Friday, January 22, 2010

Prevention is better than cure

Immunisations are an important, and essential, part of childhood

Irecently learnt of a case of a family with five children who all endured a horrific bout of whooping cough.
The parents did not believe in immunisation, and subsequently the entire family, including a child under the age of two, were hospitalised with this disease.
Whooping cough is serious and if a child is infected, they are more likely to develop pneumonia. A severe case of whooping cough or pneumonia could result in brain damage or death.
So what can the rest of us learn from this family’s experience?
That although there may be tears and fears associated with injections, we should first, and foremost, protect our children against disease.
Immunisation is the safest and most effective way of giving this protection and if enough people in the community are immunised, the infection can no longer be spread from person to person and the disease dies out altogether.
This is how smallpox was eliminated from the world and polio has disappeared from many countries.

Immunisation has been repeatedly demonstrated in both research trials and in the field to be one of the most effective medical interventions we have to prevent disease.
It has been estimated that immunisations save three million lives per year throughout the world while remaining one of the most cost effective health interventions.
The World Health Organisation states: “No child should be denied immunisation without serious thought as to the consequences, both for the child and the community.”
Modern vaccines provide high levels of protection against several childhood diseases, many of which are still with us and continue to cause distress, disability and even death.
Serious adverse events following immunisation are rare. But despite a good record of effectiveness and safety, there are parents who have reservations about immunisation.
There are many myths associated with immunisations put forward by those who oppose them.
Some of these include:
• Vaccines cause the diseases they are supposed to prevent.
• Vaccines suppress the immune system.
• Infectious diseases are not serious and are a normal part of growing up.
• Additives in vaccines are toxic.
• Some vaccines may cause mad cow disease, diabetes and sudden infant death syndrome.
• MMR vaccine causes inflammatory bowel disease and autism.
• Hepatitis B vaccine causes multiple sclerosis.
There is no scientific evidence that these statements are true and some are just not logical. It is an exaggeration and misleading to say that vaccines contain many toxic ingredients.
Before vaccines are made available, they are tested for safety and efficacy in clinical trials and then in mass trials.
In Australia, there are regional and national surveillance systems actively seeking any adverse events following immunisation. This is necessary, as sometimes problems occur after vaccines are registered for use.
An example is rotavirus vaccine, which was licensed in the US in August 1998. In pre-licensure trials, the vaccine appeared to be safe, but later surveillance detected a risk of intussusceptions associated with the vaccine. As soon as this risk was discovered, the vaccine was withdrawn from the market.
(Intussusception is the sliding of a portion of a tubular organ into another portion, especially a condition of the bowel which creates swelling and obstruction.)
The licensed rotavirus vaccines have undergone stringent testing and they differ in composition to the original vaccine from the US.
The clinical trials had enough participants to exclude an increased risk of intussusception in recipients comparable to that with the previous vaccine.
In Australia, vaccines contain either a small dose of a live but weakened form of a virus; a small dose of killed bacteria or virus or small parts of bacteria; or a small dose of a modified toxin produced by bacteria.
Vaccines may also contain either a small amount of preservative or a small amount of an antibiotic to preserve the vaccine. Some vaccines may also contain a small amount of an aluminium salt, which helps produce a better immune response.
Some parents are concerned about mercury in vaccines but all vaccines in Australia for children under the age of five years are either free of thiomersal (the mercury compound used as a preservative) or contain a trace amount.
Common side effects of immunisation are redness and soreness at the site of injections and mild fever.
* For more information, contact the Immunisation Infoline on 1800 671 811 or visit the Immunise Australia Program website at
* Information sourced from the Immunise Australia Program and the
National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance of Vaccine
Preventable Diseases.

