One of the most important decisions that every new parent makes is whether or not their child should receive a vaccination. Regardless of what your stand is, it is highly recommended that you learn about the vaccine in question – especially its efficacy and risks – before giving it to your child.
In the United States, the hepatitis B vaccine is one of the first vaccines a child receives. Regulation states that they get it within the first few hours after they are born.
Natural health expert Dr. Joseph Mercola says that the hepatitis B vaccine is the least justifiable of any vaccine there is. Hepatitis B is only transmitted via contaminated needles, blood transfusion, or contact with contaminated blood and/or body fluids, which puts babies at very little risk of contracting it. If the mother does not have it, then it is very unlikely that her child can get this disease.
In addition, the hepatitis B vaccine’s effectiveness has been called into question when serious side effects, including sudden deaths, have been reported following its administration.
Infant Deaths Following Hepatitis B Vaccinations
In a span of two months, eight infants from China died within minutes or hours after receiving the vaccine. In late 2013, a total of 17 deaths were noted among Chinese children age five and younger following hepatitis B vaccination.
Among the eight infant deaths, six died after receiving the vaccine manufactured by Shenzhen Kangtai Biological Products. The other two occurred after vaccination with a product made by Beijing Tiantan Biological Products. Investigations have been conducted, and use of these vaccines has been suspended.
According to preliminary investigation, no link between the deaths and vaccines has been found. But a final conclusion has yet to be reached, pending the infants’ autopsies to find the real causes of death. Both drug companies deny the accusations, while Chinese health authorities, including China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission, report that nine of the 17 deaths are due to unrelated causes, such as acute pneumonia, suffocation, and kidney failure.
Regardless of the findings, shares of these companies have dropped by 10 percent following the incidents. Negative reactions regarding the government’s analysis and conclusions have spread on social media, while a father of one of the 17 deceased children believes that the findings that their children’s deaths are non-vaccine-related are “absolute rubbish.”
Deaths Related to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
According to Dr. Mercola, it is not unusual for authorities to rule out a child’s death following vaccination as “coincidence.” Common cases have occurred in the United States, where deaths have been attributed to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), without any investigation on its cause.
When an infant’s cause of death is listed as SIDS, it is rare for anyone to check the baby’s vaccination history to determine if his symptoms were vaccine-related, even if biomedical literature has highlighted this connection. However, in China, the deaths occurred close to vaccination and the connection could not be ignored.
In the wake of these deaths, Shenzhen Kangtai Biological Products issued a statement saying that the deaths may be associated with an underlying disease, and that “coincidental diseases are the easiest to misinterpret.”
Shenzhen Kangtai is China’s biggest hepatitis B vaccine producer and holds 60 percent market share. It was US pharmaceutical corporation Merck that granted technology to the Chinese drug company in the 1990s. Vaccines were established in China in an effort to improve food and drug safety.
Hepatitis B Risk by the Numbers
Hepatitis B is a rare, blood-transmitted disease, with only 54 cases in the zero to one age group reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 1996. Statistically speaking, the incidence of the disease in the said age group was just 0.001 percent. At the same time, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) states that there were 1,080 cases of adverse reactions, with 47 deaths, from the hepatitis B vaccine in 1996 within the zero to one age group.
Dr. Mercola says that, in reality, vaccine-derived immunity is short lived. Around 30 to 50 percent of vaccinated individuals lose their antibodies within seven years, while 60 percent who respond to the vaccine will lose detectable antibodies within 12 years. This means that these vaccines will not be able to provide any protection against the real causes of hepatitis B: promiscuous sexual behavior and intravenous (IV) drug abuse.
Dr. Mercola adds that 50 percent of people who contract hepatitis B develop no symptoms after exposure. An additional 30 percent will develop only flu-like symptoms. Both groups end up with lifetime immunity. Twenty percent of those exposed to the disease will develop hepatitis B symptoms; 95 percent of this 20 percent will fully recover with lifetime immunity.
Further, the possibility of children developing the disease is very small, and only 1.25 percent of those who are exposed will experience a serious complication.
Recommendations from Dr. Mercola
Since 1991, the recommended US childhood vaccination schedule involves a series of three hepatitis B shots:
- The first shot is administered within 12 hours after the child’s birth
- The second shot is given between one and two months of age
- The third is given between six and 18 months of age
Even if this is a part of the federal vaccine regulations, Dr. Mercola says that it is solely up to you whether you want your child vaccinated or not. If you’re expecting a baby soon, make sure you do enough research on the vaccine risks versus benefits.
If you decide against the vaccine, you can amend the “consent for medical treatment” forms you sign upon entering the hospital before childbirth. You should also inform every nurse or medical staff taking care of your baby about your choice.
There are reports that some newborns are being vaccinated in the nursery against their parents’ wishes. In this case, keep your newborn with you at all times, or have a relative stay with the baby while in the nursery.
Dr. Mercola also stresses the importance of having yourself tested for hepatitis B if you’re pregnant, as it is possible to pass on the infection without developing any symptoms. If you are a carrier, your baby will definitely be at risk.
For more information about the hepatitis B vaccine, along with other vaccines for infants, visit the National Vaccine Information Center.