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To vaccinate or not to vaccinate

Seeking wisdom from experience, medical expertise, and church leaders


To vaccinate or not to vaccinate

Editor’s note: Thanks to our readers for their many comments. We particularly appreciate links to medical journal articles. WORLD, starting on Friday, March 6, will publish additional material concerning this vital issue.

We don’t know precisely from the Bible whether to use vaccines or not, but we do know that we are to care for our families, our neighbors, and ourselves. We do well to pay attention to experience, medical expertise, and church leaders. —Marvin Olasky


When I was 4 years old I had the chicken pox and, according to my parents, the flu at the same time. I remember feeling awful, and I still have a few pox marks to remind me.

When I was in the first grade I had what we called “the two-weeks” measles. I spent most of two weeks in my dark room with only a night-light. Blankets were over the windows, because it was thought that exposure to bright light while having the measles could damage the eyes. The only thing good about the experience was that, as the illness neared the end of its course, my dad brought me a baseball glove and bat.

When I was in second grade, the Salk polio vaccine became available for all children. Class-by-class we went to the school office (this was a small Christian school) and got our shots. In addition to the stress of getting the shot, there was the pressure to take it like a man and not to embarrass oneself. Twice during the school year we got the shot and once we came back to school during the summer to get a third. I remember two things pre-vaccine:

Parents lived in fear, especially through the summer months, that their kids might contract polio and so watched for symptoms. There were pictures on television and in magazines of children in leg braces to help them walk and others in iron lungs to help them breathe.

I think it was in the fifth grade I noticed swelling along my jaw during school. That night at supper (for some reason I recall we had coleslaw) my parents confirmed I had the mumps. One of the concerns that parents had for their sons in those days was that the mumps would cause sterility. (Not to worry, my wife and I had five sons.)

Somewhere along the way I got the “three-day measles” (rubella). It didn’t make me very sick, but I had to be kept away from pregnant women because, if she lacked immunity (hadn’t had rubella as child) and contracted the disease, it could harm her baby.

I did not get the smallpox vaccination till the summer before I went off to Belhaven College. I got it because the college required it. The reason many of my contemporaries and I had not got it earlier was because smallpox had been eradicated in the United States because of the near universal vaccination of previous generations of Americans.

I have had the flu quite a few times. The most vivid memory I have of it comes from a time when our family of seven was living in two-bedroom house in a small town in Mississippi, and my wife and I got it at the same time. We had arranged for a carpenter to come and build a closet in the “master bedroom” to house the washer and dryer. And that week we both came down with the flu. Our bedroom not being available, we pulled out the bed in the sleeper sofa and lay there during the day. The people in the church were very kind and checked on us and brought us food, but whenever someone came to the door, we would say to each other, “Whose turn is it to get up?” Such was the extremity of the malaise.

I tell these stories, not because they are unique, but because they are the common experience of people of my generation. We got fewer childhood illnesses than our parents, but we still got a lot of them.

I was spared whopping cough (pertussis) and polio. Why? Vaccinations. My kids were spared all but the flu and chicken pox. Why? Vaccinations. Their kids might be spared them all, except the flu, and even it, depending on how accurately the scientists predict which strains of flu are most likely each season. Why? Vaccinations.

I like vaccines a whole lot more than I like the diseases they prevent. When I have gone on mission trips, I have got whatever vaccines were recommended for the countries I visited. When I hit 65 I got the pneumonia shot. When I went to the doctor last, I got the flu shot and some kind of booster. If it’s recommended, I get it. I only wish there were cancer and heart disease vaccines. Any disease I can avoid through vaccination I intend to avoid.

Which makes me wonder, why the intensity of the anti-vaccine movement? A few guesses:

Because of the success of the vaccines, parents now do not have the experiences of childhood illnesses older people have had, hence less appreciation of the risks of the diseases, less understanding of the necessity of the vaccines (until like smallpox they are no longer needed because they are wiped out worldwide), and the luxury of objecting. Some have an undue suspicion of science in general and medical science in particular. They do not appreciate how much practical science has improved our lives or how much medical science has increased the length and quality of our lives. Medical science can get things wrong, but it gets a lot right. Since the discovery of penicillin and the development of other antibiotics, a great many lives have been saved, but doctors no longer routinely prescribe them because they have found that overuse has led to the development of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. It’s possible for science to proceed on mistaken assumptions and jump to wrong conclusions and otherwise get it wrong, but good science is humble, honest, and objective. Most medicine today is evidence-based. The questions for doctors are: What works? What works best most often? What poses the fewest risks? There are those who focus on the risks they believe are posed by the vaccines. It wasn’t long ago that candidate Obama spoke about vaccines and the risk of autism. Though some continue to assert this risk, every study done so far has indicated there is no link between vaccinations and autism. Others point to the risks of adverse reactions. Adverse reactions are rare, and serious ones are extremely rare. Yes, there is risk, but there is no such thing as living a risk-free life. We take calculated risks all the time not just for ourselves but also for our kids. Let him run around the yard and he might fall and break his arm. Give her peanut butter and she might go into anaphylactic shock. The risks associated with the vaccines are far less likely and severe than the risks if one contracts the illnesses they prevent. Others are wrongly confident in what is “natural.” They do not understand that nature is out to kill you and to make your life more difficult, until it does. It is particularly baffling that Christians who know the history, effects, and doctrine of the Fall are so pro-natural. A good bit of our energy as humans has to be devoted to beating back the thorns and thistles and delaying returning to the dust. Polio, whopping cough, measles, mumps, influenza, chicken pox are natural. Vaccines are “unnatural.” Thank God they are.

I’ll make some sacrifices. Send me the high fructose corn syrup, especially if it has been made into a pecan pie. I’ll take the genetically modified, pesticide-spayed, fertilzed grains and vegetables. I’ll eat the corn-fed beef and let you have the grass-fed. But get those kids vaccinated. It will be good for them—and the rest of us, too.

—William H. Smith is a long-time pastor.

Medical expertise

What is a vaccine?

Our immune system is constantly protecting us against bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi. That’s why people receiving treatments that suppress their immune systems are very susceptible to infections.

The idea of vaccinations is to give a person a component of an infectious organism to stimulate his or her immune system to act against it before it causes harm. It’s training your immune system to be on guard against particular invaders.

The history of vaccines

Edward Jenner was a country doctor living in England who in 1796 performed the world’s first vaccination. He took pus from a cowpox lesion on a milkmaid’s hand and injected it into an 8-year-old boy named James Phipps. Six weeks later, Jenner injected two sites on Phipps’s arm with smallpox, yet the boy was unaffected by this as well as subsequent exposures. Based on 12 such experiments and 16 additional case histories he had collected since the 1770s, Jenner published a volume called Inquiry into the Causes and Effects of the Variolae Vaccine.

Jenner came up with his idea by the observation that milkmaids infected with cowpox, visible as pustules on the hand or forearm, were immune to subsequent outbreaks of smallpox that periodically swept through the area.

Since Jenner’s discovery, governments have invested in vaccines. Initially, vaccines were considered a matter of national pride and prestige. In the 20th century, a standard battery of childhood vaccinations were developed and eventually required for public school attendance.

Some diseases vaccines prevent

Polio: In this disease, people develop muscle weakness and the inability to move. The weakness can extend to the diaphragm, the muscle that moves our lungs, resulting in people having to be placed on a ventilator to support breathing. Historically, a ventilator called on iron lung was used to artificially maintain respiration until a person recovered sufficiently to breath independently.

Rubella: When pregnant women become infected with this virus, it can cause serious birth defects such as heart problems, hearing and vision loss, and intellectual disability.

Diphtheria: This bacteria causes a membrane to develop in the oral cavity that can block the airway, causing people to suffocate to death.

Measles: This virus can cause a cough, inflamed eyes, a sore throat, a fever, and red, blotchy skin. In about 30 percent of cases, complications such as blindness, inflammation of the brain, and pneumonia occur.

The impact of vaccines

A little more than a century ago, before vaccines, the U.S. infant mortality rate was 20 percent, and the childhood mortality rate before age 5 was 20 percent.

