Dear Anti-Vax Parents: We’re Not Mad At You

Dear Anti-Vax Parents,

In the wake of the Disneyland measles outbreak, there’s been a lot of heated talk about parents who choose not to vaccinate their children. It seems like the medical community is now protesting even louder than the anti-vax groups were a couple years ago. But I want to take a moment and apologize for the harsh tone some of us have taken. It’s not personal. We’re not mad at you.

We are mad at people like Andrew Wakefield, who fabricated a study linking vaccines to autism and scared millions of parents into avoiding vaccinations. We are confused by Jenny McCarthy, who has zero medical training, but somehow managed to lead a massive movement against immunizations (although she now claims that she’s not anti-vaccines). We are infuriated by Dr. Bob Sears, who certainly knows better, but capitalizes on your fear for his own profit, while placing your children’s lives at risk.

It’s not your fault. You’ve been misled. You’ve been lied to. And all you wanted to do was to protect your children, whom you love deeply. We’re really not that different. Pediatricians across the country have dedicated their lives to protecting your children. None of us picked pediatrics for the money (although I like to make surgeons laugh by telling them that I did). We don’t get kickbacks from vaccine companies. None of us sells millions of books recommending that you follow the CDC’s immunization schedule—that’s a hard book to get published. We get no joy from sticking your kids with needles (and neither do our nurses). We do it because we care, and because we love your kids, too.

Really, the only difference between you and us is that we know how effective vaccines can be. We know the diseases they prevent. We know that about 2 in 1,000 kids with measles will die, that pertussis can kill babies, and that varicella (chickenpox) can cause more than just an itchy rash. We understand that the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) is a quality control system designed to monitor for potential complications, not a registry of adverse events that are indisputably linked to vaccines. We view immunizations as one of the most important medical advances in the prevention of infectious diseases. We know that immunized children are less likely to die from preventable diseases.

So let’s band together. We’re not evil—and you’re not, either. We all want nothing more than healthy, happy kids. And you don’t have to trust us–feel free to do your research. But get your facts from reputable sources. Talk to your doctor openly about your concerns. And if your child isn’t immunized, tell the healthcare providers that take care of her; it changes our management, and it could save your child’s life.

-Your Child’s Pediatrician


Related Posts:  Why Measles MattersThe REAL Problem with Vaccines

Thanks for reading and sharing this post. Connect with me on Twitter or Facebook for updates.

-Chad


Final thoughts: You may have noticed that the comments for this thread are now closed. To those of you who expressed appreciation, and to those of you who politely and respectfully disagreed with me, I truly appreciate your time. I’m not always right–no one is. And I enjoy polite discussions that may, in fact, sway my current beliefs about a topic. What I refuse to tolerate are baseless claims that endanger our children by playing off of parental fears with no substantive evidence, personal attacks on my intelligence or my perceived lack of knowledge about a topic, or attempts to use my post as a platform for launching your own arguments against modern science-based medicine. This post was an honest and compassionate attempt to bring together both sides of this topic; to foster open discussion between pediatricians and parents; and to promote health for our children. It was far more popular than I ever dreamed it would be, and it resulted in a seemingly endless stream of disparagement and denigration. I no longer have time to respond to moderate or respond to these comments…because I’m taking care of sick children. Thanks for reading.

As always, your comments are welcomed (even if you happen to disagree). I'll get back to you as soon as I can. Please try to keep it civil--I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

157 thoughts on “Dear Anti-Vax Parents: We’re Not Mad At You

  1. Couldn’t agree more– the vast majority of parents w/ vaccine hesitancy have honest, sincere questions.

    There are only a small number of very noisy internet-active vaccine deniers who are kicking up enough fuss to create an illusion that there’s controversy.

    There is no controversy. Just a lot of hot air an unnecessary worry.

    • Thanks, Roy–I think one of the biggest problems is that we get 10-15 minutes with parents in an office visit, and if they are hesitant about vaccines, that’s just not enough time. Most of them are intelligent people that have spent hours reading on anti-vaccine websites, and there’s no way to fix that in the small portion of that visit that you can afford to dedicate to the topic. These educated and dedicated parents leave the office confused, frustrated, and disappointed, thinking they are the only ones who care enough about their children to think the issue through–not realizing that our thinking was done before they showed up for the visit.

  2. Just when I was about to start praying to the internet gods to put an end to vaccine articles, I see this. Very well put!

    • Thanks, Tina. It’s time for a new approach. Everyone wants the best for their children; it’s just sometimes hard for parents to know what “the best” truly is. Thanks for reading.
      -Chad

  3. What kind of studies have been done on vaccines and autoimmune diseases? What about the potential for serious damage to the nervous system related to aluminum contained in the vaccines. Are vaccines causing mutations in the viruses they are supposed to be protecting us from? Especially the live attenuated vaccines.
    I have more questions.. That’s just the start:)

    • Angela,

      Thanks for your questions. While many anti-vaccine advocates attempt to instill fear by pointing out their ingredients, there has never been a link between aluminum and adverse events from vaccines. It’s present in such a small amount that it would be extremely unlikely to cause serious problems. A breastfed infant consumes more aluminum in breastmilk than he receives from vaccines. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/112/6/1394.full

      There are mutations in the live viruses (caused by the lab that makes them, not by the vaccine itself). These viruses are present in a mutated form that makes them LESS harmful, but they can still cause some harm to immunosuppressed people–which is why we don’t give them. Vaccines don’t cause resistance like antibiotics because vaccines act on your immune system to stimulate immunity, not on the virus itself. If you want to worry about mutations in pathogenic organisms, worry about antibiotic resistance. That’s real.

      The autoimmune disease link is one that I will have to read about and get back to you. I’ve never seen good evidence of this, and I know for sure that even if there were a link, we are doing more good by preventing potentially fatal diseases than the potential harm from any link between AI disease and vaccines. I’ll see what I can find.

      Thanks for reading and for your questions.
      -Chad

        • Not saying it can’t happen–but that study is about animal models of disease in mice. As my immunology professor used to say, “People aren’t mice. We don’t have tails.” Any studies that you know of that have demonstrated a clear association between vaccines and autoimmune diseases in human subjects?

          • Thank you for your reply Doctor. I guess I should be more clear, she has had symptoms since grade 8 but was only formally diagnosed. Her MD only recently made the reference to adjuvant and lupus and I have not had time to study it fully.

            And it is so true that we are not mice and we don’t have tails 🙂 but are mice not the standard of experimentation and study?

          • Ahh–that makes more sense. You’re right, animal models are very common, and a good place to start. But the results don’t always hold up when the studies make it to human trials. Again, I’m not saying that it can’t happen. I’m just saying that, on a population level, the benefits outweigh the risks.

            Thanks for sharing!
            -Chad

          • Elisabeth,

            I can’t get to that article from home, but from the abstract it seems to be a concern, not a study that demonstrates an association between vaccines and autoimmune disease. I’ll try to access it from work tomorrow.

        • Also, I’m assuming that since she’s your daughter-in-law, she finished 8th grade several years ago. And she sounds like she may be at a pretty typical age for lupus to show up. Not sure how convinced I am given the time course.

          • 8th grade can be a typical time for lupus symptoms to start. Autoimmune diseases are thought to be triggered by being exposed to an antigen that the body mounts an immune response against. It then recognizes something that is the bodies own that may be similar as foreign and attacks it. Considering that we are probably exposed to thousands or millions of antigens there are a lot of potential things that your daughter and law could have been exposed to around the time that she contracted lupus. Lupus doesn’t occur overnight. There were probably thousands of potentially culprit antigens in the same time frame. I’m sure she got colds, maybe strep, maybe mono in that time. those are probably hundreds itself… bacteria on foods- thousands more. The truth is we don’t know what antigen exposure caused the lupus. The fact that she had that vaccine is something we know she got. thats probably 1 potential out of a thousand possible culprits.

            If we know a crime occurred and knew thousands of people were in the building but say only one signed a log book so we only have one known suspect. that would be like saying well we knew they were there so its them. there are thousands of other people there. We obviously don’t use that type of circumstantial evidence .

            My father has an autoimmune disease. Its frustrating. I mean what could have caused it – am I at risk. Could it be polio vaccine maybe, a virus I gave him in first grade when he got symptoms, agent orange exposure. food bacteria. I mean I have no idea.

            What we do no is polio virus causes bad symptoms, meningococcus caused a lot of death, haemophilus influenza caused babies respiratory distress and death…. and we know we can prevent it. We can’t tell you to avoid something to prevent lupus. You could avoid a shot and still get lupus because that shot had nothing to do with it…. and then you could get meningoccocal disease. I think that would be a shame because we know that vaccines prevent it- sure there are some resistant diseases and unlucky people. But thats something we can prevent. We can’t prevent lupus, MS, type 1 diabetes yet.

      • Dr. Hayes may I ask you an honest question from one medical professional to another? Have you EVER, really read research on vaccines? Or are you just spouting back what you were taught in medical school? I ask, because you clearly don’t know what you are referring to here.

        Are you aware that aluminum that we take in through our digestive system is pretty much eliminated from the body through our digestive system. However, aluminum injected into our body through a vaccine has NO way to be filtered out of our body. The only way we can remove heavy metals is through natural detox methods, which the average parent doesn’t know. Aluminum taken in by 2 VERY different methods are handled VERY differently by the body. Please do some reading before trying to sway the anti-vax community again; because otherwise we just are not going to take you seriously! With all due respect.

