Amongst the commonly recommended vaccinations some have proven to be effective forms of preventative medical care. Devastating infectious diseases such as smallpox, diphtheria, and polio have been brought under control through worldwide vaccination programs. Through modern advancements effective vaccination for the epidemic diseases Malaria, Tuberculosis, and HIV now seem realistically possible.
Vaccination is however only one aspect of preventative medicine, and not always cheap, effective or the best form of care. Increasingly vaccines are being approved and recommended where the benefits are unclear for individuals and society as a whole. A vaccination is an intervention on a healthy individual and must be scrutinized and held to the highest medical standards. Risks and benefits should be carefully examined and then weighted against one another.
With the ever-expanding vaccination recommendations many parents are beginning to ask themselves if the necessary precautions are being taken by the responsible organizations.
If, and against which diseases to vaccinate a child are very tough questions for parents. Not even the Doctors carrying out the vaccinations have enough reliable information to give sound advice for making such decisions. Additionally they are under pressure from the vaccination commission and their representatives, not to mention the storm of advertising that leaves even an expert confused. Courses for doctors on the topic of vaccination are commonly sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry.
Research in the field of vaccination is almost exclusively sponsored by the producers of the vaccines. They focus on quickly proving the efficacy of the drugs without properly examining their safety and long-term effects. Commercial research findings have often been manipulated, or suppressed if they are deemed adverse for a product.
The influence that the vaccine producers have reaches far into the national admissions office, committees on vaccinations, and even the world health organization. The majority of the members of the Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO) declare that they disclose partly serious conflicts of interests. This is unacceptable in a committee that makes such important and financially weighted recommendations. The vaccination committee does not have the personnel, or the financial means, to make objective assessments of vaccines or vaccination procedures. Studies conducted by the producers are generally the only evidence used to make the decision to recommend a vaccine.
In this way almost every newly developed vaccine, over a variable time period, finds its way into the list of officially recommended vaccines. Without the proper investigations of compatibility, sustainability, and cost efficacy the following questions cannot be answered: is it reasonable to prevent or eradicate the respective diseases? What are the long-term consequences of this vaccination, does it really lead to better health? What costs must the health care system carry, and what effect on public health could the reallocation of these investments to other forms of preventive medical care have?
For years vaccines have been amongst the most profitable pharmaceutical products, with the highest growth rates. The public recommendations make vaccines self-sustaining, since marketing becomes unnecessary. Additionally the producers are in an economically protected zone, the government is liable for all vaccines that have been officially endorsed. The producers are additionally not obliged to conduct studies on post marketing surveillance (which, however, also does not carry out such studies).
Doctors are required to give notice to the public health department if they suspect a vaccine complication. It is however no secret that only a fraction of incidents are actually reported.
The vaccine recommendations of the Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO) are constantly being adjusted and generally expanded. In Germany vaccinations are carried out earlier and in higher number than in most of other European countries. The current vaccination calendar calls for the following vaccine appointments:
STIKO-Recommendations as of 2018
7th week: Rotavirus
3rd month: Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), Hib, hepatitis B, polio, pneumococcal, and rotavirus.
4th month: Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), Hib, hepatitis B, polio, pneumococcal, and rotavirus.
5th month: Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), Hib, hepatitis B, polio, pneumococcal.
12th – 15 th month: Diphtheria, Tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), Hib, Hepatitis B, Polio, Pneumococcal, Rotavirus, measles, mumps, rubella, varicella (chickenpox), and meningococcal C.
6 th – 7 th year: Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough).
10 th – 15 th year (girls): HPV-vaccination (2-3x)
10 th – 18 th year: Tetanus, diphtheria, polio, and pertussis (whooping cough).
Further vaccinations are in development or in testing (Streptococcus, RS-virus, etc.), and for others the recommendations are being developed (Meningococcal B, influenza for children). The original purpose of vaccination programs, the prevention of life threatening epidemics, is long surpassed.
The vaccination recommendations are considered the “medical standard”. Every Doctor must inform patients about them and is required to offer the vaccines. Deviations leave Doctors in a dangerous judicial predicament, he or she can be made liable for illnesses that occur due to the omission of a vaccine.
