Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Controversial

Warning: This may cause a ruckus. Let's just all be nice to each other, okay?

Recently, a friend of mine, who is also a neonatologist, posted this article on Facebook regarding childhood vaccines. I would encourage you to read it, as I find some of the statistics and information regarding the link between vaccines and Autism fascinating. The basic premise is that because some parents are choosing to delay or refuse certain childhood vaccines, some of these childhood diseases are reappearing after being gone for so many years. This article focuses mostly on Measles, since there is currently an outbreak in the U.S., but alludes to several other diseases as well.

Being the mother to a child with a compromised immune system, I have a hard time with the idea of not getting vaccinations. My feeling is that people are putting my child at risk, and that's not fair. Sure, I can keep Abby from going out in public, but what about Caleb? He's at school, church, the playground...and he could catch one of those diseases and bring it back to Abby. I can't very well keep him out of our home, now can I?  Not to mention the fact that I'm a teacher who comes into contact with countless germs (shutter).  I can't wear a mask for the rest of my life when I'm around Abby.  Those who  make the choice to delay or deny vaccinations for their children can expose my children to deadly diseases.

I also feel like I owe it to my children to protect them from the things I can control.  I couldn't keep Abby from getting CCMS; no pill would prevent her rib-gap anomaly; a shot wouldn't be able to keep her from having a trach and a vent...but I can keep her from getting the Measles!

Not to mention the fact that some of these diseases are deadly!  If your child does make it, he or she could have life-long problems as a result. 

I have friends on both sides of the fence, and I am not looking for a fight.  I'm a researcher too and thought long and hard before giving Caleb the Pertussis vaccine (I had a severe reaction as a baby and nearly died).  Thankfully, he has been perfectly fine with all of his vaccines, and so has Abby.  I choose to vaccinate to protect my children and others! Thoughts?  Ideas?  Comments?  Other articles?

Remember, I'm not looking for a fight!!  I'd love to have a polite discussion about it though.  :)

2 comments:

Davey said...

This was something that Laura and I have discussed the past couple months. We decided to go with a modified vaccine schedule after reading this book:

http://www.amazon.com/Vaccine-Book-Decision-Parenting-Library/dp/0316017507/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1308668394&sr=8-1

Most people believe this to be an anti-vaccine book; however, it's the exact opposite! Dr. Sears advocates receiving all the vaccines, simply on an adjusted schedule, spacing the initial ones out every month instead of every two.

We weighed several things:
(1) How serious is the disease? Is it severe (e.g., meningitis) or is it annoying and a "rite of passage" (e.g,. chicken pox)?
(2) What is the likelihood of contracting the disease? Is it common (e.g., pertussis) or must my newborn be engaged in risky behavior or travelling to underdeveloped countries (e.g., Hep B)?
(3) How dangerous is the vaccine? Is it tried, true, and very probably safe (e.g., polio), or is it relatively new, trendy, and recently found to do potentially more harm than good (e.g,. HPV)?
(4) How was the vaccine developed? Does it include the tissue of animals or aborted human babies? Does it continue high amounts of metals or preservative chemicals, such as aluminum?

I respect that many medical advances have been made that are meant to better society and advance health and livelihood; however, we simply do not know the negative effects of many inventions and discoveries -- I think it calls for cautious acceptance. Remember when asbestos was thought to be harmless? Well, we young kids don't. =) And why the seeming increase in cancer, autism, and ADHD? The HPV vaccine, for one, was all the rage a few years ago when it came out, and now there are multiple studies that believe the risks of the vaccine are grave.

At this point, we have chosen four vaccines for Daniel, and we have decided upon the manufacturers that we want. We'll try to set up "shot only" visits to the doctor at three, five, and seven months in order to space out and limit the exposure to aluminum at any given time. As time goes on, we'll reevaluate and assess where we're at and what we think is best for our kids. I know that you know we wouldn't do anything to put any other kids -- including your precious two -- at risk. (In fact, the whole "church nursery" thing was a factor in our decision.)

You've probably heard all of this before, but I thought I'd officially weigh in. There's nothing exciting going on right here at Labor & Delivery! =)

A Romyn said...

I am so happy read your decisions about vaccinating. I am a great proponent of the "protect the herd" mentality. I feel very strongly that vaccinating our children is a moral obligation and social imperative.
The vaccines that are given to infants and children have not been arbitrarily decided upon, they are given to prevent tragedies that have occurred in the past from happening again. I take issue with the quote by Robert Sears in the article, "In my mind, vaccines should be a parent's choice. Given that these diseases don't pose a large threat to children around us, I think parents have that right."
The fact that these diseases are no longer part of our every day reality is because vaccinations are doing their job. Just because they aren't as common doesn't mean that we shouldn't still be vigilant in keeping them that way. Furthermore, who is to say that the diseases don't pose a large threat to the children around us, example, the current Measles outbreak. Those of us who are able (exceptions obviously made for those children unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons), need to get our children vaccinated, not only for their health and welfare, but for the health and welfare of the entire population, especially as protection for those vulnerable groups that cannot be vaccinated. I am not saying that I want to take away a parents right to choose what they think is best for their child, I just think more parents need to think beyond their child, towards the greater good.
Vaccinations are such a blessing and a privilege! Because of vaccinations we read about Polio in text books instead of experiencing it's horrors first hand, and that is amazing. We live in a country where you can be protected from disease safely and cheaply. We should be really thankful!