Thursday, 15 August 2013

I Will Vaccinate My Children

I will vaccinate my children.  I will do this because I want my children to be healthy.  I will do this because I want my children to stay alive.

Vaccines don't cause autism, and yet there are so many people out there that have bought into this myth and that's incredibly frightening to me.  Suddenly, now many kids are getting these illnesses that were unheard of ten years ago.  Suddenly, kids who are immunosuppressed are at risk around the increasing number of their unvaccinated peers.

This is a great quotation from Johanna Holmes on this pro-vaccination website.

"Indeed, there are few choices in the field of parenting that have stronger, clearer-cut evidence in support of them. Other parenting decisions are burdened by conflicting recommendations and may vary in different communities with different traditions. There is no such conflict of professional opinion regarding the science of immunization. Every single major medical and public health organization worldwide stands in unanimous agreement regarding the science and value of routine immunization. In the case of such clear scientific consensus, ambivalence seems driven more by fear than by fact.
"To my fellow parents who choose mindfulness, I tell you that you are correct: the small choices that you make do matter. They matter a great deal, but perhaps not in the way that many in the mindful parenting community believe they do. A three-month delay on an immunization may feel safer, but this delay is not the difference between a developmental disorder and normal development. It may, however, be the difference between pertussis and no pertussis. Measles or no measles. Hib meningitis or no Hib meningitis. This we know."
Of course vaccines have risks.  Some people can't get certain vaccines due to allergies, for example.  Some vaccines can cause nasty side effects.  But I really hate it when people choose not to protect their children or themselves simply due to ignorance.  I hate it when people choose not to vaccinate out of fear.  Johanna Holmes even discusses this in her article; she says:

"Small choices, done and undone, make all the difference in the world. By all means, ask questions regarding immunization safety. Educate yourself, immerse yourself in the science, the evidence, the documented risks of immunizations and of the diseases themselves. You owe it to yourself and to your children to ask the hard questions."
Autism is not the end of the world.  Having an autistic child is not the end of the world.  But I will accept if that's frightening to some people.  I know the parents who choose not to vaccinate because they're afraid of autism have a very real fear, be it justified or not.  Not all parents want autistic kids, and that's fine, I guess.  But I'd argue that all parents want healthy kids.  So vaccinate your children. Keep your children healthy.