It is heartbreaking to speak to a mother who reports that she had a normal developing child who lost his/her language or regressed in the week after receiving a vaccination.

Vaccinations are effective and necessary, but need to be given in a responsible manner.

Problems with vaccinations include:

  • Mercury: One badly designed study in California showed no fall in numbers of cases of Autism after the discontinuation of use of Mercury (Thimerosol) in vaccinations. The truth is that vaccinations still contain Mercury in “acceptable” levels.
  • Alluminium: Present in vaccinations
  • Viral Load: Introduction of multiple viral antigens together does not seem to be a good idea in a certain predisposed population. It seems that splitting the viral load may be beneficial.
  • MMR non-sensical: Rubella and Mumps carry low risk of complications and the protection is limited in any case. A case could be made for vaccination of Rubella in teenager girls and Mumps in teenager boys, preferably after determining viral titres to these illnesses. It is suggested that measles only be vaccinated and this done in a healthy child. Any inoculation should be done in a healthy child without any predisposing vulnerabilities.
  • Chicken pox: NO! Exception only in selected immune compromised individuals.
  • Influenza: NO! As above.

  • Be informed
  • What do vaccines do?
  • What are the risks?
Be informed

Vaccinations have come to play an important role in disease prevention. We cannot deny the advantage of vaccination, however, at the same time we wonder about the sense of a universal approach, where individualisation would be more appropriate. Mass preventative measures require an overstated impact, while individualisation be more targeted and fine-tuned. Unfortunately, it does not make financial sense to individualise, because it requires specific evaluation of every case. We also lack the expertise and knowledge to be able to accurately predict all individual outcomes.

We know that we are dealing with an epidemic of allergies, Asthma, Attention Deficit Disorder and Autism in children. We are also seeing an increased incidence of auto-immune disease and malignancies in children (as well as our adult population). The reasons for this are hard to confirm, but there are numerous theories. Increased exposure to vaccination at a vulnerable age is one theory.

What do vaccines do?

Vaccines are prepared from either dead or weakened organisms. Vaccines are grown on cells that could be from human or animal origin (foetal material, monkey kidney tissue, bovine protein, eggs, etc.) The purpose of vaccination is to artificially create active immunity to the particular pathogen injected, so that the person receiving the vaccine will be resistant to that pathogen when exposed naturally in future. Immunity is dependent on seroconversion. No long-term studies regarding the efficacy or risks exist.

What are the risks?

When speaking to parents of children who are absolutely certain that their children experienced regression in speech, behaviour and health directly after being vaccinated, one cannot deny the fact that vaccinations are playing a role in the development of sinister changes. In general, it seems as though there are certain predisposing and existing conditions that are further compromised by vaccinating a vulnerable child.

Vaccination carries an objective set of potential short-term side-effects including:

  • Local reaction
  • Fever
  • Malaise, fatigue
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Skin eruptions, dermatitis, rash
  • Syncope (Fainting Spells)
  • Gastro-intestinal disturbances, such as abdominal pain, food regurgitation, constipation, diarrhoea, gastro-enteritis, vomiting and appetite disturbance
  • Serum sickness
  • Anaphylaxis (life-threatening allergic reaction)
  • Central and peripheral nervous system disturbance, including neuralgia, neuritis, encephalomyelitis, convulsions, Guillain Barre Syndrome and headaches
  • Arthritis, Arthralgia, Myalgia and muscular cramps
  • Bronchospasm
  • Vaskulitis
  • Angioedema
  • Erythema multiforme (Skin rash)
  • Lymphadenopathy (enlargement of the lymph glands)
  • Lupus-type reactions
  • Disseminated disease related to vaccine: TB from BCG, Measles from MMR, Whooping cough from DTA
  • Chicken pox from Varilrix, etc.
  • Sleep disorder, somnolence
  • Thrombocytopenia (Low blood platelet count)
  • Rhinitis, Pharyngitis
  • Shock
  • Apnoea

Schedule and Comments

Our current vaccine schedule in South Africa prescribes 34+ vaccines before the age of 5.

