Quick and simple response as to why we don't vaccinate? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 45 Old 04-27-2012, 07:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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MORE INFO/DEFENSE IN POST 36

 

I have a 3yr old and a 3 month old - neither are vaccinated. 

 

We just got jobs with an organization that will be sending us to Kampala, Uganda.  We will be in a middle class neighborhood and don't plan to travel with the kids.  Both are breastfed.  I've done research about diseases incidence in Kampala and don't feel like the kids are at risk for any serious vaccine preventable diseases so we won't vaccinate.

 

Both Dh and I got vaccines before we had kids and did research, so our vaccines are somewhat up to date with what our organization recommends.

 

We don't advertise the fact that we don't vaccinate but had to fill out medical forms and our organization will know our kids have not received any,

 

I want a short one or two sentence response as to why we don't vaccinate.  It's such a complex topic that we have spent hundreds of hours researching.

 

We are open to vaccinating in the future if there is an outbreak of a serious disease that our children are at a high risk of catching.  Most people cannot fathom how we could be bringing our kids to Uganda without any vaxes.

 

I also don't know if international schools also require vaccines and if exemptions are possible - does anyone have experience with that?


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#2 of 45 Old 04-27-2012, 08:01 PM
 
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My short response is that we have concerns about the safety of vaccines. If the person asks further the next question is usually "such as what?". My response to this is that I don't think the testing is as rigorous as it could be and I ask if they know that prevenar32 was tested using prevenar13 as the placebo. The questioning usually stops there.

It's a fairly major distillation of a complex issue but it's a satisfactory nutshell response for me.
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#3 of 45 Old 04-28-2012, 03:48 AM
 
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You could say you have a family tendencies towards adverse reactions and you are waiting til they are older and their immune system is more mature, or you could say you don't approve of the ingredients, or it goes against your beliefs, or you're not convinced allopathic meds are for your family or not enough legit studies have been done to your satisfaction in regards to safety and efficacy or you just don't believe in  this practice....not sure of exemptions, tho..

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#4 of 45 Old 05-03-2012, 08:57 AM
 
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"Our doctor has advised us to avoid vaccines in absence of a direct disease risk, since the long-term side effects have not been studied."

 

That's what I tend to say. Blaming it on a doctor seems to really make people stop, since so many are trained to respect the medical opinions of doctors.

 

Of course, it hasn't always been a completely honest response for us, since our doctor was a natural-minded chiropractor, who many conventional-thinking folk might classify as a quack.  But lately we've visited an MD, who has been trained in the complexities of the immune system and vaccine risks, and she recommends no vaccines in absence of a direct disease risk.  So now we're not lying.  :)


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#5 of 45 Old 05-03-2012, 01:24 PM
 
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I suspect that the organization you are traveling with will require vaccination.  Even if they do not, as an infectious disease surveillance professional, I strongly recommend that you do seek vaccination before leaving - epidemics of meningococcal disease and hepatitis B are not uncommon in Uganda, and polio has been reintroduced to the country on multiple occasions in recent years.  

 

What does your organization recommend for malaria prophylaxis? 

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#6 of 45 Old 05-03-2012, 01:58 PM
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You may be running a risk of not being allowed to travel to Uganda with unvaccinated dependents, if your organization feels very strongly about managing their insurance costs. You may need to consider giving up the position or leaving your children in the states if you are unwilling/unable to vaccinate. Is there someone at your organization with whom you could have a confidential conversation about the potential employment consequences of your vax decisions?
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#7 of 45 Old 05-03-2012, 08:23 PM
 
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I suspect that the organization you are traveling with will require vaccination.  Even if they do not, as an infectious disease surveillance professional, I strongly recommend that you do seek vaccination before leaving - epidemics of meningococcal disease and hepatitis B are not uncommon in Uganda, and polio has been reintroduced to the country on multiple occasions in recent years.  

 

What does your organization recommend for malaria prophylaxis? 

Do you have any evidence that hepatitis B can be easily transmitted to the OP's children if they are not sexually active nor sharing needles with infected people?

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#8 of 45 Old 05-04-2012, 04:54 AM
 
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2707048/

 

"In regions of high endemicity [such as Uganda], HBV is mainly contracted at birth or during early childhood. The development of chronic infection occurs in approximately 90% of persons infected perinatally, in 30% infected in early childhood and in 6% infected after 5 years of age."

