Injecting Compassion into the Vaccine Debate

Injecting compassion into the vaccine debate is what we hope to see more of.

As more states continue to mandate vaccines and remove parental consent and medical/religious exemption waivers, the vaccine debate rages on.

We’re pretty sure there’s not a much more divisive issue among parents, but knowing this, we’re hoping that injecting compassion into the vaccine debate will allow parents to look at each other’s perspective. Doing so, and realizing that most parents want to do what they believe is right for their child and their family could go a long way in this very heated topic discussion.

From The Author in 2014:

There is no more divisive issue in parenting than whether or not to vaccinate. Since measles was reported in California, my social media feeds have been overtaken by inflammatory posts about parents who choose not to vaccinate their children.

The articles accompanying these posts urge that parents who opt out of vaccinating should be sued or jailed, and that vaccination should be absolutely mandatory, taking away the right of parents to make informed medical decisions for their families. So-called “anti-vaccine parents” are made to look like fools with no valid basis for questioning vaccine safety and efficacy. A recent article suggested that parents who choose not to vaccinate their children do so only to “defy authority” and “feel empowered.”

This so-called debate—’so-called’ because there’s very little reasoned discussion actually happening—takes place almost entirely on social media. We need not look our ‘friends’ in the eyes as we demonize them for making different decisions than our own. We feel entitled to judge without bothering to understand why others might have a different point of view. We’re so staunchly entrenched in our own beliefs that we’re unwilling to even consider a different opinion.

Related: Study: Possible Link Found Between Flu Vaccine and Miscarriage

Parents now seem to be divided into two camps—the “pro-vaccine” and the “anti-vaccine.” But these are false categories that fail to acknowledge the range of difficult decisions that parents make regarding vaccination. The choice isn’t simply to vaccinate or not. Many parents, concerned with how aggressive the recommended vaccination schedule has become, decide to delay vaccines, determine an alternate schedule with their doctors, or partially vaccinate their children.  They’re not “against” vaccines.

But acknowledging that parents make a wide range of decisions regarding vaccination—and that “anti-vaccine parents” might thoughtfully consider whether and when to vaccinate their children—makes it more much difficult to summarily dismiss those who “don’t vaccinate” as uneducated fools. Admitting that “pro-vaccine” and “anti-vaccine” is a false dichotomy means we can no longer assume that parents who make complicated decisions about vaccinations have no real basis for their concerns, that they’re simply “against” vaccination.

Also missing from this discussion is the fact that, despite our disagreements, we’re all trying to make the best decisions for our children. And that we’re all terrified of making the “wrong” decision. Measles is real. Some children are more vulnerable to communicable illnesses, and their parents understandably fear that their children could become ill. But vaccine injuries are also real. And research shows that some children are more susceptible to severe, even life-threatening, injuries from vaccination. Their fears are also valid.

Vaccinations can play an important role in protecting public health, and there are clearly valid reasons to vaccinate. But parents who choose not to vaccinate, or to delay vaccinations, or to partially vaccinate may also have legitimate concerns. The judgment and shaming of so-called “anti-vaccine parents” does nothing to protect our children. (Even if this judgment is an attempt to increase vaccination rates, it’s unlikely that someone’s mind will be changed by being called an idiot.) Nor does it help parents make what, for many, is one of our most difficult parenting decisions.

It’s time that we have compassion for one another, seeking to understand choices different from our own rather than simply dismissing them as foolish or selfish. The inflammatory rhetoric of vaccination is serving none of us.


When the author originally shared her thoughts, California hadn’t even begun to work on mandatory vaccination, nor had the many other states (and countries) that now have removed exemptions and mandated vaccines in 2020.

Related: Opinion: Trump’s Vaccine Panel Should Rely on Science, Not Conspiracy Theories

In fact, the ‘debate’ has only grown stronger and more venomous, and parents on both sides of issue feel unheard, ridiculed and terrified of the consequences from the other’s position.

Our goal with the running of this article is not to tell one set of parents they’re right or wrong. Let’s be really honest; no one has such strong opinions on vaccines because they hate children or hate mothers. In fact, the intense opinions are most likely because we love our children. We love them and mother them the best we can.

Reports may indicate that for every 1 million doses of vaccines distributed, one person was compensated for vaccine injury. In fact, the same reports claim that since 1988, total compensation from the vaccine injury fund program is about $4.2 billion, with 7,090 cases of injury determined to be compensable.

Sure. Over the course of 30 years, and 7,000,000,000 vaccines being distributed, 7,090 may seem like a small number. Some may even claim it to be an insignificant number in light of the incredible benefit to the approximate 699,9992,900 protected.

But to the 7090 mothers who watched their children’s lives turn into something they never dreamed would happen? It’s the most significant number in the world. To the approximate 1290 mothers who buried their children as a result of a legally determined vaccine injury? There’s no immunity, herd or not, that was worth their child dying.

For many, mandated vaccines isn’t even an issue of the vaccine itself, as much as it’s an issue of parental authority and control being stolen from parents. And, while it’s understandable that doctors in charge of protecting as many as they can may feel that the lives of many are worth the lives of one or two, the parents of those random one or two simply do not feel the same way.

Which is where we again want to emphasize that our point in this piece is not to advocate for or against vaccinations, as we believe those are incredibly personal choices parents make as the primary advocates for their children. Our point is to gently remind anyone reading that whatever you’re choosing for your child, keeping COMPASSION for others who may not be choosing the same is pivotal.

Whatever you believe, there’s no room for hate in the disagreement. There won’t be any mind-changing, and you may even just make someone firmer in their differing stance out of sheer spite. This is not a one-answer-solves-all issue because it involves individual humans. And, as mothers, it’s OUR individual humans that at the core, we’re most concerned with. Do we want to contribute to humanity’s good? Of course we do.

But when we weigh risks and benefits, we look first and foremost at the risks and benefits to our individual children. It’s how we’re wired, and why it’s vital that we remember that no mother wants to harm any children, much less her own.

Compassion is what makes the world go around, and injecting compassion into the vaccine debate could make it one where we are able to honestly and openly share fears, concerns, benefits and triumphs with each other without fear of judgment. Next time you feel like you absolutely must respond to someone on either side of the issue? Put the keyboard courage aside, and soften your response with compassion first. Remember we all love our children more than breath, and just because we have differing opinions, we’re not necessarily wrong or right. We’re just doing the best we can for our families.

 

Editor’s Note: Open discussion is welcome on Mothering.com, hate is not. Please respond thoughtfully and respectfully or your comment may be removed.

 

Photo: CNK02/Shutterstock


109 thoughts on “Injecting Compassion into the Vaccine Debate”

  1. Wow. Thank you. This says everything I believe and have wished I could put into words for years, now. It’s scary out here in Internetland – I’m crestfallen when one of my friends suddenly starts posting one-sided, evidence-lacking, opinion-based commentary. Watching my social media feed fill up with hateful, generalized comments about “anti-vaxxers” has pushed me into a corner of silence, afraid to even try to have a discussion with anyone about vaccinations for fear that I’ll be ridiculed, even for presenting science-based information.

    1. Thank you for a well written article. Aerin, I too, have been feeling just as you have and have remained the silent observer hoping none of my friends directly asks about my vaccination beliefs. It has also made me upset to the point of angry at times to read what some of my friends write. But I’m not up for arguing right now and just let it slide.

    2. It would be fine not to vaccinate your children, if you lived in a bubble, away from society, away from the elderly and infirm, away from people whose immune system is compromised, away from children whose parents vaccinated them on purpose because they wished to avoid particularly damaging diseases.

      But it’s not how our society works. We go to the same schools, swim in the same pools, breath in the same air in the air planes. So non-vax parents are exposing all others to terrible diseases that we all would prefer to avoid. To me it’s exactly the same as smokers polluting the air for all non-smokers.

      By now anybody interested knows perfectly well that the scare with the vaccines causing autism was a misstatement of a researcher who wanted to make a name for himself. We are humans, we will always be prone to illness and death, and there are thousands other causes which can affect your child’s health – look at wide spread use of plastics and what they do to our endocrine system. Vaccines give us a small advantage over some truly terrible diseases with devastating side effects. Just look at child mortality when vaccines were first introduced. Polio has been successfully eradicated in the U.S., and we don’t see kids wearing leg braces or stuck in an iron lung. It’s not something any of us wants back.
      So it would be great if non-vax parents were compassionate enough to recognize that they live in a complex society, where they can affect lives of other people, not only their children.

