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You know how certain things in life just don’t pass the sniff test? It seems to me that injecting toxins into a pregnant women’s body is one of these instances that makes you wonder about modern medical recommendations.

If you are under the care of an OBGYN, you will likely be told to get the Tdap vaccine in pregnancy, specifically your third trimester. This has become a very recent standard of care in the United States and other countries such as the United Kingdom (UK), New Zealand, Belgium, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and Israel. 

The CDC started recommending the Tdap vaccine in pregnancy in October of 2012 for ALL women. This recommendation was made based on the notion that a pregnant mother’s immune system will build antibodies to pertussis (whooping cough) which will be passed to her unborn child through the placenta. The aim is to protect infants from whooping cough during the first 3 months of life through passive immunity before they are able to get their first vaccination. 

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tdap vaccine in pregnancy

Why did the CDC started recommending the Tdap vaccine in pregnancy?

Since 2001 there has been an increase in the number of reported cases of pertussis: from 7,580 reported in 2001 to a high of 48,277 in 2012. Of the 20 deaths reported in 2012, 15 were in infants less than 3 months of age. Interestingly, I have learned through my research on this subject, that outbreaks of pertussis are cyclical every 3-5 years and remains unchanged even with vaccination (source).

Because of the increase in reported cases in 2012, the CDC changed the vaccine schedule yet AGAIN, adding routine dosing with the Tdap vaccine in pregnancy. This was their way of getting a handle on this outbreak due to the logistical ease of utility, since most pregnant women are seeing a physician on a regular basis for prenatal care.

Here is a snippet from the CDC’s recent stats on the pertussis outbreak reports. Notice the up and down nature of reported cases.

The need for individualization of care

I for one do not want my child to be at risk for a serious respiratory infection that could lead to hospitalization and death. But vaccination clearly doesn’t lead to immunity as evidenced by the same vaccination rate from 94% to 96% for decades in the United states, yet the climbing rates of reported cases.

You can see the vaccination coverage data by country through the World Health Organization website here.

With every medical intervention, there is a need to look at the individualized need. Your family’s health is not a one-size-fits-all, and should not be treated as such. We need to fully understand what is involved with injecting pregnant women with ANY vaccines. 

Yes, the administration of the Tdap vaccine in pregnancy has been shown to provide elevated titers of pertussis antibodies during early infancy, but little is known regarding whether or to what extent the increased antibody concentrations transferred through the placenta have a protective effect  against pertussis in neonates (source).  

Furthermore, no long-term studies have been done to understand the full effects of administering this toxin-laden vaccine to DEVELOPING fetal brains.

Our governing bodies, whom have the power to make life-altering recommendations, MUST consider that pregnant mothers’ bodies are healthy and capable of mounting a response that leads to immunity for herself and her child WITHOUT the help of a vaccine. The need for a vaccine should be assessed on an individual basis between her and her doctor and her overall vitality should be considered.

What is the Tdap vaccine composed of?

  • Diphtheria toxoid, 2.5 Lf
  • Tetanus toxoid, 5 Lf
  • Pertussis, 8 mcg
  • Filamentous hemagglutinin, 8 mcg
  • Pertactin, 2.5 mcg
  • Sodium Chloride, 4.4 mg
  • Aluminum Adjuvant, ≤0.39 mg
  • Formaldehyde, ≤100 mcg
  • Polysorbate 80 (Tween 80), ≤100 mcg

Are these ingredients dangerous?

The first 5 ingredients on this list are modified toxins, cell surface antigens, and inactive components of Tetanus, Bordetella pertussis, and Diphtheria. These are the organisms your vaccine aims assist YOUR body to build immunity against. The sixth ingredient on the list is salt water at the concentration of our blood.

My concerns about injecting these vaccines to pregnant women lie not only in introducing modified disease toxins into the blood of a developing fetus, but also in the last three ingredients due to their neurotoxicity. I want to look at each of them in more depth individually.

