Childhood Vaccinations: The Truth Minus the Bias

What a heated controversy vaccinations are these days. Seems that everyone gets their child vaccinated when they're told to because that's what is logical and best for bumpkin - but, what if it wasn't so good for bumpkin? How would you know and how could you be sure the information you got was accurate, reliable and factual?

Such is the problem I've run into while determining whether vaccinations are a healthy choice for my little one. Everyone has an opinion about vaccinations, I just want the facts so I can then form a sound opinion. I know this information you're reading now could determine whether you choose to vaccinate your own little one or not, so I promise to give you the best, most reliable information I can - but, please know that I'm not a qualified physician, and I'm not a conspiracy theory monger. I'm just a mama researching the current available information about vaccinations and posting the best and most accurate facts I know to be true (to the best of my knowledge). Here we go...

As a first-time mom, you research everything - you can't help it. You want to know all the best, the safest, the newest stuff available in the baby world and you want only the best, the safest, the newest stuff for your bumpkin. And for me, not even vaccines can go unscrutinized by these first-time mom standards I have. All I can say is, I'm glad I didn't let vaccines slip past my scrutiny.

I was born in the spring of 1986 and back then, the total number of diseases I was immunized against from 2 months of age to six years of age was ten. Ten vaccines. These included Measles, Mumps, Rubella - (the MMR shot), Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus - (the DTP shot), Polio types 1, 2, and 3 - (the OPV - Orally administered Polio Vaccination), and a flu shot. Here was the vaccination schedule from when I was little:

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1370/is_v20/ai_4589627/

And here's a vaccination schedule from 1983 for more comparison:

http://www.generationrescue.org/pdf/turnback.pdf

As of the current U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) vaccination schedule of 2010 (which is set to change in February of 2011), the list of vaccines a child is supposed to receive from birth to six years of age is anywhere from 28-29 vaccinations for an immunodeficient child who has HIV or sickle cell anemia to a whopping 32-33 vaccinations for an immuno-healthy child. Yep, 32-33 different types of vaccinations for immuno-healthy babies by the age of six all neatly bundled into 11 different types of shots as of 2010. You can see the current vaccination schedule here:

http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/recs/schedules/downloads/child/2010/10_0-6yrs-schedule-pr.pdf

At first glance, this vaccination schedule seems to list only 11 vaccines for healthy babies (the Meningococcal vaccine included). Don't be fooled, mama. There are 56 vaccinations in total riddled throughout that schedule, but don't freak out - I'll decode it all for you.

Please know that it's impossible for your bumpkin to receive all 56 vaccinations. (You'll see why below).

Vaccinations will become really important when your bumpkin starts school, but since the option to vaccinate now starts right at birth, it's important you know all about vaccinations before your bumpkin is even born.

You can check out your state's public school vaccination requirements here:

http://www.nvic.org/Vaccine-Laws/state-vaccine-requirements.aspx

Stuff you need to know:

You can opt to exempt your child from any or all vaccines you don't agree with based on your well-educated philosophical or personal beliefs. No shot is mandatory or required for school - you live in America where you have the freedom to choose. What is required and mandatory for school is that you provide adequate documentation of why your bumpkin has or has not received any of the vaccinations the state you live in requires to know about before your child is approved to enter into public school. This is so a list of unvaccinated children can be kept and should an outbreak occur, the unvaccinated children can be evacuated as soon as possible. Each state requires different 'mandatory' vaccinations to be documented and explained in any case - whether your child has or hasn't received vaccinations.

While we're talking about exemptions here, your child can (and should) also be exempt from vaccinations in the case they have an immunodeficiency like HIV or sickle cell anemia, or if they simply have a documented adverse reaction to a certain vaccine. (Administering vaccinations to a child with immunodeficiencies or allergic reactions could possibly kill that child because their immune system is not strong enough to fight off infectious diseases should infection occur). You also have the right to request from your pediatritian that each vaccination you choose to give your bumpkin (if any at all) be administered one at a time and at separate times. That way, you can monitor your child closely for changes/reactions and decide whether to proceed with a particular vaccination's doses, or you can stop that particular vaccination if you notice your baby has adverse reactions.

