Have you ever felt confused by the vast amount of information about vaccines that’s floating around on the internet? On the one hand, in California at least, a child isn’t allowed to go to preschool or kindergarten without vaccinations or a medical exemption. On the other hand, we really don’t want to cause inadvertent harm to our children by overwhelming their immune systems with too much aluminum, formaldehyde, thimerosal, and other vaccine ingredients. We have populations of anti-vaxxers who say “No way am I injecting anything like that into my child.” And then we have the pro-vaxxers, who say, “Follow the recommended schedule because herd immunity is very important to our society.” What if you’re somewhere in the middle of those two groups, wanting your child to be protected from childhood illnesses but also being wary about possible longterm side effects of vaccines?

This is where I highly recommend “The Vaccine-Friendly Plan,” by Paul Thomas, M.D. It was just published in 2016, so it has very current, relevant information in it. He writes from the unique perspective of growing up in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in a missionary family with a mother who was a nurse. He saw the immediate benefits that vaccines had on the lives of the poverty-stricken and malnourished people there. When he returned to the United States and became a doctor, he saw the miraculous effects of vaccines like the Hib (Haemophilus influenza B) vaccine that essentially saved thousands of children’s lives from meningitis. But he also saw a new rise of chronic health conditions, including “food allergies, attention deficit disorders, childhood anxiety, childhood asthma, childhood depression, eczema, gastroesophageal reflux, headaches, ear infections, neurological disorders, sinus infections, lung infections like pneumonia, urinary tract infections, and virulent strep throat.” He speculates that the toxins in our world, including but not limited to childhood vaccines, can be contributing to these chronic conditions. “The Vaccine-Friendly Plan” is a “comprehensive guide to childhood health and well-being, offering parents not only balanced information about vaccines but also everything else you need to know to keep your child safe and healthy.”

I love the way this book is organized. Dr. Thomas writes thoughtfully and concisely. Chapter 1 is about the toxins that are ever-present in our world, including acetaminophen, aluminum, aspartame, endocrine disruptors, flurried, methanol, and mercury, and how to mitigate them in our children’s lives. And then the following chapters are organized by the age of your child: from your pregnancy to the first hours of life outside the womb, the first two weeks of life, the two-month well-baby checkup, the first nine months, the one-year mark, the toddler and preschool years, elementary school, and the teenage years. He writes about vaccines and his recommended vaccine schedule that he uses with his patients, but there is so much more information that you didn’t even know you were looking for. He includes a summary of recommendations at the end of each chapter with answers to frequently asked questions that come up in his practice. Whatever the age of your child, you can go immediately to the relevant chapter and begin reading. Chapter 11 is a cheat sheet about the best ways to support your child’s immune system, and then the Appendixes have things like recommended reading lists, a comparison of the CDC (Center for Disease Control) vaccine schedules in 1983 and 2016, “ten questions to ask when looking for a pediatrician,” lists of vaccine ingredients, and clinical data from his practice.

The major selling point of this book, in my opinion, is the study from Appendix E. Dr. Thomas has followed 2,230 children over the ago of two and under the age of seven in his clinic. He compares children who followed his recommended vaccine plan with a group of unvaccinated children and a third group who were vaccinated according to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) vaccination guidelines. The rate of autism in the United States is 1 in 50 children, so, theoretically, the children from all three study groups “should” have had the same autism rate. No children who followed his recommended vaccination plan developed autism. There “should” have been 22 cases of autism in the first group. No children who were unvaccinated developed autism (there “should” have been 4 cases), and 15 children who followed the CDC vaccination schedule developed autism (a rate of 1/60), which follows the national average. This data blows my mind. Mindful vaccination can dramatically reduce autism in our children. Think about that!

Anyway, if you get a chance, pick up this book, read it, recommend it to others, and keep it in your reference library.

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