Epilepsy Talk

Epilepsy Without Vaccinations — The Risks | July 13, 2014

I started this article assured that vaccinations of infants with epilepsy was a definite no-no.

And boy, was I surprised.

Basically, medical research has proved me wrong. Real wrong.

Concerns about vaccine safety have led up to 40 percent of parents in the U.S. to delay or refuse some vaccines for their children in hopes of avoiding rare reactions.

Although, vaccines will prevent the deaths of tens of thousands of children born this year, why are so many parents in so many states making the dangerous decision to potentially opt out of one of the great achievements of modern medicine?

Pediatrician Dr. John Snyder explains: Concerns about vaccines tend to fall into several different categories including, but not limited to:

Vaccines cause diseases, including autism and autoimmune diseases…
Vaccines contain toxins, which can harm the body in unknown ways…
Too many vaccines given together can overwhelm the immune system…
Vaccines are unnecessary, and/or do not work.

A recent study found that delaying the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, in the second year of life, doubled the risk of a seizure occurring after the vaccination.

But delaying some vaccines, in addition to leaving children unprotected from disease longer, can actually increase the risk of fever-related seizures, according to a new study.

While some parents buy into the more extreme forms of anti-vaccine propaganda, most understand that vaccines are responsible for the dramatic decline in the incidence of horrible diseases and that they are generally safe.

However, they may falsely conclude that because these diseases are now so rare, they no longer need to be as vigilant about vaccinating their children.

This makes it easier for parents, who don’t necessarily buy into the full anti-vaccine mythology, to take a “play it safe” approach and accept some form of alternate vaccination strategy.

One explanation is that these parents are misinformed, seduced by the false claims like the myth that vaccines cause autism.

If so, giving them accurate information might change their minds about protecting their children against communicable diseases like measles — a near-eradicated disease that has flared anew.

“It is difficult to explain to these parents that until the diseases are truly eradicated from the planet, we must keep vaccinating everyone; that everyone needs to be vaccinated to maintain herd immunity for those too young to be vaccinated, for those who cannot be vaccinated due to health reasons, and for those for whom the vaccines do not work.”

All that said, although vaccinations have their many benefits, it does not guarantee that vaccinated children with epilepsy will not experience seizures.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, concluded that there was no relationship between receiving vaccines and experiencing seizures for children in the first year of life.

However, in the second year of life, children who received the MMR vaccine (measles-mumps-rubella) between 12 and 15 months old, when it’s recommended, were about 2.6 times more likely to experience a seizure than they would be without being vaccinated at that time.

This number translates to about one seizure out of every 4,000 children receiving the vaccine.

Yet, if parents delayed the MMR vaccine until any time between 16 and 23 months, the risk of a seizure was 6.5 times greater than when not being vaccinated.

That means that waiting to get the MMR vaccination more than doubles the risk of a seizure occurring in the one to two weeks after vaccination.

Specific Conditions


Autism is an extremely rare side-effect of vaccinations. Serious complications related to vaccines are very rare, and there is no evidence that immunizations cause autism, according to an analysis of 67 research studies.

The analysis comes as many vaccine-preventable diseases are making a comeback, often in communities with low vaccination rates.

At least 539 people across 20 states have been infected with measles this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“This report should give parents some reassurance,” says pediatrician Courtney Gidengil of Rand and Boston Children’s Hospital, co-author of the study out today in Pediatrics.

The report says there is “strong evidence” that the measles vaccine is not associated with an increased risk of autism. That myth gained popularity in 1998 because of a medical study that has been retracted. Still, the myth persists.

Dravet Syndrome

Up to 80 percent of Dravet Syndrome children have mutations in the SCN1A gene.

Anne McIntosh of the University of Melbourne’s Epilepsy Research Centre and colleagues observed “These kids already had that genetic abnormality, (so) regardless of the relationship with the vaccine, they would have actually had that disorder happen to them anyway.

Essentially, there is no proof that people should not be vaccinated … from concerns about it causing the onset of that disease.”

Febrile Seizures

About 2%-5% of young children will have at least one febrile seizure.

Most febrile seizures occur in children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years. And a child who has already had a febrile seizure is more likely to have another one.

Also if a member of a child’s immediate family (a brother, sister, or parent) has had febrile seizures, that child is more likely to have a febrile seizure.

