The Vaccine Friendly Plan Review 2020 - Updated

“Finally, a book about vaccines that respects parents! If you choose only one book to read on the topic, read The Vaccine-Friendly Plan. This impeccably researched, well-balanced book puts you in the driver’s seat and empowers you to make conscientious vaccine decisions for your family.”—Peggy O’Mara, editor and publisher, Mothering Magazine

“Sure to appeal to readers of all kinds as a friendly, no-nonsense book that cuts through the rhetoric surrounding vaccines. It offers validation to those who avoid some or all, while offering those who do want to vaccinate help on how to do so safely. This is a great book for anyone with children in their lives.”Natural Mother
“A valuable, science-supported guide to optimizing your child’s health while you navigate through complex choices in a toxic, challenging world.”—Martha Herbert, M.D., Ph.D., Harvard Medical School
“An impressively researched guide, this important book is essential reading for parents. With clear and practical advice for shielding children from harmful toxins, it will compel us all to think differently about how to protect health.”—Jay Gordon, M.D., FAAP
“Personalized health care based on the needs and vulnerabilities of individuals is the way to deliver optimal medical care. In this book you will learn a new way of thinking about vaccines. Rather than a one-size-fits-all vaccine strategy, the authors suggest thoughtful, individualized decisions based on research and collaboration between parents and clinicians—a plan to optimize a child’s immune system and minimize any risks.”—Elizabeth Mumper, M.D., founder and CEO, The Rimland Center for Integrative Pediatrics
“This well-written and thought-provoking book will encourage parents to think through decisions—such as food choices and the timing of vaccines—that affect the well-being of their children. In a world where children’s immune systems are increasingly challenged, this is a timely addition to the literature.”—Harriet Lerner, Ph.D., bestselling author of The Dance of Anger and The Mother Dance
The Vaccine-Friendly Plan is a treasure trove of scientific facts mixed with common sense. Paul Thomas, M.D. and Jennifer Margulis, Ph.D., encourage parents to follow their instincts, to do their own research as it pertains to their family’s health, and to rethink what is true healthcare. Likewise, they challenge doctors to step it up to look further into the latest research that impacts the health of their youngest patients.”—Mary Romaniec, author of Victory over Autism: Practical Steps and Wisdom toward Recovery for the Whole Family
“Impressive and compelling. Whether you’re trying to conceive or already parenting teens, you need to read The Vaccine-Friendly Plan. It’s about so much more than just vaccines—this book is a comprehensive guide to children’s health that gives you everything you need to know to keep your children safe and healthy. I’ll be recommending it far and wide.”—Lyn Redwood, R.N. co-founder of the Coalition for SafeMinds

About the Author

Paul Thomas, M.D., FAAP, received his M.D. from Dartmouth Medical School and did his residency at UC San Diego. He is a board-certified fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and board-certified in integrative and holistic medicine and addiction medicine. His practice, Integrative Pediatrics, currently serves more than eleven thousand patients in the Portland, Oregon, area. He was named a top family doctor in America by Ladies’ Home Journal in 2004 and a top pediatrician in America in 2006, 2009, 2012, and 2014 by Castle Connolly. Dr. Thomas grew up in Zimbabwe (the former Rhodesia) and speaks both Shona and Spanish. He is the father of ten children (ages twenty to thirty-two), all of whom are vaccinated. He lives with his family in Portland, Oregon.
Jennifer Margulis, Ph.D., is an award-winning science journalist who has been researching and writing about issues related to children’s health for more than ten years. Her articles have appeared in The New York Times and The Washington Post, and on the cover of Smithsonian Magazine. A Boston native, she lives in Oregon with her husband and four children.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

The Vaccine Friendly Plan

Chapter 1

Toxins, Toxins, Toxins: Raising Healthy Children in a Poisoned World

When Brayen Perez was nine years old, he ran into the kitchen, grabbed a bottle of what he thought was Gatorade off the counter, and chugged it. His mouth and throat on fire, Brayen screamed in pain. He had no idea that his father had borrowed Drano from a neighbor to unclog the sink and poured it into the Gatorade bottle. Brayen spent the next thirty-­two days in the ICU unable to swallow or talk, fed through a feeding tube. He’s better now, but his father still hasn’t forgiven himself.

