In life, things rarely turn out how we imagined they would on paper. Relationships. Businesses. A garden we plant in our backyard. There are twists, turns, unforeseen events. Some seeds we plant don’t sprout. A fungus kills all our tomato plants. Some people we date or marry turn out to be duds, or worse – toxic narcissists. Some career or business moves we make don’t come to fruition as we had envisioned, even with the best of intentions, getting expert advice, and planning it all out on paper. Actually, it’s rare that any very large undertaking we engage in goes just according to plan, no matter how painstaking our preparation.
Why would we think that the extremely large undertaking of developing vaccines meant for every human living on earth, with all their complex and varied biology, would be any different?
The natural world is full of variables. It is ALWAYS more complicated in reality than on paper. The more variables we can identify and pick apart, the better our decision-making will be.
The Example of Antibiotics
Let’s take the example of antibiotics, for a moment. Nobody can deny that antibiotics have saved many millions of lives since they were first discovered. In fact, scientists now estimate that the American life expectancy is 5-10 years higher than it would be without antibiotics.
But there is another side of the coin. Today, one of the greatest global threats to health is antibiotic resistance. (1) This has been caused by overuse of antibiotics. Without changing course in our collective medical decision-making, superbugs would lead to antibiotics becoming completely useless, taking us back to the era of people dying from routine infections.
Are pharmaceutical antibiotics the only tool available for bacterial infections? The answer is a resounding NO! Thankfully, there are literally dozens upon dozens of natural antibacterial substances in the natural world. Further, we now know that there are several ways to support the immune system through lifestyle – with such things as proper nutrition, stress reduction, hydration, adequate sleep, a healthy gut with balanced gut flora, and moderate exercise.
Anyone with any amount of wisdom should see clearly that there’s no strictly “pro-antibiotic” or “anti-antibiotic” viewpoint that would make any sense. It’s a matter of using wisdom to know if it’s appropriate to use an antibiotic in any specific case. If you were looking for the best health outcome for the most people in an outbreak of some bacterial infection, an antibiotic mandate would not be the way to go. There are way too many ways that could go wrong. An antibiotic mandate for a bacterial outbreak could lead to less infection initially, but how many people would die when the bacteria becomes a superbug that no longer responds to any antibiotics? What about longterm health issues that would occur in a subset of the population due to antibiotic use? It’s fairly clear that it would be better to utilize other things such as lifestyle measures and natural antibiotics for many people, and save the big-gun pharmaceutical antibiotics for just those who are very sick and at the highest risk.
Beliefs About Vaccines & Things to Consider
But let’s get back to vaccines. There are a number of beliefs about vaccines that have been heavily reinforced and driven in both by our medical system and media, that I believe deserve some scrutiny. Again, the more variables we can tease out and examine, the more information we’ll have to make decisions grounded in reality. And this will allow us to have the greatest chance of giving us something close to the outcome we hope for – better health outcomes for us all and lives saved.
IF you believe that we must prevent all infectious disease possible, at almost any cost, and that vaccines are the only effective way to do this, then of course you will be fine with vaccine policies that broadly recommend or possibly even mandate many vaccines, with more coming, for all people globally. But is this perspective warranted by the complexity of the nature of health, disease, and medicine? I don't think so.
Industrialized Nations vs. 3rd World – Before we get into common vaccine beliefs, one variable we have to address is the impact of communicable disease in modern, industrialized nations vs. the 3rd world. It’s like comparing apples to oranges. By the mid-20th century, for instance, measles was largely an innocuous and non-deadly in America and similar nations, killing just about 500 Americans yearly amongst the over half a million annual cases. (2) This was before the introduction of the vaccine. Meanwhile in impoverished nations in Africa and Asia with rampant malnourishment, lack of access to clean water, overcrowding, and limited medical care, measles still kills upwards of a million children annually. Clearly, the measles vaccine is not the only or even major factor contributing to measles mortality.
Now, let’s get down the nitty-gritty with vaccine beliefs.
Belief – In order to save lives, we have to prevent all infectious disease possible.
