Last night our local news station did a segment on the decrease of vaccination rates in the state. The rate has dropped 3% in 2 years- at 77% compared to 80%. Their "expert" from our local Childrens' Hospital said that the current economy may have something to do with this- less people employed, going without health insurance= more children not getting their recommended vaccinations. Maybe- or maybe parents are becoming more informed.
I did a blog not long ago on this very issue. And had some reaction by parents who have chosen that has made me want to hold my tongue on the issue but I'm feeling very defensive again and it's time to use my voice. One statement in particular really got to me- "I'm perfectly aware that my vaccinated children are protecting your unvaccinated children." Like I made the decision was based on the idea that everyone else's children will protect mine, and I now owe them and thank you and I'll get right on getting them their shots. This is also a ploy the news last night used to get parents on board- we have to think about all the others. I am not saying that is wrong- I fully believe in harming none, but I also feel vaccinations are harming all. I'll get to my thoughts on that in a bit. But I want to address this attitude by those that choose to vaccinate towards those that don't.....
17 years ago I was mainstream in my thoughts on medical society and followed the guidelines on vaccination to a T- even fearing what would happen if I was late getting my oldests' boosters. Back then at 12 months they received 2 shots and an oral polio vax, just 6 years later my middles got 4 shots and 0 oral. The Chicken Pox vaccine was also introduced in that time frame but it wasn't pushed or required- my Ped at the time (she is now deceased- tragic accident) said it was a convenience vaccine- for parents, so there would be no time off from work (or school). She said it was up to me whether or not to give it but since I was an at home mom the time off work issue wasn't an issue. At that time I passed on it but shortly later I began work and it looked like a good idea- for the convenience issue, and because at that point I still trusted vaxes were important. I've vaxed on schedule for 5 of my children- but I started to question the vaxes ideal while pregnant with my O (6 year old) and could only decided against the chicken pox as being one to opt out of. My first refusal of a vax was with O and the chicken pox vax. Why did I suddenly start to question? Many cases of chicken pox and shingles started to appear in vaxed kids and medical society started to recommend a 2nd vax. I had been told only one would make them immune and now that was wrong- what else could they be wrong on? But I continued the rest of O's shots on schedule because I didn't know you could actually stop! I found out later that though I refused O's chicken pox vax it was still given to him- and now I am forced out of fear not to get him the second. Chicken pox and shingles in adults and teens can be bad- I so wish they all had a natural immunity.
I will finish any boosters my oldest children need but am not starting new ones. Especially the HPV vax for the girls. And for the littles they will not receive (in C's case any more) any. I once was in the camp of when they were older and their immune systems were fully developed we'd vaccinate (so we'd be considered delayed vaxers) but since my DH has made a choice and is completely opposed to all and/or any vaccinations for our boys. I will respect his choice as a parent, as he respected mine when we first found out C was a boy and I adamantly opposed circumcision. He came around to my view point and is now an intactivist. I will do the same out of respect for his rights as their father.
I feel there is an air from those that vaccinate (and no I'm not saying from everyone) that they are protecting our children and that is part of the reason those who choose not to vax do so- that we think the herd will protect our children and that is part of the reason we don't vaccinate. I can tell you from my side I could care less whether or not their children are vaccinated or not, choosing to vaccinate is their choice and their right as parents. If they choose not to vax too- so be it.
Why I don't vaccinate: Not because I fear vaxes cause Autism. Not because my Church tells me so (well I guess it does kind of. Harm none- I see this as being told not to damage my children at all- I don't circ by boys because I feel it's doing harm to them, so in a way I see injecting them with toxins in the same light. With circumcision I've always said if as teens or adults they make the choice to do that to their own body I'll support them- I feel the same with vaxes. You can always vax, you can never unvax.)
I am an inquisitive person by nature, I like to ask why and have the whole picture before I make decisions. I can not follow blindly. I have learned in life there are times when why is not the question to ask because sometimes life just is. But in science you ask why. That's the whole point in it. And vaccines are based on science. And there are not enough answers to the whys for me to make a comfortable decision. The generation before mine was the first to really have a schedule for vaccines and now there's the question: WHY are so many more people suffering from diabetes, heart disease, cancer, than generations ago? Could it be life style or environmental? Could it be mass vaccination? I may not be the first to ask this but it is not a common reason as to why some decide not to vaccinate. These questions are not being study or even asked in the mainstream- and to me that looks suspicious. And does not answer questions in my head, too many questions unanswered makes me uncomfortable making an informed decision. As a parent its my responsibility to have as many answers as possible.
Vaccines are made up of things that if were found in our homes would have warning labels to not ingest, keep out of reach of children and are harmful all around. But we're supposed to inject these same toxins into a newborn, infants and children on a regular basis. This seems absurd to me. There are countries out there that start vaxes later in life- why not here? Why can we not seek damages for injuries resulting from vaccines? I can get into a lot of conspiracy theories here but won't- I think you can already tell I don't trust everything I am told by the Big Entities. But these questions lead me to more and without the answers I can not, in good consciousness, continue to make decisions that may affect my childrens' health for a life time. These could be more serious down the road than what vaccines are protecting us against.
Please don't assume every parent that decides to not vaccinate doesn't worry about others and feel that your children are protecting ours. A choice is a choice. In the US we are free to make choices- it's one of the things that make us who we are- and we are free to ask why. Some, like me, ask why maybe too much and aren't finding answers. Maybe others should ask why too.