Should You Vaccinate Your Children?

 

 

Should I vaccinate my child?  Are vaccinations really safe? 

 

This is one of the biggest questions for parents in the 21st Century.  I first found myself at this crossroads more than 4 years ago when I was pregnant with my last baby.  I had vaccinated my first two children without question, without knowing there was even a debate to be had about it.  But when our 3rd baby was much delayed in ways our first two weren’t, I began to research the topic for the first time. In the end, we stopped our 3rd child’s vaccinations at around 1 year, and our youngest has never been vaccinated at all.

 

However, I’m not here to tell you what to do.   I’m not going to guilt-trip you into stopping your vaccine schedule or brow-beat you if you’ve already shot your baby full of the things.  What I am going to do, is ask you to take the time to research the pros and cons of vaccinating from as many unbiased resources as possible.

 

That means, don’t only rely on the information that your doctor gives you, or your pre-med classes, or (heaven forbid) the vaccine manufacturers themselves.  As far as the first two goes, I believe whole-heartedly that they mean well, and believe what they say.  But that doesn’t make them right.  They taught things in school 50 years ago that we now know to be false.  But they meant well and they believed what they said.  My grandmother’s heart doctor told her that margarine was good for her.  I know that to be a complete fallacy.  But he meant well, and he believed what he said.  As for the latter, I under no circumstances think they qualify for either meaning well, or believing what they say and that’s precisely why you have to educate yourself on the issue.

 

Vaccinating is a pretty darn important issue that needs to be thought through critically.  Which means false dichotomies like “I was vaccinated and I turned out just fine” really have no room in the discussion.  You were not vaccinated to the degree that children are today.  Not by far.  In the 1950′s there were 4 vaccines.  By the mid-80′s, when I was coming along, there were 7.  Today, children receive as many as 24 shots before they’re 2 years old. * That is a whole different ballgame.

 

Once you’ve done the research, if you decide to go ahead with vaccinating, then I’m fine with that.  I respect an educated choice.  What I fear, and have experienced, is that many people don’t research vaccinations at all, they simply let fear and intimidating campaigns decide for them.  I was once friends with a girl who admitted to praying especially hard each time her baby would get shots, afraid to get them, but too afraid not to.  It doesn’t have to be that way.

 

Don’t let anyone bully you into vaccinating.

 

A California study recently found that the Whooping cough outbreak from 2010 was linked to vaccinated children, not unvaccinated children. *  The reason this study particularly caught my eye was because in 2010, when I went to my local health department to inquire about their vaccination schedule and/or waivers – I was met with aggression.  I was intimidated with stories of whooping cough and basically told I was subjecting my children to risk of imminent death if I didn’t comply.  Despite having not given my personal opinion, the lady working the office was hostile towards me.  When I asked, kindly, if they had ingredient information on their vaccines that I could look at, she couldn’t produce anything to show me.  She then bullied me into signing a very intimidatingly titled form called  “Refusal to Vaccinate”. 

 

I walked into that place a curious civilian, not under the order of any doctor’s notice to vaccinate.  I was simply trying to learn more information about the rules and regulations of my local health care system (we hadn’t been in the state long).  I tried to ask the lady if I could simply come back later, after I had time to think through the decision more, but she insisted I had to sign her scarily titled form before I could walk out.  Honestly, I was pretty shook up by the time I got home and the shock wore off.  I couldn’t understand why my gentle, inquisitiveness was met with such hostility.

 

If this (or worse) happens to you, know your rights.  No one can force you into vaccinating.  There are waivers that exist for people who, after much research, decide that they’re not willing to risk vaccinating their baby.  Do the research.  It is your friend.

 

Now, the big question: would we ever be willing to vaccinate in the future?   The short answer is yes. I was mostly concerned with protecting the brain development of my babies under age two, when the brain is growing at a fantastic rate.  (Interestingly, I can honestly say that my youngest has been the most healthy of any of my children and he’s incredibly bright, though I admit there could be more than one factor for that).  But in the future if we want to move to a 3rd world country I would not be opposed to the required vaccinations.  But I’ve done the research.

 

 

Did you do the research?  Did it lead to you holding off vaccinations?