Are vaccines safe?

In the vast majority of cases, vaccines are effective and cause no side effects or only mild reactions, such as a fever or swelling and pain at the injection site. In 1998, the medical journal Lancet published a study linking the measles vaccine to autism. The study was subsequently found to be fraudulent. The journal retracted the paper and the study’s author, Andrew Wakefield, lost his medical license.

Why get vaccinated?

Vaccines prevent outbreaks of infectious diseases and save lives. When a certain portion of a community is vaccinated against a contagious disease, most members of the community are protected. Even those who aren’t eligible for certain vaccines, such as infants, pregnant women, or immunocompromised individuals, are protected. This is called herd immunity. So when you get vaccinated, you are not only keeping yourself healthy, you are also preventing the most vulnerable among us from getting sick.

—James Marroquin is a physician based in Austin, Texas, and a World Journalism Institute mid-career course graduate.

Church leaders

Recommendations of the Elders of First Presbyterian Church (PCA), Augusta, Ga., 2014:

(Editors note: One-third of the elders are doctors.)

God has blessed our church with a burgeoning number of children. All of us, and the Elders in particular, have a responsibility to protect our children at every level (spiritually, emotionally, and physically). Because of a combination of (1) increased world travel, (2) increased immigration, and (3) a growing number who choose not to receive immunizations for themselves or their children, we in the U.S. are at significant risk for diseases that were once thought to have been almost eradicated from our country. These diseases are not minor illnesses; they can kill and they can maim, especially infants and small children, the elderly, and those who are immunocompromised. Ironically, the very success of immunizations has led some to believe that vaccines are not necessary. These serious and vaccine-preventable diseases are making a comeback. (For instance, there have been over 500 cases of measles in the U.S. in the first half of 2014—a 20-year high.) Immunizations are extremely safe and effective. Immunizations are a gift from God, mediated through the common grace of medical science, and to be received with gratitude. Routine immunizations for adults and children protect not only the ones receiving the vaccines but also others surrounding them. Not being immunized as recommended may therefore be harmful to others, especially the youngest and weakest in our church. Christian liberty allows wide latitude in our daily decisions for ourselves and our families. Christian love requires that we use our liberty for the glory of Christ and with regard to the welfare of others. Freedom in Christ is to be used humbly and gently in love to build up and to help others. If one’s liberty harms another or infringes on the liberty of another, then it is the believer’s responsibility to limit his own liberty out of love for the other. We affirm the centrality of Jesus Christ and his gospel of grace. We must allow no secondary issues to divide our church. Maintaining the peace, purity, and unity of the church is the responsibility of all FPC members, and, most particularly, the responsibility of the Session.

Session recommendations:

The Session strongly recommends and urges that all children and adults in our church be immunized as medically indicated. The Session strongly urges all members to consider others in the matter of immunization for oneself and one’s children. Not being adequately immunized places others at risk, often the weakest and youngest of our church; this is especially true in our nurseries and Sunday School classes. The Session strongly recommends that any adult teaching or assisting in FPC nurseries or children’s classes be immunized according to current medical standards. The Session strongly recommends that any child utilizing FPC nurseries or attending children’s classes be immunized according to current medical standards. The Session authorizes the education of our congregation in issues regarding immunizations.

Update, Feb. 13, 2015:

Measles continues to spread. You have likely heard of the Disneyland outbreak. There is now a case of measles in Atlanta. The outbreaks seem to be occurring from the combination of international travel and lack of immunizations. Herd immunity is a concept in which the individual is protected not only by the immunization of the individual but also by the immunization rate of the community. In measles, for instance, a 92–94 percent immunization rate is needed for optimal protection. We have a responsibility to our church, local, and international communities. A question was raised about the issue of a few vaccines (chicken pox, shingles, hepatitis A, rubella, one brand of rabies vaccine) having been made in aborted fetal cell lines. The church’s immunization committee carefully considered this issue as we made our recommendations for universal immunization; we still stand by our recommendations. Here are some links to assist in thinking through this issue: a. Christian Medical & Dental Associations: “Immunization Ethics Statement” b. Christian Medical & Dental Associations: “Is Vaccination Complicit with Abortion?” c. Christian Medical & Dental Associations: “Vaccination Information and Recommendations” d. National Catholic Bioethics Center: “FAQ on the Use of Vaccines”

William H. Smith William is a former WORLD correspondent.

James Marroquin

James is a graduate of the WORLD Journalism Institute mid-career course.


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I noticed that no mention of Hepatitis B occurs in the article. Many USA doctors recommend this vaccination as a protection for sexually transmitted Hepatitus B. Are promiscuous sex and intravenous drug use the only real dangers for US citizens contacting Hepatitus B?


I am profoundly disappointed that World gave a title that indicated two sides to an issue then proceeded to attempt to beat us soundly into submission with a clear bias towards vaccines.  Raising children almost thirty years ago, we faced the same questions regarding vaccinations, although the number and scope of vaccines was far smaller than today.  We prayerfully considered, then decided to vaccinate.  I am now a grandmother of a beautiful, red-haired baby boy.  His parents are thoughtfully and prayerfully deciding which vaccines they will allow into his body.  I have been shocked at the increase in vaccines encouraged in this day and age, and I support my daughter/son-in-law in choosing some and rejecting others.  I have offered my opinions and was frank about my fears and indecision during the process of choosing vaccines, citing concerns on BOTH sides of the issue, but trust that they will make right decisions as this is their child, not mine.As a long time reader of World, I don't know when I've ever been more disappointed in the bias of an article.  You owe it to your readership to publish the other side, in spite of what you as a news team may believe about vaccines.  The children you speak of belong to the parents - not you, not the state, not the country.  Citing herd protection makes you sound like the nanny government many of us have come to despise.  Please be true to your original mission to present both sides of an issue and let your readership make their own decisions.


A few questions:  1. Will WORLD publish "opinion" pieces by authors who are just as passionately (i.e., convicted by the Holy Spirit) anti-vaccine as these folks are pro-vaccine?  I hope so, especially when the Bible is being used to support one side when this is a clearly a matter of conviction.  If personal experience becomes the barometer (it shouldn't) than you must include every story in which someone has been injured or killed by a vaccine. 2. Who has the most to gain from promulgating the "facts" about the risks of vaccines?   The CDC and pharmaceutical companies OR whistleblowers and parents with autistic children who became so immediately following the shots?  3. Aren't we trusting the same scientific community with the "facts" that
has given us the theories of evolution, global warming (I'm sorry it's
climate change not that the earth isn't actually warming),
overpopulation, the gay gene, etc.?  Can't have it both ways, folks!4. Can these highly educated experts please abstain from quoting statistics that are mere correlation rather than causation?  The fact that infant & childhood mortality rates have declined in the past 100 years could have little or nothing to do with vaccines -- how about public sanitation, personal hygiene, nutrition, less pollution, etc.?5. Can anyone recognize the absurdity of comparing a few days of discomfort on the couch vs. death or permanent injury?  Complications from other medical conditions aside, what are the true health risks of the flu, mumps, measles, etc.?  6. Is the question always "vaccine or no vaccine" OR "what vaccines when, in what quantity, at what age(s), and in what combination?"  The quantity, combination, and timing of vaccines has changed dramatically in one generation -- the number and combination of vaccines recommended by the medical community for a 6-month-old baby before the brain is fully formed seems to be a much more dangerous proposition than getting a single polio vaccine at age 2.  As usual, one side has successfully defined the playing field and the rules in order to marginalize the other.


Shame on World Magazine, for publishing such an obviously biased article. The title implies that you would explore both sides, but you did not. Why not look into the National Vaccine Information Center and get information on why so many people reject vaccines? And what about personal liberty regarding our own health? This is not the first article like this that you have published promoting mandated vaccines. You have become a mouthpiece for the corrupt medical industry. I am passionately against mandated vaccines and this article is very offensive to me. I have been a monthly donor to the World Mover program for years, but that stops now. So does my subscription.

