Monday, October 5, 2009

Informed Choices

Excellent Swine Flu AdviceImage by xaminmo via Flickr

I have just returned from the National Vaccine Information Center's (NVIC's) 4th International Public Conference on Vaccination: "Show Us the Science & Give Us A Choice", in Reston, Virginia. Unquestionably, this conference was one of the most profound and poignant medical events that I have attended. The speakers were diverse and knowledgeable, and included Dr. Robert Sears, Andrew Wakefield, Amy Lansky, and Dr. Joe Mercola. 600 people attended the conference, interested in educating ourselves amidst the controversy over whether to vaccinate ourselves and/or our children. Currently, the swine flu (H1N1) vaccine is prevalent in the media and in our minds.

I feel so passionate about providing parents with facts about vaccines so that they may make informed choices for themselves and their children, that I am planning on writing about what I have learned. We are facing the disturbing news that the United States Department of Health and Human Services, including the Health Resources and Services Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced that 1 in every 91 children are now diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, as is reported in the November 2009 issue of Pediatrics. This rate has increased from a more recent number of 1 in every 150 children, to 1 in 10,000 children twenty years ago. Additionally, researchers from Stony Brook University published a research abstract for an epidemiological study suggesting that US male neonates vaccinated with the Hepatitis B vaccine had a three fold greater risk of autism spectrum disorders. More new research published in the October 2009 issue of Neurotoxicology has revealed substantial brain damage in infant primates who received the birth dose of the Hepatitis B vaccine.

The NVIC and Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) are appealing to President Obama for the immediate suspension of the birth dose of the Hepatitis B vaccine, except in the rare cases where the biological mother tests positive for Hepatitis B. SafeMinds has called for a ban on thimerisol from Seasonal and H1N1 flu vaccines in pregnant women and young children. A percentage of New York healthcare workers are challenging the mandatory flu and H1N1 vaccination policy that was passed in July, 2009.

We are facing change on personal and national levels, and change can feel fearful and confusing. But information and education lead to empowerment and the claiming of our strength. I believe that it is less important whether we choose none, one, or all vaccines; what matters the most is our ability to make educated, informed, and free choices.

More to come soon...

Julie Glass, ND