The story of a four-generation unvaccinated family.
By Jennifer Z. Vaughn
Every American is expected to understand it: “Get the shots that your doctor recommends or suffer dire consequences. Vaccines are one of the greatest achievements of biomedical science and public health. They are the most important and valuable tool in the history of mankind for reducing infectious disease, and those who fail to obtain them are at an elevated risk for injury, disability, even death.“ Children’s programing on Sesame Street once advised:
“Shots are good
Germs are bad.
Get your shots or
You’ll be sad.”
But many of us who are paying close attention are hearing another (and radically different) story. Accounts of vaccine injury, disability, chronic illness and yes, sadly, deaths that result from placing trust in those same declarations.
Mine is an anecdotal story. It’s one that I believe deserves to be told. I won’t be presenting any studies, graphs, tables, statistics—all of which are within easy reach to anyone wanting to see the available ‘science’ on the much-debated subject of vaccination. The result of Googling the word ‘vaccines’ delivers four million, seven hundred eighty-nine thousand, seven hundred seventy-six sites. During the past 35 years, I’ve read thousands of journal articles, research documents, blogs, websites, news items and many books that are often as confounding as they are informative. So in an effort to keep this as simple as possible, think of it as just another story about an average family doing its best to thrive.
Of the countless decisions parents face today, few are as controversial as the vaccine question, and if not for the rising number of alleged injuries the question would be a virtual no-brainer. Unless (and until) someone is personally touched by a vaccine-gone-wrong, the conventional wisdom prevails. Surely doctors, hospitals, public health officials and medical authorities know best? If vaccines presented a genuine danger, wouldn’t they tell us? Is “immunizing” the same thing as “vaccinating?”
Let’s look at this more closely.
It’s undeniably true that we have not seen polio or smallpox outbreak in America for a very long time. Surely that’s because vaccines “work.” Isn’t it? There are also other things happening that we’ve NEVER seen before—like chronic illness in the childhood population, escalating numbers of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, psychiatric medication for childhood behavioral and learning disorders, childhood allergies, Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, unparalleled need for special education facilities…and the list goes on. One would think that with so many ‘life-saving’ vaccines, America would have the healthy child paradigm pretty much sewed up. Right? So what gives?
Maybe the real question could be: What happens if you decide not to vaccinate your child? Public health officials and the mainstream media advise, “don’t risk it.” Doctors warn parents that if they don’t adhere to the schedule, “your child will die.” Collectively, they suggest that despite all the improvements in public sanitation, personal hygiene, availability of nutritious food and accessibility to medical care, we must be evermore vigilant about vaccinating according to this ever-expanding “schedule.” In fact, authorities can (and do) remove children from their homes to administer medical care, including vaccines. And without the necessity of parental consent in extreme cases. But does repeating something often enough and loud enough make it factually true?
I am a member of a four-generation family who has side-stepped the traditional vaccine cover story. Our eldest family member was born in 1916, our youngest in 2005. With very few minor exceptions, we are entirely unvaccinated. The patriarch and matriarch of our family died at the ages of 93 and 84, respectively. The patriarch, my father, was still working in his lifelong career until two weeks before his death. The second generation, (my own) whose formative years ran parallel with the ‘polio era’, are now in our sixty’s, suffer no chronic illness, have no need for prescription drug use, no history of hospitalization or illness-related surgery. I have lived outside the U.S. and visited 18 foreign countries. Unvaccinated, and without incident. The generation of our own children are now also parents of healthy, high-performing unvaccinated children who are scholastic and athletic award-winners who attend both public and private schools with none of the all-too-common maladies of today’s children.
Within this family, we have both mainstream and alternative healthcare professionals, including doctors and nurses. There are also successful small business owners, degreed psychologists, teachers, a certified nutritionist, professional actor, landscaper, building contractor, designer, restaurateur, wind/solar power consultant, organic farmer, artists, song writers, classical musicians, scholarship recipients and numerous perfect attendance awardees.
Even the most skeptical person must ask: How Could This Happen? If, indeed, vaccination is necessary and essential for the health and wellbeing of children (and adults) how did this family escape certain death? Shouldn’t we at least be sick? Were we simply riding off the so-called “herd immunity” and getting remarkably lucky? Did we dodge the potential bullet of infectious illness because almost everyone around us was vaccinated? Are we healthier now because the majority of the population was vaccinated in the 1950’s? This is, after all, an anecdotal story. Maybe a better question is “What are we doing that helps us maintain robust health despite being vaccine-free?” Isn’t that called immunity?
Did we ever develop acute childhood illnesses? You bet. In the era of commonplace measles, mumps and chickenpox, we (along with the general population) experienced them. Whooping cough? Yes. Did we gain lifelong immunity to these once-common childhood maladies? Yes. Did anyone ever have the flu? Yes, albeit,
rarely. Were our parents frightened and concerned about communicable illness—even polio—when everyone else was freaking out?