No studies have been done on the effects or the safety of administering multiple vaccinations simultaneously. I'll repeat it again: no studies have been done on the effects or safety of administering simultaneous vaccinations (known as conjugate vaccinations).

You need to know that each different strain of any disease is considered it's own separate disease, so don't let conjugate vaccinations fool you into thinking just because it's one shot with either different cocktails of diseases or multiple strains of the same disease that it counts as one immunization within your body. It's just like how you get 'the flu' every year. There are thousands of different flu strains that a person can contract; you're not getting the same flu bug over and over again. Once you get one flu strain, your body builds immunities up against that strain so you won't get it again, but you can get different strains of the same disease your body doesn't have immunities against - hence why you can get 'the flu' every year.

If you're simply on the fence about vaccinations and think starting them at birth is too young, you have the right to delay vaccinations until a later time. (Don't worry, the CDC has a 'catch up' schedule for such scenarios). It's also important that you know you have the right to choose any customized vaccination schedule you want your pediatrician to administer - so, you could elect to have your bumpkin have the same vaccination schedule you had as a child, or any other combination of vaccinations/exemptions your heart desires. (Doing the reading here for deciding which vaccines jive with your personal beliefs and logic is the hardest part).

Something I think is very important for all women to know is that breastfeeding will provide your bumpkin with all the immunities you have in your system for at least the first six months of life. That means every cold, flu, disease and whatnot your immune system has built antibodies against, you will pass those antibodies onto your baby through your breast milk. And the longer you breastfeed, the longer those antibodies will keep your little one immunized. It's believed an infant's immune system isn't even mature enough to handle building immunity from vaccinations until at least six months of age (hence, why there are so many doses administered to infants - as you will see below).

(It's my personal plan to wait at least six months before electing to administer any vaccinations to my bumpkin - and I've safely come to this conclusion based on the countless hours of research that I've done).

Here's how the 56 total vaccinations list breaks down on the current CDC vaccination schedule for 2010:

Vaccination # 1: Hepatitis B vaccine (HBV): As stated on the current Center for Disease Control Vaccine Schedule for 2010, one dose of HBV is administered right at birth - with another dose between 1-2 months and another between 6-18 months.

What is Hepatitis B? It's a disease that causes inflammation of the liver. This inflammation itself is called hepatitis. Hepatitis B is a sub-category of hepatitis and is contracted through sexual intimacy or sharing dirty needles via drug use or tattooing. It can also be contracted through blood-to-blood contact by health professionals who, for example, have a cut on their hand and are touching the blood of an infected person. Epidemics of Hepatitis B outbreaks have been recently found in parts of Asia and Afria and it is endemic in China (meaning it's there all the time, like how the chickenpox circulates all the time in America).

Advocates of this vaccine say an infant is highly recommended to have the Hepatitis B shot administered at the intervals listed above for four reasons: 1) when the mother herself has Hepatitis B or lives in a household where contracting HBV is a possibility 2) because outbreaks have occurred in public schools and daycares and most symptoms of HBV in children are asymptomatic - meaning they have no symptoms at all 3) people have a high risk of developing recurring HBV infections throughout their life if they contract the disease in infancy or childhood and eventually, this can lead to liver cancer or cirrhosis - blocked blood flow inside the liver due to scarring of the liver tissue 4) Immunization from the HBV vaccine provides decades of protection against the disease.

You should know that this vaccination can provide protection up to 15 years in the most ideal cases, but most HBV vaccines remain effective for about 10 years. Some information you find elsewhere will suggest that since you were given the shot, your body has built an immunity to the disease and so the period of protection you have against contracting it may be as high as 25 years - but this claim is not scientifically supported. You should also know that you can get this shot administered at any age as an infant, child or adult and it is usually a required shot for healthcare professionals.

During pregnancy, mothers are scanned for Hepatitis B and the results of all lab findings are disclosed to the mother. If you test negative for Hepatitis B yourself and you don't plan to tattoo your bumpkin with a dirty needle, raise your child around drug users or move to China, then it's worth thinking really hard about electing whether or not to have this shot administered to your precious little creation.