Bill Taylor

60 years ago, my parents trusted our government enough to enroll me in Dr. Salk's tests of the new polio vaccine.  I got badly sick from the shot, but I didn't get polio.  Now, many young parents tell me they don't believe what the government says about health.President Ford told us that if we didn't get vaccinated against flu, there would be a lot of deaths.  Didn't happen.Dr. Koop, President Reagan's Surgeon General, asserted that AIDS would break out into the heterosexual population.  It didn't.Dr. Enders, President Clinton's Surgeon General, lied about a defective batch of condoms because she didn't want to undermine the credibility of her condom distribution program.  These incidents show that what we're told about AIDS is more political than medical.For decades, the government told us to eat less fat, less eggs, and more carbs.  Come to find out, the data were cherry-picked and the recommended diet has led to obesity and an increase in diabetes.Waiting lists are the VA went down once the government put in an incentive program.  Turned out that the bureaucrats lied to get fraudulent performance bonuses, and many vets died while waiting for treatment.Mr. Obama's multi-million dollar consultant, the genius from MIT, said that Obamacare had to be filled with lies because of the stupidity of the American voters.When Ebola reached Texas, the CDC, which had said they had everything under control, had to upgrade their protection protocol when the first nurse got it.  They had to upgrade again when the second nurse came down with Ebola.I can't blame my friends for not trusting anything the government says about health.


Okay, so good for the topic "To Vaccinate". What about "Not to Vaccinate"?


This is the single most biased and disappointing article I have ever read in World.  I am related to and have met many who have been negatively impacted by receiving injections of these chemical mixtures that need to be continually changed due to medical problems associated with their use.  Do not consider me less intelligent, or anti-science, or less Holy Spirit led because I have chosen a healthier lifestyle for myself and my family.  A lifestyle that is faith-based and no less science based than the herd mentality that World has helped to promote with this unfortunate article.           


Despite the extreme bias of this piece - where is the other side, such as stories like my friend whose two daughters suffer daily seizures that can ONLY be traced back to the vaccines they received before they were five years old?! - I sincerely hope that WORLD ultimately stands on parental rights above all else on this issue. I am not an non-vaxer, but the moment we try to coerce someone into doing something that severely violates their well-educated conscience is the moment we set ourselves up to lose some other right that we cherish. Please remember Martin Niemollar.On a side note, I need to also add that your use of church Elders/"the Session" as part of this piece is ridiculous. Parents alone are accountable before God for their children; Unless one belongs to a legalistic cult, Elders are irrelevant to this argument.

Postmodern Redneck

Here's a counter-argument to one point made in the articles:  It is precisely because we live in a fallen world, among fallen human beings, that I do not totally trust our government or the pronouncements of "scientists" and other such experts.  Yes, they are fallible, and they do make mistakes.  It has been reported widely that this year's flu vaccine is ineffective for the most common variant of flu virus in circulation this year.  The "experts" guessed wrong on what was needed for this year.  And it isn't always a matter of "guessing" wrong.  One of the major items in the press for years now has been "Global Warming"--and reports have been increasing, for those who care to look, that at times the proponents of drastic action have doctored their data and models to get the results they wanted, rather than truthfully reporting what was there.  And besides all this, we have the statements like "If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor." and  the claim the ACA would reduce healthcare costs...And for those who pay attention, stories are constantly popping up about "scientists" all over the world--the US, Europe, Asia--getting caught plagiarizing, cherry-picking data, and outright falsifying results in all sorts of research.There has been much written over the years about President Eisenhower's farewell speech warning about the dangers of the "military-industrial complex" getting out of hand.  Most people do not know that he warned in the same speech about the risk of harm from government money influencing scientific research.The sad truth is that there has been a tremendous moral breakdown in this country over the past century.  The "Sexual Revolution" of the '60s was only one part of it.  I studied under an accounting professor in the late '70s who expressed concern about what his own university was currently teaching for business ethics; I have not seen him since then, but I suspect he would not have been surprised by the scandals of recent years:  Enron, the mortgage meltdown, and more.  The seeds were sown years ago.It is rapidly reaching the point where the biggest threat to our society may be the sense among too many people that our "elites"--in government, business, science, academia, culture, and on and on--can no longer be trusted.  To quote an old saying, "The chickens are coming home to roost."  Yes, President Obama's former pastor said it in a different context, but the saying is much older than Rev. Wright, and it may well apply to our current situation.

Tonya S

What an incredibly biased and arguably uneducated piece which I am shocked appeared in World. I usually trust World for investigative journalism and am saddened to see that that trust is, at least in this instance, misplaced. Besides the numerous other objections to the arguments contained herein, I am surprised there is not one mention by any of these 'experts' and 'spiritual leaders' about the use of aborted fetal cells within the vaccines. To call the vaccines made with that material "gifts from God" defies belief.


Really, World??!  And to have Marvin Olasky's own name attached to this one...  I have respected World Magazine for its responsible journalism, but this is absurd.  This is a one-sided opinion piece that uses attack against its opponent as argument.  What kind of support is that?  Why is World not covering the said lack of research done on the other side of the fence?  There's a lack of research because vaccines are funded and pushed by big government and big money.  The research is done, it's just not publicized.  No one's making money off those who choose not to vaccinate.  Why is World not aware of this?  And to think that you would bring religious authority into the argument??!  World Magazine, you better figure out quickly that this is going to become an issue for parents' rights before long, and that's the story you will have missed while trying to guilt Christians into the false herd immunity.  Are you not even aware that a percentage of those cases of the measles "outbreak" were individuals that had been vaccinated??  Come on, do your homework.  Parents who don't want to give their children the 69 doses of 16 different vaccines now recommended aren't liberal anti-science freaks.  They're people who have a brain and want to do what is best for their children - who look at the myriad of health issues our country is dealing with that other countries aren't and that weren't present just a few decades ago, and want to truly be responsible with our health and resources.


We are trusting that World Magazine will be fair and print the stories of medical doctors, pastors and others regarding their informed choices not to vaccinate.  Thanks to World for at least referring to the shots as vaccinations, instead of immunizations - which is a biased term indeed.  


I can only assume World is planning to present the other side soon. This shouldn't even count as a journalistic article as it stands. And who on earth are these Presbyterian elders whose opinions and conclusions we are supposed to accept? I tend to fall on the pro-vaccinate side for the most part but this bias is ridiculous.


I am so sad that my first comment on World after signing up yesterday will be to let you know how very much you have insulted me. We have chosen not to vaccinate our children. The reasoning you've offered in this article is actually some of the weakest I've encountered in my many years of vaccination conversation. Therein lies our biggest problem in regards to this issue. The conversation is far from over and yet some have decided that it should be. I'm going to assume for now that an in depth article is coming, perhaps a series, to address this further. There is an enormous amount of information to consider in this discussion. World is a great place to begin a better approach to the discussion.

K Texans

I am very disappointed that the normally unbiased World magazine has furthered the propaganda of the US government's pro-vaccination campaign. I ask World to please give an equal amount of attention to the other side of this issue. Please look into whether the vaccines are effective (especially consider the outbreaks of whooping couch that are occurring among the vaccinated populations). Please consider the harm done to innumerable children by vaccines such as the MMR and Guardasil. Look into studies that show vaccines "effectiveness." Many of them are just as, or more, faulty as you have alleged Andrew Wakefield's study. Look at the studies, if you can find any, that prove "herd immunity" is effective before alleging that those who choose not to vaccinate are risking the health and well being of those who cannot vaccinate. Please "follow the money" on vaccines. The federal government has given complete immunity to the vaccine producers, and therefore, those same producers have no financial motivation to be very certain the vaccines are safe and will not cause harm. Instead, they have more motivation to use our children and the American public as a massive health experiment. We also need to discuss the ingredients in vaccines, which can include harmful ingredients and carcinogens such as mercury, aluminum, and formaldehyde. Giving only brief mention to the fact that some vaccines can contain cells from aborted fetuses is appalling given World's pro-life stance. Mainstream medicine used to believe that bloodletting cured disease and washing hands was a waste of time. I wonder, in another 100 years, what we will think of vaccination?


