Immediately after birth, the man faces the necessity to be vaccinated. In the modern society, vaccination is universally accredited. Yet, the most careful consideration is given to the effects of vaccination by young parents when a baby is born to the family. To what extant does vaccination help to protect the child from terrible and not so terrible diseases? Or, contrariwise, can vaccination be injurious to the child’s health? Hence, parents start looking for the adequate information and meet a two-way view: some argue that vaccinations are vitally important, while others vehemently defend the opposite view of the adverse health effects of vaccinations. According to the study conducted in the UK, in order to explore the categories of concern and decision-making by parents about their children’s vaccination, the parents of both completely and incompletely vaccinated children find it difficult to make a decision about their children’s vaccination, proceeding from such factors as fear, risk, anger, worry, confusion, and mistrust of both the government and professionals (Austin, Campion-Smith, Thomas, & Ward, 2008).
One thing is clear: it is parents’ responsibility to decide upon the vaccinations of their children in the first place, and the starting point for making a decision should be the thorough study of all the arguments for and against vaccinations. Therefore, it is highly recommended that parents become familiar with vaccinations and their effects and only then, decide whether their children need to be vaccinated. In this regard, we will touch upon the arguments in favor of vaccinations and the risks associated with childhood vaccinations by referring to the issues raised by the following questions:
- Why do we need vaccinations?
- What are the major achievements of vaccinations?
- What is a commonly-accepted opinion about vaccinations?
- What doubts are raised by vaccinations?
- What are the merits of vaccinations as preventive measures against epidemics?
- Did data manipulation actually occur?
- What is the purpose of infections in nature?
- Do vaccinations guarantee safety?
- Are there any alternatives for the prevention of infectious diseases?
Arguments in Favor of Vaccinations
The purpose of vaccination is prevention of infectious diseases and epidemics (Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, 2010, p. 2). People are not secured against epidemics. It never occurs to them to reject vaccinations, as vaccinations are truly considered to secure humans from the risk of development of many dangerous diseases. It is allegedly due to vaccination that many terrible diseases are claimed to be defeated over the past 100 years. The most striking argument, cited in favor of vaccination, is the victory over smallpox by the vaccination of the residents of all countries (Flaherty, 2012, p. 198; Woodland, 2012). The same is true of polio (Flaherty, 2012, p. 198; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2011). Also, the vaccination against hepatitis B virus managed to reduce the incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma in children (Colvin & Mitchell, 2010, p. 109). By the same token, the residents of many countries today do not experience the prevalence of such diseases as pertussis (whooping cough), rubella (German measles), and others (Flaherty, 2012, p. 198; World Health Organization [WHO], 2010, p. 386; WHO, 2011, p. 302); therefore, even the smallest possible side effects can be seen as a tragedy and become of disproportionate importance.
The public is also reminded that there is no specific treatment for some infections, to which measles belong as well (McNeil, 2012); thus, vaccination is considered to be necessary as a preventive measure. After all, there are still places in the world, where children die from diseases in mass numbers. Although, the residents of the developed countries are used to consider themselves to be secured against dangerous infectious diseases, the risk may come from an acquaintance, who has recently returned from Africa, an active disease can be brought from India by someone off the street, or one has to move to the area with a TB clinic, due to unforeseen circumstances. A children’s sandbox can turn into a latrine for homeless animals as well. Thus, you never know who can be the real infector.
That is also nothing new in the fact that medical authorities adhere to the opinion that an unvaccinated child is dangerous to one’s social surroundings, and that vaccinated people get sick less frequently than unvaccinated ones. Also, there is no 100 percent guarantee that breastfed babies are protected from virtually all the diseases. The diseases that are regarded to be of a particular concern, because of the high risk of complications, include diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus, polio, rubeola (measles), mumps, rubella (German measles), chicken pox, hepatitis, influenza, rotavirus, and others (Flaherty, 2012, pp. 197-213). Furthermore, the risk of complications from the vaccine is much lower than the risk of dying from an infectious disease. Therefore, vaccination is needed. If children do get sick, the case is mild.
Consequently, it would be reasonable to assume that in recent years, the list of contraindications to vaccinations should have been significantly reduced, especially as this is supposed to be facilitated by ongoing research and development, aimed to show that children with various diseases have satisfactory immunizations and develop full immunity, if certain precautions are taken.
