Vaccination. The topic is enough to make my stomach churn, because of the ugliness that so often follows. I’ve read a million debates about breastfeeding and formula, circumcision, cry-it-out, carseats, and more. Yet nothing gets so viciously attacked as the choice to refuse or even question vaccines.
Some people say it’s because non-vaccinators are putting others at risk, but since vaccinated people also contract and spread diseases, that can’t be accurate. What I have found is that most people who get really heated over the topic haven’t thoroughly researched it, and are reacting from a place of doubt. The doubt comes with anger and defensiveness.
It’s easy to see when someone hasn’t done much reading about vaccine safety, efficacy, and ethics, because, among other erroneous statements, they always mention autism as the main issue. They tell us that there is no link between autism and vaccines. It seems there are some things they do not know, particularly that autism is not the reason most vaccine-refusers refuse vaccines, and the link between vaccines and autism has not been debunked by any sort of thorough, ethical trials.
Autism was the only issue my family doctor talked about when I mentioned being concerned about vaccination. My son was two months old and my gut was telling me not to give him these shots, but I didn’t know where to turn. So I asked her. She said the same thing I’ve heard a hundred times now: “There is no link between vaccines and autism.” That statement didn’t comfort me, but I didn’t know how to respond or how false it was, so I let my son be vaccinated against my better judgment and intuition. I deeply regret not doing more research, not because he had a serious reaction (he did have a shrill, high-pitched cry that would last for hours on end afterwards, for weeks), but because of the overall effect on his immune system.
Too often parents and doctors only hear the pro-vaccine side. The other side is complex, because people have to be willing to consider that what we’ve been told is not true. They have to be open to the idea that pharmaceutical companies, the government, and our doctors may not know what’s best regarding total health. My goal is not to convince people not to vaccinate– I genuinely want everyone to make the best choice for their family, and it’s important to weigh all aspects of the issue. If you are fully informed and choose to vaccinate, rock on. However, it’s impossible to make the best, most informed choices when we only receive half of the story, or half-truths. Some of the sources here are government, medical, and mainstream sources. But some of them are personal blogs and personal stories, which pro-vaccine people often reject on the grounds that it’s not coming from an organization like the CDC. But here’s the thing– we don’t want government sources only. We want to hear from the mothers and fathers who have seen vaccine injury with their own eyes. We want information from the people who have put the puzzle pieces together that mainstream sources refuse to acknowledge. We want the truth.
When it first came to light that smoking cigarettes greatly increases certain health risks, it wasn’t government or major medical sources relaying this truth. In fact, doctors were taking kick-backs from tobacco companies to promote their products, and denied the risks for quite a while. Some people feel more comfortable trusting these sources than others. But there is always another side to the story. This is not supposed to be a “balanced” report on vaccines; this is a glimpse of the other side. So, here is some of the information that helped me begin to question vaccines: