This particular topic was inspired by a good bloggy-friend of mine back in May. I would LOVE for you guys to hop on over and visit her blog, read her opinion, and then come here to further discuss the topic.
In MY personal opinion, Laurie hit the nail on the head with this one. Her opinion is MY opinion.
Obviously, you all already know that I am a pro vaccine mom. ALL of my children are current and up to date on their vaccines. YES, including chickenpox. And they had them ON TIME.
I have pretty strong opinions on just about EVERY topic out there. But for the most part, I feel they are strong and correct for ME and my family, not for everyone (ie. topics such as: family bed, breastfeeding, circumcising, attachment parenting, CIO, preschool, and so on.) and while I'm ALWAYS a sucker for a well directed discussion on such things, for the most part, I don't really give a darn about what you do with your children. I am of the opinion that there are a million different correct and wonderful ways to raise a child. Just because my parenting, discipline, bedtime or cooking style may be different from yours does not mean that I feel you are "wrong". I just feel that I'm right for me and my children. We ALL want what's best for our children. And what's best for one family isn't necessarily what's best for another.
And because I have strong opinions, it has to be said that I didn't GET those strong opinions based on biased internet articles or because it's the 'norm' or because someone told me to do it. I got those opinions because I have done MUCH research on my own, and in many cases discussed my child's welfare with doctors, and did some 'crunchy' research on the side.
All of that being said, vaccinations are one of the very VERY few things that get me going. I DO, as a matter of fact, feel that it is a menace to society to let a child wander around unvaccinated. There are SO many arguments that parents come up with about why they don't vaccinate their children, from not wanting to introduce toxins into their bodies, to religious reasons, to autism, to the idea that if everyone else is vaccinated, then their child won't catch or spread illnesses (which is completely untrue, and, in my opinion, is very irresponsible and rather morbid to be honest) and my very most favorite (sarcasm) : "It's better for them to build their own immunity."
First of all, I will NEVER argue with someone who says they have "religious" reasons for not wanting to vaccinate. People do all kinds of things for religious reasons. I do. I'm a very religious person. But I don't buy it when someone from MY church tries to convince me that vaccinations are of the devil. If it were, I am 100% sure that our church leaders would say so. When that happens, I'll obey and let my kids go au natural. But I don't think that'll ever happen. And I think it's a low trick to SAY that it's for religious reasons when it really is not.
As far as Autism goes, there is not now and never has been any link between vaccines and Autism.
Yes, I know. It's all over the internet, celebrities by the throngs speak out about it, ect. etc. etc. Unfortunately for the all knowing Gods of the Silver Screen (more sarcasm) the only study ever done on the subject that came up with evidence that the MMR vaccine caused Autism was done by a man who very clearly MADE the results the way he wanted. His study was corrupt in the WORST way. He was paid by a company to FIND something wrong with the vaccine, he used a very small group of children for his study and had no control group. Dozens of studies have since been done in more correct patterns and the findings have never once been duplicated or even neared.
Many parents blame the Thermosil (mercury) in the vaccine for causing their child's Autism. BUT, mercury hasn't been used in vaccines since 2004. (It IS still prevalent in flu shots, though, just for a heads up.)
The problem with all the parents who see their child "contract" autism after getting that round of shots is that Autism is one of those things that manifests and is diagnosed at about the same time that a child is given shots. It doesn't mean there's a cause or even correlation.
*SIDE TOPIC BECAUSE I'M PASSIONATE ABOUT IT*
The thing about Autism is that it's such a broad spectrum. There are so many different types of Autism that range from high functioning to low functioning to behavioral problems.
So many parents are concerned that Autism is on the rise. Well, it is. But not because of vaccinations, it's because of MEDICATION.
Truly. Thirty years ago, a child with Autism would have simply been labeled "socially inappropriate" or "anti social" and "outcast". Now a days, there is such a deeper understanding of the disorder (though, there is still a LONG way to go) and more and more people are being diagnosed with it than would have been before. Furthermore, there are medications and therapies and treatments that parents and doctors can use to help these diagnosed individuals to reach further, more full potential. Thirty years ago, those people would not have been able to hold a normal relationship with a person, much less marry or procreate. Now, though, many of them have EVERY possibility of doing so. Thus, they go on in life, marry, and have children, passing on that Autistic tendency.
My conclusion? Autism is genetic. Not contracted. Perhaps there ARE outside sources that can, as they say, flip the switch. But a person who has Autism was already hard wired for it.
*SIDE TOPIC OVER*
One of the biggest problems I have (though, the absolute biggest is coming up next.) is that so many parents have this idea in their head that if they don't vaccinate their child, it's okay, because everyone else has their children vaccinated, and that will protect their child from illness, and if everyone else's child is vaccinated, then IF their kid DOES get sick, no one else will catch it.
I really fail to see how this argument is valid.
Okay. For the most part, my older two children have me worry free. Lilly has had her 5 year old shots and for the most part- until she needs boosters in Junior High, is done and done. My 4 year old is up to date and will have the rest of his shots next year before he goes to Kindergarten. Scarlet is only 2, however. And she has fewer shots than my older two just because of her age. And I will be having a baby in January, who will be fresh from the womb without any protection at all.
