A few days ago, Dooce posted her Momversation video contribution and a follow-up post on the subject of childhood vaccinations. In Heather’s post, she stated that she doesn’t understand parents who choose not to vaccinate their children. As of today, there are more than 1150 comments on that post (yours truly contributed 2), and the debate seems to be getting more and more heated as the days go by. The majority of Heather’s audience is pro-vaccine, followed closely by the selective/delayed vaccination group. I think the non-vaxers total about a dozen, but we’re putting up a good (and well-informed!) fight.
Parenting is such a hard job, and it’s not one to be taken lightly. In the case of vaccinations, it’s our job, as parents, to research–to look at the vaccine ingredients and to seek out information about each and what it means to be injecting those chemicals into our children’s bodies. We need to examine studies that are both peer-reviewed and unbiased (read: studies NOT conducted by pharmaceutical companies). We need to realize that doctors, as a whole, do *not* always act in the best interest of our children. The almighty buck is, well, almighty, and it drives people like no other material does.
Above all else, we need to not be afraid. Thanks to the great strides that have been made in the areas of personal hygiene and public sanitation, and because we now have information on each disease regarding how they are spread and how to treat them, these VPDs (vaccine preventable diseases) are, by in large, harmless. Measles? Treat with Vitamin A. Don’t use anti-pyretics to bring down the fever-let it do it’s job at fighting the infection. Petrussis? Treat with Sodium Ascorbate. Chicken Pox? Rest. Oatmeal baths. Calamine lotion. Chicken/vegetable soup.
Quickly, I want to restate the two points I made on Dooce’s blog post. The first has to do with Pertussis. I would say that 90% of Dooce’s comments that referenced Pertussis bitched about the unvaccinated population spreading the disease to the unable-to-be-vaccinated (infants and the immuno-compromised) and vaccinated populations. The fact is that the Pertussis vaccine DOES NOT prevent transmission. Hell, it’s not even 100% effective at protecting those who receive it from contracting the disease. Anyway, back to my point: Even if you are vaccinated against Pertussis, you can and still do, carry and transmit the disease. It is just as likely, if you come down with Pertussis, that you caught if from a vaccinated person as it is that you caught if from a unvaccinated person.
The second point I’d like to make is that the vast majority of non-vaxing parents do not choose to NOT vaccinate their children because of Autism. To quote what I said in the comments section of Dooce’s post: “Non-vaxers aren’t only (or necessarily at all) concerned with autism. Some issues we are concerned about are-the ingredients in vaccines, the perceived benefits vs. the risk of adverse reactions, the one-size-fits-all dosing of vaccines, and the lack of safety testing, to name just a few.” Here I’d like to add that in addition to the issues I listed on Heather’s blog, non-vaxing parents are also concerned with the rise in asthma, allergies, neurological disorders, diabetes, eczema, and a host of other dis-eases that we’ve seen (and that has been documented) in today’s children since mass vaccination was introduced to the public.
Whatever you decide to do in regards to vaccinations, I urge you to do so after having researched–thoroughly. Aviva Jill Romm’s book Vaccinations: A Thoughtful Parent’s Guide is a fantastic (unbiased) resource to get you started. It’s well written, fairly easy to read and navigate (in other words, I was able to understand the points she made), and is steeped in fact.