Where do you stand in the eternally ongoing childhood immunization debate? I’ve read and heard so much information, propaganda and misinformation that I feel I need to weigh in with my perspective. First of all I do think that the parents who refuse to vaccinate their children are unfairly, repeatedly attacked. They are not monsters, people! They are loving parents who are scared, being driven by this fear and are innocently unaware of the (potential) harm they inflict on their children and others as well. I really believe that they think they know a secret being overlooked by the masses.
We all know that there have been nay-sayers since vaccines even came into being but the huge resurgence of revolt has been ignited by reports published by Andrew Wakefield, a British doctor, starting in 1998, linking vaccines with autism. Yes, we all know, now, that he was stripped of his medical license to practice in his country and has formally withdrawn his reports but it’s hard to ‘close the barn door after the cows have escaped’. An exhaustive number of more recent reports have, undeniably, found no such connection, what-so-ever! Even though Brian Deer published a series of reports showing evidence that Wakefield had falsified, actually scientifically, FALSIFIED data, for profit it has lead people to examine the contents of vaccines and, admittedly, the ingredients do sound intimidating to the medically untrained ear, mine included. I have to also admit that the list of additives in loads of our foods are equally intimidating but most of us eat them anyway and the simple fact is that life expectancy is much higher than when there were no preservatives ,etc available.
So never mind trying to convince anti-vaccine parents of the safety of vaccines. Lets assume that they are absolutely right ( I can hear you disagree, as I disagree, myself, but let’s just pretend). So now we assume that, no matter how small the danger, these loving parents choose to not take that chance and feel they have the right to choose for their own children and that they are right. We all know, ALL of us, that serious, and often, fatal diseases have all but disappeared since the introduction of immunizations. What would happen if everybody opted to forego vaccines to minimize ‘danger’ to their children? Well, we would be burying a hell of a lot of children and tending to minions of ill little ones on top of that. Does anyone want that? No, anti- vaccine parents count on OTHER peoples’ children being tasked to shoulder the perceived danger to keep theirs safe. How do any of them justify that, even in their own heads?
Here’s the thing…they don’t have to because their thinking is paused at the sentiment,’ If vaccinations work, then your children are protected so why worry about ours?’ I can’t tell you how many times I have heard that! If they would let the natural evolution of the thought process continue they would conclude that babies too young to be protected, transplant patients with compromised immune systems and the very small minority who are not responsive to immunizations are now at risk if these diseases make an ugly comeback. As a matter of fact, some deadly diseases are not eradicated, but fought, by this protection and I have read heartbreaking accounts of parents losing their precious babies for this very reason.
So if, in fact, the decision to not vaccinate your children is yours alone then, to avoid making life threatening choices for others it would reasonably be your responsibility to remove your kids from society. Sending them to school, playgrounds, swimming pools, church, heck, even restaurants, is, morally, not an option. For those who can’t get their thinking evolved to that point let’s make another. If you are unwilling to take this miniscule risk are you also willing to not avail yourselves of other modern amenities that actually do have a much higher risk to your kids? Car accidents kill and maim monumentally more children than do side effects of immunizations! Do you allow them to travel in cars? More children are lost in house fires! Do you live in a house? Drownings are much, much more common! Do your children see water? Falls from counters and furniture have killed or maimed many more. Do you have furniture or kitchen counters?
I am a mother and grandmother and I would do anything to save my loved ones. I do understand the fear that is driving this movement but it is an unreasonable fear that is killing other peoples’ children! If I had a child who was dying of cancer and I knew, for sure, that killing my neighbour’s child would heal mine I wouldn’t consider it, not even for a second! We can’t be the kind of humans on this planet who put our own rights above and beyond everyone else’s rights! We need to stop arguing about this and do something more productive. If the anti-vaccers cannot be persuaded then maybe laws need to be implemented that require proof of immunization for entrance to schools, hospitals, restaurants, etc,etc,etc. What a logistical nightmare it would be but society has to be defended. I actually believe that it wouldn’t get so out-of-hand because most would comply when, number one: the cost to them would be so high, and, number two: having these laws implemented would probably wake them up to reason. One can always hope!