Vaccinations: Informed Consent, Efficacy and Strengthening Immunity
The principle of Informed Consent has its roots in millenniaold medical ethics, and in modern times has become codified as law. Federal regulations require that doctors tell patients in advance the nature of the medical treatment they are recommending, the risks involved, and whether or not there are alternative methods of treatment. Doctors must also give their patients an opportunity to ask questions. This is often referred to in medical circles as the PARQ Process: Procedures, Alternatives, Risks, and Questions.
The official position of the Naturopathic profession, as stated by the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, is precisely this:
All physicians should obtain from parents signed informed consent by providing printed information describing the risks of the infectious diseases, the risks and benefits of childhood vaccinations and other options. Consent forms describing such information should be provided in a manner which would allow responsible parents to make informed decisions regarding the vaccination of their children [emphasis added].
Unfortunately, the proper level of informed consent is not always given by parents, who are often pressured into vaccinations by health care workers who fail to tell them their legal rights. It is therefore imperative that parents inform themselves. The purpose of my website is to make people aware of issues and information that may not have been available anywhere else, and to provide resources for further investigation.
Efficacy of Vaccinations
Keep in mind the goal of widespread vaccination programs was, at first, very noble—to eliminate infectious diseases and the suffering and death they caused in days gone by. As they have been implemented in modern times, however, most vaccinations fall far short of this goal for several reasons.
First, vaccinations do not impart permanent immunity from the diseases they vaccinate against. Most modern studies show that a high percentage of people who were vaccinated as children have no stored immunity by the time they reach their late teens or early twenties. When exposed to the diseases at this later age, they usually have a much more serious case of these illnesses, which can be fatal more often than when the diseases are acquired naturally as children.
Second, most epidemic-level outbreaks of the various diseases our society is vaccinating against are taking place among fully-vaccinated children. Even in the short-term, where vaccinations have been effective at reducing disease incidence, the immune effects are not universal and more and more children are getting sick anyway. In other words, children are being exposed to the risks of vaccination without the benefits of either short-term or long-term immunity. In roughly the last 30 years, for example, every case of polio in the US has been among previously-vaccinated individuals.
Third, the risks of side effects from vaccinations now appear to be higher than the risks of serious side effects from the naturally acquired childhood diseases. Additional epidemiological research is needed in this area, but the preliminary findings point in this direction. This will become more apparent when the actual long-term side effects of an altered, hypo-functioning or malfunctioning immune system are included. This will include conditions such as auto-immune diseases and cancer, all of which are now at epidemic levels in the US and elsewhere where vaccinations are widespread.
Fourth, the entire philosophy of vaccinations overlooks the crucial importance of actually catching the various childhood diseases as part of the normal development and training of our immune systems. Without ever being properly trained and allowed to exercise itself, we can never be fully certain that our immune system will be able to do its job throughout our lifetime.
If you choose not to vaccinate your children, you may be wondering what options you have to protect your child. The best protection is of course a healthy immune system. You may, however, want to do more to prevent illnesses or to reduce the severity of childhood illnesses when they do occur. Basically, the major options for a more natural approach to immunity and prevention can be summarized as follows:
If your child has good nutrition and a strong immune system, allow your child to catch diseases naturally. If you or other children in your family have shown strong vitality and most of your child’s illnesses are short and relatively benign, he or she is probably an excellent candidate for this option. In this case, treat the illnesses when they arise with homeopathy, herbal medicines or other natural means which support the natural immune process.
Treat with homeopathy to prevent illness during known outbreaks of infectious diseases. Even as far back as the time of Hahnemann, homeopathy has been used as a preventive measure during known epidemics and has been shown to reduce both the incidence of diseases and the severity in people who do catch the illness.
Treat with homeopathy according to a schedule to prevent illness. This in essence is similar to the vaccination process, but without the side effects of the vaccinations. It is important to note that homeopathic forms of the vaccines will not impart immunity as measured by blood anti-bodies. Nevertheless, in statistics compiled by an Australian Homeopath, Isaac Golden, this process still results in a reduction in disease incidence and severity. Golden’s work needs to be replicated and expanded, but this may be a better option if your child is often sick or more strongly afflicted by illnesses.
This article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #13.
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