I shouldn’t have been, but I was: I was surprised by the huge response to the first part of this series: The Great Shot Debate (if you haven’t read it, start there and take the quick poll, too!). I have received Facebook emails, text, comments and questions galore! Part of why I think this topic is so popular is because we all love our children so very, very much. And, with new information cropping up every day – both pro and anti vaccinations, I think all our ears are tuned in. Each of us wants to make sure we are doing the best thing(s) for our children and to feel confident in those decisions. Which is a good thing. What we shouldn’t be doing is blindly accepting anyone’s recommendations (doctors, mothers, friends, etc) without good research into what is being recommended. After all, our decisions today could very well affect our children tomorrow (or next year, or ten years down the road). It certainly isn’t unusual to do a lot of research into the school system (public, private, otherwise) before you move into a new home…how much more should we be researching what we are or are not putting into our children’s bodies.
I don’t judge parents who choose to vaccinate their children. I do not, however, understand vaccinations without research to be sure that each of them are necessary for your child(ren). I do find it curious, though, how frequently I am judged by parents (perhaps I’m misunderstanding?) for choosing not to vaccinate my children. The research my husband and I have done have led us to a different solution and that is all. (For an explanation of what we choose to do instead, click the link above for the original post.) What I would love is a bit of reciprocation for those of us who use alternative methods.
Recently, I came across an article I thought very helpful for both sides of this issue. The author listed several points from which we could all use a reminder every now and then, I think. Particularly helpful were points 4 and 5 that assure us that parents who do/don’t vaccinate don’t love their child(ren); and parents who do/don’t vaccinate are just “sheeple” and do not do real research! Kate, the author, briefly explains why it’s silly to argue that vaccines are a government conspiracy to harm and kill us all (point 6). And I think both sides will be interested in the final two points:
Point #8: Vaccines Have No Risks
This is one of the silliest things that is ever said. Of course vaccines have risks — anyone who is being honest will say that they do. Whether those risks are major or minor, and whether or not the benefits outweigh the risks is something else. It is entirely appropriate to say “I believe the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks.” Okay — I understand that (I disagree, but I fully support someone coming to that conclusion). To say there are no risks is completely wrong. There are risks to anything! People need to be willing to admit that this entire discussion is about a risk-benefit analysis because there are risks to both sides. Downplaying that doesn’t help anyone.
Point #9: Not Vaccinating Makes Your Child Magically Healthier
While some early studies have shown that children who are not vaccinated have a lower risk of asthma, autism, etc. they have not proven a causal link. Children who are not vaccinated are also likely to have parents who take a healthy diet, supplements, and other aspects of health more seriously. While I believe vaccines play a role in these conditions, simply not vaccinating does not guarantee your child health. There are other steps you need to take to protect your child’s health.
Plus, some parents seem to think that their child will be so healthy from not being vaccinated that they won’t actually catch anything. This is dangerous. If your child isn’t vaccinated (and frankly, even if s/he is), s/he might get sick. S/he might get the measles, or the mumps, or pertussis. All of these have circulated in recent years. You need to learn what the typical symptoms of these diseases are, the signs of complications, when to call the doctor, how to treat at home in minor cases, and so on. You have to accept the risk that your child might get sick. Now — it’s unlikely if your child is not a newborn and not immunocompromised that the illness will be serious or permanently harm or kill your child. But s/he still might catch it. Know it, prepare for it.
To read the full article, click here.
I have been asked numerous times how I came to the conclusions I did. There were many contributing factors, websites, and conversations. In my research I learned that some vaccines contain ingredients that I cannot morally and ethically support (such as aborted fetal tissue). Some contain chemicals that are known toxins to the body. I am concerned by the leap in the number of recommended vaccines as compared with the number of vaccines recommended 20 years ago, in such a short and developmentally critical time.
As far as specific sources of information, many are surprised to know I went to the Center for Disease Control (CDC)! I read through the descriptions of the vaccines/diseases listed here. I wanted to know what the numbers said. So, for instance, polio. There were only 187 cases of polio worldwide last year. Some would argue, probably effectively, that it is due to the development and implementation of the polio vaccine. I and others would disagree. There’s a phenomenal documentary on Netflix (I don’t have Netflix right now so I don’t have the title – anyone want to share it? =) that depicts the reality of polio and how other measures besides the vaccine were just as effective in eradicating this disease. Chickenpox. Almost everyone got chickenpox before the introduction of the vaccine in 1995. Each year there were between 100-150 deaths. That sounds scary, but let’s break it down. Nearly everyone in the US got the chickenpox. Only 150 died each year. There are currently 315,317,389 people living in the US. Comparing the numbers, you can see the percentage of people who will die from chickenpox is staggeringly low. Additionally, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 1.6 million people worldwide will die from car accidents each year. My entire family is astronomically more likely to get killed in a car accident than to die from chickenpox!
Another concern I have is the ever-growing number of vaccines urged upon parents for their children. In 1983, there were 10 vaccines and in 2010 there were over 36. Many of these vaccines are doled out for diseases which have been eradicated. Many are for diseases that are simply a “nuisance.”
And, of course, the argument that there are many health risks post-vaccinations. This argument is one that continues to be debated by both sides. And while I think there is much truth to the argument that the “new” diseases we have (such as the “a” diseases: asthma, autism, ADHD, etc), I am not going to delve into this aspect now.
David and I are both holding this issue loosely. We are not saying “absolutely none, never, ever.” We feel strongly that we will wait on all vaccines till they’re older, then revisit. I hope we can, prayerfully, come to the same conclusions. =) But there may be other factors that change or new ones come into play that might affect our decisions. Bottom line? Our trust is in the Lord. Not in vaccines, or doctors, or chiropractors, or real food, or breastmilk. Beyond our trust in the Lord, we are walking out this crazy thing called “parenthood” to the best of our ability. I’m certain you are, too!
I am often asked which resources have been helpful on this journey. Here are a few that I’ve gleaned from over the past year and a half:
I would love to hear from you – thoughts, questions, oppositions…feel free to share!