 

 

From the WHO ((http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs204/en/)):

 

"Common modes of transmission in developing countries are:
  • perinatal (from mother to baby at birth)
  • early childhood infections (inapparent infection through close interpersonal contact with infected household contacts)*
  • unsafe injections practices
  • blood transfusions
  • sexual contact"
 
The risk of chronic infection is also increased when infection occurs during childhood.
 

 

  • * While the parents may be HBV-negative in this case, the children will doubtless have contact with other adults and children in the neighborhood.  

  •  

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#9 of 45 Old 05-04-2012, 06:27 AM
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I am not an infectious disease surveillance professional, but it is my understanding that because Hep B is so transmissable (survives 7 days outside the body, present in bodily fluids), household transmission from caregivers to young children have been documented.  It could be an issue if the OP contracts HepB herself, which she might be at risk for if her job is in health care.  It could also be an issue if the family hires a local nanny to help care for the children while both parents work.  There are a lot of ways to contract HepB in neighborhoods without sanitation, and most of Kampala's population lives well under the global poverty line (the website "In Kampala" reports that a lot of people make less than a dollar a day), which means large communities without services like running water and closed sewers. 

 

I respect that this is the "I'm Not Vaccinating" forum, and I want to be careful not to be contradicting the purpose of this forum.  I want to be very, very clear that I understand that it is not appropriate to come to this particular forum and encourage people to vaccinate.  I do, however, think that travel to Uganda with young unvaccinated children may carry more risks than the original poster is anticipating.  It might be safest to leave one parent in the states with the children.
 

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#10 of 45 Old 05-04-2012, 07:26 AM
 
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It doesn't seem fair that you and your husband will have the advantages of being vaxed and you're leaving the children so vulnerable.  I think getting them up to date on what is necessary is only fair.


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#11 of 45 Old 05-04-2012, 07:39 AM
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To be honest, even as a person who vaccinates and considers vaccination largely effective, I wouldn't travel to Uganda with any 3 month old.  As the OP notes, they aren't planning to travel with the children in country, so it's not like the 3yo is going to get some kind of benefit from the multicultural experience of living in another country, and the baby won't remember it anyway.  The situation seems to offer no benefit for the children.  If all they are going to experience is a middle class neighborhood - you can find those in the US. 

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#12 of 45 Old 05-04-2012, 08:03 AM
 
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I don't think there is anything you could write in a few sentences that would justify taking two small children to Uganda un-vaxed. Are you honestly saying that they require vaxes for adults and not children/babies?

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#13 of 45 Old 05-04-2012, 09:17 AM
 
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I had a colleague in graduate school who lost her child in Ghana to a VPD.  Please reconsider your decision not to vaccinate or do not take the job.


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#14 of 45 Old 05-04-2012, 09:31 AM
 
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Ok guys, this is enough!

 

This is the NOT VACCINATING forum.

 

She DID NOT ask to be told how stupid she is, "she is leaving her kids vulnerable (how selfish!) hear horror stories about some kid dying or any of your other thoughts.

 

Can she at least and all of us who are here get some respect from yall to make hers and our own decisions.

 

She asked for a way to tell others about her already made decision, not to come to a Not vaccinating board to be put down or this is why you should vaccinate.

 

Knock it off for all of us please.

 

She doesn't need to "justify" her actions to any of you. And this is not the right forum to be debating such issues.
 

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#15 of 45 Old 05-04-2012, 09:54 AM
 
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This is a clinic in Kampala that provides medical care to travelers. They are on the ground, in that city, and I would imagine their advice comes from experience. I would be inclined to give their advice more credence than the advice of anybody on here.

http://www.thesurgeryuganda.org/trop_med.htm

http://www.thesurgeryuganda.org/advice_travellers.htm

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#16 of 45 Old 05-04-2012, 10:12 AM
 
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Ok guys, this is enough!

This is the NOT VACCINATING forum.

She DID NOT ask to be told how stupid she is, "she is leaving her kids vulnerable (how selfish!) hear horror stories about some kid dying or any of your other thoughts.

Can she at least and all of us who are here get some respect from yall to make hers and our own decisions.

She asked for a way to tell others about her already made decision, not to come to a Not vaccinating board to be put down or this is why you should vaccinate.

Knock it off for all of us please.

