Vaccines: How Long Does Immunity Last?

admin February 8, 2011


Vaccines How Long Does Immunity Last

Today, we’re going to take a look at vaccines. A lot of parents are very confused about this issue. There’s a lot of information out there and it’s hard to sort through. Some parents give up and just trust their doctors. I would urge you to have a doctor you can trust; but also to do your own research. You are the one who has to live with this decision everyday.

Vaccines: How Long Does Immunity Last?

So now we’re going to look at a major issue concerning vaccines: how long does immunity last (accordinging to the medical community)? What boosters do they recommend and why? And how does this play into our decision on when or whether to vaccinate?

Due to the large amount of information out there, we’ll look at just a few key vaccines today.  These are ones that parents who choose to vaccinate usually consider “crucial,” along with a few that are newer to the market and controversial.

It is important to note that as I was conducting this research (most of which comes from WHO and all from major medical sources), I noted that the data from the WHO was extremely optimistic in terms of vaccines effectiveness.  In some cases, the WHO would cite “100% and lifelong immunity,” but independent studies in medical journals said “75% and 5 years max.”  The truth there seems to be that we don’t know how long protection really lasts; we are just guessing.  There are no long-term studies proving that vaccines are effective.  Independent studies show far less effectiveness than government position papers.  There were even notes in several papers that “we assume protection continues even if antibodies fall below detectable rates.”  As antibodies are the primary means of determining protection, there is no way they can logically make such a leap; yet they have.

It is also important to note that non-mainstream sources say that antibodies prove exposure to the disease, but not immunity to it.

One interesting thing I saw was that all vaccines were noted as “highly effective and very safe,” without any data citations.  Studies I ran across did not always support this conclusion.


According to the WHO, up to 15% of children fail to develop immunity to the first dose, which is why a booster dose is recommended.  Most babies receive their first dose around 1 year; the second is given usually before kindergarten.  Protection” is supposed to last up to 11 years.  This means that assuming a child actually gains immunity (some will not even after 2 doses), it will have worn off completely by 16 years of age.

The vast majority of adults in this country are not protected (yet we haven’t seen measles outbreaks among these adults, have we?).  Also according to the WHO, vitamin A supplements and adequate nutrition are key to preventing measles and complications.


According to the WHO, vitamin A also helps to prevent deaths and other complications from polio.  95% of people who get polio, though, show absolutely no symptoms; only 1 – 2% ever develop paralytic polio (and less than 1% of these are permanently affected).  A single dose of the vaccine provides almost no immunity, which is why 4 are recommended; 99% of people should be “protected” after 3 doses.  Length of protection is unknown, but thought to be “many years.”  (This is really untestable since there are no wild cases in the U.S.)


Rubella is extremely mild and not dangerous to children.  It is only potentially dangerous to pregnant women.  Up to 85% of babies born to mothers who were infected before 12 weeks will be born with defects.  Babies whose mothers are infected after 12, and especially after 20 weeks of gestation are usually not affected.  About 95% of people who are vaccinated are then “protected.”

Another source says that only 75% of people are “protected” and that this protection wanes after 3 – 5 years.  This means that babies and children who are vaccinated are likely not protected in adulthood.


This infection isn’t dangerous to children, generally.  About 97% of people who are vaccinated will be “protected.”  According to the WHO, this can vary from 63 – 96% (protection).  A booster is generally given because one dose seems to confer 60 – 90% protection in the long term (also from WHO).  It’s assumed to last around 12 years, though there are no studies about the actual length.


Contracting tetanus is highly unlikely, and is not passed from person to person.  It is anaerobic (meaning it can only grow if there is no oxygen present).  Unless you are on a farm contracting it is highly unlikely.  Doctors also recommend tetanus shots after an injury has occurred, because it can still work to prevent after the fact.  Tetanus shots are said to last around 10 years, which is why doctors recommend a booster every 10 years.

It is interesting and important to note that people who have been naturally infected do not have permanent immunity (which calls into question how a vaccine can produce lasting immunity).  “Protection” is assumed to be conferred to 80 – 100% of those who receive 2 or more doses (though 5 are recommended).  This vaccine also has a higher than average rate of reactions and has been linked to Guillian-Barre.

Hep B

This is one of the newer on the schedule.  The idea is that if babies are vaccinated, that they will be protected later when they are actually at risk, as teenagers (Hep B is spread through sexual contact, sharing needles, etc.).  Unfortunately, one source estimates that “protection” lasts up to 10 years.  This means that babies who are vaccinated are no longer protected when they are at greatest risk.  There are no booster doses currently mandated.  Approximately 90 to 95% of people get “protection” from the vaccine (according to the WHO).


This one is also newer and quite controversial.  Even many parents who do choose to vaccinate choose not to get this one.  It’s been reported to have a high rate of serious adverse reactions.  Sources estimate protection lasts for about 5 years, but this is highly uncertain — “we don’t really know” is more accurate.  Three doses are currently recommended, and there are estimates that these are “needed” to produce immunity (though no studies are cited to prove efficacy after any number of doses).

Most women are at greatest risk of HPV in their early 20s, usually from sexual behavior, but are first vaccinated at 11 – 12 years old, or as young as 9.  If protection lasts about 5 years, girls are no longer protected during their greatest risk period.  There is no data available on what the rate of “protection” is.  (Sorry, but it seems to me if they’ve done no long-term studies that they shouldn’t be recommending it….)


