Friday, February 6, 2015

We Vaccinate.

Loaded topic, eh Alex?!  Are you crazy to venture down this path?!  Yes and probably yes.  But, I figured I'd take to the blog to explain why we choose to vaccinate our kiddos -- Patrick and any future minions.

you betcha, little man.

I know this has been such a loaded and hot topic, for, what seems like, EVER, largely in part to the late 1990s study by Andrew Wakefield claiming there was a direct link between the MMR vaccine and autism.  This study was found to be completely fabricated and based upon fraudulent research, and Wakefield was discredited and even lost his medical license.  However, the damage seemed to have been done: a huge sleuth of people, a lot of them part of the Jenny McCarthy army, decided not to vaccinate their kids because of the fear that they may get autism.  Their kids, their choice, right?!  Personal choice, right?!  No way.  Not in my opinion.

Personal choices are those that affect only you.  You choose not to wear a seatbelt in a car?  Fine.  You get into a car accident and get seriously injured or die because you didn't wear a seatbelt?!  That's your choice.  Besides probably emotionally impacting anyone else involved in the accident and your family, that choice really only affected you: you not wearing a seatbelt doesn't cause (physical) harm to someone else who was -- or wasn't.  A lot of people claim that vaccinations are a personal choice -- if a parent chooses not to vaccinate their children, that's their personal choice.  Ehh, not really.  And this is where the problem is.  While it appears that saying no to vaccinations just impacts the person not being vaccinated, it actually affects and impacts many many others.  Stealing a quote from this awesome article, "Your vaccination makes it harder for other people you come in contact with to catch the disease. This isn't only important if you interact with infants, the elderly, or people who have compromised immune systems. It's also important if you interact with anyone else who interacts with infants, the elderly, or people who have compromised immune systems."  Therefore, if you are not vaccinated, you are making it easier for yourself -- and others -- to catch these deadly diseases that have largely become eradicated thanks to vaccinations.

I guess I am just aghast as to why someone would choose not to vaccinate.  I don't get it.  Even in the days of the believed MMR-causing-autism link, I don't get it.  You'd rather risk your child's life to a deadly disease than chance them being autistic?!  Um, no way Jose.  Not me.  Not to mention how utterly offensive it is to autistic individuals out there who here this argument that parents aren't willing to chance vaccinating their children because they may turn out *gasp* autistic.  They'd rather chance them dying than a neurological disorder.  That is just baffling to me.  Science has proven to me over the course of history that their stuff works -- from somehow making a 800,000 pound aircraft fly to lighting up my house at night to medications that do everything from prevent to cure.  I just don't get why someone would challenge that history and choose not to get their child vaccinated, in turn potentially risking their life and others.

And maybe there are other "personal" reasons out there as to why people choose not to vaccinate their kids.  And no, I'm not talking about the fact that some have no choice but to not vaccinate -- because their child has cancer, too young, or another medical condition that prohibits them from receiving the vaccination -- I'm talking about the people who claim "It's my child, and my choice that we are not vaccinating."  What are your reasons?  I'm curious, because, for the life of me, I cannot fathom a reason why you would choose not to protect your child -- why you'd risk certain diseases or infections for your child -- and potentially spreading it to someone else's -- over scientifically-proven safe vaccines.  And the side-effects argument baffles me too -- that people don't vaccinate their kids because of the potential "side-effects" that may occur.  Did you know that you are more than 100 times more likely to be struck by lightning than to have a serious allergic reaction to the MMR vaccine?!  Literally, one out of every MILLION children will have a severe reaction to the vaccine. (thank you Sanjay for those facts).  I'm a quite conservative gal, but I'll gladly gamble and take those odds.  So, anti-vax people, educate me, please, because I just don't get it.

"So, high schools can ban all peanut products of any kind because ONE child has a severe peanut allergy...inconveniencing students and teachers alike (if staff wants to consume a peanut product, it has to be done in the teacher's lounge and before leaving they have to wash their hands and rinse their mouths out!!) This is the policy of a school I am familiar with, I'm sure it's not the only one. I'm only using it as an example for peanuts, not for the next part.... BUT, letting students come to school and possibly transmit a deadly disease that there are vaccines for is permitted..... I don't think my logic here is too far fetched. Yes, the vaccinated kids will be protected, but 100% ? I don't know. Then there are those kids who are allergic to elements of the vaccine or have cancer or other issue that prevents them from receiving the vaccine. Why aren't these kids protected as much as the peanut allergy kid!?"

A friend posted this on social media earlier and I was like, "OMG.  Spot on."  Seriously, we treat food allergies incredibly seriously in schools, why on earth can't we treat vaccinations the same way?!  I agree 100% with this Huff Post article as well: we have laws regarding seat belts and speed limits TO KEEP US SAFE, why can we not have similar laws on vaccines, that do just that, keep us safe?!

So I'm coming back to my main point: a personal decision doesn't not qualify as why you don't vaccinate.  Cause, as Baby Sideburns says, "If your personal choice can hurt someone else, it's not okay."  We choose to vaccinate our kids because we believe we are keeping them safe, keeping other safe, and helping to prevent mass-outbreaks of diseases and other contagious viruses that vaccines are in place to prevent.  Plain and simple.  I’ll end with stealing this quote from this brilliant article by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, “It's not just because I love my kids that I vaccinated them -- it's because I love your kids as well.”  And if that's not blunt enough for you, how about this: I don't want my soon-to-arrive newborn catch a deadly disease that they're too young to get a vaccination for because others chose not to vaccinate.

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