        • Yes, Fern. I have, in fact, read a lot about vaccines–although we seem to be getting our information from different sources. And as much as I appreciate your “all due respect,” I would ask that you calm your tone a bit. This post was meant as a respectful discussion that highlights the fact that people on both sides of this argument want the best for our children. I’ve heard nothing from you except condescending comments and claims with no scientific basis. And as much as I “clearly don’t know” what I’m talking about, I promise you, I’ve given it a lot more thought than most doctors out there.

          Please don’t be surprised if I delete any further inflammatory or condescending comments. Feel free to post them on your own website. Peaceful disagreement is always welcome.

  4. My son has had two severe reactions to two completely different vaccines and now his peditrition will not give him any vaccines because she believes he is allergic to something in the solution. I think this gets lost in the argument not all parents don’t vaccinated because of choice but because we can’t. Why aren’t people informed of that aspect, I would vaccinate if I could. Is there anything you could recommend for my son?

    • Nikki,

      Assuming that your pediatrician has done her part to exclude other causes for these reactions (which are very rarely caused by vaccines), your child may fall into the category of children that rely on herd immunity for protection. If other parents showed the commitment to protecting their own children that you do, you wouldn’t need to worry. It’s when a large percentage of the population chooses not to immunize their children that the system breaks down and leaves children with legitimate contraindications to vaccines and infants not yet able to be immunized vulnerable.

      I’m afraid I can’t offer any suggestions other than to be sure your pediatrician has excluded other causes for these reactions. Thanks for your question!
      -Chad

      • My 80 year old mother came down with the Mumps last year…her dr said she probably caught it from being around a child who wasn’t vaccinated. It almost killed her……one year later, she still has complications.
        I work in an Allergy/Asthma office and I am dumbfounded at all of my severe asthma patients who refuse to get the pneumonia vaccine.

        • Nikki…
          In my office, we see sometimes see people who are allergic to the Thimersol ( a preservative) in the vaccine. Easy to test for…ask your local allergist for patch testing. If it is a Thimersol allergy, you just need to get the vaccines that is preservative free.
          Worth looking in to verses never getting vaccinated again.

          • Thanks, Cheryl–as a side note, thimerosal has been removed (as a precautionary measure) from ALL vaccines on the childhood immunization schedule. The only vaccine that contains thimerosal now is the intramuscular flu vaccine that comes in multi-dose vials.

        • You would be surprised at the number of clinics who don’t want to give pneumonia vaccines unless you are elderly. I have a history of heart disease (Peripartum Cardiomyopathy with right sided heart failure) and Restrictive Lung Disease. I had to fight the clinic to give me the Pneumonia vaccine. They did not want to give it because, “Not all insurance companies will cover it unless you’re elderly or ‘really sick’.”

      • You say you are “not mad at anti-vax parents” yet, here in this post, you say that they are not as committed to protecting their children. It seems to me that implying that someone cares less about protecting their children because the don’t agree with you is a large part of the problem in the vaccine discussion. Instead of accusing parents of caring less about children, or taking advise from celebrities, maybe doctors should focus on addressing the real concerns of parents. Do you really think a parent wants to take the advise of a doctor who says they care less about their children? Or a doctor who implies their decision to vaccinate or not came from a celebrity? I think it is basically implying anti- vax parents are stupid if you accuse them of taking medical advise from celebrities. How does that help anyone? Aren’t you in the buiness of helping people?

    • Hey I’m sorry that your child suffers from vaccine reactions. I too fall in this category and I don’t rely on herd immunity, this doctor has given plenty of good advice but I think its ignorant to claim a theory, unproven as the one and only thing you can do. Herd immunity very well may be true and i do doubt that it may but its just a theory so don’t fear, its not your only option. You’re biggest risks will be public outings. Don’t use shopping carts and baskets, bring your own basket….setting your baby in that cart is such a good way to expose her unwanted illness. Proper hand washing techniques including keeping a little bottle of soap in your purse. Don’t use hand sanitizer or antibacterials, we don’t want to kill our good germs. Our immune system is our only source to rely on, not herd immunity. Fermented foods,whole food diets including a good portion of raw foods to help digest cooked foods. Diet is another one of your biggest defenses, a well nourished body fights illness better than a body nourished on processed foods, aka the american diet. Teaching your child to cover their cough with their elbows and blow their nose in tissues. Considering you would vaccinate if you could, perhaps allergy testing might lead to the culprit allowing for vaccines without the culprit in them. Just be cautious about washing hands after public outings and good hygiene habits taught early on. Learn about how an immune system works, get to know what it is and how it works to learn the best ways to support it. Be aware of symptoms of these illnesses you cannot vaccinate against so you can acknowledge and treat asap. You are not alone !

  5. I would like to say that I’m not anti-vaccine. I’m pro-choice. We should all be able to choose if we want our children vaccinated or not without fear of our children being taken away. We choose not to vaccinate. We didn’t make this choice because of some celebrity, we didn’t even make this choice because of a failed study. I didn’t even know who these people were until years after I decided not to vaccinate our kids. I do do my research. I actually learned a lot from the CDC website. I know there are people who blindly follow people on this issue, but it’s not everyone. I honestly wish and pray that the hatred would stop and that we would all ban together for choice. No one should be forced into something due to fear that their children will be taken away. Unfortunately that’s the world we live in.

    • I agree that, in most circumstances, parents should be able to make decisions for their children. Something to consider, though–it gets a little muddier when your decisions start to affect other people. Vaccines rely on having a large majority of the population immunized. But as a society, we do many things not for ourselves, but for the good of those around us. Speed limits, public schools, HOA regulations, Medicaid, smoking bans…and vaccines.

      If your family lived on an island (and you may), I would totally agree with you. But if your family lived alone on an island, you wouldn’t need vaccines.

      • Please explain why a vaccine relies on “everyone” getting vaccinated in order for it to work? Isn’t it a weakened or dead dose of a disease?

        • When people are vaccinated, they are less likely to catch a disease and give it to other people, or they get a much milder form. It means the disease has less places to take hold and therefore less people are exposed to it. Also, as well, not everyone seroconverts to have the higher level of immunity. To work effectively, most vaccines require 90% (it is best at much higher than this) of us to be vaccinated to protect small children, immunologically compromised and those susceptible so that they aren’t exposed to the disease.

        • Vaccines work in two ways.
          The first aspect is that they confer a higher level of immunity to the individual, so that when that person is exposed to the disease again their immune system is most likely able to fight it off before it can cause a significant problem.
          The second aspect is in limiting transmission. The more people that are immunized means that the disease has a harder time spreading. In low/non-vaccinated population the disease can transfer from person to person easily. As vaccination rates increase it becomes more and more difficult for the disease to establish a foothold because there are fewer and fewer individuals that it can spread to. Once you reach a certain percentage (usually around 92% for many vaccines I believe), transmission becomes effectively impossible.

        • Vaccines rely on the majority receiving them because there are people who cannot receive vaccinations. Those people include children who are too young, people who are allergic and people with autoimmune diseases. If everyone who could be vaccinated were, then diseases, like the Measles, wouldn’t be able to spread so rapidly.

    • No one is taking your children away, and no one is threatening to take your children away. Your fears of having your children taken away are similar to your fears over vaccines. They’re not grounded in any reality.

      What hatred? Is there a word of hatred in Dr. Hayes post?

      You’ve chosen not to vaccinate your child, which is an entirely legal position in every state. By doing that you’ve chosen to put your child’s health and life at risk, but that’s your choice. If your child attends schools or goes into crowds, you may also put other’s health and lives at risk– including babies too young to be vaccinated, or people with health problems or immune deficiencies. That’s the tragedy we’re trying to avoid.

      Some states will not let your child attend public school because he is not vaccinated. That’s to protect public health. It is not “taking your child away from you.”

      Your choices have consequences, both for your children and mine.

      • I’m not talking about public schools. Doctors have threatened parents with CPS if they didn’t vaccinate their children. CPS have taken children away because the parents didn’t vaccinate.

        • I don’t think that’s true– maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t know of a case of a child being removed from a home for not vaccinating. Could you post a link to a story? In my experience CPS is VERY reluctant to terminate parental rights, only doing that as a last resort when a child is in imminent danger.

          • It is true. Look it up. It’s not hard to find the info. There are reports all over the internet of children being taken away from their parents due to their choice not to vaccinate! I was threatened in the hospital after my 3rd biological child was born. I was either to do as the doctor ordered me to do or he would report me to CPS! Thankfully I knew enough to pretend to obey his orders and then never go to his practice again. Not all parents understand their rights.

        • Nope, I still cannot find a single source showing that a child was removed from a home– or threatened to be removed from a home– because the parents decided not to vaccinate.

          When you Google that, you find all sorts of people saying it happens, or even saying it happens “all the time.” I couldn’t find a single documented case, no news reports, no specific anything of any case at all. I stand by my statement: I don’t think this happens. Claiming it does happen is just propaganda.

        • Nope, I still cannot find a single source showing that a child was removed from a home– or threatened to be removed from a home– because the parents decided not to vaccinate.

          When you Google that, you find all sorts of people saying it happens, or even saying it happens “all the time.” I couldn’t find a single documented case, no news reports, no specific anything of any case at all. I stand by my statement: I don’t think this happens. Claiming it does happen is just propaganda.