The National Immunisation Program Schedule

• Hepatitis B (hepB)
2 months:
• Hepatitis B (hepB)
• Diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough (acellular pertussis) (DTPa)
• Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
• Polio (inactivated poliomyelitis IPV)
• Pneumococcal conjugate (7vPCV)
• Rotavirus
4 months:
• Hepatitis B (hepB)
• Diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough (acellular pertussis (DTPa)
• Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
• Polio (inactivated poliomyelitis IPV)
• Pneumococcal conjugate (7vPCV)
• Rotavirus
6 months:
• Hepatitis B (hepB)
• Diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough (acellular pertussis (DTPa)
• Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
• Polio (inactivated poliomyelitis) (IPV)
• Pneumococcal conjugate (7vPCV)
• Rotavirus
12 months:
• Hepatitis B (hepB)
• Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
• Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR)
• Meningococcal C (MenCCV)
12-24 months:
• Hepatitis A (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in high risk areas)
18 months:
• Chickenpox (varicella) (VZV)
18-24 months:
• Pneumococcal polysaccharide (23vPPV) (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in high risk areas)
• Hepatitis A (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in high risk areas)
4 years:
• Diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough (acellular pertussis) (DTPa)
• Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR)
• Polio (inactivated poliomyelitis) (IPV)
10-13 years:
• Hepatitis B
• Chickenpox (varicella) (VZV)
12-13 years:
• Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
15-17 years:
• Diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough (acellular pertussis) (dTPa)
15-49 years:
• Influenza (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people medically at-risk)
• Pneumococcal polysaccharide (23vPPV) (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people medically at-risk)
50 years and over:
• Influenza (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people)
• Pneumococcal polysaccharide (23vPPV) (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people)
65 years and over:
• Influenza (flu)
• Pneumococcal polysaccharide (23vPPV)

NOTE: Vaccines vary between States and Territories in order to suit the needs of geographic and demographic conditions.

In response to reader feedback below, I wish to make the following comments:

Hi Raquel, 
Thank you for your feedback, it is much appreciated.
I have read through the websites you have posted and believe them to be quite amateur in their approach to providing information to the public, and I'm sure you would agree that knowledge is power.  

The website listing vaccination ingredients is quite interesting and I can see how this would scare a lot of parents. But have you considered that many of these ingredients listed are found all around you? I have listed many examples below:  

* Formaldehyde is routinely used on cotton (after it is harvested and milled and spun) to prevent wrinkling and shrinkage (not to mention all of the pesticides and other chemicals used in the cotton industry). So unless you only wear organic cotton or hemp, the very shirt you are wearing is exposing you to a toxin - remembering that your skin is an organ that absorbs everything it comes into contact with. 
* Mercury is another one that we may well be exposed to without realising. Certain seafood such as billfish (swordfish, marlin), shark (flake), deep sea perch, shell fish and catfish all contain mercury. Mercury is also emitted into the air by burning coal for fuel and from natural sources such as volcanoes. 
* Aluminium is among many foods we eat, personal products such as deodorants and many medicines. All infants are exposed to aluminum in the environment. Breast milk, for example, contains approximately 40 micrograms of aluminum per litre, and infant formulas contain an average of approximately 225 micrograms of aluminum per litre. 
* Methanol occurs naturally in wood and is also a product of decaying organic matter. It is used in paint strippers, aerosol paints, wall paints and even car windscreen cleaners. You can be exposed if you breathe it in, or ingest it if is comes into contact with food. Also, Australia removed thimersal from vaccines in 1999. 
* Borax is a common household cleaning product and naturally occurring in soils and food. It is certainly toxic in high concentration, but it is very commonly used in homes for cleaning, insect control and even flea control on dogs. 
* 2-Phenoxyethanol is an organic chemical compound often used in dermatological products such as skin creams and sunscreen. 
* MSG is found in many processed foods, including baby food, medications, vitamin supplements, chewing gum, condiments such as BBQ sauce and many, many more products. 
* Ammonium sulphate is used in soil fertiliser. 
* Neomycin Sulfate is used topically for skin infections. 
* Gentamicin Sulfate is a powerful antibiotic delivered intravenously to combat severe infections.  

While I do not condone the exposure of these chemicals to the general public it is happening and it is a fact of life right now. Until more people demand certified organic products such as nappies, clothes, food, cosmetics and skincare, cleaning products, pesticides and so on, there will always be companies producing synthetic and potentially toxic products.  
And furthermore, there will always be drug companies producing medications to help those suffering from illness or disease. I take medication for rheumatoid arthritis. I have researched what goes into these drugs, and the potential side effects, but the risks do not outweigh the need to be able to brush my hair, turn on a tap or give my daughter a hug. I credit these drugs to giving me my life back.  

The Bronwyn Hancock website suggests that a small handful of medical experts believe vaccines are "useless" and "harmful to your health". Overwhelming evidence suggests otherwise! "Useless" is a very bold statement when you consider the hundreds of thousands of people who are alive today thanks to immunisation. What makes the Hancock website even more unconvincing is that they do not specify "why" vaccines are useless... you have to BUY their DVD. I guess scaremongerers have to make a living somehow.  

