The vaccine controversy


Let me say off the top that I am in favour of the idea of vaccinations. Quite brilliant really. Give the body a little bit of a virus/disease – not enough to get sick, but enough for the body to build up immunity against the virus or disease. This is how the body works. Expose the body to bacteria and viruses and our immune system gets stronger, which is why it is a good thing to have some bacteria around. Children are less likely to develop allergies and get sick if there is a dog or cat in the house, and if they are allowed to play outside in the dirt. Eating some raw and fermented food at each meal is a good idea too! And this is why in this modern age, in our now overly sterile environment, from pasteurized and irradiated foods, to antibiotic soaps, to sterilizing cleaners, to the overuse of antibiotic drugs, our immune systems are being severely compromised. They haven't been exercised enough to be strong. Many people these days seem to be sick almost more often than they are healthy.

So, if vaccinations can prevent very serious diseases like polio, diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough, which can cause paralysis and even death, why are many parents refusing to vaccinate their children these days? In States where vaccinations are mandated by law, some parents are going to the extreme measures to avoid forced vaccination by choosing to home school their children. The medical community often suggests that these parents are uneducated about the importance of childhood vaccinations, but actually the parents that make that choice are usually very well educated on the topic, and after weighing the risks, have decided that the risk to the health of their children from the vaccinations is higher than the risk of getting the disease the vaccinations are designed to prevent. It is becoming a real problem. So many parents are not vaccinating their children that some of the diseases are actually making a comeback. The unvaccinated children were unlikely to get the diseases because they were "protected" by so many vaccinated children. But if the trend continues, a tipping point may be reached where suddenly the risk of getting the disease may be quite high.

So, what are these parents worried about? There are two major issues. The first one that gets a lot of press, is that the additives and preservatives that are injected with the inoculant are quite toxic. Thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative, was believed by many to be linked to the huge rise in neurological disorders such as autism in kids, however even though thimerosal is being removed from childhood vaccinations, autism rates have not declined. (Thimerosal has NOT been removed from diphtheria, tetanus, and flu vaccines.) But as the mercury has been phased out, aluminum, commonly in the form of aluminum hydroxide or aluminum phosphate, has been increasingly phased in, and some studies have linked aluminum to autism as well. Aluminum is neurotoxic even in very small quantities, and can build up in the blood, brain and bones. Babies with compromised kidney function may accumulate enough aluminum to be toxic to the nervous system and bones at 4-5mcg per kg of body weight, meaning that a 6.5 pound (3 kg) baby exposed to 12-15mcg of aluminum may already be at toxic levels. The Hepatitis B shot which is usually first given at birth, contains 250mcg of aluminum per dose. This is 17 to 20 times over the toxicity threshold for that newborn 6.5 pound baby, yet no tests are generally done to check for kidney function prior to giving the vaccines. Neil Z. Miller in his article called “Aluminum in Vaccines, a Neurological Gamble” suggests that "babies who follow the CDC immunization schedule are injected with nearly 5000mcg (5mg) of aluminum by 18 months of age". That is a lot of aluminum for a baby to detoxify and eliminate! And of course, that does not take into account other vaccine additives the baby needs to detoxify and eliminate, which may include ethylene glycol (antifreeze), phenoxyethanol (a preservative and fixative which is a known carcinogen), formaldehyde (a preservative and disinfectant which is a known carcinogen), benzethonium chloride (a disinfectant which is toxic when ingested or inhaled), beta propiolactone (a sterilizer and “reasonably expected to be a human carcinogen” (IARC 1999)), neomycin (a preservative) which is toxic to kidneys when given intravenously – I think I'll stop there – you get the idea. Not all these additives are in every vaccine, but it still gives pause for thought.

