The Pc vaccine protects a child against pneumococcal (Pc) disease, which ranges from mild cold symptoms and ear infections to severe pneumonia, bloodstream infections, and meningitis. The Pc vaccine is recommended by the AAP at 2, 4, 6, and 15 months. The vaccine came out in 2001.
Pc is common – in the cold symptom and ear infection form. Pneumonia is only an occasional occurrence, and bloodstream infections and meningitis are considered very rare. Studies differ, but one states that after the vaccine came out, 400 cases of severe Pc struck children 5 and under. In all ages, 2,000 to 3,000 severe cases of antibiotic-resistant Pc have been reported each year. It is also estimated that as many as 10,000 severe cases of Pc in children and 20,000-30,000 severe cases in adults strike each year. Before the vaccine, there were 60,000 cases or severe Pc each year, 17,000 of which were in children 5 and younger.
Oi, the numbers, they hurt my head. It seems no one can agree on how many cases there are each year. But they can agree that the serious cases attack mostly the infants (two and under) and the elderly.
Also, although the rates have dropped significantly, we are again seeing a rise in Pc – in strains not covered by the vaccine.
Pc is treatable. Serious cases may require hospitalization with IV antibiotics for several days, but most cases simply require oral antibiotics.
The vaccine given for Pc is called Prevnar. And I have found that my doctor does not respond coherently when I question the “Pc vaccine.” He stutters and then replies, “You must mean “Prevnar?” So you might want to address all questions concerning this vaccine by the name “Prevnar.”
There is a second brand named Pneumovax 23. It doesn’t work well in infants and toddlers. But it does contain 23 different strains of the Pc disease, rather than the 7 in Prevnar, thereby making it more effective… in older people.
There is no way to become infected with Pc from the vaccine, as it is not a whole-cell or live-virus vaccine. It contains some sugars from the outer covering of the germs that are filtered out and purified. Those sugars are then combined with a diphtheria toxin that has been purified into a toxoid. And to make the vaccine “work better,” 125 micrograms of aluminum is also added.
See here to read the theoretical dangers of injected aluminum.
Side effects of this vaccine are generally mild, but they do occur in about 20 percent of babies. Those are the standard side effects, such as fussiness, fever, redness, swelling, etc. 15 percent of that 20 percent were considered serious (about 600 cases) and it’s not even known for sure that it was a vaccine (or this vaccine, since they are given so many at once) that caused these “serious” reactions.
And if it stopped there, I would give Benjamin this vaccine. The only worrisome ingredient is aluminum, and I believe as long as I only allow one aluminum-containing vaccine at a time, the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the possible negatives of aluminum.
But there is one more side effect that really hits home with me and my family. One of the serious side effects that stands out is seizures. Seizures can occur after any vaccine due to high fever, but more are reported with this vaccine than any other. When you combine the 4 doses, the odds of a baby having a seizure from this vaccine are 1 in 20,000, more if your baby has a history of seizures.
And the tendency for seizures can be passed genetically.
And I have had to watch my brother suffer his entire life from his genetically inherited seizure disorder. If it weren’t for the seizures that went undiagnosed when he was an infant, he would have normal mental capacities today.
Now, even entertaining the possibility of skipping a vaccine caused my heart to flutter. I don’t want to be held responsible if a vaccine-induced seizure permanently damages his brain due to oxygen deprivation. I also don’t want to be held responsible if he contracts meningitis. What else can I do to ensure my baby won’t catch a serious form of this disease?
Which lead me to the importance, and I’m just going to say that word again, importance, of breastfeeding.
You would have had to have lived in a hole lately to have not heard about the benefits of breastfeeding. If you have, I welcome you to the 21st century. And I will be writing a What I Believe post on breastfeeding one of these days that highlight all the lesser-mentioned benefits. Like the lowered risk of cancer in women. And the lowered risk of diabetes in women. And the higher IQ’s in the children.
But for now, I want to focus on how breastfeeding helps protect children from dangerous diseases.
Breast milk has antibodies that coat the lining of the nose, lungs, and intestines, so most germs that get inhaled or swallowed are killed.
Can formula do that?
(Say it with me, “NO.”)
But there’s more you need to know. These diseases are not just a risk for babies under 6 months of age. And only 25% of babies in the United States are breastfed longer than that.
And they need the protection from these diseases after one year of age, too. And only 15% are still nursing that late in the United States.
These diseases for which vaccinations were invented are for the protection of infants under the age of two. Over that age, the risk of contracting most these diseases in a serious form is very rare.
So if you do not vaccinate, yes, you can count on breast milk to help protect your child. But do not cheat your child from this natural, God-given protection. Nurse for two years or longer.
Another way you can protect your child if you choose not to vaccinate or to use a selective vaccination schedule is to avoid daycare. Before Benjamin caught RSV, I would have said I was doing all I can to prevent him from catching diseases. He didn’t go to daycare and I was still nursing.
Oh, but wait. Church nursery is still daycare.
And guess where he caught that delightful little bug?
Yep, church nursery.
So we won’t do the church nursery anymore.
To wrap things up: No, Benjamin won’t get Prevnar, the vaccine for Pc. But only because I fear he is genetically prone to a seizure disorder, which the vaccine can aggravate. Yes, we will nurse until he is at least two to help protect him. No, he won’t go to church nursery. And so far, the tally stands at one vaccine: the hibTITER brand vaccine for HIB.
Any one else skipping this vaccine? What influenced your decision?
Next up: Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis Diseases and the DTaP Vaccine
All vaccination information came from The Vaccination Book by Dr. Sears.