A Fully Informed Choice… Part 2

**Part 1 can be found here**
*Immunisation (AU)

Of course some diseases such as pertussis (whooping cough) are very dangerous to very young infants. This reiterates the importance of breast milk. There is plenty of medical literature which shows breast milk does in fact protect against common childhood diseases, including pertussis, chicken pox, measles etc. There has been a great deal of debate over the role of breast milk, and the evidence shows that it does in fact offer great levels of protection against childhood diseases – to such an extent that some study findings have suggested temporarily delaying mothers’ breastfeeding in order to allow vaccinations to be recognized by her infant’s body. Breast milk is so protective that vaccinating breastfed infants is far less effective at raising antibody titers than vaccinating artificially fed infants. Breast milk protects infants from both naturally occurring disease, and the disease injected via vaccination. Breast milk teaches the infant what is safe and what is not safe, and does so without causing inflammation. This is important – the very action of protecting an infant from disease through breast milk is done so without causing inflammation.

Newborns are not designed to produce inflammatory antibodies. The myelin sheath protects nerve impulses within the brain and spinal cord. This sheath does not develop into its mature pattern until a child is 2 years old. Permanent neurological (and other) damage can, and does, occur as a result of inflammation – particularly within the first 2 years of life (as the WHO supports). Inflammation can certainly result from contracting disease, but with the protection of breast milk this is not a likely outcome.

It would also be less likely to occur from the contraction of disease naturally than from vaccination, as the deliberate action of the adjuvants in vaccines is to cause inflammation. This is why the aluminum content of infant vaccines is higher than adolescent and adult vaccines. Even though infants under 2 years old are at an increased susceptibility to severe and permanent damage from inflammation, their bodies simply would not recognize the pathogens effectively if these adjuvants were not added.

Breast milk provides protection from both disease, and inflammation, as the infant’s brain undertakes rapid development. Vaccination causes inflammation by design. The aim of this inflammation is to raise antibody titers to the accepted level of immunity. This level is determined by averaging the levels found in clinically immune populations (meaning those who are exposed to these diseases, have an antibody response, but no clinical symptoms). These raised levels from vaccination may be in response to the disease pathogens, or to the adjuvants alone. We cannot tell from vaccination status or antibody titers the immune status of a person.
The antibodies circulating in unvaccinated populations do not remain high over time, as the immune function is far more complex and involves many mechanisms other than antibody levels alone. High levels do not guarantee immunity, nor do low levels indicate a lack of immunity. It simply means that the circulating levels are not high, which occurs in time with unvaccinated persons who have previously contracted disease (whether they had clinical symptoms or not). So we can use the antibody titer test to show recent exposure to disease of the unvaccinated person, and without clinical symptoms we can then show immunity of the unvaccinated person. But with vaccinated populations, we cannot tell if the antibody levels are a result of recent exposure, or vaccination. Therefore we cannot say that they prove immunity. The WHO also states that antibody titer levels are not an accurate measure of immunity to disease. Despite this, the level of antibody titers is used as the standard measure of immune status.

Another part of the issue surrounding vaccination is the lack of information being given to parents. As noted, the information given to parents and the information given to healthcare professionals differs.
The Government handbook on vaccination (titled Immunization*: Understanding Childhood Immunization*) is a very subjective booklet. It states quite clearly that the terms vaccination and immunization* cannot be used interchangeably; yet continues with saying the term ‘immunization*’ is used in place of ‘vaccination’ throughout the booklet. The word immunization* itself is used on the cover, rather than vaccination. The fact that vaccination is not mandatory in Australia is mentioned for the first time on page 57 (of 80 written pages, plus a comparison chart).

The comparison chart is deliberately deceptive. It has three columns, titled ‘Disease’, ‘Effects of Disease’, and ‘Side Effects of Vaccination’. Very few of the known side effects are listed for this comparison, and most are the very mild effects. The effects of disease, while accurate in information, fails to mention that most cases of disease do not in fact lead to these complications.

For example, it lists a rate of 1 in 20 hospitalized patients of polio dying, and 1 in 2 of those who survive being paralyzed. However, less than 1% of polio cases actually develop paralytic polio (and of those, many also recover). This means that the chance of developing permanent paralysis from polio is less than 0.5% for a person who has contracted it.

This information is freely available on the CDC (Center for Disease Control) website and other reputable sources. The booklet reads as though one in 20 patients with polio will die, and half of the remaining patients are paralyzed. This is very far from the truth. The booklet also describes the hospitalization rate for rotavirus patients, yet fails to mention that vaccinations against rotavirus have failed to statistically decrease the hospitalization rates. It is intended to promote the childhood vaccination schedule, and does not give measured information of the risks involved in vaccinating.

The book we are given as parents for our newborn infants also contains a card stating that it must be provided for enrollment purposes. This is the Childhood Vaccination Record Card. It has room to fill out the child’s details, and the date at which each vaccine was given. The form is to be signed by a parent/guardian. Nowhere on the form does it explain that vaccination (as a medical intervention) is not compulsory and may be declined. It also states that by signing the form, the parent understands ‘the immunization* contraindications and possible side effects for the vaccines’ and ‘the benefits and risks of immunization*’. When the Immunization* handbook is read, it appears to list the contraindications, risks, side effects and benefits of vaccination in full. But it is a very misleading list which omits a great deal of information that parents should know. This form does need to be presented for enrollment purposes, but a simple ‘declined’ written in place of a date suffices.

As vaccinations are not mandatory in Australia, public schools and public daycare centres cannot discriminate against unvaccinated babies and children. And if a parent fills out the Conscientious Objection form, they are also entitled to any monetary compensation that a parent who chooses to vaccinate is entitled to. That means the current Maternity Immunization* Allowance, and full payment of any eligible Family Tax Benefit. The Maternity Immunization* Allowance is given to all parents who vaccinate their children; have a medical exemption from vaccinating; can prove their child has previously contracted the disease; or have filled out the Conscientious Objection form. It is interesting to note that previous contraction of disease is presumed to carry lasting immunity; while numerous studies are showing that vaccine induced immunity (when immunity is actually induced) is far shorter lasting than previously thought. This appears to be an admission that the mechanisms of vaccination are not the same as that of naturally acquired disease, despite claims in the booklet that it is indeed the same. When it comes to private schools and private daycare, the individual establishment can choose whether or not to accept unvaccinated babies and children. The stipulation of being unvaccinated (whether in a private or public school) simply means that when an outbreak of a childhood disease is confirmed within a school, the parents are notified and they are to remove their child/ren from the school for a short time. Choosing not to vaccinate is a fundamental right of families in this country, yet time and again I have been told by healthcare professionals that our children cannot attend school without being fully vaccinated. The misinformation abounding in the healthcare profession is shamefully naïve, if not manipulative


One Response to A Fully Informed Choice… Part 2

  1. Pingback: A Fully Informed Choice… Part 3 | The Lactation Learning Station

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