Studies have shown that there is a small increased risk for febrile seizures during the first to second week after the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccination and the first dose of measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella (MMRV) vaccine.

Several studies of children in the United States in previous influenza seasons have shown no increased risk for febrile seizures following receipt of seasonal flu vaccines.

One study evaluated more than 45,000 children aged 6 months through 23 months of age who received influenza vaccines during 1991 through 2003 and did not find any association with seizures.

The study’s lead author, the University of Calgary’s Dr. Shannon MacDonald, said that although febrile seizures are not typically associated with long-term health problems, they are still stressful for parents.

“Febrile seizures are typically self-limiting and rarely have long-term effects, but they can be extremely distressing for parents, may precipitate acute care visits and may undermine confidence in immunization programs,” she said in a statement.

Vaccination still ‘the best option’.

However, MacDonald notes that the absolute risk of febrile seizures from the vaccine is still very low, and the seizure risk from measles is much higher.

“We know from this study that the risks of febrile seizures from the disease are tenfold higher than the risk from this vaccine.

If you look at the absolute risk, we’re talking about three to four seizures for every 10,000 doses of the vaccine given, so the absolute risk is very small.

But it’s something that parents should be aware of. Parents need to know what the benefits and risks of the vaccines are.”

However, and this is important to note; the risk of seizures for children who received the combined vaccine in the first seven to 10 days after vaccination, was double the risk for children who received the separate vaccine, according to the study.

This amounted to about one extra seizure for every 2,841 doses administered in the first seven to 10 days after vaccination.

The researchers said that while the risk for children who receive the combined vaccine is double, the absolute risk is still relatively small.

Dr. MacDonald, said “The evidence is very clear that parents should continue to vaccinate their children, that is absolutely the safest course of action. The risks of a febrile seizure from the disease are tenfold higher than the risk from the vaccine.”


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Other articles of interest:

Measles Outbreak In Ohio Leads Amish To Reconsider Vaccines http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/06/24/323702892/measles-outbreak-in-ohio-leads-amish-to-reconsider-vaccines?utm_source=npr_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=20140624&utm_campaign=dailydigest&utm_term=nprnews

Report: U.S. Plagued by 20-Year High in Measles Cases http://www.usnews.com/news/newsgram/articles/2014/05/29/report-us-plagued-by-20-year-high-in-measles-cases?src=usn_fb

Putting Us All at Risk for Measles http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/06/26/putting-us-all-at-risk-for-measles/?emc=edit_hh_20140701&nl=health&nlid=27745593&ref=healthupdate



Click to access vaccinationandepilepsy.pdf



  1. How about a link for the side against vaccines?


    I say survival of the fittest immune systems. I won’t have kids since this planet is already too overcrowded and polluted so I’m doing my part to help reduce the population growth. If I had kids, I would keep them 100% natural organic, GMO and Vaccine free! All this vaccine pushing is from big Pharma and pushed way more heavily in the USA than other countries, like many other toxic things (GMO’s). “Just say KNOW”


    Comment by Aje — July 13, 2014 @ 4:03 PM

  2. Interesting you should say that Aje. I wrote a previous article AGAINST vaccines, but because measles seem to be invisible, they’re starting to be a real problem.

    And I was afraid that if I published the long article I had previous written that I would scare people off.

    That’s why I included the section about Autism, Dravet Syndrome and Febrile Seizures.

    I know the reactions exist, but only to a limited point.

    And after reviewing the article (I always take a while to research, write and edit, before I publish something), I felt I was leading people along the wrong path.

    I had zillions of references against vaccines, but I think I would do readers a disservous if they thought they were immune to contagious conditions.

    So, although I agree with you on one level, (a week of researching and writing dumped, ouch!), I thought it was important to point out the dangers.

    So, that’s why I took this stance.

    P.S. I think Mercola is an excellent resource and I’ve used him many times as a resource during the 10 years when I was a professional Health and Wellness writer.


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — July 13, 2014 @ 6:24 PM

  3. Whoever wants to keep their child “organic” better keep them in a bubble. There will be another child, whose parent thinks the same way, When they are in school, day care etc., they will be in very close contact. An “organic” children will get sick with something that could have been prevented and pass it on. Before a child can attend school in Texas they have to show their shot records making sure everything has been done and is up to date Thank goodness.


    Comment by Debbie — July 13, 2014 @ 7:55 PM

    • Debbie, vaccine certificates are required by most schools, in most states. But parents have argued the point and even taken it to the court.

