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In humans, the most rapid period of brain development begins in the third trimester and continues over the first two years of extra uterine life. (By then, brain development is 80 percent complete.) Until randomized controlled trials demonstrate the safety of giving vaccines during this time of life, it would be prudent not to give any vaccinations to children until they are 2-years-old.

From a risk-benefit perspective, there is growing evidence that the risk of neurologic and autoimmune diseases from vaccinations outweigh the benefits of avoiding the childhood infections that they prevent. An exception is hepatitis B vaccine for infants whose mothers test positive for this disease.

A user-friendly vaccination schedule prohibits any vaccines that contain thimerosal, which is 50 percent mercury. Flu vaccines contain thimerosal, which is reason enough to avoid them.

One should also avoid vaccines that contain live viruses. This includes the combined measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine; chickenpox (varicella) vaccine; and the live-virus polio (Sabin) vaccine. This stricture would not apply to the smallpox vaccine (also a live-virus one), if a terrorist-instigated outbreak of smallpox should occur.

Finally, a user-friendly vaccination schedule requires that vaccinations, after the age of two, be given no more than once every six months, one at a time, in order to allow the immune system sufficient time to recover and stabilize between shots.

Which vaccines should be put on this schedule (among those that do not contain live viruses or thimerosal) is not entirely clear. The top four would be:

Pertussis (acelluar -- aP -- not whole cell) vaccine.
Diphtheria (D) vaccine.
Tetanus (T) vaccine (the first three on this list are to be given separately, not together, as is usually the case).
The Salk polio vaccine, with an inactivated (dead) virus, one that is cultured in human cells, not monkey kidney cells.

Perhaps, it should only contain these four vaccines. A good case can be made for avoiding the three other newer vaccines on the CDC's schedule: The hepatitis B, pneumococcal conjugate (PCV7) and Hemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccines. [Donald W. Miller, Jr., MD]
 

 
 

Vaccination can help with the following:
 
 
Infections  Malaria
 Oct. 2011 An experimental malaria vaccine has for the first time been shown to safely protect large numbers of children against the mosquito-borne scourge. The study involving more than 15,000 newborns and babies in seven African countries found the vaccine cut the risk of being infected with the malaria parasite by about half and the chances of getting deathly ill from an infection by more than a third. While far below the protection provided by many widely used vaccines for other diseases, the results were hailed as a major advance toward one of the elusive goals in medicine.

Risks

  Cancer / Risk - General Measures
 Vaccines as a treatment for existing cancers have been successful in many individuals. The number of believers in cancer vaccines is growing, and the money is following. Hundreds of clinical trials are recruiting patients as of 2011.

Tumors, Malignant

  Ovarian Cancer
 Christine Sable was not diagnosed with ovarian cancer until it was already advanced; a scenario far too common with this particular type of cancer.

After enduring surgery and an aggressive round of chemotherapy, doctors had nothing else to offer her but more chemotherapy. Instead, Sable sought out, and in 2004 was accepted into, a Phase I clinical research study of an ovarian cancer vaccine developed by Kunle Odunsi, MD, PhD, Surgeon in Gynecologic Oncology and Co-Leader of the Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy Program at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York.

According to a report in ScienceDaily, the vaccine "is designed to trigger an immune response in the significant number of women who have tumors that test positive for the antigen NY-ESO-1."

The report states that Sable's immune system "responded so strongly to the first five doses of vaccine that she received another five, then another five, each time experiencing a better responseŚwith no side effects. Now 49 and still cancer-free, she returns to Roswell Park just once a year for continued monitoring." [ScienceDaily Apr. 7, 2008]
 
 


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GLOSSARY

Autoimmune Disease:  One of a large group of diseases in which the immune system turns against the body's own cells, tissues and organs, leading to chronic and often deadly conditions. Examples include multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus, Bright's disease and diabetes.

Hepatitis B:  A serious viral infection with the potential for long term consequences. It is caused by a DNA virus that has been found in virtually all body secretions and excretions. However, only blood, saliva, semen and vaginal fluids have been shown to be infectious. Transmission occurs through sexual contact, blood-to-blood contact (blood products, needle sharing, etc.), and from infected mother to infant. Virtually all affected infants and children, and many adults, receive a lesser, even symptom-free, infection. Symptoms, when present, tend to be more severe and prolonged than those for Hepatitis A: initially flu-like, with malaise, fatigue, muscle pain and chest pain on the right side. This is followed by jaundice (slight skin yellowing), anorexia, nausea, fatigue, pale stools, dark urine and tender liver enlargement, but usually no fever.

Immune System:  A complex that protects the body from disease organisms and other foreign bodies. The system includes the humoral immune response and the cell-mediated response. The immune system also protects the body from invasion by making local barriers and inflammation.

Stricture:  An abnormal narrowing of a bodily passage caused by, for example, scar tissue.

Virus:  Any of a vast group of minute structures composed of a protein coat and a core of DNA and/or RNA that reproduces in the cells of the infected host. Capable of infecting all animals and plants, causing devastating disease in immunocompromised individuals. Viruses are not affected by antibiotics, and are completely dependent upon the cells of the infected host for the ability to reproduce.