I am a parent who has made the decision not to vaccinate. This wasn’t always the case.
Initially I was like most parents. I believed in the safety and effectiveness of vaccines. This belief was not based upon any personal research I did. Rather, I allowed others to make this life-changing decision for me.
My Son Joshua
My son, Joshua, was born in July 1984. His birth was unremarkable save he was three weeks overdue. He weighed 8 lbs. 14 oz. and scored 9 on the Apgar scale. He was a healthy and content baby. He suckled easily and was exclusively breastfed for the first six months. His mother and I remarked on how easy a baby he was. We felt very fortunate to have such a healthy baby.
At four months of age we dutifully took Joshua to the Doctor for his first DPT-P shot. Immediately following the shot Josh became agitated. The Doctor assured us that some agitation is normal. The agitation persisted. Something was not right with our once content and happy child.
Twice in the next two weeks we returned to the Doctor to have him examine our son. We were again assured there was nothing to worry about. In spite of the assurances offered by the Doctor it was evident to his mother and I that the son we brought home from the Doctor’s office following the vaccination shot was not the same son we brought to the Doctor’s office.
Day twenty-one following the DPT shot Josh had a seizure. It was a tonic seizure lasting approximately twenty-five minutes. Uncertain what was happening, we rushed him to the local hospital. Josh was prescribed anti-seizure medication and after an overnight stay he was discharged.
We were advised it was likely a febrile seizure. Nothing to be concerned about. This sometimes happens following a vaccination. The anti-seizure medication was simply a precaution.
Approximately one month later Josh had a second seizure. This was a more aggressive seizure showing tonic-clonic characteristics. The seizure lasted approximately twenty minutes. An ambulance was called and we returned to the same hospital. More tests, blood work, and scans were administered to identify the cause of the seizures. All results came back normal.
As a precaution, more anti-seizure medication was prescribed. The Doctor, in his desire to be helpful, advised – “Treat your son as a normal child and everything will be fine.” Unfortunately, everything wasn’t fine. One month later Josh seized again.
Josh continued to seize approximately every thirty days. Each seizure was fifteen to twenty minutes long. Eventually the Doctors at the local hospital advised us that Josh’s condition was too complicated for their level of expertise. We were referred for more specialized care at the Children’s Hospital in the area. Once there, the team of neurologists plied their skills and offered their remedies.
Over the next four years Josh was prescribed numerous medications and combinations of medications, steroids, a maintenance dose of antibiotics, and even experimental drugs. Nothing worked.
In spite of their best efforts Josh’s condition continued to deteriorate. The space between the seizures got shorter and shorter. By the time Josh was four years old he was seizing twelve to fifteen times per day with each seizure lasting fifteen to twenty minutes. In one three month period we called an ambulance more than thirty times. Josh lost many of the developmental gains he had made including walking and talking.
When Josh was five years old the Chief Neurologist took me aside. In a somber tone he advised me not to bring my son back to the hospital. He explained that if my wife and I needed respite from our son’s condition they would admit him to hospital, however they would no longer treat him. There was nothing else they could do, he confided.
Many times during my consultation with the Doctors and specialists I put forward the idea that my son was adversely affected by his DPT shot. I explained that he became agitated following the shot and the agitation increased until it finally erupted in a seizure.
The idea of my son’s condition being related to the vaccine shot was immediately dismissed. Vaccines don’t cause this kind of condition, I was told. Josh would probably have had a seizure disorder anyways, they reasoned. Vaccines are safe.
When I suggested they identify the manufacturer and lot number of the particular vaccine Josh received to ascertain whether other children reacted the way my son had, this request was denied. A waste of resources, I was told.
As I began to do more research into vaccine safety, I learned that other children had reacted to the DPT shot with neurological injuries, including an uncontrolled seizure disorder. When I shared this information with the Doctors I was told this only happens in “one in a million” cases and it was unlikely Josh’s condition was related to the vaccine. This conclusion was reached without the benefit of any research or testing.
I was told that all this talk of vaccine injury was a waste of time and resources, as it wouldn’t change how they medically treated my son. When I asked that a report be filed to indicate the possibility that Josh had experienced an adverse reaction to the vaccine, I was told this wouldn’t happen because I couldn’t prove that Josh’s condition was vaccine related. They acted as if it was my responsibility to prove vaccine injury. When I asked if they could prove that my son’s condition wasn’t vaccine related, they admitted that they couldn’t.
When I persisted with my request to have Josh’s injury reported as a vaccine injury with the Family Physician who administered the shot, I was told that he would get “in trouble” if he filed a report stating vaccine injury because he couldn’t be certain it was vaccine injury.
After the Chief Neurologist at Children’s Hospital advised me not to bring my son back to the hospital I began to pursue alternative health care options including Naturopathic and Chiropractic care, acupuncture, chelation, and nutritional supplements. These were all unfamiliar methods of care but I had to try something to improve my son’s condition. The Naturopath immediately diagnosed vaccine injury.
In my effort to work collaboratively with both streams of medicine I asked the Naturopath to write a report of her findings. I explained that I wanted to share her assessment and findings with the Doctors at Children’s Hospital. In spite of her reluctance, explaining her findings would not be well received, I insisted. She forwarded her findings to the Children’s Hospital.