          Below in comments, Fern says “look it up.” I’ve done that. The claim seems to be untrue. If you or Fern can substantiate the claim, do it. If not, perhaps you’ve learned something. Not everything that people say is true.

  6. Everyone who hesitates to give their children a vaccine has a starting point. Long before McCarthy, Wakefield, the internet, in 1995 my nephew had an adverse reaction to his 2 and 4 month DPT vaccine. He stopped breathing, was transported by ambulance to hospital and spent 4 days in NICU. Many blood tests, spinal tap and another hypotonic episode in the hospital and he was diagnosed as having an adverse reaction. Adverse reaction reporting ( http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/im/pdf/raefi-dmcisi-eng.pdf) is done on a voluntary basis in Canada and the attending physician is expected to make a report to Health Canada. In our case the doctor, who was head of neonatology, was not aware that he should make the report. The pediatricians in Canada have a voluntary group called IMPACT- nurses that do the reporting. In my nephew’s case this nurse did report it to the government agency. IMPACT does surveillance in 12 health centers in Canada. There are 14 children’s centers in Canada in addition to all rural and smaller hospitals that do routine immunizations. If the head of neonatology does not know he is to report (on a voluntary basis) adverse reactions, how can we, who have had a scary experience with reactions, have confidence that the reaction statistics are accurate and up to date?

    Do doctors tell the parents that after the chickenpox vaccine they should keep their child away from immunocompromised individuals for up to 6 weeks? From the Merck product insert: ” 5.4 Risk of Vaccine Virus Transmission Post-marketing experience suggests that transmission of vaccine virus may occur rarely between healthy vaccinees who develop a varicella-like rash and healthy susceptible contacts. Transmission of vaccine virus from a mother who did not develop a varicella-like rash to her newborn infant has been reported.
    Due to the concern for transmission of vaccine virus, vaccine recipients should attempt to avoid
    whenever possible close association with susceptible high-risk individuals for up to six weeks following
    vaccination with VARIVAX. Susceptible high-risk individuals include:
    • Immunocompromised individuals;
    • Pregnant women without documented history of varicella or laboratory evidence of prior infection;
    • Newborn infants of mothers without documented history of varicella or laboratory evidence of prior
    infection and all newborn infants born at <28 weeks gestation regardless of maternal varicella
    immunity. "

    It may be rare but are parents given this information?

    Do parents know that the Urabe strain of MMR was pulled off the market in the UK in 1992 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8096942 but still used in Brazil until 1997 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10707922 ?

    Or that the rotovirus vaccine can be shed and cause the disease in immunocompromised people http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18922486 ?

    Or that the Paul Offits rotovirus is contaminated with pig virus? And that is was pulled of the market for a while and then re-introduced? http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/03/22/rotavirus.vaccine/?hpt=T2

    Or, like the MD told my daughter-in-law, her lupus can be caused by the adjuvants in vaccines?http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23992328

    Parents have the responsibility to choose vaccinations or not. But it is time for all the information to made available to them. Then they can choose if the benefits out-way the risks.

    • I can’t address vaccine adverse event reporting in Canada because I’m not familiar with the procedures in place, although it certainly seems like a neonatologist should have been able to figure it out.

      As far as transmitting live-virus vaccines to immunocompromised individuals, that is certainly something we think about. But the responsibility for this typically falls on the immunocompromised person (or the parents)–mostly because there’s no way for people to know which of the people around them happen to be immunocompromised. They don’t wear matching T-shirts. Also, I would submit that it’s not only the rotavirus, varicella, and MMR vaccines that can cause issues for immunocompromised people–it’s also rotavirus. And varicella. And measles, mumps, and rubella. And it’s in part for the sake of these immunocompromised people that widespread vaccination programs are vital to preserve herd immunity.

      Nobody is arguing that vaccines are entirely risk-free. Nothing we do is. I’ve said in a previous post that even scheduling a follow-up appointment carries a small but real risk of a car accident or even death in transit. Life is risky. But the risks that vaccines entail are far less than the benefits they provide.

      • Thank you for your reply Doctor. When people have the disease listed above it is often visible to the immunocomprimised. When children are recently vaccinated they do not wear t-shirts or even stickers to let those who are immunocomprimised know. Do their parents even know that it is possible to transmit a disease from their recently vaccinated child? I truly believe no one knows this.

        • It’s something that we talk about routinely to families of children with immune deficiencies, or who are undergoing chemotherapy. Pregnant women who are not varicella-immune are pretty rare these days.

          It’s safe for these families to assume that a child in daycare or other similar group situations will be exposed to children who may have recently received live virus vaccines. But before the rotavirus vaccine, there were even more kids in the daycare shedding the unattenuated rotavirus. That’s why they made a vaccine.

          Life is tough for a kid with a poorly-functioning immune system–whether it’s because of a genetic problem, chemotherapy, or any other cause. And that’s why herd immunity is crucial.

        • I had my daughter vaccinated for varicella yesterday. I’m in Canada. We WERE told that if she had a visible rash or other symptom in the next six weeks that she was to avoid immune compromised people. If nobody knows that can happen, then who did you hear it from? 😛

          • After my nephew had his adverse reaction to his 2 and 4 month vaccine (details elsewhere in comments) I started reading product inserts. Found some very interesting things in them. Live vaccines can shed. Pig virus in rotovirus vaccine. Human cell lines in others. Most list Guillian- barre as a possible side effect. I read nephews health Canada adverse reaction report. The modern form available on line -has a very interesting section on possible reactions -section 9. Found that the Urbae strain mmr vaccine caused so many cases of meningitis in the 1990 that it was pulled off the market.

        • A lot is known about vaccine shedding. You are not the only person privy to this information. Yesterday I had my 5 year old vaccinated for varicella. The nurse made sure to tell us that in the rare event that she might develop any symptoms in the next six weeks, we were to isolate her from immune-compromised individuals. Otherwise that vaccine is shed through fecal matter and good hygiene is all that’s required to stay out of contact. The vast majority of vaccines are not shed in this manner; they are not live.

      • This response indicates to me that you are simply spouting medical school information, not the REAL information. There is NO such thing as herd immunity. I am a nurse and even I know that we don’t eradicate disease by vaccinating people. The diseases are still in our environment. And you CLEARLY don’t know the true risks of vaccines or you would not say that the risks far out weigh the benefits! Once you see a child you love go through regression and vaccine injury, you will NEVER agree to let anyone jab them with a vaccination again no matter how great the so-called benefits are proposed to be.

        • Again, Fern…absolutely no scientific basis for your rejection of a principle which both makes logical sense and has been demonstrated in practice. It certainly seems like you’ve had a personal experience that you blame on vaccines. If that’s true, I’m sorry for whatever it is that you’ve gone through. But the evidence is clear that severe vaccine reactions are simply not nearly as common as you make them out to be. If you could be so kind as to provide legitimate references for these claims…

          • Chad posted several peer reviewed articles to support his views. Moulden as you mentioned above was not board certified, did not complete residency, and did no actual research on vaccines. He published in no peer reviewed journals. His “work” was just theories he masqueraded as facts and through it he tried to sell products. I commend you Chad on your great blog, how much thought and research you put into it, and how polite you are.

    • thank you so much for taking the time, and for posting this. Thats just it, all the information isnt made available to parents, not easily at least, its all PRO vaccine information that they get and nothing else, no risks, no problems, or possible adverse reactions to them, no stories of the children and babies who have died because this information wasnt available to them, only the so called “benefits” are what they get.

  7. They have been lied to all right, but they are still free riders who count on the rest of us to be immunized – and take the supposed risk – so that they will be protected by herd immunity. That kind of makes *me* angry.

    • I don’t count on “herd immunity”. I count on my kids immune system to be strong to battle anything that comes their way. I count on natural things to help my kids as well as myself.

        • Ironically, that’s far more training than most “nutritionists” — who require ZERO formal training. The real nutrition experts are “dieticians.”

          My own med school nutrition education was strong. We had a dedicated course, and a whole lot of our long, extensive biochemistry course was about nutrition (energy metabolism, micronutrients, all that jazz.) Clinical rounds, especially for hospitalized patients, would always include considering whether nutrition was adequate; and there’s always a lot of discussion of the impact of nutrition (both under- and over-nutrition) on disease.

          “Doctors don’t know nutrition” is a common internet trope, often propagated by people who despite their Google education “degree” know far less.

          • Thank you Doctor.

            It seems you threw a few red herrings into your response. I dealt strictly with a MD’s response and pubmed report. Alluding to “nutritionist” and internet “degrees” diverts from my honest inquiry.

          • I don’t think that’s a red herring. The doctor is stipulating that people require little formalised training, and have no responsibility or requirement for updating their knowledge or skills. That raises a legitimate concern and question.

      • Forgive me, but you are relying on herd immunity whether you realize it or not. Hospitals are filled people who thought it can’t happen to them.

        • I don’t think that we are exempt from being sick. There is always a possibility of me and my kids coming down with something. We prepare for the “what if” naturally instead of using vaccines. If my kids came down with chicken pox, measles, or mumps I would use natural ways to help them through the illness.

          • I’m just curious, but if your child came down with mumps and your child exposed an infant before becoming symptomatic and that infant died, at what point would you hold yourself accountable for the infant’s death since he/she was too young to be vaccinated? Or a child who is immunocompromised from chemo or another disease they have no control over? You take your child (who has mumps and you don’t know it yet) to the library and he/she plays with another child (who is obviously a chemo patient). The next day your child starts showing signs of mumps. A week later, while your child is recovering, the chemo child dies of mumps. At what point would you feel responsible for the death of that child since you decided not vaccinating your child was more important?

