What would you do? Pro-vax friend requests a "warning" - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-03-2013, 07:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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A friend of mine asked on Facebook that anyone who chooses not to vaccinate let her know so she can protect her baby, who is only a few months old and is not fully vaccinated yet. I know she is especially concerned about pertussis. I have three children who have never received any vaccinations and have never had any illness more serious than a cold/flu.

 

Of course, I care about her baby and I want it to be safe. But a part of me feels that it is not fair for my friend to ask this of her FB friends. I guess it feels invasive. I never volunteer information about my choice to not vaccinate; I only talk about it if someone asks outright, and even then, I just say, "I researched it a lot and I feel that it's the best choice for our family." I don't know what her idea of keeping her baby safe is, either. Does this mean that she won't want to be around us at all?

 

So my question is, if you choose not to vaccinate, and your friend asked on FB that all her non-vax friends "warn" her, would you feel ethically obligated to respond?

 

In this particular situation, my friend asked me a long time ago if we vaccinate, I said no, and we left it at that. I don't know if I should "refresh her memory" that we do not vaccinate, or if I should just assume that she remembers.


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Old 01-03-2013, 07:43 PM
 
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Are you sure not to post this here rather than in I'm not vaccinating?

I would either talk to them about it or discontinue the friendship.
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Old 01-03-2013, 07:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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You're probably right; this post might be more appropriate under that heading. I don't know how to move it now, so if a moderator wants to do that, that would be fine with me.


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Old 01-03-2013, 07:56 PM
 
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Depending on how close you are, I might respond that I was not comfortable discussing my family's vax status and she is free to make whatever decisions she feels are right for *her* family.


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Old 01-03-2013, 08:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I should say that we attend church together, and it is a pretty small church. We see each other on an at-least-weekly basis.


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Old 01-03-2013, 08:14 PM
 
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Unless you are going to her home or getting together for playdates, it is none of her business. Surely she knows that taking her child into public is going to expose her to non-vaxxers and people with communicable illnesses many of which have no vax. That is a risk she chooses to take. 

 

If your child were actually sick, had been knowingly exposed and/or you were going to her home then you can deal with it appropriately.

 

Is she also asking if all adults in the church are up-to-date?

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Old 01-03-2013, 08:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We *have* gotten together for playdates before and (I hope) will do so in the future.


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Old 01-03-2013, 08:36 PM
 
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Nope I wouldn't. My childrens healthcare is none of anyone elses business. If someone cares that much about protecting her kids she would have to stay home all the time..


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Old 01-03-2013, 08:45 PM
 
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If she asked you directly, being honest and open might be the right thing, but an open post on facebook isn't a challenge I'd accept. It's passive aggressive of her to try to out her friends like that, and it makes a bold statement which doesn't leave room for nuanced responses. So no, I wouldn't say anything to her at this time.

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Old 01-03-2013, 09:22 PM
 
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i think if your close enough to have play dates then you should respect her being proactive in what she feels like she needs to do to keep her baby safe. she may have used Facebook to actually be low key about it, it lets you send her a calm message and not force you two into what she might feel is a uncomfortable face to face talk. plus she might just be too busy with a baby to do it in a more direct personal manner.

 

tell her and respect her reaction and based on that you both can decide if play dates are the right things for your families right now or when.


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Old 01-03-2013, 09:36 PM
 
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 Surely she knows that taking her child into public is going to expose her to non-vaxxers and people with communicable illnesses many of which have no vax.

 

Is she also asking if all adults in the church are up-to-date?

This. If my child was actively sick then I wouldn't be going out anyways, for a playdate or anything else. Unless she outright asks you, I wouldn't say one word about it...even if she invites your well children over for a playdate.


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Old 01-03-2013, 09:36 PM
 
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I honestly saw the same kind of FB post, but in the other direction. It was a mom who said "I'd like any of our baby friend families to let me know if you've recently vaxed for flu or rota, since we're concerned about shedding and don't want the exposure right now" kind of thing.