"Some have an undue suspicion of science in general and medical science in particular."While I applaud World for getting it right on this issue, it is hardly surprising to me that so many Evangelicals are jumping on the yuppie bandwagon with this issue when they have become convinced by numerous Christian voices, including World's, that there is a vast scientific conspiracy of God haters who are foisting theories about origins, age of the earth, and climatology for some spectral purpose, and that it is one's Christian responsibility to cling to utterly marginal interpreters of information of against the vast body of evidence and interpretation offered by the general scientific community.


Our son has an intractable seizure disorder and several other disabilities we believe are a result of his vaccination. The pedetrician who gave the shot refused to file an adverse reaction report to the CDC. The change in our son began the day of the shot. We researched the literature extensively after the event and read severe adverse reactions occur in 1 in 300,000 shots. Yet anedotaly we became aware of dozens of other in the months following other sons reaction. We have had medical doctors agree that was the cause of our sons disability. One now does not give vacines in his practice after his son devoloped severe autism after the vacines he administered.. I think vacines have done good but the way the are administered today with the multiple doses given to tiny infants is in direct contradicion to past medical recommendations. The reason I read is because it is believed parents will not get vaccines if several visits are necessary. Just a note of interest Johnathan  Edwards and his married daughter died of small pox after vaccination. World should present both sides of the issue. You are still the best news source available.


The "Vaccinate" advocates often result to shaming, and ostracizing "Non-Vaccinated" people/families as is obvious by many of the Pro-Vaccinate commenters.  WMD poses a reasonable response that challenges WORLD to provide a well reasoned response from those who choose not to vaccinate, and the repercussions they face from family, friends, and their community.  2Corinthians13:11, Hebrews 10:24  -  Let us respond in Love toward one another.


I agree with so many in my extreme disappointment in your coverage.  In theory, it all sounds just peachy.  Let's convert the ill-informed.  The other side of the story is that people are SUFFERING from these.  When they try to seek help, the only thing they are told is that it cannot possibly be related to vaccines.  How is that logical or helpful?  How are we supposed to have a balanced dialogue on this topic?  Over and over, in increasing numbers, people who believed this tripe are just trying to QUESTION the efficacy and safety of vaccines.  And they are being trounced as unscientific, unpatriotic and unChristlike.  Why aren't we allowed to question these injections, one by one, and make informed decisions on each one?   What are they so afraid of?

Michael R

I found this article to be a little more balanced. "The Vatican's Pontifical Academy for Life, and the U.S. and British
bishops conferences have studied the issue in detail and concluded that
using the vaccines is morally permissible. However, once a person learns
that certain vaccines are morally tainted, there is an obligation to
seek out ethical alternatives where possible and to make objections
known to health care providers and vaccine manufacturers. In addition,
parents are entirely justified in citing a "conscientious objection" to
tainted vaccines being used to immunize their children, particularly
when the vaccine is not for a substantially threatening illness
(Chickenpox). "http://www.rtl.org/prolife_issues/LifeNotes/VaccinesAbortion_FetalTissue.html

Janet B

 I do not object to vaccines that have proven themselves effective for highly contagious, and very harmful, diseases, e.g. smallpox, polio, MMR.  But when my granddaughter and grandson are vaccinated, it is with twice the number their father had,  too many for a 1 month old, and I cannot but wonder if all are necessary. And I have read plenty of statistics and info that tells me that flu and pneumonia vaccinations are almost worthless to a healthy person.  The problem, IMO, is that the government is trying to convince the populace that they have found these wonderful ways to eradicate ( immunize against) diseases that are lifestyle related.  And not just immoral lifestyles.When my 28-year-old son was 3, the Hib vaccination came out.   I asked his pediatrician if I should get him vaccinated, and he answered, "Is he going to be in daycare?"  No, I was a stay-at-home, keep-my children-at-home mom; that was our lifestyle.  "Then, no," he replied.  Yet, now it is assumed that all children need to be vaccinated against things that, frankly, we don't know or understand.  And the government pushes it more and more, regardless of the fact that people can be protected from some of these diseases by living a moral lifestyle.  Why should I get my daughters vaccinated against HPV when I am raising them to be pure and chaste until marriage?Still, I, too, know someone who saw her normal child develop autism after his 18-month-old DPT vaccinations.  So there is a balance to be had. I hope WORLD will continue to discuss this issue, with more evidence for all sides.


Like many others, I had a strong negative  reaction to this article. But I'm pretty opinionated, so this has happened before. For example, you should have seen me go through the roof over a World Radio report on fracking earlier this year!My present personal conviction is that autism and related disorders are caused by exposure to various toxins, some of which come through vaccinations but others which could come from diet, drinking water, or other exposures.It is my opinion that parents need good information about the possible  risks of multiple sources of toxins so that they can make informed decisions about an entire range of human activity.


While I appreciate the benefit of vaccines, I would have appreciated if the contributors to this article had differentiated between proven vaccines (like the polio or measles vaccines) and those that seem to be more hit or miss, like the flu vaccines. I also would have liked them to have addressed the fact that vaccines can be administered in ways that diminish stress to the body  for those that fear the effect of vaccinations (like spreading out vaccines over severlal visits rather than bulking up several vaccines in one visit). Finally, I appreciate  scientific proof and medical experience, but I have some experience with insurance interfering with best medical  practice, and with biased scientific research, and so I have to admit that even though I do lean towards trusting the medical system I still have a healthy dose of skepticism. There was a time when Doctors followed the hippocratic oath and when they were not making decisions influenced by Insurance reimbursement. I think I would not be wise if I did not exercise caution where the care of our offspring or even myself is concerned.


I am sickened by the one sidedness of this article. Not only the one sidedness but the sheer lack of understanding and research on the matter. First, let me address the fall. Mankind was punished because of sin. The death that God was referring to was a spiritual death, not a physical one. Let's use common sense here. If man was never meant to have a physical death how could the world possibly sustain us? Man was punished by sin with a spiritual death and he was kicked out of the garden of eden. What is a garden? It's a place that is more accomodating to plants thriving. God planted it and man had to sustain it. What exactly was he taking care of if everything was perfect? He was kicked out of the garden and put in an environment that was A LOT harder to work. Creation was not cursed except for the curse of mankinds sin on it. Now let's talk about nature. Nature was created by God. It was man in his own wisdom that is destructive. As soon as man gets involved in just about anything he corrupts it. Even things starting out as good end up corrupted, because of mans' sin. Just look at the Levitical laws. God himself was completely concerned with what the Israelites put in their bodies. Secondly, as Christians we should be aware of what we are putting in our and our childrens' bodies. Were you aware that there are aborted babies used in the process of making vaccines? Did you know there is human blood in vaccines? That is reason enoufh to reject them. Secondly, did you know that vaccines shed? Live virus vaccines can give you and those surrounding you the disease that it's supposed to protect you against. Look this up specifically with polio and measles, and pertussis, if I'm not mistaking. If you want to talk more science, let's talk about the studies done in new Zealand and Germany that found unvaccinated children had better over all health than their vaccinated counterparts. Now let's talk about the science behind vaccines. The small pox vaccine. The kid that was injected with the vaccine died in his early 20s. The polio vaccine was rushed through before it was properly studied. The vaccine was released with a live deadly poilo strain and paralyzed 10s of 1000s of children. Back in the year 2000 the CDC moved from the oral polio vaccine to the injection because it was paralyzing children and spreading polio. This can be seen on the CDC website itself. It took 48 years for them to stop using a vaccine that was know to be dangerous. How bout the fact that only one ingredient in vaccines has been studied, and there are far more know neural toxins in them. Secondly, the lead resarch scientist for the CDC, saying vaccines aren't linked to austism is currently wanted for stealing grant money from this study. He is on a most wanted list right now, and yet the CDC still uses his research. Seems legit...How bout the fact that all these diseases were on a decline already with the introduction of sanitation and proper nutrition, but graphs are cut off showing only vaccines being the cause of their decline. Big pharma, time and time again is caught in scandal (just look into the tamiflu scandal) and yet we trust their studies on vaccines without legit 3rd party studies. Or how bout the fact that the CDC and vaccine companies are on each other's boards. There are so many reasons I don't trust pharmaceutical companies and they are real and legitimate concerns. If it was just about science without huge monetary rewards that'd be different, but that is simply not the case. There is so much corruption in it all. I trust God and what he created way more than what man has. I trust man to do one thing perfectly. Corrupt all it touches. Am I saying science is bad? Not at all. I love science. I love God more though, and understand man as the flawed creatures that they are. If you want to trust science with out question, you must also believe in macroevolution. I believe in researching everything and in making informed decisions. Paul said to do it with his words. How much more should we do it with nonbelievers? Lastly, I will not argue the effectiveness of antibiotics, but we do know their over use is causing antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria. Why on earth wouldn't the same be true with vaccines? There is a direct correlation with the number of vaccines in a schedule and infant mortality. The least amount of vaccines in a country have the lowest infant mortality rate and vice versa. Let's look at real evidence people, and use some common sense.


