Too overwhelmed with all the information out there to know where to begin researching to make an informed decision? Over the last 15 years, information about vaccines has gone from ‘where to begin, there’s so little information’ to ‘where to begin, there’s so much information’! Hopefully this newsletter will help take some of the AAGHH and hair pulling out of the task. (That’s quite an image…bald parents everywhere!)
This post is going to be in a list format – not as fun maybe as the regular ones but more efficient in the long run. There will be a step-by-step ‘go to’ link and then an example. To make this simple, the example vaccine will be the DPT…plus given at 2, 4, and 6 months of age. This is the first vaccine in the Canadian Vaccine Schedule. There is a Vitamin K shot offered (more often given without permission) at birth, but that topic will be for another issue.
1. ASK 8 BEFORE YOU VACCINATE
This is the first link recommended for every parent looking at the vaccine issue.
For some families with a history of neurological disease and/or allergies or anyone with a history of adverse reactions to vaccines, this stage might be as far as you get in terms of a decision. If you’re not sure, here’s a list of neurological diseases.
2. VACCINE SCHEDULE
Then I would recommend finding out what vaccines are used in your city/province/state and country. Google search makes this part easy…city/province/state and vaccine schedule. In Canada, all the provinces pretty much use the schedule recommended by the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Now I have to admit that I have not looked at a vaccine schedule in the last couple of years, and I am quite surprised that with the DPT vaccine, the Meningococcal, and Pneumococcal vaccines are given at 2, 4 and 6 months. Hib and oral Polio are also given at the same time as the DPT.
At 2 months of age:
- DTaP – IPV – Hib1
- Pneumococcal conjugate (PCV13)
- Meningococcal conjugate (Men C)
Once you know what is given at what age, you can go to the Public Health Agency of Canada. There you can download a PDF handout and find the product name of the vaccine with a list of constituents. Again, they have changed the layout since I was last here at this site, so it’s a bit of a hunt and peck!
You will find a list of all the chemical constituents…adjuvants like aluminum, preservatives like mercury, formaldehyde (embalming fluid used to ‘kill’ active virus/bacteria), antibiotics, and latex as well as which are grown on cow, aborted fetal tissue, egg, etc. If your child has any allergies to any of these constituents or if you have personal objections, this is important information to have.
This first vaccine given at 2 months in Canada has five types in it – Diphtheria (D), Tetanus (T), aCellular Pertussis (aP), Inactivated Polio Virus (IPV), and Haemophilus influenza (Hib).
Looking down the lengthy list, you will find under the Vaccine Type heading, a subheading called Immunogen. Find the one that lists all five types in one.
Infanrix – IPV/Hib and the maker is GSK (Glaxo Smith Klein). If you follow the horizontal column across, you will find a box that says Protein + killed virus = conjugate. (Don’t panic yet…there’s yet another link that will tell you exactly what that means.) Aluminum is an adjuvant. (Another term…we’ll get to that soon.) PE is the preservative (I know…what the heck is PE! Hang on, we’ll get there!) Then there is the box for possible allergens. Polymyxin B and Neomycin. And the final column is simple given the catch-all title of ‘Other Materials.’
Pediacel – the maker is SP (Sanofi Pasteur). Again, follow the column across for the list of constituents.
Pentacel – the maker is SP (Sanofi Pasteur). The only difference I can spot is that this formula has one less antibiotic in it.
Then you will want to go through the list to find out the product name of the Pneumococcal vaccine and the Meningococcal vaccine. There are several that are approved for use in Canada. (Yes…this is a lot of work! But you will want to know what is being injected into your baby’s bloodstream.)
Polysaccharide Vaccine, Groups A and C, Menomune® A/C
Multidose vial Menomune® A/C/Y/W-135 Single dose via
Multidose vial* Pneumovax® 23 Single dose vial
If you choose to vaccinate, it will be important that you ask for and record which product your baby is getting along with the batch number, serial number, etc. If your baby has an adverse reaction, you will have that information for the medical reporting.
3. VACCINE PRODUCTS and INGREDIENTS
Once you know which vaccine will be offered and the brand name, you can look up the package inserts that will give the contraindications and adverse reactions. At the National Vaccine Information Center, you can click on the disease name and then find a list of products.
If you highlight the vaccine product, the link will take you to the product package insert. Or you can simply do a Google search for “Infanrix package insert” and you should be able to download a PDF with all the information on the product.
Infanrix – Once you have read the package insert, you will want to figure out what all these ingredients really are.
PE 2 phenoxy ethanol – On the Public Health Agency of Canada website, PE is listed as a preservative, but then at the bottom of the document, it says it is not considered a preservative. Welcome to the conflicting information!
2 – Phenoxyethanol:C8H10O2, a Preservative, Stabilizer
Used as an insect repellent, a topical antiseptic, a solvent for cellulose acetate, dyes, inks and resins, in organic synthesis of plasticizers, in germicides. In vaccines, 2-Phenoxyethanol is an alternative to thiomersal.
Classed as “Very Toxic Material.”
4. REPORTED ADVERSE VACCINE REACTIONS
When you are at the National Vaccine Information Center’s website, have a look at their MedAlert link, which will give you the statistics for adverse reactions to specific vaccines. This is likely the best place to find accurate information.
And in Canada, there is an excellent site called Vaccine Risk Awareness Network. Canada’s system of reporting adverse vaccine events is a little less elegant than VAERS in the USA but you will want to know who to report to in the event of a problem.
And finally, I would highly recommend visiting Dr. Suzanne Humphries’ website where she writes about her yearlong research into vaccination. She is a medically trained doctor with a specialty in internal medicine and nephrology (kidney doctor). I just finished watching all the videos embedded in the article. She’s brilliant.
Your time spent researching will be time well spent. You will want to know what is going into your baby/child’s bloodstream. There is some amazing information out there. Go for it!
p.s. The final deadline for Vaccine Free: Now What? is this Thursday, February 28th, 2013. We start Wednesday, March 6, 2013. Woohoo!