Aluminum Adjuvant:

  • Used in vaccines as an adjuvant, which is a fancy way of saying, a foreign substance. Our body recognizes aluminum as foreign substance and mounts an immune response against it. Without aluminum adjuvant, many vaccines would not stimulate an immune response. (source)
  • Aluminum is in our environment. We come into contact with it through various ways including food and water. Our gut delays the absorption allowing our body time for processing and elimination. When aluminum is injected intramuscularly, it is immediately absorbed into the bloodstream. (source)
  • The FDA recommends no more than 4-5 mcg/kg/day for premature infants. (source) Most NEWBORNS (fully developed fetuses) weight 8 pounds or 3.6 kg. An infant of this weight can safely process no more than 15-18 mcg a day. The Tdap vaccine contains 390 mcg!
  • Aluminum exposure during pregnancy has been associated with developmental delays in animals by interfering with cellular metabolism. It is NEUROTOXIC, through the oxidation of lipids, which results in damage to cell membranes. (source) No human studies have examined the long-term effects and therefore has not been proven to be safe.

Formaldehyde:

  • A substance used in building materials, household products, and to embalm dead people. Most toxic exposures comes from prolonged inhalation in the environment.
  • A proven carcinogen of the nasopharynx, airway irritant, and may cause neurological symptoms such as headache, mood disorder, and memory loss (source)
  • Per the FDA, special consideration should be given to reduce the exposure of formaldehyde to the elderly, children, and pregnant women.
  • Exposure can cause local skin reactions, and chromosome changes in white blood cells (source
  • Despite these adverse associations, formaldehyde is produced and metabolized in the body daily at levels over 1000 times the amount given in vaccines. (source)

Polysorbate 80:

  • a chemical used as an emulsifier in many commonly used foods and cosmetic products. Polysorbate 80 makes ice cream creamier and lotion smoother. In vaccines, it is used to keep all the ingredients that don’t play well together in a stable mixture for injection.
  • This study shows associations between polysorbate 80 and infertility in mice. No human studies have been done to date.
  • This study shows a link between this ingredient and going into anaphylactic shock in PREGNANCY!
  • This study showed an negative impact to gut microbes and mucosa promoting colitis and metabolic syndrome. Gut microbes called “normal flora” play a large role in immunity and metabolism. A disturbance in these could lead to chronic inflammatory diseases.
  • Polysorbate 80 can cross the blood brain barrier and is also linked to cancer.

Tdap vaccination in pregnancy appears to have MANY devastating risks.

This is a long list of serious adverse effects, none of which have been studied in humans. So let me just say a few of my personal unscientific opinions…. 

…If aluminum is neurotoxic, then it shouldn’t be given to an organism such as a fetus that is rapidly developing neural cells. 

…If formaldehyde is carcinogenic then it shouldn’t be given to an organism such as a fetus that is rapidly developing organ cells. 

…If Polysorbate 80 causes major inflammation in the body then it shouldn’t be given to a pregnant women whose immune system is supporting the healthy growth of a baby.

If the Tdap vaccine contains all three of these toxic substances it seems that it shouldn’t be recommended to pregnant women unless there is 100% CERTAINTY that the benefit of the vaccine will build unparallel immunity will completely eliminate the disease burden. In order for the CDC to make a blanket recommendation for all pregnant women, they should need to have some very comprehensive statistics on the disease burden for different populations.  

It seems to me that many mothers of this generation and their babies, some of which may not even be at risk of dying from pertussis, take the chance at disrupting normal body functions for at best only 36 days of passive immunity. Let me explain this further.

 

What are immunity benefits of Tdap in pregnancy?

In my research for this post I have discovered that the placental transmitted antibodies are only present for a short time after birth. Over half of the maternal antibodies to pertussis are gone by 36 days. (source

Another issue with passive immunity is that it may actually blunt the baby’s own immune system to developing lasting antibodies after future vaccination or exposure.

So these maternal antibodies may protect the baby for a month, but when looking at the long run, they may actually increase the risk of the disease in the future. It just so happens that “the future”  we are speaking of here is when a child would likely be more exposed to crowds, such as in daycare or school. Here is an excerpt from the CDC.