The first source I check says “length of protection is unknown.”  The disease is dangerous only to small children, so older children whose vaccines have been delayed may not even need it.  HIB is a bacteria that lives naturally in most children, and is only dangerous if it gets into the bloodstream.  It can cause a variety of different illnesses (there is no one “HIB” infection) and the same infections can be caused by other sources.  Unless a culture is specifically taken there is no way to determine if HIB was the culprit.

The HIB vaccine is, as usual, assumed to confer 95 – 100% “protection” but there are no studies that determine this is the case.

What Science?

So, in conclusion, I have found a lot of assumptions and shaky or non-existent science surrounding vaccine immunity, protection, length of protection, etc.  It seems that the scientific community is extremely optimistic and enthusiastic, but cannot provide much evidence to support this position.  In some cases the available studies contradicted the general “information” that I found on major scientific websites.  There are a lot of missing pieces in the vaccination puzzle.

It’s definitely a point to consider before choosing to vaccinate.

Does it concern you how long immunity lasts?

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  1. great topic! one i've been thinking and reading a lot about recently. my oldest just turned three and is current (other than his 3 year old shots, assuming he has some). my youngest isn't current and i'm not sure if i'm going to get him current. i might wait at least until he is older. don't schools require vaccines? the whole issue is confusing to me and i want and need to learn more.


    • Stacey — schools say they require vaccination, however, you can opt out. even in the military I have heard stories of people successfully opting out. look online in your state gov website to find the form to do so. or look for the map online that shows state by state what the options for opting out are. every state has medical reasons, many have either philosophical or religious, a few have only one or the other of those. I know in California you now have to get signed off in a medical doctor’s office to use philosophical. I see that as a bid to have a person of authority intimidate you into just getting them. good luck. find other parents who you can talk with openly about your concerns, who have concerns themselves. find a local chiropractor, get a check up, and they can support you in your decision. if they cannot, find a different chiropractor.


  2. Stacey,

    Thanks for bringing up an important point! In almost all states, there are different exemptions you can file — religious (and you don't have to have a specific church or religion, you can usually just say "my personal beliefs prevent me from vaccinating"), philosophical, and medical. Two states have only medical (New Jersey and Massachussetts, I think?). If you sign these exemption forms they do NOT have to be vaccinated to go to school. There are tons of websites to check out your state's laws, but I would check first.


  3. Because we waited 2.5 years to have our oldest vaccinated, he needs fewer shots than he would as an infant. For example, he received a dose of the polio vax at 2.5, which includes the polio vax. He only needs one more dose, and it can be at age 4 or 5 (I forget), to be fully protected. He only needed one dose of Hib, as well.


  4. Thanks for posting this! We did all the vaccinations for my daughter (except the Hep B) until she was 10 months and then stopped. I just cannot be comfortable with taxing her immune system like that at such a young age, especially when no one can assure me that they are definitely safe and effective. We're expecting our next little one in May and I'm thinking we'll probably vaccinate a lot less if at all. Thanks for pointing out that no one really knows how long protection lasts.


  5. FYI, Massachusetts has religious exemptions for not vaccinating, which I use.


  6. What kind of nut-job are you? You blather on about not vaccinating your kids. Why do you think these were vaccines were created? Simply to make money? You've got to be kidding me. If we have millions of people walking around un-vaccinated, you're going to have lots of people getting sick unnecessarily.

    Look at your own research, 75 to 100% of people vaccinated have a great chance of not getting sick with some of these terrible illnesses. Before many of these vaccines were created, people fell ill and died by the thousands, that is why we require it for schools, that is why doctors recommend it. Do you not know that the sicknesses that were brought over by the Europeans killed off the Incans? Killed off countless American Indians?

    By your logic, people with STDs shouldn't wear condoms or refrain from sex because they only work a certain percentage of the time.

    You're a phony that has no job other than sitting at home writting this anti-establishment dribble. You're probably one of those people that breast feeds thier child until age 5 too. An extremely large number of people in this country are vaccinated, a very tiny sliver of those have complications.

    You're putting my children at risk spreading this garbage, thank you very much, now go to college and get a real degree in medicine.


    • Putting your children at risk? How? I’m confused!
      You sound as if you are for vaccinations, why then would you worry about your children if they are vaccinated?
      Shouldn’t they be immune to the diseases…….


    • Ron — it might be useful for you to go to college and, at least, study biology. or better yet, micro biology. as it turns out the death rate from the black death, or bubonic plague was not even from the fleas, it was air born, and so a form of pneumonia. the death rate was huge, but really only in the cities. as it turns out, a recent find of skeletons shows that they were deeply malnourished. they had rickets and anemia, at the least. over and over it has been found that medical care can decrease death rates if they can provide clean water and hygiene. in some areas mosquito nets. after that, it is essential that the people have food. yes. food. malnutrition weakens the body and allows even normally occurring microbes to overtake the immunity and cause illness. go get a degree yourself. and calm down. if you believe vaccines work, then get yours and you will be safe. (you do know that most adults in this country are not recently vaccinated, don’t you?)