Over the next three years, while under the care of the Naturopath, Josh’s condition began to improve. The seizures reduced in length from fifteen minutes to ten minutes, then seven, five, three, and eventually one minute. The frequency reduced from twelve to fifteen times per day to ten, five, one, every other day, and eventually to only four to six times per month.
On an annual basis we would arrange a consultation with the neurologists at Children’s Hospital. They were very pleased with the improvement in Josh’s seizure disorder. I asked if they would be interested in hearing what we were doing to improve his medical condition. They expressed interest, however, once I began to inform them of the treatments and remedies being provided by the Naturopath they immediately stopped me. They informed me they weren’t interested in hearing such nonsense.
When I challenged them with the improvement they had witnessed in my son’s condition, they responded, “He likely would have gotten better anyways.” It was moments like this I came to recognize that these Doctors were blinded by their medical paradigm and unable or unwilling to examine the evidence before them if it conflicted with their training and belief system.
When I asked if they received the report from the Naturopath, they acknowledged they had. The neurologist then informed me he “put it where it belongs”. When I asked, “Where?” I was told, “In the garbage.”
My Own Research
After my son’s deteriorating health following the vaccine I began to research for myself the scientific basis for the claims of vaccine safety and effectiveness. I gathered hundreds of research articles from the medical library at my local university. I wrote letters to the Chief Medical Officer in my community requesting evidence of safety and effectiveness. He simply provided me with a photocopy of the introduction to a medical textbook describing vaccines as “a miracle of modern medicine”. No scientific evidence of safety was provided.
I gathered as much information on the topic of vaccines as I could find. Over a thirty-year period I accumulated a substantial library of articles, research papers, websites, blogs, books and other information pertaining to vaccine safety and effectiveness. And I have met with many parents who shared with me similar stories of adverse events following vaccination.
I’ve learned the mass vaccination of our children (and adults) is more complex than we have been lead to believe. I’ve learned the science is not settled. I’ve learned that family physicians are largely uninformed about vaccine ingredients and the adverse effects of vaccines, and know even less about how to recognize and treat vaccine injury.
I’ve learned Canada is the only G7 Nation without a no fault vaccine injury compensation plan.
I’ve learned the mainstream media has been captured by the medical/pharmaceutical industry and is unwilling to have open, thoughtful discussion about vaccines. There exists a defacto black out in the media that censors any information that acknowledges vaccine risks. This censorship has been confirmed by media journalists.
I’ve learned that vaccine manufacturers in the United States are not legally liable for the safety of their products courtesy of an act of Congress in 1986.
I’ve learned that no government agency, medical professional, education administrator, or health agency will take responsibility for the harm vaccines can and do cause. If your child is vaccine injured, you are on your own.
I’ve learned that the DPT shot given my son has been withdrawn from the North American market due to the significant number of neurological disorders attributed to the use of whole cell pertussis.
I’ve witnessed that the medical industry continues to show callous disregard and willful blindness to those of us who have experienced first hand the adverse effects vaccine can and do cause. We are dismissed, discounted, disrespected, and silenced.
I’ve learned that the vaccination program is essentially an uncontrolled experiment. There are no long-term studies that prove the safety of the current vaccine schedule. There are no long-term studies that prove vaccinated children have better overall health than unvaccinated children.
I’ve learned that vaccines have not been tested for carcinogenicity, toxicity, genotoxicity, or mutagenicity.
I’ve learned that the current vaccine schedule has never been tested for safety in the real world way in which the schedule is implemented – giving multiple doses at once.
I’ve learned that Doctors receive no formal training on how to diagnose or treat vaccine injury. Instead they learn how to convince “vaccine hesitant parents” to vaccinate their children.
I’ve learned that the calls for mandatory vaccination violate medical law which enshrines the individual’s right to voluntary, informed consent to medical risk-taking as a foundational medical ethic.
I’ve learned that Mandatory vaccination also violates:
- The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms including the guaranteed freedoms of conscience and religion and the legal right to security of the person.
- International Conventions including the Nuremberg Code and Helsinki Accords which defend the basic human right to the Informed Consent ethic, and reject the moral argument that the creation of alleged benefits for the many justifies the sacrifice of the few.
- The Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights; Article 6 – Consent: “Any preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic medical intervention is only to be carried out with the prior, free and informed consent of the person concerned, based on adequate information. The consent should, where appropriate, be expressed and may be withdrawn by the person concerned at any time and for any reason without disadvantage or prejudice.”
I’ve recognized I was not given any information by the medical industry to ensure I was giving informed consent to the medical procedure of vaccination for my son.
I’ve reached the conclusion that the medical industry is more invested in protecting the vaccine paradigm than in protecting the health of our children.
For these, and other reasons, I have chosen to fully abstain from any further vaccinations for myself, and any dependent children, until such time as the medical industry becomes honest, ethical, and transparent in acknowledging the risks of this invasive medical procedure and the vaccine industry re-assume legal responsibility for the safety of their products.
I have no financial conflicts of interest.
Ted Kuntz, Vancouver, 2016
Copyright © 2016 The Johns Hopkins University Press. This article first appeared in Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics, Volume 6 , Number 3 , Winter, 2016, pages 168-172.