Ethical Debate: Should Pediatricians Treat Unvaccinated Children?

December 13, 2011 · 19 comments

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innoculations, vaccines

Sunday is my day to relax and read the paper. We read the New York Times and I love the magazine section. I especially love Ariel Kaminer’s The Ethicist column. However, this week I was really peeved at the way she handled the “Armchair Ethicist”  (December 5, 2011), which is an online debate that is subsequently published. The ethical question posed was whether pediatricians may refuse to care for families that don’t vaccinate their children.

I take exception to the entire premise of the ensuing argument. Ariel Kaminer is clearly in the camp of vaccine supporters, by her use of the term “free-riders” to describe people who make a personal choice to forgo vaccination, as well as her description of people who (in her opinion) just make “unwise decisions about their own health.”

For some people and families, making the difficult decision to forgo vaccination can be a very wise decision. Some children are simply not healthy enough to receive vaccinations and should not do so. Vaccinations are made for healthy children with predictable outcomes. Unfortunately, many children today are born with compromised immune systems that can be further damaged by the insult of a vaccine or they may experience serious new problems triggered by the shots. A protocol needs to be created to properly evaluate all children to determine if and when they are ready to receive vaccinations. (See Gut and Psychology Syndrome  by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride pp. 60-62.)

Since children are all biochemically different and develop at different rates, it is inappropriate to require that a rigid vaccination schedule must be followed by every child. Not to mention that children today receive over 45 different vaccines if they stick to the recommended schedule. In certain children, the undeveloped or compromised immune system has difficulty dealing with all these strains and with toxic adjuvants like aluminum and mercury (yes, there is still mercury in vaccines), and other additives that may be potential allergens in the vaccines.

While some people believe that we “benefit from the retreat of childhood epidemics” we have traded in epidemics of acute diseases for epidemics of chronic childhood illnesses. Just 15 years ago we did not see the numbers we now have of children diagnosed with adult diseases such as type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and other autoimmune disorders.  Additionally, there is an autism epidemic where one in 80 children are on the spectrum. Numerous parents have reported to the National Vaccine Information Center and to VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System) regression and other serious complications in their child after vaccination.

Holistic medicine teaches that when children experience their childhood illnesses and recover, their immunity is much stronger and healthier. Similarly, when a fever is let to run its course the child is stronger and healthier because the immune system did what it is supposed to do — protect the body with a fever. If we constantly reduce the fever with medicine the body never gets its chance to work properly. Similarly, if we never give the child the opportunity to get sick by using vaccines, their immune system will not develop properly.

I also take exception to the statement that “not even their most vocal critics claim that inoculation is more dangerous than measles, mumps, rubella, whooping cough, influenza and so on once were.” There are many people who would rather have the child get the disease instead of the vaccine. The vaccine lends only temporary protection while having had the disease gives lifetime immunity.

Our government formed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 which created a federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). Over 2 billion dollars have been awarded to vaccine injured children and adults since this program’s inception. This legislation protects the pharmaceutical companies from lawsuits. The pharmaceutical companies are responsible for proving to the FDA that their vaccines are safe. Ask the parents of children who died or were seriously injured after inoculation if they think vaccines are safe.

Granted, some of the diseases are serious, however many are less virulent and are milder then they were years ago. Now that they are protected from lawsuits, drug companies are rushing to make as many vaccines as they can. For example, chicken pox in a child is a mild illness — more of an inconvenience to working parents. But chicken pox as an adult can be dangerous. We need to allow children to get their childhood illnesses as children when they are needed for the development of the immune system — not as adults, when getting childhood illnesses can be more virulent.

The most troublesome part of the article is in the comments of “how best to influence the child’s family.” As if all the “good” parents vaccinate and all the “bad” parents do not.

Parents should do their homework and not rely only on the doctors and the states’ recommendations. After all, these recommendations come straight from the pharmaceutical companies who manufacture these drugs. If you think the pharmaceutical companies are looking out for the best interests of the children, I have a bridge to sell you.

Parents should be encouraged to read the package inserts from the vaccines and see exactly what can happen to their child.  They may decide that it is in the best interest of their child to not receive these vaccinations or at least to follow a different schedule. Some parents decide to spread them out more so that their child does not receive three, four, five or six strains of pathogens at one time. That would be a major strain on a child’s immune system.

An issue of major concern here is the issue of a parent’s right to make informed medical decisions for their children without the pressure or influence of a medical professional, the state or the school district. With new vaccines becoming mandated each year children have become the largest marketplace for drug companies. We need an open conversation about risk versus benefit.

Interestingly, as I read through the debate comments, many were made by medical doctors, pediatricians in particular. As it turns out, this was not much of a debate at all.

Finally, and this is the only aspect of the article with which I agree with Kaminer, the doctor should treat the unvaccinated child. Furthermore, every pediatric practice should isolate the newborns and infants from all the other children, vaccinated or not, as they all may carry many infectious agents.

What are your beliefs about this controversial issue. Please leave a comment and let me know!

For more information about this topic:

National Vaccine Information Center

SaneVax.org

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