    • Oh, also, this:

      “You’re probably one of those people that breast feeds thier child until age 5 too.”

      Actually, it’s been proven that breastfeeding confers the mother’s immunities to the child ( you can do more research on this yourself, but here are some links: and ) this immunity is not life-long in most cases (although it may be in some cases), but it can last for as long as six months after breastfeeding stops, which is a good reason to breastfeed longer, and which then in turn begs the question: if you are in favor of vaccination for immunological reasons, why do you decry the use of this proven method of conferring immunity?


    • Ron, if your children’s immunizations are as effective as you have been led to believe, then my unvaccinated child poses no risk to your child.


    • Ron, you are an idiot. What you want is something blathering on about how great vaccinations are and anybody who says anything about them you conider the least bit negative is all from the devil. This brief treatise on the subject contains more wisdom on the subject than I have saw in a long time. It you would stop being stupid and open up your eyes you would see the wisdom being laid before you. Kate is trying to give you the efforts of her hard earned research gleaned from what seems to be hours that may have been extended over years from the WHO (World Health Organization) on what vaccinations can and cannot do.

      Vaccinations are not a panacea for all of the world’s ills. What Kate seems to be doing is finding where they are missing the boat. I read of the young lady that was infected with Measles at Walt Disney World (who infected her?). She was too old for the MMRV vaccination when she got infected since the CDC (Center for Diseasse Control) say that the MMRV is not available to anybody over 12 years of age. If you are too stupid to look it up I can only help you that I found it with the following search terms at DuckDuckGo: “CDC How long does MMR vaccines last?” without the quotes. Contrary to what you believe, Kate is trying to find the most effective means of using vaccinations to help protect people. Even further, she is poiting out how they fail and the ways to make sure they fail less offten. Can you ask for anything more? I am going to recommend that NOVA does a lot to dispel the myths about vaccinations and what they can and what they cannot do. What do you think those boosters are for? They are there because just one innoculation doesn’t do it all. Go talk to a doctor and MAYBE you will learn something. Kate and Modern Alternative Mama are NOT against vaccinations. They are just trying to find the most effective means of using vaccinations to provide distributed health care to everybody. SHEESH!


    • Beware, folks, Ron may be a shill. Had he done an OUNCE of research he would have discovered that few adults ever get boosters and are therefore a HUGE part of the population that are walking around unvaccinated. Where are the epidemics? Yes, vaccines were made as money generators for Big Pharma – you only have to follow the money to find this out. And those working hardest to mandate them are those who stand to gain the most. There is little to no science to show that vaccines are safe OR effective. In fact, the United States Government have labelled them as “unavoidably unsafe.”


    • I’m confused. How are your children at risk if they are vaccinated? If you believe that vaccinations work, then how is an unvaccinated person putting your child at risk? They are vaccinated so they should be safe. Correct?


    • I’m nearly sixty and was fully vaxed and still got all the childhood diseases as did my siblings, my parents, everyone. Measles, mumps and chicken pox are not the horrible deadly diseases they lead you to believe. You have fever the first day and feel blah. Then you play and watch TV. It is about money. Drug companies make billions,employers don’t want employees missing that much work and schools don’t get money on the days kids are absent. Immunity only lasts a few years. People are walking around by the millions that no longer have immunity. No outbreaks. I’ve never known anyone with natural immunity to get the same disease twice.If you’re vaccinated, what are you worried about. It’s the unvaccinated that are taking a risk and the diseases are milder than the flu.


    • Also, it’s drivel. Not dribble.


    • How old are you? Odds say you don’t have protection yourself. You are a hypocrite along with most vaxers. The statistics say vaccines are not traceable after 5-20 years. So here you are arguing for a vaccine that you aren’t up to date with. And guess what, no plague, sickness, deaths…


  7. I do not vaccinate my children for a few reasons.
    1 – The ingredients aer nasty
    2 – The potential adverse reactions are scary. Diabetes, arthritis, seizures…
    3 – The decline in death rates to the diseases that the vaccines are for happened before the vaccines were even introduced
    4 – I'd rather my child get something like the chicken pox or measles and gain life long immunity, rather than getting these vaccines that wear off.


  8. Great post! After reading a lot of information on vaccines I decided that there is absolutely no point in it unless you want health problems and in some cases very serious ones.

    There is a study I read about that was conducted on cats who were vaccinated generation after generation and every next generation had more problems with conceiving the next one (including behavioral problems, infertility and earlier and earlier onset of puberty – sounds familiar?) and the 4th generation just was infertile and died out, this is called mutation.

    There is yet a study to be conducted to compare vaccinated vs unvaccinated, so there is almost no truly scientific research to look at.


  9. Ron,

    Do you have anything INTELLIGENT to add to the conversation? Some research you'd like to share with us, that proves both the safety and efficacy of vaccines? Would you like to share the proof of what you say? Can you prove that vaccines are not in any way involved in the epidemic of chronic diseases, an issue I didn't even touch on in this post?

    Until you want to actually share information in a reasonable and mature fashion, rather than just slinging insults (which leads me to believe that you have no facts on your side), I'll just discount everything you say. Thanks for trying.


