Vaccinations: At What Cost?


In any decision we make in life, we must weigh what price we will pay for the choice we make. It can be as simple as whether we are willing to give up $3.99 for a box of cereal, to more important things like trading time at home with the family for more overtime hours at work.
Most of the decisions we have to make on a daily basis do not necessarily have a right or wrong answer. In the above example, spending more time with family may sound like the right answer, but if it means not having enough money at the end of the month to provide for them, probably not.
But no matter what the decision is, there is a price tag attached, and the better understanding we have of what the price is, the better decision we can make.
When it comes to the decision parents face of whether or not to vaccinate their child, they have been told the benefit of vaccinations, but not the true price that is paid in regards to the health of the child. Parents are told that the shots are safe and effective, with the only negative effects being a possible rash or fever immediately following the vaccination, and in extremely rare cases, more serious reactions. In others words, parents are led to believe that benefits of being protected from disease far outweighs any slight risk that may be associated with vaccines. 
In all fairness to proponents of vaccinations, the price that is paid by a child’s immune system to bypass experiencing the common childhood diseases that are vaccinated for has been largely unknown throughout the history of vaccinations. Since there have been no studies looking at the long-term effects of vaccinations, it has been concluded that they must be safe.
However, just because we don’t know what the long-term effects of vaccinations are, doesn’t mean they are not there. In recent years it has been speculated that the dramatic rise in the incidence of autism could be the result of the rigorous vaccination schedule that has been mandated in recent decades. In fact, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has ruled in 83 cases that vaccines caused brain damage in children that resulted in autism.
In the past twenty-five years we have seen the incidence of autism rise from 1 in 10,000 children to an astounding 1 in 50.  Why? Health officials have vehemently denied any connection with the condition and vaccinations, but the more we actually look into this possibility the more plausible the connection becomes.
A recent study done on monkeys looked at what would happen if the monkeys were given vaccines in the same combinations and under the same regiment in which children receive them in. Traditional vaccine safety studies are done where one vaccine is studied at a time. However, when the monkeys received the vaccines under the same schedule that children receive them, several of the monkeys exhibited the signs and symptoms of autism.
Obviously there are many environmental factors which must be considered when considering the cause of autism, but it would be naïve to think that there is no possibility that vaccines are a contributor given the mass of evidence at hand.
We have also seen a rise in chronic conditions in our children such as asthma, allergies and diabetes. Initial studies done looking at changes in specific immune cells following vaccinations indicate that vaccines alter the development of the immune system in a way that may make our children more prone to these chronic problems.
Is it possible that we are trading normal childhood diseases for chronic conditions? When a child succumbs to the flu or to chickenpox, it is a miserable week or two for both the child and parents. However, once those few days are over the child has lifelong immunity to that virus and therefore has a stronger immune system in the process.
Could it be possible that the price we are paying for the convenience of less sick days from normal childhood diseases be chronic conditions that our children will have to deal with for a lifetime? 
The Harvard School of Public Health has estimated the cost of caring for an autistic child throughout his or her lifetime at $3.2 million according to a recent study. That is just the economic impact on a family and society, let alone the damage done in every aspect of the life of that child and family. Is that worth the price paid for a few more days at work or school?
When considering what the true cost is of vaccinating their child, it is not the economic ramifications that parents really care about, but rather the impact that vaccinations will have on the health of their child. However most parents have no idea there is a price tag attached to vaccinations. The difficulty is that they may not know what that price is until years down the road.
So what are parents to do?  The first thing is to know they have a choice of whether or not to vaccinate their child. It is their child, and they have the right to choose the course of health care for their family. Public health officials and health care providers can offer advice of what they think parents should do, but fortunately it is still up to parents to make the final decision.
Secondly, gathering as much information as they can about the pros and cons of vaccinating or not vaccinating their child will help them to make a decision on this issue that is in line with their own philosophy of health, and a decision they are at peace with no matter what the outcome is down the road. More and more resources are becoming available on vaccinations through books, videos, and of course a plethora of information via the internet.
There is no doubt the issue of vaccinations is complex. However, with some time and research invested with the information available, parents can better understand the price that is paid whether they vaccinate their child or not, and can come to a decision on vaccinations that is crystal clear.
1. U.S. Government Concedes Vaccine Autism Connection
4. Vaccinations & Immune Function –
8. Flu Shot –
© 2011 - •