          • I can see that this conversation is not going to go very far, and this will be my last comment. I am curious, however, as to what hard, convincing evidence you could use to convince Chad or me that your “natural ways” will protect your children as well as modern, scientific medicine. These are very serious diseases, and the best thing is to be immunized and not get them.

          • To Lisa, since I can’t reply to your comment or to Matt’s. People take those risk on a daily basis. Whenever a baby is taken outside that is a risk that the baby’s parents have put him in. If my unvaccinated babies became sick I wouldn’t blame the parents of the sick child that was around my baby. It’s not their fault that I brought my baby out in public knowing there is a possibility of my baby becoming sick.

            Matt, I won’t be able to convince you all. Not with the way things seem to be going. Now if you and the good doctor were really open minded about other ways of boosting the immune system then maybe we could have a nice conversation.

          • Wonderfullybirthed, My child is on immunosuppressive therapy because of juvenile arthritis. (Family hx of AI disease, so don’t go and blame her vaccines) When she was 2, her joints were so inflamed that she could not move on her own. Her doctors and I started her on a medication that, at the time, was a huge risk because it hadn’t been used in many pediatric patients yet. I understand what it means to submerged a parent’s mind and heart into medical information and weed out data in order to make a decision you feel comfortable with. If my daughter were diagnosed a few years earlier, she’d be in a wheel chair now or subjected to several invasive surgeries. But instead, she is running and dancing and moving like any other girl her age.

            My dilemma is that she is now immuno compromised. She did not receive subsequent boosters for live vaccines and, sadly, her titers are not up to snuff. We rely on herd immunity. Am I now supposed to keep her locked up because of her risk of exposure? I risked her life to many side effects, including liver failure and cancer, so that she can live a full and happy life without confinement. If she contracts the measles and suffers, I will be pointing my finger at the parents of the unvaccinated children. I will blame them and hold the propaganda pushers accountable.

            We are all only human. Nothing is perfect. Science-good, independent science- is at work here. There are problems but they do not outweigh the obvious benefits. As a community of loving and peaceful people, we should be looking at what is the best solution for the community.

            I realize my daughter is a minority. We take precautions and work with schools, friends, coaches etc. to protect her. I don’t want to lock her away like you suggest the parents of the young baby should do. I don’t want to put a “t- shirt”on her any more than you want to put one on your kid who hasn’t been vaccinated. But can I ask how often you inform other parents of your choice? Do you ask yourself how is your child’s risk avoidance impacting this community and what should you be doing to lessen that impact? Do you think of anyone other than yourself?

            sorry, Dr Hayes, venting.

          • “Every time I drive, I go 150 mph on the wrong side of the road. If other people get hurt it’s not my fault because they know there is always a risk when they are on the road.”

          • I guess you don’t know how lucky you are to even have the option. Personally, even if I thought I could get my kids through these diseases with natural methods, there’s no way I’d risk unleashing them on the kids in the cancer ward.

            My daughter asked me yesterday why she had to get shots. She was understandably upset. I explained it stops us from getting sick, but even more important – it stops the already sick from getting much sicker. How it must feel to be a parent of an immune-compromised kid right now…I couldn’t stand it.

          • Erica I don’t believe that people with autoimmune diseases should be locked away. I wasn’t suggesting that at all. There are other ways to help build the immune system and to help autoimmune diseases. I am also not the type of person to automatically assume vaccines are the reason people are sick. I’m the type of person that questions everything and does as much research as I possibly can before saying okay to something. Especially when it comes to a medical treatment.

          • To Erika
            But can I ask how often you inform other parents of your choice? I would be surprised if they didn’t know my stance.
            Do you ask yourself how is your child’s risk avoidance impacting this community and what should you be doing to lessen that impact? No, I don’t believe in “do what is best for your community”.
            Do you think of anyone other than yourself?Yes, I think of my husband and children.

            I actually have a friend and brother in law who have autoimmune diseases. They both know my stance and continue to visit my family. My friend has actually babysat for me several times. She is looking into alternative care as modern medicine isn’t helping her.

          • I just wonder what you think of the immunization status of your healthcare providers. Does it matter? I don’t have to think too hard about the disaster waiting to happen if you had a pediatrician or a nurse on a cancer ward “choosing” not to get vaccinated. I work in labor and delivery. I would hope that those that choose not to vaccinate do not visit L&D floors to visit family/friends, even if that patient shares your views. The other babies and families on the floor don’t need the choice taken from them and did not voluntarily choose to expose themselves. You are bringing it to them. This might seem like common sense, but you would be surprised how many people show up on an L&D floor obviously sick, let alone carrying something they are unaware of.

  8. I think that the biggest issues between folks who do and folks who don’t vaccinate is the “mommy wars”. A good friend of mine said there are two kinds of parents to “un-vaccinated kids”. Non-vaxers–who do what they think is best for their children (be it religious objections, severe reactions……..) and Anti-vaxers–those who think vaccines are the devil and NO one should have them. There is alot of malarkey out there for those who think vaccines are SAVING everyone and for the “anti-vax” crowd. How about we all join the other two categories–vax and not judge or non-vax.

  9. I honestly couldn’t care less if a doctor is mad at me or not. But I do care when one treats me poorly, threatens social services, uses ridiculous scare tactics, or kicks me out of a practice for not following their suggestions to the letter. And yes, all of these things have happened to me and/or personal friends. It took me a while to find a doctor that would work with us in making decisions on which vaccines to give and when. I just wanted to find someone that would answer my questions and treat me like the concerned parent I am, rather than an uninformed, emotion-driven idiot who bases decisions on celebrity opinion and shoudn’t be trusted to make decisions for my child.

    I know I am not alone on this. One of the most common question asked on the local “crunchy moms” groups is How can I find a doctor that will work *with* me (on vaccines, but also other issues like CAM use). They’re looking for the good doctors, the ones that will take their legitimate concerns into account. Those good ones are hard to find, and once the word gets out they often fill up quick and stop taking new patients.

    I understand many doctors have a passion for public health, I recognize appointment time is limited, but IMO more needs to be done to find a way to address legitimate questions and issues that parents have. And doctors need to be open to questions, rather than assume a god complex.

  10. As health care professionals, it’s very easy to become frustrated and overwhelmed with parents who repeat debunked and outdated vaccine misinformation that’s been addressed by public health officials all over the world. However, getting mad at the parents isn’t going to solve this problem. Like you said, we need to be mad at ‘pseudo’ health care officials who are anti-science and/or attempt to cater to the unfounded fears.

    It was my constant contact with anti-vaccine nurses that led me to take action and create the Nurses Who Vaccinate organization. The nursing profession was being used and abused by individuals as a means of credibility for them the spread misinformation about vaccines. A group of nurses, including myself, felt enough was enough. We make it a mission to share vaccine & infectious disease information on major social media platforms. We work with other organizations such as Voices for Vaccines, ECBT and Shot@Life to create toolkits, educate, and increase vaccine access.

    You’re making a difference Dr. Hayes- with every pro-science, vaccine encouraging post. I hope more healthcare professionals speak up as well.
    MelodyRN
    Founder of Nurses Who Vaccinate

    • I too am a nurse and you are full of baloney dear. The very organizations you claim are helping the vaccination movement are harming it, by admitting to wanting to reduce the world population by vaccinating them. They also are sterilizing girls in other countries, particularly Africa, by injecting them with HCG. This causes them to miscarry every time they get pregnant. This is being done without their knowledge or consent. How does this stand up against your license and the oath you took to take care of patients, not harm them? Get real and start doing your own research and stop just looking at propaganda put out by the drug companies and their paid bed fellows!

      • Fern,

        I’ve been just casually reading all these comments and your hostile rejections of vaccines have popped up often. Could you please supply us with links of sources to verify your claims that support of vaccines being “baloney”?

      • Fern is referring to a conspiracy theory that Tetanus vaccines in Kenya are spiked with human chorionic gonadotropin. And Fern, do you know where drug companies make their big bucks? Drugs that are still on patent, Viagra, Lipitor… not vaccines.

      • Fern,

        I am a nurse and I don’t recall taking an “oath” not to harm, Doctors take that oath, I believe it is called the Hippocratic Oath. We as nurses use caring principles and of course should seek not to harm but your statements make me wonder if I would actually find your name on the list of registered nurses in your state of residence.

  11. Thank you so much for such a meaningful writting. I can share that I worked for 26 years as a local health department nurse providing immunizations. I loved my job knowing the good I was doing for the children and our community. In my time working I can honestly say I never saw a child harmed by the vaccines but I did see a teen who died from Meningitis and an infant from pertusis.

    7

    • No one goes back to the health department after a vaccine reaction. They go to the er. Maybe that’s why you never witnessed it happen.

      • Right. And I don’t work at the health department. I do, however, work in the ER. And in a pediatric office where we administer vaccines and would provide followup care if it were needed. Maybe, as I stated above, the reason I haven’t seen any severe vaccine reactions is because they are incredibly rare.

  12. I’m 32 weeks pregnant I have a 3 year old that has not had MMR yet. Is it safe for me and unborn baby for him to get it now or should I wait. And if so how long. Is it not a good idea around the newborn because of risk of shedding??