Vaccination # 2: Rotavirus vaccine (RV): As stated on the Center for Disease Control (CDC) Vaccination Schedule for 2010, the Rotavirus vaccine is administered at 2, 4 and 6 months of age.

What is Rotavirus? It's a viral infection of the intestinal tract - basically, it gives you severe diarrhea for 3-9 days. It's the most common cause of severe diarrhea in infants and children. It is spread from hand-to-mouth contact from infected stool. It gets its name from the wheel-shaped appearance the virus has. In some children, Rotavirus can lead to severe dehydration, vomiting and diarrhea which requires hospitalization, but children almost never die from this virus. It was approved for use in the U.S. in 1998 - and shortly after in 1999, this vaccine was taken off the CDC's recommended vaccination list due to the association it had between bowel obstruction that occurred 1-2 weeks in infants after the injection was administered. So, why is it back on the CDC's recommended vaccination list over a decade later? It's a mystery as to how a vaccine that once was banned is now back in the schedule, but there are a lot of theories that suggest it's on the list today because the pediatritian who patented the vaccine, Paul Offit, is a member of the Center for Disease Control's Advisory Commitee on Immunization Practices. Do some educated research into this vaccine's controversy, if you'd like.

How long does the Rotavirus vaccination last? It hasn't been tested enough to know for sure, but as of now, based on U.S. and Finnish case studies, it's known to only provide immunization for two years.

Vaccinations # 3, 4, and 5: Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis vaccination (DTaP): According to the current CDC vaccination schedule of 2010, the DTaP vaccine is administered in five doses given at 2, 4, and 6 months, then a booster shot at 15-18 months, and a final shot at 4-6 years.

What is DTaP? This vaccination is a three-in-one shot for Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis - known as a conjugate vaccination.

So, what is Diphtheria? It's a bacterial infection of the nose and throat that affects a person's breathing. If untreated, the bacterial infection releases a toxin into the blood and can cause heart failure, paralysis of the lungs, or it can seriously damage the tissue in the heart. It used to be a leading childhood cause of death before the invention of the vaccine. Even those who did recover from Diphtheria were left with heart disease or the need to use a respirator for the rest of their lives.

Today, Diphtheria is a growing disease in former Soviet Union countries, the Caribbean, Latin America, Ecuador, China and Algeria while in the U.S., it is pretty rare to due vaccination.

The second disease in the DTaP vaccination line-up is Tetanus.

What is Tetanus? It's involuntary muscle spasms which are very painful. It's caused by bacteria spores known as tetanus. Tetanus can also be called lock jaw. Tetanus spores are most often found in soil, animal waste and dust, but tetanus spores can also live on other objects around infected soil, animal waste and dust - like on rusty nails on a farm. Horses are considered the most susceptible animals to be carriers of tetanus and that's why they say it's important to consider this shot if you know your child will be around farms or other equestrian scenarios. When an open wound comes into contact with such infected objects, waste or dirt, the tetanus spores get into the bloodstream and produce a nerve toxin, which causes painful, involuntary muscle spasms. 3 in every 10 people who get tetanus die from it - and those who don't die have a long recovery time: 4-8 weeks.

Tetanus is found worldwide, and nearly one million cases develop annually worldwide, but it's preventable with vaccination.

Some alternative medicine has found that extremely high doses of Vitamin C (up to one gram per day for the duration a person is ill) proves 100% effective in preventing death in children 1-12 years of age, but more scientific case studies are needed before this can be considered a reliable way to treat against tetanus. (You should know consuming very high doses of Vitamin C during common colds, flus and other diseases are also thought to help speed up illness recovery times).

Finally, the last disease in the DTaP vaccine: Pertussis.

What is Pertussis? It's an acute respiratory infection more commonly known as whooping cough. It is just that: a persistent cough which sounds like a person is whooping when they are in a 'coughing fit'. This cough starts out mild and persists in severity for about six weeks. Sometimes, coughing can be so bad that vomiting happens. Moreover, a person can get a cracked rib, a hernia, or a hemorrhage from coughing so badly.

