Pediatricians have employed a strategy of late to discourage parents deferring vaccinations. The strategy is this: Fire these parents and children from their practices for balking at the increasingly crowded vaccine schedule. As much as the American Academy of Pediatrics might posture more politely about this when in the spot light, there is no shortage of anecdotes from frustrated, frightened parents who simply want safe vaccinations as much as they want safe cars, safe strollers, safe high chairs, and safe water for their kids to drink. Why are vaccinations different? Why the strong arm tactics? Why do we need to force vaccination on anybody, if it is so assuredly safe and effective?
The reason is that vaccines are not so assuredly safe, and not so effective – and parents are wising up. Our government has quietly spent roughly two billion dollars since 1988 compensating families with the mettle to navigate the system for a claim – that’s just for the one out of three claimants who succeed. And in spite of vaccination rates at 90-100% in most the US, we have regular outbreaks of pertussis, measles, mumps, and chickenpox. Pertussis circulates at high levels now, just as it did prior to vaccination for it. Flu vaccines continue to lose traction as more studies describe how ineffective they are. Investigation into long term effects of using so many vaccines continue to yield chilling findings. With ingredients like formaldehyde, aluminum, mercury, genetically recombined microbes, nut adjuvants, and human and animal tissues, what thinking parent wouldn’t balk?
Here’s a twist: If your pediatrician is so very confident that all vaccinations are safe all the time, and that their benefits truly outweigh risks for your child – not for the population as a whole, not for the CDC, but for your child – then get his signature on this statement below. Let your pediatrician assume the risk, not your child. If the unthinkable happens and your child is injured, you can at least collect from your pediatrician while you wait the average two years to navigate the government’s claim process. Good luck -it took my son’s case nine years just to reach the docket.
Right now, families and children shoulder all the risk. Government health officials, vaccine academics, and many pediatricians disregard this plight, and would sooner abandon you and your child than support your quest for your family’s good health. Because of the 1986 legislation that freed doctors and vaccine manufacturers of any liability, your pediatrician has been kept mostly unaware of what vaccine injuries are, how they look, what life is like for the injured, or who pays for it all. In fact, they are so detached from this issue, there is no treatment offered for a vaccine injury, other than standard emergency care. The ensuing chronic disease (epilepsy, diabetes, allergy, asthma, conduct disorders, autoimmune diseases, mitochondrial disorders, autism) and long term disability become a parent’s burden alone, in terms of coordinating effective treatments to help a child, and paying for them. There is not only no support for these families in our health care system, there is scorn for them, should a parent say aloud that a vaccination caused the child’s injury or condition. If your pediatrician is of a mind to fire you for having legitimate concerns, you might be better off working with a naturopathic doctor, a family nurse practitioner, or a family medicine doctor, who are under less pressure to meet vaccination quotas.
I will wager that no pediatrician would unhesitatingly sign this form. Would your doctor place his or her own life on the line by signing this, rather than your child’s? Doubtful. But the point is that this places the risk where it should be: On the provider and the manufacturer, not on your baby. Our claim system has not served the injured fairly, and it has given physicians a false notion of safety about vaccination. For a printer-friendly version of this statement, click here.
Assumption of Liability for Vaccinations
Vaccinations are a standard of pediatric practice and I, ______________________________________________________________MD, wholeheartedly encourage and support their use to the fullest as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. Vaccinations also routinely cause injuries and deaths, as acknowledged by the FDA via the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), and the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Vaccine Court system via the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP).