Arguments against Vaccinations
On the one hand, as it can be seen from the foregoing, vaccinations are developed to be the most effective strategy to prevent infectious diseases. The victory over smallpox and polio are adduced as ostensive proof. For all that, on the other hand, the questions arise: If vaccinations are effective that much, why do we need them each time more and more? Why do the numbers of allergies and systemic diseases increase rapidly rather that disappear? Why is aggressive and mandatory treatment so common in everyday medical practice? Ten epidemics that simultaneously threaten the world sound unrealistic: if all the people were equally susceptible to tuberculosis, smallpox, polio, diphtheria, and other infectious diseases, humanity would become extinct long ago. Unlike humanity, vaccines are only 200 years old (Flaherty, 2012, p. 189). The illusion that infectious agents will be defeated, if all of them are vaccinated on end, is indicative of one-sided approach to preventive medical interference in human nature. Still, it is this kind of system that is advocated due to the convenience in terms of organization, which bears little relation to the deep insight into the basics of immunology.
What Are the Merits of Vaccinations as Preventive Measures against Epidemics?
There is no absolute certainty that it is exactly vaccination that helped humanity to win the struggle with some dangerous infectious diseases. The evidence suggests that infectious diseases began to decline sharply as sanitation took place: the incidence of tuberculosis, diphtheria, measles, and whooping cough, and other diseases had been rapidly declining even before mass vaccination against these diseases was introduced, which occurred due to the improved sanitation: the destruction of the infected animals, the elimination of overcrowded accommodation, water chlorination, quality control of agricultural products, etc. (as cited in J. B. McKinlay & S. M. McKinlay, 1977, pp. 408-409; Wegman, 2001, p. 404; Illich, 2010, pp.254-255). The substitution of the term “ictus” to “epidemic” occurs as well: it is obvious, for instance, that the area of regular seasonal outbreaks of diphtheria comprises such territories with high humidity as the Caribbean, Latin America, the Indian subcontinent, Algeria, China, and Ecuador (Long et al., 2012).
Did the Data Manipulation Actually Occur?
The scope of smallpox actually expanded with the introduction of the vaccine. In places, where the vaccination was widely practiced, smallpox epidemic, as well as being not diminished, became more frequent and led to a growing number of victims. For instance, before 1853, when a compulsory vaccination law was passed in England, there were about 2000 for a period of any two years (McBean, 2005, p. 13). After about 20 years, when the vaccination program was taking an effect, the greatest epidemic of smallpox for the period from 1870 to 1871 with more than 23,000 victims bursts out (McBean, 2005, p. 13). In the US, there were 2121 deaths from smallpox in 1902, the year when the vaccination against smallpox was on the highest level of its application; however, there were 138 deaths in 1927, when most people rejected the vaccination (McBean, 2005, p. 20). About the same time, the Philippines had a ten-year campaign of the vaccination against smallpox: the mortality rate increased from 10 to 74 percent (McBean, 2005, p. 20). Medical enforcement of vaccination in Britain was defeated by the decades of mass movement of non-medical public against vaccination. It was in Leicester, a small British industrial town, that made history not only by the actual refusal of vaccination, after which smallpox epidemic there magically ceased forever, but also by the mass demonstration against compulsory vaccination, which was attended on 23 March 1885 by 80,000 to 100,000 people from all over the Great Britain (Biggs, 2007). In Man, Medicine, and Environment, Rene Dubos (1968) stated that the smallpox vaccination could provoke severe encephalitis in some patients, even if it was conducted in compliance with all safety measures; and that the likelihood of smallpox was reduced to such an extent that the risk of the vaccination was much higher than the probability of contracting the disease itself (as cited in A brief history of medicine: The giants with feet of clay, n. d.). The comment in the French magazine Vie et Action of March/April 1966 can be read as follows:
In Great Britain, smallpox vaccination hasn't been compulsory since 1898, and yet five times fewer people have died of smallpox in Great Britain than in France, where this vaccination is compulsory. The same goes for Holland. Now Great Britain and Holland are nations that continuously have contact with hundreds of thousands of seafarers from all over the world, notably from countries, where smallpox is frequent. And yet abolition of vaccination and the enforcement of the natural hygienic measures have clearly proven sufficient to eliminate smallpox and the so-called infectious maladies (as cited in A brief history of medicine: The giants with feet of clay, n. d.).