This belief is pretty ingrained in the psyche of America. But, is there any benefit to infectious disease? Not if it kills you or permanently weakens or damages you in some way. But what about infectious disease that you recover from within a week or two?
What if, in the efforts to eliminate as much infectious disease as possible, there are negative consequences to health in other ways? Children who grow up on farms where they were exposed to an abundance of bacteria generally have more robust immune health throughout their lives than those raised in more sterile environments. (3) It is widely believed that the immune system of a baby and child needs to be exposed to infections, otherwise autoimmunity and other health problems such as allergies and asthma can be more likely. (4) Developing immunity by fighting off infections naturally trains the immune system to recognize pathogens properly.
My Opinion –
Maybe what we’re looking at here is the Goldilocks principle where too much or too little infection are both not helpful, what you want is just the “right” amount to stimulate the immune system to function properly, but not so much that your system can’t take it and you are weakened and die. Incidentally, this principle also holds for challenges generally. When we overprotect children, we can weaken them and make them unable to handle future challenges. And when we fail to protect children adequately, we put them in harm’s way. It’s all about a balance.
I had chicken pox as a 1st-grader, and it doesn’t rank anywhere near the top of illnesses I’ve dealt with in my life. For me, it was a tiny blip on the radar screen, as it was and is for nearly all healthy children who get it. Today, all children are routinely vaccinated for this mostly benign infection. And now we have rampant outbreaks of shingles in younger and younger people because the chicken pox virus no longer circulates among the population, signaling peoples’ immune systems to ramp up more antibodies and “re-innoculating” them from chicken pox from time to time. (5) And what about the potential negative impacts of the vaccine that we don’t even know about because nobody has investigated it?
I read an article years back about the measles vaccine with some doctors and scientists questioning the need for it. Death and complication rate from the measles was already very low in the developed world before the vaccine was put in place. (6) As I previously mentioned, there were about 500 measles deaths annually in the U.S. in the mid-20th century. It turns out that scientists discovered that Vitamin A very effectively and inexpensively treats and mitigates the possibility of complications from measles, including death. (7) The authors of the article admitted that mortality from measles in the developed world was already very low before a vaccine, and the reason for developing the vaccine was scant. In the end, scientists decided to create a measles vaccine because they could. And then the vaccine was pushed upon the American populace without regard to any potential negative effects. The authors of the article predicted that the result of widely vaccinating everyone for measles would be for measles cases to go down sharply among children, but then to be eventually be pushed to segments of the population for whom it is more dangerous – babies and adults. We have seen this to be the case. Has it been worthwhile to make eradication of measles incidence the goal? I don’t think the answer is an obvious yes.
I don't believe that eradication of illness should be the top goal. Our major goal should be the best health outcomes for the most people. In some or perhaps many cases, this will mean that our attention should be on promoting health habits that lead to a healthier immune system, as well as diagnosing disease, and preventing or treating complications if they arise, rather than blanket disease eradication through a vaccine.
Nourish Immune Health from the Ground Up – In the process of working for the best health outcomes for the most people, I would like to see a greater focus on building up the immune system from the ground up. Starting from the earliest of ages, there is so much we can do to prepare babies’ and children’s immune systems to best handle the rigors of infection and set the stages for robust health in general. Gut health can and ought to be supported, from the day of birth, through the promotion of breastfeeding (at least give all the babies the immune-priming liquid gold colostrum!!). Of course, we can teach good hygiene. And crucially, we need to learn to nourish our children properly with real foods that build gut and immune health. These same foods also greatly contribute to good mental health. Everything is connected.
Belief – The best way to prevent infectious disease is with vaccines.
When it comes to preventing cases of infectious diseases, I do think that the vaccines that make it through testing and approval probably deliver. But we do know that effectiveness varies from vaccine to vaccine, with the flu, mumps, and whooping cough vaccines being among the least-effective. (8)(9)(10) Personally, I had 3 doses of the MMR vaccine and still got the mumps when I was in my 30’s. But, we shouldn’t fail to mention the extremely important measures of sanitation including modern sewage and hand washing for the prevention of infectious disease. And, again, we also have to mention how proper nutrition, keeping stress in check, a healthy gut with proper balance of the microbiome, and other lifestyle components rank high in terms of preventing out-of-control infectious disease. I am also intrigued by the concept of homeopathic prophylactic remedies to prime the immune system to effectively fight a barrage of common childhood illnesses and communicable illnesses. (11) We need to see much more research on this to more fully understand its potential. And again, in this article I argue that blanket prevention of infectious disease through vaccination should not be the goal, but rather we ought to make the best health outcomes for the most people our primary goal.
Belief – Vaccines were the major cause for the decline of death from many infectious diseases of the past.
The narrative we are told is that vaccines were the single biggest reason for a decline in mortality from many infectious diseases of the past. But this is clearly not the case for many illnesses. Polio is a separate case, and there are many complications to the story we have been told. So we’ll save that for another day.
Here are a few charts of mortality (death) rates of whooping cough (12), measles (13), diphtheria (13), and tetanus (14) before and after the introduction of the vaccines, in the United States. As you can see, mortality rates from these 4 illnesses had already tanked significantly before the introduction of a vaccine. Vaccine proponents will always cite how vaccines reduced the CASES of these illnesses. But if we take my argument that the goal is the best health outcomes for the most people rather than eradication of communicable disease, then mortality rates are the important ones to look at.
I was unable to find any mortality statistics for either rubella or mumps, but I just saw mention of their mortality rate in America in the 20th century, prior to the introduction of the vaccines, as being quite low. I found that chicken pox killed about 100 Americans yearly before the introduction of the vaccine. (15) Cervical cancer, partially caused by HPV (human papillomavirus) kills about 4,000 Americans yearly. (16) From what I found, this is still the case even after the introduction of the vaccine, but mortality from cervical cancer wasn’t expected to go down due to the vaccine until a few decades have passed since the introduction of the vaccine, as cervical cancer is a slow-developing disease. (17)
Hepatitis A, for which we routinely vaccinate all American children today, killed about 100 Americans per year before the vaccine. (18) And Hepatitis B kills about 4,000-5,000 Americans annually, with the vaccine. (19) I couldn’t find statistics of Hepatitis B mortality before the introduction of the vaccine. Most hepatitis cases and deaths occur amongst high-risk populations of intravenous drug users or people engaging in promiscuous sex. (20) Hepatitis B can be transmitted from mother to baby at the time of birth, but instead of simply testing pregnant women for Hepatitis B and then vaccinating those newborns with positive mothers, somehow the decision was made to vaccinate all infants on Day 1 of their lives for an illness that only about 1.2% of mothers carry. (21) Rotavirus killed about 20-30 American babies per year before the vaccine. (22) Yet now all infants are supposed to be vaccinated. Influenza and pneumonia is purported to kill roughly 30,000 Americans annually in most years, yet the vast majority of these are elderly or individuals with already-compromised health. (23) I was unable to find how many children and babies died of the flu before the flu shot became broadly recommended.
My Opinion – How many people now have health complications from these vaccines for illnesses that were killing just a handful to a few hundred of Americans per year BEFORE the vaccines were ever introduced? How many have died from the vaccines, themselves? Is it really worth it to vaccinate all babies and children for these infections? Rather than vaccines being the clear cause of reduction of mortality (death) for these myriad of illnesses, there is far more evidence that things such as access to clean water, modern sewage, adequate nutrition, and access to medical care dramatically reduced deaths from infectious disease in America and the industrialized world throughout the 20th century and beyond. Vaccines have probably saved some lives, as well due to lowering the case load of some of these illnesses. But this needs to be weighed with the harm they have done.
Which brings us to …
Belief – Vaccines are safe. They are rigorously tested for safety. Adverse events from vaccines are rare and worth the risk.
By the CDC’s own admission, “vaccines are unavoidably unsafe.” (14) There is no such thing as a completely safe vaccine. And true safety testing in most vaccines is sorely lacking. There have been NO testing to verify the safety of our full vaccine schedule on babies and children. And vaccines are routinely tested for “safety” not against an inert placebo, but using another vaccine or the vaccine’s adjuvant as the “placebo”. That defies the whole point of safety testing against a placebo! Vaccine safety testing is carried out on healthy people, and they often don’t use people with underlying health problems. But how much of the general population does have underlying health problems? 25% of children and 45% of adults in America have at least one chronic health problem. Does this put them at greater risk for vaccine adverse events? Why don’t we know? And there is at least one incidence that we know of where the CDC doctored data to remove evidence that the MMR vaccine was correlated with a greater incidence of autism in African-American boys.
