Tensions in Church Over Vaccinations

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I was surprised that the discussion on my blog, Including People with Autism in Church Life, focused on whether or not children should be vaccinated. I should have seen that coming, because it’s hot topic, painfully hot.

In a recent conversation, a pastor friend told me that the topic of vaccinations was ripping at the unity of his church. Vaccinations! Parents who refuse to have their children vaccinated and parents who refuse to have their children at church with unvaccinated children have wrangled intensely with each other on Facebook and in the church parking lot. Similarly, the Christian Reformed Church’s Director of Ministry in Canada, Darren Roorda, told me that he has had people from four different churches contact him with similar concerns about tensions in their churches over the vaccination of children. It’s such a hot topic that last month Christianity Today included a cover article, Why Christians of All People Should Get Their Vaccines, and a brief piece, The 5 Most Common Anti-Vaccine Arguments.

I firmly believe that children should be vaccinated, unless they have compromised immune systems that could not handle a vaccination. Our oldest child has been medically fragile throughout her 27 years. Any of the diseases for which children get routinely vaccinated could kill her, and a large percentage of people need to be vaccinated for a group of people to have community immunity or herd immunity. Children with compromised immune systems who cannot be vaccinated are protected by the large numbers of other children who have been vaccinated. However, if they were exposed to measles, diphtheria, rubella, and many other diseases that vaccinations prevent, they could die. Many medically fragile children and adults are part of our churches too. Most of our world does not need to face the horrors of diseases that devastated populations in the past such as smallpox and polio. Without vaccinations, these devastating diseases will spread from a few isolated parts of the world back across the globe.

I believe that the arguments against childhood vaccinations pale in comparison to the arguments for them. Still, some parents refuse to have their children vaccinated, usually motivated by a deep love for their children and by a desire to protect them from danger. What can a pastor say that might help convince them to have their children vaccinated if the medical arguments do not move them? The subtitle of the Christianity Today cover article gives the answer, “For the love, folks.”

My pastor friend told me that he approached a number of couples who were refusing vaccinations for their children to ask them to reconsider. Some remained obstinate in their refusal, but one couple decided to have their kids vaccinated. They were swayed when their pastor appealed to their love for fellow church members. Their pastor explained that one child, in particular, would die if he caught any of the diseases prevented by vaccines. They told him that they had never thought of it that way before.

Have you been personally affected by tensions over vaccinations? What have you done? Has your church been dealing with tensions over vaccinations? How has the leadership handled it? 

Update (December 3, 2015): I just came across this series of amazing data visualizations of the impact of vaccines on various diseases. It's stunning to see the positive impact that vaccines have had on public health

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Community Builder

Please vaccinate your children, for the sake of everyone.

Someone has said: "We shouldn't be expected to set our children on fire to keep other children warm".  As there are risks with every vaccine parents should not be coerced into vaccinating their children.

Participant

Thanks for sharing this, Mark. I have seen these tense conversations going on in facebook groups as well. Whether about the decision to vaccinate your children, circumcise infant boys, or use pain medication in labor; there is a lot of judgment going on. I think, at the root, is all of our desire to do what's best for our children. Conversations and questions are good when they happen in relationship, and not just as shots on someone's facebook wall. 

Guide

I agree Shannon. Most parents make the decisions they make for their children because they believe they are doing what is best for their kids. But parents need to remember that these decisions can affect others, besides their own children, so we need to interact with one another in a gracious spirit. 

We Don't Vaccinate - Myth and Reality of Vaccine Campaigns: https://vimeo.com/126792405 is an excellent documentary regarding the true facts regarding vaccination.

An important consideration for Christians is the fact that vaccines such as the MMR and chicken pox are made utilizing aborted (murdered) unborn babies.  Actually scientists have found a link between vaccines made utilizing aborted unborn babies and autism. http://www.academicjournals.org/journal/JPHE/article-abstract/C98151247042  This is not surprising as autism used to be rare and now it is about 1 in 100 children (and getting worse).

Similar to the link between smoking and lung cancer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOkKNSs2xsQ

 

 

 

 

Guide

Readers, as Joy knows, she and I had a discussion about some of these topics not long ago, in case anyone would like to read the ways I addressed some of the concerns Joy raises, in particular, the effectiveness of vaccines, the claim that vaccines are made using aborted fetuses, and the link suggested between vaccines and autism. 

The following excerpt is from the American 1984 DHHS federal register, which listed final rules pertaining to the polio vaccination campaigns in USA after three decades of scandal and misinformation: http://lghttp.32478.nexcesscdn.net/80E972/organiclifestylemagazine/wp-co...

 

"any possible doubts, whether or not well founded, about the safety of the vaccine cannot be allowed to exist in view of the need to assure the vaccine will continue to be used to the maximum extent consistent with the nation's public health objectives"

In other words deny any possible risk of vaccination - just vaccinate.  Like putting one's head in the sand and hoping for the best.

 

 

This graph shows US measles deaths were negligible by the time the vaccine was introduced.

http://www.healthsentinel.com/joomla/images/stories/graphs/us-measles.jpg

 

There is no vaccine for scarlet fever and yet it has practically disappeared similar to diseases for which a vaccine was created to take the credit for the natural reduction of cases and deaths due to improved sanitation and nutrition.

Latest - Shocking article regarding 'New Fetal Line from Live Abortion Emerges for Vaccine Production.

http://vaccineimpact.com/2015/new-fetal-cell-line-from-live-abortion-eme...

