DIsclaimer: These opinions are 100% my own, they may differ from yours and that is okay, I share my passions and opinions with you and am open to yours. That being said, if you are passionate one way or another in this debate, expression of that should be respectful of all participating in the conversation. If you can not behave better than my two year old I will delete your posts and block you.
Today, I got both of my kids Vaccinated. Luke my two year old was up to date so only needed his Flu vaccine, Lily on the other hand needed to get her "Kindergarden" vaccinations. As many of you know that is the DTAP & MMR boosters, she also got her flu vaccine. It's a little late in the flu game but we had been sick most of the year so this is the first time we have as a family been healthy enough to make the effort. That being said, with all the hype about whether to or whether or not to vaccinate. I thought I'd share my opinion.
As a mother, like many of you I am literally terrified about the idea of one of my children becoming seriously ill. Not quite in the complete paranoia kind of way, just more in the dull ache in the back of my mind kind of way. That being said, if there is anything I can do to prevent illness I do it. My kids take daily vitamins and we try to keep a balanced diet, although with picky kids sometimes I am sure they are a bit off on one pyramid item or another. But, when it comes to vaccines I take them in the same stride as a multivitamin, they may not prevent all the illnesses but if I can hedge my bets well that is what I will do.
As a scientist, I am literally trained to see the benefit in vaccinations. Not just for the prevention of my kids from being sick, but in respect to preventing diseases from spreading. In our country where high quality and expensive antibiotics are readily available something like Whooping cough isn't necessarily a life threatening illness. However, in poverish countries where even a papercut or the common cold can prove fatal, something like whooping cough can most definitely be fatal. That being said if there is a way to limit the spread and thereby reducing the mutation rate of a disease I am all for it.
Although, I wasn't aware of the situation before I became a mother, it is becoming a trend to not vaccinate children. I see the memes on facebook which bash and promote negative information about vaccinations and celebrities endorsing the vaccination free lifestyle and I am pretty much floored. The concept of not vaccinating seemed so unreal to me, I assumed it was actually something that people hyped about, but in the end didn't take the risk. However, I recently came across the map above highlighting regions of diseases you could vaccinate against and their abundance in population.
As you can see above, the map is showing a huge number of outbreaks in the United States including Whooping cough. What?!! In the United States, where we have all the resources readily available our children are getting sick with something we could prevent?! Do you want to know why? Because of this man Andrew Wakefield, in 1998 he released a paper linking Autism to vaccinations, this paper was later retracted for being a complete fabrication and for it being found that he had financial gains to be made by falsifying datat. He in my opinion caused many of the worlds children to become sick and who knows how many lives were lost as a result. That being said he is not alone in this attack on children, celebrities such as Jenny McCarthy, use their spokesperson power to mis-educate the world and mothers like us into believing the words of this man.
Before you make a decision on whether or not to vaccinate please take the time to read up on the subject, also take time to get to know what a vaccine truly is and how it effects your child. Ask your pediatrician, they literally are low on the doctor pay totem pole and most do it out of love for children, they should be your ally and advocate in health not some celebrity looking for a claim to fame.
I'd love to have an honest conversation with you on the subject I am a mother and scientist I have a unique perspective on the matter and am always willing to listen.