I have fully informed my patient / patient’s caregiver / patient’s parent of VAERS and NVICP. I have given my patient / patient’s caregiver / patient’s parent a VAERS reporting form. We have discussed that VAERS exists to record incidents of vaccine deaths, injuries, and adverse events; that VAERS contains many tens of thousands of such reports for all vaccines; that I as the administering physician am obligated to report these via procedures set by the FDA; that any parent may submit a report to VAERS; that VAERS is a passive system that does not likely capture all adverse events, injuries, and deaths from vaccinations; that NVICP may require claimants to wait years to win compensation; that two thirds of claimants do not succeed; that claimants in NVICP must engage their own legal assistance at their own expense; that claims are not heard by a jury of peers in the regular courts but are reviewed by Special Masters appointed exclusively to the closed and separate court system known as “Vaccine Court”; that this Court was created by the National Vaccine Injury Act of 1986; that as of July 2008, this Court had awarded nearly two billion dollars in compensatory damages to persons injured/maimed/killed by vaccinations.
I have also fully informed my patient/ patient caregiver / patient parent that in case of any injury, adverse reaction, or death sustained as a result of the vaccinations administered at my behest and/or by myself or any of my staff, I hereby make myself personally and fully accountable for any and all costs, losses, and needs associated with said injury, adverse reaction, or death, for the lifetime of the victim, including but not limited to costs of any and all medical care, health care, equipment, rehabilitative occupational/physical/speech or other therapies, attorney’s fees for protection of free and appropriate education (FAPE) as specified under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or other civil rights, educational/remedial/tutoring costs, costs of child care, respite care, in home nursing care, long term care, or residential and custodial care, or any costs for any items, care, equipment, travel, loss of income, pain and suffering, or housing associated with this injury, adverse event, or death resulting from vaccination(s) administered by me, by my staff, or at my behest.
I, ________________________________________________ MD, hereby accept all financial, custodial, and medical responsibility and liability, as described above, for any and all short or long term adverse event, reaction, illness, injury, disability or death that may be caused by vaccination(s), which I have administered to my patient ________________________________________________________________ on this day ____________________________
Signature of patient/patient’s parent/patient’s guardian
How was your child’s school physical, did you talk about upcoming flu season and how to use nutrition and food to stay healthy?
Probably not, but you likely were encouraged to get a flu shot for your child, even though they have a fairly poor record of success. Plenty of not so subtle efforts are afoot to pit parent against parent and doctor against parent, sadly. Increasingly, parents come to my office with anxiety over pressure felt socially, at school, and in the doctor’s office to “just do it” – vaccinate to the CDC’s specs – regardless of a family member’s medical needs, history, ethical or efficacy questions, or existing laws that protect choice.
How bad can it be? Well, it has gotten grim. In Africa, a report has been made of children have been vaccinated at gunpoint. In 2007, Maryland schoolchildren were rounded up into a courthouse and forcibly vaccinated under watchful eyes of armed officers and police dogs. And in 2011, a Chicago mother was held in a gunpoint stand off with police after she refused to continue Risperdal for her daughter, a medication that the girl tolerated poorly.
School physicals are where the pressure may be at its worst. Many parents believe if they don’t vaccinate their children, school access is denied – a fallacy not upheld by existing laws nationwide. Most states have exemptions to permit individual needs around vaccination. Your child can go to school without following the CDC vaccine schedule, in most states. This may not be easy, but your child’s health and safety are too precious to risk, if any possibility exists that a vaccine may trigger a reaction – which I have witnessed many times, in my twenty odd years in pediatric nutrition practice.
There are many reasons to individualize vaccination schedules, like any other medical treatment. Some children have allergies to ingredients in shots (click here for vaccine ingredients, and here for information on traces of nuts in vaccines), or family history of adverse reaction. Every parent should know the eight questions to ask before giving any vaccine to a child.
Manage the pressure at your child’s next physical by presenting some of the information below. If your doctor won’t discuss it, consider finding a pediatrician who respects your concerns. A naturopathic doctor or osteopath are often informed on options beyond vaccines for preventing and treating infectious diseases, such as how to use food, nutrition, and herbal tools to support the immune system. Chapter 6 of this book explains how to find different types of providers; another chapter explains how to use nutrition to stay healthy and avoid infections. Here are points to discuss with your child’s health care provider:
(1) Vaccinations can spread disease. They are supposed to prevent disease, but disease transmission from vaccines has been repeatedly documented. If your child just started school and just got sick, proximity to newly vaccinated peers may be a factor. Here are examples:
– Flumist vaccination showed a 2.5% rate of transmission from recently vaccinated to unvaccinated persons. Meanwhile, getting no vaccine for flu at all showed only a 4% risk of flu – which means that getting this vaccine not only makes an arguably insignificant difference in protecting you from flu, it may actually spread the flu as well.