While I have taken all the vaccinations recommended, it is my understanding that there is legitimate science that shows that vaccinations can be dangerous to young children especially when they are given many shots very close together. It also seems that most doctors haven't researched this science very well. There are Christian scientists who have deep reservations about giving young children vaccines. It would be good if World would let us hear from them as well as the elders of a church.

Marilyn Reed

I too am disappointed in the one-sidedness of this article.  I am not opposed to vaccines, but I do not trust the government or the CDC blindly. Look at all the meds that get on the market and then have to be pulled. Think about the papers you have to sign when you get your children vaccinated (to cover the doctors, not to protect your kids).  I AM opposed to the schedule that has been adopted for vaccinations that 1) interfere with their "natural" (that would be "God-given") immune system that they have from their mothers in the first months or more. 2) the immunities they continue to receive from their mother through breast-feeding (or that another "pro-natural" thing that we Christians should reject and just go with ****** formula that is not even comparable with what God provided?) 3) try to squeeze most vaccines in as fast as possible so the kids don't miss any (how can it be good to stick so many different chemicals into tiny infants?   I am very concerned about losing our freedoms. I am EXTREMELY concerned about one vaccine not mentioned that is being PUSHED hard on parents of girls (& now boys, too) in their pre-pubescent and pubescent years "in case" they have sex. I am speaking of Gardisil and this is a very dangerous vaccine.  It also is only minimally effective.http://central-pennsylvania.legalexaminer.com/fda-prescription-drugs/are-gardasil-side-effects-just-...Beyond the above, I know medical and pharmaceutical people who have researched vaccines and refuse to give many of them to their kids. One brilliant nurse I know refuses (along with her colleagues who work on a neurological wing) to get the flu shot because of the adverse reactions they see daily in people who got the flu SHOTS (not the flu).  


Wow, what an amazingly biased piece.  You have insulted the countless hours I have spent researching this topic so that I could make the best decision for MY family.  You stirred up a hornets' nest with this one.  Not one mention of parental rights with regard to medical procedures as the government threatens to take away our right to decide.  All of this over a 156 cases of the measles in a population of 315 MILLION.  The media has been on a fear mongering escapade and now you have joined in.  Madness. Stick to unbiased reporting of news stories that are actually important.  We've enjoyed reading World for years but if there isn't a piece forthcoming that presents the other side, I will be extremely disappointed.  Possibly disappointed enough to not renew.  You should have left this alone. 


Pastor Smith, Anecdotes and feelings, while relevant in showing how personal this decision is, should not be used to make your main point about vaccines (for or against).  Instead, compare the severity and likelihood of adverse effects with and without each vaccine.  Also, research the chickenpox vaccine's history--when it was FDA approved, when it was added to the recommended schedule, and why it was added.   Lastly, please don't forget that the people involved in science, that make assumptions, design experiments, and draw conclusions from their results, are also post-fall.  A good book on the subject, written by a Dr who vaccinated his kids, is The Vaccine Book by Dr Sears.  It will also correct your misunderstandings about why people don't vaccinate.  Thank you for being willing to join the debate, with all of its controversy and passions.

Arthur T

Some people claim to be political, economic and/or religious "conservatives" or "libertarians"   They want to ride a motorcycle without a helmet or drive a car without using seat belts.  Yet when involved in an accident they want an insurance company (or the government) to pay for the consequences of foolish decisions. This is totally inconsistent with a true conservative/libertarian position.  If parents choose to not vaccinate a child they have no ground on which to stand should the child develop Polio or Measles or any of the other diseases for which there is a vaccine.  Likewise if parents determine to vaccinate their child, knowing that perhaps one out of three hundred thousand MAY develop some serious yet unintended consequence, they too (should) have no ground to bring charges against a drug company... or the government.  Are we consistently  conservative/libertarian or are we conservative/libertarian only when it is in our favor?


Is it already April Fools?  Did the Huffington Post buy out WORLD?  After years as a subscriber I have not seen anything from WORLD so blatantly unresearched or so intentionally inflammatory to its members.  I will not blame the juggler, however, for dropping the ball this one time provided he picks it up and makes a grand spectacle of it.  If he kicks it under the rug and pretends nothing is wrong...the jeers will follow.It is time for WORLD to dedicate a research team and publication space to the real nuts and bolts of this matter which we have been waiting so long for.  Get down to the heart of the issue and expose both the strengths and weaknesses not just of vaccinations, but of EACH vaccination.  To say the polio vaccine, a vaccine for ******* herpes, and last years non-effective flu vaccine should all be considered in the same fashion is ludicrous. Where is the breakdown of all the different vaccines given and at what ages?  Should a newborn be subjected to all, some, or none of these vaccines? A better rundown of the fetal tissue issue is warranted in a Christian setting. What about a mention of proposed vaccination scheduals and whether or not those scheduals can be fudged and how to re-integrate vaccination of older children if they have not already been vaccinated should they desire it? How about the efficacy of herd immunity in a setting like Disneyland where a Californian may be in the same room as a Nigerian, an Indian, and an elderly couple from China? Finally, though not included in this original article, what about the push to make vaccination mandatory? How will this fit in with whatever the "next new thing" is?  As an aside, I take umbrage to the posts comparing me (a Dr. in the Alaskan bush with 9 homeschooled children who partially vaccinates) with "yuppies and hippies" who make the decision based upon some TV actor I have never heard of or "natural love" I never agreed with or anti-science group-thinking that I never participate in.

Sue B

An excerpt from Pastor William H. Smith's article:"I'll make some sacrifices. Send me the high fructose corn syrup, especially if it has been made into a pecan pie. I'll take the genetically modified, pesticide-spayed, fertilzed grains and vegetables. I'll eat the corn-fed beef and let you have the grass-fed. But get those kids vaccinated. It will be good for them--and the rest of us, too."This statement, with a distinct tone of arrogance, coming from someone who hopefully agrees that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, is appalling.   It would seem that he believes the ingestion of toxic substances passing as "food" will have no effect on others; it's simply his choice, or as he chides, his "sacrifice."  Does he seriously think that the scientifically proven & documented consequences of such dietary choices, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc.., will not affect those close to him?  By all means, get vaccinated so you're not a potential risk to- or burden on- others, but don't be so naive as to think that your premature death or disability due to chronic disease brought on by lifestyle isn't going to affect your wife, children, grandchildren, parishioners, and/or friends.  Eating irresponsibly with no regard to food's potential to heal or kill, then expecting a pill, vaccine, surgery, or chemotherapy to fix things is... sick.  Are we not wonderfully made?  Did God not design us with immune systems to adjust, adapt, nurture, and heal?  Why would we purposefully consume things that would compromise such a miraculous sustainable system?  Food is medicine. Pursuing our health (to the best of our ability) is a means of praising God.  I challenge Pastor Smith to pursue it whole-heartedly, rather than just wiping his feet on the doormat of immunizations.