 

-Jessica

Resources

http://www.chop.edu/service/vaccine-education-center/vaccine-schedule/history-of-vaccine-schedule.html

http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/323187

photo by shannon matteson

Comments

  1. We stopped vaccinating a few years ago. Around when the boys were 1,2 and 3. I just couldn’t turn a blind eye to all the fact and continue to let pediatricians bully me into it. We had a wonderful doctor who we adored in Connecticut. He would schedule us last on Saturday mornings so we could just chat a while after. He’s make house calls because he lived a couple streets from us. He told us to knock on his door any hour if we had an emergency. But, he also told us that he couldn’t treat our kids if we didn’t vaccinate. He believed in it so strongly. Sadly, we had to walk away from his care. We now live in Maine and have a pediatrician that we don’t L-O-V-E love but, he’s cool. He’ll do. He doesn’t even suggest vaccines because he knows where we stand. We rarely see him. Once a year at best. Pink eye, ear infections, all that heals up on it’s own. We just go for physicals because the boys all get really nice hardcover books. :)
    Bethany recently posted..the rain in maine.My Profile

  2. We stopped vaccinating a few years ago. Around when the boys were 1,2 and 3. I just couldn’t turn a blind eye to all the fact and continue to let pediatricians bully me into it. We had a wonderful doctor who we adored in Connecticut. He would schedule us last on Saturday mornings so we could just chat a while after. He’d make house calls because he lived a couple streets from us. He told us to knock on his door any hour if we had an emergency. But, he also told us that he couldn’t treat our kids if we didn’t vaccinate. He believed in it so strongly. Sadly, we had to walk away from his care. We now live in Maine and have a pediatrician that we don’t L-O-V-E love but, he’s cool. He’ll do. He doesn’t even suggest vaccines because he knows where we stand. We rarely see him. Once a year at best. Pink eye, ear infections, all that heals up on it’s own. We just go for physicals because the boys all get really nice hardcover books. :)
    Bethany recently posted..the rain in maine.My Profile

  3. I hate going to the doctor with my kids. I feel guilted and bullied. And the irony is…. They have often most of their shots. There are just a few I have reservations about.

  4. I had a big problem with a lot of people when I decided to delay my first son’s vaccinations (someone actually told me that son developed asthma because he wasn’t vaccinated). It started with my search for a pediatrician. My test question was always “How do you feel about vaccines?? I’m thinking of delaying or not doing them at all.” I actually had one doctor tell me that they already delayed vaccines in her office. They didn’t start until 2 months old. Clearly she was not the one for us. I had several doctors tell me they wouldn’t take my child as a patient if I didn’t follow the CDCs schedule. It took a few weeks and about 10 doctors but I found one that was willing to let me decide on my own. Her only request was that I educate myself and she even gave me a list of books on the topic to check out.

    I finally decided to delay and be extremely selective. I found that if you breastfeed and your children aren’t in daycare they are at almost no risk for a lot of the diseases that they are given vaccines for from 0-2. Also when you start late there’s no need for booster shots later on. I completely agree with you Jessica you must do the leg work for yourself.

    I wasn’t 100% sure what I wanted to do in the beginning so I chose not to vaccinate at all. It’s easier to play catch up with shots than to undo the possible harm if your child has already been given the shot.
    LaToya {Christian Momma} recently posted..Boys and GunsMy Profile

  5. We vaccinate. on schedule. no fears. Funny, I usually end up being the one who feels like we are expected to defend OUR choice TO vaccinate, not the other way around.
    Momma in Progress (Valerie) recently posted..Top Ten {Tuesday}: The Co-Sleeping EditionMy Profile

  6. At a very young age, I originally decided to hold off after learning that the mmr actually contains cells from aborted fetus’. It wasn’t until later into my research that I discovered the multiple factors in why I would choose NOT to vaccinate my children. Only the 18 and 17 yr olds have most of their childhood vaccines, the 16 yr old has about half….the 10 and 13 yr old none. My 10 yr old actually had whooping cough when he was 3, and was misdiagnosed and mistreated for the first 2 weeks, no one else in the house ever caught it…going into the illness with a strong healthy immunity definitely plays factor. I too was verbally attacked by the health department official when I reported a healthy round of chicken pox in 4 of my children a couple years ago. It really fired her up when I told her I was actually an infection control nurse…hahaha! I usually reply, I’ll read your literature, if you read mine! I too believe regardless of your decision…it should be an educated one, these are OUR children, entrusted to us by God…NOT the government. They can run their monopoly somewhere else.
    and yes, third world countries…..I may give a 2nd look ;) Thanks for this Awesome post!

  7. Both my daughters had severe reactions to a certain vaccine. When I expressed concern, and even when tests were done for epilepsy and other brain trauma, the answer was always “it was not the vaccine”. But they happened 5 years apart when both girls were the exact same age after they got the exact same shot.