She doesn't need to "justify" her actions to any of you. And this is not the right forum to be debating such issues.

 

It may be an anti-vax forum, but it should not be an anti-intelligent discussion forum. There are real risks to an un-vaxed infant in Uganda. If the OP does not want to vax, then she should consider keeping her babies where they are and not unnecessarily expose them to a higher level of risk. As far as a middle-class neighborhood is concerned, disease in Uganda does not discriminate on socio-economic grounds. That is NOT an intelligent safety strategy in considering whether or not to vax.
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#17 of 45 Old 05-04-2012, 10:17 AM
 
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Forum guidelines for your review: http://www.mothering.com/community/a/not-vaccinating-forum-guidelines

Please make sure you are posting in response to the OP's questions.
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#18 of 45 Old 05-04-2012, 11:20 AM
 
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my son isn't vaccinated and i'm pretty grateful that we live in the usa with access to immediate health care and little chance of catching most of the VPDs. that said, if we were moving to uganda or any other developing country, i would attempt to get him vaccinated before we left and continued to vax on schedule in our new country.


  

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#19 of 45 Old 05-04-2012, 11:33 AM
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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.

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#20 of 45 Old 05-04-2012, 11:37 AM
 
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It may be an anti-vax forum, but it should not be an anti-intelligent discussion forum. There are real risks to an un-vaxed infant in Uganda. If the OP does not want to vax, then she should consider keeping her babies where they are and not unnecessarily expose them to a higher level of risk. As far as a middle-class neighborhood is concerned, disease in Uganda does not discriminate on socio-economic grounds. That is NOT an intelligent safety strategy in considering whether or not to vax.
 

 

Again, this is not "anti-Vax" and calling her anti-intelligent.... REALLY!!!!!!  Nope, that's not inflammatory.

 

If you don't like her reasons, or anyone else, tough cookies.... don't respond.

 

 

I have NO FEAR of VPD. Maybe she doesn't either. Its OK. She said she researched Uganda and is fine with it.

 

I have lived for years in Africa, traveled the world and many in my family live in Indonesia. WE are perfectly fine without vaccination for any age child or adult with all the research we have done so obviously, I have come to different conclusions than you

(and you are welcome to your own decisions for your family!) 

 

Calling anyone who doesn't agree with you anti-intelligent though is offensive. I don't believe the same about you and all we want here is the same respect to agree to disagree without name calling.

 

 

AS for the OP, if she is still around.

We have found that letting others know that we are not getting any period without going into all the details seems to work the best. It is after all medical information and the more you try to make others understand, it seems to make them think you need to justify it. Letting other know, we don't and won't vax under any circumstances... no justification on why works best. If they ask why, I say, nicely... its none of your business as it is a medical history.  No one seems to go on after that. Don't give them anything to argue about and you seem VERY confident in your decision.

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#21 of 45 Old 05-04-2012, 11:42 AM
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I am pretty darn scared of the impacts of malaria in a three month old. 

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STik,

 

You might be surprised, or not to find out that many other countries (Africa included) don' t go nut over vax or not. I have never heard of them not letting someone in school if they can pay money to attend as free school there doesn't exist. You have the money.... you get in.
 

If the ORG said on the grounds of non vax, we won't let you go, they could file religious persecution and they will back down. In the end, they will tell them it is up to them

to take a medical risk or not. They might not like it but I can't see it stopping them from going.


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#23 of 45 Old 05-04-2012, 11:52 AM
 
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I am not scared of Malaria. I have had it twice and beat it within a day with Vitamin C. Same for a baby. I have seen it in hundreds of kids though and that might make a difference in perspectives.

 

You will think I am nuts of course but that is fine.  I am sure we would come to a different conclusion on anything we read even if it was the same research. (such as all the amazing research into Vit C)

 

This is of course fine... you don't have to go to Africa if you don't want too! You can Vax to your hearts content.

It doesn't bother me :-)


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#24 of 45 Old 05-04-2012, 12:04 PM
 
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Rabies is endemic in Uganda and stray animals are common. Please think about the rabies vaccine, if it can be given to infants (I'm not sure that it can).

 

*Edited to remove unnecessary ranting.


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#25 of 45 Old 05-04-2012, 12:10 PM
 
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Second warning.

