Picture from: http://id-ea.org/an-optimistic-era-for-global-infectious-disease-control/
After a blog post that I made last April (Feel Free to Continue the Regularly Scheduled Debate... Without Me) I swore I wouldn't have the vaccine discussion again. Well, I should have known better. I never say never for just this reason.
There's no denying it, I HATE the vaccine debate. I don't blame vaccines for my boys' Autism but I will not dismiss someone else's belief that a vaccine has caused their child harm. I only know our situation and my kids, I'm not a doctor and I don't pretend to know everything there is to know about Autism and it's causes. I do, however, consider myself a parent who likes to make decisions based on information and facts.
Today the fact is that California has passed a law requiring kids to be vaccinated. California Vaccination Bill SB 277 Signed By Governor, Becomes Law
I agree with vaccination. I believe in vaccination. I do think it saves lives. BUT I also think that there are too many vaccinations, too many given at once and too many compound vaccinations. My concern with this laws is that, as it is adopted from state to state (and you know it will) the law will change and tighten to the point where parents are given no chance to make informed consent.
For us, specifically, if my boys are due for a booster (they have received all their initial vaccinations) I request a titer check first to see if they need the booster. I don't give unnecessary shots. Not because I think it will cause Autism, we already have Autism x2! I don't give unnecessary shots because my two boys with Autism don't communicate pain and illness well, every shot gives them a seriously high fever and causes a regression. Every. Single. Shot. If you KNOW that a vaccination is going to kick your child's immune system into hyperdrive, that they will spike a fever over 104 and will have a functional regression that can last up to 4 weeks... would you sign them up for every single shot? Even if they aren't needed?
My current plan is to run titers annually and give booster vaccinations as needed. They are fully vaccinated and have adequate immune levels. I know because I have the test results. This is not a test that is always done, it is something you have to request. Even if you do the vaccinations and have all the boosters, there is NO WAY to know if your child is fully immune unless you have a titer check.
Thats how important I consider vaccinations, so much that I want to make sure that they are effectively protecting my children. At the same time, thats how important I consider my children, I cannot give them a shot that they don't need knowing it will cause them pain and regression. Period.
As the law moves from one coast to another, will I be allowed to do this? That is my fear.
As an Autism parent, here is what I would like to see:
- A separation between vaccination and Autism. It's a tired controversy. It's constantly debated. NO ONE changes their opinion no matter how much you fight and blame and chatter. Those who believe vaccinations caused their child's Autism will not change their mind. I will never believe that vaccinations caused my child's Autism, you are not going to change my mind. The fact is that to me, it doesn't matter but the discussion is damaging to our community and I would like to see it die.
- I would love to see some research into the immune systems of ASD individuals. There is something there. Most ASD kids I know fall into one of two categories, they NEVER get sick or they ALWAYS are sick. My boys fall into the never category and I don't think it's a coincidence that their immune system over-reacts so violently to a vaccination and that their titer level remain extremely high for long periods of time. That is the purpose of the vaccination after all, to kick in the immune system. Is there something in the ASD body that causes these kids' immune systems to over-react or under-react? And if they under-react are some ASD kids unknown carriers, thinking that they are immune when in fact they are not?
- A grey area when it comes to the vaccination schedule. If vaccines become mandatory (and I am not firmly on either yay or nay side), I want to make sure that titer levels are still considered. It just seems bad practice to give someone a shot when their immunity levels are already safe, there is no "more immune" there is just immune or not. If I bring my child to Labcorp for a titer check and they show high titers for Pertussis, you are going to have a damn hard time convincing me to give him a Pertussis vaccination.
- Bring back individual vaccinations. The combo vaccinations are a good way to blanket 3 vaccinations in one shot but what if you don't NEED all three. This did just happen last year, we had a Tetanus titer level come back still immune but close to the cut off level. At that point, I was absolutely prepared to give the vaccination. All other levels were extremely high. He only needed that one vaccination. EXCEPT they don't make/wouldn't give us a Tetanus only vaccination. Not only that but since he was 13 he had to have the higher dose TDaP instead of the child's booster DTap. This was by far the worst reaction to a vaccine we have ever had, the highest fever and the longest regression. Was this because his body had to also fight off virus' he was already highly immune to? Our doctor told me that the subsequent extremely high fever exactly 24 hours after the immunization was not related. I disagree.
- Work with parents. I am not the parent that will give 7 shots on one visit. It's too much. It's too taxing. We cannot afford that much regression while we wait for the body to build its immune system. If a parent is willing to bring their child in every 3-6 weeks for one or two shots until the entire shot list is completed then they should be allowed to do so.
- Take a good, long look at what vaccinations should be REQUIRED. Not which pharmaceutical company donated the most to whichever election campaign. What vaccinations are essential to the livelihood of the greater population. Not all vaccinations are required now for example, you don't have to take a flu shot. If the government is going to force vaccinations they really need to be realistic about which vaccinations are essential and should fall under the law.
I do not agree with the ruling in California, not because I do not believe in vaccinations but because there is no one medical answer for every person. My medical care is different than your medical care because I am different than you. My child is individualized educationally, emotionally, functionally and should also be individualized medically.