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Vaccinations - Overview


Vaccinations are one of the most controversial issues in children’s health.

On one side, you have the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) which advocates a schedule for vaccinations that starts within minutes of the baby’s birth. The initial vaccination is with the administration of the hepatitis B vaccine, often before the baby leaves the delivery room. Throughout childhood the CDC recommends schedule of 19 vaccinations by the age of 6 months, with another 6 or 7 by the age of 12 months, and approximately 55 vaccinations by the age of 18 years (more if you include an annual flu shot as also recommended).[1] Your pediatrician has been well trained to administer these vaccines in the following schedule:

CDC Recommended Vaccination schedule

On the other side of the issue, you have a growing number of parents and integrative, homeopathic and functional medicine physicians like me who feel many of these vaccines may do more harm than good.

And you might say there is a third side to this picture: history. It suggests that polio, diphtheria and other infectious diseases had pretty much run their course before vaccinations started. The defeat of infectious disease, according to many historians, was due much more to the rise of modern sanitation and better nutrition in the general population. That information is easy to find in the lay press, but hard to pin down in the scientific literature.

Other information has been equally difficult to obtain.

Brian Hooker, PhDBrian Hooker, PhD spent ten years attempting to obtain actual study figures from the Centers for Disease Control – figures that were used in the publication of the 2004 paper in the New England Journal of Medicine. For those years of effort, and for the publication of a re-analysis of the CDC data[2], he has been treated with scorn by the popular press and the scientific press alike.

William Thompson, PhDDr. Hooker was able to obtain information through William Thompson, PhD, an epidemiologist who works for the CDC. Dr. Thompson released a statement through his attorneys (no longer available online) admitting that he and colleagues had omitted statistically significant information from a paper published in 2004 in the Journal Pediatrics regarding timing of MMR vaccination and the development of autism in African-American children. The story of this omission is told in the movie Vaxxed: From Cover-up to Catastrophe released in 2014 to relentless criticism and scorn from the press and the medical community. A transcript of the closed-door IOM meeting described in Dr. Hooker’s book can be read here.[3]

A dispassionate version of the story can be read here.[4]

A favorable version of the story can be read here.[5]

The retracted paper can be read here. The paper was published in August. Within two days the publisher’s “expression of concern” was published, and can be read here. “The Publisher of this article [1] has serious concerns about the validity of its conclusions because of possible undeclared competing interests of the author and peer reviewers.” Within four weeks the paper was retracted. The publisher’s published retraction can be read here.

A research team led by scientists from the University of Pittsburgh and the autism group Thoughtful House (now called The Johnson Center for Child Health and Development) studied what happened when 13 monkeys were given a birth dose of a hepatitis B vaccine including the mercury preservative. They found it caused significant delays in the development of several survival reflexes such as the ability to suck at the breast. The findings were published on line September 30, 2009, in the journal Neurotoxicology and subsequently withdrawn (not retracted, just withdrawn) by the publisher. Curious, how many of these articles have been withdrawn from publication. The full text of the article can be read on ResearchGate here.

Although the paper is carefully worded and the results reported modestly, a finding that early exposure to potentially toxic vaccine formulations can cause significant neuro-developmental delays in primates has explosive implications for vaccine safety management. “Our study design does not enable us to determine whether it is the vaccine per se, the exposure to [thimerosal], or a combination of both that is causing the observed effects.” researchers said.

The evidence is building, although the verdict is not in. Is it the neurotoxins like aluminum and mercury in the vaccines? Is it the other additives like MSG or Aspartame? It is the timing of the vaccines? Is it that the vaccinations are given at too early an age, before the immune system can deal with them? Something else? All of the above?

Mercury is a cheap preservative; bacteria and molds will not grow in it. The thimerosal rich vials allow needles to be inserted repeatedly and the vaccine drawn out. The re-usable vials are cheaper than packaging doses of vaccine separately, without thimerosal.