Typically speaking, we DO allow members to say, "I don't vax, but I would seriously consider THIS one under THESE conditions," etc. But the forum guidelines don't allow for much more than that. (Actually, I'm not sure even that is technically ok, but we've allowed it in the past).

That said, malaria? Off-topic. There's no vaccine readily available, so that really belongs in health&healing.

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#26 of 45 Old 05-04-2012, 12:12 PM
 
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I have never heard of them not letting someone in school if they can pay money to attend as free school there doesn't exist. You have the money.... you get in.

 

Primary school in Uganda has been free since 1997. Africa is a large continent containing many countries. Most foreigners do choose to send their kids to private schools.

 

If the ORG said on the grounds of non vax, we won't let you go, they could file religious persecution and they will back down. In the end, they will tell them it is up to them

to take a medical risk or not. They might not like it but I can't see it stopping them from going.

 

Doubtful that this gambit would work. The organization could argue that there is a minimal level of safety for their workers that vaccinations maintain. NGOs and governmental orgs can exclude volunteers who are not medically cleared to be in country. You become a liability and less able to do your job. If you refuse to take malarial prophylaxis or get certain vaccines, that may make you medically unfit.

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#27 of 45 Old 05-04-2012, 12:16 PM
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If the ORG said on the grounds of non vax, we won't let you go, they could file religious persecution and they will back down. In the end, they will tell them it is up to them

to take a medical risk or not. They might not like it but I can't see it stopping them from going.

 

I am intrigued by this statement.  How does one "file religious persecution"?  US citizens have no protected right to international jobs (or even domestic jobs), regardless of their religion.  Protections for workers' rights are not exactly fabulous here.  What courts have recently defended the rights of international workers to opt out of vaccination? 

 

Further, the OP hasn't said that the organization employing her and her spouse is based in the US - it might not even be subject to the limited protections applicable under US law.  Given the potential financial impact and work disruption if someone needs to be evacuated for medical treatment (or their trailing dependent infant needs to be evacuated), I suspect organizations can rescind an offer of employment based on non-compliance with vaccination recommendations. 

 

If I felt strongly about avoiding vaccines at all costs, I wouldn't vax to go to Uganda, but I wouldn't go to Uganda either.

 

ETA: I'm really working hard to not say anything about malaria, because Mosaic asked us not to.  However, vitamin C makes malaria drugs less effective.  A - if "malaria" makes a person sick for only one day under any circumstances, I doubt it was malaria and if it was you've been insanely lucky, and B - don't try to combine vitamin C with medical treatment for malaria. 

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#28 of 45 Old 05-04-2012, 12:29 PM
 
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It may be an anti-vax forum, but it should not be an anti-intelligent discussion forum. 

Wow, this is ok around here now?

 

So to sum it up, in threads around here over the last week, because I am sel/del/non? vaxer I am a conspiracy theorist, incredulous, intolerable, selfish and now anti-intellectual? 

Lovely. And here I was thinking maybe I would refrain and only post on the "I'm Not Vaccinating" board to not have to listen to the name calling on the other vax boards. Maybe the "child abuse" comments will be tolerated next.

 

Looks like quite a few posters got lost and are ignoring the UA.  

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#29 of 45 Old 05-04-2012, 12:36 PM
 
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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.

This post actually makes a lot of sense.

 

I am always complaining that we are told to vaccinate in the US without knowing all the risks.

 

It goes both ways. I appreciate Stik's posting about risks that the OP may not have been considered (I did not know about the medevac expenses, for example).

 

I mean no disrespect towards the OP's decision, but I'm not sure I would consider taking my kids (vaxed or unvaxed) to Uganda, and I have taken them all over Europe, and many parts of Asia. 

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#30 of 45 Old 05-04-2012, 12:43 PM
 
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How about using "religious reasons" if questioned as to why they are not vaxxed?  Most people do not question others too closely if they say "religious reasons."  

 

I wish you wisdom in figuring out if Uganda is safe enough for you to move to with your children.  

 

FWIW, as a non-vaxxer, there are parts of the world where I would either vax my children or not go.  Depending on the age of the child and the disease/vaccine - I would most likely choose "not go."    I couldn't live with myself if they had a vaccine reaction - and I could not live with myself if I brought them to a disease hotspot unvaccinated and they caught a VPD.   I am not saying do not go to Uganda - I really have very little info on Uganda - just research it carefully (which I am sure you did smile.gif)

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