  10. The vaccination decision was one of the toughest for me. I think this was because my gut said no but it took a long time for me to be ok with following my intuition. I was not comfortable with the ingredients in the vaccines and do not feel that the "benefits" outweigh the risks, especially as there really is no solid information on their effectiveness.


    • Thanks for posting this! I have 2 kids an 8 year old and a 10 month old…the 8 year old has been vaccinated but i have had something telling me not to vaccinate my baby. It has been hard because people constantly question the decision which then leads me to doubt my choice. There are a lot of what ifs on both sides of the vaccination dilemma.


  11. Thank you for addressing this very important issue! I have five children ages 6 months-14 years, none of them have been vaccinated & neither was I. My parents chose not to vaccinate my 7 siblings and me for many of the same reasons I do not vaccinate my children; simply stated: the long-term effects are unknown!
    My husband was vaccinated as a child and is perfectly health, so he was skeptical about choosing not to vaccinate, but after he researched the issue he saw that there is NO WAY to prove that the benefits of vaccinating outweigh the very serious risks. And that is the exact reason I have put on the exemption forms for school (we live in Michigan & use the philosophical exemption).
    I can also tell you that my siblings and I were very healthy growing up & my children have been health as well. But having a good diet, getting adequate exercise & rest are very important (for everyone, but especially young children).


  12. lol – I love when people try to say you're putting their kids at risk by not vaccinating. If you're so convinced that vaccines prevent these diseases… then shouldn't your children be all set?

    Thanks for your research ModernAMama. We have chosen not to vaccinate our child at all and are not planning to vaccinate any future children either. We're incredibly uncomfortable with the ingredients contained in vaccines, with the fact that some of them are created using aborted fetal tissue, with the undocumented/unresearched long-term effects of vaccines, with the possible adverse effects, and with the unnatural way they seek to trigger immunity. Not to mention the fact that the immunity is not lasting, and not even guaranteed in the first place. We'd much rather take our chances with childhood illnesses – most of which tend to be not bad at all and offer lifelong immunity. We've also looked at the research showing that a lot of illnesses were on the decline BEFORE vaccines were introduced and found it to be compelling as well.

    We've been very fortunate to find a pediatrician who respects our wishes as parents.

    Thanks again for putting yourself out there. I appreciated your response to Ron – it's definitely a tell-tale sign, when people get nasty, that they usually don't have any real facts backing them up.


  13. I found a great list of the ingredients they put in the shots but didn't book mark it and can't seem to find it again if you come across it I would love to see it again. This is weighing heavily on my mind. Not sure what to do with the one on the way.


  14. Rebecca,

    Here's the list:

    I'd urge you to keep researching, and don't do anything until you're sure. You can always start later, but you can't take back a vaccine once it's given.


  15. Wow, what a lot of great information! I am not vaccinating my son, simply because his risk of dying of one of these diseases is so low compared to the potential for a severe reaction. But I had no idea immunity was so short-lasting. Especially for things like chicken pox, measles, and mumps, where the disease is usually harmless in children and can be dangerous in adults, keeping them immune during the time they could safely get the disease sounds like a very bad idea to me! Unfortunately we would probably have a very hard time trying to let our child catch wild measles, since it's around so little. Hopefully that also means he's unlikely to be exposed to it later in life.


  16. this contains excellent information. thank you for providing it. however i have chosen to vaccinate my children on an alternative scheule mainly because my 2 boys suffer from hemolytic anemia and if they contract certian virus they could get very sick and require blood transfusions. however i do support parents who choose to not vaccinate or vaccinate on an alternative schedule.
    amazingly so this past summer i met a doctor at my childrens vbs who is a vaccination specialist and i asked him what he thought about vaccinating on an alternative schedule and he told me "off the record" that he supports alternative scheduling and in fact vaccinates his young children on an alternative schedule. that says a lot to me.


  17. We do not vaccinate due to the cocktail of ingredients included in vaccines.
    Note that human diploid tissue culture is from aborted humans and is in the MMR, Chicken pox, Hep B and Polio.


  18. Thanks so much for the post! Just wanted to say I'm here too, not sure where I stand, but I know I'm on the non-vaxing side of the fence. And to quote a previous commenter… yes, I do tend to be pretty "anti-establishment" on several issues. And also, I don't trust that a lot of the vaccine education in this country isn't "simply to make money."
    All of the mainstream information about vaccines comes from researchers that are paid by the pharmaceutical companies. Then they report their findings to doctors and our government. So of course, all the easily-available info is pro-vax. Research that says vaccines are ineffective or unsafe doesn't make any one any money, so there's no one with any motivation to spend money to do it.
    This single issue is why my 6-month-old 3rd child has never been to the pediatrician. I'm just tired of arguing about vaccines. I was talked into more than I wanted with my first two.
    Anyway, great post! You're doing a great job 🙂


  19. Thanks for another great post! I have friends on both sides of the issue and they are pretty extreme. Thank you for posting a balanced, informative post with research to back it up. Nicely done.


