The purpose of this blog is not to answer the many questions surrounding the use of vaccines. What I am going to do is talk about the multiple factors that should be considered in a discussion on vaccine administration. Not sure what those would be? Keep reading.
Before I get into that, I want to share briefly my individual approach as a practitioner to vaccine administration and the families we see at Hopewell Family Care. While this communication is not an endorsement of vaccine administration, neither is it aimed at censoring the CDC’s schedule. As a healthcare professional, it is incredibly cavalier for me to tell you that your children will be fine if you decide to defer vaccinations or adhere to a delayed schedule. However, it would also be negligent of me to not point out the potential risks, including those documented in the inserts provided by vaccine manufacturers. There are many factors at play when deciding what your child’s schedule should be, too many to cover all of them here.
What I desire to make abundantly clear is that HFC is a supporter of parental choice and education. We are happy to discuss at length the particularities of each individual child in order to help parents make the decisions that are right for them and harmonious with their convictions and beliefs. It is not always the same process for every child because children are not all biologically identical. Layering vaccines may pose no risk to one, but may to others. Vaccines may provide sufficient immunity for one child, but not for another. Some children react to certain additives in vaccines (even having intense repercussions that take years to recover from), others do not. And so on. We go to great lengths to provide our patient population with the resources to help parents feel supported in this decision-making process.
I firmly believe that science is a method of investigation and not a belief system. I am a healthcare provider that sees clearly the ebb and flow of science, as it is constantly being reevaluated and rarely concrete. Much of what we do requires faith, and I have faith that the parents of the children I see will ultimately do what they truly believe is best for their child. While I cannot make strong recommendations for a particular schedule that will protect your child with no ill effects, I can give you tools to help you make your own decision while attempting to remove fear as a motivating factor for the decision. We are happy to journey with your family through whatever life may bring, and ready to help achieve early diagnosis and treatment for vaccine-preventable diseases, regardless of your child's vaccination status. We at Hopewell Family Care are honored to be a part of your child's healthcare journey.
Now, what factors should you consider prior to vaccine administration for your child?
Genetics. As stated in a previous blog, MTHFR is a talking point that should be considered when vaccinating children. MTHFR decreases a child’s ability to detox, which is especially important when receiving vaccines due to the various chemicals in them. Preservatives such as thimerosal, gelatin and MSG, and other ingredients such as formaldehyde, aluminum and antibiotics, are likely going to have an increased impact on a child who is unable to detox well. Outward signs that a child may have MTHFR include a hemangioma, cherry growths, or other similar skin conditions that can indicate a baby may not have completely developed neurologically in utero. Other signs are a sacral dimple and tongue tie. While these signs can correlate with MTHFR, they are not a diagnosis. MTHFR can be tested for in the blood or saliva. We can test for MTHFR in the blood at our office. A saliva test is a more extensive (and expensive, not covered by insurance) genetic testing, and we refer patients to MaxGen Labs for this. If you don’t want to have your child tested, parents can have themselves tested first, but this is only helpful if both parents are negative. If one or both parents are positive, testing the child is the only way to know if the child has MTHFR, and what type they have.
Age. In regard to age, there are two elements to think about. One is that when a child is young, their immune system is most at risk. An issue with low immunity is that children’s tissues aren’t well defined, their structures are very thin, so an infection can spread from point A to B much easier than in an adult. For example, if a child contracts Haemophilus Influenzae Type B as a respiratory infection, it can move from their lungs to their spinal cord, causing meningitis. Another element is that children also have rapid brain growth in their first 3 years of life. While the side effects of vaccines could cause neurological damage during rapid brain growth, ages 1 to 3 years also poses the greatest risk for contracting vaccine-preventable illnesses. This does not make the decision of if/when to start vaccinating your children an easy one. Some parents decide to wait until rapid brain growth slows after 2 years, or stops after 3 years. But again, this is also the most vulnerable time for a child in regard to lower immunity and increased risk of contracting disease.
Gut injury. Having an already-existing gut injury can make recovering from vaccines difficult. Oral and injectable vaccines are metabolized in the gut. Gastroenterologists can confirm that the intestinal wall is impacted by the absorption of vaccines, which can make an existing problem worse or can start a new problem. Much of a child’s immunity is derived in the intestines, so keeping their gut healthy is paramount to keeping them healthy, regardless of whether they’ve been vaccinated or not. If an infant has been unusually fussy, colicky, or gassy, these can be indicators of a disrupted intestinal environment. If a child is being treated for constipation, diarrhea, eczema, other skin issues, frequent upper respiratory infections, or ear infections, we recommend resolving those issues before adding any additional insult to the intestine.
Immune system support. If your child does receive a vaccine, s/he could present with a virus due to a compromised immune system. This happens frequently, and even when immune system support is given, it can still occur. Sometimes giving one vaccine at a time can decrease the chances of overtaxing the immune system. It can also lessen the risk of vaccine reaction, and in the case of a reaction, you would know which vaccine caused it, and could avoid such a response in the future. But immunizations are scheduled together to create a bigger immune response so the child has better coverage. When one vaccine is given at a time this synergy is forgone. Vaccines are not 100% effective, so relying on them solely for protection against infection is not adequate. Immune system support is important for all children.
What are some things you can do to support your child’s immune system and detox mechanisms before and after receiving a vaccine?
Breastfeeding gives your child the best advantage immunologically. We do our best to give every motherbaby dyad the support necessary to ensure a healthy and sustainable breastfeeding relationship. We encourage our patients to breastfeed as long as possible.
Increase Vitamins C and D two days before and one week after vaccine administration. We carry Vitamin D for children in our office. With Vitamin C, give 125 mg for children under a year, 250 mg for children 1-3, and 500 mg for children over 3. With Vitamin D, give 800 IU for children under a year, 1600 IU for children 1-3, and 2000 IU for children over 3.
Soak in an Epsom salt bath for 15-20 minutes on the day the vaccine was received and for few days after, especially if there is swelling at the site of administration. For children under 1, add 1 cup of Epsom salt to a bath, and for children over 1, add 2 cups.
Increase water intake, which will augment the lymph nodes’ ability to detox from heavy metals and preservatives in vaccines.
Avoid sugar. Sugar increases the workload of the body by increasing inflammation, which compromises the body’s detoxing abilities and immune function.
Avoid Tylenol. Tylenol blocks the liver’s ability to detox properly. If a fever reducer and pain medication is needed, use ibuprofen. Children must be 6 months of age to use ibuprofen. Contact your PCP for dosage instructions as indicated on the label.
Get chiropractic care before and after to stimulate the immune system and thymus gland (which stimulates the development of disease-fighting cells in children).
Support gut health. Give a probiotic daily for two weeks before and four weeks after vaccine administration. Try adding Enteragam. Enteragam is a pharmaceutical food that helps to close the gaps in the gut, reducing inflammation and allowing the immune system to function at its best. To get a prescription for Enteragam, schedule an appointment with Hopewell Family Care one month in advance.
The content of this blog is by no means a substitute for a conversation between you and your child’s medical provider. As stated above, every child is biologically different and every situation unique. As you make vaccine decisions for your family, use these factors as talking points with your provider to help ensure optimal health for your children.
Jaimeé Arroyo, FNP