Thursday, January 15, 2009

Learn As Much As You Can Before You Vaccinate Your Baby

It's overwhelming to have a new baby -- in a wonderful, fearful, giddy sort of way -- and there's a lot that you'll wish you did differently after the fact.

But here's one mistake not to make: Find out about vaccines before you start shooting up your child.

The Hep B vaccine is administered a few hours after birth. But Hep B is a sexually transmitted disease. If you and your partner are monogamous and do not use drugs or share needles and do not have Hep B, you should not give this vaccine to your newborn or your child at any age. (Hep B tends to be a mild illness in adults but a dangerous one in very small children.)

Vaccinating a newborn against Hep B is not only not necessary but it is also dangerous to your baby. The vaccine is known to cause adverse reactions. The link there is to the government's National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.

Here's another link to a less mainstream source that discusses the dangers of the Hep B vaccine. The small chance that you child could have an adverse reaction, including anaphylactic shock, is more of a risk than the disease, Hep B, itself. The long term immune consequences and potential harmful effects of megadosing children on vaccines have yet to be studied.

There is nothing wrong with vaccines. Though some skeptics argue that diseases like Polio were already on the decline because of improved sanitation, chlorine added to swimming pools, and natural immunity--as well as the normal epidemiological trends--most people agree that the Polio vaccine helped save many children from being crippled or worse.

But Polio has been eradicated in the United States and most countries in the world, which is a good reason to think and consider before giving your baby that vaccine.

All of this was the subject of a lot of debate during a CDC vaccine community meeting in Ashland, Oregon. You can read more about that meeting here.

I am writing a feature for a national magazine about whether unvaccinated children put others at risk. If you want to weigh in on the debate, please contact me.

1 comment:

wavybrains said...

We read Dr. Sears's Vaccination Book and What Your Doctor won't tell you about Vaccines prior to having the baby, and we turned down the Hep B at the hospital, and followed a delayed and staggered schedule. I personally feel that vaccines are a wonderful thing; however, you have to weigh the public health vs. personal benefit for each vaccine and decide what point makes sense for your child to get the vaccine. We're lucky to have a pediatrician who supports the staggered schedule, and she's been a good partner in helping us decide what vaccines should take priority. For instance, she made a very strong case to add Polio during the first year, because she feels there is a very real risk of a comeback, and I work with immigrant population. I do feel that unvaccinated children pose a risk, and that it's greater in states like Oregon where more and more children go unvaccinated, and you can't rely on herd immunity. Feel free to email. Good luck with your article.