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Vaccination Considerations

Increasingly, additional childhood vaccinations are introduced into pediatric health practices via the pharmaceutical industry. Parents must, for the health of their children, take a additional proactive role in assessing the risks and profit of naturally acquired diseases versus those of the vaccine administration. There are presently ten diseases which children under the age of two receive many vaccinations for in pediatric care clinics. Several extra vaccines may soon be implemented into this schedule. Research on more than 2000 vaccines is presently underway and the list of childhood vaccines can only be predictable to grow.

Routine vaccination may or may not have a contributory role in the stable decline of childhood diseases observed in the past century. While there has been a repeated downward trend in the incidence of diseases such as diphtheria, pertussis and measles prior to mass immunization campaigns, the rate of this decline has not been prejudiced by introduction of vaccines.

Documented poor reactions to vaccines, some of which are disabling or fatal, can be obtained via orientation to the "Adverse Reactions" section of each vaccine's listing in The Physician's Desk Reference. Reported reactions are for better than 1% of kids (without reference to the less than 1% who experience reactions, some of which may have been the least ordinary but most severe). We have also seen an alarming enlarge in the incidence of behavioral disorders, knowledge disabilities, autism, autoimmune diseases and childhood cancers. It is not yet clear exactly how the routine administration of inoculation combinations to young children is affecting the resistant and neurological systems of vaccinated populations.

The immune system appliance to clear bacteria and viruses from the body, creating antibodies that attach to these antigens to make them additional apparent to the white blood cells. B-lymphocytes play a role in immunologic memory by continuing to make low levels of antibodies often over the course of a lifetime. This enables individuals who develop obviously acquired cases of chickenpox, measles and mumps to uphold lifelong immunity to these diseases. If re-exposed to the diseases in the prospect, the immune system boosts production of related antibodies to stop redevelopment of the disease. With vaccine acquired immunity, fragments of killed or live bacteria or virus are introduced via intramuscular injection and the immune system produces antibodies next to the foreign antigen(s). Vaccine antibody levels and types may not be corresponding to those attained from a usual infection.

Most vaccines do not award lifetime immunity nor are they 100% effective. Diseases that are usually mild when acquired during childhood (such as chickenpox/varicella, measles and mumps) are classically more severe when acquired as adults. "Temporary" immunity is why we often see outbreaks of measles in academy settings. In these contagious situations, students with failed immunizations and no childhood the past of the disease typically have crowded living/study conditions and fewer than ideal nutrition.

Rubella often escapes detection, but once the illness has run its course, one remains resistant for life. While this disease is gentle in children, it can have devastating consequences on a fetus if acquired by an expecting woman during the first three months of gestation (i.e., neurological impairments in vision and hearing, limb defects and heart defects). Ideally, it would seem best to give kids the opportunity to build up the disease, check antibody levels in pre-pubescent girls (9-12 years old) and vaccinate at that time if there has been no earlier exposure. Vaccinating after puberty increases the risk of developing acute and/or chronic arthritis. Rubella is obtainable as a stand-alone vaccine.

Other diseases are not measured to be mild when acquired by the extremely young. Peruses, for example, can be very grave or fatal if contracted by a baby younger than six months old. It may be advantageous to think vaccinating young infants with a cellular (rather than whole cell) pertussis and forego later vaccines. Another disease, tetanus (via a deep puncture wound), can be deadly in a person of any age.

Polio, while not a mild disease, is no longer a threat in the US if we believe the risk of acquiring a case of "wild" polio--last seen in the US in 1979. New cases of polio since then have occurred, ironically, via the routine administration of a live polio virus (oral polio virus or OPV) in the inoculation series. In this case, the vaccine infects the child (and those in contact) it was designed to defend. Fortunately, OPV is no longer being manufactured for this extremely reason, but it is still being administered until pharmaceutical stock is exhausted.

While there may be a place for prudent and minimal application of vaccines, it is significant to consider the inherent mechanisms that exist within the human body to eliminate disease.


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