Holistic Moms Support Informed Consent for Vaccinations
The Holistic Moms Network (HMN), a national non-profit with more than 120 chapters across the U.S., extends its support to the Poling family, whose daughter Hannah descended into autism within 48 hours of receiving 9 childhood vaccines.
“We are always saddened to learn of adverse reactions to vaccinations and the repercussions parents must face when their child is injured,” says HMN executive director Nancy Massotto. “The Poling case demonstrates that the ‘one size fits all’ approach to vaccinating children is unsound. Every child has a unique physiology that will dictate their reaction to a drug or vaccine,” says Massotto. “We encourage parents to research the pros and cons of vaccinations, trust their instincts about their children’s health, and take the time they need to make their decisions; because ultimately, parents are the ones who will live with the consequences if something goes wrong, not the doctor and not the government.”
The Holistic Moms Network is not opposed to vaccination, rather the organization firmly supports parents’ individual informed choice for all medical interventions and believes that more transparent and unbiased research into the safety and efficacy of vaccines is needed. Some HMN members like Laurie Cunningham in Fairfax, Virginia decided to vaccinate their 9-month-old daughter after researching the issue.
“We’re working with her pediatrician to come up with a schedule that is close to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations, but we have chosen to limit the number of shots at each visit to 2, and we’ve decided to decline certain shots: the Hepatitis B shot, because she’s not at risk as an infant; the Rotavirus (live virus) vaccine, because we felt the risks outweighed the benefits; and the flu shot, because we felt there was too much controversy over its formulation and effectiveness.”
The rising number of vaccines included in the mandatory schedule — given to babies during the most rapid and critical stage of brain and immunological development — has raised additional concerns for parents. In the 1970s, parents were told their children needed 23 doses of 7 vaccines by age 6; today it’s 48 doses of 14 vaccines by age 6. Some HMN members have chosen to delay shots until their children’s immune systems are more robust and others choose not to vaccinate.
Cassandra Alls, an HMN member in Annapolis, Maryland says, “I’ve done my research to determine whether vaccines are harmful or not, and for me, the children with vaccine injuries are the evidence. It’s a money machine. It has nothing to do with health.” Critics like Alls point to a February 8, 2005 Los Angeles Times article which reported that, as early as 1991, vaccine-maker Merck knew that the cumulative amounts of thimerosal given to infants in vaccines by 6 months of age was 87 times higher than levels thought to be safe.
But thimerosal — a preservative containing ethyl mercury — is no longer the only concern. Parenting expert, Dr. Robert Sears has raised red flags about the toxicity of aluminum, used as an adjuvant in vaccines. (Adjuvants are used to amplify the body’s response to a vaccine.) At birth a newborn baby typically gets 250 micrograms (mcg) of aluminum in a Hepatitis B shot, and by 2 months — during the first big round of shots — the total dose of aluminum can climb to a staggering 1,225 mcg. Despite a 1996 policy paper by the American Academy of Pediatrics acknowledging that aluminum can cause neurological harm, Sears says there have been no studies to determine whether the doses of aluminum in vaccines are safe for babies and children.
Sears and others are troubled by the lack of adequate safety studies for vaccines. Dr. Lawrence Palevsky, a board certified pediatrician in clinical practice in New York, goes further. He encourages new parents to read the ingredients in vaccine inserts before deciding whether to vaccinate their child(ren). Parents are often shocked to see that the list includes beta-propiolactone and formaldehyde (noted human toxins), phenoxyethanol (antifreeze), monosodium glutamate and numerous antibiotics.
Most parents don’t know that they have the right to refuse shots. Barbara Loe Fisher, director of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) in Virginia says, “The right to informed consent to the use of any pharmaceutical product or medical procedure which carries a risk of injury or death is a fundamental human right and a central ethical principle in the practice of modern medicine. Vaccination should be no exception.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control acknowledges that 1 in 150 children develop autism in the United States today compared to 1 in 2,500 in 1970. Vaccine choice advocates see a correlation between the rise in the number of shots and chronic illnesses in children. Since the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act was passed in 1986, federal Courts have awarded nearly $2 billion to victims of vaccine damage. Although the government continues to deny a link between vaccines and autism, public concern about vaccine safety, and wariness of official denials, is growing. The decision by the Department of Justice to seal all court documents in the Poling case only serves to fuel suspicion.
“The more parents feel deceived, the more they will start to question mandatory vaccine programs and demand more flexible laws,” says Massotto. Both NVIC and HMN support efforts to amend vaccine laws to include conscientious belief exemptions in states that only have religious and medical statutes (see http://www.909shot.com/state-site/state-exemptions.htm for individual state laws). “Our love for our children guides us in the decisions we make on their behalf. Parents must be given the time and support they need to make informed decisions with respect to vaccination and other medical procedures,” concludes Massotto.
Parents can find a Holistic Moms Network chapter in their area at www.holisticmoms.org.