Should I vaccinate my kids? What about the flu shot?

Thanks to a reader for asking:

I keep on telling my kids if they eat their veggies they won’t get the flu shot. We regularly eat a well-balanced diet so I figure if their body is healthy they can fight the flu the regular way. What is your opinion on the flu shot, including H1N1 and vaccinations?

To be honest, I struggle with this issue as well. I don’t know if I can offer the “right” answer, but I will tell you what my opinion is on the matter.

I do think that vaccines, better access to health care, improved sanitary conditions and better diet have led to a dramatic decrease in a number of infections. Some infections are now so rare that doctors have a difficult time recognizes them. These infections (like measles and meningitis) were prevalent before vaccinations and did have serious health.

What are some of the concerns with vaccinations? They may cause brain swelling and hype up the immune system. Possible side effects include, in rare occurrences, Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS). This neurological disease has varying severity. Keep in mind that you can get GBS without having had a vaccine. You can even get it from a bad case of diarrhea (from Campylobacter bacteria).

Vaccinations do contain fillers that I don’t care for, like mercury, which can affect our brain as we age. There have also been concerns that vaccinations are linked to Autism. However, the study’s originator from Englandwas found to have fraudulent research and falsified his data.

I do vaccinate my kids, and here’s why:
Vaccinations do save children from serious infections that have increased survival rates to the age of 18. Children are in constant close contact with other children school, daycare, playgrounds); young children are at even greater risk because they often put things in their mouths, including their hands. This puts them at tremendous risk.

As to the annual flu shot, I do provide this in my practice for patients with compromised immune systems but not for healthy individuals. While my kids are vaccinated for serious infections, I personally stopped getting the flu shot two years. The H1N1 shot specifically has a greater load (more mercury) and while it was developed a little too quickly for my taste, I did get it two years ago because I saw young people dying in ICU and my wife was pregnant.

No one can predict the future. In my opinion, a person at high risk receives a greater benefit, and should consider vaccination. People at low risk don’t receive those same benefits, so should ask themselves why they feel they need to get vaccinated.

I’m not sure if that provides you with the answer you’re looking for, but it really comes down to your personal situation and weighing the benefits against the risks.

Christian

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