Refusing, Delaying, And Alternating The Vaccine Schedule: Helpful Or Harmful? Part 3

...continued from Part 2 One of the most common concerns about vaccines today is the ingredients. Advocates of alternative schedules have claimed that vaccines are so full of toxins that they should be spaced out or avoided altogether in order to prevent harm. The general idea being that spreading out the vaccines allows infants to process the chemicals without reaching toxic levels. So what ingredients are in vaccines? Common substances in vaccines include preservatives and stabilizers such as albumin, antibiotics, egg protein, formaldehyde, and adjuvants such as aluminum. These ingredients each serve a unique purpose. For example, antibiotics ensure the vaccine contents remain sterile, adjuvants stimulate the body’s immune response, preservatives help the vaccine remain stable, and formaldehyde and egg proteins are used in the production of certain vaccines. But how can parents rest assured that these ingredients are not toxic? Let’s take aluminum for example. In the first 6 months of life, infants who are breastfed will ingest 10 milligrams of aluminum. Infants who are formula-fed will ingest 40 milligrams of aluminum. And infants who are fed soy-based formula will ingest 120 mg of aluminum by 6 months of age. Comparatively, in the first 6 months of life, infants who are immunized according to the recommended schedule will receive approximately 4 milligrams of aluminum. Even more reassuring is the fact that researchers have found no difference in the detectable amount of aluminum in an infant’s blood before and after vaccination because the amount is so small and is eliminated so quickly. Another chemical that causes much concern is formaldehyde. While it may seem unusual to have formaldehyde in vaccines, it is used in the production of some vaccines to inactivate viruses. Moreover, it is a natural product, a by-product of protein and DNA synthesis. You may be surprised to learn that infants have about 10 times the amount of formaldehyde in their blood than in any vaccine. And keep in mind that any chemical can be toxic depending on the quantity. That is to say, it’s the dose that makes the poison. Take water, for example. H2O. It covers more than 70% of the planet and is the most abundant substance in the human body. Most people know that too little water consumption can be deadly. But did you know that too much water consumption can also be deadly? Even for a chemical as common and safe as water, the dose makes the poison. In short, the ingredients in vaccines are in such small quantities that they are unable to cause harm. Most importantly, the current immunization schedule is designed in such a way as to protect your infant when they need it the most. Alternative or selective vaccination schedules only serve to leave your child vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases. Let me introduce you to a family who learned this lesson the hard way. This is Brian Scott II.

Brian Scott vaccinesLike many parents, Brian and Michelle Scott were concerned about vaccines. As a result, they chose to delay all immunizations for their children, Brian and Brianna, until 2 years of age. However, when Brian was just 9 months old, he developed a high fever. Because her son wasn’t immunized, Michelle was especially vigilant about his health so she immediately took him to the doctor. He was soon diagnosed with pneumococcal meningitis — a potentially life-threatening bacterial infection. Brian was hospitalized for 5 days as doctors worked to reduce his fever and fight the infection. Fortunately, Brian recovered. Today, Brian and his sister, Brianna, are healthy and completely up-to-date on all of their immunizations. “We underestimated the value of vaccines,” says Michelle. “But watching Brian experience what he did – knowing he could die and that we could have prevented it – gave us a completely different perspective. I hope other parents don’t have to go through the same wake-up call.”

As parents, it is our responsibility to protect our children when we are able to do so. So trust in the life-saving power of vaccines and prevent what’s preventable. Brian’s story is an excerpt from Vaccine-Preventable Disease: The Forgotten Story. Editor’s Note: While readers are welcome to share their opinions, please keep the conversation friendly and polite. Comments are monitored and any inflammatory or inappropriate remarks will be removed.

Rachel Cunningham, MPH, Immunization Project