As for Dr Mercola... his cheesy grin and resume of "let me name every TV show that I've appeared on" put me off entirely. It's important to remember that a lot of vaccines in America are different to vaccines in Australia.  

The risk of severe reactions to immunisation is very small. In fact, the risk is far less than the risk of death, brain damage and disability from the infections that can be prevented by immunisation. In other words, anyone who is worried about the problems that might result from reactions should be hundreds of times more worried about the dangerous natural diseases.  

You use an example of the Polio vaccine causing an increase in cases, but Polio is a prime example of why vaccines are one of the greatest scientific achievements of our time. Polio has been eradicated from Australia and while I acknowledge that when scientists were racing to create these vaccines in the 1930s and 1940s there were mistakes and many fatalities, would you be happy to live now in 2010 in a country where children are at risk of this disease?  

I'd like to quote from a Health and Wellbeing website because it says exactly what I feel about this issue: "The only reason that non-immunised children are not more at risk in Australia is because of the high general level of immunisation. Immunised children are giving free protection to non-immunised children because immunised children will not spread the infections. However, in infectious disease terms, non-immunised children are walking time bombs waiting to be exploded by polio, diphtheria, measles or whooping cough."  

Since the introduction of routine childhood vaccination, poliomyelitis, tetanus, diphtheria, and Hib infection have been virtually eliminated, and measles is now uncommon. Every parent should consider these facts seriously because mountains of evidence have proven that immunisation really works, and no child should be denied this protection.  

I welcome your comments and truly appreciate that everyone has different points of view, but my research and the information I have at hand says that immunisation saves lives. 


Anonymous said...


I admire the passion for parenting you express in your articles, although on this occasion I feel compelled to pass on my concern for your articles one sided view on vaccinations. There is much to the other, 'Myth side' (as you call it) of the story. So many people would read your article on vaccinations, and ignorantly assume vaccines are, only safe, without researching the topic further themselves, usually due to their busy lifestyle. Unfortunately most take for granted that what they read in the paper, in general, as truth.

For this reason I feel you have a responsibility not only to your readers, but yourself, to research this topic further.

There is an increasing amount of research, information and facts readily available now on the dangers of vaccines and the deceitfulness of vaccine manufacturers, the history is really quite disturbing. Insiders, scientists and doctors etc are openly sharing this information, as best as they are able, even though at times it may be difficult to do so for many interesting reasons, they are very brave for the ramifications this can cause them.

If you ask your doctor what the ingredients are in a vaccine, they cannot tell you them all! Yet they will happily inject you.

Apparently manufacturers of vaccines cannot get all of the mercury out of vaccines, because it binds to the antigen(s) in the vaccine. It's the same for Australia as the USA. Of course thimerosol is only one of many toxic ingredients anyway. If all the toxic ingredients were taken out of vaccines, there'd be nothing left. It is quite misleading to say that vaccines do not have toxic ingredients in vaccines, please look it up for yourself (one link included below).

Vaccines can cause the disease they are supposed to prevent, for instance look into Polio, families contracted it from the vaccinated child, and instances of Polio increased after the introduction of the vaccine.

Also, you may like to look into the apparent clinical trials, how many children are trialed and what time period they are carried out for, and what happens to the statistics of the children whom get side effects...

Would not diet be a safe and most effective way of giving this protection.

If you are interested in the other side of the story, please find below a starting point for you of webinars, audios etc:
Barbara Loe Fisher (interviews on Mercola also)
Dr Shiv Chopra (interviews on Mercola also)

Kind regards,


Shannon said...

Hi Raquel, please see my response in the original blog post above.

Anonymous said...

Hi Shannon!

I agree with Raquel!
All this scare tactics of the government and the pharma industrie.
Take the latest call for the swine flu H1N1 shots. The whole world knows by now that there is nor was a pandemic and the symptoms of the flu are very mild. But the government bought all this vaccines which was rushed through trails and now no one wants to get the shot because the only effects it will provide are side effects.
Just a few weeks ago I heard from a mid wife that she cannot support vaccines, because she saw too many reverse reactions in children. Also many of the diseases you mentioned were eliminated through vaccines, disappeared because of better hygiene and better nutrition.
I could go on with more evidence and research, but I think that you are set in your belives as I am set in mine.
The book "Vaccination" by Viera Scheibner tells you all about the other side of that topic and I am thankfull that people like her and Dr. Mercola trying to get the truth out about the medical assault on the immune system.

Kind regards

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