Vaccines: A Holistic Perspective
Many of our patients have been asking about the ins and outs of vaccinations. This blog is intended to inform you of facts, based in scientific literature. It is NOT intended to be construed as medical advice or recommendation for your individual child.
One Size Doesn’t Fit All:
Currently we vaccinate based on the CDC schedule for every child born within the United States. This schedule takes very little individuality into account. It does not assess the child’s risk of developing an adverse reaction to a vaccine, as it doesn’t account for individual neurological or immunologic factors.
There is no question, vaccines have done incredible things for our society as a whole. We have eradicated certain diseases from the United States with widespread vaccinations. Unfortunately, in this process, there have been some children seriously injured. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) (https://www.hrsa.gov/vaccine-compensation/covered-vaccines/index.html) has put out over $4 billion in compensation for vaccine-related injuries.Every medical modality comes with some degree of risk. There is risk associated with vaccinating, just as there is risk associated with not vaccinating. Click To Tweet
Every medical modality comes with some degree of risk. There is risk associated with vaccinating, just as there is risk associated with not vaccinating. The goal is to assess the risk factors for contracting each disease AND the risk factors for reacting to each vaccine for each and every child, as an individual.
While the HRSA compensates acute vaccine-related injuries, it fails to recognize the long-term negative health impacts some individuals experience from vaccinations. The research on these long-term impacts is still far from fully understood, but preliminary research shows that for genetically susceptible individuals, vaccinations can increase the likelihood for the development of autoimmune conditions, hyperimmune conditions (i.e. allergic conditions), and neurological dysfunction.
Identifying Risk for Having an Adverse Reaction:
Risk for developing an adverse reaction = 1 + 2 + 3 +…7 (factors listed below)
- Early Vaccination in Pre-term Babies
- Individuals with previous post-vaccination autoimmune activity or allergic reaction
- Individuals with a history of allergic reactions
- Individuals with a medical history of autoimmune disease
- Individuals with a family history of autoimmune or allergic conditions
- Asymptomatic carriers of autoimmune antibodies
- Genetic variations in the HLA gene family
Identifying Risk of Developing the Disease being Vaccinated Against
Risk of Developing the Disease = Exposure (location, day care, older siblings, second-hand smoke etc.) + Susceptibility (nutritional status, immunological status, gender)
- Day Care
- Polio: Risk of exposure increases if traveling to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Iran, Somalia, Kenya, Papa New Guinea, Niger, or Mozambique
- Diptheria: Endemic in many countries in Asia, the South Pacific, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe and in Haiti and the Dominican Republic; outbreaks in Indonesia, Thailand, Laos, South Africa, Sudan, and Pakistan
- Susceptibility factors:
- Lack of Breastfeeding (gestational immunity from mom to baby)
- Exposures to Cigarette Smoke
- In Contact with Used Needles or Person in Household with Hepatitis B
- Preterm Birth and/or Failure to Thrive
- Acute Illness during time of vaccination
- Low Vitamin D
- African American or Native American Descent
- Spleen Dysfunction
If your child is older, you may consider checking his/her titers prior to giving a booster or additional vaccine. Serum titers measure whether or not your immune system has mounted enough of a response to be considered “immune” to a particular disease. The CDC has established standards for almost all diseases that we vaccinate for.
Put Together a Pre and Post Vaccination Plan:
Certain Supplements can be helpful in boosting the immune systems’ response, as well as supporting an appropriate response (decreasing over-reaction) to vaccinations. Vitamin A, vitamin D, zinc, and probiotics have all been implicated for supporting optimal immune function. Other supplements can be given to help support detoxification process of certain vaccine adjuvants. Magnesium, vitamin C, glutathione, and NAC are some examples of supplements that can be used to support detoxification and reduce the burden of adjuvants, (such as aluminum) within the vaccine. We are not providing doses, as we strongly recommend you work with a physician to formulate an individualized program for your child.
Delay Vaccinations When You Can:
During the last three months of pregnancy, antibodies are passed from the mother’s immune system into the baby through the placenta. This is called passive immunity. The passive immunity varies for each disease, but we know that immunity against chicken pox, measles, mumps, and rubella tends to last up to one year. Breastfeeding further increases the strength and the duration of passive immunity. While this immunity helps protect the baby in the immediate time period, it is not long-lasting. This passive immunity has also been shown to impair the immune system’s response to vaccinations. In other words, vaccines are not as effective if given while the baby still have passive immunity from the mother. For this reason, the immune system’s response to a vaccination will be more effective as the child ages. This could be one reason why the CDC recommends fewer doses of each vaccine as the child ages.
Avoid the Use of Tylenol Post Vaccination:
Through the metabolism of Tylenol, a toxic byproduct, NAPQ, is produced. Our body must use glutathione in order to neutralize this toxin, thereby, decreasing the body’s stores of glutathione necessary for detoxifying other components of the vaccine. Furthermore, research suggests that Tylenol weakens the immune response to the vaccination, rendering the vaccine less effective at antibody induction.
We want to emphasize that we do not believe vaccines are inherently bad. Instead, we feel that each child should be thoroughly assessed for risks for- and risks for not- vaccinating prior to initiating vaccines. With these considerations, our hope is that the number of adverse reactions from vaccines will be greatly reduced, without compromising the incredible work the CDC has done with disease eradication.
- Niewiesk S. Maternal Antibodies: Clinical Significance, Mechanism of Interference with Immune Responses, and Possible Vaccination Strategies. Frontiers in Immunology. 2014;5. doi:10.3389/fimmu.2014.00446.
- Sen S, Cloete Y, Hassan K, Buss P. Adverse events following vaccination in premature infants. Acta Paediatrica. 2001;90(8):916-920. doi:10.1111/j.1651-2227.2001.tb02457.x.
- Soriano A, Nesher G, Shoenfeld Y. Predicting post-vaccination autoimmunity: Who might be at risk? Pharmacological Research. 2015;92:18-22. doi:10.1016/j.phrs.2014.08.002.
- Vadalà M, Poddighe D, Laurino C, Palmieri B. Vaccination and autoimmune diseases: is prevention of adverse health effects on the horizon? EPMA Journal. 2017;8(3):295-311. doi:10.1007/s13167-017-0101-y.
- Vitamin A supplementation. World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/immunization/programmes_systems/interventions/vitamin_A/en/. Published August 10, 2015. Accessed May 17, 2019.