Making Sense of the Vaccine Debate

The number of vaccines on the CDC list is continually growing. When I was a child I had just a few vaccines—polio and DTP. I had the measles, and so did my siblings. We now have lifetime immunity to the measles. When I breast fed my babies, they received protection from getting the measles as infants.

My children received approximately 18 doses of vaccines by age five. They received more doses of DTP and polio than I did. And they received the MMR vaccine.

A doctor visit often included a shot. We had a book that my daughter enjoyed. It was titled It’s Your Turn Doctor. The child in the story imagines what it would be like to give the doctor a physical exam. In the final page the child is chasing the doctor with a syringe.

The book was funny and we laughed. It made doctor visits easier. As the years passed I have become more concerned about the content of the syringe than the needle stick.

In 1982 I didn’t know that the MMR vaccine was developed from an aborted fetus. I was puzzled by the stomach pain, digestive disorder and pause in language development that I observed after this vaccine was given to my daughter.

The immunity offered by the MMR does not give lifetime immunity. Some cases of measles are caused by the vaccine and can infect others. A blood test can determine if a case of measles is the wild form or the vaccine type.

The CDC now recommends 35+ doses of vaccines for children by age five.  Each injection contains additional substances; aluminum, formaldehyde, DNA fragments, mercury. You can find the ingredients in each vaccine here.

Why so many doses of vaccines–which ones have more benefits than risks? What has happened to the immune system that God provided us with? We can support the immune system with good nutrition, adequate hydration (pure water), rest and enough sleep. Sufficient rest might be a problem is our hectic lifestyles. It is worth it to slow down.

Because sexual behavior has changed dramatically over the past five decades, a vaccine was developed for an infection that can only be passed by sexual intimacy, blood or body fluid contact. The vaccine for hepatitis B was developed in the 1980s and in 1991 it was added to the recommended vaccines.

It is curious that a decision was made to give this vaccine to all newborn infants—despite the fact that all women are screened for hepatitis B during pregnancy. As a general practice the vaccine is given when the baby is 24 hours old. We don’t know if there are any longterm consequences from giving this vaccine to a newborn. We don’t know how long this vaccine is effective. It may wane by the teenage years.

The HPV vaccine is also developed for a sexually transmitted virus. It is recommended for girls, 11 to 12 years old to prevent cervical cancer. The truth is young women can be monitored by a pap smear when they are sexually active and treated appropriately. The problem with the HPV vaccine is the severe side effects some girls experience. The HPV vaccine has the largest amount of aluminum as an adjuvant. 

It is interesting to note that other countries have omitted the MMR vaccine, the hepatitis B vaccine and the HPV vaccine from the recommended schedule. Japan does not give the MMR or the HPV vaccine. Instead Japan has an individual measles vaccine with less side effects. Japan, Finland and Denmark do not give the hepatitis B vaccine. In Sweden all vaccines are voluntary.

In 1992 New Zealand did a study comparing the health of vaccinated children against unvaccinated.

A study from the 1990s has come to light, proving that compared to unvaccinated children, vaccinated children were more likely to suffer from asthma, eczema, ear infections, hyperactivity and many other chronic conditions.

Another study was done in the United States and published in 2017.

The vaccinated children were also more likely to have increased healthcare utilization – to have had ear tubes placed; to have used antibiotics, to have used allergy and fever medications; to have visited a doctor for a health issue in the previous year, and to have been hospitalized.

In response to the current controversy over vaccines, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeon has stated their strong opposition to mandatory vaccines in the U.S. I hope you will take the time to understand this issue.

We can sign a petition to ask the President to establish a Vaccine Safety Commission. Click here to see the petition.

Sharing this post with Friendship Friday.

The Good Shepherd: A Story to Share with a Child

My husband and I are book lovers and book collectors. We have books in most rooms of our house. Over the years we have gone to library book sales, used book stores, bought books on line and at conferences.

We need to reduce and pass books along. I have been going through some of my stacks of books and came a cross a yellowed copy of a book that was first published in England in 1948. It was published by Moody Press in 1951.

The Tanglewoods’ Secret was written by Patricia St. John. I opened the book and read the first few pages and decided that I would read the whole book before I decided what to do with it.

It is a tender story about two children that love to explore nature—trees, wildflowers and birds.

The author shows us that they need a Savior and she weaves the Bible account of the good shepherd into her story. It is a clear description of a relationship with Jesus that a child can understand. It is a book to read with a grandchild. I am glad that I rediscovered it.