 

I had this whole post written about this, and then I re-read that she ALREADY KNOWS!!! OMG! So, if she's continuing to hang out with you, I'd just indulge her in her hypocrisy. Unless she was trying to send a sneaky message. I suppose you'll find out if she declines playdates and shoos her kids away from yours or starts shooting you with the hand sanitizer if you get within five feet. 

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Old 01-03-2013, 10:21 PM
 
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If she asked you directly, being honest and open might be the right thing, but an open post on facebook isn't a challenge I'd accept. It's passive aggressive of her to try to out her friends like that, and it makes a bold statement which doesn't leave room for nuanced responses. So no, I wouldn't say anything to her at this time.

I agree. I also think it's unreasonable for anyone to expect all their friends to read & respond to their FB status at any given time. What if you just didn't happen to see this FB post she made? I certainly don't always read and respond to every single one of my friends' FB posts! And I wouldn't be posting my child's medical information on FB anyway.

You already told her once, and that's plenty, even if it was a while ago. If she asks you again, either be honest or politely state that it's none of her business -- either response would be entirely appropriate. I don't volunteer DS's vax status, it's a private decision.

I would be extra cautious about warning her if your kids are even a teeny bit sick, since it seems like she'd appreciate that. "Hey, do you still want to get together tomorrow? DD has a slight runny nose."

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Old 01-03-2013, 11:20 PM
 
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I have a feeling this issue is why I haven't seen one of my "best" friends since her baby was born a year and a half ago. Honestly, I feel sad about it, but sometimes it's better to move on and develop closer relationships with those who respect your decisions. I'm still looking eyesroll.gif  Anyway, I would not post any information about health status on FB. I find it discouraging and often incomprehensible how much private info some reveal on FB and how much others expect this information to be revealed. I hope people begin to push back. If you choose to keep the friendship, I would just keep my kids away if they are sick. I think that is the responsible thing to do anyway and I would appreciate it even though I don't vax my kids.

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Old 01-03-2013, 11:51 PM
 
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I wouldn't volunteer the information when asked that way. I might consider mentioning how that could give a false sense of security, because someone who has been vaccinated against pertussis could still be a carrier if they were exposed, and wouldn't show any symptoms, and since they would be symptom free, they wouldn't have any reason to avoid touching, cuddling, breathing on little babies.. 


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Old 01-04-2013, 06:50 AM
 
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Just to clarify, both vaccinated and unvaccinated people have asymptomatic infections. Vaccinated people are less likely to have any pertussis infection, asymptomatic or otherwise. According to one study I recently read the group most likely to have them are people with waning natural immunity.

I wouldn't want to remain friends with someone who felt this way without discussing it. In a perfect world you could discuss how your children weren't really a serious threat to hers, but sounds like she may not be in a place to hear that.
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Old 01-04-2013, 07:59 AM
 
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I wouldn't respond to a facebook post asking for health information period.  Facebook is becoming way overused and should never be used for private information.  However, if she asked in person I would be hones, she is just trying to do what she feels is best for her children.  I ask a lot of questions of friends of mine now that I have a child.  yes, I did ask about vaccination status before my son was completely vaxed.  I don't anymore because it isn't an issue, but I do ask questions about other things, like pesticide use if we are in the yard playing, gun ownership and if applicable how they are stored if we are staying in the home (no I am not equivicating vaccination with pesticides or guns just giving other examples).  I wouldn't ask via facebook but I would ask if we were going to be in close personal contact.  As far as other risks, of course a strip the store poses some risks, but not as many as playing one on one with another child. 

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Old 01-04-2013, 09:38 AM
 
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No way Id respond to this. First of all you have already shared that you do not vax with her. If she doesn't remember she can ask you directly. Such a bizarre use of FB IMO!


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Old 01-04-2013, 02:29 PM
 
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I would not respond online either. But I might try to talk to her in person about how and why your kids are no risk to hers as long as they don't catch any of the VPDs they have not been vaccinated for. smile.gif

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Old 01-04-2013, 03:02 PM
 
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I wouldn't respond to someone's request for vax status info on Facebook.