How long is the Pertussis vaccination effective? 5-10 years. That's why teens and adults can and do get whooping cough today.

Most often, a child will not die from Pertussis, although this is not to suggest that your child couldn't die from it. You should know that Pertussis is the main component in the DTaP vaccine which causes side effects in little ones - like soreness at the injection site and fever or headache after the vaccination is given.

Make sure you understand this vaccine well, mama. This vaccination is very confusing as it is administered in a variety of ways and abbreviated a number of different ways. Each abbreviation stands for something different. If your infant gets the DTaP vaccine, they are receiving a vaccination against Diphtheria, Tetanus toxoids, and acellular Pertussis. If they receive the DTP vaccine, they are getting a shot for Diphtheria, Tetanus and whole cell Pertussis. Acellular Pertussis is different from whole cell Pertussis and the efficacy rate (the effectiveness of the vaccine as well as the longevity in which it will provide your bumpkin with immunization) can fluctuate between 50%-95% depending on not only which type of Pertussis vaccination your bumpkin receives, but also the manufactured brand of Pertussis vaccination your child gets and the number of other vaccines given at the same time the Pertussis vaccine is given. 

If your infant receives the DT vaccine, they are receiving a vaccination against Diptheria and Tetanus only. In adolescents and adults, the DTaP shot is abbreviated Tdap and is a one-time vaccine good for up to 10 years. In people 7 years of age and older, the DT vaccine is abbreviated Td as the amount of Diphtheria to Tetanus in this vaccine is smaller than in an infant's vaccine.

How long does the DTaP vaccination last? For Diptheria and Tetanus, about 10 years. For Pertussis, anywhere between 5-10 years. Truth is, not enough scientific studies have been done to tell us for sure how long a vaccination immunizes us for. It's recommended people get DTP booster shots every 10 years after they've been immunized in infancy. I wonder how many of us actually get a DTP booster shot every decade?

You need to know that you can request from your pediatritian that your child only receives the vaccinations for Diphtheria and Tetanus, or that each one of these vaccines are given separately.

Vaccination # 6: Haemophilus Influenzae Type b (Hib): What is Hib? Hib is a type of meningitis. This particular strain of meningitis that the Hib vaccine is intended to immunize against is a bacterial illness that has the potential to cause a fatal brain infection in children under 5 year of age.

Hib is widespread in humans as the bacteria lives in the nose and throat usually without causing any illness. Sometimes, the disease can breakthrough a person's immune system and infection can occur. The most common type of Hib is meningitis - a swelling of the coverings on the spinal cord and brain. Meningitis can cause a stiff neck, fever and weakness along with a slew of other symptoms and in children, it can lead to brain damage or death. Hib was reduced by 96% between 1980-1990 in the U.S. due to the inclusion of this vaccine on the CDC's recommended vaccination schedule. It has a 95% - 100% effectiveness rate in preventing type b meningitis only. There are other types of meningitis out there, but the others are usually not as risky as type b to a baby.

How long does the Hib vaccination last? About 5 years - and that's all it's really needed for as the risk of developing Hib and having potentially fatal side effects reduces the older a child gets.

Vaccinations # 7 - 19: Pneumococcal (PCV): You read that right - there are 13 vaccinations rolled into this vaccination. There used to be just 7 vaccinations, but they recently bumped it up to 13. Don't believe me? This was posted by the CDC in March of 2010:

http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/pneumo/vac-PCV13-hcp-faqs.htm

What is Pneumococcal? It's a bacteria that can cause pneumonia, pneumococcal meningitis and septicemia (swelling of the whole body). This vaccination is administered at 2, 4, and 6 months with a booster given at 12 to 15 months of age.

For immunodeficient children - children who have HIV, sickle cell anemia or another immunodeficient disease -  a different type of PCV shot is on the current 2010 CDC vaccination schedule known as PPSV:

Vaccinations # 20 - 42: PPSV23 (also abbrevieated as PPV or PPSV): which, you guessed it, has 23 different vaccinations in it to protect against 23 different strains of pneumococcal. PPSV23 is given to 'high risk' children only (those with immunodeficiencies like HIV or sickle cell anemia) at 2-3 years of age and again at 4-6 years of age. Both PCV and PPSV vaccinations are abbreviated without the numbers following them most of the time, so don't let these vaccines fool you into thinking they're just protecting against one type of pneumococcal.