      In fact, it is the parent’s choice what they want to subject their child to.

      The only hitch is the other children are subjected to it also.

      Whether you feel who gets the measles is by chance (and you don’t), the latest news — like the Amish story — points out that all is not by choice or chance.


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — July 13, 2014 @ 10:36 PM

    • Texas, as does every other state, has an exemption for vaccines. If vaccines work as well as the pro-vaccine crowd claims, one shouldn’t have to worry about the UN-vaccinated being a “danger” to their vaccinated child. It’s actually the vaccinated that can be a danger to non-vaccinated children and to adults who have never had certain diseases.


      Comment by Heidi — July 14, 2014 @ 8:29 AM

  4. It’s upsetting enough when parents refused to vaccinate their kids. It’s more disturbing when parents make the link it epilepsy, which makes absolutely no sense because a child will be at a HIGHER risk of getting epilepsy.. Diseases such as measles. mumps , whooping cough or polio can cause high fever or encephalitis.

    Before these vaccines were invented the infant mortality rate was much higher. Parents who refused to vaccinate their children are committing child abuse.


    Comment by UptownGal — July 14, 2014 @ 1:24 PM

    • Yes, that’s true. I suffered measles & encephalitis as a 6 year old and have had uncontrolled epilepsy all my life (even with meds.). Not being vaccinated has disabled my life! I am now 53 years old. I have 3 children and I had them all vaccinated at the appropriate age. I didn’t think twice about having them vaccinated or not. They are all ok.


      Comment by Josephine Stevens — September 6, 2014 @ 5:43 AM

  5. Bear in mind, “This year, there has been a major resurgence of measles, a dangerous disease that for decades had been virtually unknown in the United States. And it’s become clear that measles has re-emerged as a public health issue in this country because large numbers of individuals remain unvaccinated.

    By choice.

    Up until the late 1960s, measles was an unavoidable scourge, infecting millions of children each year. Highly contagious, it could lurk in the air for hours after an infected individual had passed by, resulting in more than 400 deaths and nearly 50,000 hospitalizations annually, as well as innumerable chronic disabilities when it spread to the lungs and BRAIN.”



    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — July 14, 2014 @ 1:38 PM

  6. Another interesting site from a concerned mother: http://karenkain.com/

    Sure there is a time and place for SPECIFIC vaccines to control epidemic, but no one died without the Flu Vaccine and all these other gimmick vaccines for thousands of years. Again, survival of the fittest, the planet has too many humans now, vaccines made this problem worse. I haven’t had to go to a traditional DR. in 38 years, always used natural remedies to boost my immune system the few times I got a cold. My best defense is my natural diet, exercise, and good sleep. Keep the shots away from me, thank you.


    Comment by Aje — July 14, 2014 @ 3:44 PM

  7. Ah Aje, so you want to decrease the world’s population?

    Try taking a trip to the Philippines, The U.K. or Brazil. Maybe you’d like to adventure in Africa. I hear that Haiti is very nice this time of year.

    Or would you prefer to live in Central Ohio, New York, or California?


    “Measles remains the eighth leading cause of mortality worldwide and the greatest vaccine-preventable cause of death among children. Studies have shown that unvaccinated children are 35 times more likely to contract the disease than immunized children.

    Furthermore, the health care experts cautioned, it wouldn’t be just their own family members that these parents were putting at risk.”


    One more thing: The FLU “kills between 3,000 and 49,000 people. That’s close to the number of women killed by breast cancer each year, and more than twice the number of people killed by AIDS.”


    Oh, I forgot, you “won’t have kids since this planet is already too overcrowded and polluted”.


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — July 14, 2014 @ 7:42 PM

  8. Aje, there’s quite a difference between having the flu and having polio or whooping cough. The latter two require immediate quarantine of anyone who’s even within proximity of someone who’s infected because you can die. And those who are infected suffer greatly through the symptoms The child mortality is significantly lower today than 70 years ago, thanks to vaccines.


