MMR Vaccine - Get the Facts

Mmr vaccine is under fire in the vaccine controversy more than all others. Why are many parents thinking twice about this for their babies and young children?

It is said to protect against measles, mumps and rubella, but the mmr shot is the most controversial of all. Get immunization facts and find out why.

Examining some specifics like how the vaccine is made and when it is given can help. Also, looking at the diseases themselves can aid in making your best decision for your child regarding the mmr shot. We will also discuss the option of an alternative vaccination schedule as well as checking titers with a titer test.

How is the MMR vaccine made?

Being familiar with vaccine ingredients can help in making the vaccine choice. The biggest difference between this vaccine and many others, like the tetanus shot, is that all three vaccines are live (the rota virus and chicken pox vaccines are also live viruses). This means that the measles, mumps and rubella vaccines all contain weakened living viruses which is then meant to pass on immunity.

The live viruses used to produce these vaccines need animal or human cells as a host for production. Measles and mumps vaccines are grown in embryonated hens eggs and chick embryo cell culture. The rubella part of the vaccine is made using a human cell line derived from embryonic lung tissue - normal embryonic (3-month gestation) lung tissue of a female.

When is it given?

Some might say a triple threat is created when the 3 live viruses are given all at the same time. Especially is this so since the recommended immunization schedule suggests the first MMR vaccine be given when a baby is just 12 months old.

As a mom I found interesting that a baby's brain is only 80% developed by the time she turns 2 years old. This calls into question how 3 live vaccines administered at the same time might affect a baby's undeveloped brain.

Click here for an overview and history of baby immunizations.

History of the MMR vaccine

The mmr vaccine was licenced in the United States in 1971 with the second dose introduced after an outbreak of almost 30 000 in 1990. It was implemented in Canada in 1983, and introduced in Britain in 1988. More than 500 million doses have been administered in more than 60 countries around the world.

The long-term effects of mmr are not clear. Tests are done relatively short-term.

The greatest concern regarding mmr vaccine rises from what some call an "epidemic of autoimmune disorders" in children. Some link the mmr shot to the alarming rise of type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and bowel disorders. In addition is the strong concern that the mmr vaccine is at least partly to blame for the drastic rise in autism spectrum disorders in recent years.

Are the diseases serious?

In an article by Dr. Joseph Mercola, MD, author of many books including The No-Grain Diet , asserts:

"With rare exception, a well-nourished child who contracts measles will recover smoothly from the infection. Fifty years ago, almost all children in the U.S. had measles. And after contracting this disease, one has a life-long immunity to it."

One particular book has proved invaluable to me in keeping my kids healthy - conventional and alternative approaches from both a medical doctor and a naturopathic doctor. It's called Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child.

Similarly, rubella is said to be harmless to young children, mumps is virtually harmless and as with the measles, contracting mumps strengthens the immune system and give life-long immunity. Vaccination gives temporary immunity.

When I originally discussed this subject with my new baby's doctor he was patient with all my questions. He is from Ireland and said, "If this was Ireland a 100 years ago where sanitation and nutrition was very poor, I would call a person a fool to decline vaccination. But, the situation is very different today."

"The death rate for measles declined 97.7% during the first 60 years of the 20th century"

That was before vaccination was introduced. This was due to greatly improved sanitation and nutrition - people became much healthier - better able to successfully recover from these diseases.

What are my options?

Many parents concede to the recommendations of the traditional immunization schedule. Some decline completely. The third option is one you may not have thought of - an alternative vaccination schedule. There three different alternative vaccination schedules many parents appreciate:

Alternative Vaccination Schedule - Dr Sears

Alternative Vaccination Schedule - Dr Miller

Alternative Vaccination Schedule - Dr Stephanie Cave

Oh, to make the "right" choice!

If you are looking for more reading on vaccines the following three books are well liked:

The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child is written by Dr Sears.

What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About(TM) Children's Vaccinations

Vaccine Safety Manual for Concerned Families and Health Practitioners, 2nd Edition: Guide to Immunization Risks and Protection, written by Neil Z. Miller really gets into detail.

If you are agonizing over the mmr shot - you are not alone. The vaccine controversy can be somewhat confusing and stressful.

Do your research - you have to dig to get both sides of immunization facts! In doing so you will be better equipped to make your "best decision" when it comes to the mmr vaccine.

Return from mmr vaccine to loving attachment parenting homepage

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