Are there any alternatives to getting vaccinated?
Sure. You can read about them all day long from holistic “experts” and on anti-vaccine websites.
Are there any good alternatives to getting vaccinated?
No. At least not if you want to be truly protected from vaccine-preventable diseases.
Alternatives to Getting Vaccinated
Unfortunately, some folks don’t have other options and they need to look at an alternative for protection from vaccine-preventable diseases that doesn’t include vaccines.
What do they do?
Extremely few people can’t get at least some, if not most, of their vaccines, even if they do have contraindications to some others. And many exemptions are temporary.
“Parents need to balance the need of the immunoreconstituted child (post-transplant SCID) to be protected from exposure to infection from live vaccines and close contact–transmitted vaccine-derived infection with the need of the child to integrate into society and develop social and learning skills in group environments.”
Medical Advisory Committee of the Immune Deficiency Foundation
They also try to avoid people who are sick and try to make sure that everyone around them is vaccinated to help maintain herd immunity levels of protection.
Neither is always possible though.
Post-exposure prophylaxis is another option that is available to help prevent some vaccine-preventable diseases. For example, if your unvaccinated child is exposed to measles, they can often receive immune globulin to help them avoid getting measles.
Regimens for post-exposure prophylaxis are also available for:
- chicken pox – varicella zoster immune globulin or immune globulin
- diphtheria – antibiotics
- hepatitis A – immune globulin
- hepatitis B – hepatitis B immune globulin
- influenza – oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir
- meningococcal disease – antibiotics
- pertussis – antibiotics
- rabies – rabies immune globulin
- tetanus – tetanus immune globulin
When possible, immunization typically accompanies these post-exposure prophylaxis regimens.
There is one big problem with these types of post-exposure prophylaxis regimens though. You are not always going to know when your child is exposed to someone else with a vaccine-preventable disease. While some exposures might be obvious, like if your child steps on a rusty nail or is bitten by an unvaccinated dog who has rabies, you might miss some others.
Bogus Alternatives to Getting Vaccinated
What other alternatives to getting vaccinated are out there?
Unfortunately, there are none that work.
Many bogus alternatives to getting vaccinated are pushed by those opposed to vaccines as ways to boost your immunity, and they can include:
- breastfeeding – while breastfeeding is great and always encouraged, the passive immunity it provides will not protect your baby from most vaccine-preventable diseases, as it contains IgA antibodies, not the IgG antibodies you would need to prevent diseases like measles, tetanus, chicken pox, and Hib, etc.
- homeopathic vaccines – nosodes are homeopathic vaccines that have been diluted so much that they are supposed to retain a memory of the original substance. Even if they did – that’s not how immunology works.
- herbs – neither echinacea, goldenseal root, nor elderberry syrup is going to boost your child’s immunity
- vitamins – unless your child is severely vitamin deficient, taking vitamins isn’t going to boost their immunity, whether they are taking extra vitamin C or extra vitamin D
- foods – Japanese mushrooms, kale, broccoli, lettuce, cabbage, avocados, ginger, black currants, graviola, green veggies, onion seeds, and berries might all be great to eat, but they aren’t going to boost your immunity
- probiotics – they may help prevent antibiotic associated diarrhea, but there is not much evidence that taking them regularly does anything else
- essential oils – they sometimes smell nice, but they aren’t going to boost your child’s immune system
- chiropractic adjustments – not going to work
- sun exposure – in addition to the worries about skin cancer, not only does extra sun exposure not boost your immune system, the WHO reports that “Several studies have demonstrated that exposure to environmental levels of UV radiation alters the activity and distribution of some of the cells responsible for triggering immune responses in humans. Consequently, sun exposure may enhance the risk of infection with viral, bacterial, parasitic or fungal infections, which has been demonstrated in a variety of animal models.”
- fermented cod liver oil – this is not going to boost your child’s immune system, but folks should also know that there have been reports that the products that people have been buying and using for years were rancid and actually making them sick! There are much better ways to get vitamin D and vitamin A in your diet than taking fermented cod liver oil each day.
What about natural immunity?
While natural immunity can in some ways be more effective than vaccine induced immunity, it often comes at a price. You have to recover from the disease, hopefully without any long term consequences, to develop natural immunity.
What to Know About Alternatives to Getting Vaccinated
People who truly can’t be vaccinated rely on herd immunity, because in most cases, there are no effective alternatives for vaccines.
More On Alternatives to Getting Vaccinated
- Immunizations for people with primary immunodeficiency diseases
- Weakened Immune System and Adult Vaccination
- Postexposure Prophylaxis for Common Infectious Diseases
- CDC – Antiviral Agents for the Treatment and Chemoprophylaxis of Influenza: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)
- Groups with special vaccination requirements
- Severe Combined Immune Deficiency and Combined Immune Deficiency
- IDF Patient & Family Handbook or Primary Immunodeficiency Diseases, 5th Edition
- The Story of David
- Homeopathy and Vaccination
- How to boost your immune system
- Do spinal ‘adjustments’ stimulate the immune system or just the chiropractors’ cash flow?
- Study – Posterior Rib Fractures in a Young Infant Who Received Chiropractic Care
- Exposing Chiropractors Who Use Spinal Manipulation on Newborns
- WHO – Health effects of UV radiation
- Airborne Settles Case On False Advertising
- dōTERRA: Multilevel Marketing of Essential Oils
- Essential oils: A perfect example of alternative medicine exaggeration
- Coughs, colds, and the “appealing but mistaken concept of boosting the immune system”
- Boost Your Immune System (or Not)
- Boosting your immune system
- Boost Your Immune System?
- More Boosting the Immune System
- The pseudoscience of immune system boosting
- Boosting the immune system – sorting science from myth
- Can You Boost Your Kid’s “Low” Immune System?
- Passive Immunity 101: Will Breast Milk Protect My Baby From Getting Sick?
- Probiotics: In Depth
- Vaccine Schedule: Altering the schedule