How does this sound to you? 49 doses of 14 vaccines before the age of 6. Yikes!
I’ll do my best to be brief with this one but I’m tempted to quote almost an entire page from a website that I found most interesting! You can read the info, in it’s entirety here: http://www.nvic.org/Vaccines-and-Diseases/MMR.aspx
I will not touch on the association of Autism and the MMR vaccine. From the bit of research that I have learned of, mostly due to my job, it seems as though there is little to no link. And while I hold my current position I would rather not investigate much either way…
The most significant info that I found on each disease (potentially) preventable with the MMR vaccine is as follows (everything in italics is a direct quote from the website linked above):
Measles is highly contagious. Up until the past two decades, measles was one of the most common childhood diseases in America… and almost every child had measles by the age of 15. Some researchers believe that measles as a childhood disease in years past helped the human immune system to mature, priming it to be more effective in dealing with challenges from viruses and bacteria later in life. Recovery from natural measles infection confers lifelong immunity and a woman who has recovered from measles as a child passes maternal antibodies to her fetus, which often protects her newborn from measles for the first year of life. Young mothers today, who were vaccinated as children and never had measles do not have natural maternal measles antibodies to pass on to their babies and, so, most American babies born today are vulnerable to measles from the moment of birth. Historically, the majority of children in technologically advanced countries recovered from measles without major complications. Although it can be more severe and possibly fatal in teens, adults, and very young infants. In 1941, there were 894,134 cases of measles reported and in 2002 there were 44.
So, we currently see a large amount of cases of measles in infants under the age of one when there is a measles outbreak. (In the 1989-91 measles outbreak in the U.S., the largest increase in measles cases was in infants under one year old.) The vaccine is given at 12 months or older. The infants that contract measles before the age of one would have been immune if their mothers would have contracted measles naturally rather than being immunized. Hmm. There’s some natural protection there that we’re clearly interfering with.
Mumps used to be a very common childhood disease in the U.S. among children under age ten. In 1968, there were 152,209 cases reported, the highest number of cases ever reported in one year. In 2002 there were 270 reported cases. A usually mild disease in children, it can be much more severe in older teenagers and adults. Rarely, mumps can be more severe and cause an inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis). Recovery from mumps infection confers lifelong immunity.
Rubella is usually a mild childhood disease and used to be common in American children five to nine years old. Today is most often seen in teenagers and young adults when it can be more serious. In 1969, there were 57,686 cases of rubella reported in the U.S., the highest number of cases reported in one year. In 1992, there were 160 cases of rubella reported in the U.S. with one death reported to have resulted from disease complications. In 2002, there were only 18 reported cases. Recovery from rubella is usually quick but occasionally brain inflammation and chronic arthritis can cause permanent damage.
Here is information about the MMR vaccine. (I made lasting effects bold.)
Frequent reactions include brief burning and stinging at the injection site; fatigue, sore throat, cough, runny nose, headache, dizziness, fever, rash, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, and sore lymph glands. Other reported reactions include anaphylaxis, convulsions, encephalopathy, otitis media, conjunctivitis, nerve deafness, thrombocytopenia purpura, optic neuritis, retinitis, arthritis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, and subacute sclerosing panencephalitis.
In 1981, the British National Childhood Encephalopathy Study concluded that there was a statistically significant association between measles vaccination and the onset of a serious neurological disorder within 14 days of receiving measles vaccine. The risk for previously normal children was estimated to be 1 in 87,000 measles vaccinations.
In 1991, the Institute of Medicine concluded that there is compelling scientific evidence that the rubella vaccine portion of the MMR shot can cause acute arthritis, with the highest incidence occurring in adult women who receive rubella vaccine (up to 15 percent) and that some individuals go on to develop chronic arthritis.
In 1994, the Institute of Medicine concluded that there is compelling scientific evidence that the measles vaccine can cause anaphylaxis that can end in death and that the MMR vaccine can cause thrombocytopenia (a decrease in the number of platelets, the cells involved in blood clotting) that can end in death. The incidence of thrombocytopenia was estimated to be 1 case per 30,000 to 40,000 vaccinated children.
In 1995, a British study concluded that adults who were vaccinated with measles vaccine as children were at much higher risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, as adults.
In the mid-1990’s, reports of an association between autism and vaccination (specifically suggesting a possible link with MMR vaccine) were published. Although the U.S. Institute of Medicine (IOM) acknowledged the hypothesis was biologically plausible, IOM concluded there was not enough evidence establishing a causal relationship. Nevertheless, in light of persistent reports by parents that their children are regressing into autism after MMR vaccination, there is an on-going scientific investigation by independent scientific researchers, such as British gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield, M.D., into clinical and laboratory evidence that MMR vaccination may cause autism in biologically vulnerable children.
Are those risks worth it? Measles, mumps, and rubella are not nearly as terrifying as I previously thought when I had basically no knowledge of them. I assumed that since there existed a vaccine they must be pretty horrific but, from what I’ve read, they were common childhood ailments that generally caused a lifelong immunity that could even be temporarily passed on to offspring.
(I know I’ve only quoted one source here – before making our final decisions I will references more sources.. don’t worry!)