Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Vaccines--HiB

The Hib vaccine is not required for school, so it an optional vaccine, even for those who believe in full, on schedule, vaccination.

It is an inactive vaccination, which means that they kill the virus before injecting it. This means that it is a reletively safe in that regard (you're not terribly likely to catch the actual disease from the vaccination). However, the vaccination also contains ethanol (toxic, a depressent and tranquilizer) and aluminum hydroxide (which causes constipation, loss of appitite, tiredness, and muscle weakness). Aluminum is also a heavy metal, and getting too much into your system at once will poison you; especially if you are small. This vaccine is also one (of several) which has been linked to increasing rates of Type1 Diabetes in children.

The first HiB vaccine came out in 1983, but was pulled in 1985, because it was not effective for children under 18 months old (which is when the primary danger is), and furthermore it actually caused a few cases of HiB. In 1990 a new HiB vaccine was licensed. The current vaccination is successful (gives immunity) approximately 93-95% of the time

It is on the schedule at 2m, 4m, 6m, 12-15m (booster) and 'catch-up' doses can be given up to age 3. If the child has not been vaccinated for HiB at all, and is over 15m, then the CDC says that one dose is considered sufficient for full vaccination. Doses must be a minum of 4 weeks apart, but 8 weeks apart is optimum. The last dose must be given after the age of 12m and must be a minimum of 8 weeks after the prior dose.
The CDC states that the HiB vaccine does not require booster doses (although one is on the schedule!!) It is not given to older children or adults. (We shall soon see why!)

HiB itself is NOT a type of flu, but is mis-named because the doctor who originally identified it thought that it was related to the flu which was going around at the time, and named it accordingly (Haemophilus influenza type B). Nobody has bothered to correct the name. In and of itself, HiB is really not dangerous, but has been found to lead to meningitis (inflamation of the brain), which, of course, is dangerous. HiB was almost unknown until recent decades, and the medical community believes that it is probalby the result of a mutation of an older bacteria, and that the mutation probably resulted from increasing usage of antibiotics. HiB is usually ampicillin-resistent--a confirmed example of mutation and resistence to antibiotics. (Yes, boys and girls, we are making super bugs now.)
Risk factors for Hib include: weak or weakened immune system, poor diet, being in daycare, smoking (including second-hand smoke), bad housing/living conditions, and not being breastfed. The risk of getting HiB is also somewhat increased during the 7 days immediately following a HiB vaccination. HiB is almost unheard of among breastfed, non-daycare children (whether vaccinated or not). Getting an invasive (ie-serious) infection of HiB is very rare even among higher risk groups. (In other words, even if you get it, you will most likely just get a really mild case.) HiB is most common around 6-7m old, and is virtually non-existent in children over the age of 5.

Prior to the invention of the HiB vaccination, most children acquired natural immunity by 5 or 6, via asymptomatic infection (ie, they got the virus but had no symptoms or 'sickness' from it).
One interesting observation is that HiB via vaccine introduces only one type of antibody, whereas natural HiB introduces several types, and may provide more complete protection than the vaccine is able to.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
There you have it. That is the research.
My conclusion? Unless the baby will be in daycare, or will not be breastfed, there is not much point in getting this vaccine. If your child is in a low risk group, and since getting the vaccine increases the risk of infection, I would venture to say that for some people getting the vaccine may actually make them more likely to get HiB than if they did not get it. Something to think about! If you do want to get it, your child can get 'fully vaccinated' in just one dose (rather than four) if you do it at age 15m or later. However, since the primary risk is around age 6m, is there a point in vaccination at 15m?!

3 comments:

jbie said...

very interesting! thanks for your research and info; looking forward to others.
nak

megan said...

I have a few quibbles with what is written here. I have to disagree with some of your statements.

"...medical community believes that it is probalby the result of a mutation of an older virus"
H.influenza is a bacteria not a virus

"In and of itself, HiB is really not dangerous, but has been found to lead to meningitis"
Isn't that the case with any pathogen? They aren't dangerous until they cause disease? Bacterial meningitis is a very, very serious disease with frequently fatal outcomes for kids under 5.

"HiB is usually ampicillin-resistent--a confirmed example of mutation and resistence to antibiotics. (Yes, boys and girls, we are making super bugs now)"

H. Influenza is a gram negative bacteria. This is a class of bacteria not well covered by the Beta-lactam antibiotics(ampicillin is in this group) due to the structure of the coat surrounding gram negatives , so resistance to ampicillin is neither here nor there. What is important to point out is that use of vaccines would lower antibiotic resistance by making fewer people need drug treatment for these diseases.

You mention several times that only some people get infected, and only some of them get seriously ill. The fact that a child is the only one of his friends to become seriously ill or even die is not likely to be comforting to anyone.

I'm not trying to flame your blog, I just want to point out that is hard to do appropriate research without some background in the material. I am very impressed with what a good advocate you are for your kids with the research and questioning of the status quo that you do. Please don't discount your doctor's advice. They really do teach us something in medical school.

Mommy Bee said...

Thank you Megan for your thoughtful reply. I have made the edit about virus/bacteria--If you look at the dates on these posts you can see that I was researching several of them at once, and I guess my brain hiccuped. :)

I'm not anti-doctor, nor even anti-vaccine. I do get very frustrated with pushy doctors who are not supportive of parental education or true informed consent. I've met a few wonderful doctors and a few scary ones...I do respect the doctor's education, but I also respect a parent's intuition and spiritual promptings in regards to their children. I think doctors study a broad range of things, and no doctor can know a child as well as their parent can...so it needs to be a team effort. Thus my dislike of blindly following anyone--including doctors.

I agree that it's no comfort to know a thousand healthy children if mine is ill, but because of the risk factor from getting the vax itself, I think that for those in low-risk groups it's valid to guess that getting the vax might put them at higher risk than avoiding that, and THAT I think is important.

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