49 of 51 people found the following review helpful
Comprehensive and convincing,
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This review is from: Vaccines: A Parent's Guide (Paperback)
I bought this book for my partner to read as I have read a lot over the years about vaccinations and decided that I don't want our son vaccinated, while he hasn't looked into it that much and has faith in the established line that vaccinations are the way to go. This book is part of our negotiation of the matter.
This book is pro-vaccine - however Dr. Halvorsen provides ample evidence that he has gained through years of research that not only do all vaccines have negative side effects (as any medicine can do), but that these side effects are more common and serious than previously thought. Our current vaccination schedule is over-crowded with some unnecessary vaccines, causing Dr. Halvorsen to ask whether the benefits really do outweigh the risks in the case of all vaccines. He thoroughly covers every vaccine in our childhood schedule.
To take one key example, rubella is a very mild illness that nobody generally has complications from - unless a pregnant woman has it, in which case her baby may develop deformities. The vaccine carries its own risks (outlined in the book), so why not give girls a single rubella shot as they reach puberty to protect them from the disease when it's appropriate, rather than the current trend of giving all babies, girls and boys, the shot before they are even a year old and when their immune systems are most vulnerable to the questionable ingredients of vaccines? The idea is that by giving all babies this shot we eradicate the disease microbe from the community, thereby eliminating the illness and protecting those who can't be vaccinated (the herd immunity effect) - but the fact is that vaccines are far from 100% effective (many are more like 50%-90% effective), so even if everyone in the population is vaccinated we will never eliminate the microbe. Equally, the effect of vaccines wanes much faster than originally assumed, so even vaccines with high efficacy will never eliminate the disease, because even vaccinated people have rapidly waning immunity. Furthermore, this waning immunity means that we protect people from diseases when they are children - the time when fewest complications occur from being ill - and push the age of vulnerability up to the teens and adulthood, when the vaccines have worn off and when serious complications are much more common. So in effect we are denying children the chance to catch a mild disease that would give them life long immunity, and making them vulnerable to these diseases in more serious forms as teenagers and adults. Not to mention all the life-long auto-immune diseases that vaccines can trigger in certain people (allergies, asthma, etc.), which can be more crippling than the illness vaccinated against. Therefore it makes no sense to risk overloading our delicate babies' immune systems with vaccines such as the rubella shot, when we can give them later in life.
Dr. Halvorsen recommends a modified schedule that spaces out the vaccines and gets rid of a few altogether. Personally based on the evidence he provides and that I have read elsewhere, I would modify the schedule even more severely than he has. This book provides very clear, readable and well-sourced arguments for the dangers of unnecessary vaccines and their contents, whilst not ruling out their usage in certain situations. It has really helped me feel more secure in my decision to not allow my son to be vaccinated until he is at least two years old, and preferably later than that (if I can negotiate it with my partner).
Highly recommended reading.