Vaccines: some things I’ve been learning (originally written 10/8/07)

There are those in the autism community who believe certain vaccines like the MMR caused their children’s autism. I am not one of those. Nate’s was not a regressive case, where he was “fine” and then, one day soon after a shot, lost skills, language, etc. Looking back, we can see signs all along in Nate’s development. However, I agree with the experts (like in the book I’m currently reading, Changing the Course of Autism: A Scientific Approach for Parents and Physicians) who posit that autism is not merely a genetic disorder, but a disorder perhaps involving some genetic predispositions (in the brain? gut?) that are triggered by environmental factors that affect the gut, brain, and other areas of the body. One of those environmental triggers might be some of the ingredients in vaccines.

Some studies have found that children with autism are unable to process certain metals, like mercury and/or other vaccine ingredients, properly. Their bodies hold onto these materials, sometimes to toxic levels, which can then manifest in “autistic” behaviors. I’m being as careful as possible with Lucy’s vaccinations since 1) autism tends to run in families and she may also have those “genetic predispositions” and 2) I’ve been finding out what’s in these vaccines (a lot of junk, including aluminum, formaldehyde, and human tissue!).

Lucy got her first shot, the Hib (prevents Haemophilus influenzae type b bacteria, which causes bacterial meningitis, pneumonia, and other infections) at five months. Babies’ immune systems often aren’t ready for shots by two months, so we gave Lucy’s body more time to develop. I’m getting her vaccinations one at a time (more spread out), so she only gets one shot at each doctor’s visit, as opposed to the four or more that is standard protocol*. Also, she won’t get the combination shots like the MMR; instead she’ll get separate measles, separate mumps, and separate rubella shots. Here’s how I plan to do all of her shots (probably not exactly to this schedule, but in this order and not any sooner than the ages listed):

  • 5 months: Hib
  • 6 months: DTaP
  • 7 months: second series of Hib, IPV (Polio)
  • 8 months: DTaP
  • 9 months: third series of Hib, IPV
  • 10 months: DTaP
  • 15 months: measles
  • 17 months: fourth series of Hib, IPV
  • 27 months: rubella
  • 39 months: mumps**
  • 4-5 years: boosters for the measles, rubella, and mumps** shots (if possible, though, you can check for “titers” before giving boosters and may not need to give the boosters at all)
  • 4 years: Hepatitis B

I haven’t listed the chicken pox (varicella/varivax) vaccine because I may not get it for the children at all. I may file exemptions for both Nate and Lucy for some shots. Several states, including California, allow parents to file “philosophical exemptions.” This way, they can still attend any school. FYI, California’s school immunization record form has space on the back for a “personal beliefs” exemption request.

The book I’ve gotten most of my information from is What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Children’s Vaccinations by Stephanie Cave. I like that the author, a doctor, isn’t completely anti-vaccine; she just gives a fuller picture about what’s in each vaccine, possible side effects, how best to protect our children, etc.

* More information on why I’m spreading Lucy’s vaccinations out and only getting one at a time: “Marcel Kinsbourne, M.D., a pediatric neurologist and research professor at the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University, expressed his concerns about multiple dosing to the House Committee on Government Reform when he was asked to speak on the subject of vaccine safety. Dr. Kinsbourne told his audience that ‘when several vaccines are given at the same time, they may have adverse effects that none of the individual vaccines have when they are given by themselves….’ In addition to the added assault on the immune system when more than one vaccine is given, injecting several vaccines makes it virtually impossible to know which one is responsible for any adverse reactions that may occur” (Cave, 2001, pp. 33-34).

** I keep thinking of more stuff to add! Lucy might not get the mumps shots at all. The major threat of the mumps disease is male sterility. (In addition, the rubella disease is rather mild except in cases where a pregnant woman contracts it; it can kill the baby. So girls don’t need the mumps vaccine as much as boys do, and boys don’t need the rubella vaccine as much as girls do.)

Edited to add: The book I’m currently reading presents evidence that the main issue with the MMR is the measles portion, and even separated out, the measles vaccine has caused problems.

2008 update
I have since decided not to get any vaccinations for Lucy. She has gotten the Hib (once at 5 months and once at 9 months), so I will probably get the other two rounds of that shot for her, but nothing else right now. I’m finding more and more reasons not to put all those weird/foreign things into my baby.