  20. fyi: all 50 states allow for a medical exemption, but that is usually difficult to get and in some states, your doctor's recommendation for a medical exemption can be overruled. 48 states allow for religious exemption. the terms of this differ from state to state. some states do not require anything more than you submitting a letter stating that you have a religious objection to either all vaccines or to select vaccines. some states make it more difficult and will try to make you "prove" your religious belief. some will also say that if you have a religious objection, it must be to all vaccines, so you cannot selectively vaccinate and claim a religious exemption. west virginia and mississippi are the only 2 states that do not allow for a religious exemption…they only allow for medical exemption. there are several states that allow for medical, religious, and philosophical/personal belief exemptions. you can find more info about vaccine exemptions by state here:


  21. I once listened to a great podcast (i wish I could remember who it was) and it stuck with me – whether you choose to vax or not, just make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. Make sure you educate yourself, and don't vax because the doc said to, and don't NOT vax because someone else said not to. Do your research and then make your decision.

    Apart from being insulting, I think Ron is oversimplistic – of course a big part of vaccines is about money – it is a multi billion dollar industry and the chickenpox (varicella) vaccine only reinforces that for me. I have chosen to vaccinate my children for the majority of diseases, but draw the line at ones such as chickenpox, Gardasil and the flu vax (swine and regular) as I feel they are unnecessary.

    However, I do think that if your child is unvaccinated, then you need to be responsible in the case of a disease outbreak and keep your children home in this event as your child can be a carrier. This is especially true of measles that requires a very high immunisation rate (upwards of 90% of the "herd") for the vaccine to be effective. This is where I think most people misunderstand vaccines – it will not necessarily prevent you from getting a disease – it simply increases your body's defences against it. And that is how herd immunity is accomplished. If 100% of a population is vaccinated, it becomes very difficult for a disease to find a carrier that it can establish a foothold in.

    On the other hand, if you focus on feeding your family a real food diet and maintaining your family's natural defenses and hygeine, you will also be proactively preventing disease from gaining a foothold. Which is why I will not vaccinate against the flu.


  22. Chic Mummy,

    It's very important to understand that many of those who choose not to vax do not believe in herd immunity. One of the strongest arguments against it is that most of the disease outbreaks we have seen in the last several years have been primarily in highly-vaccinated communities. Clearly there's some other factor at play. It's also important to understand that many of these diseases are NOT dangerous to young children (kids over a year or two up until around age 10), and in fact there may be benefits to allowing children to get them. Some evidence has shown that children who do get measles, for example, are less likely to get cancer. There isn't much research in this area, but it seems to be that children who get acute illnesses naturally have an easier time fighting off the serious, long-lasting stuff. So, there are many, many reasons why families may choose not to vaccinate. I just wanted to correct a couple of your assumptions, in case anyone reads this, as what you stated are some of the primary reasons why parents who choose to vaccinate get upset with those who don't. In the upcoming weeks I'll be posting on "Myths About Unvaccinated Kids."


  23. Thanks, Chic Mommy, for stating the opinions and facts in your post in such a mature and intelligent manner. Although you and I make different choices for our children (I've chosen almost no vaccines), I can respect what you have to say and enjoy reading your post.
    You proved that no one (not to name any names… that begin with R) has to be harsh and insulting just to disagree.
    And you're so right about the real foods, natural defenses, etc.
    Thanks for sharing.


  24. Thank you for doing this research. I've been hearing more and more controversy surrounding vaccines and been thinking I needed to do some research. So thank you for showing me there is lots of data out there, if we just look for it. I'm really amazed that sooo many people believe in vaccines when it looks like most of us aren't immune to much of anything once we aren't teenagers anymore.


  25. While Ron's approach is fairly self-defeating if for no other reason than it makes people not want to listen to him, I'm inclined to agree. Non-vaccinated children, especially those with parents who don't work proactively to remove them from school or community environments where a disease is present, are a risk to everyone around them, vaccinated or not. I have statistics to back that up but before that think logically. Yes, it is true that no vaccination is 100% effective. I've seen statistics about the '89-90 outbreak of measles in LA county to be approximately 12% composed of vaccinated children, this puts the vaccine effectiveness rate around 95%. That being said, the chances of being exposed to it go WAY down if everyone is vaccinated. There's a study in the UK that shows that while there were only 9 cases of measles in the north east region in '08 there were 230 in London. The differences in vaccination rates were 91% in the northeast and only 75% in London. In the 89-90 outbreak in LA county the unvaccinated children made up 88% of the victims. That is a startling number considering that the unimmunized children represented between 5-8% of the total school population. If you have religious objections, fine, I'm not going to tell you your religion is more wrong than anyone else, but if you are not immunizing your child because of some misplaced belief that it will harm them, you really ought to put more thought into it. Yes, there are things in immunizations that are 'icky' but there are icky things in many things we enjoy every day. Salt is a combination of a deadly gas and an explosive metal. In the end, if you would rather your kid gets measles, or mumps, or polio, or smallpox please keep them away from my child, because I did my part to make sure he wasn't the one who is the foothold for the outbreak that leaves kids all over the country needing leg braces to walk or finding a horrible young death because I wanted to feel superior. The reason there is no more small pox in the world is vaccination, the reason you don't see polio in America is vaccination, not partial vaccination, not judicious use of vaccination on kids in urban areas, vaccinating EVERYONE. Remember that every day your kid doesn't die of a preventable disease because we've all but wiped it out in America.


