To immunize or not?

With the parents who come into our clinic, one of the biggest questions or concerns is often around immunizations.  First of all, I want to share my viewpoint and the guiding philosophy of Lotus Center:  We respect all parent’s right to make the best possible decision for their children regarding immunization.  We honor this, and will do the best we can to give you and your family the best possible care regardless of the path chosen.

Second of all, there are alternatives to the CDC’s proposed schedule if you do want to have your child immunized, but are concerned about the timing of the shots, the group manner in which shots are given, want to wait until your child is older and his or her immune system is less delicate, or want choices about eliminating certain shots from being given at all.

Here I will forward you some information on the subject from Dr. Jake Paul Fratkin, someone I highly respect in the profession of Oriental Medicine.  This was taken from his website (see site below):

“The discussion of pertussis would be incomplete without some comments regarding vaccinations. The DPT (diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus) vaccine is given in three injections: the first is recommended at 2, 4 or 6 months of age, the second at 15 or 18 months, and the third sometime between 4 and 6 years.

There is no question that the pertussis vaccination has greatly reduced the incidence of pertussis. “If we stopped pertussis immunizations in the US, we would experience a massive resurgence of pertussis disease. A recent study found that, in eight countries where immunization coverage was reduced, incidence rates of pertussis surged to 10 to 100 times the rates in countries where vaccination rates were sustained.”….“The argument for vaccination is that whooping cough is common, virulent, and incapacitating to the patient and the parents for several months. Once, when I treated a 6 month old for pertussis, the mother had not gotten any sleep for weeks, and was becoming an emotional wreck. I had to ask myself, “Might it not have been better to have the vaccine?”

“Pertussis can be very serious for newborns, and the death incidence is more pronounced in the elderly. However, the risk of death from pertussis is quite low. In the last major outbreak, which affected 13,000 people in Japan in 1979, there were 41 deaths, all among the elderly….. In truth, pertussis can seriously inconvenience the patient and their families up to three months, but is not a fatal disease. In Colorado it is estimated that 40% of children are not vaccinated against pertussis, but it still only manifests as isolated cases, not raging epidemics.  The bigger question is risk versus benefit of immunization. If there were no vaccine, then large outbreaks could surely arise, but in reality, most Americans are getting this vaccine, and risk of exposure is low. The question has to be directed to the individual patient’s parents, and there will be those who refuse or postpone vaccination.The DPT vaccine is not without risk. Numerous studies have linked this triple vaccine with illness. One study of 1265 children included 23 who receive no DPT immunization. A huge 23% of the immunized children eventually developed asthma or allergic illness, but none of the 23 children without the DPT vaccination developed asthma or allergic illness….. The asthma epidemic in the developed world may very well have to do with early DPT vaccination.“The risk of dying from the pertussis disease is one in several million. The risk of a “serious adverse reaction” from the vaccine is one in 1750, and deaths attributed to the vaccine far outnumber deaths due to the illness…..this is based on use of the newer acellular pertussis vaccine, which is much safer than the previous one used up to 1996.

Finally, the vaccine probably loses its protectiveness after ten to fifteen years. In a study from Australia, as many as 32 percent of teenagers and adults having a cough longer than two weeks in duration were shown to have pertussis. (The study felt that secondary vaccination as a teen or adult would confer life-long immunity)……Any risk with the DPT shot is compounded by the multiple vaccinations that are required or recommend  (sic) by the Western medical establishment. Currently, seven vaccinations are strongly recommended in the first 5 months of life, and an additional ten vaccinations are recommend (sic) between 6 and 15 months. This puts a significant stress on an infant’s developing immunological system. Other vaccines pose their own problems, due to the inclusion of thimerosal as a preservative (which contains 50% mercury), or live virus vaccines such as MMR, Chickenpox, and Sabin polio…… (The DPT vaccine uses neither thimerosal nor live virus.)  In Chinese medicine, it is thought that the immunological system develops slowly, and not mature until age three at the earliest. Serious consequences associated with vaccination seem to be due to vaccinations given in the first year, especially the first 6 months. In my practice, I feel early vaccination plays a part in asthma, eczema, autism, and ADD. Postponement of vaccinations until after age 3, or even 5, seems reasonable.  A published protocol to reduce risk recommends introduction of single vaccinations starting at age 2, each separated by 6 months…..I agree with this. I am not unequivocally against vaccinations, because they offer real benefit against epidemic illness. However, I think that they should be given singly, and spaced out in time, and can start after age three. Exceptions are during risks of local epidemics (such as pertussis) when combined with early enrollment in daycare.The vaccination issue is a big one, and I recommend further reading through Dr. Randall Neustaedter or Dr. Joseph Mercola.

Conclusion

“Pertussis, or whooping cough, is very serious cough, and can be ameliorated or cured with Chinese herbal medicine. The clinical management of pertussis points out certain guidelines that should be important to the conscientious and well-trained herbal practitioner…

Observing the effectiveness of herbal therapy in treating cough, including pertussis, I once again acknowledge that Chinese medicine is the greatest of all natural therapies.”

The Author
Jake Paul Fratkin, OMD, L.Ac.:  www.drjakefratkin

Finally, I want to acknowledge two other sources for information about vaccinations.  One quoted above: The Vaccine Guide, Risks and Benefits for Children and Adults, Revised Edition, Randall Neustaedter, North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, 2002.  His book is excellent.  I intend to have this book in my office in the next month if you want to read it. Here is a link that briefly looks at many of the vaccines in a short critical synopsis.Also Bob Flaws has great information on vaccinations in his Keeping Your Child Healthy with Chinese Medicine, Blue Poppy Enterprises, 1996.   I have this book in my office if you want to see it.

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