Since the majority of polio infections are of asymptomatic character, individuals usually develop a minor illness and recover within a week, in case of non-paralytic polio (Flaherty, 2012, p. 205). The interesting fact is that the antiviral treatment does not exist to date, with the unclear etiology of post-polio syndrome (Flaherty, 2012, p. 205). In the book The Vaccination Crisis by Vance Ferrell (2003), he cites the studies that show the increase in the rates of polio infections in the areas where vaccinations took place (pp. 69-72). The following observations are introduced by him. In a period from 1954 to 1955 inMassachusetts, there were 273 cases of polio; this number increased to 2,027 cases after the introduction of the vaccine, showing the 642 percent increase (Ferrell, 2003, p. 69). The new outbreak was reported to occur from 1973 to 1983 by the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control, along with the implementation of the vaccine (Ferrell, 2003, p. 69). The CDC official report of 1992 confirmed the responsibility of the oral polio vaccine for almost every case of polio in the United States (Ferrell, 2003, p. 69). The problem with the oral polio vaccine is that the person can contract paralytic polio by simply touching a vaccinated child (Ferrell, 2003, p. 70). In 1958, the mass polio vaccinations in Israel resulted in a polio epidemic as well (Ferrell, 2003, p. 71). Given the above findings, another question arises: How come the victory over smallpox and polio was proclaimed?
What is the Purpose of Infections in Nature?
Most infectious diseases play a vital role in the development of a strong and healthy immune system. Childhood infectious diseases lead to the development of lifelong immunity, whereas vaccination immunity is temporary, causing the need for revaccination. Moreover, the easy course of the vaccinated child’s disease can make it difficult for doctors to set a diagnosis. It is also well known that the nature and severity of infectious diseases are very individual. The fact that the activity of the immune system is distorted by vaccination is argued by Howard L. Weiner, an immunologist at HarvardMedicalSchool in Boston (as cited in Seppa, 1997). Studies also suggest that the protection against diseases is imparted by the exposure to vaccine viruses, and that the increase in the risk of diabetes results from the absence of contact with naturally occurring viruses (as cited in Seppa, 1997). Here are the examples of ineffective vaccination, to name just a few:
German Measles (rubella)
The childhood vaccination against rubella is absurd. Its course is easier than that of common cold, with the lifelong immunity of those who have had this disease (Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals, 2007, pp. 10-11). The vaccination, however, maintains only impermanent immunogenicity, which implies the injection of mercury and formaldehyde into a child (CDC, 2011; Vaccination Content, 2012). All current rubella vaccines contain live attenuated viruses, grown on aborted material, and additional toxic substances (Rubella Strains, 2011).Yet, rubella is virulent exclusively to pregnant women, or to the fetus, to be more precise; though in most cases, abnormalities are not detected (Pregnancy and Rubella, 1987). Moreover, the study conducted by Stephen Schoenbaum (1975) revealed that women are infected from other adults rather than children (as cited in Ferrell, 2003, p. 73). Therefore, what is the point of vaccinating children, especially as post vaccination complications may occur?
Diphtheria, which was one of the main causes of infant mortality in the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, declined significantly to the beginning of World War II almost in all European countries by improving the standard of living without any vaccines, because diphtheria, like many other infectious diseases, is primarily a disease of filth, overcrowded residence, and malnutrition (as cited in McKinlay & McKinlay, 1977, pp. 408-409; Wegman, 2001, p. 404; Ferrell, 2003, p. 68; Illich, 2010, pp.254-255). The vaccination against diphtheria is as ineffective as other preventive vaccination. Since “diphtheria immunity wanes with age, and children and adults are at risk for contracting the disease” (Flaherty, 2012, p. 199), sick, weak, and suffering from immunodeficiency children were, are, and will be susceptible to diphtheria, either vaccinated or not.
Mumps is as harmful to children as rubella, resulting in lifelong immunity, if contracted naturally. Vance Ferrell (2003) argues that the vaccination against mumps postpones the risk of contracting the disease, which is crucial for boys: 35 percent of males after puberty develop orchitis that can lead to sterility, and the hazardous complications may include febrile seizures, unilateral nerve deafness, and even encephalitis (pp. 72-73).
Do Vaccinations Guarantee Safety?
The content of vaccines is toxic by definition: mercury is reported to be an endocrine disruptor that adversely affects the steroid synthesis pathway, which results in the enhancement of the risk of the development of the premature puberty (D. A. Geier, Young, & M. R. Geier, 2010). The additives used in the production of vaccines can include aluminum that is a toxin associated with Alzheimer disease, dementia, and seizures; formaldehyde that is a cancer-causing chemical, injurious to the liver and triggering gene mutations; thimerosal that is a mercury-containing preservative; and many other additives (CDC, 2011; Vaccination Content, 2012).
