When Tyler was born, I never even questioned the idea of having him vaccinated. I was vaccinated, I don’t remember any of them except for the one I had to get to enter 7th grade. The week before school started we got my schedule and I didn’t have the proper vaccinations required. They had a nurse in the back of the library who was giving the vaccinations there. My mom didn’t think twice but had me go back there and get the vaccine. Done. I was ready to go to 7th grade. And that was the last vaccination I needed in school. I was supposed to get the meningitis vaccination before college but we ran out of time before I moved and I never did. As far as I know, that is the only vaccination that I am not current on.
Vaccinations During Pregnancy
Flash forward to when I found out I was pregnant with Tyler. My OB suggested getting the TDaP and that anyone who would be around the baby a lot should get it too because Pertussis (whooping cough) can be so dangerous for a newborn. So I got the vaccination in my third trimester. I sent Justin to our PCP to get one as well and when he asked about it the doctor asked if he was traveling or having a baby since that’s the only reasons people generally ask for it. I also asked all of our parents to have it done if they hadn’t recently either. No one argued me.
When I got pregnant with Ryan, some of the routine blood work was to check my immunities. Sometime between this initial blood work with Tyler and then with Ryan, I lost my immunity to Rubella, so before we left the hospital when he was born I was given a booster on the MMR. The only reason I waited that long is because it isn’t tested in pregnant women since it is a live vaccination.
Both of my children have been vaccinated according to the schedule set by the CDC. There have been a few appointments that they get multiple shots while we are there. They cry for maybe a minute and are over it. Ryan doesn’t even really cry about it even, just gets more upset that we have to hold him down more than the feel of the needle going in. Tyler, being older, has been vaccinated more than Tyler, but they are both up to date and fully vaccinated for their ages.
Herd Immunity Works
I fully believe that herd immunity is necessary for a healthy and safe community. I know there are people who are immunocompromised, or allergic to the vaccinations, or have various other medical reasons to not get vaccinated, but they should be the only ones. It drives me insane when I hear of people ‘opting out’ of vaccinations. Seriously, you would rather your child get some deadly disease than what, a few moments of pain from a needle, maybe some minor side effects for a day or two?
And please please please don’t try to tell me that vaccinations cause autism, that theory has been debunked, withdrawn, discredited, disproved….. how else can I say it? It has been proven time and again that there is no link between vaccinations and autism. It seems more to be a coincidence of timing. The MMR, the vaccine that most link to autism, is administered around the same age that autism usually diagnosed. I have worked with autistic children before. Yes, they can be challenging at times, but even if I believed there was a link, I would take my child having autism over being killed by one of these preventable diseases any day.
Physicians Can Discharge Unvaccinated Patients
I have read a few different articles in the last couple days (linked below) that say that the American Academy of Pediatrics has determined that physicians have a right to discharge patients from their practice if their parents choose not to vaccinate, and I think that is a wonderful thing. How has this even become an issue? I worked for a doctors office for many years and have seen patients discharged because they weren’t compliant with the treatment plan that one of the doctors has put in place for them. People were refusing to do certain tests or procedures, so they were sent to find another practice. How is that any different than refusing vaccinations?
These vaccines are recommended by your child’s pediatrician because research shows it is best for the child, the community, the safety of their staff and other patients, schools, daycares… I could go on and on. If your child’s pediatrician recommends they go have a test done, you do it, right? You want your child to have the best chance they can at a long healthy life. If your doctor recommends getting vaccines, that is also in the interest of your child living a long healthy life. I really don’t get how this is any different.
My Experience with a Physician
The first pediatrician we ever took Tyler to see, when we lived in Florida, had already had the policy that if you don’t vaccinate then you have to find another doctor. And I was so glad to hear that. I had a newborn with me, one born 3 weeks early at that. He was too young for most of the vaccinations, and if he caught anything it would potentially be life-threatening to him being that small.
I was happy to hear that I didn’t have to worry about what he was being exposed to. Sure, he could have picked up a cold from someone, he could have picked one up from me at some point, and to a newborn, those could be dangerous, but I wasn’t worried about someone carrying measles walking into the office and not being symptomatic yet to know they should stay away from others. Every child who saw that pediatrician had to be vaccinated.
First World Issue
Vaccinating (or not vaccinating) seems to be a first world issue here too. We have vaccinated for so long, that most of these horrible diseases are eradicated in our country. We don’t see them. Travel to some of the third world countries, and tell them you are choosing not to vaccinate. They will probably look at you like you have five heads. They do whatever it takes to get the vaccinations for their children. The diseases are not all eradicated in some parts of our world. Too many people have seen first-hand just how horrible these can be to their loved ones, or have suffered themselves.
Why why why would you ever risk putting your own children through that? Is it a rebellion thing? Is it an entitlement thing? Do so many people feel like they should opt-out just because they can? Seriously? Is your rebellion against the government really worth risking your child’s life, or mine? What about the children who can’t get vaccinated for medical reasons, is it worth risking their lives?
Vaccines in Schools
And while on the subject of doctors being able to refuse… I think the schools should be able to refuse as well unless it is medically necessary. With small children especially, germs are swapped so often during a school day, I can’t even imagine what they are exposed to. But it would give me a little more peace of mind to know that the other children in my son’s classes have been properly vaccinated.
When I was at that same pediatrician’s office in Florida, I was talking to one of the nurses about this. She said that when her daughter was in third grade, a boy had contracted meningitis who had never been vaccinated. He was hospitalized because of it but thankfully lived. Her daughter also caught it, but since she was vaccinated and her body already knew how to fight the disease, she fought it off pretty quickly. She was home for a couple days and that was it, no hospital stay, no threat to her life.
In Florida, if your child isn’t vaccinated, you have to sign a waiver. It says you as a parent are responsible for any harm that comes to other students from your child. This nurse said that she could have sued the parents of the unvaccinated child for getting her child sick and putting her at risk. The only reason she didn’t is that her daughter asked her not to since she sees him in school every day, but she did call the other parents and had a harsh conversation with them about vaccinating their child.
Because miserable, deadly diseases aren’t real-life enough for some people… I was reading a comment on one of the articles below and I think it is a great comparison:
“Seat belts are also not 100% safe. Sometimes people die because they are wearing a seatbelt. However, barring information that leads you to believe that you’re in the ‘seat belt will injure you’ group…, you, of course, wear a seatbelt. We also don’t think it’s a parent’s choice to not put their kid in a seatbelt because some kids sometimes are injured from seat belts. So — given no information to believe that this is an unusual case — we say that everyone should wear a seatbelt.”
Same with vaccines. Yes, vaccines are not 100% safe. Yes, some kids are injured from them. But a kid’s odds in general of getting injured with a vaccine are lower than without a vaccine. So if you don’t know anything that makes your kid unique here, you should get your kids vaccinated.”
Please Think About It
Having said all this, I don’t know if I have changed anyone’s mind about not vaccinating their children. But I hope it at least gave you a reason to think. There are many children, and adults, who depend on the rest of us getting vaccinated to help protect them as well. It’s not fair to let these children, parents, families down when you can do something to help them. No, I don’t ask parents if their children are vaccinated before letting mine play with them. But I do know that it is required at the pediatrician I take them to and also is required for Tyler’s preschool.
Please just think about this. Do your own research. Look up information about what these horrible diseases do to children who contract them. And just think. Think about your own child, about my children, about how no child deserves to live in fear of one of these diseases making a comeback. Talk to your pediatrician, let them tell you all the benefits of vaccination. Please…. just research and think.