A Great Resource for Vaccine Information

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When it comes to vaccinations, parents seem to fall into three different camps, and when I look at my friends, I see examples of all three. I have one friend who says that whether or not to immunize wasn’t even a question for her since her father is deaf because of rubella and her aunt is paralyzed from polio. I have many other friends as well who immunized according to schedule and without question. And on the other end of the spectrum, I have friends who have chosen not to vaccinate their children at all, some opting for homeopathic alternatives and others for a more hands off approach. And in the middle camp, I have friends who vaccinated selectively and not necessarily according to the conventional schedule. Whatever the case, whether or not to vaccinate and to what extent is a very personal decision that all parents need to make for themselves based on what feels comfortable and right for them and their children.

For parents with questions about vaccinations and seeking more information to help them decide what to do, two books written by medical doctors with relatively unbiased information that cover both sides of the immunization argument are The Vaccine Book by Dr. Robert Sears and Vaccinations: A Thoughtful Parent’s Guide by Aviva Jill Romm. I personally own a copy of The Vaccine Book by Dr. Sears and find that he lays out the information in a thorough, objective manner, except for the short section in each chapter called “The Way I See It,” where he provides his own professional opinion. As a medical doctor, of course he does recommend most vaccinations, but he acknowledges that parents whose families have a strong history of autoimmune diseases may want to be more careful in their approach to vaccinations. He offers guidelines for how long you really should wait after a fever, cold or other illness to vaccinate, and he includes alternate vaccination schedules for selective vaccination (only the most important vaccines based on disease prevalence and severity) or delayed vaccination (putting off certain vaccines until children are older and their immune systems are more mature). He describes all the illnesses that are preventable with vaccines, including their symptoms, severity and prevalence. Then he lists vaccine ingredients for the most common brands and discusses potential negative reactions. As a parent myself, I have found this book to be a very valuable resource.

Whatever parents choose to do in relation to vaccinations, they can be reassured that acupuncture and Traditional Oriental Medicine have a lot to offer their children. I recently completed some continuing education with David Allen, a pediatric acupuncturist and Traditional Oriental Medicine doctor, and he shared acupuncture protocols for before vaccination to prepare a child’s immune system, as well as treatment guidelines for immediately after or within a few days of a vaccination to help prevent any negative reactions. And for parents choosing not to vaccinate, acupuncture and Shonishin (needle-free treatments for children) are great ways to keep your children’s immune systems strong and thriving.