This book review is reprinted with the permission of the National Center for Homeopathy
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The Immunization Decision: A Guide for Parents by Randall Neustaedter.
North Atlantic Books, Homeopathic Educational Services,
$5.95 [Editor's note: As of March 1996 Minimum Price Books' price is $8.50]
reviewed by Louis Klein, RSHom
When I first started practicing homeopathy, I was somewhat ambivalent about vaccinations, in spite of conventional homeopathic objections to them. My usual response was to throw the decision back to the parents for consideration without much positive or negative reinforcement to their developing viewpoint.
But as I witnessed the "vaccine wounded" walk through my doors over twelve years, I have become more and more passionate about this subject. These wounds have included paralysis, various physical injuries, serious fevers and sequelae, brain damage and death. With only two exceptions, all of the parents and children were told by their doctors or health officials that it was coincidental these problems arose within 48 hours of being vaccinated. So much for effective and conscientious reporting of vaccine-related injuries. I shared the anguish of these reactions with parents who were torn with guilt and grief over their decision. Subsequently, especially since becoming a father, I've become strongly against vaccination.
In my practice though, the only written arguments against vaccination I had to offer patients consisted of several file folders full of various articles and a few books on the subject. One of the books, DPT a Shot in the Dark is excellent, yet overwhelming by its size and emotional import. I found that after parents read the folder and /or book, amazingly, they still chose whether to vaccinate their child based on a gut reaction. This reaction was more one of accepting or bucking the authority of the medical profession.
Even after making a careful decision to not immunize their child, many parents discover it is only the beginning of a process. They still have to deal with disgruntled and angry grandparents, relatives, doctors, public health and school officials.
I always thought, "wouldn't it be nice to have a book that without emotion, gave clear and concise reasoning for not vaccinating- that presented this information in a way which was indisputable because it relied on the authority of the medical literature already out there."
The Immunization Decision A Guide for Parents is that book. It is brilliant in that it is thorough yet concise and very easy to read with suitable footnotes and bibliography, frequently quoting expert opinion. Not only that, it gives recommendations for each vaccine and resources for parents who have decided not to vaccinate.
The book states it has two functions: "One is to give information about the diseases, the vaccines, and their side effects. The second goal of the book is to give support to those parents who choose not to immunize according to the recommended schedule."
Each vaccine is discussed in a thorough manner, including information about the disease and its incidence, vaccine effectiveness, reactions, a summary and recommendations for each specific vaccine.
It also manages very unobtrusively to bring the homeopathic perspective into play, also giving advice on homeopathic vaccination, and other homeopathic topics pertinent to vaccination. This is because the author, Randall Neustaedter, is a practicing homeopath who specializes in pediatrics.
I've stored the file folder away and now use this book as a first line means of informing parents and others interested. For that is what the issue is all about: well-informed consent or choice. With its clarity of presentation, I am sure this book will help parents make the right choice. In three months we have effectively sold 25 copies of this book in my office. The need has obviously been there.
I'm also finding that parents who have already made the choice can use the book to effectively educate themselves. The book also may be an effective way of dealing with those other individuals or authorities who have a so-called "interest" in your child's welfare.
HOMEOPATHY TODAY SEPTEMBER 1990