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The Great Shot Debate, part 2

http://www.google.com/imgres?um=1&hl=en&client=firefox-a&sa=N&tbo=d&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&biw=1366&bih=638&tbm=isch&tbnid=1s1OW-u2rM7e7M:&imgrefurl=http://www.salon.com/2012/07/10/whooping_cough_outbreaks_another_thing_to_thank_vaccine_conspiracy_people_for/&docid=tnku5h8fvg04jM&imgurl=http://media.salon.com/2012/07/vaccine_rect.jpg&w=660&h=440&ei=8XcQUZbQEJHa8wSptIDQBw&zoom=1&ved=1t:3588,r:18,s:0,i:204&iact=rc&dur=620&sig=107410980003096801319&page=2&tbnh=175&tbnw=260&start=16&ndsp=22&tx=87&ty=24I 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. :smile:

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, http://www.google.com/imgres?um=1&hl=en&sa=N&tbo=d&biw=1093&bih=498&tbm=isch&tbnid=hlN0sgAYVE-ntM:&imgrefurl=http://www.polkmoms.com/forum/topics/pediatrician-immunizations-1&docid=-eWjIndo-1bX-M&imgurl=http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_7lwCgCrwvCA/TTSa5VE244I/AAAAAAAABJ8/oSTM0jqZLfQ/s640/child%252Bgetting%252Bvaccine%252Bi%252Bstock%252Bcopy.jpg&w=432&h=640&ei=ZAobUYrrL4ju9ASmwYCwAw&zoom=1&ved=1t:3588,r:3,s:0,i:96&iact=rc&dur=548&sig=113778380035084661098&page=1&tbnh=192&tbnw=127&start=0&ndsp=9&tx=73&ty=52there 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:

CDC

Maximized Living

Dr. Sears

Dr. Mercola

I would love to hear from you – thoughts, questions, oppositions…feel free to share!

Comments

  1. I pretty much always refuse to get involved in these type of discussions because I haven’t done the research and can’t argue my side as much. However, I have to disagree somewhat with what you said in that what we shouldn’t be doing is blindly accepting anyone’s recommendations without good research into what is being recommended. In some ways that’s true, in others for me, I would have to disagree. If you do enough research into most anything, you can find things you don’t agree with. For me, I barely seem to have enough time to raise/ feed/ train/ keep my kids alive and house somewhat clean and organized. I know that if I choose to do one thing, I would then be choosing not to do something else. I am choosing other things than spending my time researching. For us, we choose to be more faith based in our research and decisions. I’m not saying that those of opposing choices are not walking in faith either. For instance, early in our marriage I was on the pill to prevent pregnancy. Right around the time of our marriage, someone suggested the idea that we were possibly aborting our babies without realizing it with the pill. Of course, with this hot topic, I was disturbed but only a few days from getting married and it wasn’t the time to think it through. Someone wisely counseled that God knew our hearts and it would be fine to hold off on the decision until after our wedding at some point. We did some research later and decided to go off the pill. I kind of view other decisions in a similar way. God knows my heart. One of my bigger concerns about not vaccinating/ organic eating/ the documentaries that go with/ and other hot topics is that they can so often be fear motivated. I simply refuse often to watch those shows that others proclaim will change the way I view food because it often is so fear motivated. Now, I also know that with Derek being in the medical field, we probably tend to trust the medical field more. We do view the benefits of most vaccinating as outweighing the downsides. I also firmly believe that even if I am proved to be completely mistaken in this area or another and even if the worst happens and one of my child dies or has some major issue because of the shots, I still believe that God is in control. Even if the worst happens, I can’t allow myself to go down the path of “should I have done things another way and it’s my fault”. God is in control. His will would be done no matter what I will do. I’m not saying that one day we won’t be convicted about some area or another and do research into an area that for me isn’t worth researching now. I’m also not saying that you or others who don’t vaccinate are not trusting God or wasting their time or full of fear. I just know that fear in this world is so prevalent and it is a motivator. Fear is just not often heard from in these types of discussions and Derek & I are definitely passionate about not allowing fear to have a grip on us and our decision making but instead to place our trust in God. I agree completely with what you say in the end. Our trust is in the Lord. Now, I’ll get off my soap box! :)

