|You aren't going to find THE "Right" answer. There is only what you feel is right for you and your family. People believe in different things in which to trust, or to keep them from fear. The journey to discovering what motivates you and upon what premises you make your decisions is an arduous one in parenting. Personally, I have 17 years of critical care experience, and I understand how *unscientific* medical practice and medical science is. True medical care is an Art, as much, if not more than a Science. I have seen so, so many "best practice protocals" subsequently disavowed as having some (previously unknown) danger, AFTER patients have utilized (and suffered from) them. We, the medical people, did *to* people, with all good intentions and full faith in the system of Science. However, science really is quite blind in its research; you can only learn what you are seeking to find. The myopia of separating the mind/body/spirit is a huge aspect of the limitations of medicine.
And we have the System of Medicine, embodied by the (fiscal) monopoly of the AMA. I can only say that if you go to a surgeon, he will use the tools available to him: surgery. If you go to a internist, he will use the tools available to him: pills. If you go to a psychologist: a DSM-whatever diagnosis is utilized. They can only utilize what they know and what they are taught. Unfortunately, what is *taught* isn't necessarily current with what is known outside of their speciality. There is such a specialiation in *parts* of the body that there is no *whole* patient. This isn't a system of *health*, but of illness, disease and deficit focused care.
So, we, medical people, have developed means of dealing with discrete illness and disease, rather than focusing on maximizing the *health* of the whole person. Because we can, because there is a market for 'fixing' a problem, because it is quicker, easier, because if it doesn't work the patient just comes back, and comes back, and comes back. A system that self-perpetuates is not working to eliminate the need for itself.
In regards to vaccines, we, medical people, knew that people were *getting* polio FROM the vaccine for 40 some years, before we changed to an injectable form which cost a slight bit more. For how many years have we, the medical system, injected a known toxin, mercury, into young children in ever increasing frequency and amounts? Oh, they did just remove thimerosal after the incidence of autism has increased from 1:10,000 to 1:500 in just 10 years, highly correllated with vaccine compliance by state. (Oh, but there is no proof that these issues are causitive). And giving hepatitis vaccine to newborns! Who can't get hepatitis unless they share blood with another infected person? These types of practices, mandated by the CDC are not building credibility that the interest of the *whole* INDIVIDUAL matters. Perhaps there is some "herd immunity" benefit that the CDC is championing. But at the expense of *individuals* with polio, deaths due to hepatitis vaccine, and high mercury contamination, etc.?
So, I have a problem with the System of Vaccinations. Additionally, I am anal; and we actually did the calculations for each disease against which there is a vaccine. We calculated the risks, taking into consideration the risk of contracting the disease within the US population of 300 million, and the occurance in our young son's age range, and then extrapolating the liklihood, by percentage, of developing the most severe complications (encephalitis, meningitis and death). And the risks were so, so minimal that the uncertain, but untrusted risk of the vaccines was outweighed by the facts of the disease's relative "danger". Basically, it was a crap shoot for the odds of vaccination vs. living with an occasional disease exposure.
But, we maximize our health by many means. And we avoid compromising our health within the health care system. And we are knowledgable about homeopathic, natural and alternative health care and we trust our bodies to be better able to handle the assault of naturally occuring disease, more than we trust our bodies to handle the assault on the immune system of injecting multiple diseases at one time, repeatedly, prior to the full development of the immune system. A whole 'nuther variable is the assault and unknown damage on the developing immune system by the vaccination program before age 2. Unfortunately, Science doesn't quite understand all this grey matter (brain and immune system) yet.
The most damning source of information was the CDC's own site. (And their "Pink Book") Their documentation of the actual incidence of disease and the incidence of complications is miniscule for many of the diseases, despite the proclamations of all the dangers of the disease. And the product insert for each vaccine which lists the ingredients, contraindications, warnings, side effects, etc. was informative (and disconcerting). And for those diseases with the most dangerous incidence, the vaccines are very *NEW* and undertested; and the system has failed too many individuals to place our son's life in the manufacture's 'post marketing research' trial. (The actual number of children upon whom they test the vaccines prior to mass vaccination is very small, obviously.) But the manufacturer extrapolates "safety" based upon a short duration of follow up, of only healthy children in the trial. And complications are notoriously under/unreported. And, and, and....
There are risks to not vaccinating. There are risks to vaccinating. There are no sure bets in life. But, you make your best guess based upon what you choose to believe in.