Sharing this post with Literary Musing Monday and Booknificent Thursday

Sunrise of Hope

Many years ago I worked the night shift in the neonatal intensive care unit at the University of Michigan. We had 12 hour shifts, and I worked from 7 pm to 7 am. Around 5:00 am as daylight crept across the sky, we were weary and needed to get our second wind. 

We would take turns, going to get coffee and a muffin from the hospital cafeteria. But what we most appreciated was walking down a hallway of windows that looked out to the sunrise. Morning had come and we would complete our nursing care and documentation. The light of a new day sustained us and promised rest.

We have challenges and a spiritual battle taking place in our world. The battle requires focus on God’s word and obedience to his commands. We must stay alert and look for God’s touch on our life. He will renew our spirit and give us rest.

photo by Cristina Gottardi via unsplash

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.

My soul waits for the Lord more than the watchmen wait for the morning, more than the watchmen wait for the morning.

O Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. Psalm 130: 6-7

It is Friday and I am joining the Five Minute Friday writing community. Kate’s prompt today is: MORE

What Happened at Senate Hearing?

The U.S. Senate held a hearing on March 5, 2019:  Vaccines Save Lives: What Is Driving Preventable Disease Outbreaks?

Vaccine Safety
Photo by Naypong@FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I watched the hearing and saw pictures of the lines of parents that hoped to attend the hearing.There were more security guards on site than those present for the Kavanaugh confirmation. Parents were being herded into a separate room.

The committee chairman read an opening statement that claimed vaccines were completely safe. Senator Rand Paul was the only Senator who acknowledged BOTH benefits and risks of vaccines. The only citizen witness was a teenage boy who painted concerned parents as mothers picking up wild ideas from facebook.

The truth is that scientists, some doctors, nurses and parents have concerns about the current vaccine schedule and the risk/benefit assessment. They have invested much time in research. 

The government vaccine court has paid out more than 4 billion dollars to parents whose child died or is severely disabled following a vaccine. In 1986 legislation was passed to remove all liability from the pharmaceutical companies. If the vaccines they produced caused side effects and injury, the pharmaceutical companies could not be sued. Instead parents could petition the vaccine injury court and be compensated with tax payer dollars.

Another provision of the 1986 bill was that Health and Human Services was to review the vaccines every two years, identify the children that were at greater risk of injury and make reports to congress. This never happened.

I am ashamed of the ignorance shown by Senators who stated vaccines are completely safe. I hope that they will read this open letter to Senator Romney. http://fearlessparent.org/dear-senator-romney-vaccine-coercion-political-leadership/

This morning I spent some time in prayer and decided to look on the CDC site for contraindications for some vaccines. I was surprised to find a page that was in direct contradiction to the way the Senate Hearing took place.

When a parent or patient initiates a discussion about a perceived vaccine adverse reaction, the health care provider should discuss the specific concerns and provide factual information, using appropriate language. Effective, empathetic vaccine risk communication is essential in responding to misinformation and concerns, with health care providers recognizing that risk assessment and decision-making can be difficult and confusing. Certain vaccines might be acceptable to a parent who is resistant to other vaccines. This partial acceptance can be used to facilitate additional communication. Their concerns can be addressed using the VIS and offering other resource materials (e.g., vaccination information from CDC).

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend that providers exclude from their practice patients whose parents or guardians question or refuse vaccination.

The hepatitis B vaccine had long term side effects for one of my children. I am wondering why this vaccine is required for a child to attend public school.

All pregnant women are tested for hepatitis B to ascertain that they do not pass it along to the baby. Hepatitis B is an infection that is passed along through contact with infected blood, or by sexual intimacy with an infected person. It is not a disease that can be readily passed to another child.

Parents must be allowed to question vaccine policy. Parents are responsible for caring for their child. They are the ones that deal with vaccine injuries. Why is there a movement to shut down all questions and muzzle concerns?

Book Review: Caring for Words

Over the years I have been introduced to many good books at the Calvin Festival of Faith and Writing. At the 2012 Festival I listened to Marilyn McEntyre speak and then picked up a copy of her book. I am republishing a book review that I wrote.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1: 14

The book, Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies, raises a concern about words and truth. Marilyn C. McEntyre fears that we are in danger of losing the depth of language as we text and tweet. Throughout the book she refers to the Bible, classic books and poetry, sketching the idea of ingesting words. Her book was a rich meal for me.