Children in America have also been poisoned by windshield wiper fluid (mistaken for Kool-­Aid) and tiki torch fuel (thought to be apple juice). Some recover. Others aren’t as lucky. Though immediately rushed to the hospital, Oklahoma toddler Jhonethyn Bumpas died three hours after a mistake like this.

It’s not hard for parents to understand that chemicals like Drano are extremely toxic and that they need to do everything they can to keep them away from their children. But it is much harder for parents to understand that even very small amounts of everyday chemicals, though not immediately poisonous, can devastate our children, especially their developing brains.

I tell parents that when it comes to toxins, one plus one does not equal two: It could equal ten, or one hundred. When we mix small amounts of toxic chemicals together, it can create a much larger negative effect than separate exposure to either toxin on its own. Your child may be able to withstand repeated exposure to something harmful, but the toxin accumulates in his system and may eventually cause harm over an extended period of time (like cigarette smoke or X-­rays). The amount, the route of entry, the timing of exposure, the individual sensitivity to the chemical, and the presence of other toxins in the body are all important aspects of toxicity. Developing fetuses and infants are most vulnerable to harm.

I’m Worried Most About Your Baby’s Brain

The CDC currently estimates that one in every forty-­five American children has an autism spectrum disorder.

In addition to autism, we have seen exponential rises in other brain-­related problems among children, including attention deficit disorders, anxiety, and depression.

While genetics are part of the equation, I believe that we are poisoning our children’s brains at a time when they are most vulnerable, a time when they are developing rapidly, exposing them both to untested chemicals and to known neurotoxins. Autism is an environmental disorder, an epidemic that we have caused by failing to practice evidence-­based medicine. I’m telling you this not to scare you but to empower you. You need to know the environmental toxins that are damaging to neurodevelopment, and hence are likely contributing to the autism epidemic and other developmental and mental health conditions, so that you can do everything you can to avoid them and have a healthy baby.

Families who have children with autism and other neurological disorders often come to me because I have a reputation for helping these children using integrative medicine and approaches that will promote their own natural biochemistry and allow them to best heal and recover. I don’t have a special cure for autism; unfortunately no one does. But I am an open-­minded doctor who is not afraid to educate myself about remedies that work, to individualize medicine, and to look at the whole child. I listen to parents. The approach I use is also embraced by many functional medicine doctors and naturopaths (doctors who have trained in both Western and alternative medicine), as well as integrative medicine physicians like me. We try to understand the root causes of the conditions we are treating. We test for genetic vulnerabilities. We heal by restoring biochemistry, aiding the body’s ability to remove toxins, and using diet and nutrition, along with medication, to recover damaged health.

How do I know autism is something we doctors are helping to cause? Because in more than a thousand children who were born into my practice since 2008 whose parents follow my vaccine-­friendly plan, there have been no new cases of autism.

And I am not alone. My medical colleagues across the country who have adopted similar vaccine-­friendly protocols and begun spacing out vaccines for infants, as well as eschewing vaccines in families at risk for autism, are also seeing excellent results.

Number of children diagnosed with autism whose parents presumably followed the advice of mainstream American pediatricians: one in forty-­five.

Number of children diagnosed with autism whose parents followed my vaccine-­friendly plan: zero.

Toxins That May Be Implicated in ADHD, ADD, Anxiety, Autism, and Other Developmental Delays

Acetaminophen (also called paracetamol), a pain reliever found in more than six hundred over-­the-­counter and prescription medications, including DayQuil, Robitussin, Sudafed, Tylenol, and Vicks

Aluminum, a metal injected as an adjuvant in vaccines and other pharmaceutical products, also found as a contaminant in intravenous nutritional products

Aspartame (NutraSweet, also called E951), an artificial sweetener used as a sugar substitute in processed foods and beverages

Endocrine disruptors, any chemicals that interfere with the human endocrine (hormone) system, including pesticides, herbicides, chemical softeners in plastic, flame retardants, and chemicals used in agriculture, disease control, manufacturing, and industrial processing. Known endocrine disruptors include BPA, DDT, DEHP, DES, dioxin, PCBs, and PCBEs.