Due to these judicial circumstances most Doctors do not offer alternatives to the official vaccination calendar plan. The state health insurances only pay for vaccine consultations if the vaccination actually occurs, and pay Doctors additional sums the more they vaccinate.
Medical practice does not rest solely upon, seemingly objective, science. It has much more to do with interpretation, experience, and intuition – some speak of medical art. Many doctors have their own opinions on the vaccine recommendations. Parents will always find a doctor that will not put them under pressure when considering vaccination, offer alternatives and place value on their consent.
Vaccine side effects are a taboo topic; the health authorities are very afraid of the so called “vaccination tiredness”, the aversion to vaccinate. Every vaccine can have harmless, severe, and –luckily, rarely—life threatening side effects or leave permanent defects.
Possible side effects:
- The point of vaccination: swelling, pain, redness, abscess, etc.
- The immune system: fever, allergic reactions including the very rare anaphylactic shock.
- The nervous system: sleep disorders, changes in character, seizures, encephalitis, nerve inflammation and damage.
- Specific organ damage: for example inner ear damage or diabetes in the case of the mumps vaccine, or joint inflammation in the case of the German measles vaccine.
Possible long-term effects that should be taken seriously:
- In a large Canadian study seven year old children showed half the risk of developing asthma when the first vaccination occurred after the 5th
- In a group of developing countries infants showed an increased mortality in the months following vaccination.
- In the wealthier nations of the north the greater the number of recommended vaccinations is, the higher is the sudden infant death rate.
- Diabetologists suspect that the dramatic increase in rates of diabetes amongst children are related to the increasing number of early vaccinations.
- Research on human nerve cells and animal experiments lead experts to fear that the pertussis vaccine and the aluminum salts present in many vaccines can interfere with the maturation and development of nerve cells.
- Aluminum salts also promote disturbances in the immune system and can cause autoimmune diseases.
- In France researchers found a slightly elevated risk for developing multiple sclerosis after early hepatitis B vaccination.
Thus increases in chronic diseases in infancy could be partially related to the fact that we are vaccinating earlier and more often. Large studies in which vaccinated and not vaccinated persons are compared have never been conducted. There are no reliable numbers with which one can compare the risk of vaccination and the risk of illnesses and their complications. There is much room for speculation and intuition. This explains why the field of vaccination is littered with fundamentalists.
When making vaccination decisions you should not allow yourself to be put under pressure, rather you should come to an informed decision. Every vaccination can be carried out at a later time than the official recommendation calls for, and they are usually tolerated better when given later. The relative strain on the body caused by aluminum salts or formaldehyde is decreased with increasing body-weight. The immune system and the nervous system become more stable and less vulnerable with time. Beginning with vaccinations at a later age, in the second half of the first year of age or at walking-age, is a viable alternative to the standard procedure.
The time intervals between the recommended vaccinations are only minimum intervals, no maximum intervals: every vaccination counts. A started series of vaccinations does not necessarily need to be completed, if you change your opinion. If you desire to vaccinate your child against multiple illnesses then it is better to use combination vaccines. Otherwise the number of injections will increase the total amount of additives your child receives, and it will cause unnecessary pain.
New studies on efficacy show that in Germany we vaccinate too often . In Scandinavia, England, and Austria the standard vaccination schedule has been changed to three vaccinations in the 3rd, 5th, and 12th month with only one booster between the 6th and 9th birthday. Regular catch-up-vaccinations in adulthood are more and more questioned.
You should only vaccinate if you consider your child to be stable enough. It should be in good health (normal appetite, energy, and mood) and acute stress factors should be avoided (for example larger journeys or sporting events on the day of vaccination). An airway infection that is wearing off does not increase the risks of vaccination.
The British “aluminum-pope”, Christopher Exley, recommends that after vaccination with vaccines that contain aluminum patients should drink mineral water, which contains silicon with a concentration of at least 30mg/l (Gerolsteiner, Radenska, Volvic), at least two bottles in the days after the vaccination. Silicon binds the aluminum and makes it easier for the kidneys to filter it out of the body.
There is no evidence for the efficacy of the so called “homeopathic vaccination”.