As you prepare for the health and happiness of your soon-to-be-born child, be sure to include vaccine education on your list of things to do. Vaccines will play a huge role in your child’s first two years of life, beginning with a hepatitis B shot before you and your baby even leave the hospital. At two months of age 8 additional vaccines will be injected into your newborn’s body, followed by up to 28 vaccines at well baby visits over the next 16 months (37 vaccines before age two).
As you take extra care to provide a healthy diet and safe environment for your baby, think carefully about potential side effects from medications and vaccines that could harm your child. Because vaccines are known to cause injury and death, you should educate before you vaccinate … before your baby arrives.
The following key points are good to KNOW as you research the issues and facts concerning vaccination:
Know the Vaccine Controversy
The vaccine controversy is about two related but separate issues:
(1) vaccine safety and the connection to immune compromised illnesses, and
(2) vaccine policy and informed consent rights.
The institutions, researchers and doctors that make and administer vaccines present compelling data to support the idea that vaccines are safe and necessary. If this paradigm fits in with your own beliefs about health and disease, be aware of the risks associated with each vaccine you give your child. Know what signs to look for in the event that your child becomes an adverse event statistic.
When reviewing vaccine safety data, compare research conducted by independent medical researchers to the widely publicized research that is often influenced by government agencies, political agendas, conflicts of interest or financial ties to vaccine manufacturers.
Know Vaccine Policy
Vaccine policy for childhood vaccines is all or nothing. If you wish to vaccinate your child, you may not choose one or some vaccines and you may not decline certain vaccines. Your child must have all required vaccines for admittance to public and private K-12 schools.
Many parents, doctors and those who advocate for informed consent rights believe that vaccine policy should allow for alternative vaccine schedules and the right to accept or decline one, some or all vaccines.
Doctors should consider the unique needs and the health of every child before administering vaccines or prescribing medications. Be aware that many pediatricians strictly adhere to the recommended schedule and may not be willing to work with you on a modified schedule or make exceptions in the case of certain vaccines you may wish to decline or defer. Some doctors may deny medical services if you do not vaccinate, even if you have claimed religious exemption.
Know the Law
It is important to have a clear understanding of the law. Many people you will be dealing with on vaccine matters are uninformed or misinformed about vaccine laws and may give you wrong information.
Know that Florida law (and most other states) provides for exemption due to medical contraindication or if your religious beliefs conflict with the practice of vaccination.
If you wish to claim religious exemption, it is important that you have a clear understanding of the exemption process in order to avoid unnecessary hardship, confusion or delay in obtaining the exemption certificate.
Know the Exemption Process
Florida vaccine policy requires that your exemption statement be submitted to your child’s school on a standardized form provided by the Department of Health. You must obtain a religious exemption certificate from a county health department, and you must wait until after your child is born before obtaining the exemption certificate.
Agents involved with vaccine compliance, including schools and health departments, are prohibited from judging the basis or sincerity of the parent’s claim due to separation of church and state laws. Your request for the religious exemption certificate cannot be denied.
The hospital your child will be born at should provide you with an informed consent form authorizing the administration of the first in a three-shot series of hepatitis B vaccine prior to being discharged from the hospital. The hepatitis B vaccine is a required vaccine for school admission; however it is not required by law immediately after birth during the hospital stay. If you plan to decline or defer the vaccine at that time, be sure to communicate this intention with the hospital when you are admitted.
Know What You Believe
It is important that you have a clear understanding of your beliefs about vaccination because vaccines are playing an increasing role in public health policy, affecting not only children but people of all ages in all walks of life.
While vaccination is widely accepted and practiced, there are valid medical, philosophical, religious and ethical reasons why vaccines should be declined.
If you do not vaccinate you may be denied services or acceptance by family, friends, doctors, groups, etc. The pressure to conform can make it difficult to stand firmly committed to the ethical tenets of your spiritual belief system.
Know the Basics
Vaccination is infection by injection. It is not possible to inject toxic substances into the blood stream without immunological consequence (i.e., allergic response).
Vaccination is deemed successful only when it has initiated a strong enough allergic reaction to create antibodies. Allergic reactions vary in degree depending on genetics, circumstances and the health of the individual. If the reaction is too strong, it can become too adverse (encephalitis, seizure, respiratory distress, etc.).
There are risks associated with vaccination and risk associated with not vaccinating. You should know the benefits and the risks of both.
Be aware that doctors and vaccine manufacturers are immune from liability should an adverse event occur.
Millions of people around the world tolerate vaccines and feel confident that they are protected from the diseases for which they are vaccinated against. The role that mass vaccination plays in public health, however, does not preclude it from also being a causative factor of internal diseases.
Footnotes, References, Recommended Reading
Also refer to manufacturer inserts for each vaccine for possible side effects
Book: The Vaccine Safety Guide: Risks and Benefits for Children and Adults by Randall Neustaedter OMD (November 8, 2002)
Book: Vaccine Safety Manual for Concerned Families and Health Practitioners, 2nd Edition: Guide to Immunization Risks and Protection by Neil Z. Miller (December 1, 2009)