I think the Op has a point.
It is important to know the worst case scenarios of VPD's. It is also important to know the worst case scenario of vaccines.
Here are a few vaccine reactions stories:
There are 2 central questions to this whole thing:
1. which scenario is more likely for my child- a serious vaccine reaction or a serious VPD reaction? Using todays numbers and accepted risks, I think safety favours not-vaxxing in most cases. Your chances of having a mortal reaction to polio vax? 1 in a million. Your chances of catching Polio in N. America? Zero.
2. This inevitably leads to the discussion of whether vaccines play a role in the low prevalence of VPD's. If they do, should you actually vaccinate to prevent their return (even though that is putting your child at more risk than not vaccinating?)
Excluding mortality, I think you need to look at the nature of serious reactions.
In the case of many VPD's, even if you have a bad case, once you have recovered, you have recovered. People can make lists if they like - what are the possible long term complications of this VPD and how likely are they?
OTOH, serious reactions to vaccines are often long term. Let's face it - when people talk of serious vaccine reactions they say such things as "my child had a shot and his seizure disorder started that afternoon; my child has brain damage and we believe it is from the shot;, etc".
Serious VPD reactions are usually temporary, serious vaccine reactions are often chronic. This is more a hunch than anything, and a lot of it comes down to which reactions you accept, what do you define as serious, etc.
Lastly, with regards to worse case scenarios, I think it is important to ask yourself which scenario you would prefer to live with:
that your child had a horrible reaction to a vaccine you gave them?
that your child had a horrible reaction to a VPD that might have been avoidable through vaccination?
Edited by kathymuggle - 10/12/12 at 7:47am