April 23, 2009

To the editor:

This letter is in response to the Public Health Corner column regarding vaccination, written by Melissa Hoffman, RN in the Sunday April 19th edition of The Journal.

My husband and I have two daughters aged 3 years and 16 months. At this point in their lives they should have received 26 inoculations each. They haven't received any, however, because my husband and I have chosen not to have them vaccinated. The short answer as to why we have made this decision is because we believe that the risks of vaccination outweigh the benefits. We continue to research and formulate our opinion on vaccination but thus far continue to find further evidence to support our decision and have not found reason to reverse it. Below are some reasons why we choose not to vaccinate and reasons that have not been addressed by any health care official we have yet to come in contact with.

According to the Center for Disease Control fact sheet on the DTaP vaccine (which children are to receive four times before age 18 months), your child has a 1 in 14,000 chance of experiencing seizures caused by fever as a result of receiving that vaccine; and a 1 in 3,000 chance from the MMR vaccine (which a child is to receive twice before age 6) - that means your child is more likely to experience a convulsion from either of these vaccines than that they would die in a motor vehicle accident or by drowning (see childstats.gov). We do everything we can to prevent our child from dieing in this manner (wearing seat belts and life preservers, only playing by the water when supervised, etc.) and yet we are willing to risk our children experiencing convulsions, which could potentially lead to life altering illnesses? According to a study on febrile convulsions published on pubmed.gov: "The results of this study indicate that even a single experimental febrile convulsion during infancy can exert a long-lasting, if not permanent, enhancement in seizure susceptibility." Recurrent, unprovoked seizures are what define epilepsy, a chronic neurological condition that cannot be cured.

As Ms. Hoffman mentioned in her article, there are complications from many of the diseases that are vaccinated against. That is a fact. However, the actual risks/complications from the vaccination as described on all reputable sites are never addressed. In addition, our method of treating these diseases has improved and as stated on the CDC website these diseases are easily treated with antibiotics with no lasting effects. Each vaccine/disease should be thoroughly researched by parents and those recommending vaccination before administration.

With each vaccine comes the introduction of foreign material and toxic ingredients to young and immature immune systems. The ingredients in each vaccine need to be addressed by health care professionals and understood by parents. The CDC clearly identifies each vaccine and the ingredients contained in each vaccine. Here are a few of the ingredients as taken from their website: aluminum (associated with Alzheimer's Disease), formaldehyde (embalming fluid), Thimerosal (trace amounts remain as a preservative), aborted fetal tissues, monkey DNA, MSG, and many more. The amount of exposure to these ingredients in young children should be seriously considered and evaluated for safety and lasting side effects.

We should all be cautious when we see that the asthma rate in children is now 1 in 10, the autism rate (whatever the cause) has become 1 in 150 and the US infant mortality rate has risen significantly since 1960 and dramatically since 1990 (see www.cdc.org, National Center for Health Statistics). These are more alarming statistics than those of the death rate of measles or chicken pox or any other "vaccine preventable disease."

After years of research my husband and I and several people we know, feel that the risk of harm from vaccination is greater than that of the actual disease. It would be wonderful to read an article by a public health official that could explain some of these findings, statistics and concerns from people like me rather than simply regurgitating propaganda.

Steven & Anna Friese