Quick and simple response as to why we don't vaccinate? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-04-2012, 02:11 PM
 
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OP- if you are still reading- Uganda is absolutely beautiful and Kampala is actually a great city. I visited while I was living in Kenya and will take Kampala over Nairobi any day. It's cleaner and there is less crime. I hope you have a great time.


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Old 05-04-2012, 02:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by stik View Post

I'm concerned that the clinic in Kampala is recommending HepA and HepB vaccination even for short term business travel to Uganda.  This suggests that there may be a lot of risk for an infant who is in the country for the long term.  They are also recommending careful adherence to malaria prophylaxis and Yellow Fever vaccination.  Again, I understand the OP is opposed to vaccination, and I am not trying to change her mind.  I note that medevac from Entebbe to Nairobi costs $8K.  I suspect this is a rate for an unaccompanied adult, not an infant with a child, and I don't know what the pediatric facilities are like in Nairobi.  Also, it looks like they only medevac with cash or an insurance policy on hand up-front.  They have not posted costs for evacuation to Johannesburg.  I would want to know before planning a long stay.  This is why I think it's possible that the organization involved here may not allow the children to travel without vaccinations - it's expensive to maintain insurance for this, and more expensive if individuals in your covered group don't vaccinate.

 

I have not been able to find a website for an international school in Uganda, but as private schools operating outside the US, I think it's possible that they may not accept vaccine exemptions at all.

 

I think the concern with Hep B could be that at the bottom of the page it also says to refrain from sex, and if you don't refrain use condoms always. Hep A concerns would have to do with cleanliness most likely due the transmission of that particular virus. Anyway, thats just a guess.

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Old 05-04-2012, 02:48 PM
 
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I think it's reasonable to wonder how you would frame this issue with your employers, but I'm not sure it's possible to do that successfully.  While "religious reasons" or not going into detail may be sufficient for everyday conversation, I think that your employers have good cause to go into greater depth here, as they will be responsible for your health and safety while you are working.  If Human resources Staffer A feels socially unable to ask you detailed questions about vaccines, s/he will go get Staffer B, or whoever might be less uncomfortable.  There may be an insurance questionnaire that covers the territory for them.  And they care a lot less about why you made your vaccine decisions than they do about what those decisions are. 

 

My strong suspicion is that they could and would rescind an employment offer over this, and that a complaint of religious discrimination about it wouldn't hold water.  Employers are required to make "reasonable accommodation" for employee's religious beliefs, and the courts would probably not feel that sending your family off to Uganda and going broke on the resulting insurance (or sending you uninsured) is not reasonable.  I think most employment lawyers would advise you that you'd be likely to lose.  If you chose to fight it anyway, it would take a while to play out in the courts - and this employer would not be paying you for anything or sending you anywhere while it did. 

 

But vaxxing or non-vaxxing may not be the key issue here anyway - were they aware that you have a 3 mo during the hiring process?  I think they're unlikely to be willing to send the baby.  It is not possible for a child so young to be "fully" vaccinated, as many vaxes take more than one dose for full effectiveness.  Further, non-VPDs endemic to the region are especially dangerous to small children.  SSun5 may not be afraid of malaria, but I bet the employer's insurance adjusters are terrified.

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Old 05-04-2012, 04:30 PM
 
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From our observations in this study, the serum concentrations of antioxidant vitamins were reduced in malaria and reduction of these antioxidants in turn caused the reduction of the total antioxidant levels of malaria-infected children. It was also noted however that antioxidant levels in our controls were higher than values observed in infected subjects.

However, lowered levels of antioxidants, especially of vitamin C in malaria infection also suggest lowered immunity of host which may be responsible for some of the complications of malaria infection. The reduction of these antioxidants in the stages of malaria infection may expose the children to free radical attack. To reverse this condition and reduce the morbidity due to Plasmodium falciparum, it is necessary to recommend antioxidant agents (particularly vitamin C) as a component of drugs for treatment of malaria infection. Foods rich in antioxidants such as vegetables, fruits (oranges, banana, apples, etc), red palm oil and so many more should also be part of diet recommended for the management of malaria and the outcome of such supplementation should be investigated and derived, documented for further advice.

 

http://www.ajol.info/index.php/biokem/article/viewFile/56467/44895

 

 

A study done in Africa....I told you we wouldn't agree.Vit C hinders medicine???? 

All I will say about that....

 

 

I think the OP is gone so it is kinda moot to fight about laws. And personally, if the world can start saying that we want to hire you but won't on the basis of Vax status alone... what a scary world we are in. Might as well say, we won't hire you because you are Jewish or Athiest or white or _____ fill in the blank -take your pick.

 

This becomes about more than Vax status to me....

 

I digress. I hope the OP well on her journey and hope that the Company sending them doesn't give them a hard time and they have a wonderful time.

 

 

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Old 05-04-2012, 05:00 PM
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http://trial.eyesonmalaria.org/content/iron-tablets-vitamin-c-affect-efficacy-malaria-drugs

 

ETA: I'm not finding the quality of evidence I would like on the issue.  Malaria requires medical treatment.  