  • At Birth
  • Weeks 6, 10 and 14
  • 9 Months
  • 18 Months
  • Other
  • Vit K: 1 in 100 000 babies are born with a Vit K deficiency and this will lead to bleeding.
  • This deficiency could often be a result of the mother’s insufficient diet during pregnancy. Foods that contain Vit K are broccoli, dark leafy green vegetables, herbs, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cucumber, prunes and spring onions.
  • Tuberculosis: BCG – the efficacy of seroconversion of BCG at birth is uncertain.
  • Oral Polio vaccine (live virus that can lead to some cases of polio, not being used in the US any more for this reason)
  • Diphtheria (D): This is a very rare bacterial infection, which I have never seen in practice but the eradication is contributed to successful vaccination.
  • Tetanus (T): Tetanus is a Clostridium bacterium, which produces a toxin that causes muscular paralysis. Tetanus toxoid is administered in case of injuries where dust particles are involved, as well as animal bites. The toxoid’s effect lasts for approximately 5 to 10 years. The incidence of tetanus is 0.16 per 1 000 000 population. (CDC, US)
  • Acellular Pertussis (AP): Whooping Cough: We still see cases of Whooping Cough from time to time. I have been involved in cases of vaccine damage due to this particular vaccine, as we had a whole cell version until recently. There is some research showing an association between this immunisation and Asthma. Vaccination gives an 80% successful conversion. This vaccine should not be administered to anyone with a history or risk of seizures, neurological disease or febrile convulsions.
  • Haemophilus Influenza (HIB): This is the most common bacterium involved in upper respiratory tract infections in children and Pneumococcus (Streptococcus Pneumonia) is the second most common. Haemophilus is also the main causative organism of Meningitis in the 0 to 3-year age group. There is some research that links this vaccine to an increase in cases of Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus.
  • Polio (IPV): Polio is a devastating, disabling disease. There are episodic outbreaks of Polio, mostly in Africa. The live Polio oral vaccine was the cause of many polio cases before, however, the current safer form is the injectable version (oral vaccines are still “dumped” in Sub-Saharan Africa! – see earlier, routinely given at birth). The IPV contains antibiotics, antifungals, cow serum, formaldehyde and ethanol. This vaccine should not be given to anyone allergic to Streptomycin, Neomycin and Polymyxin.
  • Hepatitis B: This is a sexually transmitted and blood borne virus, thus is the motivation for immunising a baby dependent on that child’s circumstances but sounds a little farfetched. Seroconversion is more effective at older ages.
  • Rota: Rota-virus causes fulminating diarrhoea in babies that can quickly lead to serious dehydration. This is a common viral disease often contracted during hospitalisation for other diseases. Breastfed babies are more protected than bottle fed babies. The Rotarix, as well as the RotaTeq vaccines are genetically manufactured, are live attenuated viruses and can potentially contain stealth viruses.
  • Pneumococcus: Pneumococcus is a very common causative organism (along with Haemophilus Influenza B) of Upper Respiratory Tract infections and Pneumonia. Pneumococcus is a streptococcus, which has been associated with PANDAS (Paediatric Auto-Immune Neuropsychiatric Disorder associated with Streptococcus).


  • Booster of DTaP, IPV, HIB
  • MMR: The MMR contains live attenuated viruses. By giving these viruses into the muscle, we circumvent the normal surface immune processes (Ig on the mucosal membranes.) There is a common misconception that the MMR contains Mercury (as Thimerosal), which can potentially be harmful to children. This is not the case. Live vaccines cannot contain Mercury, as Thimerosal is added to vaccines as a preservative/antiseptic agent. The MMR is contraindicated where an allergy to gelatine or neomycin exists.
  • Measles (M): An infection that presents as a flu-like illness with fever, a red skin rash, eye infection and body pains. The very rare complication is an auto-immune encephalitis (brain tissue infection) and even more rare is SSPE (Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis), a slow progressing demyelinating condition of the brain, 7 to 10 years after the infection. Repetition of the vaccination is solely to produce immunity in the small percentage of people who fail to generate immunity after the first inoculation. The Measles vaccine may rarely cause encephalitis in immunologically healthy hosts and can cause a persistent CNS infection in immune-deficient individuals.
  • Mumps (M): An infection of the salivary glands that, only after puberty, can lead to Orchitis (infection of the testes) with, rarely, subsequent infertility.
  • Rubella (R): German Measles: A mild illness with fever, skin rash and joint pains. The most serious complication here is that when a pregnant woman contracts this disease it could potentially (not always) lead to congenital defects in the foetus.
  • Hepatitis A: The leading cause of infective Jaundice, a disease distributed by faecal-oral contact and often found in close communities, such as military camps.
  • Varicella: Chicken pox – this vaccine contains egg protein, MSG, antibiotics, DNA, and other chemicals. Chicken pox is normally a mild selflimiting disease, presenting with fever and a blistering skin rash.
  • Influenza: Flu: This is one of the vaccines that still potentially contains Thimerosal, a containing Mercury preservative. Seroconversion after an influenza vaccine is quite low and varies from season to season. Efficacy and safety in young children and the elderly population are not the same with the different formulations.
  • HPV: This vaccine is recommended for teenagers (boys and girls) to prevent the contraction of sexually transmitted Human Papiloma virus, as some strains of this virus have been associated with cervical cancer in women. The truth is that regular PAP smears in sexually active women can identify early changes on the cervix and appropriate action can be taken before cervical cancer develops.
  • Yellow Fever: Administered when travelling in tropical areas.
  • Meningococcus: The efficacy of the vaccine against Neisseria Meningitis only lasts for 5 years. Associated with Guillain Barre Syndrome.
  • Rabies vaccine: Only administered when at risk.

