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.
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.