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So An Unvaccinated Child Got Your Kid Sick?

All human beings have the ability to spread a virus, bacteria or fungus. Period.

Whether or not someone is vaccinated against a specific illness does not mean they cannot spread disease.

Whether a person manifests the symptoms of a disease is based upon the fact that his or her immune system was not capable of protecting the body.

This confuses me: You expect my child to get a vaccination to protect yours?

Some parents believe the risks associated with vaccines are negligible. I doubt these individuals have ever met or spoken with a mother or father that has a child that suffers from a vaccine related injury. I doubt these individuals have examined the clinical trials performed on a vaccine. I doubt these parents understand the accurate scope of what herd immunity is and what it is not.

I do believe, however, they want to protect their children and that they are coming from a place of love. That’s why I do not want to attack or condemn my fellow mamas. I only want to provide information I have come across. They can make their own decision – I only ask for them to show the same respect.

Consider: Vaccinated people get the disease they are being vaccinated against.

Scenario: It happens, a child receives the rotavirus vaccine and then several months or years later they get sick with that virus. (Did you know that by the age of five, nearly every child in the world has been infected with rotavirus at least once- vaccinated or not.) [1] The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal

The rotavirus vaccine isn’t alone in respects to losing it’s effectiveness over time.  

There have been studies documenting the elevated rate of disease in highly vaccinated populations. We must understand that administering a vaccine does not protect a child as much as we are lead to believe.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of some studies/reports documenting the incidence of disease in highly vaccinated populations.

1. Immunogenicity of second dose measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and implications for serosurveillance. Pebody RG, Gay NJ, Hesketh LM, Vyse A, Morgan-Capner P, Brown DW, Litton P, Miller E.

“Measles and mumps outbreaks have been reported amongst populations highly vaccinated with a single dose of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine.”

2. Outbreak of influenza in highly vaccinated crew of U.S. Navy Ship. Earhart KC, Beadle C, Miller LK, Pruss MW, Gray GC, Ledbetter EK, Wallace MR. PMID: 11384530 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

“An outbreak of influenza A occurred aboard a U.S.
Navy ship in February 1996, despite 95% of the crew's having been appropriately vaccinated.”

3. Genetic evolution under vaccine pressure: the Bordetella pertussis model. Simondon F, Guiso N.

“Outbreaks in highly vaccinated populations have been reported, raising the issues of vaccine efficacy, of the long-term effect of vaccines on the transmission of the disease, and of genetic selective pressure.”

4. From the CDC: Transmission of measles among a highly vaccinated school population--Anchorage, Alaska, 1998.

“This was the largest outbreak of measles in the United States
since 1996. 33 confirmed measles cases were reported to the Anchorage Department of Health and Human Services and the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (ADHSS). Of these, 26 cases were confirmed by positive rubeola IgM antibody test, and seven met the clinical case definition.”

5. Measles antibody levels in a vaccinated population in Brazil
. Cox MJ, Azevedo RS, Massad E, Fooks AR, Nokes DJ. Department of Biological Sciences, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK.

“The study suggested that, within highly vaccinated populations, a proportion of individuals had measles antibody levels which may be insufficient to protect against re-infection or clinical disease.”

6. Pertussis outbreak -- Vermont, 1996.

This report describes a statewide outbreak of pertussis in Vermont
(1995 population: 584,771) in 1996 in a highly vaccinated population.
7. Outbreaks in highly vaccinated populations: implications for studies of vaccine performance. Fine PE, Zell ER. Immunization Division, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta
, GA 30333.

8. An outbreak of whooping cough in a highly vaccinated urban community. Strebel P, Hussey G, Metcalf C, Smith D, Hanslo D, Simpson J. Centre for Epidemiological Research, South African Medical Research Council, Tygerberg.

9. From the CDC: Varicella Outbreak Among Vaccinated Children --- Nebraska
, 2004
81% of the population infected had been vaccinated.

10. Whooping Cough in California Worries Officials. ABC Healthnews. June 24, 2010

11.  “Whooping Cough returns to Hunterdon County” by Mike Frasinelli, The Star-Ledger,
February 11, 2009 .

12.  Waters, Valerie et al. "Outbreak of Atypical Pertussis Detected by Polymerase Chain Reaction in Immunized Preschool-Aged Children." Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal. 28(7):582-587, July 2009.

14.  "Blurred lines of Influence," by Kevin Crowe and Roxanna Popescu. Published
December 14, 2010

Consider: Vaccines lose effectiveness over time.

Vaccines do not eliminate disease. Vaccines, rather, attempt to elicit an immune response against a specific antigen in the body of that individual in hopes of long lasting effectiveness. If a vaccine is effective at elevating the antibody titers of a person, it does not necessarily mean that those levels will remain high over time.