I had to read slowly, soaking in the wisdom of an English professor who has a love of language. I learned something about poetry and the value of poetic thought. Poets cherish words. McEntyre explains the good use of words, calling it reclamation. She writes: Everyone who writes with care, who treats words with respect and allows even the humblest its historical and grammatical dignity, participates in the exhilarating work of reclamation.

The chapter, Practice Poetry, gave me new insights into appreciating poetry.

The last chapter offers reflections on silence. McEntyre writes: Silence is to words what water is to the body and to the earth. Words, like food, nourish and support life in ways that reach beyond metaphor to solid fact. But it is in our silences that digestive and regenerative processes can take place.

This book encourages reading and attentiveness to words. I feel blessed that I grew up in a home where we read the Bible together and visited the library regularly. Reading books with the grandchildren gives me joy. Assisting the next generation to value good books is a gift we can give.

Family - Bouquet

Sharing this post with Literary Musing Monday

Seeking Guidance for Parental Rights

Parents today have difficult issues to confront. As I was driving home from Michigan today I was listening to Janet Parshall on the radio.She was discussing a case that was decided by the Supreme Court of British Columbia. It hit me hard because a friend of our family recently disclosed that he/she is transgender.

In British Columbia the court decided that a 14 year old girl could receive testosterone injections without her parents consent. In addition, her parents could not refer to her with female pronouns or by the name they gave her at birth. If they did they would be guilty of family violence.

This is stunning, but parental rights are being infringed in other ways. 

In Illinois a bill is being proposed that would mandate that all children entering 6th grade receive the HPV vaccine. There has been a lot of controversy over this vaccine. According to the Children’s Health Defense:

. . . during Gardasil’s clinical trials an extraordinary 49.5% of the subjects receiving Gardasil reported serious medical conditions within seven months of the start of the clinical trials. Because Merck did not use a true placebo in its clinical trials, its researchers were able to dismiss the trial participants’ injuries as coincidences, employing the term “new medical conditions,” rather than classifying their injuries as “adverse events.”

Parents should be able to weigh the risks and benefits of this vaccine (which is for a sexually transmitted virus). They should be involved in a decision to vaccinate or not.

It is so important that parents stay alert and informed. Even more important we must bring our concerns to the Lord Jesus. God designed the family, and as we defend our parental rights, the Holy Spirit can guide our words and action.

I am in touch with a group of moms that are very concerned about government mandates. It was refreshing to hear several say, “We need to pray.”

The book of Luke records the Lord’s Prayer. After teaching the disciples to pray Jesus continued with these words: “And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you.” Luke 11:9

The book of James reiterates this. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5

This post is linked to Five Minute Friday. Today I mulled over the prompt, SEARCH, thinking about recent events and the radio program.

Faithful Poet and Hymn Writer

Commit your way to the Lord:trust in him, and he will act. Psalm 37:3

Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3

These verses are true of Fanny Crosby. Some years ago I read her autobiography and was inspired by her life.

Fanny Crosby was a poet and hymn writer in the late 1800s who pointed many people to God. Some of the hymns that I sang growing up were written by Fanny Crosby

When she was six months old the treatment prescribed for a mild infection of her eyes left her legally blind. With the guidance of her mother and grandmother she overcame this handicap. She wrote, “But why should the blind be regarded as objects of pity? Darkness may indeed throw a shadow over the outer vision, but there is no cloud, however dark, that can keep the sunlight of hope from the trustful soul.”

Fanny’s mother made arrangements for her to attend the New York Institute for the blind when she was fourteen. Her gift for poetry was recognized at the school and she was directed to study the classical writers and poets.

Following her years of study she became a teacher at the Institute. She attended lectures and had occasion to meet political leaders. Her poetry was published in newspapers and books. She wrote hymns for a number of evangelists. Later in life she was called to serve at city missions.

Fanny Crosby’s preaching was gentle and winsome as she pointed people to the Lord through song. Several hymns written by Fanny are among my favorites. Here are the lyrics to All the Way My Savior Leads Me

All the way my Savior leads me; What have I to ask beside?

Can I doubt his tender mercy, Who through life has been my guide?

Heavenly peace, divinest comfort, Here by faith in him to dwell!

For I know, what-e’er be-fall me, Jesus doth all things well. 

This post is the final one in Write28Days. All of the posts are listed here.

