MARK HYMAN, MD has dedicated his career to identifying and addressing the root causes of chronic illness through a groundbreaking whole-systems medicine approach known as Functional Medicine. He is a family physician, a four-time New York Times bestselling author, and an internationally recognized leader in his field.
Through his private practice, education efforts, writing, research, advocacy and public-policy work, he strives to improve access to Functional Medicine, and to widen the understanding and practice of it, empowering others to stop managing symptoms and instead treat the underlying causes of illness, thereby also tackling our chronic-disease epidemic. His website is at www.drhyman.com.
Childhood vaccinations were implemented over the last century and have resulted in significant reductions in common childhood diseases that often left kids with debilitating lifetime illnesses or led to death. These included: measles, mumps, rubella, polio, diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus.
Approximately 20 years ago, there was a dramatic increase in the number of vaccinations recommended and given to children. In the early 1990’s, there was a sharp increase in the number of vaccinations in the first 18-months which included dPT (diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus), polio, as well as MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella). After the early 90’s, a new vaccinations schedule was implemented by the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics which increased the number of vaccinations from 8 injections to 19 vaccinations for 11 infectious diseases, including additional ones for haemophilus influenza, hepatitis B, chicken pox, meningitis, pneumonia and others.
There are serious questions about the impact of so many vaccinations on the young immune system, as well as questions about the toxicity of the preservative called thimerosol (a mercury based preservative). Also, there are new recommendations from the CDC for yearly flu shots for infants starting at 6-months old throughout their childhood and adolescence. Not all vaccines are equal, and not all are needed by all people.
I strongly believe in the value of vaccinations in their appropriate and judicious use at the appropriate time.
If you do not vaccinate your kids and live in a community with a high level of vaccination rates, you are protected by what is known as herd immunity, which means that if the entire herd or childhood group has been vaccinated, then their child has very little risk of disease. However, increasingly parents are withholding vaccinations from their children, and diseases including measles and pertussis are on the rise and can often be life-threatening.
I believe in a more mitigated vaccination schedule. A good resource for this is What Your Doctor May Not Tell You about Vaccinations by Stephanie Cave.
If a child received the recommended influenza vaccine throughout their childhood, they would receive as much mercury as they would on the old vaccination schedule when mercury was in the regular vaccines such as dPT and MMR.
In summary, I recommend only using thimerosal free vaccines, which are single dose vials, and avoiding flu vaccines, which have not been, in my mind, proven to be effective for most otherwise healthy kids, although they can be effective in kids with debilitating illnesses or respiratory or chronic illness.
I also recommend a modified vaccination schedule, especially avoiding hepatitis B vaccination at birth unless there is a high-risk population that the child is going back into, which can be valued on an individual basis.
In summary, vaccines are important, and your child should be vaccinated, but on a modified reduced schedule and only with mercury free vaccines.
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