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Old 05-04-2012, 08:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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OP here...I had no idea there were so many replies to this thread...I think the responses validate my initial concerns that people cannot fathom sending unvaxed children to Uganda!

 

I am a little offended at the discussion - my husband is from Kenya and I have lived in East Africa.  If all you know about Africa is the Western media's description, I can understand why you couldn't imagine sending unvaxed children there.

 

But there are two worlds in big cities like Kampala.  Way too many children live in slums, where sewage runs in the open, there is no access to clean water, most kids are malnourished, and have little access to medical care.  Of course disease is going to run rampant there. 

 

However, the middle/upper class and expat world is totally different - we have tons of expat and East African friends whose babies were born there and they are not dying in droves from VPDs.  We will be living in a nice house in a middle/upper class part of town, have our own car so we won't be in crowded public transportation, and working in a very small office with only a handful of employees.  Our exposure to high disease areas will be minimal and practically nonexistent for my children, who will either be with us, in an expensive international school, or at home with a nanny.

 

In considering vaxing, we looked at the prevalence and severity of each disease.  Chickenpox is no more dangerous in Uganda than it is in the US.  Several VPDs do not scare me and I would not bother vaxxing - MMR is another one.  Hep A is actually asymptomatic in children most of the time, and is most dangerous for adults.  If our children were exposed to hep A, DH and I would be at more risk than they are.   

 

Other VPDs are just not a risk where we will be.  There was a polio outbreak in 2010, but in 2011 Uganda was once again declared polio free.  My children cannot get polio if it is not there.  If there is another outbreak, I would likely get my children vaccinated for polio.  The same with yellowfever - there was an outbreak recently but it was confined to the nothern part of Uganda (far from where we will be in Kampala) and it is no longer an issue.  Neither of my children will be having sex or sharing needles, so Hep B is really not necessary.  In terms of rabies, our children will not be roaming on the streets alone.  Our compound is fenced in.  If they happen to be bit by a stray dog, we would likely determine the risk of rabies is more than the risk of the vaccine and have them vaxed for rabies. 

 

I am considering getting my DD the oral typhoid, but my son is too young for it anyway.  In talking with kenyan friends, none of their children are vaccinated for it and they all tell me it's treatable and there are simple tests for it, that they wouldn't worry about it.

 

The same thing with malaria (which is slightly off topic since there is no vaccine) - I have had it and my dd had it when she was 18 months. DH has had it many, many times. It is treatable.  Most of our Kenyan friends view malaria the way we view the flu - not fun but most of the time not a serious issue as tests and medicine are readily available.    Kampala is a high elevation which means malaria is not as prevalent as in other areas and the cases of malaria are generally more mild. 

 

People get so concerned that we don't vax, but when we look at the individual diseases we are just not compelled that any are either dangerous enough or prevalent enough that we feel the risk of disease outweighs the risk of the vaccines.  As the moderator mentioned, if any of you would consider a certain vax in our situation, I would be glad to hear that.  I am not opposed to ever vaccinating my children, and I am planning to keep up with news of outbreaks, etc and vaccinate when and if we feel our children are at serious risk of a disease.

 

In addition, most people who post on the I'm Not Vaccinating board would agree that vaxes weaken the immune system - why would I want to weaken my children's immune system when the diseases they are most likely to get (diarrhea, for example) have no vaccine anyway?  I feel the best way to protect my children is to help support and build up their own immune systems. 

 

My organization knew i was pregnant when they hired me. Many expats have babies in Uganda and their babies do just fine at even younger ages than 5 months. My doctor knows we don't vaccinate and he signed all of our medical forms saying they have no medical concerns for us to serve in Uganda.  Me staying in the US with the kids is not an option. 


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Old 05-04-2012, 08:29 PM
 
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Old 05-04-2012, 09:23 PM
 
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bluedaisy, you do sound like you have researched this well, and you certainly know far more about Africa than I do.

 

My biggest concern is about "polio."  While Uganda may have been declared polio-free, at the same time, there was a huge uptick in paralytic illnesses, particularly among younger children.  These illnesses at one time would have been diagnosed as polio.   (The link I supplied a while back.)

 

As expressed by posters above, I hope you have a wonderful--and safe--time.  Check back in with us once you get there and tell us what a fabulous experience it is, okay?

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Old 05-05-2012, 12:59 AM
 
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To address the OP's original question, I had this issue come up recently during a playgroup discussion and I have thought some more about how I should have responded.  Someone asked whether everyone had been vaccinating their babies and I was one of two moms (out of about 6 or 7) who had not.  The response was mixed: a few said nothing, one mom expressed regret over vaccinating her own baby, and one mom was horrified and wanted to know why on Earth we weren't vaxxing.  I just said that I had some concerns about vaccine safety and wanted to let his immune system mature before introducing vax.  She was still perplexed, but I just didn't go further into it... Awkward.  