  26. John,

    Choosing not to vaccinate has NOTHING to do with 'wanting to feel superior.' Parents choose this as a conscious, researched choice that they believe is best for their children. It is only about what is right for that family. Families have medical, religious, and personal reasons for choosing not to vaccinate. A lot of the 'facts' you're quoting do not match the ones I've found via research (yes, via CDC and WHO and other major sites). For example, these children who are catching measles (a very tiny percentage; lower than the number who are suffering reactions to the MMR) are NOT dying of it. 'Polio' isn't gone, they just label it something else — besides, over 70% of polio is asymptomatic anyway. Most measles deaths are from vitamin A deficiency.

    The idea that vaccinations are the only way to prevent these diseases (or at least severe complications from them — who cares if your kid is itchy for a couple weeks?) is a very sad one, because it means that our other lifestyle choices, like diet and other health measures, do not matter. That is not true. What you're saying is also passed around frequently to scare parents into vaccinating because they feel helpless.

    It's just not true that we'd see all kinds of fatal diseases cropping up again. Because the cases are still relatively infrequent, and the vast majority of people who do catch anything do not suffer any permanent disability or death. Have you noticed that trend among the recent outbreaks? I have. That's why it's absolutely silly to say "People will die!" They're not, even when they catch something! The only people who have died (very rare) are very young babies or those who are immunocompromised. Babies didn't catch these diseases at all when their mothers were naturally immune, because they could pass that immunity to the babies. Now that their immunity is not very strong, nor permanent (because vaccines do not stimulate the immune system in the same way as natural infection), they do not pass it to the babies, meaning they are not protected. That is a failure of vaccinations, frankly.

    Anyway, the point is, you're not saying anything I haven't heard before. You're saying the same things every mainstream person says to try to scare parents into vaccinating. There's a lot more to the story than that. And please, please, NEVER assume any parent would make any decision based on "wanting to feel superior." That is just insulting. My choice may be different than yours, but I still want what is best for my kids first and foremost, as I'm sure you do.


    • Why did Scarlet Fever almost completely disappear with no vaccine?


      • It hasn’t disappeared. It is very much still around. I got it in 1998. In fact, there was a huge epidemic of it in China in 1998.

        What’s changed is that people rarely die or develop heart damage from it due to antibiotics.


    • In Syria, polio made a comeback because vaccination rates declined.

      And yes, I know that most polio sufferers never developed paralysis. My mother had polio without becoming paralyzed. But the fact is that there were four kids in her neighborhood who did end up with braces on their legs. Three of them eventually got out of the braces, but developed post-polio syndrome later.

      So the answer is that if vaccination rates declined the disease absolutely could and probably would make a come back.


  27. I live in the uk and have been made to feel guilty about not up dating my childs immunizations. I suffered from panic attacks when my son was born and for a few weeks I was a mess and not thinking straight. I felt overwhelmed with the pressure to immunize my son and as he was my first child 'I did what I was told' by the medical profession. It wasn't until after the 3 sets of injections in the first 4 months of his life that I objectively looked back at his 'little red book' charting his weight to link his bowel movements and none weight gain, they all happened after each set of injections. He was breast fed solely until 6 months then he self weened at the age of 2 and a half (that's not weird Ron either). I felt tremendous pressure when the time for his mmr vaccination came round (just before his first birthday) All my friends had their children vaccinated and kept telling me to do the same my partner didn't really have an opinion and when he was 18 months old we decided to get him vaccinated as the pressure from all around was high. (even my mum would cut out articles about children that had caught something or other – not helpful)(an appointment came in the post every month for him for the 6 months we postponed it). I consulted our homeopath and took some measures that were to help counteract any side effects, however he immediately reacted to the dose. His vocabulary was extremely good at 18 months and for about a month he stopped saying all the words he knew he would cry constantly, before he was a very happy child. It took weeks for him to return to his old self. This scare has stopped us giving him further immunizations and I had constant reminders to have the pre school booster for mmr for months before he went to school. I was advised to have the injections as individual doses in the future (not by my doctor or health visitor as they didn't believe me) by freinds that thought that was the safest option. He is 6 now and just starting his 3rd year at school and I still have uncomfortable conversations with freinds who just think I am silly for not getting him immunized.After reading countless pages of information on ingredients and statistics I am of the opinion that I will be doing possibly more harm than good in the long term by giving him any further immunizations, I may have done that already by the cocktail of drugs he has already been subjected to. At least in the uk there are no laws regarding immunizations and school I do not have to say why or even tell them whether my son has had or not had them. The only time anything regarding this comes up is if there is a school outing and the form asks is his tetanus up to date, I mostly ignore this question as he had them as a baby amongst the cocktail they pumped him full of then. The medical information regarding tetanus cannot seem to confirm how long the injections last for anyway or whether anyone would be completely protected either if they had had a booster.


    • Spotter, My dad talked to me about not immunizing my children but I just didn’t get it at first. They all had the 1st couple of rounds (the girls came from Russia and didn’t have them until they were older due to their ages at adoption). I finally got it and stopped the immunizations. My granddaughter was due for her 1st shots at about 3 months and when my daughter took her to her 1st “wellness” appointment, she told the nurse that she wasn’t going to immunize until she was 3. I had advised her to say this so she wouldn’t have to fight the fight. The nurse said she understood and then left the room and came back in with the immunizations prepared. I guess she thought that since my daughter was a young, new mother that she could just steam roller her. My daughter stood her ground and left with the baby. We are asked quite frequently what we are doing with respect to our granddaughters environment and learning options because she was so bright and verbal and such a young age. Total strangers stop and ask us our “secret”. We tell them and they are stunned. My granddaughter is now 5 and hasn’t been to the doctor since because we’re bright and we are the judge of her wellness. She is quite well, thank you, LOL!