I agree with those who call this a one sided article.  Others have pointed out why we have a healthy skepticism about the helpful aspects of vaccines.  A few years ago we read that Japan still uses Vaccines, but not before age 2 1/2.  Besides autism and other side effects, SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome)  is a suspected side effect.  Another point to consider in this discussion is that the medical profession earns many times more what many other professions earn.  When my brother was dying from aplastic anemia, Blue Cross Blue Shield covered his health care costs after the deductible.  But his family (he was not married) was not allowed to know how much they spent on him.  Why not?  My estimate is they spent around $500,000 (included two months in ICU)  But they would not pay for a natural (much fresh air, concentrated cold showers--more than you can do in your bathtub that would cost about $5,000.  Why not?  What does this have to do with vaccine issue? Just this:  High tech medicine including vaccines is a big money making business.  Hospital and hospitality have the same root, origin.  Yet hospitals have long since ceased to be about hospitality.  They are big money making business enterprises. Others have cried, follow the money on the vaccines. Right On.  Many of the hospitals begun by believers are now run by unbelievers for profit motive.  Not wrong in itself.  But also not motivated by love for those in their care.  Our whole medical system is a mess.  Genuine integrity is needed.  God help us.  


World did post an article by Daniel Devine on September 19, 2014 on a possible new link between autism and certain vaccines.  As a pro-vaccine Christian physician, I was disappointed in the article that primarily quoted research performed by a scientist who was clearly anti-vaccine.  I point this out to say that WORLD has published at least this one article that is sympathetic to those who are skeptical of vaccines.  This article was not research journalism by WORLD writers.  As clearly stated it was the  publishing of a statement produced by the elders of a large, respected conservative Christian church - half of which are physicians - who are seeking to provide guidance to the people in their church that emphasizes the good of the community over the preference of the individual.  I found it helpful to see what they had written and agreed upon.  Perhaps it would have been appropriate to publish something written by leaders of another fellowship that discouraged vaccinations, or following the current vaccine schedule.   I have 4 children and have given them all recommended vaccines, because I am convinced that the best research shows that the risks of the vaccines are far lower than the risks of the diseases they are preventing.  One comment above suggested that those who vaccinate their kids shouldn't be worried about those who choose not to if they believe their kids are already protected by vaccines.  There are a number of vaccine preventable infections, for example measles, mumps, and rubella, for which the vaccine can't be given until children are 12 months old.  Infants less than 12 months old are thus very vulnerable to these infections, and at high risk of serious infection and even death from these diseases.  Should parents (ie in Southern California where there is a current epidemic of measles) keep their kids out of church until they are 12 months old and can safely receive the MMR vaccine because there are older children at the church who are unvaccinated and potentially bringing the virus to church.  The herd immunity protects infants who are not old enough to be vaccinated or who otherwise are ineligible for the vaccines due to immune compromise.  The elders of this church were simply stating that as they look at and evaluate the medical literature, they are convinced it is in the best interest of all in their church to immunize their children and themselves according to guidelines (which include appropriate exceptions for rare situtations) and they strongly recommend their parishioners to consider the implications of not vaccinating.Having said all of this, I feel for parents who all want what is best for their children and who are exposed to much conflicting information on the internet and elsewhere.  I also completely understand that parents who have a child that develops autism want to know why, and it is tempting to blame it on the vaccines their children received shortly before autism signs developed.  But billions of dollars have been spent in multiple countries around the world trying to prove (or disprove) a link - and almost all (and to my knowledge all of the best, high quality) research has clearly shown that there is no link between the two.  We should continue funding research to look for causes of autism, but enough billions have already been spent showing they are not linked to vaccines.  

Or Wnc

My wife and I have two grown men. We have 4 wonderful grandchildren. We too once wanted our grandchildren vaccinated and questioned the wisdom on not doing so. No longer.... After looking into the vaccination issue and many hours of reading, research, and getting into it, we have come to the conclusion that the one sided issue being slammed down the throats of the unsuspecting public is naive at best and criminal at worst. I can not in good conscience continue to support the vaccination of my grandchildren as recommended by our health care personnel. Vaccines for extremely deadly diseases being the exception. The fact that the government has held harmless pharmaceutical companies from lawsuits has alarmed us beyond words. Including provision of hush money to keep those harmed by vaccines quiet. What happened to journalistic integrity World? You stated as the title "To vaccinate or not vaccinate" I as well as many other commenters saw absolutely nothing on to not vaccinate in these pieces. Love your neighbor? Where is the love for the family that has suffered from vaccine related damage? Including what the session of a PCA church recommended is beyond belief. It actually scares us beyond words that this once free culture is now brow beating parents into injecting anything into the bodies of our children that is not tested adequately for harm. We don't even know where to begin  if these substances contain the matter from unborn children. Really? What is Christian about that? We have been subscribers to World for many years. This is shocking to us that only the one view, that by the way is not very well supported with references was presented. We beg you to please do some damage control and present loving alternative solutions to what was done that is supported by research. 

Kip T

Although I am generally pro vaccination I have to agree with the many commentors who called out WORLD for the lack of balance in this article.  Hopefully WORLD will follow up with an article that presents both sides of the story.  They certainly have a lot of material to work with based on the comments.Grouping all vaccines into one class seems to be the biggest flaw in reasoning.  Those that deal with diseases that can cause widespread deaths are significantly different than those that cause short periods of discomfort. I had not considered that no one has an economic interest in conducting a study to consider the adverse effects.  I find it surprising the claim that in order to get a payment for a vaccination gone wrong you have to agree to silence.  Ultimately it comes down to parents making a risk/ reward decision for their children.  The only issue with that becomes the impact on those that can not be vaccinated for some reason.  If a parent wants to not have their child vaccinated can the state, in its role of promoting the general good, still require the vaccination in order to protect the "least among us".  Tough question to answer.

Man of Action

The only redeeming thing this completely biased article accomplished was to show the editors of World how many of their readers were insulted instead of shamed as intended.

After reading the title, I assumed reasons 'not to vaccinate' might be given serious consideration. I was not surprised but very disappointed. You proved exactly what Robert Mendelsohn MD said in his book "How to raise a healthy child in spite of your doctor ". He said the vaccine is the sacrament of modern medicine, if you question that you question everything. Your experts confirmed his opinion.

If the vaccines are as safe as claimed, why did the federal government take over liability for any vaccine injuries? They did this after the pharmaceutical companies said they would stop manufacturing if they had to pay the insurance for liability. And we know insurance companies have made fortunes by calculating risks correctly.


I agree with many that voiced disapproval of this article. It was surprisingly one-sided and biased for World. I too do not care what the elders of that church think about the issue. It is the parents responsibility. And there are many, many believers like me who have serious concerns about vaccines and other drugs so easily prescribed nowadays. You did not do your homework on this article. You owe it to the readers and to the integrity of journalism to let other educated, wise Christians speak from the other side. 


"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.  It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies.  The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."  C.S. Lewis


Mom4Jesus127,I concur with what you wrote. Not all vaccines are alike and not all vaccines are critical. When I was coming up we received vaccines for ailments that were fatal or potentially disfiguring, like polio. Nowadays pediatricians typically urge vaccinations for all sorts of ailments that are not typically fatal (chicken pox, measles, mumps) or that are not really appropriate for young children (hepatitis b). Some vaccines have a strong and clear provenance and are what I consider critical vaccines--smallpox, tb, polio. Against these diseases the odds of survival or coming out of them unscathed are virtually zero. Chicekn pox, mumps, measles, rubella...the odds of a fatality from these or of permanent disfigurement, are far, far below the others I note above. These are typically childhood maladies of inconvenience. Vaccines for these are effective, but these are the newer ones that many parents question.I don't believe the article distinguishes between these kinds of vaccines but as you note, the distinction is an important one.


In these comments and elsewhere, some have said parents should vaccinate their children as an expression of "loving your neighbor."  The obvious question is, "Who is my neighbor?"  My nearest neighbors are my husband, my children!  Out of love for our children, my husband and I made the decisions we thought best for them, for their health, for their lives, for their futures.      Clearly, parents who trust in Christ, and who are led by His Holy Spirit, have come to varying decisions regarding vaccination for their families.  Yes, let us reason together.  Yes, let iron sharpen iron.  But let's defend others' rights to make decisions for their own families where it doesn't contradict the clear Word of God.