    • Mel, you ought to get your 3 y/o vaccinated ASAP. You can protect yourself, your family, your (soon to be new) baby, and your community. It is safe to use the MMR vaccine in contacts of newborn babies and pregnant women.

  13. I experienced Rubella, at approximately 5 years of age. I do not recall any vaccination for this; when I was an infant. D.O. B. 02/22/1951. I remember the day my Father took me to the school for registration. That day, he presented the school a copy of my vaccination records. My query, relates to the physiological effects of the Rubella to my adult life. I have had some huge medical challenges; systemically. Some of those include; CRF 9Stage 4), Stroke, MCI and diabetes. All commencing at age 55. Any sound connection? Thank you.

  14. I wholeheartedly agree with you! I’m in a Mom group where this debate comes up often and becomes nasty quickly lol What do you think about vaccine injuries? And the payouts some vaccine companies have given?

  15. Nice letter. As a partly anti-vax parent, I think we should always be critical to what we expose our children to. Consider the Gardasil vaccinations 12-year old girls in many western countries are getting. Turns out to be one of the biggest medical scandals.

  16. “And if your child isn’t immunized, tell the healthcare providers that take care of her; it changes our management, and it could save your child’s life.”
    Yes, I’ve seen how this works. Non-vaccinated kids get an entire work up to punish their parents and vaccinated kids get misdiagnosed and sent on their merry way to infect the public. Yes, I’ve witnessed vaccinated kids get misdiagnosed because they were vaccinated. In the words of one doctor, “that’s chickenpox…but he’s vaccinated.” Diagnosis? “Dermatitis.”

    • I agree with you that we should never completely rule out vaccine-preventable illnesses even in immunized children, because (in addition to not being 100% safe), vaccines are not 100% effective, either. But…we don’t work up non-vaccinated kids to punish their parents. We do it because their risk of serious infections is magnitudes higher, and we don’t want to miss something that could end in death or lifelong disability.

  17. While I appreciate the tone, the idea of trying to be nice…this still comes off completely condescending to those who have chosen to delay vaccinations, be selective in which ones to have done, or the total anti-vaxer. You assume…yes, assume, that all these parents have done so only because of mis-information and fear. This same reasoning is now being used to persuade (as it always has been used) parents to vaccinate and vaccinate young….fear of outbreaks and death, bulling them into guilt-based decisions for the sake of herd immunity, with little to no previous educational/informational discussion on the matter with them. Can you deny that there are people out there who are living daily with the negative effects from immunizations? Maybe not a strong enough majority for you to consider…but try living their lives and tell me that they are just ignorant fools now because they don’t believe all vaccinations are to be done in good faith. ? Yes, many parents don’t vaccinate because of fear, because of mis-information…..many parents also vaccinate in blind faith that their practitioner knows what’s best for their family regardless of their gut instincts and valid information otherwise. In medical school….you are indoctrinated with pro-vaccine information, I doubt you’ve taken the time to actually research the counter-part information to give it a fair chance. As soon as vaccinations have a 100% effective and safe track record, it’s highly unfair to think that every parent against them is an ignorant fool, basing their decisions off of pop cultural icons and fads. My dr., a retired navy surgeon and world renowned homeopath, has discouraged my family from certain vaccinations my entire life..since the 80’s, but of course has left that decision up to us without fear-mongering…just informing. Vaccinations have continued to be improved upon because of the anti-vaxers who sound alarms about the truth, the ingredients, the possible side-effects, and the actual mis-haps of the industry. With your references to the Jenny McCarthy’s and Andrew Wakefield’s I can counter with references to the Gardasil vaccination and Dr. Harper, how the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics receive significant funding from vaccine makers, and would ask you to (if you’re truly interested on informing the anti-vaxers in an effort to sway their decision towards pro-vaxer) site any valid studies to date conducted on individual vaccine ingredients, the safety of injecting the FDA limit of aluminum for adults into an infant, or vaccine bundles. There have been no studies that I’ve found on the current CDC vaccine schedule, yet it’s pushed as universal; as if everyone’s body is the same….unless you have this information? You say that our only difference is that you essentially know more than us about the diseases, the protocol, and that vaccines are the most amazing medical advancement….and that’s quite patronizing of you. If you want to convince the anti-vaxers of their errors in thinking….do so without belittling their intelligence, generalizing their reasoning and reducing it to simple means, and maybe answer the hard questions that they ask with information that is found without the funding of sources that benefit from the sales of vaccines and the likes and then we can talk. My brother is a D.O. by the way….I don’t see you, or any Dr. as evil, but just one-sided in your research and information typically. Take time to study your “enemies'” (and I use that jokingly) perspective and logic and maybe then you will know how to win them over.

    • Again, I don’t think of anti-vax parents as enemies. And I’m certainly not trying to belittle anyone. Please show me ANY medical treatment that has a “100% effective and safe track record.” There isn’t one. Unfortunately, there is also risk involved with NOT vaccinating, and the risk has been shown time and again to be far greater than the risk of vaccines.

  18. I absolutely agree that it’s time for this debate to move forward. The hostility isn’t helping. Nor is the condescending attitude of ‘You’re not bad, you’re just an idiot’ as hinted at in this article. As far as I’m concerned, it’s not ME who’s been lied to, it’s YOU. One of us is obviously wrong.

    You need to understand that we are smart (most of us), we HAVE done our research, none of us give a crap about Jenny McCarthy (I literally have no idea who she is, apart from being mentioned in every vax article). The anti-vax movement has been around for as long as the vaccines. If you don’t understand what we’re saying, then how can you criticise us or debate us? And from what I’ve read above, you clearly don’t understand what we’re saying.

    We’re expected to trust a doctor, just because he’s a doctor. I’m sure 99% of doctors are good people, but that doesn’t make them automatically right. They can be duped too. If a mathematician tells me that 2+2 = 5, I’m going to argue with him. I don’t care what credentials he flaunts at me.

    Clean-running water made a massive impact on public health, long before vaccines arrived. But we’re not allowed to discuss it. Other medical advances, better food, more hospitals, etc etc. The vax people don’t allow discussion of any alternatives other than vaccines. They ignore the huge health impact of these other advances, including other medical advances. It’s so black and white to you and if we ask questions we’re just called idiots. We understand vaccines and how they work. I don’t know a single anti-vaxxer who doesn’t.

    It makes us all angry and we’re all sick of it. I applaud you for at least attempting to open a debate. Good luck with it.

  19. This is my personal experience…Our children (13 and 14 at the time), my husband and I were vaccinated to move overseas. The children and I, but not my husband, instantly became intolerant to shellfish. We are from Louisiana. This was devastating to us. Anytime we ate shellfish, we became violently food-poisoning-like ill. I met a young man in the military who had the same reaction to adult vaccinations.

    About 6-7 years later my children (in college now) tried crawfish and didn’t get sick. I immediately starting in shellfish again with no problems. A few years later, my husband and I moved overseas again and had to get additional shots. I became intolerant to shellfish again. Three years later, another move, I was required to be vaccinated for rabies. A few weeks after the final shot, I developed pityriasis.

    A little about my genetic history…Four of my six siblings have at least one autoimmune disease. I have 2 siblings with R.A., one with psoriasis and one who still has some mild problems with his hands and feet from Guillain-Barre’.

    Is it possible that autism could be found to fall on the auto immune spectrum? Maybe these children were going to develop a problem later in life and the shots shocked their little systems into bringing it on early causing it to manifest as autism.

    I am a believer in the benefits of vaccinations but with my family history, I fear for my grandchildren. Maybe they could do a study where they take blood from babies before any shots then again 10 years later. Let’s see if those with autism have something else going on.

  20. Thank you for a totally honest and hopefully “air clearing” article regarding vaccinations. My aunt, an RN, lost a 6 year old son back in the days before they had the vaccines for measles and chicken pox.

  21. I nearly lost my son when he was only 2 months old due to pneumococcal meningitis. He was too young to be vaccinated. His life has been forever changed because he was exposed to others who chose not to vaccinate. This was during the H1N1 flu scare and I did not take him out except to take my older children to and from school.
    Those who choose not to vaccinate make reference to vaccines causing autism. Well my child is autistic, as well as brain damaged due to others who chose not to vaccinate. You would not be mad at others if they got your child sick…Let it happen and let’s see how you feel then.

  22. Wow, who has been lied to here? You, an esteemed pediatrician, who makes money administering vaccines? Why would the CDC, the FDA, and the drug companies lie to you? The same reason they like to anyone; because they are making money off of spreading lies. I am not some uneducated mom who simply reads research online and decides not to vaccinate my son. I am a nurse. I worked in family medicine for years, over 30 year in the medical profession. I still hold a nursing license, yet I have chosen not to use it. Why you might wonder? I don’t use it because I am ashamed of where the US medical community has gone in the past 30 years. We have more than doubled the vaccine schedule for children. We push vaccines on the very people we used to tell to stay away from them, the elderly, the young, the immune-compromised, those with cancer, those with other life threatening diseases. Maybe you are too young to remember these things. Maybe your professors chose not to teach you the truth, but I know for a fact, there are things in my medical books that are not in yours! They want us stupid and uniformed. They want us under their thumb and under their control. Have you ever read a vaccine insert? I have and it’s very frightening that the medical community is injecting toxins into our children at very alarming rates. Not only that, but they don’t want us to know what’s in them. Seriously, do what should have been done when you were in school, research how vaccines came about and what’s actually in them and think about whether or not you want that injected into your own children. What would you do if your child was vaccine injured? I have two vaccine injured children. They are now causalities of the war on the population of the world. My youngest is now 8 and I too fell for the fear tactics and vaccinated him even though I was worried about how many more vaccines there are now compared to when my other sons were born in the ’80s. He is now and will forever be vaccine free. He’s being taught what’s in vaccines, how they work, and why we don’t submit to them and I continue to try to educate others, including medical professionals who are too young to understand the sad part they are playing in this attack on our country’s children! And for the record, you DO make money on vaccines. Fees for giving them, markup on the vaccine, checkups, etc. Let’s face it, most parent would skip checkups if it weren’t for vaccines! So let’s be honest here and tell the REAL truth and until you have done your own research and read the facts, you have NO right to tell a parent to choose to vaccinate their child!!!