Fluoride, a chemical added to drinking water and found in toothpaste, pesticides, Teflon pans, and processed foods and beverages

Methanol, a chemical found in cigarette smoke, canned and jarred foods, smoked fish and meat, and any food product that contains aspartame

Mercury, an element found in thimerosal (a mercury-­based preservative widely used in infant vaccines until 2001 and still used in some flu, DTaP, DT, and meningococcal vaccines), dental amalgams (fillings), fish, shellfish, and animals that eat fish, released into the air from coal-­burning factories and aluminum smelters.
What We Don't Know Can Hurt Us A doctor I know watched for hours, every day, for years, one of his sons line up toy cars without knowing something could be wrong with his son's brain. "He's just all boy," would tell this guy. His wife consented. His son was unable to remember his kindergarten ABCs, and had almost no memory or memory. School has been especially difficult for him. But it wasn't until he came home from third grade and told his father, "Dad, I'm the stupidest kid in the class," that his parents forced themselves to admit that something was really wrong.

Tests found that this little boy had elevated levels of heavy metals in his body, as well as an MTHFR deficiency, a genetic code mutation that causes metabolism failure, also making it difficult to get rid of toxins. (For more on MTHFR defects, see Chapter 2.) Before knowing the extent of their son's condition, this family did not care about staying away from processed foods, consuming organic products, filtering their water or even eliminating toxins. A doctor who is married to a nurse, they definitely would never have thought of challenging the timing or importance of any prescribed vaccination, ultrasound or other intervention. Yet, over time, their son tended to be slowly contaminated by toxic environmental exposures.

And that inevitably contributed to my friend beating himself up. "We've done that to him," he said, keeping his hand over his face. "My wife spent the whole pregnancy drinking Crystal Tea. With any ache and discomfort she took acetaminophen and submitted to several ultrasounds. "Is this their fault? Is it up to their pediatrician? Was it up to the government? Is it the pharmaceutical firms'? I don't know. What counts is that they should have prevented their son's brain illness and learning difficulties. The tale can be anybody's.

The kids know that we love them and the damage that we do is never deliberate. But I call on you to be diligent, educate yourself and now plan to make small but crucial changes that will improve every aspect of the wellbeing of your child.

Does Cause Autism by Acetaminophen?

Aspirin was the pain reliever of choice in the United States until the early 1980s, when research emerged that linked aspirin and Reye's syndrome, an exceedingly rare but lethal disorder that presents as brain and liver swelling. In the mid-1980s, due to fears regarding Reye's syndrome in small children, as well as Johnson & Johnson's very popular ads, acetaminophen effectively replaced aspirin as the main remedy for fever and pain in pregnant women and young children. More than six hundred prescription and over-the-counter drugs (including NyQuil, Sudafed, and Percocet) are also the main ingredient in Tylenol.

But in 2008, at the University of California, San Diego, a team of five scientists led by Stephen Schultz released an significant study comparing eighty-three cases of children with autism with eighty controls. The study showed that children who took Tylenol after receiving the vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella were far more likely to have autism than children who did not. Although the study has some weaknesses — it has a fairly small sample size, it relies on parental memory, and it does not provide clinical record confirmation to support either the diagnosis of autism or the use of acetaminophen — the results were meaningful. Children aged between twelve and eighteen months with acetaminophen were eight to twenty times more likely to have autism than children who got ibuprofen or no pain — killers. Following the MMR vaccine, parents of children who were autistic have reported more side effects, including fever, rash, vomiting, irritability, and seizures, than parents of children who did not.

Taken alone, this work does not suffice to stop the use of acetaminophen by medical practitioners and parents, which is after all an effective pain reliever for several. Yet seen in the sense of other published studies and laboratory work, a major red flag should have been raised by Schultz's survey associating acetaminophen with autism; From experiments on laboratory rats in the 1980s, as well as studies on other mammals in the 1990s, we know that acetaminophen — especially in the presence of testosterone — can wreak havoc on living cells, resulting in mitochondrial disruption and glutathione depletion. I'm telling my patients to think of glutathione as the mop of nature — an essential biochemical the body requires to bind toxins and get them out of the system. The children with autism have been shown to have lower rates of glutathione for some cause. Giving already susceptible children Tylenol and other drugs containing acetaminophen, especially in combination with a known neurotoxin (aluminum, say, injected intramuscularly via a vaccine), could be the last straw on their brains.