 

I wouldn't discontinue a friendship over this either, though, because I've been in situations where it's TOTALLY a reasonable request.  My daughter was born early, and had RDS, and knowing which people were and were not vaccinated for flu and (even more) pertussis would have been a huge reassurance to me.  I was trying to protect my baby so hard that I was barely going out at all, ever, and as a result I was going nuts.  People who were willing to say things like "You should come to our party.  I know stuff is hard with the baby, but we've all had flu shots and pertussis boosters, and no one's sick right now, so it's as good as it'll get." were a huge help.  People who said things like "I have a cold, I shouldn't come over" or "I may have been exposed to whooping cough last week" were also hugely helpful.  I didn't get to hang out with them right then, but I could see them caring and helping to keep DD safe.  Conversely, I had chemo this fall, and had to delay all the kids' vaxes until I was done with it.  Friends who copped to vaccination schedule and status once again helped my family be safe and sane.

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Old 01-04-2013, 03:21 PM
 
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I think you should tell your friend you don't vax and why. I don't think you should be secretive about it.
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Old 01-05-2013, 11:14 AM
 
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You're probably right; this post might be more appropriate under that heading. I don't know how to move it now, so if a moderator wants to do that, that would be fine with me.

I can move this for you...


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Old 01-05-2013, 11:20 AM
 
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This thread is now in the "I'm not vaccinating forum" per OPs suggestion.  

 

OP, I think I would tell her. I like to give people the best possible assumptions and would just assume that she was feeling stressed about her choice to vaccinate and the fact that others make different choices. I'd assume that she plans on making rational decisions. 


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Old 01-05-2013, 11:20 AM
 
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I for sure would not reply on FB.

I would only say something to her if she called me to schedule another playdate.

Other than that, it's none of her business and I prefer not to set myself up for unecessary confrontation.


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Old 01-05-2013, 12:09 PM
 
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I for sure would not reply on FB.

I would only say something to her if she called me to schedule another playdate.

Other than that, it's none of her business and I prefer not to set myself up for unecessary confrontation.

 

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I would let her know if she was planning a playdate.  I think she would be wrong to avoid a playdate over vax status, but parents have a right to be wrong, you know?

 

I am not sure I would tell her for things such as the church you both attend. The truth is there are lots of undervaxxed kids and adults milling about - you could let her know that so she can avoid large group setting if she likes, but I am not getting into the specifics of my family choices for mass events.  


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Old 01-05-2013, 12:21 PM
 
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I might comment (on or off FB) without answering her question: "Just so you know, only 8% of adults are up-to-date on their vaccines, including TDaP, and these whooping cough outbreaks are affecting the vaccinated an unvaccinated alike. In your shoes, I'd pay careful attention to where the outbreaks are occurring and consider quarantining her for protection. That's probably what I'll do with my kids."

I can't remember where the 8% stat comes from, but it's easy to look up. :smile

Anyway, doing this allows you to onvey some empathy, present the facts, and hopefully avoid disclosing anything uncomfortable.

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Old 01-05-2013, 04:56 PM
 
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I might comment (on or off FB) without answering her question: "Just so you know, only 8% of adults are up-to-date on their vaccines, including TDaP, and these whooping cough outbreaks are affecting the vaccinated an unvaccinated alike. In your shoes, I'd pay careful attention to where the outbreaks are occurring and consider quarantining her for protection. That's probably what I'll do with my kids."
I can't remember where the 8% stat comes from, but it's easy to look up. :smile
Anyway, doing this allows you to onvey some empathy, present the facts, and hopefully avoid disclosing anything uncomfortable.

 

Exactly.

 

I would find a FB request like that to be annoying. Hopefully that mother is BFing. IMO, that is the best way to protect your baby.


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Old 01-05-2013, 08:46 PM
 
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I should say that we attend church together, and it is a pretty small church. We see each other on an at-least-weekly basis.

 

Does/will the baby stay in the nursery?  Is she asking the parents of the kids in the nursery?  Or the kids at the playground?   Or the passers-by on the street/store? 

 

I wouldn't end a friendship over it.  It sounds like she is a new protective mama.   I'd not respond.  Ignore it.  I mean, if she's coming over and your kid has pertusis (for example) then yeah, I'd mention it! lol  But really it's none of their business.  


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