In 1986, President Reagan signed the “National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act” that indemnified vaccine manufacturers from any harm caused by their products. No longer could people sue the vaccine companies for vaccine injury. Instead, they set up a system that allowed injured parties to petition the new Vaccine Injury Compensation Program to pay out money courtesy of the taxpayers.
Also, in 1990 the government instituted VAERS, The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, that allows people to report injuries from vaccines. Doctors are not required to report injuries their patients relay to them, most people haven’t even been aware of its existence, plus and the system is extremely clunky and out-of-date. It is estimated that only 1-10% of actual number of adverse reactions are ever reported to VAERS. And I believe that the vast majority of long-term adverse events are never reported – those that develop slowly over years and which may be connected to vaccines but in a way that is difficult to ascertain, such as cancer, depression, or autoimmune illness.
I personally have been injured by vaccines. As a child, I experienced chronic ear infections and eczema. I later learned that these common childhood ills are linked to vaccines. When I was 14, I stepped on an oyster shell and sliced my foot open. I got a DPT booster that caused my arm to swell up huge and be hot and painful to the touch for a couple of weeks. As time went, my range of motion of that shoulder became severely reduced. The muscles in that upper arm and shoulder are messed up to this day. When I was 22 years old I got 5 vaccines within one minute in preparation to moving to Russia to be a missionary for a year and a half. When the final vaccine was administered, a wave of shock and horror went through my body and I collapsed to the floor. I became ill for a few days and was sick in bed with fever and malaise. Within a couple of years, the bottom dropped out of my health and I spent 6 years partially-disabled with two autoimmune illnesses from ages 24-30. At age 24, I went from vibrant and healthy to having the stamina of a sick 80-year-old. If I would attempt to walk up a flight up stairs or take a walk around the block, I would spend the whole next day in bed. I function much better today but still have very high-maintenance health.
I know hundreds of people who either themselves or their children were vaccine-injured. If vaccine injury was “one in a million”, should I even know any? Further, it is likely that most people with vaccine injuries are not aware of it. Again, VAERS stats are estimated to be only 1-10% of actual numbers. As of April 10, 2021, there have been 7,387 vaccine deaths reported to VAERS (real number closer to 73,870-738,700). There have been 21,524 life-threatening or causing permanent disability reported to VAERS (real number closer to 215,240-2,152,400). And there have been 772,661 overall reported adverse events (real number closer to 7,726,610-77,266,100).
My opinion –
I think it’s obvious that adverse events from vaccines are much more common than we have been led to believe. Immediate deadly events from vaccines are rare, but do happen. Most of them are likely never linked to vaccines. Think SIDS, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, often occurring within a day or two of babies being vaccinated. Further, to my knowledge there has been no effort to look into reported adverse events to see what can be learned about who is more susceptible, and the possible mechanisms behind different types of vaccine adverse events. How is this OK, especially since these products are broadly recommended and even sometimes mandated for Americans?
Next, with all the mass vaccinations that have skyrocketed in recent decades, have we seen an increase in life expectancy of Americans? Have we seen America’s children and adults experience better health? The answer is no. Life expectancy in America has started to go down in recent years. And chronic illness amongst both children and adults in America is at an all-time high. What role, if any, do vaccines play in this? Why don’t we know?
Clearly, there are a LOT of holes in the claim that “vaccines are safe”. This will require more articles to adequately address.
Belief – Vaccine-induced herd immunity to as many illnesses as possible should be the goal.
Herd immunity probably does protect a lot of us. But do we have true herd immunity with vaccines, when immunity varies and wanes with time? Many adults walking around in America might be essentially “unvaccinated” against any illnesses they received vaccines for as children. Those who got the illness naturally often have a better chance at lifetime immunity, and therefore contributing to true herd immunity, although that also isn’t a guarantee. We need a whole article to address this topic alone.