Protection is estimated to persist for up to 11 years. In a measles outbreak in the U.S. in the late 1980's and early 1990's, it was found that there were a significant number of vaccine failures in older children, teenagers and adults, when the disease can be more severe. The government proceeded to recommend that a second MMR shot be given to boost immunity either before entrance to kindergarten or before entrance to junior high school. [2] NVIC  [3] WHO


Rubella is extremely mild and not dangerous to children.  It is, however, potentially dangerous to pregnant women. Reduced antibody formation has been found 3-5 years after administering the vaccine and 25% of those tested showed no immunity to rubella at all. This means that babies and children who are vaccinated are likely not protected in adulthood. [4] Annals of Internal Medicine


The Merck Manual describes it as a “common childhood disease”.  The manual also asserts that the immune system of a 6 month old is not always capable of mounting a response to the measles vaccine. Mumps immunization provides protection through the blood serum antibodies for at least 12 years, possibly longer. Though there are no studies indicating the actual length of effectiveness. (Please see above for the high incidence of measles in the vaccinated population.) [5] Taking Care of Your Child, 8th edition [6] Merck & Co., Inc M-M-M II Vaccine Insert


Tetanus is not passed from person to person. But for informational purposes, the tetanus vaccine is documented to last around 10 years, which is why it is recommended for adults to receive a booster every 10 years. 

Hep B

It is important to note that the theory/idea behind vaccinating newborns with the Hep B vaccine is that that they will be protected later in life when they are actually at risk for contracting the disease (the majority Hep B is spread through certain risky lifestyle choices such as sexual contact, sharing needles, etc. – of course if the mother has Hep B, then the call for vaccination would be greater).   There is evidence that immunity lasts up to ten years, but beyond that, the duration is uncertain, and the need for booster doses not defined (Journal Watch, 9/1/93.) This means that babies who are vaccinated are no longer protected when they are at greatest risk.  There are no booster doses currently mandated. 

Interestingly enough, many parents who do choose to vaccinate choose abstain from this vaccine.  Protection lasts for approximately 5 years. 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.  No long-term clinical studies exist for Gardasil since the vaccine has only been in the market for about 5 years. Though, in accordance with the FDA's recommendations, Merck is currently conducting a study of 44,000 subjects to uncover the short and long-term side effects of the vaccine. I guess we’ll see then. [7] FDA [8] MedicineNet


Length of protection is unknown.  HIB is a bacteria that lives naturally in the majority of children and is only dangerous if it gets into the bloodstream.  It can cause a variety of different illnesses; unless a culture is taken there is no way to determine if HIB was in fact the culprit. 

Since many people walk around with this bacterium already in their bodies, it is worth noting what causes some children and adults to develop the disease but not others is unknown. [9] NVIC

Consider: Vaccines Can Shed

Shedding is when the live virus that is injected via vaccine, moves through the human body and comes back out in the feces, droplets from the nose, or saliva from the mouth. Anyone who takes care of a vaccinated child could potentially contract the disease for some time after that child has received certain live vaccines. This was a huge problem with the oral polio vaccine, and was one of the reasons why it was taken off the market in the US. (The OPV is still used in developing counties.)

Here are the vaccines that shed or have been known to result in secondary transmission:

Measles Vaccine - Measles virus RNA has been detected in the urine of the vaccines as early as 1 day or as late as 14 days after vaccination. (10)

France, measles virus was isolated in a throat swab of a recently vaccinated child 4 days after fever onset. The virus was then further genetically characterized as a vaccine-type virus. (11)

British Medical Journal, 4 July 1987  recommends that immuno-compromised children should be kept away from MMR vaccinated children for two weeks after vaccination due to the excretion of the virus.

According to the Medical Director of Merck who manufactures the MMR vaccine:  “The attenuated viruses in MMR can occasionally and to a limited extent be shed from a vaccinated individual into the environment.

April 1993 the Ministry of Health and Welfare in Japan decided to discontinue the use of the MMR vaccine (Sawada et al 1993; Lancet; 342 (7 August):371). This decision was prompted by published reports of vaccinated children and their unvaccinated contacts contracting mumps from the MMR vaccine

Rubella Vaccine - Excretion of small amounts of live attenuated rubella virus from the nose and throat has occurred in the majority of susceptible individuals 7-28 days after vaccination. Transmission of the vaccine virus via breast milk has been documented. (12)

Chicken Pox Vaccine - Vaccine-strain chickenpox has been found replicating in the lung (13) and documented as transmitting via zoster (shingles sores) (14) as well as “classic” chickenpox (6) rash post-vaccination.

Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) - In areas of the world where OPV is still used, children who have been vaccinated with it pass the virus into the water supply through the oral/feces route. Other children who then play in or drink that water pick up the vaccine viruses, which can pass from person to person and spark new outbreaks of polio. (15)

FluMist Vaccine -
 The mist contains live attenuated influenza viruses that must infect and replicate in cells lining the nasopharynx of the recipient to induce immunity. Vaccine viruses capable of infection and replication can be cultured from nasal secretions obtained from vaccine recipients.

Transmission of a vaccine virus from a FluMist recipient to a contact was documented in a pre-licensing trial. The contact had a mild symptomatic Type B virus infection confirmed as a FluMist vaccine virus. (16)

Rotavirus Vaccine (RotaTeq) - There is a possibility that one strain of rotavirus which is presently circulating may be an “escaped” vaccine strain, from an old Finnish rotavirus vaccine. (17)

Shared Goals: Having Healthy Children

“My son got _________ because of those unvaccinated kids out there! Those parents should be shot!”

How logical and fair is this argument?

Though we may not agree on how to get there, I know we all agree that we want all children to be healthy and happy. Blaming children, throwing around accusations, and charging mothers with endangering children doesn’t solve much – in fact, I can’t think of one problem these actions solve. Let’s agree to focus on how we can maintain our own health, how to make vaccine usage safer, and the importance of making an informed decision regarding disease management in our children.

Here is a list of some ways to enhance and support the health of children (and ourselves) that doesn’t involve a vaccine or playing the blame-game, of which, are more effective and encompass longer lasting results.

Prenatal Care






If you’ve come across this argument, that unvaccinated children spread disease, how did it make you feel as a parent? How did you react?

References :

[1] Bernstein DI (March 2009). "Rotavirus overview". The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal 28 (3 Suppl): S50–3. doi:10.1097/INF.0b013e3181967bee. PMID 19252423.



[4] D. M. Horstmann "Controlling Rubella: Problems and Perspectives". Annals of Internal Medicine. vol. 83, no. 3, pg. 412

[5] Taking Care of Your Child, 8th edition
A Parent's Illustrated Guide to Complete Medical Care
 by Robert Pantell MD, Jim Fries MD, Don Vickery MD      

[6] Merck & Co., Inc M-M-M II Vaccine Insert:    
[7] (U.S.
Food and Drug Administration, "FDA Approves Expanded Uses for Gardasil to Include Preventing Certain Vulvar and Vaginal Cancers").

[9] /


  1. It may be prudent to read through your sources. Many have conclusions that are far different than yours.

    For example, has the following in the editorial note "This report refutes the misconception that vaccination was ineffective and underscores the importance of investigating such outbreaks and educating parents about the value of varicella vaccination."

    Absolute numbers versus proportional numbers - there is a difference.

    Regarding a whooping cough source you posted: the authors note that in vaccinated children who were symptomatic, that the symptoms were attenuated. They did better than their unvaccinated counterparts.

    Food for thought.

  2. I just read this, found the link on Babycenter :) I love it. I have someone harrassing me, saying it isnt fair that my son has the right to be in the same places as her son just because I chose not to get the flu shot for him. I support vaccinated and non vaccinated children, as this is not a black and white issue, there is no right answer

  3. Jennifer2/01/2012

    Would it be a good argument to ask the parent how my child could give their child a disease they got vaccinated against? I mean, isn't that why parents vaccinate their children - because they think they won't get the diseases they're being vaccinated against??

  4. Thank you all for your comments : )

    Mommy of two - thank you for your notes on the sources I posted. I think you might be missing the point of the post in some ways though.

    If vaccines were as effective and efficient as they are assumed to be, then such high percentages would not occur on such a common occasion.

    I'm not blaming vaccines, pharmecutical companies, the government or other mothers - I am only trying to elicit some logical thinking behind the accusations of 'unvaccinated children get people sick'.

    We have more control over our health then, I think, people would like to become aware of - this is because once you realize the control you have, then you must take responsiblity for it. Blaming people for your health (or the health of your child) or the events in your life is juvenile and doesn't accomplish anything productive.

    I'm sure we can agree on that : )

  5. I think you are right...your first commenter missed the point :)

    It is scary to see all of the new government mandates and such, and now articles from doctors calling for abuse and negligence charges for parents who do not vaccinate. And all of this in a society who cannot hold the companies responsible for their products legally responsible for the damage they do. Vaccines DO damage, and it should be up to the parents, not the CDC. NO PARENT should be forced to give their child something that can potentially damage their child. Ever.

    The same goes for nurses who are now being forced to get the flu vaccine or lose their jobs. How can anyone be forced to choose between a medical procedure or their livelihood? Fortunately, OSHA is stepping up and challenging that one due to lack of evidence regarding efficacy and safety of the vaccine. The CDC is far from perfect and this just proves it. Thank you for your post!