Tdap vaccine in pregnancy

Another study confirms the short-lived nature and blunting of these antibodies. Published in the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, it found high titers in 1-month old infants from mothers who received a maternal booster during pregnancy. However, these levels were found to rapidly decay by 2 months of age. Here is a quote from Dr. Leuirdan et al.

“The possible interference of high titers of maternal antibodies on the immunogenicity of the infant pertussis immunization program is of concern.”

Does vaccination with the Tdap vaccine prevent the spread of infection?

The quality of immunity acquired by vaccination when evaluating its ability to prevent the spread of infection must be considered when taking on the risk of injecting a pregnant women with all the ingredients in the Tdap vaccine.

This study took a look by testing baby baboons who were vaccinated at 2, 4, and 6 months of age. The infant baboons were subsequently infected via nasal swabs of B. pertussis at 7 months of age and immunity was compared with baboons who had been previously infected and developed natural immunity. Here is the very scientific explanation of their outcome.

“Although all vaccinated and previously infected animals had robust serum antibody responses, we found key differences in T-cell immunity. Previously infected animals and wP-vaccinated animals possess strong B. pertussis-specific T helper 17 (Th17) memory and Th1 memory, whereas aP vaccination induced a Th1/Th2 response instead. The observation that aP, which induces an immune response mismatched to that induced by natural infection, fails to prevent colonization or transmission provides a plausible explanation for the resurgence of pertussis and suggests that optimal control of pertussis will require the development of improved vaccines.”

What this means is although these vaccinated baboons did not have the symptoms of pertussis, the immune response was not enough to prevent the colonization and transmission. 

On making tough decisions for your child

I received the Tdap vaccine during my first pregnancy. I had no clue about any of this information. Honestly, I didn’t do my homework at the time. 

I am a registered nurse and I trusted that my OBGYN would live up to her oath of nonmaleficence. Perhaps she believed she was. The reality is that physicians are not provided an in depth education on vaccines and informed consent isn’t really informed. 

When my son was 7 months old he had 2 seizures. It was the scariest thing I have ever witnessed in my entire life. I work in the ICU and have been a part of many unplanned deaths. Nothing chilled me to the core more than seeing my own beloved child have a seizure. I still do not have an answer from my pediatrician as to what triggered this or if it will happen again.

Even without a clear explanation as to why these seizures occurred, I realized that I need to guard and protect my son’s brain by minimizing his exposure to neurotoxic substances. He was wonderfully and awesomely made and I know that these seizures happened due to exposure, not development. I am honestly slightly embarrassed for not questioning getting a vaccine in pregnancy in the first place. 

The truth is, much of the eradication of disease had more to do with better living conditions and less to do with scientific vaccine development. 

I am not making a public personal claim to be anti-vaccine here. I am merely trying to highlight that the vaccine schedule continues to contain more and more vaccines and yet the public health is not getting better. In fact if you go to the CDC’s website, you will notice that the prevalence of Autism is on the rise.

How to minimize the risk of exposure to whooping cough

Of course as a mom I am very concerned of exposing my future newborn to pertussis during this vulnerable time. One way I plan to combat this is to increase my awareness of what is going around in my local city. 

Stay informed about outbreaks of any infectious disease in your local area. The site heartmaps.org was created by a team of researchers, epidemiologists, and software developers at Boston Children’s Hospital. They have done a wonderful job at setting up a system for tracking disease outbreaks and monitoring in real time.  

I plan to be offensive about my own personal immune strength and that of my family during any vulnerable times. Which is what this is all about isn’t it? 

We are trying to build up our immune response so we can protect our family from exposure to pertussis or any other disease. God gave us an immune system for a reason. Check out 10 ways to boost your immune system naturally. Remember to wash your hands all the time when you have a newborn in the house or when illness is going around! 

If you are considering making a decision to go against the CDC’s  advice on getting the Tdap vaccine in pregnancy, know that you are not alone. There are other highly educated people out there including medical doctors questioning the validity and motives behind this advice. I would love to hear your thoughts and even disagreements. I realize this is a subject of debate and I am open to education. 

At the end of the day, we want what is best for our family and to have healthy bodies.

Cheers,

Liv