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BY ROBERT S. MENDELSOHN, M.D.
The greatest threat of childhood diseases lies in the dangerous and ineffectual efforts made to prevent them
I know, as I write about the dangers of mass immunization, that it is a concept that you may find difficult to accept. Immunizations have been so artfully and aggressively marketed that most parents believe them to be the miracle that has eliminated many once-feared diseases. Consequently, for anyone to oppose them borders on the foolhardy. For a pediatrician to attack what has become the bread and butter of pediatric practice is equivalent to a priests denying the infallibility of the pope.
Knowing that, I can only hope that you will keep an open mind while I present my case. Much of what you have been led to believe about immunizations simply isnt true. I not only have grave misgivings about them; if I were to follow my deep convictions in writing this chapter, I would urge you to reject all inoculations for your child. I wont do that, because parents in about half the states have lost the right to make that choice. Doctors, not politicians, have successfully lobbied for laws that force parents to immunize their children as a prerequisite for admission to school.
Even in those states, though, you may be able to persuade your pediatrician to eliminate the pertussis (whooping cough) component from the DPT vaccine. This immunization, which appears to be the most threatening of them all, is the subject of so much controversy that many doctors are becoming nervous about giving it, fearing malpractice suits. They should be nervous, because in a recent Chicago case a child damaged by a pertussis inoculation received a $5.5 million settlement award. If your doctor is in that state of mind, exploit his fear, because your childs health is at stake.
Although I administered them myself during my early years of practice, I have become a steadfast opponent of mass inoculation because of the myriad hazards they present. The subject is so vast and complex that it deserves a book of its own. Consequently, I must be content here with summarizing my objections to the fanatic zeal with which pediatricians blindly shoot foreign proteins into the body of your child without knowing what eventual damage they may cause.
Here is the core of my concern:
1. There is no convincing scientific evidence that mass inoculations can be credited with eliminating any childhood disease. While it is true that some once common childhood diseases have diminished or disappeared since inoculations were introduced, no one really knows why, although improved living conditions may be the reason. If immunizations were responsible for the diminishing or disappearance of these diseases in the United States, one must ask why they disappeared simultaneously in Europe, where mass immunizations did not take place.
2. It is commonly believed that the Salk vaccine was responsible for halting the polio epidemics that plagued American children in the 19405 and 1950s. If so, why did the epidemics also end in Europe, where polio vaccine was not so extensively used? Of greater current relevance, why is the Sabin virus vaccine still being administered to children when Dr. Jonas Salk, who pioneered the first vaccine, points out that Sabin vaccine is now causing most of the polio cases that appear. Continuing to force this vaccine on children is irrational medical behavior that simply confirms my contention that doctors consistently repeat their mistakes. With the polio vaccine we are witnessing a rerun of the medical reluctance to abandon the smallpox vaccination, which remained as the only source of smallpox-related deaths for three decades after the disease had disappeared.
Think about it! For thirty years kids died from smallpox vaccinations even though no longer threatened by the disease.
3.There are significant risks associated with every immunization and numerous contra indications that may make it dangerous for the Shots to be given to your child. Yet doctors administer them routinely, usually without warning parents of the hazards and without determining whether the immunization is contraindicated for the child. No child should be immunized without making that determination, yet small armies of children are routinely lined up in clinics to receive a shot in the arm with no questions asked by their parents!
4. While the myriad short-term hazards of most immunizations are known (but rarely explained), no one knows the long term consequences of injecting foreign proteins into the body of your child. Even more shocking is the fact that no one is making any structured effort to find out.
5. There is growing suspicion that immunization against relatively harmless childhood diseases may be responsible for the dramatic increase in auto-immune diseases since mass inoculations were introduced. These are fearful diseases such as cancer, leukemia. rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrigs disease, lupus erythematosus, and the Guillain-Barre syndrome. An autoimmune disease can be explained simply as one in which the bodys defense mechanisms cannot distinguish between foreign invaders and ordinary body tissues, with the consequence that the body begins to destroy itself. Have we traded mumps and measles for cancer and leukemia?
I have emphasized these concerns because it is probable that your pediatrician will not advise you about them. At the 1982 Forum of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), a resolution was proposed that would have helped insure that parents would be informed about the risks and benefits of immunizations. The resolution urged that the ALA? make available in clear, concise language information which a reasonable parent would want to know about the benefits and risks of routine immunizations, the risks of vaccine preventable diseases and the management of common adverse reactions to immunizations. Apparently the doctors assembled did not believe that reasonable parents were entitled to this kind of information because they rejected the resolution!
The bitter controversy over immunizations that is now raging within the medical profession has not escaped the attention of the media. Increasing numbers of parents are rejecting immunizations for their children and facing the legal consequences of doing so. Parents whose children have been permanently damaged by vaccines are no longer accepting this as fate but are filing malpractice suits against the manufacturers and the doctors who administered the vaccine. Some manufacturers have actually stopped making vaccines, and the lists of contra indications to their use are being expanded by the remaining manufacturers, year by year. Meanwhile, because routine immunizations that bring patients back for repeated office calls, are the bread and butter of their specialty, pediatricians continue to defend them to the death.
The question parents should be asking is: Whose death?
As a parent, only you can decide whether to reject immunizations or risk accepting them for your child. Let me urge you, though-before your child is immunized to arm yourself with the facts about the potential risks and benefits.
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