    • Yes, Fern. I have read vaccine package inserts, among many other sources of information about their efficacy and safety. I would challenge you to provide some actual data instead of insults about my age/lack of knowledge/stupidity, or unfounded scare tactics to support your arguments. You could look at (for instance) child mortality rates, rates of cases/deaths from diseases for which we have vaccines, worldwide cases of polio or smallpox…

      And as a side note, I’m relatively certain that I DO, in fact, have a right to advocate for immunizations, both as a licensed physician as the owner of this website. If you’d like to advocate for your cause, you can get your own site for free.

  23. Love this anti-vax letter. Will place in my exam rooms, I am a 34 yr experienced PA in peds in Atlanta. Hope this helps my parents feel less anxious. I am old enough to be scared of these diseases.

  24. Can I just reply to the lady who says parents aren’t given information about being around immunocompromised individuals? That is what the brightly colored informational sheets they give out about every vaccination your child receives are all about. If you don’t know this then you don’t read the information you are given. Go to any local health department and the information is there in printed from for FREE!! I think if you acquire an illness from an unvaccinated person, you should be allowed to sue them. You choose to put me in danger and I should have a right to retaliate. That may change some minds!!

  25. The MMR vaccine, (measles vaccine), is comprised of THREE live viruses. The vaccine insert, which every parent and EVERY doctor should be required to read states that, those that have been vaccinated, should avoid contact with immune -compromised individuals. That is because this vaccine has the potential to shed. This vaccine can shed it’s viruses TO OTHER PEOPLE.

    • Debbie, this is true, and has been addressed above. I would submit that measles, mumps, and rubella are also capable of transmission to other people, with far more dangerous consequences.

        • Judy, I would refer you to my follow-up post, Why Measles Matters. For the large part, people with measles do just fine (which is why there are so many relatively healthy 60+ year-olds around today). But consistently about 2/1000 died, and many more suffered lifelong consequences resulting in disability. You can see the statistics for yourself in my post.

          If your argument is that most people that 998/1000 people who get measles survive, I’m not sure I understand why you’re against vaccines. The survival rate is significantly higher.

          • Thank you again Doctor.
            I would not say I am totally against vaccine or that I have an argument. With my little nephew’s reaction to DPT -2 month reaction dismissed by doctor as aspiration on Tylenol-this dismissal resulted in his second more severe 4 month reaction, came a lot of questions.

            1) if reporting of reactions in voluntary, how accurate are stats? (and why is such an important thing in the life of our children voluntary?)
            2) if head doc. didn’t report (or acknowledge first reaction) it how often does this happen?
            3) why can’t manufacturers be sued? why does tax on vaccine pay out for damages?
            4) how do I mesh this ttp://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/statisticsreports.html#Stats with “vaccines do more good than harm?
            5)how do I feel when vaccines are pulled after causing meningitis?
            6) do I feel there is a conflict when 8 of the 10 vaccine advisers for Health Canada have links to drug companies?
            7) is there a need for new born babies to be given the Hep B shot at birth?
            8)why the large increase in vaccine doses from 30 years ago?
            9)why was Gardasil fast tracked when 90% of cases of HPV resolve themselves in two years?
            10) are all diseases equally severe and in need of a vaccine?
            11) if it is disputed that diseases were on the decline before vaccines were introduced does the lack of a scarlet fever vaccine prove anything? and the lack of panic about the disease?
            12)if Sydney Crosby had a booster last year and two weeks ago had his titters checked, (they were at the highest level) why did he still get the mumps?
            13) would I rather have my children get a case of chickenpox vs the risk of adjuvant induced autoimmune disease?
            14) why does anyone who asks these questions get labelled “anti-vax” and stir up anger?

            Medicine is wonderful and lifesaving (I could also write a long list of all the lifesaving medicine that has done for my family) but it is always evolving and making new discoveries. Let’s not stifle that with hate and name calling. Let’s allow for difference of opinion. Let’s allow doctors to do research without fear of loosing their license if they disagree with the mainstream. Great discoveries have been made by those charting their own course.

          • Those are all wonderful questions! I have so many of the same and am looking forward to hearing the answers.

      • So why do some doctors tell me who is 32 weeks pregnant to hold off on vaccinating my 3 year old who has yet to have his mmr?? What’s the best thing to do? Is it a risk either way.

  26. Dear Sir, I am far too old to worry about what others choose to think, I am not insulted by disagreement either. However, I do feel I have the right to correct you on some points you make. Like you, I have a viewpoint, and it is based on observation and experience not training which is suspect to say the least since the drug companies support your training schools where you are trained to provide medication to deal with symptoms not heal the sick. You say, and I quote “the only difference between us is that I KNOW”, sorry friend, but where did you get that idea? Can you show us proof that these products you wish to inject into our children have been PROVEN safe, I am sure you cannot in good concience say YES. Neither can my sister in law, a community nurse who supports your case. The fact is, we know our own children, and care about them. Choice should be left to the parent. As a young man, I became seriously ill due to a vaccine I received when I joined the Navy and was in hospital for a week. Other vaccinations had no ill effect on me but once is enough to show that your statements are untrue both in my eyes, and in the eyes of many wno see this as just a money maker for the drug companies. Can you show us why injecting a chemical into a baby is SAFE. Surely a good and healthy diet would be better to keep them from harm rather than a chemical that was never intended to exist in their system? Freedom of choice is always the best road to travel but in closeing I should say I have no problem is your posting my name and will be happy to send you my address if you wish.

    • Anthony,

      Thanks for your comments. I’m sure that the majority of Edward Jenner’s colleagues would agree with you–until he developed a vaccine that would prevent smallpox and set the stage for a technology that would transform modern medicine and allow us to make many deadly childhood diseases all but extinct.

      You are correct that I cannot tell you that vaccines are 100% safe. And I never have. I have conceded numerous times that vaccines have risks. My point (at that of the medical community at large) is that the risks of the diseases they prevent are far greater. While vaccines are not entirely without risk, their risk-benefit ratio is far greater than most medical interventions that we use today. A good and healthy diet will go a long way toward promoting health, and I am also an advocate for healthy nutrition for children–but it does little to improve a child’s chances to survive H. flu meningitis or polio.

      -Chad

  27. Well, vaccine extremists don’t make me mad either.. but they do motivate me to expose their delusional fanaticism to the other parents. So when I refute your laughable nonsense about the measles being serious, please know I am not mad at you. I understand you, but I do not condone your behavior

    • Over 150,000 people die every year from complications due to measles. Mostly those under 5. Its not the measles that kills you, but the complications caused by having the virus. There was a real push to vaccinate with the MMR between 2000-2013 and the estimated lives saved is 15 million. There has been a 75% reduction in measles cases worldwide. This is not including those that contracted it and had a normal course of the virus and recovered well, but I think the reduced incidence and death rate speaks volumes. To me this is a pretty serious disease if the end result could be death. It has not been as common in the US due to our higher vaccinations numbers, but if you look at historical numbers you can see the same high incidence prior to vaccinations. (various sources such as the CDC, WHO, Mayo Clinic) I am not mad at you either but I do believe you are misinformed if you believe it is harmless.

  28. “those that ignore history are doomed to repeat it” I personally can’t get past looking at history as proof that vaccines are a good thing for all. Prior to vaccinations, hundreds and hundreds of thousands, died of these diseases. These statistics are freely available and not only in medical journals but the history books. Some of these diseases are now considered almost eradicated, others are at vastly reduced numbers of infections. I’m all about pro-choice, but not when it affects others very lives. You ARE putting others lives at risk that are unable to vaccinate due to age or other diseases, or where the vaccine simply didn’t work. Those against vaccines at least need to own this simple fact, you CHOOSE to put yourselves, your children and others in our community at risk of injury and death. No treatment is 100% effective or free from side effects for everyone, that includes scientific and holistic. I believe we should be doing all we can to protect those that are unable to protect themselves from these things. Apart from herd immunity, my main reason to vaccinate my kids was to protect them from others that might be carrying these horrible diseases. I am sad that isolation will have to be a consideration with my grandbabies in such a way that it wasn’t for my own kids. History – look at the numbers – before and after vaccinations.

    • That’s also the point that I can’t get past Suzanne and I’m constantly ignored. The idea behind this page was to discuss this without the hostility and I applaud the doctor for trying. I think we need to extend the idea to actually listening to what the other ‘side’ are saying. I’m fairly sure we know what pro-vaxxers are saying (vaccines eradicated diseases and while not perfect, are much better than the diseases themselves). I’m absolutely sure that pro-vaxxers have no idea what we’re saying and won’t listen.