For more than 60 years the medical community went along with the Eli Lilly Company’s claim that thimerosal had a low potential toxicity if injected into humans. Based on unscientific and unethical studies done in the late 1920s, several generations of public health care officials, doctors, and medical educators were tricked into injecting the most toxic and lethal chemical known to man into infants. Documents from the archives of Eli Lilly & Company, the original manufacturer of thimerosal, clearly show that the mercury-based vaccine preservative, implicated in a number of recent law suits as causing neurological injury to infants, was known as early as April 1930 to be dangerous.[6]

Though mercury, in the form of thimerosal, has been in use for over sixty years in vaccines, the big problem with this pharmaceutical practice only became obvious through decisions implemented in 1990 and 1991, when the medical establishment more than doubled the amount of mercury injected into children during the first year of life. With the addition of Hib and then a year later the Hepatitis B vaccine, medical authorities passed federal guidelines for safe mercury levels.[7]

Unfortunately the Federal Guidelines also recommend eating an amount of fish (for the essential omega-3 fatty acids necessary for the developing brain) that would raise a pregnant woman’s blood levels of mercury to dangerous levels.[8]

Many experts fear that there is NO safe level of mercury.[9]

In the years between 1970 and the late ’90s, the autism rates in America rose from 1 in 10,000 children to 1 in 166. In 2012, the rate was about 1 in 68.[10] According to the organization “Autism Speaks”, a new Census Bureau survey suggests that the rate is closer to 1 in 45 by the year 2015.[11] More than twice as many children have chronic brain and immune system dysfunction today than did in the 1970's when half as many vaccines were given to children.[12] During the past quarter century, the number of children with learning disabilities, ADHD, asthma and diabetes has more than tripled.[13]

Why were these problems so much more rare in our grandparents’ day? Many point to the change in the vaccine schedule.

In the year 1900, children received just one vaccine; it was for smallpox. Today, children may receive 49 shots by age 6 - that's 49 doses of 14 different vaccines. A two month old baby can receive as many as 8 vaccines on a single day. At age 15 to 18 months, a child can receive as many as 11 vaccines on a single day.[14]

It was at last recognized in 1999 that the long half-life of ethlymercury could in theory result in accumulation and toxicity during chronic applications and as such, joint statements by the American Academy of Pediatricians and the United States Public Health Services recommended removal of thimerosal from all vaccines.[15]

Vaccines that still contain mercury include:

  • DT - Diphtheria & Tetanus Toxoids Adsorbed USP – Sanofi Pasteur (trace)
  • Td – Mass Bio Labs (trace)
  • Tetanus Toxoid (generic) – Sanofi Pasteur 0.1% thimerosal, 25 mcg mercury in 0.5 ml dose
  • Influenza 2014-15 formula multi-dose vials (Afluria, Agriflu, Fluarix, Flulaval quadrivalent, Fluvirin) 25 mcg mercury in 0.5 ml dose. Single dose vials contain no thimerosal. Pre-filled syringes contain a trace of thimerosal.
  • Meningococcal multi-dose vials, 25 mcg mercury in 0.5 ml dose

For a list of mercury content in US licensed vaccines, go to

As the mercury was removed from some vaccines, however, the amount of aluminum - also a neurotoxin - increased. Neil Z. Miller of the Thinktwice Global Vaccine Institute points out:

The hepatitis B vaccine given at birth contains 250 mcg of aluminum - 20 times higher than safety levels ... Babies who have followed the CDC immunization schedule are injected with nearly 5000 mcg (5 mg) of aluminum by 18 months of age.[16]

An article by the CDC on the toxic effects of aluminum states that “aluminum has been associated with neurological effects such as impairment on neurobehavioral tests of motor and cognitive performance, as well as with subjective neurologic symptoms” – paresthesias, abnormal sensations, brain fog, fatigue and the like.[17] The relevance here is that aluminum exposure does not stop with childhood vaccinations. All antiperspirants are made with aluminum, which poisons the armpit sweat glands. Over-the-counter antacids and buffered aspirin are also made with aluminum salts. Aluminum has recently been implicated in the development of Alzheimer’s disease, and has been shown to accumulate in the brain.[18]

Vaccine adjuvants have also been implicated in the development of autoimmune disease. A syndrome called Autoimmune Syndrome Induced by Adjuvants (ASIA) has been well described in the literature.[19] Given the rising incidence of autoimmune disease in our population, doesn’t this suggest caution in the development of ever-increasing vaccines “programs”? Not all life needs to be dedicated to fighting disease. Perhaps it is time that we begin to learn how to support our immune systems, so that all forms of life may live in harmony on our planet.

So it’s not just the children who may be damaged. Animal studies show clear toxicity. I am not sure why we somehow think that humans would be exempt from the same thing that is toxic in animals.[20]

When you and your child are in the doctor’s office for a wellness visit, this kind of information usually is not offered in advance of the decision to vaccinate. In fact, often vaccination is not even a decision - parents are told what to do and do it without question because their doctor recommended it. Or because they think the school requires it. But with increasing numbers of parents grieving for their “lost” children, it is only prudent to consider the evidence and decide for yourself.

