I am struggling to get clear information for my 18 and 21 year old children. I elected to not vaccinate at the time of their birth, opting to breastfeed. One factor was information from my son’s father who is Native American and had a severe response to the MMR vaccine (or the course of vaccines) during his infancy. My understanding is that most research on vaccines efficacy and reactions is for Anglo-American children.
So now as an adult, which vaccines should be considered for international travel? My one son did have whooping cough, which I understand does not carry any immunity into adulthood, and chicken pox. He did get tetanus, Hep A and B, and polio vaccines recently for a trip to rural Asia. But with the recent measles hype, I am seeking information, not judgment and fear.
My primary care physician has no idea what to suggest, sending me on to the health department, and the CDC does not provide clear information on risks and consequences of the MMR, especially for people of Native American descent. Or of getting these diseases as an adult. Any suggestions?
Your question is quite timely, given the recent explosion of hysteria about measles in the press. First, you might check out this recent article I wrote about the measles, though it doesn’t directly answer your question.
First, I have to say, that I cannot make a recommendation to you about this issue. This is up for you to decide, and actually, for your children to decide, since they are already adults.
Your question, however, underscores the problem of removing the experience of the childhood diseases from our children’s lives! I am 59 and had all of the childhood diseases — measles, mumps, chickenpox, and rubella — and therefore am completely immune. This is true for pretty much all adults age 55 and over.
However, a large percentage of adults younger than 55 who were vaccinated are no longer immune! The effects of vaccines tend to wear off. If you think about it, though, that means that many adults who are traveling to foreign countries think they are immune to measles but are not! This has been true for a long time. But perhaps this may also give you a bit more confidence about the risk of your children getting measles while they are abroad. And also know that the rate of deaths from measles in the USA (which has been occurring all along, even after the vaccine campaigns began), is extremely small.
As far as studies about the effects of measles vaccines. Well, there really haven’t been any good studies about the long-term risks of most vaccines. Did you know that the serum used by the “control” group for many trials is simply another vaccine? This has become standard practice! Such trials merely measure if the tested vaccine causes worse effects than other vaccines already on the market! This is obviously something that is not commonly known, though it is there for all to read on Wikipedia. Other trials use a “control” serum that contain the adjuvants (like mercury and aluminum) that many suspect are also to blame for vaccine injuries. Why not use placebo? Is it because the vaccine developers (who also conduct these trials) don’t want the true effects of their vaccines to be known?
As it turns out, a whistle-blower came forward last year and admitted that he was a co-author of a CDC study about the relationship between MMR and autism and had helped to fudge the data in order to hide the fact that it showed there was a significantly increased chance that black male children get autism from MMR. Apparently, Obama has recently given this whistle-blower immunity so that he can step forward.
Finally, let’s no forget that disease is all about susceptibility. A healthy adult is much less susceptible to infectious disease than a malnourished or unhealthy adult. They can certainly recover from such diseases better as well. And those of us who are fortunate enough to be aware of its benefits also have homeopathy at our disposal! Remedies can certainly make the course of any of the childhood diseases much shorter and less severe. There are several good books out there about using remedies while traveling abroad, including their use for infectious diseases — for example, one written by my good friend Richard Pitt.
I hope this is helpful!