      The problem with the history is that we disagree, even though, as you say, the figures are there for all to see. Whenever a pro-vaxxer discusses history, they want to discuss it from 1950 onwards (when the vaccines arrived). The diseases do plummet after that. But they were already plummeting, right back from 1900 onwards, BEFORE the vaccines, massively so (over 90% for most of the diseases). Typhoid for example was eradicated without a vaccine ever existing (at the same time). So other factors were involved. If you don’t like the idea that clean running water, which was being installed in every home around this time, had a large impact, what about antibiotics, cleaner hospitals or other medical advances? They all played a role. It wasn’t just the vaccines (if at all).

      • Glynn, I understand that there have been many other advances that have also played a part in reducing these illnesses. I appreciate the fact that clean water plays a major role, as well as antibiotics. I realize that the numbers were falling prior to this time as well. I just don’t buy that vaccines don’t play a major role. They have all but eliminate polio in many countries without these advantages, and they have continued to decrease the cases/deaths from these diseases even in modern America.And I would point to the fact that outbreaks tend to occur in areas with lower vaccination rates as evidence that they are effective.

        • Agreed Chris and again, I applaud you for reaching out like this. It’s the only way we’ll move forward. We can’t know the size of the role that vaccines played since so many things were working together and we might disagree. I’d guess around 50% ‘non medical’ (water, sanitation, food etc) and 50% medical (antibiotics, vaccines etc). Which would put vaccines around 25% in my eyes. Even so, that’s a significant contribution and certainly worth the effort.

          That would at least get us past the first obstacle in the ‘debate’ (‘Vaccines saved us’, ‘No they didn’t’).

          Then the moves the debate on to, how necessary are they and should they always be used? The ‘other’ factors could do the same job, only safer? It’s definitely true that most anti-vaxxers feel that we could achieve the same results naturally, given clean conditions. Maybe we’re wrong, it’s worth discussing.

          Studies have been done showing the impact of giving clean water to communities that previously had none. The effect is startling. I don’t know if it’s been done, but it would be worth setting up a test to compare two unhealthy communities. One is given clean water, better housing, other medical advances, the other is given nothing but vaccines. See which one fares better. Problem is, nobody would trust the results (or at least, the ‘losing’ side wouldn’t). The trust issue also needs to be over-come since this is a very serious issue.

          • Glynn,

            That would be a fantastic clinical trial, and I agree that the results would be interesting. But for it to apply to our population, we couldn’t do it in a third-world country; we’d need to do it here. In, say, a suburb of Atlanta. It would take a few years, and we would need many thousands of subjects to have an adequately powered trial. We’d need to take away vaccines from one group (along with any potential immunity provided by having immunized children around them). From the other group, we’d need to remove running water, sewer systems, heating and air conditioning, modern transportation and access to medical care. The two groups would need to be otherwise identical. And then we would need to watch them for several years and see which group ended up with the most dead children.

            That study will never happen. And I don’t think it needs to. I think that we need to look at all of these improvements as a whole and take advantage of every benefit that our modern society has provided–including sanitation, nutrition, and modern medicine.

            -Chad

  29. Dear Doctor,
    But we are mad at you. Let us set aside the pharma and kickback talk…let us set aside the government theories and gmo’s and even autism. Let us only talk about you, me, and my child.
    You do not love my children. I have never once run into you cribside during any one of my 53 nightly breathing checks. You would never recognize their voices, laughter, or cries. You cannot understand the questions in their eyes. You cannot, even with your stethoscope, recognize the subtle shifts in their breathing that precedes internal catastrophe. I never ran into you casketside as I said goodbye to the boy who walked into your office healthy and full of potential less than a week before.

    You do not love my children. You never mentioned he may die. You never tested him or checked him or quit vaccinating him despite prolonged episodes of high fevers and difficulty breathing after his shots. You lied and called it asthma. When i was hysterical and telling you that he couldnt breathe two of you dismissed it….you could not hear what i could. For three days you blamed his declining condition on shots and i believed you because no one said hypercytokinemia has the same side effects as the shots. Then when he died you insisted that it couldnt have been shots.
    But it was.
    Remember when you tricked me into authorizing shots for my other son and for nearly two years you immunized him without telling me? Remember when both my girls, fully vaccinated became sick with chicken pox? Remember trying to forcefully admit my seventh child after you found out about her not getting the hep b shot? Remember your veiled threats to call DSS? Remember when three of my kids (one vaccinated) had measles and it was no big deal at all…..AT ALL? Do you remember the horrific and irreversible damage done to Jaes daughter from the hpv vaccine? Do you remember when you told my husband, disoriented and bleeding from a head wound, that you were giving him a shot without telling him it was tdap?

    You are all of those Doctors. You are the doctor and nurse who mocked me when the twins were born and thought i was ignorant. You are the doctor who said my kids would have more ear infections without shots. You are every doctor that refuses to treat my three autistic children who cannot receive much needed therapies without your orders on a pad.

    You may not lie, but full disclosure is another thing you do not do.

    • Rachel,

      I am terribly sorry to hear about the loss of your child. I’m not sure of the circumstances surrounding this loss and will not cheapen it by turning your child’s death into a point of contention. I apologize for any intentional wrong-doing on behalf of the medical community and wish the best to you and your family.

      -Chad

    • My heart goes out to you Rachel. I have had similar experience as you regarding doctors and the medical community. There is absolutely nothing I can say to heal your heart, but I can stand with you. You are not alone.

      Doctors please start listening… Don’t alienate us. Don’t disregard are concerns.

  30. I do vaccinate my boys, but I have a question about the controversy over the HPV vaccine. Some articles say it is unnecessary and doesn’t even work, others say it only may prevent a few very rare cancers, but the doctor recently told me that we might consider getting it so the boys don’t give HPV to a girlfriend later on that could cause cervical cancer in her. Do you have any information about this vaccine and if this is one that truly outweighs the benefits of vaccines? Thanks for your time.

  31. Hi Chad,
    I am currently in a nursing program in San Francisco, also working on a BS in Microbiology (sloooowly! Haha). It’s been difficult recently, as I continue my studies, hearing people argue that the medical community is just ignorant, greedy, under the control of pharmaceutical industry, trying to harm their children or whatever else they come up with (there’s too much). I find it disheartening because I’ve already gone through a decent amount of schooling, upper division classes and dedicated my time to really study and research science so that I can HELP people. People that I don’t know because I want to make an impact on them just like doctor’s and nurses have on my family. How do you go about collecting yourself against those who reject your medical advice as a doctor? Does it ever dishearten you? I find myself frustrated recently because no matter what I do, I just can’t fight conspiracy.

    • Kasey,

      I wanted to address your concern because the medical field can be discouraging. Physician suicide rates are staggering, and many people are leaving the healthcare field for other fields where they can make more money with far less stress. None of us do it for the money. We do it because we care. Sometimes, that’s hard. People can be difficult. You will get roped into social nightmares that you never cared to be involved in. You will get criticized for promoting those things that you know are best for your patients. Some of your patients will die. It’s not easy.

      You will never convince those whose only argument is that they can’t trust anyone.

      But you will change lives. You will save lives. Some of your patients will trust you and appreciate what you do for them. Every once in a while, they’ll let you know how much you meant to them, and it will come when you least expected it–and when you most needed it.

      I appreciate what you do. I’m proud to be a part of a community of some of the most intelligent, caring, and hard-working individuals on the planet. Hang in there–it’s worth the fight.

      -Chad

  32. Dr.Hayes, for someone who has never vaccinated their kids and they are now teens or (They are now adults that want to be vaccinated) and the parents have changed their mind and would like to have them vaccinated, what would you recommend to catch them up? Thanks!

    • Kamille, Thanks for asking. The CDC has a “catch-up” immunization schedule designed for these cases. I would recommend talking to your doctor about how it applies to your children. Thanks for reading!

  33. Thank you for this! I’ve been thinking on this topic since all the articles have been flooding Facebook. The biggest argument I hear from both sides seem to stemmed from fear– pro vaxers are fearful of spread of disease and death of their loved ones. Anti vaxers seem most fearful of potential harms from the vaccines themselves that can affect loved ones for a life time. I think we need to be sensitive that voices are loud on both sides of the topic, and both feed the fears people are most fearful of.

  34. Well thats awful nice that you’re not mad at us but maybe we are mad at you. For letting your recently vaccinated kids walk around the general population shedding mutated disease all over our perfectly healthy children. How dare you be so condescending as to think we don’t research. Our lives are consumed by research, none of which is linked to Andrew Wakefield or Jenny McCarthy. You keep doing what you think is best for your children and we will continue to do what is best for ours. But please remember that your recently vaccinated child is far more of a danger to an immunocompromised person or a young baby than mine is.

  35. I’m glad you’re not mad at us… we haven’t been “misled”… We just know that we don’t have to pump our kids full of toxins to protect them against disease. If vaccines can’t cause Autism then why is “Autism” listed as a possible reaction to some vaccines??? Have YOU ever actually read the contents of these vaccines that you speak of? Do you even KNOW what’s in them??? I highly doubt that you do. Maybe you should educate yourself.

    • Yes, I have read them. I have read quite a bit. And I understand how they work, why they are necessary, and why the “toxins” are included in them (it’s not to poison your child). And I am getting so tired of responding to comments that simply accuse me of ignorance without demonstrating any actual evidence of the harm from the “toxins” you speak of. This post was started as an effort to ease tensions between the two sides of this argument, and once again, it’s turned into a heated debate with baseless accusations.