Many vaccines are prepared on the basis of the cell structures of animals and contain their viruses. Interspecies transmission of viruses can lead to the development of new terrible degenerative diseases of which humanity is insensible yet. Thus, the genes and proteins of the monkey pox virus SV-40, which infected hundreds of thousands of doses of the polio vaccine in the 1950s, were recently discovered in human cancers (Miller, 2012). Who knows what new viruses vaccines are systematically infected with in the process of their production, and to what extent it threatens people? If vaccines are grown on aborted material, then they could be infected with viruses that cause genetic or cancer diseases. No one knows the long-term implications of the introduction of the foreign proteins into the child’s body.
What Are the Mercenary Motives of the Production of Vaccines?
Considering the arguments against vaccination, the question arises: If the contraindications to vaccines are that numerous, why are the national vaccine plans prioritized? The answer is evident: Vaccine production is a profitable pharmaceutical business. The more often children are immunized, the weaker their immune system is. The more chronic diseases a person has, the more medications are sold. The Children's Vaccine Initiative Plan, distributed by the United Nations says: “The challenge for the 21th century is to make sure that the enormous impact of vaccines on the health and well-being of the population is maintained and expanded” (as cited in Gaublomme, n. d.).Is it not a perfect excuse for the expansion of the vaccine market?
Are There Any Alternatives for the Prevention of Infectious Diseases?
Why is it the immune system that such a great attention is attached to? Even an unprofessional in the field of medicine knows that this is a wise and delicate system at the same time. If carefully treated, the immune system protects one from many diseases. That is why, the strengthening of the immune system plays a great role in the maintaining of health. Heredity is one of the most important factors that influence the child’s immune system, which means that the child is susceptible to the diseases that his or her parents had (Lee, n. d.).
However, heredity is a long way from being the only prevalent factor that influences immunity. Largely, the development of the child’s immune system depends on the environment that includes the mode of wakefulness and sleep, the air temperature in the house, the regularity of tempering procedures, balanced feeding, ecology, and the psychological atmosphere at home. It is no wonder that children must have their specific daily routine: stresses and increased fatigability weaken the body defenses. Instead, the familiar sequence of actions soothes the child, makes one organized, and increases resistance to stresses. That is why, the more organized and calmer the child is, the stronger one’s immune system is.
The proper diet is important as well, because balanced feeding ensures the development of the normal immune responses. The presence of essential proteins in food is necessary for the production of antibodies, which are responsible for the neutralization of viruses (Flaherty, 2012, p. 70). The prevalence of fast carbohydrates, fat, and food additives in the diet not only can cause allergies and digestive disorders, but also adversely affects the development of the immune system.
As for ecological factors, the studies show that maternal exposure to common pollutants affects the immune system of children (Rickey, 2011), not to mention the effect of the accumulation of heavy metals, industrial wastes, and exhausts fumes in the air. Obviously, the children living in the environmentally clean area would get fewer infections. Hence, the residents of large cities are highly recommended to take their children off the country. Again, the responsibility for providing the above measures to children lies with their parents. It is up to them to decide whether to entrust their children’s health to someone else or not.
In conclusion, it should be noted that despite the existence of the commonly-accepted approach to take everything that medical authorities introduce for granted, one can trace an apparent trend of shifting the priorities from vaccine oriented to more aware. The information available to date is sufficient for making a decision. Apparently, entrusting our children’s health to governmental institutions does a great favor to those who know how to benefit from it. While vaccine oriented organizations invest in the development, popularization, and use of vaccines, people hold their own inquiries. Thus, on the basis of the information provided above, we can infer the following:
a) The need for vaccinations has been created artificially by data manipulation.
b) Terrible infectious diseases appear to be not so terrible, as well as saving vaccines appear to be not so saving.
c) Infections are necessary to stimulate lifelong immunity.
d) Vaccinations do not only guarantee safety, but also distort the process of natural immunization.
e) The child can develop a strong immune system by following a healthy way of life, without any vaccinations.
Therefore, the recommendation for parents is to make well-balanced rather than imposed choices, based on the inflated need for something that is neither safe nor trustworthy. It is parents’ attention to the present state of their child’s health rather than past warnings or future threats that are the indicators of the real needs of their child.