  6. I loved this article and shared it on facebook.

    This is the scenerio I often see. I tell parents that my choice to not vaccinate my children doesn't mean that I am judging them for vaccinating theirs. They quickly say that they too are non-judgemental, but almost in the same breath they voice frustration that their child got a disease from a non-vaccinated child. That's a judgmental stance, and it can be very hurtful. My family has really suffered from vaccine damage. I don't think other families should have to suffer like that before deciding vaccines aren't for their family. It's a deeply personal choice for every family to make and we need to not judge others for their choices.

  7. RN - thank you for sending me your comment but I will not be publishing it. It contains a link to a website I would rather not promote here because I believe the majority of the contents to be unnecessarily hurtful. I will address your concerns in an upcoming post.

    Thank you for your inspiration!

  8. I got my children vaccinated and never have them get the Flu vaccines.
    1. I think you are misleading people by using Flu outbreaks among vaccinated populations. The Flu vaccine mutates and changes every year (sometimes twice a year) so of course a Navy Ship full of people can get the disease.

    2. Look at survival rates of children in third world countries with no access to vaccinations, then look at survival rates after vaccinations. The results speak for themselves.

    3. Please show me actual documented cases of vaccine shedding (other than OPV or the outdated Finnish Rotavirus) that caused harm to non-vaccinated children.

    4. It is a proven fact that viruses spread more quickly through un-vaccinated populations. Polio was a problem in the US until everyone was vaccinated against it. Also, vaccinating everyone prevents epidemics.


    1. Travis, you're misinformed. I personally know several people, including two nurses, who never had the flu before they got the flu vaccine. The winter after getting it, they got the flu several times, and said they were never as sick before in their lives. None of them will ever get another flu vaccine.
      As for polio: The reason polio SEEMED to be eradicated in the USA after they started vaccinating against it is, that they simply re-named it.
      Most cases that would have been diagnosed as polio before mass vaccinations with the polio vaccines were called by different names after they started vaccinating.
      Before vaccinations, there were very few cases of aseptic meningitis, but many polio cases. After vaccination, suddenly it was reversed. Interesting that the symptoms are the same.
      Some of the new names for polio are: Aseptic meningitis, acute flaccid paralysis (and instead of being in the primitive 'iron lung', those kids end up with trach tubes and respirators...... essentially the same thing), Gullain Barre syndrome, multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome....... and there are others.
      Also, just before the worst polio outbreaks, they were spraying DDT with impunity right onto people, cows in stables, onto beaches etc. There is NO proof that 'the polio virus' causes anything.... they've just taken a random stomach virus that is present in virtually everybody, and declared it to be the cause of polio.
      The truth is, that a polio virus has never been isolated. And never will be, as polio is caused by toxins and has many different causes.
      Have you heard of the 48,000 new cases of acute flaccid paralysis in India in 2011? Authorities there have admitted that they were caused directly by the polio vaccine.
      You're deceived if you think that vaccines help the survival of children in third world countries. Vaccines kill them, rather than help them. What would REALLY help their survival would be clean water, enough nourishing food and vitamins, as well as proper sanitation (toilets and closed sewers instead of open sewers). It has been shown that just giving them access to clean water and giving them a bar of soap made a huge difference in their health.
      And as for the 'proven fact' that viruses spread more quickly through un-vaccinated populations, show me your sources for that unsubstantiated claim!
      All the recent outbreaks of measles, mumps and whooping cough in US schools were mostly in fully vaccinated populations of children. In some schools 100% of the students were fully up to date on their vaccinations. Meaning that the 'epidemic' started with a vaccinated child, and spread through the vaccinated student body.

  9. I think their kids put my kids at risk. ;) I'm half-kidding, but I really do believe there's some truth to that. When kids are vaccinated, it's assumed that they cannot contract the diseases they've received vaccines against, so common-sense precautions aren't taken that otherwise would be. For example, how many people do we have walking around with pertussis because they think they have colds? (And yes, that vaccine does seem to decrease the severity of symptoms in most people who've received it and contract pertussis. It's also the one that preliminary research shows may cause SIDS. Not a trade-off I'm willing to make; sorry.) If they thought they might have pertussis, they'd STAY HOME - and not expose our society's most vulnerable members, like those babies too tiny to receive vaccines. But the doctors don't even consider this possibility because "it can't be x; he's received the vaccine(s) for x."

    1. Asymptomatic vaccinated carriers....I couldn't agree more!

  10. TOTALLY AGREE ... If they knew they had whopping cough they wouldn't be blindly walking around coughing on everyone and letting their children cough all over food at school.. maybe they'd actually take precaution.. I think the carriers are the root of this massive whopping cough outbreak..


Please be respectful. If you are about to say something that you would not let your child hear, then please refrain from saying it.