Thank you everyone who shared your experiences and decisions about vaccinations. I admire how much thought, research and most of all- love- went into your decision making process. The bottom line is this- we all want what is best for our children. No parent wants to watch a needle containing a dead or inactive virus coming near their child with anything less than a 100% guarantee that it will do more good than harm. This is why the vicious criticism of other Mamas is so hard to tolerate. We love our babes and want to protect them. However, there is such a thing as making uninformed decisions and inadvertently causing harm, which is why I wanted to write about this topic in the first place.
God bless Jenny McCarthy, but her celebrity status and personal opinion vaulted the idea of autism and vaccines into the world arena. The tough thing about that story is that regardless how much research comes out discrediting that link, she will always have a son with autism. And her experience led her to believe that it was caused by a vaccine. Would her son have been autistic without being vaccinated? More than likely because more research on autism suggests a genetic component. But experience is powerful, as those of you who told stories about reactions your babes have had after vaccinations prove. Fevers, fainting, severe irritability- all these things were REAL and impacted how, when and even if you vaccinated further or with your next child.
I am on my second round of infant vaccines and it is scary. As a nurse I know more than the average bear about possible risks and side effects- not just of vaccines but any injection. And so I pray for the safety of the vaccines and the hands delivering them. What else can we do? If you want to read about my angst regarding receiving vaccines while pregnant: go here.
Those of you choosing not to vaccinate I would ask you to examine your reasons again and be completely sure they are not simply experiential. Pertussis has made a comeback in the United States, particularly in urban areas where lots of kids are in close quarters. If you are counting on herd immunity to keep your child safe from diseases that were eradicated, that may not be the case for much longer.
Those of us who vaccinate, are we just taking whatever shots the pediatrician brings in without question? As evidenced by some responses to this blog, every little body is different and reactions are rare but possible. Know what your child is getting and what to look out for. This can be a respectful and informative discussion if we all agree that the goal is safe and healthy babes. Much love to all-