Vaccinations are always a controversial topic of discussion and for some may evoke strong opinions and even fear and uncertainty. For some parents, the choice whether or not to vaccinate can be difficult and often made too hastily. On one hand, we skip vaccinations and worry about our children becoming ill; on the other, we choose to vaccinate and worry if our child will suffer from any serious side effects. The decision is never easy, but with information on both sides you can be more confident in your choice.
The theory behind vaccinations is actually quite intelligent. When your immune system is exposed to, and fights off an infection, it keeps a lifetime memory of that virus or bacteria preventing any future occurrence. Vaccines attempt to mimic this phenomenon by injecting a dead or weakened form of the desired infection into body and hoping the immune system behaves the same way. Some research has shown that the introduction of vaccines has reduced the number of diseases they are targeted towards.
However, the controversy surrounding vaccines is rooted in the administration, the preservatives used, and contraindications pertaining to vaccines itself. The typical way for bacteria or viruses to enter the body is through the mouth or other mucosal surfaces (eyes, nose, etc). By injecting a virus or bacteria, we are not reproducing the normal exposure to infection and thus the response may not be the same. Most vaccines are notorious for the amount of preservatives and adjuvants, including mercury and aluminum, which are poisonous to brain and nerve tissue, among others. In some people, vaccination is contraindicated, or not safe. Certain vaccines are not recommended for pregnant women, infants, or anyone with a compromised immune system.
So how do we decide what’s best for our children and do vaccines really work? This question deserves a lot of thought and may not be answered by the time you finish reading this. The idea is to become informed on both sides of the question and arrive at an informed decision. A Naturopathic Doctor chooses neither option for the patient, but helps to provide unbiased information and support which ever decision the patient makes. Some people will continue to vaccinate and may see a Naturopath to prevent the side effects; some opt out of vaccinations and see a Naturopath to build their immune system naturally; and the newer trend is those who work with their Naturopath to create a modified vaccination schedule based on their individual needs.
On October 10 at 7.30pm, Dr Frank Silva hosts an informative lecture on vaccination options and controversies at the pureBalance Wellness Centre and is always available for personalized vaccine consultations. Register for the lecture via Meetup.