We’ve included in the footnotes several excellent articles for you to read and decide what makes sense to you.

One is by Lynne Born, writing for the Weston A. Price Foundation. Her article includes a timeline for polio, smallpox, and diphtheria relative to how those infectious diseases peaked, versus when vaccinations started.[21]

A three-part series entitled Vaccination: an Updated Analysis of the Health Risks ran in the Townsend Letter in 2007. This series is rich in detail about each vaccine. And it prompts us to look beyond mercury, to the surprisingly long list of ingredients in vaccines including “dog kidney tissue, monkey kidney tissue, pig or horse blood, cowpox pus, formaldehyde and aluminum phosphate.” Those articles are still freely available online.

The book Evidence of Harm: Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic: a Medical Controversy is available for purchase online. The author, David Kirby, reflects on the landmark Hannah Poling case, the first case in which the U.S. government acknowledged that vaccines contributed to autism. An excellent review is also freely available online.[22]

The Germ Theory: A Crossroads in Medicine

There is an historical element that we want to touch on though before you move on to these articles. It is an element little discussed these days, but with huge significance for this debate.

There was a fundamental crossroads in medicine during the 1800s. It came into play via three Frenchmen - Louis Pasteur, Antoine Béchamp, and Claude Bernard.

Pasteur is credited with having confirmed the germ theory of disease. He also invented the method of pasteurization - heating wine to kill bacteria. He is the best known of the three scientists.

Louis Pasteur

Louis Pasteur - illustration from Niva Magazine, Publishing House AF Marx, St Peterburg Russia 1913

Pasteur discovered that weakened forms of a microbe could be used as an immunization against more virulent forms of the microbe. In this way, he created the first vaccine for rabies. He is remembered for promoting vaccinations.

Béchamp had a different idea. He believed in the pleomorphic theory, that bacteria change form and are the result of disease. He said bacteria change into organisms that are increasingly detrimental to the body. The waste products of their metabolism are harmful to local body fluids, causing pain and inflammation. It is not the germs, viruses, and bacteria that make you sick, it is the waste products of the metabolism of those organisms that make you sick.

Claude Bernard and Béchamp were of similar mind. Bernard’s famous statement was, “The terrain is everything; the germ is nothing,” and then downed a glass of water filled with cholera to make his point.

Germs seek their natural habitat - diseased tissue. During the Civil War, maggots were brought into hospitals to feed on the diseased tissue of the wounded because the bugs were better at cleaning it up than potions or antiseptics. Think of mosquitoes. They seek stagnant water, but do not cause the pool to become stagnant. So when the terrain is weakened and sickly, all manner of bugs want to set up house. But they come after the disease has begun; they come because the terrain is inviting.

Bernard held that the immune system was merely a backup system that took over when the terrain failed. Our immune system’s first job is to clean up the dead cells we slough off. Bernard is responsible for our theories today on pH and how the nature of microorganisms changes as the body moves from an alkaline pH to an acidic pH.

Pasteur, on his deathbed in 1895, is said to have admitted that Bernard had gotten it right: “The pathogen is nothing. The terrain is everything.”

Blood smearBut in the century that has passed since these three men lived, conventional medicine is still more aligned with Pasteur than with Bernard and Béchamp. One could point to two primary reasons.

First, our blood is alive. It is a mobile tissue – Béchamp was the first to describe blood this way. The things in our blood are alive. We know today, from the use of darkfield microscopes, that microorganisms are pleomorphic, that they can change and often do. A cyst form can become a bacterium which can appear to mutate into a yeast or fungus form.

Standard medical tests, however, dry out your blood and stain it with a dye. The blood is static and thus the germs therein are frozen in time. This is not life in motion. But it is how blood is most often looked at today in medicine.

Second, as history in the 1900s unfolded, medical schools became funded by pharmaceutical companies and other corporations which created a business model for disease management. Promotion of robust health and the inner terrain fell by the wayside. Discussion of an alkaline body was pretty much relegated to a few books, and eventually, the Internet.

Alert Parents Call for Change

The Internet however, is also fueling a revolution about vaccinations. Many parents share stories of how “the lights seemed to just go out in my child a few days after he was vaccinated…” The painful experiences of raising a child with neurological disorders prompt increasing numbers of parents to warn others that something seems to be very wrong with the vaccination process.

We are also seeing pressure for change come from the arena of litigation. Michael A. Chernoff of Texas, the father of an autistic child, warns, “Make no mistake, an army is amassing and it’s heading straight towards Congress and Courtrooms all across this country.” At stake are not only vast sums of money but reputations and careers. Vaccine makers face a potential litigation nightmare.