The PCV and PPSV vaccinations are said to be very mild because it is made of inactivated (dead) pneumococcal bacteria in a long polysaccharide strand (sugar molecules) attached to a harmless Diphtheria toxin. A person normally only experiences a little redness or soreness at the injection site and that's it. But, if severe reactions are noticed (fever, rash, vomiting, etc.), it is recommended to not have this vaccination proceeded with past the first shot.

PCV vaccinations are mandatory for putting your child in daycare in the U.S. Here is a list of mandated states which require the shot:

http://www.immunize.org/laws/pneuconj.asp

(If daycare is something you know your bumpkin will need, check with your daycare provider if this is truly 'mandated' or if it is simply mandated that you prove why your child has/has not received the vaccination. Remember, you have the right to choose to exempt your child from vaccinations based on philosophical or personal beliefs - but if you choose this route, you need proper documentation).

Vaccinations # 43 - 45 (or # 20 - 22 if your child doesn't need the PPSV23 vaccine): Inactivated Poliovirus (IPV): This is another conjugate vaccination against polio strains 1, 2, and 3. In 2002, a conjugate vaccination called Pediarix was approved in the U.S. Pediarix combines the IPV vaccine with the DTaP vaccine and the Hib vaccine.

What is polio? Polio is a virus which attacks the intestinal tract of a person who has been in contact with crowded populations living in unsanitary conditions and among waste fluids. Polio comes in three stages: mild, moderate and severe. The symptoms range from flu-like symptoms to paralysis of the body's muscles and spinal cord. If polio reaches the brain or lungs, it can cause death because paralysis could stop either organ from functioning.

Polio has been eradicated from most of the countries of the world following the invention and administration of this vaccine. A person is about 99% immunized after only 2 doses. Doses of IPV are recommended to be administered in the U.S. at 2, 4, and 6-18 months of age with a booster at 4-6 years of age. IPV can also be referred to as OPV - an orally administered poliovirus vaccination. (OPV was the popular form of the poliovirus vaccine given to children when I was a baby in the 80's). Unlike the IPV vaccine, which contains an inactive form of poliovirus, the OPV is a live-attenuated virus.

How long does the IPV vaccine last? Nobody knows for certain, but it's believed to be effective for up to 10-12 years.

Vaccination # 46 (or # 23 if your child doesn't need the PPSV23 vaccination): Influenza: Pretty self-explanatory - this is the yearly flu shot. Infants can begin receiving flu shots at 6 months of age and up, according to the CDC's 2010 vaccination schedule. You should know that today, Thimerosal (mercury) is still an ingredient used in some flu shots and vaccinations. Thimerosal is currently being investigated for its possible link to brain injury and autoimmune deficiencies - and a recent case study conducted in 2009 has already established a link between Thimerosal and Autism:

(http://www.naturalnews.com/026953_thimerosal_autism_mercury.html)

This is where the 'heated controversy' surrounding vaccines comes into play. The recent fraudulent case findings of Andrew Wakefield were aimed towards testing the link between Autism and the MMR vaccination. According to the CDC's 'Pink Book' which lists the ingredients within each vaccination, Thimerosal is not an ingredient listed within the MMR shot. That means that even if Wakefield's findings weren't fraudulent, they probably wouldn't have found a viable link between Autism and the MMR vaccination anyways since Thimerosal isn't found in the MMR shot. Thimerosal is, however, found in some of the manufactured brands of the DTaP vaccination - specifically within the Tetanus shot. It's important that you are aware of the use of Thimerosal in some brands of the DTaP vaccination and some flu shots while deciding whether or not vaccination is right for your bumpkin. Of course, you can click the link to the 'Pink Book' or the rense.com link at the end of this post to see all the vaccinations Thimerosal is currently used in.

