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Fifty years ago, it would have been absurd to think that antibiotics are anything other than a miracle of modern medicine. But today, with our knowledge of the microbiome and its foundational role in health, we understand that antibiotics are not without consequence. Simply put: The more antibiotics we take, the sicker we tend to become.

Today, many people still consider it absurd to think that vaccines are anything other than a miracle of modern medicine. But as it is with antibiotics, so it is with vaccines: The more we take, the sicker we tend to become. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at the emerging science linking antibiotics and vaccines to chronic health problems.

The Problem with Antibiotics

A recent study out of the Mayo Clinic found that children who received antibiotics during their first two years of life were more likely (than children who did not receive antibiotics) to develop asthma, obesity, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and a host of other chronic health conditions including: allergies, eczema, and celiac disease.

“We hypothesize that antibiotics play a causal role in the pathogenesis of childhood immune disorders through disruption of the microbiome during critical developmental periods.”

In general, there was a dose-dependent association – children who received more rounds of antibiotics were at greater risk of developing these chronic conditions. Furthermore, children exposed to antibiotics were more likely to have multiple chronic health problems, particularly when given multiple prescriptions of antibiotics. Notably, antibiotics belonging to the cephalosporin class were uniquely associated with an increased risk of autism and food allergies.

Our Children are Getting Sicker

According to a study published in 2011, an estimated 43% of U.S. children have at least one chronic health condition, increasing to 54% of children when overweight, obesity, or being at risk for developmental delays are included.

“Over the past 30 years, the prevalence of chronic conditions in children and adolescents has increased, particularly for asthma, obesity, and behavior/learning problems”

This increase in childhood chronic health conditions parallels the increase in the childhood vaccination schedule recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While correlation does not necessarily equal causation, we need studies comparing the health outcomes of vaccinated versus unvaccinated populations to determine if vaccines could be contributing to the development of chronic health problems in our children.

The Problem with Vaccines

In 2017, a first-of-its-kind pilot study was published comparing the health outcomes of vaccinated and completely unvaccinated children in the United States. As would be expected, the study found that vaccinated children were less likely to be diagnosed with chickenpox and pertussis compared to their unvaccinated peers. However, the vaccinated children were more likely to be diagnosed with allergies, ear infections, chronic health conditions, and neurodevelopmental disorders – learning disability, Attention Deficient Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and autism spectrum disorder. The results of this comparative pilot study are depicted in the following infographic.

In May of 2020, a peer-reviewed paper analyzing the health outcomes of vaccinated and unvaccinated children was published. Similar to the prior study, it also found that vaccinated children were more likely to be diagnosed with asthma, ear infections, and developmental delays. Specifically, vaccination before the first year of life was associated with children being twice as likely to have ear infections or developmental delays, and four times as likely to be diagnosed with asthma.

In July of 2020, a Japanese study was published that found infants who received three or more inactivated vaccines (at the time of their initial vaccination before 6 months of age) were more likely to have asthma, eczema, and wheeze compared to similar infants who only received one inactivated vaccine. These findings corroborate the results of the previously mentioned studies.

In November of 2020, another peer-reviewed paper was published that again corroborated the findings of the previously mentioned studies. This study also found more chronic health ailments in the most vaccinated children as compared to children who were completely unvaccinated. Furthermore, as illustrated in the graphs below, the vaccinated children were more likely (than their unvaccinated peers) to have higher rates of doctor’s office visits for a number of health problems including: asthma, eczema, ear infections, and seasonal allergies. The authors conclude that “vaccinated children appear to be significantly less healthy than the unvaccinated.”

In June of 2021, yet another study was published that compared the health outcomes of vaccinated and completely unvaccinated children. Along the same lines as the research that has come before it, this study also found that vaccinated children were less likely to be diagnosed with chickenpox compared to their unvaccinated peers. However, the vaccinated children were once again found to be significantly more likely (than unvaccinated children) to be diagnosed with allergies, asthma, ADHD, autism, gastrointestinal disorders, and chronic ear infections. The following graph illustrates the increased odds of vaccinated children developing these chronic health problems compared to their unvaccinated peers.

The results of this latest study parallel the findings from the first-of-its-kind pilot study comparing health outcomes of vaccinated versus completely unvaccinated children published four years earlier. There are now at least four studies that have been recently published comparing the health outcomes of vaccinated versus completely unvaccinated children, and they all show the same result – the vaccinated children are more likely to suffer from chronic health conditions compared to children who have never been vaccinated.

I acknowledge that vaccines can be effective at protecting against the infectious diseases they are designed to prevent. But unfortunately, the emerging research of the past few years has now shown that the more vaccines we take, the more likely we are to suffer from chronic health problems. It appears that vaccines, as with antibiotics, are not without consequence to our health.

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