Questioning Vaccinations While Not Being a Kook

Written by:

Maia James

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Let me start with this: I have chosen to vaccinate my children. That said, I’m annoyed by the media coverage of this issue and also by the viciousness coming from many pro-vaxxers.

My anti-vax friends are pretty quiet these days (and I wish they wouldn’t be), but not so with the pro-vaxers. These moms are not only keeping their kids out of playgroups—even here in New York City where there is no measles outbreak yet—but they are also furious with anyone who admits any doubt about the long-term safety of the standard vaccination schedule. In fact, if you question the recommendations of the AAP at all, you are anti-science and basically a climate-change denier and a creationist, apparently.

What’s up with this?

As I have written before, vaccinations are my least favorite parenting decision, and the one over which I have agonized most. In the end, it made sense to me to vaccinate my kids, but we spaced the shots out and seriously delayed some of them (like the hep-B immunization, which is recommended at birth). Does my decision to vaccinate my children mean that I think anyone who skips the MMR vaccine is an anti-science nutbag who gets all health advice from Jenny McCarthy? Um, no.

I didn’t want to be completely silent during a time when it seems people want to talk about little else, so here is a summary of my stance:

  • I am always going to be skeptical of the medical and pharmaceutical industry, mostly because they have a long history of retracting their recommendations (antibiotics, mammograms, hormone-replacement therapy, etc.).
  • This doesn’t mean that the AAP and CDC are wrong about vaccine recommendations, but to me it means that it’s not outside of the realm of possibility that they could be wrong.
  • Overall, I would describe myself as agnostic about many vaccines–I don’t know that they carry with them any long-term risks, but the assurances of the medical establishment doesn’t entirely reassure me.
  • All this said, I believe in vaccinating, since the risks of vaccines are mostly unknown, whereas the risks of the diseases they prevent are real. I am particularly in favor of the vaccines for measles, polio, pertussis, Hib, and Pc.
  • I wish pediatricians would be more willing to discuss the ins and outs of each vaccine and the disease against which it protects. Instead, most simply insist that there is zero potential for any long-term downside to vaccines, and—in the words of our first pediatrician—it’s “Russian roulette” to delay a single shot, even something like hepatitis B for a newborn. I think many parents would actually opt IN to vaccinating against some of the scariest diseases if they could get better, more detailed information from experts on the risks, benefits, and unknowns.

(If you want to hear people articulate my feelings on this better than I can do myself, here’s a clip of Bill Maher and Marianne Williamson discussing measles and vaccinations the other night).

Stay sane and healthy,

Maia, Founder & CEO

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Leave a Reply

  1. Candie Avatar

    Unfortunately vaccines do not give you life long immunity . Only acquiring a disease does, like chicken pox .
    With that being said you can acquire a disease from a vaccination example is polio . In the recent months in Africa the World Health Organization has declared a new polio outbreak in Sudan and is linked to an ongoing vaccine-sparked epidemic in Chad

    Also 2-10% of the population do not create antibodies to vaccines.

    In the US we have a very high percentage of children vaccinated . The percentage of unvaccinated is super low . However I believe people should have a choice wether to vaccinate , religious, Philosophical or because the mothers gut just tells them somethings not right.

    Children do have reactions or side effects from vaccinations . This I do know . We may not no the cause but genetics probably play a role . Example the MTHFR gene . With this you have a problem converting folic acid but these people also can’t detox metals . Vaccines have aluminum which is a neurotoxin and thimerasol which is mercury.

    We give so many more vaccines now than we did 40 + years ago and the numbers of children with learning and developmental problems has climbed significantly. Why so many more shots ?! To help build immunity . I didn’t receive all of these as a child born here and some hadn’t even created .

    Does anyone know or ask themselves . If vaccines don’t cause issues then why has the government set up a fund National Vaccine Injury fund and why is it pharmaceutical company’s are not liable ? Especially if they don’t feel that injury will not occur.

    Has anyone ask their Pedi to see the insert for the vaccine being given ? Maybe ask , maybe review the side effects with your Dr.

    I think everyone should have an open mind and ask as many questions as they can .

  2. RivF Avatar

    My comment is that the personalities of people that follow THIS website would for sure NOT WANT to vaccine; myself included. HOWEVER, I vaccinated all my children because we live in a world with other people! Without vaccines many more people would have died from polio or lived their lives in a wheelchair. Many more people would have died from measles, etc… I could go on. My opinion – I am not thrilled about taking the Covid-19 vaccine. But I live in a world with other people and if I get sick, I could get YOU sick! I consider those that DO NOT vaccinate selfish. They are RELYING on those that vaccinate to protect them. My opinion? THEY ARE SELFISH – ONLY THINKING OF THEMSELVES. We need to do this to PROTECT EACH OTHER.

  3. Sara V Avatar
    Sara V

    Is there a way to find pediatricians in LA that use “clean” vaccines? (Vaccines without thermisol? You mentioned that your pediatrician, tribeca pediatrics, uses the cleanest versions. How can I find an office in LA (either CALABASAS or Santa Monica-ish) that uses the same?

  4. Emily Avatar

    Would you mind sharing the vaccination schedule you used? My almost four month old hasn’t received any vaccinations yet and I am going back and forth on what schedule to use. I have researched quite a bit but all of the information I find can be misleading. My gut (and research) has told me to delay, hence why my son has yet to receive a vaccine. This has been the hardest decision yet!

    1. Maia James Avatar
      Maia James

      Yes, Emily, this is the hardest decision! I basically followed the Dr. Sears selective schedule (which he outlines in this book:

  5. Balsam Momma Avatar
    Balsam Momma

    I vaccinated my first.
    Second had 2 reactions… only one disc said yes definitely reaction.
    I started educating myself.
    Third baby fully unvaxed and my healthiest.
    Vaccines should not be mandated.
    We are free.
    Freedom of health choices.
    Vaccine shedding
    Herd immunity (myth)
    Aborted fetal cells
    Monkey serum
    Aborted fetal calf serum
    Ask your grandma about measles
    Didn’t we all have chickenpox?

    1. jared wild Avatar
      jared wild

      Amen! We are pro science and pro health. Do your research and be informed and don’t be bullied by pedestrians who get major kickbacks.

  6. Carla Avatar

    I have been following your website for about a year and I have never felt moved to post anything or comment until now. I am a pediatric nurse practitioner and I originally started following you because I wanted to know more about what parents are talking about with complimentary/alternative medicine (not just vaccines). I followed a couple of blogs for a while, but only continued with you because of your holistic approach.

    Now, I want to say thank you! You have helped me in my practice and you have really helped me to see another perspective that I had never considered. I have done a lot of my own research with vaccines to understand them and understand different perspectives. I truly appreciate your perspective on vaccines. I am a STRONG vaccine supporter. I firmly believe that everyone should be vaccinated (at least those who can be). However, I also realize that parents have real fears and doubts. I have learned to work together with parents to make a plan for vaccines that is right for their family. Parents need to be able to sleep at night with the decisions they have made about their kids’ health care! Close minded people on both sides of the vaccine argument have made it the ugly topic it has become today. Thank you again from the bottom of my heart! I haven’t totally detox’ed my home, but I have used some of your suggestions in my own home. Please know that your perspective has helped shape me as a provider and you are helping all of those patients who walk through my door!

  7. Maia Avatar

    This is a test because a bunch of you wrote me and said this post wasn’t accepting comments.