      1. I have much to say on this, as everyone does, and I’m not exaggerating when I say I’ve read up on this subject nearly daily for the last six years. Both sides, from the CDC, trusted MSM and non-MSM news sources, from the manufacturer’s sites and package inserts themselves. There IS risk involved with vaccination, they’re not unequivocally safe. Neither is falling ill. It *depends on the person*. I have an autoimmune disease, it is risky for me to get the measles but also to get the MMR as stated in the insert. Statistics and studies can’t be completely trusted because they’re funded and/or conducted by those with a vested interest in the vaccines. Merck, of the MMR, is currently dealing with a lawsuit for FRAUD. http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/lawrence-solomon/merck-whistleblowers_b_5881914.html There are allegations that state they purposely covered up evidence of boys in Africa with high incidence of autism after receiving the MMR. I used to work for pharma advertising and saw how strongly products were pushed to doctors. We need to have a say in what we put into our own bodies and those of our children — it is absolutely NOT a clear-cut answer, that everyone should and can tolerate being injected with so many inoculations, and that number is on the rise. We have to stop blindly trusting the popular opinion and being hateful towards each other as we are just not able to know anyone’s circumstance in choosing what they choose.

      2. Just curious…are you saying that vaccinated people can’t pick up, carry, and pass on the pathogens that they’re vaccinated against? Numerous studies have proven that a vaccinated individual can in fact spread disease, even if they are asymptomatic. Since that’s the case, why does it matter if someone else is not vaccinated when you’re capable of spreading the same diseases they are?

        http://www.pnas.org/content/111/2/787

          1. Actually, majority of all people who got sick in this round of measles were previously vaccinated.

      3. Dr Viera Scheibner is Principal Research Scientist (Retired) with a doctorate in Natural Sciences from Comenius University in Bratislava. After an eminent scientific career in micropalaeontology during which she published 3 books and some 90 scientific papers in refereed scientific journals in Australia and overseas, she studied babies’ breathing patterns with the Cotwatch breathing monitor developed by her late husband Leif Karlsson in the mid 1980s. Babies had alarms after vaccination, indicating stress. This introduced her to the subject of vaccination. She then started systematically studying orthodox medical papers dealing with vaccination issues. To this day she has collected and studied more than 100000 pages of medical papers.
        Despite such extensive research of orthodox medical papers published on vaccines over the past 100 years, she established that there is no scientific evidence that these injections of highly noxious substances prevent diseases, quite to the contrary, that they increase susceptibility to the diseases which the vaccines are supposed to prevent and also to a host of related and unrelated viral and bacterial infections. Vaccines are involved in a great number of modern ills of childhood such as immunoreactive diseases (asthma, allergies), autoimmune diseases (diabetes, multiple sclerosis, lupus erythematosis), cancers, leukaemia, degenerative diseases of bone and cartilage, behavioural and learning problems, to mention just the most important conditions.
        Her research into vaccination has culminated so far in two books and a number of shorter and longer individual papers published in a variety of scientific and medical publications. She has also conducted frequent international lecture tours to present the results of her research to parents, health and medical professionals and anyone else who is interested. She has also provided a great number of expert witness reports for court cases relating to deaths and injuries caused by vaccines, such as so-called “shaken baby” syndrome.
        – See more at: http://www.vaccinationcouncil.org/2013/01/29/measles-vaccines-part-ii-benefits-of-contracting-measles-by-dr-viera-scheibner-phd/#sthash.DAM3I0pi.dpuf

        1. Michele,
          I’m a parent too, and I truly understand how difficult it is for us to make decisions that can affect our children for the rest of their lives, all while we’re being bombarded by the maelstrom of information.

          But the truth is that if you look hard enough, you can find support for ANY claim, even the most outrageous. I encourage you to research child mortality rates yourself, before and after a specific vaccine was introduced, country by country. And take a good long look at the diseases and their side effects as well. Before widespread vaccinations children were not only dying in masses, but too often were maimed by the diseases.

          I know no parent wants to go back to those times. Not for the sake of our children. Not for the sake of our grandchildren. But unfortunately, as the latest measles epidemic shows us, it might happen if enough of us won’t vaccinate.

        1. They are worried for the people out there who have children who have been advised by their doctors that they cannot be vaccinated.

        2. This old straw man argument is played out–it’s not the vaccinated we are concerned about…it’s the nearly 50 million people who for some reason CAN’T be vaccinated or are at higher risk for getting seriously ill. Those people are infants, elderly, and the immune compromised.

          Now someone has answered it. Can you find a new argument?