– Polio vaccine is a documented source of polio infection. According to the CDC, cases spread by polio vaccine are essentially identical to wild type cases – meaning that the “protection” from vaccine was just as dangerous as actual infection.
– Prevnar vaccine has been shown to worsen the virulence of pneumococcal bacteria strains in sputum of vaccinees – meaning that children given Prevnar can spread more virulent bacteria than unvaccinated children.
– Chickenpox (Varicella) transmission after vaccination has been documented, and is most likely if a rash develops after getting the shot. Even MedLine Plus states that vaccinated children can still get and spread chickenpox. Chickenpox outbreaks continue to occur even in highly vaccinated populations.
– In recent pertussis outbreaks, many of the infected were vaccinated. Click for another study that showed the same finding. Some speculate that vaccination has triggered a new more virulent strain. Meanwhile, pertussis continues to circulate at the same level as it did prior to use of any vaccine. Boosting preschool children with pertussis vaccine has correlated with an increase in cases in adults and teens. Pertussis vaccines (DTaP) are the most frequently reported for injuries they cause to infants.
(2) Vaccines can fail. They can fail to protect entirely, or may create a weaker, false, or transient immunity – meaning that it may be easier, not harder, for diseases to spread in vaccinated populations. Flu, pertussis, pneumococcal infections, measles, mumps, and chickenpox have occurred in highly vaccinated populations. In spite of this, health officials still believe vaccines are successful, still insist unvaccinated persons in good health spread disease, and still urge us to get vaccinated! Examples:
– A study in Canada found measles outbreaks occurring in populations with over 90% vaccine compliance but sill blamed measles cases on unvaccinated persons.
– MMR vaccine failures are documented; waning immunity to measles caused by use of MMR is a frequent concern in the medical literature. Teens vaccinated as toddlers may be especially vulnerable.
– This study in the Marshall Islands decided MMR vaccine was a success even though, once again, an outbreak occurred with high vaccination compliance. Giving extra doses of vaccine was touted as the cure for the epidemic – it may have run its natural course anyway. Poor sanitation, poor nutrition, and crowding – all known factors in disease severity and transmission – may well have caused it in the first place.
– Chickenpox (Varicella) vaccine failures are noted above. Another pitfall introduced with chickenpox vaccination is the rise in shingles, a more severe and painful infection with Varicella virus that afflicts older persons. Without frequent boosting from naturally circulating chickenpox in children, older persons may suffer waning immunity to the virus, thus becoming more susceptible to shingles.
– Some argue that when data on infectious disease are juxtaposed with timelines for when vaccines were introduced, it’s noticeable: Vaccines may not have prevented much of anything. Infectious disease may have dropped mostly due to vast improvements for hygiene, nutrition, and advent of antibiotics in the twentieth century. Some infectious diseases indeed trended downward in a dramatic way, well ahead of widespread vaccination.
(3) Vaccines don’t reliably protect the herd. The mainstream medical community believes that you have been “immunized” once you develop antibodies to a disease, and that if enough people are vaccinated, “herd immunity” kicks in – that is, there are enough people with immunity to keep an outbreak from occurring. But outbreaks are documented in highly vaccinated groups – proving that vaccines don’t reliably confer herd immunity.
Flu shots are especially encouraged for anyone with a health condition that might make them more vulnerable to infection. But this may be more wishful thinking than reality, according to a prospective cohort study of 263 children that found that “children who received flu vaccine had three times the risk of hospitalization, compared to children who had not received the vaccine.” For children with asthma, the risk was worse.