  28. Modern Alternative Mama, thank you so much for your posts! I have new to your blog, but I have been devouring your posts, especially the ones about vaccinations. It is very evident to me that you are quite well-read on vaccines and know what you are talking about! I am a nurse and am preparing to teach a class to new parents about vaccines, among other parenting issues. (This is for a group of homebirth parents, all of whom breastfeed, and most of whom practice AP, live fairly naturally, and who certainly question vaccines. I am not a mother yet myself, but my husband and I intend to have our babies at home and I am an aspiring midwife). The more I learn about vaccines, the more concerned and disgusted I become. I know you wrote this post a while ago, but if you happen to see my comment and it wouldn’t be too much trouble, I would really love the following information…

    (1) Links to articles/data documenting disease outbreaks showing that these occur in largely vaccinated communities (anything from WHO or CDC would be amazing!)

    (2) Links to data showing that various diseases decreased dramatically in the U.S. before the introduction of the vaccine

    (3) Links to data debunking herd immunity

    (3) I am very interested in everything you said about how vaccines and disease will likely change/worsen over the coming generations, and especially regarding babies not getting sufficient immunity from their mothers d/t their mothers having been vaccinated as children rather than having natural infections. It’s non-sensical to think about how kids are vaccinated from diseases that are generally mild when occuring in childhood, but that are more problematic later in life when the vaccine wears off! So here’s my question: I was born in the 80’s and was fully vaccinated, as were most of the parents I’ll be teaching. If we decide NOT to vax our kids, and then they do happen to come down with wild measles for example, could that potentially be disastrous for adults like me who have no natural immunity to measles (or anything other than chickenpox)? I realize the liklihood of this happening is very rare, but I couldn’t help wondering.

    Thanks so much! Keep up the good work!


    • Hi Hailey, thanks for your comment! I will be posting on vaccines a couple more times in the near future, addressing more issues. I will keep these questions in mind when I am writing and researching (I’m pretty tired of some of those myths too!). Have you seen the post Do Your Research!: Vaccines yet? That one will have a lot of the links you are looking for, I think.


  29. Very informative info! Everytime I talk to friends with kids about possible side effects from vaccines, I get the crazy look. They say oh I read about autism possibly related to vaccines but noone knows if thats true, and idon’t want to risk them getting any of these diseases. Makes sense, since adverse effects are way worse than any of these potential diseases!!! Right.
    You are potentially inundating your tiny babies immune system with high amounts of mercury, formeldehyde, and aluminum to name a few when giving them so many shots at one time.
    I would make sure you are giving your child the thimerosal free vaccines, which is used as a preservative. Thimerosal is half mercury by weight. Mercury, we all know, is a toxic substance. Studies indicate that mercury tends to accumulate in the brains of primates and other animals after they are injected with vaccines. Mercury poisoning has been linked to cardiovascular disease, autism, seizures, mental retardation, hyperactivity, dyslexia and many other nervous system conditions.
    I wouldn’t believe anything the government labels as safe. (Just look at fluoride, toxic if swallowed, says so on your toothpaste tube, but yet it’s ok to ingest in your waterbecause it helps develop your teeth?

    Just a thought, to really research what exactly you are injecting straight into your child’s systems.
    There have been lawsuits involving deaths of babies related to vaccines, but of course you never head about those. My mom knew a woman whose child suddenly died from SIDS within a week of immunizations. Perfectly healthy before. Hmmmmm?


  30. Very informative info! Everytime I talk to friends with kids about possible side effects from vaccines, I get the crazy look. They say oh I read about autism possibly related to vaccines but noone knows if thats true, and i dont want to risk them getting any of these diseases. Makes sense, since adverse effects are way worse than any of these potential diseases!!! Right.
    You are potentially inundating your tiny babies immune system with high amounts of mercury, formeldehyde, and aluminum to name a few when giving them so many shots at one time.
    I would make sure you are giving your child the thimerosal free vaccines, which is used as a preservative. Thimerosal is half mercury by weight. Mercury, we all know, is a toxic substance. Studies indicate that mercury tends to accumulate in the brains of primates and other animals after they are injected with vaccines. Mercury poisoning has been linked to cardiovascular disease, autism, seizures, mental retardation, hyperactivity, dyslexia and many other nervous system conditions.
    I wouldn’t believe anything the government labels as safe. (Just look at fluoride, toxic if swallowed, says so on your toothpaste tube, but yet it’s ok to ingest in your water because it helps protect your teeth? Fluoride is supposed to be a topical treatment. There’s no proof that suggests ingesting helps anymore than me swallowing my conditioner bottle to get luxurious healthy locks. There is a disturbing dark side to the history of fluoride and how it was introduced into the American water supply. Look into it! Anyhoo, sorry about that tangent).