    Comment by UptownGal — July 15, 2014 @ 11:59 AM

  9. Also, one important way to prevent the flu is by washing your hands after you sneeze. It would be great if we can prevent getting measles that way…


    Comment by UptownGal — July 15, 2014 @ 12:01 PM

  10. Funny your link about measles quotes: “While there have been no deaths yet associated with the recent outbreaks, the lesson for patients and doctors is clear.” (sell more vaccines)

    My perspective:

    And Flu:

    You have to look at who is behind them and who benefits…

    Yeah after more earth/climate changes wipe out more people I might start considering reproducing. For now I’ll help the rest of humanity stop destroying our planet and each other, while I enjoy my freedoms of not being a parent. I’ve been to some of the crowded Asian countries, lived in Los Angeles and outskirts, and in small town midwest. We could all breath cleaner air, have cleaner water, if less humans were here, especially without those corrupt politicians controlling us and our outdated oil based energy policies. We have technology to fix everything, cure nearly anything, yet big Pharma and Corporations won’t allow them. Same with Cancer, they don’t want to find a cure, they just want to keep treating it to milk us for every penny possible, and then let us die. Well there are cures, and thanks to the internet they are easier to find.

    A lot of people haven’t woken up yet to the real world we live in, and the puppet masters that control our reality. Ignorance is Bliss, take the red pill if you choose.


    Comment by Aje — July 15, 2014 @ 12:05 PM

  11. Aje, is your only proof Mercola?

    “In 2012, there were 122,000 MEASLES deaths globally – about 330 deaths every day or 14 deaths every hour.”

    Overwhelming evidence demonstrates the benefit of providing universal access to measles and rubella-containing vaccines. Globally, an estimated 562,400 children died of measles in 2000. By 2012, the global push to improve vaccine coverage resulted in a 78% reduction in deaths. Since 2000, with support from the Measles & Rubella Initiative (M&R Initiative) over 1 billion children have been reached through mass vaccination campaigns ― about 145 million of them in 2012.”


    As for the flu:

    “Deaths in the current flu season have officially crossed the line into “epidemic” territory, federal health officials said Friday, adding that, on the bright side, there were also early signs that the caseloads could be peaking.”


    “CDC estimates that from the 1976-1977 season to the 2006-2007 flu season, flu-associated deaths ranged from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people. Death certificate data and weekly influenza virus surveillance information was used to estimate how many flu-related deaths occurred among people whose underlying cause of death was listed as respiratory or circulatory disease on their death certificate.”



    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — July 15, 2014 @ 12:30 PM

  12. I read many NON-Mainstream and NON-Corporate news sources, unlike NY Times, unlike WHO and other corporate propoganda news.

    Here are some other sources besides Mercola:




    Think outside the box.

    According to Zeitgiest, we could actually provide enough free energy, clean water/food/environment for many more people than we currently have. Not in today’s world conditions though, the old control structures need to fall first, so a resource based economy can flourish along with new technologies that make the current power structure obselete.

    I’ll take my chances of dying from the Flu, or from Measels, without any vaccinces. Haven’t even had a cold in years, cuz I take good care of my health! There are natural cures for everything, starting with diet. Humans survived thousands of years without pills, GMO food, junk food, wifi radiation and vaccines. Now cancer is bigger than ever before, gee I wonder what world conditions triggered this.


    Comment by Aje — July 15, 2014 @ 1:10 PM

  13. Here’s another good one for the flu vaccine camp:



    Comment by Aje — July 15, 2014 @ 2:46 PM

  14. I agree with this:
    And for the record, I am not an opponent of the theory of vaccination. What I’m against is the continued use of toxic heavy metals and chemicals in vaccines. I’m also opposed to the wildly fraudulent marketing of vaccines. If any other product were marketed with the same lies and deceptions as vaccines, they would be immediately charged with fraud and misrepresentation by the FTC. But somehow when the vaccine industry commits routine fraud, everybody pretends it isn’t happening.

    Even with all the marketing fraud taking place, if the vaccine manufacturers would stop poisoning the population with vaccine additives (by removing mercury, formaldehyde and other chemicals from their products), nearly all opposition to vaccines would rapidly disappear.


    Comment by Aje — July 15, 2014 @ 2:47 PM

  15. I never got vaccinated, do to religious beliefs. When I started having seizures we prayed. I had measles before seizures. I later had chicken pox, mumps when I was working in a hospital. I found out the cause my seizures was not the viruses but do to the cells not splitting in one small area of the brain that are riding on the ventricle. Each patient has a different cause. This is a real good theory to look into.


    Comment by red2robi — October 16, 2016 @ 1:32 PM

  16. What an interesting story and insight. Thank you!


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — October 16, 2016 @ 2:35 PM

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    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

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