    • Thank you for jumping in, Dena! :O) I am grateful for your perspective – it made me think! I agree that fear can be a MASSIVE motivator in so many things for those who are pursuing a more natural approach to life. I will admit I have to battle it constantly. There is SO much I don’t know and I have to choose to trust God that He knows my desires and heart, as well, and that His sovereign hand will guide us in caring for our family. However, one of my favorite new sayings is “if you know better, do better.” Over the past few years, I’ve stumbled upon a whole new world. A world of big companies and government alliances (the REAL Jack Bauer stuff! :o). The stuff I can change – me, in my little home with my little family. I’ve learned things. Some things I wish I hadn’t learned! It really would be easier. (Though, the couponing “high” I used to get can’t be beat by some of the “highs” I get now. Just sayin’. :o) But I can’t. I can’t ignore the information I’m learning. Life is vastly different than 100 years ago in countless ways. We don’t have choices and freedoms are constantly being taken away. We all know which sides of the “gun” issue we fall on…it makes sense to me to fight for the freedom to choose what food (etc) I can buy. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, I can recommend a few resources for you. :o) Our freedoms are being taken away in more than just “gun control.” To me, I view these areas as a responsibility I have to be aware and make informed decisions – as a parent, a wife, an individual, a citizen of America and a child of God.

      It certainly makes sense that you guys tend to trust the medical field more since Derek’s in that line of work (and I love that he is, honestly :o). But even the big wigs and doctors do research and make adjustments to practices and procedures when new information comes to light…why should we not, as well?

      And, just a side note, I think we have to be careful to say we don’t have “time.” I am learning that we all have time and we simply choose to use it in differing ways. To say that I am any busier than a single woman or a grandmother or a WAHM or anyone else would be an unfair and inaccurate conclusion. To say we all use our time differently, I think, would be a more accurate assessment. Ultimately, we pour ourselves into what is most important to us. And of course that looks different to different individuals.

      Love you, Dena! =)

  2. I’m sure there are many good things and many things you wish you didn’t know cause life would be easier without knowing it. I suppose I’m content to just go on in ignorance and not know things! The point for me I guess is, that yep, we live in a fallen world. Yeah- we can’t buy milk straight from a cow and have restrictions on all kinds of stuff and I am pretty sure it will just get worse for our kids. But we live in a fallen world so I expect that. I won’t quite go as far as saying I don’t care, but I guess I’ll just long for heaven all the more. I agree with the “time” thing. I do have time… I just choose to not spend it researching stuff like this. I would rather spend it in other ways. I believe that if there is something I need to know more about or look into then God will soften my heart to it and put it in mind and give me the time to look into it. Honestly, I don’t know how you have time for anything other than survival, so more power to you for it! :)

  3. Great post Jennifer! Very well thought out arguments. It’s interesting you linked this post up today because just 2 days ago I was talking about vaccination in my high school biology class I teach for homeschoolers. We were talking about diseases and got a bit off topic and were discussing vaccinations. I was talking about some of the different arguments on either side.

    I feel like I fall somewhat in the middle of the issue. My kids have had most of the normal childhood vaccines simply because I do believe the benefits out-weight the risks. Because I’m pretty rigorous about making sure they have a good diet that’s anti-inflammatory, avoid toxin exposure, and try to be intentional about other healthy lifestyle practices, I believe preventing diseases that they might get (though some of them might be unlikely that they’d get) but could have serious health implications or cause death, it’s worth it. I wish more parents were aware of the toxin exposure their child gets from vaccines and knew some of the natural ways to help their bodies detox from them. It’s unfortunate doctors haven’t been trained to talk to parents about this!

    There are some vaccines we choose not to get because I don’t believe the benefits out-weight the toxins it will be pumping in their bodies or ours (for example the flu shot – none of us have ever received that vaccine).

  4. artmomjacobelissa says:

    i was looking at the list, the flu shot is the only one that i do refuse to give my kids, I do go along with all the shots, just because, especially now that we are back in canada. That I was told that my son was pretty good on shots, he was advance on some, behind on 2, so had to catch those up, or else he would not be accepted into daycare and would not be allowed to go to school in the fall. I then asked the Region we lived in, what happens for those kids who have parents who don’t believe in immunizing their kids for various reasons, or religious reasons. They said that the religious reason kids are allowed in the school system, the ones that the parents have personal reasons, have to be home schooled. I was a little surprised, they wouldn’t even allow those kids even with a doctors note considering religious reason- was allowed at a public school!

    • Hi there! It is tough because everywhere is going to be different. In FL we have religious exemption that is pretty easily obtained, so I am grateful. We can take our time deciding if and when we want to do any of them! Sounds like you’ve done some research, which is GREAT! Good for you, mama! :)

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