Monday, September 17, 2007
I am shocked at the number of families that automatically re-vaccinate their babies once they get them home, without doing a simple blood test, called a titer, as part of the normal blood work-up to see what the immunity levels are. Most pediatricians recommend re-vaccinating automatically, but I've heard from several doctors and learned from research that this is unnecessary and may even be dangerous.
I'm also shocked that these families and doctors will give as many as 5 injections in the same visit! This can mean something like 15 serums or more at one time! Besides not feeling well from the serums, there is physical pain at the injection site. Also, if the baby has a significant allergic reaction, how will you determine which serum it was? Not to mention that I think it's inhumane to stick a baby with five needles in one visit, not even counting the TB test and blood test.
At Children's Hospital here in Oakland they have a very strict policy on the number of "sticks" a child has to endure at one time. For example, one nurse or technician has two tries to insert an IV or draw blood. If they fail, they have to ask someone else to try. That person gets one try. If they fail, the procedure is cancelled or put off until another time. If it's urgent that the procedure be done, then a pediatric anathesiologist is called in because they are generally extremely proficient with difficult IV insertions and blood draws. I've even seen a nurse in the ICU take a look at a baby's veins and not even try, knowing it was a difficult case, so she got someone who she knew was very, very skilled at it.
Many are under the impression that there isn't much risk with vaccines, but this isn't true. In the past few years there have been several recalls and changes in protocals due to side-effects from vaccines. I'm not just talking the MMR/Autism question, but things like intussusception that was caused by the Rotavirus vaccine (it was pulled from the market right away), and now Prevnar, which prevents seven strains responsible for most cases of pneumonia, meningitis and deadly bloodstream infections has caused a niche for dozens more strep strains that exist, to flourish and become impervious to antibiotics since the vaccine combats the more common strains, yet doctors are still advising that children receive this vaccine. The Prevnar vaccine promotes new superbugs that cause ear infections, a superbug germ that is resistant to all drugs approved to treat childhood ear infections. One strain in particular, called 19A, is big trouble. A new subtype of it caused ear infections that were resistant to all pediatric medications. HERE'S a link to the article, but I'm not sure how long these news links stay active.
Also realize when you hear about children getting meningitis, that most of these kids HAVE BEEN vaccinated and that the vaccines are not 100% efficient. Also, menigitis has many causes and many different bug strains, but you never hear about these in the news articles and TV programs.
Please educate yourselves on the risk/benefit ratio of vaccinating and definitely do NOT automatically re-vaccinate. When you have your child's physical done after you get home, definitely include in the blood workup a titer. A titer is a measurement of the amount or concentration of a substance in a solution. It usually refers to the amount of medicine or antibodies found in a patient's blood. Blood titer measurements can be very helpful in determining medical treatment. Antibody titers can tell the doctor if the patient has immunity to diseases such as measles, small pox, and hepatitis.
At my last agency class one of the parents said their doctor told them, "Your baby will have to have a needle for the blood test and the vaccine. Why not just do the vaccine and then it's only one needle." How ridiculous is this when the blood was being drawn ANYWAY for other tests and the vaccines require THREE doses!!! Fortunately at this class there was also a parent who was a doctor and she spoke up about NOT automatically re-vaccinating and said she was glad I told everyone about the titer.
I've also heard that the vaccines used in foreign countries aren't as good as the ones here. Well, unless you read the label and brand, you have no idea which ones your kids are getting here either, and be assured, the cheaper vaccines are widely used in the USA, too, don't kid yourself. My cousin used to work in a doctor's office (she was the technician that gave the shots) and I learned a ton from her. I also have a mom whose baby is in my daycare who works for a pharmaceutical company and gives me the inside scoop.
Bottom line: It's up to you to protect your children!