The answer is decidedly not. Their understanding was that childhood illnesses were not only harmless to healthy children, but also served an important function in immune system development. This was their focus and priority. During the polio epidemic we were sitting side-by-side with children who were vaccinated with both the Salk vaccine and the live-virus Sabin vaccine, which was known to shed live poliovirus through mucosa and fecal routes. This is a known mechanism for ‘vaccine-induced flaccid paralysis’. [Translation: vaccine-induced polio.] Were our parents reckless and hopelessly deluded? Did some unscientific dogma cause them to put us in front of an unstoppable train called “polio”?
Did they risk our lives to make some sort of religious or philosophical statement? NO. Within this family group, there are Christians, agnostics, Deists, conformists, non-conformists who all believe there is enormous wisdom in the planet’s bounty. We also believe there is more to ‘us’ than our bodies. We humans have the ability to organize, adapt, mobilize and reason. We understand that vaccines are neither the main nor the most important issue in maintaining health today. We understand the age-old building blocks of immunity—diet, hygiene, restful sleep, stress reduction, exercise, Joy!, optimized nervous system function—are all powerful tools for avoiding catastrophic outcomes. As growing children our diets consisted of abundant fresh fruits and vegetables, high-quality protein, selective grains, limited sugar and zero carbonated drinks. Our parents were far ahead of today’s trends because they understood and insisted on healthy fuel for our growing bodies, much like the parents of today who are referred to as ‘crunchy’. As a result of lifelong attention to known health-boosting practices (other than vaccines) what is also “missing” in this atypical family group is that we’re also free of diabetes, arthritis, asthma, autism, ADD, fibromyalgia, infertility, Alzheimer’s, hypertension, obesity, heart disease and the list goes on. I understand that many people have been convinced that their health is a product of their ‘genetics’ and while it’s true that a small number of today’s maladies are inheritable, all signs point to environmental causes as a far greater indicator of our health status. These are things within our conscious control, even if our genes are not. We are not powerless. We have choices.
Besides avoiding the toxic components of vaccines, what else is involved in staying healthy? Naturally, it requires some vigilance toward staying on the safe side of everyday life. It requires a dedication toward healthy eating, healthy pregnancies, breastfeeding, external and internal cleanliness, cultivating loving relationships, finding meaningful life’s work, generosity toward others, spiritual harmony and in our case, naturopathy and chiropractic. But are we ‘purists’? Hardly. None of us are strict vegetarians or vegans, most of us consume alcohol, a few are tobacco users and even some pot smokers. The optimization of naturally-acquired immune function isn’t merely avoiding potentially harmful vaccines. It involves “immunizing” oneself by giving a body the essential environment for vibrant
health. It doesn’t happen by accident, and does require effort. Sometimes it also means sacrificing a momentary indulgence in an effort to serve the greater good, the long- term goal, or the road less-traveled. And in today’s heated medical environment, it can mean derision, ridicule, suspicion and harassment coming your way. No doubt, there will be criticism toward me for even telling this story. Is it “easier” than, via Dr. Nancy Snyderman, just getting “the damn shot?” Hardly. But is it worth that extra effort? Absolutely.
Our bodies are designed to heal themselves. In fact, they are constantly, in every minute, doing so. Drugs and surgeries are sometimes necessary to bring about the optimal conditions for this self-healing to occur. But neither drugs nor surgery “heal” anyone. Neither does any doctor. All healing is an inside job, and can be enhanced in various ways as it occurs from the inside-out. Your capacity to heal is greater than mainstream medicine would have you believe. For the vast majority of humans today, pharmaceuticals are first-line tools in the arsenal of fighting illness. Vaccines are pharmaceutical products that are perceived to keep people “healthier.” But do they? America has the most highly vaccinated population in the history of the world, and ranks frighteningly low in parameters of health and infant survival, but extremely high in medical expenditure. It appears that more might not be better.
The majority of vaccines on today’s U.S. schedule have been created over the past 30 years, coincidentally, since the time that vaccine manufacturers obtained legal immunity for their risk. Before that time, were we seeing large numbers of death attributable to infectious disease? No. The leading causes of death in America (for the past fifty-plus years) are heart disease, cancer and iatrogenic. [Iatrogenic means “caused by doctor and/or treatment”.] Why, suddenly, are we expected to believe that survival is impossible without these so-called life-saving vaccines? Were these vaccines created out of an urgent need to curb death in a country whose access to clean water, clean food and medical care is plentiful?
For any parents who are sitting on the fence about this issue, I implore you to educate yourselves. Long after you are dead and gone, your children will thank you for your love, vigilance, and tenacity regarding their health. Have faith in yourself to make the right decision for yourself and your children. There is no higher gift than having confidence in one’s own integrity—body, mind and soul. In the words of a cherished colleague (whose name you would all recognize) “Today’s unvaccinated children will inherit the earth…and it’s not going to be a pretty job. “ By all means educate yourself. Learn the basics of staying healthy and make the right decision for yourself and your children. Neither the government, the medical profession nor the pharmaceutical industry—even judgmental relatives and neighbors—will step into the abyss if you become a vaccine injury statistic.
Educate Yourself Before You Vaccinate, because once it’s done, you can never un-vaccinate. If it’s true that we‘re helpless without vaccination, the family should be dead, or at the least, sick. True health is within your grasp. Seize it.