Belief – Vaccine and other mandates may be necessary to protect the public health.
If you believe any given vaccine is extremely effective and causes harm to “one in a million”, and that vaccine is the ONLY way to significantly reduce deaths from any given illness, then you could easily come to the conclusion that a mandate of any given vaccine could be the way to go. But that’s a lot of “if’s”.
My opinion – Those in “power” and the media often use emotion to sway the argument toward vaccine compliance and against “dangerous anti-vaxxers” who may have doubts or hesitations. They don’t allow dissenting views, and often use the tactic of the “prison of two opinions”. Either you are a good person who cares about your fellow man, trust in “science” as it is explained to you, and get fully vaccinated – no questions asked. Or if you happen to be vaccine-hesistant, this means you are a foolish “science denier” who wants to see children and the elderly die, and are not fit to fully participate in society. We have to take several steps back from emotion in order to more clearly discern the full picture, which is what I am attempting to do in this article.
I think it is profoundly immoral to compel a person to accept a medical treatment, and almost as immoral to encourage that medical treatment without full informed consent, fully disclosing the extent to which the vaccine or treatment has been tested, what types of adverse events were observed, what demographics of people were more likely to experience adverse events, as well as also telling people what other options there are to prevent or treat the illness in question.
An antibiotic mandate in the event of a bacterial outbreak could sound good to those not familiar with the facts. Similarly, a mandate of an “unavoidably unsafe” vaccine, in the event of some other type of outbreak, could seem like a good idea to those whose understanding of immunity and the particulars of that given vaccine come from the news pundits, whose paychecks depend upon news channel’s top advertiser – Big Pharma, as well as top public health officials who may or may not be totally reliable.
The only way I could conceivably support a vaccine mandate is IF the public could sue the entities requiring the vaccine in the event of adverse events, IF all the safety and efficacy study data from the vaccine is made freely available for 3rd parties to analyze, IF that disease is so deadly that it presents a clear and present danger to the bulk of society, and IF there are no treatments and preventatives that work for people. Even then, I would be hard-pressed to support any mandates.
In Conclusion …
People MUST be free to opt out of vaccines. They must be given full access to different points of view. And we need to bring back liability to vaccine manufacturers ASAP. This is the very least of what needs to change regarding vaccines in America.
In the long-term, I don’t see how we can allow the CDC to continue to blanketly recommend the one-size-fits-all of the childhood vaccine schedule. We need intensive and comprehensive safety studies that include looking at test subjects’ genome, in addition to their health profile, age, gender, race, and everything else so that researchers can pick out the risk factors for adverse events from each and every vaccine. Before recommending vaccines, doctors should be given a way to do a risk analysis for their patients to determine the risk of harm from any given vaccine vs. the risk of harm from the illness. For instance, if a child has a one in a million chance of dying or having a life-threatening case of chicken pox, but a one in 100,000 chance of a severe adverse event from the chicken pox vaccine, they should be told of this.
We need to take a serious look at vaccines and work to develop vaccines or new technologies that are safer and actually contribute to improved overall health of patients.
It’s high time that America seriously look into the benefits of integrative medicine, where all the technological advances of modern medicine are combined with the foundational knowledge of health and wellness to provide patients with more and less-invasive, less-expensive, as well as more effective options for their health.
- I have been unable to locate this article that I previously found online in 2014. The article was written around 1980.
Julie Behling formerly blogged on essential oils and medical preparedness at EssentialSurvival.org from 2010-2014 and has been a Brand Partner with Young Living Essential Oils for over 15 years. She is passionate about freedom, health freedom, holistic health principles, and promoting integrative medicine over the allopathic model of medicine that dominates in America today. Her background in science (B.S. Biology, Florida State University, 1997), her partial disability from autoimmune illness for 6 years in her 20’s then recovery from these “incurable” illnesses through holistic means, as well as her 7 years from 2007-2014 working with clients in her reflexology and holistic healing practice, give her a unique perspective on some aspects of what does and doesn’t work in health care.