"For decades both the pharmaceutical companies and even some ethicists have insisted that the abortions to produce the cell lines used in vaccines were not done with that intention, that it was only a couple of abortions from the past and that no further abortions would be needed “now or in the future” to produce vaccines.

“This may be the biggest lie ever told to the American public and the world at large,” said Mrs. Vinnedge.  “Not only have there been hundreds of abortions directly involved with vaccine research – specifically for that purpose where they altered abortion methods to obtain intact fetal organs , but we are now seeing more and more abortions for fetal research and new cell lines emerging for viral vaccine cultivation.”

"

"... the recent Planned Parenthood videos that have emerged through the Center for Medical Progress, (CMP) showing how live, fully intact fetuses have been harvested for aborted fetal research."

 

Thank you for sharing real facts instead of CDC propaganda.

 

God given immune system > Man-made vaccines

Contributing to the tension is the propaganda (fear-mongering) regarding childhood diseases.

Compare the latest hysteria to how measles, for example, was regarded decades ago before mass marketing of the vaccine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDb0ZS3vB9g

I had measles as a child so I am immune for life, compared to temporary immunity from vaccine(s) that wanes.  For example recent mumps outbreak amongst vaccinated hockey players.  Mumps is more of an issue (for boys) from puberty onwards, therefore it would have been better if they actually had the mumps as boys.

 

BTW, I wonder what would have been the response/reaction of the pastor if the couple, who were persuaded by the pastor to have their children vaccinated, were to inform him afterwards that their child(ren) had been damaged by the vaccines that the pastor swayed them to get.  Did this pastor, you mentioned, consider this possibility?  

As someone has said: "We shouldn't be expected to set our children on fire to keep other children warm".  As there are risks with every vaccine parents should not be coerced into vaccinating their children.

Where is the love for the vaccine injured children, in the church?  Or would they rather deny that it was the vaccine(s) that harmed the child(ren).

 

Joy,

What would be your response when the child dies of a disease that could be prevented by a vaccine?

You are assuming that vaccines are actually effective.  There have been many cases of epidemic of diseases such as measles and mumps in highly vaccinated environments, with the vaccinated being affected practically just as much as the unvaccinated.

In reality vaccines provide a false sense of security.  Also a number of vaccines such as the MMR are live virus vaccines, i.e. can shed the virus for weeks. 

I would be shocked if a child died of chickenpox!!!

Actually before the vaccine, there were a average of 100 to 200 deaths per yr, plus 10k to 15 k hospital stays! Even now there are still some of both! Thx

There is also the issue of 'Original Antigenic Sin' that makes the vaccinated more vulnerable to the very diseases they were vaccinated against.  A vaccinated person is not only able to catch the disease but can even get the disease more than once.

For more info read: http://vaccinechoicecanada.com/resources/books-periodicals/original-anti...

Joy

So the Donna Reed Show, The Flintstones and the Brady Bunch, constitutes the authoritative voices on whether to vaccinate or not? Here is a piece from Wikipedia (see below) The reason for vaccination is that measles kills children under 5 years old. That is why we started vaccination in the first place. Measles is a killer of the young and most vulnerable.

From Wikipedia:

"The measles vaccine is effective at preventing the disease. Vaccination has resulted in a 75% decrease in deaths from measles between 2000 and 2013 with about 85% of children globally being currently vaccinated. No specific treatment is available. Supportive care may improve outcomes.[4] This may include giving oral rehydration solution (slightly sweet and salty fluids), healthy food, and medications to control the fever.[4][5] Antibiotics may be used if a secondary bacterial infection such as pneumonia occurs. Vitamin A supplementation is also recommended in the developing world.[4]

Measles affects about 20 million people a year,[1] primarily in the developing areas of Africa and Asia.[4] It causes the most vaccine-preventable deaths of any disease.[8] It resulted in about 96,000 deaths in 2013, down from 545,000 deaths in 1990.[9] In 1980, the disease is estimated to have caused 2.6 million deaths per year.[4] Before immunization in the United States between three and four million cases occurred each year.[6] Most of those who are infected and who die are less than five years old.[4] The risk of death among those infected is usually 0.2%,[6] but may be up to 10% in those who have malnutrition.[4]"

No they are not authoritative.  However, they do show what the general public feeling was regarding measles, i.e. it was not regarded as a fearsome deadly disease.

 

Of course Wikipedia could hardly be regarded as authoritative on any subject.  It is curious how once they introduce a vaccine then the propaganda starts exaggerating the disease to scare people into vaccinating for a disease that was regarded as benign before vaccination.

Regarding measles cases the Wikipedia you quoted is absolutely false.  This graphs shows the reported cases of measles:

http://media.historyofvaccines.org/images/999991_540.jpg

This graph shows the US measles deaths which were negligible by the time the vaccine was introduced.

http://www.healthsentinel.com/joomla/images/stories/graphs/us-measles.jpg

Something precious that is lost with mass vaccination is the protection a baby was designed (by God) to receive.  When a mother as a child has measles then she has immunity for life and passes on the immunity to her babies.  However a vaccinated mother only has temporary immunity and can provide very little if any protection to her children.  That is why typically before mass vaccination of childhood diseases mainly elementary school age children are affected.  After mass vaccination the most vulnerable tend to be affected, due to inadequate maternal immunity.

In the developing world where children are often severely malnourished a child could die just from a bad cold.