Vaccines are one of those topics like politics or religion. It can be quite polarizing. Logic is thrown out the window. Neither side are willing to listen to anything that goes against their beliefs. Popular media would have you believe that there are only people who are pro-vaccines and anti-vaxxers. But there has got to be some wiggle room between such opposites beliefs as all vaccines for everyone on one specific schedule are 100% safe and necessary and under no circumstances are any vaccines okay?
The Vaccine Friendly Plan is a rarity. It discusses the grey area on the topic of vaccines – territory that most won’t even consider venturing into. There is no fear mongering or judgment of parents’ choices on the matter, whatever they may be. Dr. Paul Thomas states that he is pro-vaccines. However, he stresses that just because some vaccines are effective, it doesn’t mean that all are appropriate or necessary for everyone. He emphasizes that the current vaccination schedule is not the safest and that there are alternative schedules for babies and young children to follow. One size does not fit all.
From the title, one would think it is all about vaccinations. No doubt, this is a dominant topic throughout. However, this book covers so much more. Helping parents build a strong immune system and robust health for their children is the ultimate aim.
Dr. Paul, a vaccine-friendly pediatrician, informs the reader about the scientific research on vaccines along with their risks and benefits. He shares the vaccine schedule he uses with his patients. The purpose of this alternative schedule is to limit exposure to heavy metals, preservatives and neurotoxins contained within vaccines. It balances protecting children from dangerous acute illnesses and also protecting them from adverse vaccine reactions or chronic issues later on (e.g., autoimmune diseases).
This book is a great resource for parents and health care practitioners alike. Parents can make more truly informed choices about what is best for their children. Along with solid advice on how to build up strong, healthy children and in depth information about the specifics of childhood vaccinations, the authors also discuss toxins and medications that can compromise children’s health.
Parents who are 100% pro-vaccinations will find much useful information here. For instance, acetaminophen (Tylenol/Paracetamol) use in pregnancy and early childhood was strongly advised against, particularly in combination with certain vaccinations. Research on the risks of this commonplace medication is presented with emphasis on the harmful effects it can have on the body and brain of little people. As well, environmental toxins and man-made substances in processed foods are investigated. An example of this is the explanation of how the body breaks down the sweetener, aspartame. The harmful effects it can have on the baby’s brain development and health if consumed during pregnancy or early childhood are discussed. Many other topics of concern for parents are covered, including: reducing exposure to environmental toxins, staying healthy during pregnancy, delayed cord clamping, and what to do when your child has a fever.
The advice given is well researched and straightforward. Unfortunately, some of it, when it comes to vaccinations, is not easy to follow. Dr. Paul recommends spacing out vaccines, limiting how many are given at one time and leaving some for when children are quite a bit older. This is all well and good. But more and more vaccines are coming in combination. This makes it difficult or sometimes impossible to space out. An example of this is his suggestion to postpone the hepatitis B vaccination until age 12-14 if appropriate to the child’s unique situation. (This was when my generation received this shot, not within minutes of being born like they are now). However, at least in Australia, the hepatitis B vaccine is in the same needle as tetanus, pertussis, diphtheria, polio and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib). Perhaps in other countries, it is easier to get separate shots. But I suspect that this is increasingly becoming difficult everywhere. Also, since publication, there continue to be more vaccines added to the required schedule. Therefore, in time, an updated version of his plan will be required.
Parents may or may not agree with everything that the authors discuss. Nonetheless, this book is a tool in the arsenal of creating healthy kids and making well informed health care decisions. I read this when my son was born and am happy that I did. Ideally, it would be read during early pregnancy or even better preconception but is helpful for parents at any stage up until the teen years.
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