Vaccines – A Two-Edged Sword

Recently, I accompanied my sister to a pediatrician’s office — for the first (of many) vaccination appointment for her twin 8-week old girls. Fortunately for my sister, the nightmare ended after a few pokes of the needle and a few throaty bawls of protest. Sadly, not every parent’s ordeal ends the same way. Each day, parents around the world take their children on this routine with faith that this will protect their children against deadly and potentially life threatening infections. But what if this very tool that is intended to protect becomes a lethal source of disability?

The most recent case of a 9-year old female child in Georgia refueled the debate about the link between vaccinations and the onset of neuro-developmental disorders. The child had a pre-existing, but non-symptomatic cellular disorder. However, after a round of vaccinations, she began to demonstrate classic behaviors associated with autistic spectrum disorder. The link between the vaccinations and exacerbation of the pre-existing condition was confirmed in this case. Over the years literature has suggested that the sudden surge of autism to near epidemic proportions may be linked to the high mercury content in some vaccine preparations. I make it a point to read ingredient lists in most of the packaged food products that I purchase (I am positive I am not the only one doing this!) Why then would we accept vials of liquid concoctions being injected into our bodies (or our children’s bodies) with no knowledge of ingredients? Here are some of the buffers, preservatives and fixers used in vaccines in addition to the attenuated virus:

Formaldehyde, Mercury, Aluminum, Antifreeze, Methanol, Phenol, Foreign DNA and even extracts from aborted human fetuses. All of these are certainly toxic, and many of these chemicals have no “minimum” levels that may be deemed “safe.” They are toxic to the human body, period.

In spite of the potential threat, pharmaceutical companies are only manufacturing newer vaccines, for all kinds of syndromes and diseases. The flu vaccine was introduced in 1976, and revived in the 1990’s. For teens, multiple vaccines are available for protection against meningitis, chicken pox, diphtheria — many of these are also available as combinations. The most recent entrant into the vaccine race is the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine.

This vaccine, however, offers protection against only 4 strains of HPV viruses — types 16, 18, 6, 11. It should be also be known that the vaccine only may offer protection against viruses possibly causing cause only 70% of cervical cancers. Of course, this is being publicized as the only vaccine that protects against cancer, but the fact that even vaccinated persons may contract cervical cancer is left to the fine print. I would certainly not opt to be injected with those toxins in the vaccines for that kind of “probable protection.” Marketing for the vaccine also conveniently leaves out the fact that abstinence or practicing safe sex will also lead to the same level of protection. The indirect message that this vaccine sends to girls as young as 9 years of age (the recommended age for administering the HPV vaccine) is — hey you can go out and have unprotected sex now, and with the HPV vaccine, you will be protected.

I am not recommending scaring children off sex as an effective educational technique, but come on — tell it as it is. Having a group of happy looking girls say “We don’t want to be just one more statistic” and playing jump rope… seems to me to embellishing a hard truth with unnecessary niceties.

The debate about vaccination is certainly not new, it is an ongoing one; fervent discussions are sporadically sparked by incidents like the one cited earlier. Many communities are voting to not vaccinate their children at all, even in infancy. In all cases where the child has a compromised immune system, doctors do not vaccinate — as vaccination in these children may increase the risk of infection. In some states in the USA, doctors may even grant waivers to parents who refuse vaccination on religious or philosophical grounds. All said and done, as is the case with most issues — gather expert opinion, consider the positive as well as the negative implications of the matter, analyze for possible outcomes, and then make your own decision.

Image via deepspacedave / Shutterstock.

Nirupama Shankar, PT, MHS

Nirupama Shankar, PT, MHS, is a physical therapist by profession, and has over 7 years of clinical experience in the field of neurological rehabilitation. She has treated individuals with stroke, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, and amputations. She has also completed training modules and community education projects in Michigan and North Carolina.
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