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Vaccines save lives and have helped build up our civilization into the modern world it is today. But with a new vaccine added to the schedule of childhood immunizations every few years, parents are starting to see that there can be too much of a good thing.

Many parents today don’t realize that there are a lot more shots than there used to be when they were a child. Most will take their baby in to all of the “well baby” check-ups and let the nurse give injections without even a thought. They believe immunization is part of their civic duty, to help keep the community healthy. After all, they were vaccinated as a child and turned out just fine. But all of that is starting to change and the new generations of parents are asking questions.

Vaccines: Then and Now

An interesting thing happens when you begin to educate yourself on the matter of vaccines. The most critical pieces of information come not from the science or the medicine or even the diseases themselves. The most valuable information comes from the history. It is by looking to the past that you can begin to understand the complexities of this medical procedure we call vaccination.

Vaccines really started to take off during the 1940’s when doctors recommended the smallpox and the DTP (a combined shot of diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis) vaccines. After that was the Polio vaccine in the 1950’s and lastly the MMR (a combined shot of measles, mumps and rubella) came along in the 1970’s. Since smallpox was eventually declared eradicated, the remaining shots of polio, DTP and MMR were the only three recommended shots, for decades. A child would never receive more than two shots at one time.

The Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b) was added in the 1980’s and hepatitis B in the 1990’s. An official annual vaccination schedule was implemented in 1995 and endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Since then, more and more and more shots have been added. The current childhood schedule contains 69 doses of 16 vaccines. To give you an idea of how this breaks down, here is what a two month old baby would receive at one checkup: Diphtheria, Tetanus, a. Pertussis (DTaP), Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV), Pneumococcal conjugate Vaccine (PCV) and Rotavirus (RV). These five shots contain 15 different strains of viruses and bacteria and are all injected into a ten pound baby in a single office visit.

Where Are All the Safety Studies?

With the introduction of each new shot one would assume that there are proper safety studies done to ensure parents that mixing together a combination of so many different diseases is, well, safe. But this is not the case. To date there are no safety studies done on the entire vaccination schedule as a whole. Each vaccine is tested individually. Since vaccines are considered a public health measure they don’t have to go through the same strict testing as a pharmaceutical drug would. Vaccines are tested against other vaccines. There are no double blind studies and no true placebos. Most of the safety studies are epidemiological (recording the effects reported by different populations of people.) No true medical studies have been done measuring blood, urine, bone marrow or other empirical data such as these.

A mother’s intuition is not something that should be taken lightly. If she had observed that her child became extremely lethargic after getting all of the recommended shots, napping hours longer than normal and running a high fever – this is what is called a vaccine reaction. More and more incidents like these are emerging, and scientists are beginning to take notice. Most Americans would be shocked to discover that the U.S. has the highest infant mortality rate out of 34 other industrialized nations.

Schedules in Japan and France

America has the most aggressive vaccination schedule of infants under one. Vaccines are a pharmaceutical product and in the U.S. pharmaceuticals are our biggest industry and our biggest commodity. We are the makers of the vaccines that go out to the rest of the world. The only difference is that in other countries they make their own vaccination schedules. While the U.S. has 26 doses of shots from birth to 12 months, Japan and France recommend 12-15 doses during the first year of life. Sweden, Iceland, Norway and Denmark are the same – though they all have the lowest infant mortality rates in the world.

The Future is in Our Hands

No one wants to look back one day and say that we made a huge mistake. It is up to the parent to ask questions. Luckily, generations X and Y are really good at questioning things. It’s okay to say no to certain shots and go slow with the ones you have decided were important. To be an American is to consume products, but this type of mentality does not serve our future generations. Especially when their blood is concerned. The days of worshiping our doctors and blindly following their advice are over. People are learning to take matters of their health into their own hands. Research. Ask questions. Find what’s right for you and your baby. Across the board health officials can agree on one thing – everything in moderation. From a daily glass of wine to a simple 30 minutes of walking per day. Our children deserve this as well. Their health is not determined by the amount of pharmaceutical products injected into them.

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