In February 2008 for example, an article in the Huffington Post read:

• After years of insisting there is no evidence to link vaccines with the onset of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the US government quietly conceded a vaccine-autism case in the Court of Federal Claims.[23] Doctors conceded that the child was healthy and developing normally until her 18-month well-baby visit, when she received vaccinations against nine different diseases all at once (two contained thimerosal). The claim is one of 4,900 autism cases currently pending in Federal “Vaccine Court.”

• French authorities launched a formal investigation against drug companies GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi Pasteur.[24] The investigations are in response to allegations that the companies failed to fully disclose side effects from an anti-hepatitis B drug used between 1994 and 1998. During this time, close to two-thirds of the French population, and almost all newborn babies, received a hepatitis B vaccine. The vaccination campaign was halted after concerns rose over the shot’s side effects. Thirty plaintiffs, including the families of five people who died after the vaccination, have launched a civil action in the case against the drug companies.

Parents usually have their children vaccinated because it simply doesn’t occur to them not to. We have been thoroughly indoctrinated with the concept of “deadly” childhood diseases. The World Health Organization (WHO) states on its website that “Global measles deaths have decreased by 79% from an estimated 546 800 in 2000 to 114 900 in 2014.”[25] They also state that “In populations with high levels of malnutrition and a lack of adequate health care, up to 10% of measles cases result in death.”

The central nervous system of a newborn infant is particularly susceptible to toxic influences. This is one of the reasons why the hepatitis B vaccine is such a problem. If it were given later in life, as is done in many other countries, it might not be as problematic.

Delaying the DPT vaccination may be the difference whether or not your child develops asthma. According to a Canadian study, childhood asthma is reduced by half when the first dose of diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus (DPT) is delayed by more than two months beyond the recommended schedule.[26]

Early childhood immunizations may promote asthma development by stimulating a TH 2-type immune response or decreasing microbial pressure, which shifts the balance between TH 1 and TH 2 immunity.


When parents ask me for a conservative vaccination schedule, they often want what amounts to a risk assessment. I offer this advice:

  • Hepatitis B - No. According to the National Vaccine Information Center, “Children younger than 14 [years of age] are three times more likely to die or suffer adverse reactions after receiving hepatitis B vaccines than to catch the disease.”[27] Hepatitis B is primarily a disease of adults with risky behaviors including being employed as a health care worker, intravenous drug users, people with multiple tattoos, and homosexuals - none of which describes the average infant.[28]
  • OPV switchDTaP - Yes, but after the age of 18 months. The reported rate of pertussis is on the rise. Do these injections separately - diphtheria one month, pertussis the next month, tetanus the next month. Your pediatrician won’t like it. And it will cost more to get the preservative-free single dose vaccine, but I would INSIST on it.
  • Polio - Maybe, but only after the age of 18 months. The problematic oral polio vaccine hasn’t been used in the US since January, 2000. In 2015, there were only 23 reported cases of polio worldwide.[29] The plan is to do away with the oral polio vaccine entirely by 2018.
  • MMR (mumps, measles, rubella) - No. Measles and rubella have been virtually eliminated in the United States. Studies confirm a high percentage of measles among vaccinated subjects. Natural immunity to measles is permanent and is transferred from mothers to babies in utero through the placenta. The Institute of Medicine has found evidence that this vaccine can cause anaphylaxis, thrombocytopenia, and acute arthritis. Other research has associated the vaccine with adverse effects on the nervous system gastrointestinal tract, and joints. A single rubella vaccination is reasonable - since rubella during pregnancy causes significant numbers of children to be born deaf. I see no good reason to vaccinate against measles or mumps - they are relatively innocuous childhood diseases against whom immunity is established by infection. Nevertheless, the MMR vaccine is a requirement for most children to enter the public school system. The release of the movie VAXXED: from Cover-up to Catastrophe has renewed the controversy regarding forced immunization and public health policy. The medical establishment has been fervid in its support of immunization programs. Nevertheless the Arizona Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics states on their website: “The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly endorses universal immunization.” According to the AzAAP website, as many as 20% of pediatricians in Arizona may refuse to serve as a child’s physician if the parent refuses vaccination. The website goes on to state that “antivaccine information sources not only propagate unproven claims regarding vaccines but also may undermine the physician-family relationship by challenging the parents' trust of the medical profession.”