Vaccinations # 47 - 49 (or # 24 - 26 if your child doesn't need the PPSV23 vaccination): Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR): This is another conjugate vaccination, meaning it's actually three different vaccinations administered in a single shot. The MMR shot is recommended to be administered in the U.S. at 12-15 months of age with a booster given at 4-6 years of age. Measles is the first disease in this vaccination line-up and it is an endemic disease, meaning just like chickenpox in the U.S. and Hepatitis B in China, Measles is constantly present in the U.S. Measles is a lot like chickenpox - you get a fever and a nasty rash all over, except measles is much more serious and highly contagious.

Mumps is the second disease in this vaccination line-up. Mumps is the least contagious of childhood diseases, but it can cause sterilization in those infected with it as it swells the glands of the body and can cause permanent damage to the reproduction glands (the testes and ovaries). Usually, mumps can present itself in children over 2 years of age, but it has been known to occur in younger children as well. The disease for mumps lives in the nose and throat and is spread through airborne water droplets carrying the disease.

Rubella is the third and final disease in this vaccination line-up. It is also known as German measles. Rubella is a very mild disease that is a form of measles that only lasts for three days. Rubella is still found worldwide and can infect anybody, but mostly infects unvaccinated school-aged children.

How long does the MMR vaccine last? All three of these vaccinations provide lifelong immunity to the disease just the same as if the disease was contracted naturally.

Vaccination # 50 (or # 27 if your child doesn't need the PPSV23 vaccination): Varicella: This is just a fancy word for chickenpox - and if you don't know what it is, it's a very itchy rash of puss-filled bumps that can cause scarring if scratched open. It's endemic in the U.S. meaning it's always around and circulating. Recommended vaccination administration of this vaccine is at 12-15 months with a booster at 4-6 years.

How long does the Varicella vaccination last? A vaccination against chickenpox provides at least 20 years of protection compared to the lifelong immunity a child obtains if allowed to contract chickenpox naturally.

Vaccination # 51 (or # 28 if your child doesn't need the PPSV23 vaccination): Hepatitis A (HepA): Hepatitis A is an infection of the liver caused by ingesting contaminated food or water or through close contact with a person who has Hepatitis A. Tens of millions of people worldwide contract HepA every year. In poor countries of the world, Hepatitis A is usually contracted early in life. In the U.S., HepA is usually contracted from an infectious person or while traveling to poorer countries of the world. The CDC currently recommends children receive two doses of the HepA vaccine between 12-23 months of age with at least six months in between each administered dose. According to the current CDC vaccination schedule for 2010 in the U.S., 'high risk' children will be offered a 'HepA Series' shot at 2-3 years of age and again at 4-6 years of age - but these 'high risk' children are not well-defined. HepA causes no symptoms in 90% of children infected with it and after contracting the disease, lifelong immunity is obtained. Hepatitis A is a self-limiting disease, meaning that it does not cause chronic infection in a person like other strands of Hepatitis. The main reason the U.S. recommends this vaccination in children is to prevent an outbreak from overwhelming the adult population that is susceptible to the disease because they haven't been immunized. This vaccination became apart of the CDC vaccination schedule in 1995. HepA can be mistaken for the flu as the symptoms are similar.

How long does the HepA vaccination last? It's believed the vaccine provides 14-20 years of protection in children compared to the lifelong immunity a child gets from contracting it naturally.

Vaccinations # 52 - 55 to 56 (or # 29 - 32 to 33 if your child doesn't require the PPSV23 vaccination): Meningococcal: This is another conjugate bacterial vaccination, meaning it is four vaccinations in one shot. A five-in-one form of this shot was licensed in 2005, so depending on which vaccination your child receives, they could be getting either four or five different shots in one. The four-in-one vaccination (Menomune made by sanofi pasteur) protects against the meningococcal subtypes A, C, Y and W-135 and was licensed in 1978. The five-in-one vaccination (Menactra made by sanofi pasteur) was licensed in 2005. A second five-in-one shot (Menevo made by Novartis) was licensed in 2010. Meningococcal B does not have a vaccination against it, so there is still at least one strain of meningococcal your child can contract whether or not they receive this vaccination. The A, C, Y and W-135 strains of meningococcal are the most common causes of meningitis. There are two types of vaccines available: the MCV4 and the MPSV4. The MPSV4 is thought to provide better, longer-lasting protection against these strands of meningococcal over MCV4 as the latter of the two vaccines is a polysaccharide (sugar molecule) vaccine.

