Thursday, May 10, 2012

Questions to Ask Your Pro-Vaccine Doctor.


A Parent’s Guide to Pro-Vaccine Doctors

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Your child relies on you to ask questions.
My last article featured “The Clinician’s Guide to the Anti-Vaccinationists’ Galaxy.” [1] Seems only right and fair for parents to have a guide to pro-vaccine doctors. So, based on my personal experience with my grandson Jake and all that I’ve learned over the last six years about autism and vaccines, I give you my advice.
Disclaimer: I am not being compensated financially for creating “A Parent’s Guide to Pro-Vaccine Doctors.” My compensation—and the only compensation I need—is the hope that I can prevent other children and their families from going through what Jake and my family went through as the result of a vaccine injury.
I’ll preface the “guide” with what I believe to be some important information about the vaccine schedule.

WELL-BABY CHECKUPS = EXCUSE TO VACCINATE

The main reason for all those “well-baby” checkups during the first year or year and a half of your child’s life can be summed up in one word: vaccines. I think your typical parent is intelligent enough to notice if her baby isn’t eating enough or gaining weight or is sick (pulling at ears, throwing up, coughing, feverish). In other words, she knows when her baby needs to go to the doctor. Sure, a nurse or pediatrician will weigh and measure your child at a well-baby checkup, give him a once-over, and ask you a few questions. But you can bet those syringes are ready when you walk in the door.
If you vaccinate according to the recommended schedule, your child will receive 49 doses of vaccines by the time he is 6 years old. 49 doses. You can choose not to vaccinate—there are exemptions for children of school age. If your doctor discharges you from the practice for not vaccinating, there are doctors who will see your child. See my previous article, “You Can Say No to Vaccines … But Your Child May End Up with No Pediatrician.”

LET’S PLAY CATCH-UP

If, for some reason, your child’s shots are a little behind schedule, your doctor is going to jump on any opportunity to play catch-up. There’s even a catch-up schedule for doctors. [2] And there’s one for parents, too. Thanks to the CDC and the Georgia Institute of Technology, you simply fill in a form online [3] and, at the click of a button, your child’s very own vaccine catch-up schedule is at your fingertips!
I have to get slightly off topic and quote from an article that explains the development of this new tool. It’s from the section entitled “Combination Vaccines.”
“The use of combination vaccines, which combine two or more vaccinations within a single shot, is another practical consideration of note. Simultaneous administration of vaccines under the guidelines set out by ACIP is an encouraged practice (see recommendations in Plotkin and Orenstein (2004) and Atkinson et al. (2006)) since studies have shown that this practice places almost no additional burden on the immune system of a healthy child. Combination vaccines thus, allow for equal coverage with less discomfort to a child.” [4]
I love how that’s worded: “almost no additional burden on the immune system of a healthy child.” That implies a couple of things. One, that the combination vaccine causes some burden on the immune system of a healthy child, and, two, it sounds like the child is assumed to be healthy when getting the shot. And, let’s not forget, there’s “less discomfort” for your child. Discomfort? Seriously? “Discomfort” doesn’t begin to describe autism.

QUESTIONS TO ASK PRO-VACCINE DOCTORS

So, what do you do if your doctor is pro-vaccine? I would start by asking some questions before you let your baby get a shot.

  • Does my child appear to be well? (no signs of an ear infection brewing, for example)
  • How common is the disease (diphtheria, mumps, hepatitis B, etc.)?
  • What are the risks of the disease?
  • Are there studies proving that this vaccine is safe and effective? (You’ve probably lost him by now, but tell him you prefer studies that aren’t funded by a vaccine manufacturer.)
  • Are there studies that show it’s safe to give more than one vaccine at the same time?
  • What are the side effects of the vaccine? (He may say redness at the injection site, fever, and fussiness.) Ask what symptoms necessitate calling the doctor or taking your child to the ER (seizures, screaming for hours, loss of skills).
  • What side effects have some of your patients experienced? Have any of them told you their children developed autism after a vaccine?
  • Are there any contraindications? (Be sure your family history is documented, particularly autoimmune disease, along with any previous reactions your child has had to any vaccine or vaccine ingredient. Some vaccines include egg protein, so if your child is allergic to eggs, it’s critical that the doctor know this.)
  • Will you break the shots up?
  • Will you start them later?
  • Will you spread them out?
  • Will you check my child’s titers? (There’s a good chance that he’s still immune to a disease he’s already been vaccinated against.)
  • Do you vaccinate your own children? If the answer is yes, ask him if he does it according to the CDC schedule. If the answer is no, ask him to share the schedule that he uses with you.
  • If you had to pick one (or two or three) shot(s) to give your children, which one(s) would it be?

