Jun 7, 2016 by

image-2Back when diseases were prevalent, the government and medical community teamed up to eliminate them with vaccination. And at that time, there was an accepted social mantra that it was every parent’s duty to fully vaccinate their child. Every child, no matter what. Only a handful of near-fatal reactions were considered worthy of exception, namely encephalopathy (brain injury) and anaphylactic shock. In other words, a child had to nearly die in order to justify not finishing his or her vaccines.

And what about “moderate” reactions, those which had the potential of permanent harm but the child was fortunate enough to have recovered? These are things like seizures, temporary shock (hypotensive, hyporesponsive episodes), high-pitched screaming for hours (encephalitis), temporary nerve dysfunction, and loss of developmental skills. Too bad. Vaccines were considered so crucial that some had to pay the price for the good of society. Keep vaccinating . . . your child would hopefully be ok.

Well, this is not the case anymore. While vaccines do remain important, it is just as crucial to protect every child from potentially-harmful side effects of this medical treatment. Severe vaccine reactions may be rare, but moderate reactions are not. And reactions can cause harm, especially when repeated over and over again. Fortunately, parents have become more aware, and so have many physicians. Among the more educated public and open-minded doctors, the paradigm has shifted from “Vaccinate at all costs” to “Let’s make sure your baby is handling vaccines before we continue.”

Even the mandatory vaccination law which just went into effect in California acknowledges this shift. The authors of the new law tried to mandate vaccines for everyone except those with near-fatal reactions. But the more forward-thinking legislators insisted that all families have the right to work with their personal physician to determine which moderate reactions and family history circumstances would make ongoing vaccination risky for a child.

Change has come because medical research has now made it clear that vaccination carries risk. Harmful side effects from the 70 recommended vaccine doses do occur for some children, and because of this fact, vaccination cannot be mandated for everyone. This complex medical intervention must be customized based on a child’s medical circumstances and family medical history of reactions. A one-size-fits-all approach is no longer compatible. Informed parents should work with their trusted medical practitioner to make the wisest and healthiest decisions for their family.

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