(4) Vaccines contain highly toxic and highly allergenic ingredients. Read vaccine product inserts (available on line) before you go to the doctor’s office – these are lengthy documents that you might want some time to understand. The prevailing belief is that the small amounts of toxins and allergens in vaccines are safe to inject. But would you let your child lick even a tiny amount of formaldehyde? How about mercury? Many are concerned that industry interference has kept safety standards dangerously low for vaccines, and no review had been made of the cumulative effects of repeat injections.
Children who are allergic to egg or pork may need to skip flu shots, since several brands contain these. Nut oils are a controversial ingredient that manufacturers have not had to disclose to the public, under current laws protecting proprietary formulations. Mercury remains in about half of flu vaccines brands, and other shots given to kids. MSG (monosodium glutamate) is in some vaccines, so if this is an ingredient you avoid in food, you won’t want to inject it. Vaccines may also contain formaldehyde, aluminum, genetically modified viruses, yeasts, and bacteria, along with antibiotics, human tissue components (from aborted fetal tissue), and proteins or tissue components from monkeys, chickens, pigs, and cows.
(5) Deciding to defer shots? Then it’s important to keep your child’s immune system healthy. This is where nutrition can play a starring role. Children need varied diets. They should be amenable to accepting many fruits, vegetables, protein sources, and healthy fats and oils. All of these contain nutrients essential for good immune function. If your child is a picky eater who sticks to starchy processed stuff – like Goldfish crackers, sweetened yogurt, breakfast cereal, bread, and milk – you have your work cut out for you. You may need to supplement to add protective nutrients, though foods are the best sources.
– Vitamin A’s protective effect against measles and other infectious diseases is legend in public health nutrition circles, and was recently revisited in British Medical Journal. Cod liver oil at ½ to 1 teaspoon daily is an adequate amount for children in normal nutrition status. Vitamin A rich foods (or foods with lots of vitamin A precursors) are easy to get if you have a juicer or good blender. Try tomatoes, carrots, kiwi, papaya, spinach, kale, or peaches if you’re juicing. Cooked pumpkin, yams, beets, or butternut squash are good sources if you’re cooking. A pressure cooker makes this job fast and easy; baking is easy if you can plan ahead.
– Zinc and iron keep key detox and immune proteins functioning normally. Organic grass fed beef, pork, nuts, seeds, pumpkin seeds, lentils, and spinach are good sources. If your child’s diet is void of these, have your doctor check ferritin level to see if an iron supplement is needed. Iron supplements can be poisonous, so use them only with supervision. Zinc is safe to supplement, and can be purchased in kid-friendly chewables, liquids, or teas. For children eating poor diets that lack mineral-rich foods, give 15-30 mg of zinc daily.
– Underweight children may get sick more often. If your child’s body mass index is below 13 or 14, or below the tenth percentile for his or her age, s/he may be healthier with more weight. Allow liberal servings of healthy foods and fats/oils like avocado, organic eggs, ghee (clarified butter), organic butter, olive oil, flax oil, nuts and seeds, sesame tahini, or coconut milk curries. You can check your child’s body mass index here.
– Vitamin D has an excellent track record for preventing flu and reducing incidence of complications from upper respiratory infections. Give children 1000-3000 IU daily in drops, or allow time in the sun, to get healthy doses of vitamin D.
– Remove foods that trigger wheezing, runny/stuffy nose, itchy rashes, or other signs of inflammation. Your child’s immune system will be more organized to fight true infections if allergens are off the table.
– Add a high potency probiotic – at 15 billion colony forming units (CFUs) per dose or higher. In my practice, some children do best at very high doses – up to 250 billion CFUs/day. This varies widely, but don’t give up on probiotics until you’ve tried a high potency blend for at least 2-3 months for your child. These not only improve digestion and protect the intestine from invading pathogens, they can help fight colds, reduce eczema, prevent flu, and lessen respiratory infections too. One of my favorites is Klaire Labs’ Prodegin, a high potency, soft chewable for children.