AND LAST—BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST

What’s in this vaccine? Does it contain mercury? (While you’re at it, ask about things like aluminum, formaldehyde, and aborted fetal cells.)
Federal law requires doctors to give parents a Vaccine Information Statement (VIS) before administering any vaccine.
Every time one of these vaccines is given — regardless of what combination vaccine it is given in—regard­less of whether it is given by a public health clinic or a private provider—regardless of how the vaccine was purchased —and regardless of the age of the recipient—the appropriate VIS must be given out prior to the vaccination.” [5]
This law is mandated under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury of Act of 1986 and applies to each vaccine (not just a first dose). If a child is getting a combination vaccine, the parent must be given a sheet for every one. Parents should be allowed to ask questions and, ideally, receive the sheet(s) before the visit or be given the CDC’s URL to download it. They should also be encouraged to take the sheets home in order to have information available about the vaccine schedule and potential adverse reactions. Doctors are advised to record in the patient’s chart that the parent received the sheet, along with the date of the visit, the edition date of the VIS, the manufacturer and lot number of each vaccine, and the office address of the doctor. The doctor is not allowed to change the VIS or make his own.
There are some specific rules about adolescents. If an adolescent is going to receive a shot without the parent being present (for example, at school), the VIS must be mailed home to the parent and returned signed. No VIS, no shot. Permission can be given for multiple doses of the same vaccine, although the form is still sent home prior to each dose and the parent has the option of withdrawing consent. “Prior to administration of each additional dose, the provider should ask the adolescent whether he/she experienced any significant adverse events following receipt of earlier doses. If yes, the provider should consider consulting the parent or delaying the vaccination. The adolescent’s response to questions about adverse reactions to previous doses should be kept in the medical record.” [5]
Here’s the problem—one of the problems, anyway—with a VIS. And this is important. A VIS does not include vaccine ingredients. It may say that if you have a life-threatening allergy (to yeast or another component in the vaccine for Hep B, or to gelatin or neomycin for the MMRV), you shouldn’t get it. But in most cases, it doesn’t tell you what the other components are. And believe me, there’s a very long list for all vaccines. Here’s what I’d do. Ask your doctor for the package insert. If he doesn’t have it, ask him to name the ingredients in the vaccine(s) he plans on giving your child (should be interesting). If he can’t or won’t answer this question, leave without letting your child get any vaccines, and look online yourself. [6]

DOCTORS: “DO NO HARM,” AND ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS

For any doctors who happen to be reading this, remember that you took an oath to “do no harm.” With that in mind, here are a few questions for you.

  • Do you know what’s in the shots you’re giving your patients? (Out of curiosity, did you learn about vaccine ingredients in medical school, and/or have you read the package inserts?)
  • Would you take all the shots as recommended on the schedule for children?
  • Are you vaccinated according to the CDC’s recommended schedule for adults?
  • Do you open your ears and mind and listen to parents when they say they have concerns about the vaccines? Or do you play the guilt trip and tell them they’re putting other children at risk by not vaccinating their kids?
  • Do you take them seriously when they tell you their child was normal until receiving such-and-such vaccine, and now the child has autism? Look at those 1 in 88 children with autism. Do you really believe vaccines have nothing to do with it?
  • What’s the chance that all the parents of these kids are making it up or imagining it?
  • What’s the chance that these kids had autism all along and the parents didn’t notice it?
  • What’s the chance that YOU didn’t notice it? (If you didn’t, you might want to consider another line of work.)
  • Do you throw parents out if they won’t vaccinate their children? If yes, do you supply them with a list of doctors who WILL see their children?
  • Have you ever thought of opening your own practice and treating parents with the respect they deserve and accepting parents who won’t vaccinate their children or want an alternate schedule? Could be lucrative. Think about it.

THE RIGHT THING?

“By using the VISs with your patients, you are helping to develop a better educated patient population and you are doing the right thing.” [7] Better educated? Not so much. Some information but a lot of propaganda. Doing the right thing? Far from it. When doctors start really listening to what parents are telling them about how their children are being harmed by vaccines—and asking hard questions themselves about the safety, necessity, and effectiveness of the vaccine program—then, and only then, will they be doing the right thing.


References

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