The second major issue that concerns parents is the density of the immunization schedule itself. We are expecting these very very young babies that have immune systems that are only just developing to be able to take in and be able to build antibodies to so many different inoculations all before the age of 2. Fifty years ago, only four vaccinations were given – small pox, diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough). Now babies and toddlers in the States get 32 inoculations for 12 diseases, including hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, rubella, measles, mumps, chicken pox, pneumoccocal infections, hemophilus influenzae type b infections, and influenza (flu). Canadian babies are routinely inoculated against 9 diseases, with chicken pox, influenza and meningitis being optional. Does it not seem at least possible that so many vaccines over such a short period of time may overwhelm the immune systems of some susceptible children?

Baby's brains develop most rapidly between the third trimester of gestation and age 2, and when a vaccination is given, the microglia, the brain's immune cells become activated, and when many vaccinations are given very close together, the microglia may become over activated, secreting cytokines, chemokines, excitotoxins, etc. which may damage brain cells and their connection to each other.

I think it is interesting to note that the death rate from measles had declined by 97% before the measles vaccine was even invented, probably due to cleaner water, better nutrition etc. Even diphtheria and whooping cough death rates had declined by 90% before the invention of the vaccine. Measles, and mumps were common childhood diseases that bestowed lifetime immunity on the child if they caught it. I remember "chicken pox" parties when I was a kid, where parents actually wanted their kids to get the disease as it is much milder if caught in childhood than in adulthood.

No long-term (multi-year), large scale, randomized controlled studies have been done comparing the health of children that followed the CDC vaccination schedule to a comparable group of non-vaccinated children, so the questions surrounding the safety of vaccines cannot be said to be put to rest. Most vaccine trials last a few months, and only look for acute problems like allergies, seizures or gastrointestinal problems. And although we don't know for certain the reasons why, it is interesting that neurological diseases such as autism which occurred in 1 in 10,000 children in 1943, now occurs at a rate of 1 child in 68. Auto-immune diseases in children such as type 1 diabetes, and child rheumatoid arthritis which were rare before the advent of vaccines, have increased in dramatic fashion as well. Vaccines only challenge the Th2 side of the immune system, whereas the diseases they are protecting against would challenge the Th1 side as well. We now know that over-activation of one side of the immune system at the expense of the other leads to autoimmune problems and allergies. Hopefully at some point proper long-term studies will be done to answer the question of whether or not the vaccine schedule is implicated in all these other health issues.

I think it is unhelpful for the medical/pharmaceutical industries to brush aside as "crazy" the concerns parents have for the safety of their children, and state that they simply need to "be educated" on the vaccine issue. And I think it is unfair for governments to force the vaccination schedule down the throats of parents who are genuinely worried. I applaud the pharmaceutical industry for removing thimerosal from most vaccines – that is a step in the right direction. Whether or not mercury causes autism is irrelevant – mercury is a known neurotoxin and surely we can agree that it should not be injected into babies (or adults for that matter, so please remove it from the flu vaccine as well!). Surely, rather than the accusatory tone that currently surrounds the vaccine debate, a dialogue can take place and an effort can be made to find non-toxic additives that would not be of concern to parents. And perhaps some flexibility can be allowed in the vaccination schedule, beginning inoculations after the age of 2 when the child's brain and immune system are more capable of handling them, and perhaps they can be given singly (rather than several different vaccines incorporated into one shot), and each one spread apart at at least six month intervals to allow the child's immune system to assimilate each one before the next one is given. Maybe if the make-up of the vaccines and implementation of the vaccine schedule were altered, the resistance to childhood vaccinations would decline. For a suggested safer vaccination schedule, click here.

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Related tips
Mercury, a strong nerve poison
The hygiene hypothesis

Miller NZ Aluminum in Vaccines; a neurological gamble 2009

How Mercury Causes Brain Neuron Degeneration University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine, Dept. of Physiology and Biophysics

Miller, D. A user-friendly vaccination schedule 2004.

Online at National Vaccine Information Centre

Online at Health Canada

Exley C et al. A role for the body burden of aluminium in vaccine-associated macrophagic myofasciitis and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Med Hypotheses. 2009 Feb;72(2):135-9. Epub 2008 Nov 11.

