Most parents express some concern about childhood vaccinations. To understand why, we need to understand how they are made.

From the Federal Government’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website,

Vaccines contain the same antigens (or parts of antigens) that cause diseases. For example, measles vaccine contains measles virus. But the antigens in vaccines are either killed, or weakened to the point that they don’t cause disease…children can develop immunity without suffering from the actual diseases that vaccines prevent.


In addition to the antigens, several other ingredients are included in the injections to preserve or increase the effectiveness of the weakened virus. The primary additives include high concentrations of heavy metals (mercury, aluminum), organic compounds including formaldehyde (used in carpet and pressed wood manufacturing) and animal and aborted human fetus tissue. Specifically, the following shots include DNA from aborted human fetuses which is a definitive concern for pro-life advocates: measles-mumps-rubella, chickenpox, hepatitis A, Pentacel combo immunization. Regarding heavy metals, thimerosal (a mercury containing molecule) was removed from all shots except some flu formulations by 2002 due to public concern [1].

Conflict of Interest

Vaccines go through strict testing before they are approved, but there appears be a conflict of interest which brings into question the safety of the injections. The conflict of interest exists between the pharmaceutical companies who produce and profit from them and the government agencies who approve the drugs. For example, the research studies used by the government agencies to approve the immunizations are generally funded by the drug manufacturers. Since the research is funded by the company that profits from the innoculation, the objectivity of the data analysis is questionable. Another concern is that the current legislation is setup to prevent suing the vaccine producer the patient experiences adverse effects [2].

Do Vaccines Work?

Immunization advocates argue that they are responsible for eliminating certain diseases including polio, measles, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), rubella (German measles), mumps, tetanus, rotavirus and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib). They believe the drop in disease rates for viruses such as pertussis occurred AFTER the introduction of immunizations.

On the other hand, anti-vaccine advocates use the same disesease statistics to suggest that the disease rates were on the decline prior to their introduction. Both the CDC and Health Sentinel show disease rates relative to the diphtheria vaccine introduction. The data from Health Sentinel starts at 1900, whereas the CDC begins in 1922 which seems to explain the discrepancy in the conclusions [3,4].

Freedom of Choice

Should parents have the right to choose to vaccine their children or should vaccines be mandated for the good of society? Some Pediatricians and public schools do not allow parents the freedom of choice on vaccines. They believe the heard immunization theory which states that 95% of the population needs vaccinated to prevent disease outbreak from those who are not vaccinated. Also, public schools advertise required injections, but exceptions are possible although not well known.

What can you do if you are concerned?

Educate yourself on both the pros and cons of vaccines. Robert W. Sear’s book is a great unbiased view on vaccines.

The benefits of vaccinations are best highlighted on the CDC website and cons with documentaries online such as The Greater Good or Shots in the Dark.

Seek out doctors or pediatricians who accept personal choice. You can find out by calling local offices. Also, some midwiferies keep adatabases on local pediatricians and their view on vaccinations.

Public school exceptions exist in 48 states (West Virginia and Mississippi excluded). Search the internet for the specifics in your state.

Recent reports from both sides of the vaccine debate