The Vaccination Procrastination
With the recent, preventable, outbreak of measles in several states, the battle between pro-vaccinates and the anti-vaccinates is heating up like a fresh pile of cow patties on a hot August day. Members from both sides are throwing out personal, amusing, scientific, constitutional and extremely vicious arguments to get their points across to those who will listen.
While I do believe in both a person’s constitutional right to choose for themselves as they see fit and also the undeniable freedom to speak their minds, I cannot support any person’s arguments based on circumstantial evidence, false information and fear or ego based journalism. If you’re going to debate, blog or just bitch about whether a child; should or shouldn’t be vaccinated or for that matter be forced to vaccinate or have it kept as a voluntary service, make damn sure you have all the facts before beginning your argument so you don’t come off looking like an uneducated idiot or someone who just likes to hear themselves talk.
Am I a parent? Yes. Did my wife and I have our daughters vaccinated? Yes, but I must admit that at that time neither one of us researched anything about the MMR vaccine or even if any long term effects were studied or documented. Quite honestly, the only thing we were certain of was the fact that we did not want any of our daughters to become infected with measles, mumps or rubella. However, with that being said, we also were most definitely guilty of agreeing to it just because our pediatrician (who was my childhood pediatrician) said it had to be done. Looking back now, I don’t think we even questioned him about it because we had complete faith and trust in him based on his qualifications and experience as an educated, knowledgeable, pediatrician. He was also a great guy with an amazing sense of humor, big personality and a heart filled with sincere compassion. It was very difficult not to like this man so who wouldn’t doubt what he said about the MMR vaccination?
Since that time, I’m sure the MMR vaccination and its long term side effects have obviously been studied in greater depths, but to what extent, I’m not sure and wouldn’t even attempt a guess at it. I do know that there were 145,700 deaths caused by measles in 2013, but before freaking out you must be aware of this; don’t assume these deaths were all children living in the U.S.A. It includes men, women and children of all ages living in countries that document such cases. There are 6 billion people living on Earth . . . 6 BILLION PEOPLE . . . I’m no mathematician, but if you put the deaths from measles into a percentage based on the population of the world . . . it’s less than miniscule. Don’t get me wrong, I am not minimizing the sad fact that people did die from the measles, but we have no way of knowing if they already had compromised immune systems or other serious health issues. I don’t even know if I was vaccinated against the measles when I was a kid, but I’m pretty sure that measles were as common as the chicken pox in the early 1960’s and I don’t remember any of my friends dying from them either.
You Can’t Believe Everything You Read
It has come to my attention that every day more and more conflicting stories about why a child should or shouldn’t be vaccinated are being thrown in the public’s faces using scare tactics and false or misleading information. One story that quickly comes to mind is about a British study showing how the measles vaccination is somehow linked to a child developing Autism. According to wwwcnn.com the results of that study were retracted after being called an elaborate fraud by a leading medical publication.
I would never say that vaccinations don’t come without risk, because that would also be fraudulent information, but the percentage of children who have had adverse reactions compared to the percentage of vaccinated children who didn’t is very, very, low. The difference is; it’s mostly only people whose children had adverse reactions to the vaccinations that write hate letters and horror stories drawing attention to the negative side of vaccinating. Very seldom will you read an article about how joyful, excited and elated a parent is about vaccinating their child which in turn, sheds light on the higher percentage of positive results and the number of yearly cases dropping at a significant rate.
At the end of the day when all is said and done, it comes down to one thing and one thing only. It’s called; “The freedom to choose” isn’t that the American way? Well, the way I look at it is; “For the most part, only the UN-vaccinated school age children will be getting sick and therefore infecting only other UN-vaccinated children because vaccinated children are supposed to be immune from being infected . . . right?” With that being said, I can also personally state that; It would be a cold day in Hell before I brought my infant child (under the age of one) or child with a life threatening illness into the same pediatric waiting room with your snotty nosed, sick, UN-vaccinated child.” Not cool, not cool at all! So what’s the solution to that? Separate waiting rooms for those who are vaccinated and those who are not?
I’ve got to admit that my confidence in the medical profession is dwindling rapidly, especially when I see doctors arguing with each other over the safety of the MMR vaccination. It shouldn’t be that difficult, you’re the ones with the prestigious medical degrees and special titles before your names so which is it, safe or not safe? Are you getting financially compensated by the pharmaceutical companies who are creating and distributing the MMR vaccines to force it on children knowing that the true safety and effectiveness of it has yet to be determined? These are not accusations, but merely questions I’m sure every parent would like an honest answer for.
The Duties And Dilemmas Of Parenting
As parents, our first and foremost duty is to keep our children as safe and as protected as we most possibly can. As we all know, this is a huge commitment and we don’t always get it right no matter how hard we try. In a perfect world, becoming a successful parent would start with a valid, proven set of instructions to guide us through every step of the way and for every possible dilemma that could occur, but unfortunately, it doesn’t. For the most part, it depends on common sense, experience and intuition.
Having your child vaccinated against certain diseases is an option, not a necessity, but how do you justify your decision? I get it, I really do. I can’t even begin to imagine how a parent must feel when a child has a devastatingly severe reaction to a vaccine they agreed to thinking only of their child’s well-being. Conversely, how does a parent feel when their child becomes infected with a disease that causes permanent damage or even death when it could have been prevented by being vaccinated as a child? You can say what you want, but I really don’t think there is a correct answer that could appease both pro and anti- vaccinates.
There is only so much we can do as parents and I believe that whether you support or are against a child being vaccinated, the decision is made because of how much you love your child. Of course, along with every decision comes the responsibility of the outcome of that decision. I have heard of children becoming deathly ill and dying after receiving the flu shot so how are you to know what is appropriate to give them and what is not?
The one thing I do know is wrong is when parents from both sides bash each other and call each other terrible names because they are judging their actions and decisions based on their own fears and anxieties. That must stop right away. Not everyone likes the same flavor ice cream you know! As a parent, do what you feel is in the best interest of your child and don’t judge others for making a different decision that you don’t agree with. It’s not your child, end of discussion, no if’s and’s or buts!
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