I once was pro-vaccine. I didn't know there was any other way to be.  I worked in the healthcare field. Then I had kids, and as I watched the first two go through vaccinations, and saw the effect on them, I became hesitant about vaccinating the third child and delayed them, just based on my first 2 kids' experiences. I hadn't heard of Jenny McCarthy, Andrew Wakefield, or of any internet sites against vaccines. Nor did I know of anyone who didn't vaccinate. My third, fourth, and fifth children were healthier babies than the first two. This is just personal experience, I know, but I wasn't influenced by anyone in my initial decision.  

Paul Lim

Thank you WORLD for posting these articles.  I am especially grateful to the elders of the First Presbyterian Church for their work in creating their document.  As one who lived and worked in Ethiopia as a surgeon in a children's hospital (along with my pediatrician wife), I saw first hand the devastating effects of children who did not have access to vaccines.  As a father of three children, I was distressed and disturbed by having to be careful of exposing my children (when they were infants and too young to be vaccinated) to non-vaccinated individuals in the US of all places!  We vaccinated all our children mainly for their sake--to protect them.  However, by doing so, we also had the added bonus of protecting some of the most vulnerable children around us (such as children with cancer who are on chemotherapy).  Best current evidence and wanting what's best for my children compelled me as a physician and a father to vaccinate my children for their own sake.  Loving my neighbor as myself compelled me as a Christian and a physician to vaccinate my own children for the sake of others as an added blessing.

Powell family

"Though some continue to assert this risk, every study done so far has indicated there is no link between vaccinations and autism. Others point to the risks of adverse reactions. "  Why is such a statement even allowed in a World magazine article?  I thought you held a high standard of accuracy.  A simple google search turns up hundreds of links and while you may argue that they are fluff science or misrepresented studies, I would argue that many of the pro-vaccine studies also cover up data they don't want the world to know.  Here is only one of many links!!http://www.naturalnews.com/042293_vaccines_autism_medical_studies.htmlI understand the risks of vaccines and I understand the risks of the diseases.  The author himself even shared his history of the diseases.  Our family has had chicken pox naturally.  I am willing to take on mumps or measles rather than take the risk of permanent lifelong brain damage and have to raise autistic or some other spectrum processing disorder radically altering our day to day living.  Every parent must assess those risks and pray for a decision they can be at peace with for the rest of their lives.  We are not anti vaccine!  We are anti mandatory vaccines, 5 at a time into tiny babies!!  Do you research- vaccines are not size or dose dependent.  A 15 pound baby receives the same shot that a 150 pound person does!! That right there should give you pause and consider alternative schedules for vaccines.  Consider in the 70s and 80s when Japan stopped vaccines until 2 years old, their infant mortality rate plummeted as well (including SIDS) but in the 90s as they slowly reintroduced infant vaccines (they only require 9 now), their deaths are increasing again!  http://www.whale.to/vaccines/scheibner1.htmlI just cannot in good conscience support anything that would mandate and require parents to take those chances and risks with their precious babes.To all of you who are posting in support and encouragement to this article- are you prepared to be the first in line to support the Ebola or AIDS vaccines that are being prepared in laboratories right now?!?!?!  Will they be "mandatory?"I am only in my 30s but there are times I feel I was born in the wrong generation.  I am not sure if I would have been marching on Washington and protesting at college campuses.  But I definitely doubt greatly anything the federal government does for "my good."

West Gramma

Whatever else may or may not be true about childhood vaccinations, it is certainly true that the topic hits a raw nerve with many. Therefore, a need for open investigation and discussion of all its aspects seems apparent. Concerns have grown to proportions beyond what a small bit of print can patch.


Thank you for helping me to decide..."to renew or not to renew". I will choose not to renew. The bully tactics of those who do not value parents making up their own minds about vaccines is shameful and I am sorry World has joined the bandwagon and published this piece.


After reading many others' thoughtful comments that this article is biased and the issue is (mind-bogglingly) complex and not to be oversimplified, I find myself also grateful for World's thoughtful reading audience. Y'all can also write well. Many good points were made. I am also grateful that World restricts comments to subscribers, cutting out the trolls! I am optimistic that World will have a good counter-article coming... it better be good!For the record, I am a partially-vaccinating mom and have been distressed by the hyperbole and duality of the discussions on my facebook page. Why is it one or the other? Why is it all vaccines are good or none at all? Why so many to such young children? (yes, I understand the young are the most susceptible to disease - but also the most susceptible to harmful reactions!) Most of all, I fear mandatory vaccination which would be a further intrusion of govt into parental rights. 

Kim MD

The title of the piece is "To vaccinate or not to vaccinate" but both side are not represented here. I am disappointed that both views were not presented. As a medical professional I do believe there are significant issues with vaccinations. Parents who opt out should not be vilified and I am sad to hear other Christians make derogatory comments about those who choose to opt out. Most parents who opt out are highly educated and have done extensive research into vaccinations before they allow their children to be injected with foreign material. Again I am disappointed that only one side of the issue was presented.


It is quite frankly astonishing to see how many people apparently consider everything that they disagree with to be "biased." A number of people above have accused World's writers of failing to do their research, when in fact the findings in this article are supported by the VAST majority consensus of researchers in the medical field in general and in immunology in particular.Moreover, to those of you who are supposedly canceling your subscriptions because you read something that you disagree with--your actions represent a key part of why I have zero faith in the anti-vaccines movement. You encounter something you disagree with, and you reject it out of hand so that you can avoid content that you don't like or agree with. The anti-vaccine movement is an incredibly unfortunate byproduct of our modern culture's inability to filter information.None of that is to question the sincerity of the concerned parents represented above, many of whom undoubted have "done their research." Unfortunately, this amounts to spending huge amounts of time scouring the internet for information about the possible risks of vaccines. Certainly the internet has huge amounts of information out there about the dangers of vaccines! It also has huge amounts of information about how the moon landing was faked, how the government is hiding alien encounters, how the KJV is the only inspired version of the Bible, how the world is almost at nuclear war, how the government is part of a conspiracy to teach your children to hate Jesus, how the Holocaust never happened, etc etc ad infinitum ad nauseum. (EDIT: Take, for example, the person directly above me, who posts an article to a website claiming to provide expert content that meanwhile advertises itself as "Anti-State, Anti-War, Pro-Market," and includes articles by the same conspiracy theorist "doctor" about the JFK assassination [it was an inside job, y'all!], how HIV is "harmless," and how the South was right in the Civil War.) Unfortunately, you search the internet and find massive amounts of content that confirms what you were looking for, you spend hours and hours reading it, and then you read articles like the above article in World, and you are convinced that someone has just "bought the lie" whole cloth because it contradicts the answers you managed to locate through your "research." Or you argue that they can't be trusted because they work for the government or because they are employed in the medical field (God forbid) and are therefore "biased." Moreover, in order to dismiss the overwhelming amount of data contrary to your opinion, you do not critically engage the methods or the analysis of the research (how could you, when you have no training in the field?), and so instead, you have to resort to ad hominem attacks by arguing that the only possible explanation for why the published research does not support your opinion is because evil people are trying to make money off of you and hide all the evidence that what they are doing is harmful. This is the definition of confirmation bias. This problem is only compounded by the way in which the anti-vaccine information is presented. It is quite frankly astonishing how many of the above commenters say things like, "Do you know how many people have died from measles in the last X number of years? None! Do you know how many people have had horrible side effects from adverse reactions to the vaccine?" And then you present some number, which may very well be accurate (though I am not ready to concede this point). But the whole issue is not whether vaccines are 100% safe; of course they aren't. There are always minor risks out there, and when you multiply the procedure by the hundreds of millions, you are bound very unfortunately to get representative cases where people have dealt with those side effects. But people DID die of the measles, and they did go blind or suffer serious debilitating vision problems because of it! It is absolutely absurd to try to take the current number of serious complications from American measles cases, of which there are very few (thank God!!) these days *because of the vaccine*, and then compare these cases to vaccine accidents, when there are literally tens of millions of vaccines performed each year. This is a perfect example of an astonishing lack of critical thinking on the part of the supporters of this unfortunate movement represented in many of the comments above.We can do better at filtering our information. Real research is peer-reviewed. It is written by and it is reviewed and approved by people who have the qualifications to judge the work by its merit. If you would like to participate in that peer review process, go get your MD, and then get your PhD in immunology, and then begin to writing articles defending your point of view, and submit those articles for peer review. How is it that we have so bought into the lie of American egalitarianism that we, who have no expertise at all in the field, find ourselves arguing against experts who have dedicated their lives and their professions to the study of these very things? Surely it cannot be because we found the blog of some naturopathic idealist with a computer somewhere who is hawking some sort of derivative Rousseauian silliness about how if we could just get back to nature, we would all be perfectly healthy.Are there peer reviewed articles out there critical of vaccines? Yes, to be sure. But once again, the vast majority of the evidence and the studies are in agreement that they are extremely beneficial to society and well worth the minute risks that are involved in the procedure. On what possible grounds should the uneducated public choose to disagree with the overwhelming consensus of medical research? Not, one would desperately hope, on the basis of scouring the corners of Google for information confirming the sensationalistic nonsense alleging that the medical community, many of whom are your brothers and sisters in Christ, are part of some vast sinister conspiracy to pump your children full of toxic chemicals to make a quick buck.