The current AAP Policy, Responding to Parental Refusals of Immunization of Children, can assist pediatricians in understanding the reasons parents may have for refusing to immunize their children, review the limited circumstances under which parental refusals should be referred to child protective services agencies or public health authorities, and provide practical guidance to assist the pediatrician faced with a parent who is reluctant to allow immunization of his or her child. - See more at here.

  • MMRV (mumps, measles, rubella and varicella [chickenpox]) - No. In March 2008, the CDC stopped recommending the combination MMRV vaccine over the MMR vaccine in combination with a separate varicella vaccine. The move came after new data showed that the MMRV shot increased the risk for febrile seizures, which are convulsions brought on by fever in children aged 12 to 23 months.
  • Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b) - Yes, bacterial meningitis is an infection of the brain and spinal cord coverings which can lead to lasting brain damage and deafness. Since January 2007, this vaccine has been produced without mercury.[30]
  • Pneumonia - No, unless you have no spleen (accident with rupture of spleen & surgical removal, or sickle cell disease with functional spleen destruction by the disease).
  • Flu - No, I do not recommend. This one comes with mercury and the annual flu shots simply don’t work that well to begin with.
  • Varicella - No. In most cases chickenpox is a benign, self-limiting disease in children, and the natural immunity derived from contracting the disease is permanent. Vaccine-induced immunity, on the other hand, lasts only an estimated six to ten years. The temporary nature of vaccine-induced immunity can create a more dangerous situation by postponing the child’s vulnerability until adulthood, when death from the disease is 30 times more likely.

So, let us suggest you begin your search for knowledge about the whole issue of vaccination with the following three articles which are posted on this website with the permission of the authors.

Vaccinations: Parents’ Informed Choice By Lynne Born

Vaccination: An Updated Analysis of the Health Risk (3-Part Series) by Gary Null, PhD and Martin Feldman, MD

Give Us Answers on Vaccines by David Kirby


See the movie. Read the articles. Read everything you can get your hands on, both pro and con.

Remember that emotionally charged adjectives are deliberately adding an element of emotionality to the writing – steering you in the direction in which the writer wishes you to go.

Then make up your own mind about the whole issue. Smallpox, the dreaded scourge of the 19th Century was in fact eradicated. But we have not yet found a vaccine for autism. Was it a trade-off? Or did the pharmaceutical industry just overstep its bounds?

You make the decision for yourself – the only person over whose behavior you have any control.

[2] Hooker BS. Measles-mumps-rubella vaccination timing and autism among young African American boys: a reanalysis of CDC data. Translational Neurodegeneration. 2014;3:16. doi: 10.1186/2047-9158-3-16. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [Cross Ref]

[6] Kennedy RF. Tobacco Science and the Thimerosal Scandal. Downloaded 5/1/2016.

[9] Stephan Bose-O’Reilly S, McCarty KM et al. Mercury Exposure and Children’s Health. Curr Probl Pediatr Adolesc Health Care. 2010 Sep; 40(8): 186–215. doi: 10.1016/j.cppeds.2010.07.002.


[12] Barile JP, Kuperminc GP, Weintraub ES, Mink JW, Thompson WW. Thimerosal Exposure in Early Life and Neuropsychological Outcomes 7–10 Years Later. J. Pediatr. Psychol. (2011). doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsr048.

[16] Miller NZ. Aluminum in Vaccines: a Neurological Gamble.

[18] Khan Z, Combadière C et al. Slow CCL2-dependent translocation of biopersistent particles from muscle to brain. BMC Med. 2013 Apr 4;11:99. doi: 10.1186/1741-7015-11-99.

[19] Agmon-Levin N, Hughes GRV, Shoenfeld Y. The spectrum of ASIA: ‘Autoimmune (Auto-inflammatory) Syndrome induced by Adjuvants’. Lupus February 2012 vol. 21 no. 2 118-120.

[20] Ohlsson L1, Exley C et al. Aluminium based adjuvants and their effects on mitochondria and lysosomes of phagocytosing cells. J Inorg Biochem. 2013 Nov;128:229-36. doi: 10.1016/j.jinorgbio.2013.08.003.

[21] Borne L. Vaccinations: Parents’ Informed Choice.

[22] Morrice P. 'Evidence of Harm': What Caused the Autism Epidemic? New York Times 04-17-2005.

[26] McDonald KL, Huq SI, Lix LM, Becker AB, Kozyrskyj AL. Delay in diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus vaccination is associated with a reduced risk of childhood asthma. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2008 Mar;121(3):626-31. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2007.11.034.