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I posted an article to my Facebook page last year and it came up again on my memories list: Anti-vaccine movement is giving diseases a 2nd life.
With school-aged kids of my own, this vaccine vs. anti-vaccine discussion comes up a lot. While most kids I know are on the vaccine side of things, there is a child in Boogie’s preschool class who’s mother proudly said that has never had a shot. So the question has to be asked: is the anti-vaccine movement affecting your kids?
As a vaccinated mom with vaccinated kids, my first reaction was confusion when I heard this mother boast about not having her kids vaccinated. Immediately I wonedered what kinds of “things” these kids would be carrying into the classroom. Yes, it was a panic response, but it is something that comes to mother’s and father’s minds when looking at this debate.
In my experience shots are just a part of growing up, but there are a lot of parents who are part of the anti-vaccine movement.
The anti-vaccination movement has picked up steam in the past decade with support from celebrities such as actress Jenny McCarthy, actor Aidan Quinn and reality TV star Kristin Cavallari, who last month said not vaccinating was “the best decision” for her children. Many continue to believe the debunked idea that vaccines cause autism, while others don’t trust the federal government or the pharmaceutical companies responsible for these vaccines.
The Autism Debate
If you haven’t heard of this connection, it’s a big deal in the medical world and especially pediatrics.
The MMR vaccine controversy started with the 1998 publication of a fraudulent research paper in the medical journal The Lancet that lent support to the later discredited claim that colitis and autism spectrum disorders are linked to the combined measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine. Aspects of the media coverage were criticized for naïve reporting and lending undue credibility to the architect of the fraud, Andrew Wakefield. – wikipedia.org
It’s amazing how much of a shake up Andrew Wakefield caused. I didn’t read the report myself, because I’m sure the medical speak of it is far over my head, but for a long time people cited this report as to why their children had autism. I can’t say either way if there is a connection myself because I’m not a doctor or a scientist and even they can’t put a pinpoint on why autism shows up in children. It all seems to still be a mystery last time I checked.
What I do want to do with this post is to encourage a parent to not believe everything they read until they do their own research.
It’s really it’s your choice.
However, the fact that the report at the center of this debate has been debunked, makes me feel like my choice is a good one for my family. For other’s it has put a weight of doubt in their minds and they choose to stick with the findings of the original report.
You never expect a horror story to happen to you.
Personally I wouldn’t want my kids to come up against a preventable disease. I know that I have a lot of choices in my kids lives and while most of them are made to make my life and their life more comfortable, there are a few things that I feel like I have to do or I’d be a horrible parent.
- Like putting on a seat belt. It’s pretty much been proven that kids get fewer injuries in car crashes because they have seat belts on.
- Brushing your teeth. I’m pretty sure no one was ever hurt by brushing their teeth when they didn’t need to.
- Wearing a helmet. A helmet isn’t a cure all, but in many cases it’s helped limit the level of damage done.
There are a few “horror” stories in this article about what happens to kids when you don’t vaccinate. The anti-vaccine movement supporters argue that the writer here is trying to scare people. And yes they are probably right. This comes back to being aware of both sides of the story before you make your decision.
My personal experiences:
A few years ago a guy our family knows got the mist flu shot. It was a fluke incident, but it went up into his ocular nerve (eye) and blinded him for 6 months. While I know this is an extremely rare case it did cause me to make sure I get the “shot” and not the “spray”. Would it happen to my kids? Maybe? The link seemed to be that the “live virus” was in the mist and the “dead virus” was in the shot. Still not sure if this is what happened, but it did make me cautious.
I guess I trust the shots because I had Meningitis when I was five days old. Clearly this was a case of coming in contact with the disease since I wasn’t old enough for a vaccine. It makes you wonder if everyone that I had come into contact with had been vaccinated. Would I have gotten the disease and been in the hospital for a month if they had? If you didn’t know, meningitis is one of the 3 KILLERS THAT DON’T HAVE TO BE according to the article. Measles, pertussis and meningitis are all vaccine-preventable diseases, yet they persist across the United States.
The scary numbers are the number of cases that have been reported. Between 2011 and 2012, the number of whooping cough (pertussis) went up by almost 60,000 cases! That’s insane!! It went down the next year, but that’s insane that in one single year it went up so high. The number between 2000 and 2013 still tripled which is insane too!
Opt-Out time is over.
I think the rule has changed in our area so you can’t opt out anymore. The only exception to the rule is if you physically cannot tolerate the shots. Even the religious reasons for not medicating/vaccine argument is under fire. My friend’s daughter is allergic to eggs. I don’t know the whole involvement of eggs. I do know they ask you before you get your flu shot if you’re allergic. Somehow eggs are linked to the cloning process to produce the vaccine if I remember reading it right. She has a medical opt-out status from her doctor because of her allergy. Clearly this is a reasonable excuse for not getting a shot. Actually in my mind one of the reasons my kids should get shots. I wouldn’t want them to come up against a kid who couldn’t get a shot and get them sick, right?
What are your thoughts?
Where do you stand on this issue? I’m not trying to start fights, but I’m always curious to find out the reasons behind parents decisions. It’s a great way, if kept at a calm pace, to learn more parenting skills, right?