Poor outcomes happen to children from vaccines on a daily basis. In fact, the government has been compensating families for vaccine-triggered injuries and deaths for over twenty years. So before you let your children join the millions of students getting vaccinated for school, talk through these issues with family and health care providers. Find solutions that gift your child with good health.
Parents may not know about kids who have been called the “83 Canaries”. These are some of the children whose families have been quietly compensated by the US government’s Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) for their children’s vaccine injuries and deaths. Their parents are speaking out, and according to attorney Mary Holland at the Elizabeth Birth Center for Autism Law and Advocacy (EBCALA), it’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Vaccines are regarded as no less than life-granting elixirs of modern times, the dividing line between a safe and secure health trajectory for our kids, and certain death from diseases of yore. But cracks in that comfortable veneer have surely formed, giving a sense of the inevitable to what was once inconceivable. Have we tapped out the usefulness of vaccines?
Pharmaceutical industry scientist Helen Ratajczak recently spoke out – “I’m retired now. I can write what I want” – about how the MMR vaccine could in fact plausibly induce autism. CBS News recently proclaimed that the vaccine debate is far from over. Despite relentless “vaccines are safe” mantras from talking head TV doctors and government officials, parents now express more concern about vaccination than anything else at pediatric visits. In defiance of studies insisting no link exists between routine childhood vaccines and disastrous brain injuries or autism, scientists determined to be heard continue to publish findings that vaccines do cause trouble: Stuff like this retrospective that found boys were nine times more likely to end up with developmental disability when given newborn hepatitis B vaccination. Or this particularly chilling one – a prospective case controlled study in monkeys – showing the US schedule of vaccines, as is now given to our children, inducing neurological and gastrointestinal injury akin to that seen in autism, in the entire test group. Yet another chink in the vaccine armor was this analysis showing worsening infant mortality with increasing doses of vaccines.
None of these studies quibbled about mercury or aluminum, toxic heavy metals routinely added to vaccines. Both metals have checkered pasts that link them to autism and Alzheimer’s disease. Debunking efforts have stumbled here too, once the public understood that Paul Offit, poster-doc for the vaccine industry (and patent holder on vaccines himself), was touting data on kids given mercury-containing vaccines against kids given aluminum-containing vaccines. The incidence of autism in both groups was comparable – which doesn’t prove vaccines don’t cause autism, as Offit has misled millions to believe. It may simply mean that aluminum is just as potent a neurotoxin as mercury. Meanwhile, most parents (or pediatricians) don’t realize that vaccines are never tested against placebos at all. They are tested against other vaccines, an industry-friendly oddity permitted nowhere else in all of medical scientific methodology.
Adding insult to injury, one of the investigators on the CDC’s crown jewel study – commissioned to disprove the MMR-autism link – was just indicted by a federal grand jury for fraud and money laundering with funds intended for this very project. This came to light after many a harsh rebuttal to the study for its flawed methods. Last but certainly not least came the news that this study was a fix all along: E-mail communications emerged showing collusion between the CDC and study authors to obfuscate true increases in autism occurring with more mercury exposures from vaccines.
Then: In August 2014, a CDC scientist named William Thompson who reviewed data for the CDC’s “there’s no problem here” masterpiece study said this: “I’ve stopped lying.” He admitted to data manipulation, crafted a decade ago, to hide findings that autism risk more than tripled in African American boys receiving MMR vaccine on the recommended schedule.
And now this. A cluster of parents who managed to survive Vaccine Court – a little known corner of hell reserved for those whose children are injured or killed by vaccinations – have banded together to speak out. Vaccine Court is where you end up if you know enough to file a claim for a child’s vaccine injury. Since the pharmaceutical industry won itself total freedom from liability for vaccine injuries or deaths in the 1980s, and since the Supreme Court solidified this protection by removing parents’ rights to pursue civil court appeals just this year, families are left to make claims with the government when the unthinkable happens to a baby or child who is dutifully submitted for shots. Since 1986, individuals could no longer sue a pharmaceutical company or physician for an injury from a vaccination. Instead, a tax was added to the sale of each vaccine, and paid into a fund to take care of children whose families win injury claims in the vaccine court system. That is, if parents know of and pursue their rights, and if they prevail in this court system, which is not part of our usual judicial system. There are no juries, just “Special Master” judges, whose only job duty is hearing vaccine injury cases. The rules are different too – medical malpractice awards and process do not apply.