    Just a thought, to really research what exactly you are injecting straight into your child’s systems.
    There have been lawsuits involving deaths of babies related to vaccines, but of course you never head about those. My mom knew a woman whose child suddenly died from SIDS within a week of immunizations. Perfectly healthy before. Hmmmmm? The mom said that she noticed a change in her baby’s behavior immediately after shots.

    Don’t let anyone talk you into or pressure you into vaccinating. Like someone else said, you will have to live with the effects and consequences if your child’s immune system could not handle or was sensitive to these additives in vaccines.


  31. Historically, the population of small children was the vector for the rubella virus, A universally immunized population of under-12’s provides protection for our pregnant mothers. By the time we reach an age to have children, our immunity is gone–this is the case even if we contracted the actual rubella as a child, rather than simply receiving the vaccine.
    This was my experience. I wasn’t vaccinated–I did have the virus as a five year old. Nonetheless, I was not immune–carried no antibodies–by the time of my pregnancy in 1988. If I had contracted it then, my daughter would have been at grave risk of life-long disability. I am grateful that I wasn’t then surrounded by selfish, complacent nut jobs like the anti-vaxxers who spread this dangerous doctrine today.


    • As an adult, it’s your responsibility to get tested before becoming pregnant, if you’re worried, and get yourself an MMR. Not require everyone else around you to get the vaccine. That is what is selfish — “all of society ought to protect ME.” You were fully capable of getting an MMR at any point in your adult life….

      In the future, if you say things like “selfish, complacent nut jobs” I will NOT publish your comments. I don’t put up with rudeness.


      • That’s an absolutely bogus argument.

        People who say the vaccine should be used to protect pregnant women are thinking about not wanting any kids to be blind or deaf due to measles or rubella, not just their own.


  32. Ok, in fairness, I do see a misinterpretation of the data: the link says that vaccine-conferred immunity to measles stays constant for 11 years, not that it fades away by then. It does say, though, that there is no data for those over 16, which is a very important issue.


  33. There is a measles outbreak in Phoenix. My kids are mostly grown (15,20, 22). All vaccinated. The reports are that mmr lasts a life time. I posted this link on FB. NO one made a comment. I really don’t know what to believe. The best I have heard is they are responsible to be tested for their “possible” immunity. Am I hearing lies that it lasts a life time? Are there any studies? If vaccinated adults can get measles, doesn’t it make sense to have childhood diseases? I would love discussion on this.


    • Hi Bunny,

      New studies show that the MMR does NOT last a lifetime, only 8 – 10 years. That is why they have added boosters to the schedule. You can find all kinds of studies by searching for “MMR efficacy pubmed” (or whatever you want to know with ‘pubmed’ after it). Many public libraries will let you access the full text for free if you’re interested. This is a conversation we absolutely need to be having, but that for some reason, many people do not want to have. :/


      • Risk of disability is something everyone should take seriously.

        Historically vaccines were seen as a duty everyone had to everyone else. Since there are always some people who failed to become immune, maintaining herd immunity as a community responsibility and not an “individual parent’s choice”.


      • There’ve always been debates as to how frequently people need to be revaccinated. Nothing new or special there.

        That doesn’t mean vaccines are “not effective”. If correct it was just increase the need for boosters more.


  34. […] Does immunity really last?  And does it transfer to the next generation? […]


    • Heard immunity simply means this.

      If the vast majority of the population is immune to a disease either via vaccination, genetics, or prior infection that the disease will have no real chance to spread through the population and thus having a vaccinated majority will protect a certain small number of people who either weren’t vaccinated for some reason or for whom the immunity failed to take.

      The percentage of people who must be immune to foster herd immunity (defined by highly effective protection of a susceptible minority) can range from 75%-98% depending on factors such as the nature of the disease and conditions of the community. For example a water born disease might have a herd immunity as low as 75% in a developed country with advanced sanitation, but have to be as high as 90% in an Indian slum or Syrian refugee camp. A wildly contagious virus such as measles might require 95-97% of the population to be vaccinated in order to have full herd immunity no matter where you live. Other diseases like hepatitis A, influenza or mumps will require higher numbers in places like dorms or barracks than in spacious suburbs. Mosquito born diseases might require lower numbers of people are using bed nets, mosquito control and DEET.

      This is the issue anti-vaccine people often fail to understand. Their unvaccinated child’s risk is low because they are often surrounded by a sea of vaccinated people.

      The the vaccinated population fell below a certain level, all it would take is one infected person to enter the US, before customs knew he or she was sick (most of these diseases are contagious before the person starts feeling sick.)

      If enough people in the US opted not to vaccinate their kids for polio it could come back-all it would take is one infected person on a plane from Nigeria or India.

      Herd immunity does NOT pass to the next generation.


  35. Sorry, what you say about MMR is incorrect. Serological studies from several countries show that immunity from the current vaccination schedule is very long, > 30 years, or as long as the current schedule has existed. Recent outbreaks in Europe also show that the overwhelming majority of those that fall ill are unvaccinated.


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I’m Kate, mama to 5 and wife to Ben.  I love meeting new people and hearing their stories.  I’m also a big fan of “fancy” drinks (anything but plain water counts as ‘fancy’ in my world!) and I can’t stop myself from DIY-ing everything.  I sure hope you’ll stick around so I can get to know you better!

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