccinate.

      Some kids, I believe, are predisposed to react poorly to vaccination. ie., after 2 miscarriages, I found out I have MTHFR – a gene mutation that affects how my body detoxifies, uptakes B-vitamins and a host of other issues. After supplementing wisely, I’m due in June. Making BLANKET statements about ALL children, I believe is misinformed. We are all so unique.

      Also, why do they need so many “inactive” inert toxins in vaccines? Why aren’t they all mercury-free? Do you know, I needed to supplement my early pregnancy with baby aspirin (again, MTHFR) and I COULD NOT find a “clean” baby aspirin. Between aspartame, food dyes and shellac (!!), they all had unnecessary additives. Let’s use our efforts to clean up the vaccines, at a minimum!!

      I really wish there were clear answers. It’s sad in such a developed world we can’t just do what’s right. I’m scared and sad to bring my child into this chaos.

    21. Diane says:

      I would just like to mention that Heather deserves some commendation for allowing comments that oppose her point of view. Many people with her perspective edit and delete comments, and I’m happy to see someone open to information and discussion, even when it doesn’t meet with her point of view.

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