Classen J. Evidence childhood epidemics of type 1 and type 2 diabetes are opposite extremes of an immune spectrum disorder induced by immune stimulants. Role of race and
associated cortisol activity as a major determining factor of the type of diabetes
Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome: Clinical Research & Reviews(2008), doi:10.1016/j.dsx.2008.10.010

Classen J. Type 1 Diabetes Versus Type 2 Diabetes/Metabolic Syndrome, Opposite Extremes of an Immune Spectrum Disorder Induced by Vaccines The Open Endocrinology Journal, 2008, 2, 9-15 9

Blaylock RL. A possible central mechanism in autism spectrum disorders, part 1. Altern Ther Health Med. 2008 Nov-Dec;14(6):46-53.

Classen J. Clustering of Cases of IDDM 2 to 4 Years after Hepatitis B Immunization is Consistent with Clustering after Infections and Progression to IDDM in
Autoantibody Positive Individuals
The Open Pediatric Medicine Journal, 2008, 2, 1-6 1

Hem SL, Hogenesch H Relationship between physical and chemical properties of aluminum-containing adjuvants and immunopotentiation. Expert Rev Vaccines. 2007 Oct;6(5):685-98.

Geier D, Geier MR. Neurodevelopmental disorders following thimerosal-containing childhood immunizations: a follow-up analysis. Int J Toxicol. 2004 Nov-Dec;23(6):369-76.

Geier DA, Geier MR. An assessment of the impact of thimerosal on childhood neurodevelopmental disorders. Pediatr Rehabil. 2003 Apr-Jun;6(2):97-102.

Hurwitz EL, Morgenstern H. Effects of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis or tetanus vaccination on allergies and allergy-related respiratory symptoms among children and adolescents in the United States. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2000 Feb;23(2):81-90.

Copyright 2009 Vreni Gurd

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  1. Ted Hutchinson said,

    February 15, 2009 @ 8:54 am

    The matter of vaccinations came up on the Whole Health Source blog recently
    other readers may be interested to follow the ongoing discussion in the comments section.
    Some quite useful points were raised.

  2. Dan said,

    October 22, 2009 @ 2:34 am

    You are way off on this ,I have GBS and I know that a vaccine is the cause.I have 4 grandchildren and two on the way.My family all agree this is big pharma money grab.( to make this short, I have gone right to the meat of it,it’s about $$$$)

    Digest it.

  3. Vreni said,

    October 22, 2009 @ 11:05 am

    Hey Dan,

    To be honest, I’m with you. I think we are far worse off with the current vaccination schedule – kids seem to be sick all the time now, they get more allergies, and that isn’t even considering the terrible neurological injuries that do occur. There does not appear to be any research on the cumulative effect of so many vaccinations. Vaccines may be tested individually, but the more vaccines that are given the bigger the problem.

    And this H1N1 hysteria is completely over the top. It is a mild sickness that kills very few people compared to the seasonal flu, and to be pushing a vaccine is complete insanity in my opinion. And to top it off, to push a vaccine that contains thimerosal to pregnant women and children under the age of 2 makes me completely crazy. AND they are suggesting that to build proper immunity booster shots will be needed, so 2 H1N1 shots, plus 2 seasonal flu shots for that group! Can anything be more stupid than that?

    You are 100% correct. It is all about money. The good news is in Europe, people are refusing to be vaccinated. Let’s hope North Americans snub their noses at the vaccine too. That might put a dent in the profits of big pharma, and perhaps knock some sense into governments.

    In my article, I was trying to tread the middle ground, so both sides of the argument can see the other point of view, in order to promote dialogue. Fighting doesn’t help resolve the problem – discussion does. I got plenty of heat from people that believed in vaccines, saying the article was too anti-vaccine, so I guess I was successful at what I was trying to do.

    I’m so sorry about your GBS. Have you tried any mercury detox protocols?

    Best of luck,


  4. Gwyn said,

    November 1, 2010 @ 8:14 am

    Thank you for putting the vacination issue in a way we can appreciate both sides. I continue to be confused by this issue, wanting to do whats best for me and my family but not getting a clear answer from anyone. Just because there is no research does not mean there are no risks. It means there was no one willing to pay for the research.

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