 

If reading some of the discussions on this forum have taught me anything about this issue, though, it's that no matter how carefully you try to explain your position and how much evidence you present to support the opinion you've formed, not only will you not change many minds, you will not even convince most "pro-vaxxers" that you have made a valid decision for yourself and your children.  The pro-vaccination vehemence as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts (parsing out each vaccine and vpd and discussing pros and cons).

 

Anyway, I guess I am doubtful that there is a way to tell others about a decision not to vax that will not generate a strong negative reaction.  I think there have been a number of good suggestions early in this thread, and the key is probably to deliver it in a non-confrontational way and then change the subject... unless you're ready for a lot more of what we saw here. 


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Old 05-05-2012, 08:00 AM
 
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The same thing with malaria (which is slightly off topic since there is no vaccine) - I have had it and my dd had it when she was 18 months. DH has had it many, many times. It is treatable.  Most of our Kenyan friends view malaria the way we view the flu - not fun but most of the time not a serious issue as tests and medicine are readily available.    Kampala is a high elevation which means malaria is not as prevalent as in other areas and the cases of malaria are generally more mild. 

 

I have many things to say about your response, but I realize you have made up your mind about vaccinating your children and will respectfully refrain.

 

However, the quoted statement offends me - I would argue that many people in East Africa take malaria quite seriously. It is responsible for the deaths of 655,000 people a year, mostly children under 5 in sub-Saharan Africa.  The impact on national economies is considerable, with high incidence countries facing a loss in potential economic growth of 1.3% annually compared to low incidence countries with similar characteristics.  I appreciate that you have personal experience in the region, but feel that it is unseemly that you dismiss such a major cause of morbidity, mortality, and economic losses offhand.  

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Old 05-05-2012, 10:16 AM
 
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I have many things to say about your response, but I realize you have made up your mind about vaccinating your children and will respectfully refrain.

 

However, the quoted statement offends me - I would argue that many people in East Africa take malaria quite seriously. It is responsible for the deaths of 655,000 people a year, mostly children under 5 in sub-Saharan Africa.  The impact on national economies is considerable, with high incidence countries facing a loss in potential economic growth of 1.3% annually compared to low incidence countries with similar characteristics.  I appreciate that you have personal experience in the region, but feel that it is unseemly that you dismiss such a major cause of morbidity, mortality, and economic losses offhand.  

I agree. It's true that just about everyone in Kenya (my scope of experience) comes down with "a touch of malaria" like people in the US come down with an annoying cold or mild case of flu. Those are the adults who didn't die from it when they were babies and children. There is also a high rate of chronic anemia in East Africa that is at least in part due to endemic malaria. 

 

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Old 05-05-2012, 01:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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There is a lot of diversity in sub-saharan Africa - I'm sorry if I come across strongly but one thing that really frustrates DH and I is when people view Africa as one big dark and deadly place.  Geographical diversity means that different areas have different malaria risks and different severity levels.  In Nairobi, where I lived before, high altitude means malaria cases are typically mild.  My Dh lived in Nairobi for 26 years and never knew any children who died of malaria.  Other areas of Kenya like Kisumu and the coast have much higher malaria incidence and the cases are much more severe.  Kampala is similar to nairobi in that the high altitude means there is less and milder malaria.

 

Malaria is something we are taking seriously - we will all be sleeping under treated nets, covering the kids in the evenings, using bug repellant, taking meds when we travel to high risk areas, etc.  But it is NOT something I am losing sleep over or a reason I would not move to Kampala. 

 

There is a lot of poverty in East Africa - when you have kids who are malnourished and don't have access to medical treatment any disease is going to be more serious.  When I lived in Kenya and Tanzania, as soon as we had a fever we got a 75 cent test and medicine if positive - when treated immediately, malaria rarely causes complications.
 

There are also places I would not take my children because of their nonvaxed status - our organization asked if we would consider a post in south sudan and we said no because of our children. 


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Old 05-05-2012, 01:51 PM
 
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By taking the proper precautions, clean hands/ water and supplements, etc. you should be fine. See Dr. Tenpenny's website, she traveled extensively and was never vaccinated and did not get sick. She can advise you on how to stay safe.

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Old 05-11-2012, 06:30 AM
 
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FYI - I don't usually follow Uganda, but I ran across this today!

 

http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/-/688334/1389454/-/aw12kfz/-/

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Old 05-20-2012, 01:21 AM
 
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Here's a quick response for OP, taking the first line from OP herself:

 

"It's a complex topic that we have spent hundreds of hours researching. From our research, we have concluded that vaccines are not appropriate for our children." (or you could throw in an "at this time" at the end, too).

 

It shows you've thought about it, don't want to get into it (a variation of the classic "it's a long story" line), doesn't imply anyone should necessarily follow your decision, so they won't feel compelled to defend their choice to vaccinate, and indicates that you've thought about this long enough that a five minute "pep talk" won't be enough to sway you.

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