A recent study by researchers at the University of Massachusetts showed that autism in circumcised males is much more prevalent than in those who are not circumcised. The researchers do not indicate that circumcision causes autism but instead point their finger at the pain reliever given to infant boys during the operation, suggesting that a increasing body of experimental and clinical evidence connects acetaminophen metabolism with autism and associated developmental disorders. But perhaps the most worrying is a Danish study of more than 64,000 mothers and children reported in JAMA Pediatrics in April 2014, which found that the use of acetaminophen (but not ibuprofen) during pregnancy was correlated with substantially higher rates of attention deficit disorders in their offsprings. The further acetaminophen moms took during pregnancy, the more likely it was that their children would develop serious attention deficiency and hyperactivity disorders.

In the early 1980s, when I was in medical school, we were advised that the possibility of Reye's syndrome made giving aspirin too risky for babies and little ones. Sorry I was an integral member of the acetaminophen movement. Johnson & Johnson's young, enthusiastic, optimistic sales representatives visited the hospital, giving us doughnuts in the late shift, dropping off free samples and writing out the latest details about the risks of aspirin and the benefits of Tylenol for us to share with our patients. Unquestionably, just before administering vaccines, we gave Tylenol to children and advised parents to use it immediately after vaccinations, particularly for the whole-cell pertussis vaccine infamous for triggering alarmingly high fevers and seizures. Clinically, we found that prescribing acetaminophen reduced the incidence of vaccine seizures so we forced that on parents. We had no idea that our guidelines could lead to children's explosion of neurological injury, developmental delays and immune problems.

There has also been a challenge to the association between aspirin and Reye's syndrome. "The suggestion of a established cause-effect relationship between aspirin intake and Reye syndrome in children is not supported by adequate evidence" (my emphasis) concluded a systematic review published in 2007. Despite mounting evidence against it, however, prenatal and pediatric use of acetaminophen persists.

Acetaminophen has subsequent hits against it. It is the leading cause of acute liver failure in the U.S.; at least one meta-analysis and one carefully planned randomized trial showed that it is not in fact a very successful pain reliever; and it tends to cause liver defects even at sufficient dosages. Since it is present in so many different items, and parents are not in the habit of reading lists of drug ingredients, giving a child a toxic quantity unintentionally is all too easy.

I think it is reckless, even harmful, for doctors to prescribe acetaminophen-containing items to pregnant women or young children before we have more details. Some experts, such as associate professor William Parker of the Duke University Medical School, Ph.D., who has been researching immune dysfunction for over a decade, suggest that reducing the use of acetaminophen during pregnancy and infancy will lead to a drastic and immediate decline in autism. I advise my patients it is best to avoid the use of acetaminophen during pregnancy and infancy to help protect the brains and bodies of our babies.

I always recommend that pregnant moms and parents of young children use ibuprofen, the key ingredient in Advil and Motrin, with caution. Though this pain reliever is less toxic than acetaminophen, this class of nonsteroidal anti-­inflammatory pharmaceutical medication can cause ulcers, bleeding, or holes in the stomach or intestinal lining and may be a contributing cause of leaky gut syndrome and celiac disease. Most doctors won't tell you that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen cause more than 100,000 hospitalizations and 16,000 deaths a year.
Luckily when you or your child needs pain relief, there are some safe nontoxic options. Dehydration, chronic fatigue, and stress frequently cause headaches and aches and pains during pregnancy (and often in small children). Massage, improved sleep patterns, efficient stress reduction strategies, and proper hydration will make a significant difference for those underlying symptoms. In addition, pregnant women and children report relaxation using a few drops of lavender oil on a cool washcloth on the head, a procedure that is also advised by Yale-trained Aviva Romm, M.D., an integrative family physician based in West Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Magnesium deficiency is a common cause of headaches and thus Epsom salt baths (which contain magnesium absorbed through the skin) can also provide relief. Eating foods high in magnesium (dark leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans and fish that are low in the food chain) is another healthy and successful technique that provides benefits to the whole body without adverse side effects (unless you hate the smell of fish). Finally, turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory spice extracted from a ginger-like root beloved in Indian cuisine.