For years, at the same time we’ve heard assurances that vaccines are safe, the federal government’s Vaccine Court has quietly paid millions to families whose children suffered devastating brain injuries from routine shots. “Quiet” is the operative word here, as parent Sarah Bridges, who holds a PhD in psychology, explains: She was advised “very routinely” by her lawyer to “be careful talking about this” lest her son’s custodial funds evaporate. At risk of losing their hard won compensation, parents are now speaking out, and revealing that their children were the canaries in the coalmine. Ms. Bridges’ son for example, who is now seventeen years old, has mental retardation, epilepsy, and autism thanks to infant vaccinations, and lives in a care home wearing a diaper and a helmet thanks to the compensation program paying for it all.
This is bad news for anyone who feels unsafe without vaccines.
I don’t feel afraid without vaccines. Even with a master’s degree in public health, and years of university training in health sciences, I am relieved to see what may be a tipping point here.
Truth, ethics, and transparency have been lacking in our vaccination program. According to the this review, there is much more carnage from vaccines than we acknowledge as a society. And now it’s plain, transparency is lacking in the program that compensates our injured children too. Besides the unstoppable worries about whether vaccines are safe, we add the question: Are they really necessary? Which ones? How many? Maybe vaccines have done less than we think – and haven’t actually prevented disease much at all, as we have so enjoyed believing for almost a century.
About my training in nutrition science and practice, and public health: I noticed it sometimes fell at odds with itself. In one class I’d listen to a lecture by an epidemiologist (with a PhD) explain how fabulously successful vaccines have been in eradicating disease (I believed what I heard). In the next, I’d listen to another expert (a PhD nutritionist and registered dietitian) present how intricately connected nutrition and immune function are, especially in the first years of life. Decades of data illustrate how small shifts in a baby’s nutrition status can set up a deadly cycle of infection and more malnutrition. Plenty of pedigreed work exists to show how effective breastfeeding is at combating infectious disease exposures for infants. The stellar performance of breastfeeding for beating diarrheal diseases in infants – a top killer in the developing world – is legend in public health nutrition circles. Do we really need vaccines for this? When vaccines trigger more in chronic disease and disability than they prevent for acute infection, the risk benefit ratio has moved in the wrong direction.
Meanwhile, more integrative medicine strategies evolve every year – tools that rely less on drugs and surgery and more on whole organic foods, reduced toxins, nutraceutical strategies, or other modalities. Witness the success of vitamin D in preventing and shortening course of flu, for one small example out of hundreds, that illuminate the potential of pharmaceutical and toxin-free strategies to minimize infectious disease.
These strategies tend to be unpopular with the medical press and our government health agencies. What that means is that if the bloom is off the vaccine rose, they are going to be the last to admit it – but that’s another blog. In the meantime, be a smart health consumer for your own babies and kids. Read alternative views on vaccination, tap providers trained to engage nutrition-focused tools for healthy immune function. If you want to opt out of the vaccine schedule in whole or in part, you can
– Check your state’s mechanisms for vaccine choice by clicking here.
– Switch to a family practice physician, osteopathic doctor (DO) or a naturopath (ND), if your pediatrician is coercive about vaccines beyond your comfort level.
– Read Special Needs Kids Go Pharm-Free: Nutrition-Focused Tools To Minimize Meds and Maximize Health and Well Being, even if your kid isn’t diagnosed with a special need. See the chapter on avoiding infections, and the section on working with providers to help you through infections when they occur.