When It Is Time to Speak UP

When should we get involved in the political discussions in our country? Should moms and grandmas be activists? The book of Peter offers instruction:

Make the Master proud of you by being good citizens. Respect the authorities, whatever their level; they are God’s emissaries for keeping order. It is God’s will that by doing good, you might cure the ignorance of fools who think you are a danger to society. Exercise your freedom by serving God, not by breaking the rules. Treat everyone you meet with dignity. Love your spiritual family. Revere God. Respect the government. 1 Peter 2: 13-17 MSG

For a number of years I have participated in the March for Life to express my support for all human life. It has been a positive experience; I have met people that share my concern. Another way that we peacefully express concerns is through letters, e-mails and phone calls to our legislators. 

Three years ago I participated in a seminar with the group, Women Speak for Themselves. A young woman who had worked on staff for a congressman told us that letters and e-mails matter. They have an impact.

When we have a concern it is important to become educated on the topic. After doing our homework we can clearly state our position with facts to back it up. Today there is a hearing scheduled on the measles outbreak and the status of vaccines. The commissioner of the FDA has suggested having the federal government mandate vaccines, doing away with exemptions.

A young woman has openly shared a letter that she wrote. Here is a portion:

I am writing to you out of concern for threats to our medical freedom and our ability to choose what goes into our bodies and the bodies of our children. Are you aware that since January 1, 2019, over $72,657,067 has been spent on vaccine injury/death? You can confirm this with the Government Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Just like any medical procedure, vaccines offer both significant risk and reward. Deciding on a procedure while weighing the risk versus reward is a matter of personal opinion based on each individual’s own health situation, personal values, and fears. We must protect that choice instead of falsely portraying vaccine efficacy and value as one-sided with only rewards and without significant risk.

As a country we face complicated issues. As women we can participate in the discussion, respectfully. Our experiences and perspectives are important.


This post is part of #Write28Days. Click here to see all the posts in the series.

Celebration with Finnish Prune Tarts

There are special holiday treats in the Finnish tradition. One of them is the prune tart or joulutorttu (Christmas tart). My mother and my aunt made these at Christmas time.

Aunt Syl and Mom in 2010

My Aunt Syl made them for my wedding reception.

During the last summer vacation with my Dad (he was 89 years old) we enjoyed family projects. I wrote about that summer in Upper Michigan. The story was published in the Kippis Literary Journal. Here is an excerpt:

One day Mom and the kids made the special family recipe of prune tarts. It was fun for the family to bake together. My nephew caught onto the process of pressing butter into the dough, folding the dough and rolling it out. We had a passionate debate over how long to leave the tarts in the oven. When they came out of the oven we barely let them cool before tasting this special family treat. The group consensus was “the best tarts ever”.

I looked on-line and saw that there are a number of recipes for Finnish prune tarts. And then I found a blog that describes the process of making prune tarts the same way our family made them–with pictures and a recipe. The writer describes meeting the Finnish lady in Northern Michigan. It is a long story, but at the end there is a wonderful description of the joulutorttu.

This post is part of #Write28Days. To see other posts in this series click here.

Mothers, Girls and Flowers

As a nurse and mom I follow news about life and health. I am encouraged because New Jersey has a new campaign, Nurture NJ, to improve the health of mothers and their infants. One of the goals is to reduce unnecessary cesarean sections by employing midwives to attend women throughout their labor.

Another move to support life occurred in Ohio. Ohio recently passed a bill to prohibit abortion based on a diagnosis of possible down syndrome in an unborn baby. It was good to see adults with down syndrome testify before legislators.

I enjoy books that point to the value of all life. Hazel Gaynor has written a novel, A Memory of Violets, about the flower girls that worked on the streets of London.

Violets

The book is based on the true story of a philanthropist, John Groom. Mr. Groom organized an orphanage for crippled and disabled girls during the late 1800s. The ragged and destitute girls had been supporting themselves by selling flowers.

Mr. Groom instituted an artificial flower business. The girls employed by Mr. Groom were trained to make artificial flowers. These young women, many of them disabled, produced the flowers for Queen Alexandra’s Rose Day. This is the background of the novel.

We hear about human trafficking in the news. Girls and young women are trapped in a sex trade. It is an evil business. This novel, in contrast, is a story of goodness.

It was refreshing to read about the efforts to build up the skills and independence of impoverished young women. The story has interesting twists and turns. The characters, Tilly, Florrie and Rosie, are nicely drawn.

This post is part of #Write28Days. To see all the posts in this series, click here.