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Vaccination - The Pros and Cons




Vaccine vials with needleDr. Sarah Myhill

I have concerns about immunisations in general because I suspect they result in an overall gradual erosion of the immune system. This is compounded by excessive use of antibiotics, excessive use of hygiene (mothers who bring up their children in squeaky clean environments put them at high risk of allergy and asthma), the depletion of micronutrients in our diets as a result of modern food choices and agriculture techniques and the exposure to toxins such as pesticides and heavy metals.


There are some vaccinations which I believe are essential such as polio, tetanus, diphtheria and possibly whooping cough. They have also been around for a long time and we think we know the problems. I think that the evidence for other vaccinations is less certain and each case needs dealing with individually. Hepatitis B is a difficult one and should probably be given to 'at risk' groups. I am particularly concerned about vaccinations which are given altogether such as for example MMR. Nowhere in nature is one likely to meet up with several viruses in one go and I think this may explain some of the problems which follow vaccination. As a general principle try to be as healthy as possible on vaccination day!


Vaccination and CFS. Vaccinations are a two edged sword because whilst they have the potential to prevent illness, they can certainly cause flares of CFS. Indeed I have several patients with CFS dated from vaccinations such as flu or hepatitis B. However usually this has been on the background of overwhelming stress


Influenza vaccination: should you have one? One of the commonest triggers of a flare of CFS is flu. One can usually expect a mini epidemic most winters and a major epidemic one in every four winters. If you are the sort of person who regularly gets flu every winter then I would recommend you have a flu vaccine. If you are the sort of person who could become very ill as a result of flu (such as heart failure, chronic chest etc) you should consider flu vaccination. If you are the sort of person who never gets flu, then I would not care to risk flu vaccination. Between the two there is a grey area and it is for each individual person to decide for themselves what is the best thing to do.


MMR vaccination: I think the evidence that the MMR vaccine causing autism is strong and I would not like to use this mixed vaccine in any child. In any case it is a complete waste of time giving rubella to boys and mumps to girls. Girls do not need rubella vaccination until they are sexually mature and by this time they will have had a good chance to have the infection and be naturally immune. Measles is a nasty illness and there probably is a case for vaccination young, but not in combination with the other viruses.


The trouble in UK is that the Government has banned the use of the individual vaccines measles and mumps. However with a doctors letter it is now possible to get these vaccinations individually. They can be ordered through IDIS 0208 410 0700.


Gulf War Syndrome. GWS is a classic example of a CFS with several causes. One probably cause was the many vaccinations that the soldiers received in one day. Some said they had 14 injections at one session. It is perfectly possible that this could have caused some sort of immune disruption resulting in CFS.


Polio vaccination: an example of what could go wrong. The epidemic of CFS we are seeing at the moment may be partly caused by polio vaccination. Before polio vaccination, everybody got the polio virus at some stage in their lives and a few developed paralysis as a result. As a result of the immune system fighting the real polio virus an immunity to all enteroviruses was stimulated. These enteroviruses included Epstein Barr virus (glandular fever), ECHO, coxsackie B etc. Polio vaccination gave immunity against polio, but not these other enteroviruses. Enteroviruses are a major cause of post viral syndrome. Indeed it has been estimated that over 20% of people who get glandular fever never recover their full energy levels.


So we have swapped one problem for another, less polio paralysis, but more post viral syndrome.


My concerns about vaccinations. My philosophy is always 'mimic Nature'. A vaccination will never produce the same strength of immunity as getting the real infection. My worries are: The insidious erosion of the immune system. Giving vaccinations may block very useful cross immunity to other viruses. For example there are some viruses which cause cancer. I do not wish to inadvertently block immunity to one of those! We are constantly meeting new viruses and our bodies have to learn to cope with them.. We have no idea of what long term problems we are storing up.


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People in this conversation

  • Hi R.M.,

    I was faced with this dilemma when I travelled to rural Mexico for a week in 2006. Having suffered from ME/CFS for 20 years and had bad reactions to vaccinations before I wanted to avoid them. Hepatitis A, typhoid and rabies vaccinations were all recommended but in the end I decided to take the risk. Despite living on what was essentially a farm surrounded by animals and dirt for a week I was fine and there was no sign of these illnesses among the local human or animal population. Of course this is just my personal experience, I may have been very lucky.

    I think you have to carefully weigh the pros and cons of vaccination. If like me you have reason to believe being vaccinated has a high risk of causing adverse reactions, based on past experience or any health conditions you might have, then it is certainly worth careful consideration. If you are healthy and have not reacted badly to vaccinations before then the prudent course of action would most likely be to have the recommended vaccinations. Ultimately the choice is yours but it is certainly worth researching the risks of the various vaccines and the chances of contracting the illnesses in the regions you will be visiting. Of course your doctor should always be a part of this process.

  • Hi Jack,

    I'm a little confused by your comment. The article you are commenting on was written by a medical doctor with around 30 years of practice experience, much of which with people affected by environmental illnesses who often react badly to vaccinations - surely that makes her qualified?

    Maybe you would like to tell us exactly which part(s) of the article you disagree with? That way other visitors can respond to your concerns.

  • Dr. Myhill specialises is chronic fatigue syndrome/ M.E. and fatiguing illnesses where there is proven immune dysfunction and strong anecdotal evidence that vaccinations aggrevate the situation. Her comments must be taken in the context therefore of someone who has observed the negative effects of vaccines over a number of decades. She is not calling for parents to completely stop vaccinating their children against life-threatening illnesses....she is simply urging caution since the complete picture of how vaccines affect the immune system is not yet known.

  • Dr. Myhill is indeed a medical doctor. She has around 20 years experience treating patients suffering from CFS, fibromyalgia, Gulf War illness, and other chronic illnesses with an immune component. During this time she has seen the fact that vaccinations can and do have adverse consequences - both triggering and exacerbating these increasingly common illnesses. I am suprised by your reaction to this article. Dr. Myhill does not irrationally or illogically say that nobody should be vaccinated. She is simply aware of the negatives and is proposing a cautious use of vaccines and only those that are essential.

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