The spread of meningococcal is not fully understood, but it is known that it can be contracted through contact with saliva or extremely close contact with an infected person. It has a high risk of death if left untreated - 1 in 10 people who contract it die and it can cause blood infection (sepsis) which can lead to amputation of limbs in severe cases. Meningococcal can be treated with large doses of antibiotics to neutralize the disease in order to begin killing it off.

The CDC recommends this vaccine to be administered beginning at 2-3 years of age and up. This vaccination is only supposed to be administered to children in 'high risk' groups - those who have complement component deficiency, anatomic or functional asplenia, and certain other high risk conditions - such as being an infant, being exposed to cigarette smoke, living in a crowded household or traveling to a place where meningococcal is prevalent, like Africa. This is therefore, a vaccination that a lot of infants will be recommended to get, not just immunodeficient children.

How long does the meningococcal vaccination last? For about three years, but the newly approved vaccination in 2010 promises to deliver 'longer-lasting protection' - although the exact length isn't stated.

A couple of the 'high risk' condition definitions for meningococcal are listed here:

Complement component deficiency:

http://www.wrongdiagnosis.com/c/complement_component_deficiency/intro.htm

Anatomic or functional asplenia:

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/885226-overview

And there you have it. All the current vaccinations your bumpkin is recommended to receive by the CDC as of the current schedule of 2010. If your child has no immunodeficiences, they are recommended to receive around 32-33 different vaccinations administered within 11 different types of shots. If your child does have an immunodeficiency like HIV or sickle cell anemia, they are recommended to have 28-29 different vaccinations administered within three different types of shots. In total, there are 56 different vaccinations between all the recommended childhood vaccinations in circulation in the U.S. 

The controversy over vaccination safety and benefits vs. public opposition is nothing new. It's been happening every couple decades since vaccines arrived on the scene back in the 1920s. The people begin to question the true nature of vaccinations and stop vaccinating for a while, then an outbreak of something occurs and a wave of people rush in to get immunized - the outbreak is maintained and the media is then able to calm people's oppositions with elaborate and complicated reports of the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines they administer. Today, it's the same old song and dance, my friend.

While some vaccinations seem to be wonderful marvels of modern times, don't take stock in blindly trusting others to shoot your bumpkin full of a substance unless you know exactly what that substance is and what it is intended to do. Wanting to know the truth on all sides of the spectrum about vaccines is not being paranoid or giving into the latest conspiracy theory trends, it's just being a good parent. You have the knowledge about vaccinations now (at least the best knowledge one mom can give to another) and while the choice is ultimately yours, at least now you know why you are doing what you are doing when it comes to vaccinations.

A final parting note: doctors are smart, but they can be biased. Do not let your pediatrician bully you or talk you out of your beliefs for how you want vaccinations administered to your little one. If you feel like your pediatrician isn't working for you, find another one who will - simple as that. You are your little one's only voice - remember that.

Further homework:

List of brand-name manufactured vaccination information, including side effects and other helpful information:

 http://www.vaccinesafety.edu/package_inserts.htm

Website about Autism-Vaccination associations and many other things:

http://www.generationrescue.org/

List of vaccination ingredients that will blow you away:

http://www.rense.com/general59/vvac.htm

Link to the 'Pink Book' (vaccination ingredients listed by the CDC):

http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/appendices/B/excipient-table-2.pdf

More information about Thimerosal and Autism:

http://www.nationalautismassociation.org/thimerosal.php

People in favor of vaccinations:

http://www.immunize.org/

People against vaccinations:

http://www.vaccineriskawareness.com/Why-I-Don-t-Vaccinate-My-Children 

http://allnaturalmomof3.blogspot.com/2009/06/why-we-dont-vaccinate.html

 

 

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