    • 1. Because you can look it up for yourself.
      2. Because everything on earth (including your organic, GMO-free chia seeds) is made up of “chemicals” and “chemicals” are not inherently harmful.
      3. Because naming all the ingredients of vaccines does nothing to change the evidence showing their efficacy or safety.

  36. “who certainly knows better, but capitalizes on your fear for his own profit, while placing your children’s lives at risk.” This statement reminds me of what both sides are saying. Pediatrician I believe do what they do mostly because they care but they can be just as misinformed in their schooling as anyone. Most if them are preaching what the big dogs are putting in their face, whether unknowingly or not. Same with nurses- they get schooled on the “proofs” and wound up to be the voice and hands of vaccination. No parent that chooses to not vaccinate argues that the vaccines don’t aid in ridding the disease- that’s not the arguement. It’s obvious the measles vaccine helps with getting rid of measles- what you don’t read in this article is the fact most people who don’t vaccinate have personally experienced some negative reaction of vaccines or know of someone- it’s not because they claim to be medical professionals. What you don’t read here is the fact that babies are turning purple with crying fours hours straight after receiving vaccines, battling fevers, and enduring rock-hard injection sites. You don’t read how these parents are trusting the doctors on their first child’s vaccine and regret it because their child all of a sudden becomes colicky and irritable for weeks after getting vaccines or no longer smiles. What you don’t read is the story of babies still dying of SIDS at the age or older when they start getting vaccinations, when they’re supposed to be stronger than a newborn. What you don’t read is that for a percentage of kids the vaccine doesn’t work and there can be deadly side affects. But let’s not talk about those because that just creates fear, right? The vaccines are completely safe they say as they hand you two pages of warnings and side effects ( my personal experience) which they dumb down and want you to ignore. There are families that don’t vaccinate because of severe reactions and allergies in their own family- and it’s more common than we are told. I think vaccinations are good for a lot of reasons but lets not choose to dumb down all the stories, concerns and issues that vaccinations still create. What will we find out tomorrow? What will we learn about the components of vaccines we thought were safe? Increasing numbers of childhood cancers, severe allergies, ADHD ; hovering in the clouds of unknowns. Perhaps we have been guilty all along in the increase and were told we were actually saving their lives! Measles, mumps, tetanus, whooping cough, polio are bad and I understand the reasons for vaccines. Yet nothing is fool proof. Nothing is perfect so let’s be sure we understand that before we get on our soapbox. Let’s not ignore the dangers on both sides!

  37. I have chosen to choose when my child gets immunized. I do have vaccine hesitancy, I understand the benefits, but I have heard many stories that the ‘accepted’ research is also often research that support where the money comes from. Things can often be tainted sometimes in ways we are unaware of. I appreciate the care that you have shown in your article. My first child was immunized on time every time, he currently falls on the ‘autistic spectrum’. It may just be coincidence, but I felt that whether it was coincidental or that it may be possible that the vaccine may have played a part in it I can’t be sure. I do understand that the child’s mind is developing a lot in the early years. My second child missed a few of his shots, growing. My third child missed all his shot until he was 5 years of age. He took his shots spread through two years. My third child has an iq of over 150. My fourth child is also proving to have rapid development much faster then his older brother, however he is still 4 I have given him no shots. I will follow the routine I have set for my third child. I will wait until he is 5. I just feel that by that time, though they still have a lot in the growing department, they aren’t as vulnerable if anything were to go wrong. I have weighed the question of exposure, but exposure also greatly increases at age 5. Some pediatricians and parents have been upset with me but I feel that we should be given the information of risk and responsibility the choice is still ours. We (as in doctors and anti-vaccine population) hope that we are making the right decisions whether its for shots or against it.

  38. Thank you for your words. This debate is getting out of hand. It’s full of blame and fear on both sides. I just wanted to add that not all parents that stop giving vaccines do so because of Wakefield, McCarthy or Dr. Bob sears. Actually I would say MOST did not make their choice based on anything they stand for.
    I did not make my decision based on any websites or the above listed. I didn’t even own a computer at the time.

    I no longer vaccinate my kids. My oldest was fully vaccinated he has several development issues and diagnosed ASD. I DO NOT BELIEVE VACCINES CAUSED HIS ISSUES. My second son was vaccinated up until 3 years of age. After every set of vaccines he ended up in the ER unable to breath. His pediatrician said he had “juvenile asthmatic symptoms” and would grow out of it by school age. It didn’t sound right. he never had any issues any other time, only when he had vaccines. I decided to delay his vaccines until I found a doctor who would listen to me. I never found a doctor who would give it a thought. That was 8 years ago and he has never had any breathing problems. My third son only had one set. A family member also had severe reactions to her 4 month vaccines and almost died (yes the doctors confirmed it was vaccines) I would love to have a open discussion with a doctor, but not one will talk about my concerns. I have even been yelled at and told I was stupid.

    I am not usually open in public about not vaccinating because I get ripped apart verbally. I wanted to share that we are not all tin hat wearing whacks following one another over a cliff like lemmings.

    I have the same concerns as those who vaccinate. I don’t want my children or any child to get any illness. If there was an outbreak at their school absolutely I would keep them home. My child is the one more at-risk of catching the illness. I do everything I can to make sure my kids are healthy just like a parent that vaccinates. We all do care, we all love our children. We love your children too.

    To both sides of the argument,
    Please stop fighting arguing and blaming! The media needs to stop spreading and breeding fear and hate.

    Suggestion for doctors. If you don’t have enough time in an appointment to discuss a parents concerns. Why not schedule another appointment with enough time. Listen to the parents, they want to make the best choice.

    • Ellis–I truly wish more physicians would have these conversations. The original purpose of this article was to attempt to bridge this divide and foster those discussions. This post was written out of compassion and a desire to bring together people on the two sides of what has turned into a vicious battle.

      I love your suggestion for doctors to schedule a follow-up visit to talk about these concerns. My suggestion for parents would be to ask for it. And that was how I closed my post.

      I totally agree with you and wish we could all have a discussion without it turning into a fight. Thanks for reading and your comment.

      -Chad

  39. Chad,
    What is the percentage of autistic children who have been vaccinated vs autistic children who have not been vaccinated?

    • Maybe my comment was not worded correctly.. Do you have research that you could pass along that would compare autism rates in vaccinated children vs unvaccinated children?

      • Sam, your wording was tricky…the percentage of children with autism who HAVE been vaccinated is higher than the percentage who HAVE NOT been vaccinated. But only because a much larger percentage of the population is vaccinated.

        I think what you really mean is, “are children who receive vaccines more likely to develop autism?” And the answer to that questions is no.

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24814559

  40. Diseases are meant to occur. People are supposed to die naturally. Vaccines don’t prove that humans are really against the death and suffering of children. The same people who promote vaccines also promote factory farming and a myriad of other things that are devastating to the health of you, your children, and the environment. The same people who are against natural death and suffering are for artificial death and suffering. The same people who want you to inject things into your body so you don’t get sick tell you that it is good to eat things that make you get sick.
    The FDA is completely untrustworthy. If I cannot trust that the things they allow into food and drink are healthful for my body, why should I trust them to approve of the things injected into my body? If they allow artificial colorings, preservatives, flavorings, and sweeteners which are well known to cause damage to health, why should the vaccines they approve be free of taint? Would you trust someone who has just sprinkled poison over your meal to inject a substance into your bloodstream?

  41. “There are numerous studies that have examined aluminum’s potential to induce toxic effects in humans
    exposed via inhalation, oral, or dermal exposure. Most of these findings are supported by a large number
    of studies in laboratory animals. Occupational exposure studies and animal studies suggest that the lungs
    and nervous system may be the most sensitive targets of toxicity following inhalation exposure.
    Respiratory effects, in particular impaired lung function and fibrosis, have been observed in workers
    exposed to aluminum dust or fumes; however, this has not been consistently observed across studies and
    it is possible that co-exposure to other compounds contributed to observed effects. Respiratory effects
    (granulomatous lesions) have also been observed in rats, hamsters, and guinea pigs. There is concern that
    these effects are due to dust overload rather than a direct effect of aluminum in lung tissue. Occupational
    studies in workers exposed to aluminum dust in the form of McIntyre powder, aluminum dust and fumes
    in potrooms, and aluminum fumes during welding provide suggestive evidence that there may be a
    relationship between chronic aluminum exposure and subclinical neurological effects such as impairment
    on neurobehavioral tests for psychomotor and cognitive performance and an increased incidence of
    subjective neurological symptoms”
    From atsdr.cdc.gov
    Tell me that as a logical, reasoning individual, that you cannot make the connection that aluminum is more toxic injected than inhaled, touched or eaten.

    • Is it true that there are animal studies that show some toxic effects from aluminum. There is some evidence that workers continually exposed to aluminum dust in industrial settings over a period of years may experience some toxic effects (just as with any other chronic exposure). What no one has been able to show me (because it doesn’t exist) is a study that shows the a miniscule amount of aluminum in childhood immunizations causes an increased risk of…well, anything.

      As a “logical, reasoning individual” I agree that it certainly makes sense that some substances could be more toxic injected into the body than ingested. But I also think that dosage effects are important, and that there is no evidence to suggest that children are being harmed by the small amount of aluminum in vaccines.

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