Below is an article on vaccination and the immune system. It describes the effect vaccinations have on the two different aspects of the immune system; Humoral and Cell Mediated. I found it very well written and an interesting outlook on the vaccination debate.
I am personally not against vaccination, but I am in favor of a balanced and well thought through/informed approach to vaccination. As parents my wife and I chose to vaccinate our children with the then 5 in 1 when they were 1 year old, and then the MMR before puberty (if they had not contracted the diseases by then). We did so based on the advice of our then GP who said that the immune system would be (as I understood it) more mature after the first year of life to respond to, and deal with, the vaccine. He suggested having the 5 in 1 at that stage because Polio, Diphtheria and Tetanus were three illnesses he he would not want his children to get, and the 5 in 1 vaccination was according to him less toxic than the less ‘modernized/worked on’ separate vaccines.
Our son did get Meningitis when he was 1 year old, before we vaccinated him. We got allot of stick from some of the medical professionals we came across then as the lumbar puncture revealed a Haemophilus Influenza infection, which is one of the things they vaccinate against as part of the 5 in 1 vaccine. We were very lucky that he came through with no major complications, and we did again decide to wait until our second child was 1 year old before vaccinating her.
Michaela Glockler’s book “A Guide to Child Health” is in my opinion a must have for all parents. Michaela is the wonderful combination of a very experienced and knowledgeable medical doctor and at the same time it seems to me a very connected person with and strong and true moral compass. Chapter 10 covers her views on immunization, and she is very good at describing why you might want to give your children the MMR between the ages of 9 and 12 years (if they have not contracted the diseases before then, and you have chosen not to vaccinate before then). As I understand it, she feels the risks associated with these diseases after puberty outweigh any advantages associated with not vaccinating. Also very interestingly she mentions that your children can have a blood test to check the antibody titer for Measles, Mumps and Rubella after they have had one dose of the MMR. The statistics suggest that 93% of people who have had one dose of MMR respond well and are immune to the diseases; the second dose is aimed at dealing with the remaining 7% of people who did not respond and takes the response rate to about 97%. Chapter 10.19- “Vaccinations Recommended On A Case-By-Case or Emergency Basis” is particularly interesting for parents looking at which vaccinations to give their children and when to give them.
Having a blood test to check the MMR antibody titer will confirm whether or not your child is one of the 93% of people who responded well to the one dose of MMR, or not (in which case they will need a second dose). Unfortunately the blood test is not available on the NHS unless you are in one of the ‘vulnerable categories’ like during pregnancy, or while taking immunosuppressant medication, etc… in which case it is routinely used in the NHS. The closest Nuffield Hospital that will do blood tests for children is either in Oxford or Lemington Spa; They offer the service through Pathology Direct (tel. 01392 247 413) and at the time of writing this post cost £55 for the full MMR titer, but you do need to get a referral from your GP. Otherwise you may be able to find a private GP locally who would be able to do the blood test for you, but it would be more expensive (around £155).
This blog is not intended to be a definitive guide to the vast subject of vaccination; it is simply a way of sharing my experiences and personal opinion with my patients on the subject, as well as pointing you in the direction of further reading and links that I found helpful.
Here is an article on Measles, from the Anthroposophical Doctors Associaton in Germany, that you might find interesting (translated into English for the Wynstones Weekly, so apologies for the irrelevant sections before and after the article). It makes specific reference to the the antibody titer blood test as a universally recognised means of checking for immunity, in this case post MMR vaccine. It also talks about diminishing ‘Passive Immunity’ (which they call ‘nest protection’) in young babies in the face of vaccination as opposed to wild measles exposure of the current generation of mothers, as well as what the other possible developmental benefits of children going through childhood illnesses like Measles are, and the possible complications.