Guidelines and Warning Signs

NEVER vaccinate a child who is ill or on medication, no matter what illness he/she has. For me, the most serious underlying disorder would be any gastro-intestinal abnormally: constipation, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting, gastro-enteritis, even reflux, as I believe that underlying gastro-intestinal inflammation predisposes to vaccine complications, especially where the measles vaccine is concerned. Recurrent infections, Eczema and allergies present a risk, I feel, too.

Make sure that development is well within normal limits before vaccinating. One can postpone vaccination until a safer time, if there is doubt about milestones. Obviously, where a child has to be enrolled in a crèche or care facility or in a third world situation where there is concentrated exposure to many other children, the risk of contracting infections is higher, so that would affect one’s consideration.

One can test immunity by doing a blood test. This is not a cost-effective option for third world countries or where cost is a concern, however, it is a logical way to individualise the amount of vaccinations a child will be exposed to.

  • Warning Signs
  • References
  • Gastro-intestinal disease (A stool analysis may be an effective tool to rule out inflammation)
  • Recurrent infections
  • Allergies, asthma and eczema
  • Seizures, febrile convulsions
  • Sleep issues
  • Developmental challenges
  • Sensory dysregulation (auditory/hearing sensitivity)
  • Behavioural issues
  • Flushing: red cheeks, red ears, red eyes, red or dark rings under the eyes
  • Failure to thrive
  1. Talbot, Elizabeth A (2010). The Safety of Immunizing with Tetanus–diphtheria–acellular Pertussis Vaccine (Tdap). Less than 2 years following Previous Tetanus Vaccination 2012 Vaccine Schedules for South Africa, compiled by Amayesa Info Services
  3. Package inserts of vaccination products
  4. Bar-On ES, Goldberg E, Hellmann S, Leibovici L (2012). “Combined DTP-HBV-HIB vaccine versus separately administered DTP-HBV and HIB vaccines for primary prevention of diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B and Haemophilus Influenza B (HIB)”. Cochrane Database Syst Rev (4)
  5. Classen JB, Classen DC. Autoimmunity. 2003 May; 36 (3):123.
  6. Lysenko E, Ratner A, Nelson A, Weiser J (2005). “The role of innate immune responses in the outcome of interspecies competition for colonization of mucosal surfaces”. PLoS Pathog 1 (1)
  7. Bines J (2006). “Intussusception and rotavirus vaccines”. Vaccine 24 (18)
  8. FDA’s MedWatch Safety Alerts: May 2010 Rotarix Vaccine Suspension Lifted.
  9. Demicheli V, Rivetti A, Debalini MG, Di Pietrantonj C (2012). “Vaccines for measles, mumps and Rubela in children”.
  10. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2: CD004407.
  11. Bitnun A, Shannon P, Durward A, et al.(1999) Measles inclusion-body encephalitis caused by the vaccine strain of measles virus. Clin Infect Dis 29:855–861
  12. Fombonne E. (2001) Is there an epidemic of autism? Pediatrics 107:411–413
  13. Taylor B, Miller E, Farrington CP, et al. (1999) Autism and measles, mumps and rubella vaccine: no epidemiological evidence for a causal association. Lancet 353:2026–2029.
  14. Roger JH. (2000) The MMR question. Lancet 356:160–161.
  15. Singh VK, Warren RP, Odell JD, Warren WL, Cole P. (1993) Antibodies to myelin basic protein in children with autistic behavior. Brain Behav Immun 7:97–103.
  16. Singh VK, Lin SX, Yang VC. (1998) Serological association of measles virus and human herpesvirus-6 with brain auto-antibodies in autism. Clin Immunol Immunopathol 89:105–108.
  17. Wakefield AJ, Montgomery SM. (1999) Autism, viral infection and measles-mumps-rubella vaccination. Isr Med Assoc J 1:183–187.
  18. Da Silveira CM, Salisbury DM, de Quadros CA. (1997) Measles vaccination and Guillain-Barre Syndrome. Lancet 349:14–16.
  19. Bitnun A, Shannon P, Durward A, et al. (1999) Measles inclusion-body encephalitis caused by the vaccine strain of measles virus. Clin Infect Dis 29:855–861.
  20. Neal A. Halsey, MD, Susan L. Hyman, MD, the Conference Writing Panel. Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine and Autism Spectrum Disorder: Report from the New Challenges in Childhood Immunizations Conference Convened in Oak Brook, Illinois, June 12–13, 2000 Pediatrics 2001; 107:5.

21. Guillain-Barré Syndrome among recipients of Menactra Meningococcal Conjugate vaccine -United States, June July 2005. MMWR 2005;54:1023–5.

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Dr Louise Lindenberg runs an integrative medical practice in Durbanville, Cape Town. She incorporates dietary intervention, supplementation, nutrition, phytotherapy/herbal medicine, and allopathic medicine in a holistic health care environment. Her passion is working with children on the Autistic Spectrum, including Autism, PDD, ADD, ADHD and behavioural problems.

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