I remember sitting on the crinkly paper. That crinkly, stiff, white paper. My gown barely tied in the front and my knees shaky. This was my first prenatal appointment. I had gotten a positive pregnancy test just a few days before and was just about to see my obstetrician (OB) for the first time. I had a list of questions in my hand ready to be
My OB walked into the room, barely gave me a once-over, and sat on his stool. He started writing in my file before we even spoke. I looked down at my list of questions, mentally scratching off the ones I was too afraid to ask.
“When was your last menstrual cycle?” he asked me. “December 10,” I assured him. I was an avid cycle charter and knew my body very, very well. I was positive that I had ovulated on Christmas. “Okay, well, it is flu season. You should get the flu shot to protect you and your baby against the flu.”
I nodded, unsure of what I was really agreeing to. He motioned for me to lay back and put my feet in the stirrups. I laid there uncomfortably and tried to think of something, anything but the impending exam. The flu shot? I had never gotten one before. Was it really necessary? What are the side effects? My mind was racing with uncertainties, but I did not feel like I could ask him these questions. I felt uneasy, tense, and slightly embarrassed.
I went home and told my husband about the flu shot, and how my OB recommended it. “Whatever you think is best,” he said. He was always so supportive of my wants and needs during pregnancy.
I started researching the flu shot vaccine right away. I have always lived a more organic lifestyle, choosing elderberry syrup over Ny-Quil and essential oils over Tylenol. I was wary of vaccines but did not know much about them. I wanted to do what was best for my daughter and myself, which, in turn, led me onto a path I never thought I would travel. A journey I never thought I would conquer, and a mission I was sure to attain in hopes of keeping my daughter as safe as possible.
First off, what is a vaccine? Vaccines are administered to healthy people to keep them from developing a possible infectious disease. A dead, or live, attenuated virus is injected into the person to initiate an immune response. Believe it or not, that immune response can cause fever, lethargy, and flu-like symptoms. The one thing that is supposed to protect you against the flu actually injects you with a virus that may, or may not, cause the very same symptoms of that virus.
The first thing I read about the flu shot were the ingredients. These ingredients included formaldehyde, thimerosal, and polysorbate 80. What? I thought to myself.
I knew formaldehyde was bad and is actually a known carcinogen, but thimerosal? I learned that thimerosal is a derivative of mercury. Mercury is one of the most toxic substances known to mankind and a potent neurotoxin. Research that examines the effects of thimerosal in humans indicates that it is a poison at minute levels with
many potentially dangerous consequences, even at the levels currently administered in vaccines.
Polysorbate 80 is a solubilizing agent found in many lotions, creams, and ointments. It has been shown to cause anaphylactic shock in some patients during pregnancy and was concluded to cause severe anaphylactoid reactions.
Every single flu vaccine insert, whether it is for the flu shot or mist, states that it has not been tested for safety in pregnant women. This just boggles my mind. There are so many significant theories deeming many things unsafe for pregnant women. A few examples include alcohol, cigarettes, and even sushi. Why are vaccines considered “safe” for pregnant women when they contain such harmful ingredients that have not been tested for safety?
I had so many questions and concerns. The more I delved into vaccine research, the more worried I became. My gut told me to never get a flu shot, especially when I was carrying a child. Research shows that babies in utero are more susceptible to adverse effects from mercury and its biologically active compounds. This evidence alone made my motherly instincts stronger. I would not subject my baby to an experiment. I would not be an experiment.
As time went on, my deeper gut told me to never let my child receive a single vaccine, ever. She is 3 years old today and I am proud to say that she is completely vaccine-free.
Opinion and Blog by Angela Chami
Edited by Leigh Haugh
Children’s Medical Safety Research Institute–Vaccine Safety
U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health–Thimerosal: Clinical, Epidemiologic, and Biochemical Studies
U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health–Polysorbate 80 in Medical Products and Nonimmunologic Anaphylactoid Reactions
Taylor and Francis Online–Maternal transfer of mercury to the developing embryo/fetus: is there a safe level?
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention–Flu Shot Vaccine Safety Information