    We decided to not vaccinate our son. I have been met with a lot of hostility from the military doctors. I have been told that they won’t do a delayed schedule- that he would have to get them all at once (yikes!) or none at all- so we chose none. I have been called a bad parent, told that my son would die of polio, threatened with a “sneak attack” (apparently they were going to vaccinate him like a ninja), and other such nonsense. They have never met my concerns or questions with any kind of logic or rational explanations as to WHY I should vaccinate after what happened the last two times I submitted to their advice.

    I don’t have any misgivings about people that choose to vaccinate. I have personal reasons for choosing to delay. But I am forced to not vaccinate at all.
    Aadel recently posted..Ministering to Military Spouses: Dressing AppropriatelyMy Profile

    • Yes, I’ve run into the same thing and a lot of it depends on your state, I think. Currently my options are all or none. I think that’s very unfair, personally.

  8. I did a TON of research before my first was born because I know lots of people who don’t vaccinate. In the end we did a slightly modified schedule with both of ours. The deciding factor for us was that almost all the anti-vax information I found was from sources I didn’t trust (being a “life coach” or “herbalist” doesn’t qualify you to make medical calls, in my opinion) and I had someone I was very close to pass away when I was younger because he was immuno conpromised (from other things) and contracted something that is vaccinate preventable today. Losing him tore our family apart. If there was ANY chance, any at all, that my not vaccinating was going to contribute to another family going through that there was aboslutly no way in hell I was going to.

    I would much rather deal with a child having the possible side effects of a vaccine than deal with one who suffers the effects, that I have seen and lived through first hand, of NOT having it.

    I’m not going to bully anyone into making choices for their children they’re not comfortable with but I want people to think VERY HARD about this because it’s not just your kids you’re effecting when you make these decisions.
    Jenna Boettger Boring recently posted..My husband is holding me back. And it’s awesome.My Profile

  9. Not having kidlets of my own, I don’t actually have to deal with any of this, Thank goodness. Its terrifying the amount of governmental control there is over how people choose to treat their own children. I think that whatever you decide to do is your business, not the government. They are YOUR kids. I’ve been reading a lot lately about the drug industry and it freaks me out. There’s one movie, Cut Poison Burn that I watched the other day (I think it came out some time last year) and although its not about vaccines, its about the FDA and a parents right to choose how they want their child treated (and about how individuals choose to treat their own bodies). Even without kids, its heartbreaking and infuriating. Of course, its not just about kids either. When I went to our local health department for my annual exam, they had to have MY vaccination history before they would see me. And then they said I had some bogus infection, threw some antibiotics at me, said “look this up on the internet” and left me standing there a bottle of pills and my mouth hanging open. But you already know all about that…and antibiotics are another hot topic for another day. :)
    Neffer recently posted..Suwannee LakeMy Profile

  10. We have chosen to delay vaccinations…. and we are still delaying now. I did a LOT of research and we also had some experiences with friends/family who vaccinated which scared the heck out of me.
    Michelle ~ Blogging from the Boonies recently posted..Snow Day ProjectMy Profile

  11. I completely agree with all you. It’s basically the way my husband and I think regarding vaccines. Our oldest 2 have all their vaccines until age 5. Our 3rd son up untill age 2, our 4th child until age 6 months, and our 11mo old has never been vaccinated. The pattern is obvious I think and shows the progression in our awareness and education on the subject. We are also open to vaccinating should a real need be there like the one you stated of traveling to a third world country. I also have noticed that our last 2 babies seem healthier over all. I’ve even mentioned to my hubby several times how our “happiest” baby so far has been our 5th baby boy who besides not being vaccinated also had a peaceful home birth, is uncircumsised (unlike our poor older boy who is) and has been exclusively breastfed and is the baby we have raised the most naturally in many other ways. Of course I cannot prove anything but the correlation seems to be there as well as some guilt that we did not know all this from the beggining with our odest kids. :( But I am greatful that the Lord has shown us better ways to parent our babies!

  12. When our girls were 15 months old, they were scheduled for two shots (both of which were live viruses). It made me really anxious to give them for two reasons:
    1. one of my girls was sick
    2. it was two live viruses

    I told my pediatrician I wanted to wait till both the girls were healthy, and I wanted to give the shots one at a time. I was basically bullied into going ahead with the vaccines. And, low and behold. Two days later we were back in the pediatrician’s office. My daughter, who was sick, was still sick and had the WORST case of hives you’ve ever seen. But, of course, even though I expressed concern about the vaccines, I was assured that it was a coincidence, and had nothing to do with the shots.

    I’m disappointed that I didn’t fight harder to protect my daughters. And, that I didn’t go with my mama-instinct. I wasn’t confident that she should have had the vaccine at that time, and I should have fought harder to protect that feelings. I think God puts them there for a reason.
    Julia recently posted..Mama Loves: Swap and SellMy Profile

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