Well, my older kids, I'm sure, won't get sick. And probably not Scarlet, as she's almost 3 and her shots are kind of winding down.
But my new baby? Well, Lilly goes to school. And there are probably parents there who feel that their child is above the responsibility we all have to protect each other's health. It's very likely that that child may get sick. Maybe not with measles, or polio, because those really ARE well controlled. But Pertussis kills over 50,000 infants per year and that number is rising DUE TO THE NUMBER OF UNVACCINATED CHILDREN THAT RISES EACH YEAR AS WELL!
Lilly doesn't have to CATCH the illness to bring it home. Did you know that? She does not have to CATCH it to have it on her hands, or on her backpack, or on her clothes. All she has to do is be within close proximity of someone who can cough into their hand, or wipe their nose on their sleeve, rub up againt my daughter, and viola! She brings it home and my helpless infant, who WOULD have been vaccinated as soon as s/he was old enough, because I am that kind of responsible parent, lands in the hospital, fighting for life.
Any parent can talk to me until they're blue in the face about how this is slim and will likely never happen. But it DOES happen. It has happened to many people I know personally as well as this beautiful, strong blogger http://www.natalienortonphoto.com/ whose 4 month old son died of Pertussis last year.
And it's also happened to one of my own children. Luckily, my son didn't die, but he caught Rubella from a friend of ours whose child was not vaccinated. SHE swore up and down that his rash (very light at the time as it was disappearing from his illness having run it's course) was just a reaction to a weed he was allergic to in their back yard. I cautiously believed her until about a week and a half later, a fever of 102 and rising, our poor not-yet-one-year-old looked like this:
It took an ER visit to confirm that my son had Rubella.
SO EASY TO PREVENT!
Now we come to my biggest pet peeve. People who think that it's so much better to let their child get sick and "build their own immune system".
(Due to my topic already being a stinking novel, I'll put up this video, which, I think explains it very well.)
In short, there is absolutely NO REASON to think that because a child is given a vaccination that their body isn't making it's own immune system. As a matter of fact, it is being trained to do that very thing. A person can inject a dead virus (what most vaccines are made of) into a person, and if their body responds and makes the antibodies it needs to have to safely encounter that disease, then it IS IN FACT building it's own immune system- never mind that they don't get sick because the virus isn't live or that they weren't exposed to it "naturally". I also don't think that many non vaxers understand the kind of harm that these preventable diseases can cause their children AFTER they get better:
The list really can go on.
Really quickly before I end, I want to address the topic of the chickenpox vaccine.
Many parents- even those who are otherwise pro-vaccine- are against the chickenpox vaccine because they feel that it is a mild disease that their children should be able to handle.
On the subject of it being a mild disease that a child should handle, I agree. However, I am a person who contracted chickenpox when I was 14 years old. I was very sick for over a month with such a terrible case that it caused me to vomit for 3 of those 4 weeks. I lost hair. My tongue turned white and swelled until I could barely breathe due to the dehydration I suffered from when the vomiting prevented me from keeping anything down, including liquids. I lost a degree of my hearing for a temporary time, though I still have ear issues from it. I suffered from hallucinations due to the high fever I was fighting.
All the while, my sister (age5) and my brother (age 3) came through their chickenpox at the same time I did with a mild fever, and my mom telling them for around a week not to scratch. They ate popsicles in oatmeal baths and had hydrocortisone cream rubbed on their pox. Mine were too painful to rub anything on them.
All of this was due to my older age. The older a person gets, the worse the disease is.
Do I feel that it is important to vaccinate your children against chickenpox? Yes. I do. If ONLY because everyone else is doing it.
No, I'm not talking about jumping off bridges here.
The fact is, your child very well should be able to handle a chickenpox virus easily. However, with so many children being given the vaccine now, they are not likely to be exposed to it any time soon. If they are, then you can rest easy. If not, then they risk catching the virus when they are older. I was still a young girl when I had my complications and a person older than I was would have it much worse. A woman who contracts chickenpox in pregnancy is likely to deliver a still born baby, or miscarry.
The effects can be devastating.
In conclusion, of course, I have to add an exception.
I am well aware that there ARE children out there who have had bad reactions. There are possibilities for seizures and high fevers. There are children out there who have neurological disorders. There ARE children who are at risk for having complications with vaccines. While I think that the likelihood of those things happening are very slim in comparison, they DO happen. And if I were a parent of a child with a neurological issue, then I would likely keep that child away from vaccinations too. As it stands, none of my children have suffered from so much as a fever from their vaccines and so I will continue. While I admit that I do feel some resentment for parents who have no reason to deny their child and my child the help their immune systems deserve, and harbor an idea that they are somewhat irresponsible for not vaccinating their children, I truly am okay with those moms who have a GOOD, REAL REASON for choosing not to vaccinate.
In that case, I dearly hope that MY children's healthy immune systems CAN sustain your child's too.
Alright! Open for discussion. Remember- DISCUSSION ONLY. PERSONAL ATTACKS ARE NOT ALLOWED IN ANY DEGREE.