Updated: Apr 10, 2022
When a live virus or portions of a germ are injected in a vaccine, the immune cells recognize it as the disease and create an immune response. Vaccines work by fooling the body’s immune system into thinking that the disease is attacking. This immunity is “remembered” for many years. So if the real disease ever invades, the immune system is ready with an immediate response, thus preventing the disease or making it less severe.
In more cases than not, parents do not question the safety of vaccines even though ultimately the health of their children is their responsibility. The decision regarding whether or not to vaccinate a child is a personal one. Hopefully, it is an informed decision that considers all of the options. Some vaccines carry more risk than benefit and many vaccines have potential “side effects” which can include seizures, retardation, and even death in rare occurrences.
The MMR vaccine for instance may cause more reactions when the intestines aren’t at peak health. This is part of the reason we have decided not to vaccinate Pearl, at least not the complete battery of immunizations that a child receives from birth to 5 years of age. At birth Pearl had issues with mucous. She did not pass her hearing test right away because of the amount of mucous in her ears. We have also observed mucous in her stool. We became concerned when she started to pass blood at three weeks of age. To make a long story short, the blood in Pearl’s stool is thought to be due to an allergy to a protein in cow’s milk – Sandy cannot consume cow’s milk (cheese, yogurt, etc.) and nurse Pearl for this reason. The mucous and occasional blood in her stool is in some way connected with her mucous membranes. Our concern over vaccines, in part, is that the disease germ in the vaccine may move into the intestines (where her mucous membranes are already sensitive) and cause inflammation and infection there, then there is potential it could spread elsewhere, like the brain, and have serious repercussions.
We have concluded that if we choose to vaccinate Pearl we would actively be taking a risk. If she suffered a bad side effect, due to her mucous membrane issue, it would be because of something we decided to do, e.g. knowingly immunize her when we were aware of the potential risks involved. We decided to take a more passive risk in not vaccinating Pearl – we would rather take the chance that a disease will not happen to her, entrusting her completely to the Lord. Again this is a personal choice for our family based on research and considering Pearl’s sensitive digestive system and not a blanket recommendation for not vaccinating.
Sandy has administered a probiotic that helped immensely and it seemed the problem with mucous and blood was under control. However, a few days ago Pearl once again passed quite a bit of blood in her stool. We believe this is something that will cease over time but we are cautious right now as to what we expose her to. Most people want to touch a baby’s hands or face – because Pearl has not been vaccinated, her pediatrician advised us to keep her from this kind of close contact with crowds until she is two years of age to reduce the chance of her catching a serious disease, e.g. pertussis, rotavirus, etc. Most of the serious diseases occur mainly during infancy or the first year or two of life. This makes her attendance at meetings on deputation somewhat of a challenge.
Since Pearl’s last flare up with blood, we have decided to keep Pearl from most meetings. There are times when Sandy will take her but she is very cautious about folks not touching her as well as avoiding people with severe coughs. We are not trying to be standoffish nor keep Pearl in a bubble but rather we are trying to do what is in the best interest of our child’s health based upon her particular situation. Other than the issue with her mucous membranes, Pearl is a very healthy baby that loves people. We pray the brethren will continue to be understanding; we are thankful they have been so far.
“It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.” – Psalm 118:8
(For more information on vaccinations please see The Vaccine Book by Dr. Robert Sears and Vaccines: Are they really safe and effective? By Neil Miller)