7 thoughts on “Vaccines: some things I’ve been learning (originally written 10/8/07)

  1. Marsha April 19, 2008 / 5:37 pm

    Hi Katie,

    I don’t know if you remember me, but I’m one of Ricci’s friends that used to go walking around the lake with Ricci and Sara. Ricci gave me your blog address because Tynan, my oldest of now 3, was recently diagnosed with autism. I can trace his back to shots! He did the whole regression thing. And I was reading this post (I also read that vaccine book), and I was getting so nervous for Lucy, then I saw your 2008 update and said PHEW! I had a little girl in October and we are not getting her vaccinated…at least not anytime soon. We are definitely waiting until she is very verbal and then we may do a very very slow schedule. We just can’t risk it happening again. Tynan was fine until about 15 months…then he stopped and went backwards. It took us a year to finally figure out what was going on and what happened. Vaccines happened! And per the American Academy of Pediatric…up to 9 immunizations at a time. I wish I had known then what I know now. Oh and we just got him tested for heavy metals and he has 4 times the ‘safe’ amount of Aluminum in his system. Well, thank you vaccines. Where else could he get it? So I was relieved to hear that you are holding off on your baby.

    Hope all is well. I look forward to reading more of your blog. You may see more posts from me. Sorry this is so long!

    Marsha McNeely

  2. editorkatie April 19, 2008 / 6:04 pm

    Hi Marsha,

    Yes, of course I remember you! I had not heard about Tynan! It seems he is in the majority of children with autism (regressive after vaccines). I’m with you about waiting until your daughter is very verbal and then doing a slow schedule. I’m thinking either no vaccines ever for Lucy or else not starting until she’s at least close to 3.

  3. Jennifer December 8, 2008 / 10:20 pm

    Hello there. I don’t know how I stumbled upon your page, but I wanted to drop you a line. My son, Chris, was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder when he was 2 (he is 5 now.) Like you, I did not see a regression in Chris after his MMR shot. I am now pregnant again and my husband and I just bought Stephanie Cave’s book, “What your doctor may not tell you about vaccines.” We are very concerned because of the vaccine debate and we are trying to educate ourselves so we can make some decisions this time around. I wanted to thank you for putting together this web page. I’ve read a couple of posts and it is very helpful for me to see what others are doing for their children. My husband and I (like you, I’m sure) are learning about autism as we go. It’s been a slow process for us, but we are learning.

  4. Tiffany July 22, 2011 / 11:44 am

    I just stumbled across your blog and I couldn’t agree more. My children have a predisposition to Autism since my husband’s brother has AS. Nobody even asked me about our family history, and as a FTM I just did what the doctors said. Hep B at 2 days old, 4 weeks old, so on and so forth until at 24 months my son has had 22 shots and regressive autism. It hurts me as a parent to see my child suffer and know that it is my fault for not protecting him. I can see his discomfort in his everyday life. It kills me… And now I have a new baby who already got her Hep B at 1 day old and 4 weeks old and now I finally connected the dots, I am not bringing her in for ANY MORE! I have no idea how she is going to go to school, my husband and I are considering moving to a state that allows philosophical exemptions by the time she is school age.

    • editorkatie July 22, 2011 / 11:53 am


      Thanks for your comment! I think we as moms put too much guilt on ourselves! We are doing our best! We are trying our hardest! We are doing what we think is right for our children with the information we have been given. Sometimes we realize that the info we are given is skewed, and that’s when it’s up to us to act and learn more–just like you are doing. 🙂

      I am very thankful that the state we live in (California) allows for philosophical exemptions. I have had a very easy time exempting each of our children. I hope you can find the same!


  5. Dmitry January 5, 2012 / 3:57 pm

    We have 9 mo girl and we haven’t done any of the vaccines as of today. We are still deciding if we should do any of the shots, because the Hepatitis B and possibly Poly are very dangerous for kids if they get it.
    Also, after reading your post we wanted to consider Hib shot, but I did some research and it looks like that every manufacturer of Hib vaccine had some kind of incident associated with that vaccine (allergy, sickness or even death). So now we are kinda in between decisions whether to avoid any shots and hope that we do net get any of the dangerous disease or do the shots and hope not to have any negative reactions.

    Which one you would recommend to do and which ones to avoid ?


    • editorkatie January 5, 2012 / 7:46 pm

      Thanks for your comment. After writing this post, we decided not to vaccinate our children any further with any vaccines. Like you, I have read some things recently about the Hib posing the same risks as other vaccines. Of course, it’s a case-by-case, family-by-family decision, but we have chosen not to vaccinate. I believe our children’s immune systems can’t handle it, while others might be able to handle individual vaccinations just fine.

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