Friday May 19 | BY |
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One of the most common questions that my patients ask is about my position on childhood vaccination. I’m not dogmatic on either side. I see the bigger picture. A century ago infectious disease killed many young children. Even today deadly infections are rampant. In countries with less widespread vaccinations, infectious diseases are present that can kill up to three-quarters of an infant’s new bones within their first week of life.

But, in La Jolla, California—this is not the case. In fact, there are almost no fatal childhood infections reported in affluent areas in the U.S. Vaccines are critical in places with high instances of infections, but longstanding debates have questioned whether or not it makes sense to vaccinate in areas where these infections are basically eradicated.

So why do we vaccinate at all?

Especially when intense controversy dominates vaccination policy and opinion.

A controversial new study confirmed that childhood vaccination prevents common childhood infections but is also associated with increased incidences of other diseases. Conventional medical wisdom assumes that routine vaccination is safe and effective. While that may be mostly correct, it is also medically true that vaccines carry high risks. These risks include contaminated vaccines, as well as acute and chronic reactions.

Do doctors and public health professionals track vaccination responses in a systematic way?

When public health standards are to vaccinate a particular age group of an entire population, it is impossible to conduct randomized trials, especially on children. The idea that some kids would get the real vaccine and others a placebo injection is unethical.

Ethics also get comprised when randomized trials are conducted in undeveloped countries. One randomized trial in West Africa used a combination vaccine for diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis that had a 33% fatality rate in children. That is not acceptable, but what is? Should medical research communities have different standards for Africa or Bangladesh, where infectious disease is rampant, than the protections held in the U.S.? Absolutely not. But, are we even keeping tract of the reactions kids might be having to vaccines?

In the U.S., adverse events are voluntarily reported by doctors and parents to the FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS). No one knows for sure how many cases never get reported. A thoughtful guess is that most are not.

Too many vaccinations or not enough?

If parents followed the current pediatric vaccination schedule, children in the U.S. would get 48 doses for 14 different diseases between birth to six years old. In my professional opinion, that’s too many for the immune systems of very young children to process.

The idea that a vaccine affects the immune system in only one specific way against the targeted infection, independent of other immune responses, is outdated thinking and wrong science.

Diseases targeted with vaccines include diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, Haemophilus influenza, hepatitis B, mumps, and measles. Since 1995, other diseases got added to vaccination schedules including chickenpox, hepatitis A, and pneumococcal disease caused by Strep bacteria, rotavirus, and the flu virus.

A new development reveals the mixed blessings and worries about vaccines

The 2017 pilot study confirmed that vaccinated children had fewer infections with chickenpox and pertussis but had more other infections. Researchers found that vaccinated kids had more ear infections, pneumonia, allergies, eczema, and neurological developmental disorders. Vaccinated kids were more likely to have used antibiotics, allergy pills, and fever medications; to have been fitted ear tubes; visited a doctor for a health issue in the previous year, and hospitalized more often.

Researchers found that vaccinated kids were less likely to get sick and miss school from acute illness. However, vaccinated kids developed more chronic disease, including allergies, eczema, learning disabilities and ADHD. Vaccinated boys were more likely to develop chronic conditions than girls. The study also found that children with chronic illness have more doctor visits and use more prescription medications.

The important outcome of this study was that the rise in ADHD and Autism parallels the increasing use of the number of vaccinations.

My professional position on vaccination has been one of caution. I agree with the basic science: vaccination works to prevent illness and the spread of many common contagious diseases. However, I question the current recommendations, which I believe constitute an immune burden to infants and young children. These may be difficult decisions, but ones that parents and doctors need to do their research on.

Dr. J. E. Williams


Dr. Williams is a pioneer in integrative and functional medicine, the author of six books, and a practicing clinician with over 100,000 patient visits. His areas of interest include longevity and viral immunity. Formerly from San Diego, he now resides in Sarasota, Florida and practices at the Florida Integrative Medical Center. He teaches at NOVA Southeastern University and Emperor’s College of Oriental Medicine.

Visit Dr. Williams’ Website: https://drjewilliams.com/

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