Florida Cracker

Reponse to come commenters.Respnse to some commenters.http://thechristiancurmudgeonmo.blogspot.com/2015/03/world-vaccine-war.html


Hans, my grandson is in ICU right now from a vaccine reaction. He was previously a healthy kid until he started getting vaccinated. I do feel strongly that we should not return to a hierarchal society which values one class over another. I am sorry if I do not sound humble and that it offends you that I value common sense and the ability to think for oneself. I was not trying to be offensive. Real life does sometimes get in the way of theory. 


It was not fair of me to impugn your motives and I apologize. When personal tragedy strikes, all of us want answers, and it does make sense that such an experience could encourage your skepticism of the medical community. At the same time, I would hope and pray that your grandson receives the best care that medical knowledge can provide during his stay in the ICU, and I would encourage you to realize that these doctors who are showing him such compassion now are of the same cloth as those carrying out the research in support of vaccines. Undoubtedly there are still refinements to be had, but we risk great harm when excoriating the medical community as a whole. Their expertise is not a threat; it is born of their intense desire to alleviate suffering, particularly in children. 

Peter F

Glad to hear you going to present the other side - "not to vaccinate"Here are two article to consider:Do aluminum vaccine adjuvants contribute to the rising prevalence of autism? J Inorg Biochem. 2011 Nov;105(11):1489-99. doi: 10.1016/j.jinorgbio.2011.08.008. Epub 2011 Aug 23.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22099159The Second is:A positive association found between autism prevalence and childhood vaccination uptake across the U.S. population.J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2011;74(14):903-16. doi: 10.1080/15287394.2011.573736.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21623535PLEASE read these articles and present a full story on this issue!!

Darlene S

I was very disappointed with this set of articles.  This issue of whether or not to vaccinate is one I have WRESTLED with as a parent who is concerned for the safety and health of my children.  Based on the title, I was hoping for some substantial content that would reflect the complexity of the risks that must be weighed and the choices that must be made - but there was none.

Postmodern Redneck

I thought I was done with this topic, but I ran across this article this afternoon that is pertinent to the subject:  Merck, the manufacturer of the MMR vaccine, is facing fraud charges in federal court from three whistleblowers (two of their own employees, and one CDC staffer).  The quick summary:  the whistleblowers allege that Merck's "scientists" have played fast and loose with the data to make their MMR vaccine appear more effective than it really is.  And a federal judge has already ruled against Merck's motion to dismiss.  http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/lawrence-solomon/merck-whistleblowers_b_5881914.html?utm_content=buffer...


For sure a topic that produces ample discussion on both sides.   I only want too add a couple things - there is reason to believe that the shingles virus is on the upswing in part because of the chicken pox vaccine.  Evidently having chicken pox produces immunity to the virus and being periodically exposed to chicken pox after that immunity is established reinforces the immunity and keeps it strong enough to also resist shingles.   With that said, certainly many diseases are far worse than the vaccines but in our effort to avoid disease and pain could we be creating compromised immune systems that can't withstand much of any exposure?  I'm just wondering.   We did not avoid vaccines in our family except for our daughter who early on had immune system issues that our pediatrician felt merited waiting on remaining vaccines.   She finished them all before college without incident.

Florida Cracker

This is William Smith. It was my Blog which was posted as a voice of "experience" which I suppose is accurate given my advanced years and my inability to avoid, if not learn from, experience.Do vaccines contain human tissue aborted or otherwise? No. There are some vaccines, however, that must be cultured in human cells. From whence these cells? They are provided by laboratories that produce cell lines. What is the origin of these cell lines? They came originally from several abortions (perhaps two). The Roman Catholic Church, which is staunchly anti-abortion, acknowledges that the issue is not uncomplicated but, nevertheless, holds that such vaccines may be (and perhaps should be) used while believers should work for a time when vaccines can be produced without the use of these cell lines. Some opposition to vaccines is grounded in wrong information, spread innocently or intentionally, that vaccines contain human tissue from aborted babies. This is demonstrably untrue. On the other hand, opposition based on right information but contending it is culpable sin to use vaccines requires a level of moral separation that cannot be consistently practiced in this world. Would you buy meat from a market that gets its beef from the sacrifices offered in pagan temples?  http://www.historyofvaccines.org/content/articles/human-cell-strains-vaccine-development


There is probably no one commenting or reading comments on this page anymore. My 14 month old grandson who was non responsive in icu from a vaccination for 3 days last week is now home but he is not back to his normal self. This is not untypical but will the doctors recognize it and report it to VAERS? Children were not designed to have poison injected in their veins. No one who knows anything at all can deny that vaccines are poison. No one on earth knows the tolerance level for poison for any child . It is a guessing game and the stakes are high. It is hard to believe that Christians actually justify this...we who know we are created in the image of God are bowing to this golden calf and defending it! Unbelievable. The golden calf has plenty of defenders but who will defend the children? Gideon tore down his fathers idols at night...and his life was threatened the next day. Hmmmm....not much has changed.

Jocelyn R

One issue that does not seem to be addressed is the morality of vaccines that are developed using cell lines from aborted babies. I would really appreciate an article that helps to address that tough dilemma for Christians. Please refer to this link for scientific information about the cell lines that are used in the making of many vaccines: http://www.cogforlife.org/vaccine-overview/

William 1958

you know who is smiling right now ? The devil, that's who. he's got the government in his hands, he deceives many Christians into believing a lie, and it's manifested on the comments above, supposedly good Christians throwing World under the bus (then backing up and doing it again).C'mon people. Read the article and comment yes or no, don't divorce World on one article.The thing is - no one can know everything about every topic. So you have to look at the source, and nowadays look at the source's source. I tend to agree with the article.And do you really think "facts" matter ? No they don't - consider evolution / creation as a prime example.


 "On the other hand, opposition based on right information but contending it is culpable sin to use vaccines requires a level of moral separation that cannot be consistently practiced in this world."Maybe it cannot be consistently practiced but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be practiced at all. If there were ever a time to be sure and practice it, would it not be when babies lives are at stake? I don't think eating meat sacrificed to idols and using vaccines produced in connection, however small, with aborted babies is a relevant comparison. One is food, the other a human life. Let's not just gloss over the issue (of vaccines being connected with tissue from aborted babies) by saying "That's the only meat that was in the market. We gotta eat don't we?"

Preachers Kid

What I don't get, is that millions of people will line up to get shot up with some vaccine that they know nothing about, just to avoid the 24 Hour flu. C'mon people it's just the flu! The only vaccines I would consider taking are proven ones that prevent diseases with a high mortality rate. Otherwise, I'd rather live with getting the flu once a year, than getting shot up with who knows what every year.