Is my logic flawed? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 3 Old 10-10-2011, 10:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you so much for your help.  I have read your book (many times) and found it very helpful, though I still don't feel confident about what to do.  I am the proud mother of a 9 wk old son and have been debating about vaccinations since he was still in the belly.  I thought we would have decided by now, but now that he is here, the thought of him being sick or being harmed in anyway makes me so upset.  The Dtap vaccine is the one that is causing me the biggest issue.  I am most afraid of pertussis (rational or not), but am equally concerned with the chemicals in the vaccine.


Your book was great at providing the risk of a severe pertussis case (and the other diseases) for perspective.  I believe you said it was 1 in 3333.  I wanted to find the chance of him catching it in general too (not just a severe case).  I went to the CDC page and although I know it won't have all cases reported, it seemed to indicate that in 2010, there were about 100 cases per 100,000 in children under one year.  So I can take that to mean that in 2010, he would have had about a 0.1% chance of getting it or a 99.9% chance of not. 


I have particular concerns about the chemicals in the vaccines because of my own history.  That said, I'm not anti-vaccine.  I like your book a lot because it's one of the few resources I could find that wasn't 100% anti-vaccine or 100% pro-vaccine.  There are very few unbiased resources out there.  People either think you're nuts for considering not vaccinating or think vaccines are never worth the risk. 


If my son is breastfed for 2 years (or more) with never a drop of formula, does not attend daycare, and does not regularly spend time with other children, is it logical for me to think that his chance of getting pertussis is about 0.1%?  Because I am so attached and in love with him, I am having a hard time with the decision because I don't like either of my options.  The possibility of him getting pertussis (even if it's not severe) and coughing horribly for months makes me feel sick.  The thought of the potential aluminum could have on his body long term or the possibility of him crying for hours and hours (when he's never cried more than 2 minutes consecutively) also makes me upset.  I need to make this about numbers and try to remove my emotions from it.  That's why I want to know if my logic seems to be correct or not.


I know vaccine side effects are calculated based on short term reactions that occur within hours, days, or possible weeks of the shot, but I am more considered with the long term effects that may not be accurately measured.  Given that, I know the statistics for the likelihood of a vaccine reaction are going to show that he is more likely to get pertussis than a reaction from DTap.  What I want to know is what risk I am taking if I choose not to give it to him.  If it's 99.9% chance he will be good to go, I'll feel better.


Thanks in advance for your help.

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#2 of 3 Old 10-11-2011, 01:07 PM
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I would say that I don't see anything flawed or inaccurate in your logic.  I think you have the numbers correct.  Here are a few thoughts to add:

First, realize that all pertussis fatalities in the past 5 years or so are in infants 3 months and younger.  Prior to that, it was infants less than 6 months.  So, there isn't a very long window of time in which pertussis poses a risk to an infant's life.  You are almost out of the clear now.  IF your baby ends up catching it at 9 months, 18 months, or 5 years, it might not be a fun month of coughing, but your child's life wouldn't be in danger.

Second, I encourage parents who are unsure to take the side of NOT vaccinating. Until you get to a point where you feel at least half way decent about doing it, you shouldn't vaccinate.

Third, for a breastfed non-daycare baby, I view the disease risks as very low, and low enough that the decision to not vaccinate shouldn't be viewed as a dangerous one.

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#3 of 3 Old 10-11-2011, 04:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you so much for your feedback.  I very much appreciate it.

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