      4. Can you explain this term ‘non-vax’. I have never heard it before and it sounds bizarre. Thankfully I am not an american although I did have the unfortunate experience of living in your country for 2 years and I find your use of our language strange.
        So you want me to have my child injected with toxic substances that are not proved safe because you say this will protect other people. My doctor herself, when I asked her to prove that vaccination would make my daughter healthier, quickly backed down and said ‘We don’t force anyone to vaccinate their child it is your choice” and would not discuss the subject further. So if the expert can’t vouch for the mercury cocktail you want me to inject my child with do you think I will listen to you? What qualifies you to say vaccines are safe? Are you a scientist? Unless someone can guarantee the safety of this product why would I have a totally healthy almost 4 year old who has never needed paracetemol, antibiotics or any other medicine, injected with this product? I have watched my daughter and her vaccinated friends and seen how much healthier she is than them. I am blessed as a mother not to have to worry about her getting sick and from where I am standing this is because I never let the pharmaceutical industry anywhere near her. Get real. These companies are not altruistic people out to benefit mankind, they are soley profit driven and will sell you anything that will make them more money, like a product injected into children that will make them more unhealthy in the long run, which mercury does. These products are not proven safe and personally I do not trust anything from America or these big pharmaceutical companies. No one independent can vouch for the safety of this product, so why would I allow my daughter to be exposed to this unproven treatment for a condition she does not have because of the remote possibility that she might make someone ill? Maybe you should think of the people that were living in your country before you, most of whom have been killed so white people can enjoy ridiculous life styles, and think of the way these people are being polluted in their land and dying of cancer because of white americans. Get things in perspective. Children are naturally healthy and vibrant until exposed to man made chemicals like pharmaceuticals. I kept my child away from that and she is healthy. It goes against everything a mother naturally feels to ask her to hurt her child and she is not capable of consenting at her age. I would be violating her human rights to expose her to this, like my mother did to me and I was hospitalised and spent years going backwards and forwards to the doctor being put on antibiotics and by the time I was 12 I was in a complete stupour because I could no longer absorb iron. So I lost my teenage years which I should have enjoyed and still suffer ill health to this day. I am proud and glad to have saved my daughter from this and you people who think you have any right to push unproven medical treatment on innocent children are completely ignorant. These children cannot defend themselves or speak for themselves and it is abuse. Every parent I know who did not vaccinate tells me that when there child was old enough to understand they thanked them. And my daughters smile and approval is way more important than stopping your mindless abuse. I prefer to trust nature than your dodgy big pharma. Humanity survived without vaccination and there is no significant increase in life expectancy, in fact now the biggest killer of children is cancer. Something caused by mercury poisoning and retroviruses, all courtesy of Merck. If someone’s system is compromised they will get sick one way or another. Vaccinating others won’t save their lives. The only thing we can do is be as healthy as possible and everyone describes my daughter as the picture of health. And no, sorry I won’t hurt her to make you happy, like my mum, who did zero research, did to me. So who is the diligent parent, the one who searches for the truth or the one who blindly accepts the prevailing wisdom which, lets face it, is often wrong. In fact 100 years ago myself and my partner would likely have been lynched in your country because science proved interracial sexual relations were bad as white people are superior. Things change darling.

        1. Thank you for your comments! I feel the same that our bodies are naturally healthy and capable of fighting illnesses. What country do you live in? I live in a state that is trying to eliminate the personal exemption. Who knows I may move? The fear that the media has created who choose to make different choices is concerning.

      5. if your child is vaccinated and protected against these diseases, then why are you afraid of my child who isn’t vaccinated.?

        1. They are worried for the people out there who have children who have been advised by their doctors that they cannot be vaccinated.

        2. Sigh.

          It’s the vulnerable people we are concerned about. The immune compromised, elderly, infants & those who can’t get vaccinated for valid medical reasons.

      6. You are wrong about Andrew Wakefield, and there have been many independent studies done showing a link between vaccines and autism. You should read this The Current Measles Craze
        Richard Moskowitz, M. D.
        Because I keep getting frantic calls from parents about this, and even such usually sensible sources as NPR and National Geographic are calling out “anti-vaxxers” as irrational, deluded, or even anti-scientific, the worst insult of all, hitherto applied only to climate deniers, I feel compelled to throw my own two cents in, and to try to inject at least a modicum of common-sense and sanity into the mix, so I don’t need to repeat the same things over and over, even though I have to admit that I’ve been doing just that for the past several decades to the few who would listen.
        So first let me begin with something so obvious that it’s almost embarrassing to have to say it out loud, namely, that what we’re talking about is a few hundred cases of a disease that I like almost all of my contemporaries caught and recovered from as children. Granted, a few people continued to develop encephalitis or pneumonia and die from them; and it was still a killer disease in isolated populations encountering it for the first time.
        But from the point of view of public health, pediatricians in that pre-vaccine era counted it among the “normal diseases of childhood,” not only because it attacked almost everybody, and almost everybody recovered from it without complications, but also and especially because the immunity that resulted from it was thorough, virtually absolute, and lifelong. That meant, first of all, that children recovering from it would never get it again, no matter how often they were re-exposed to it. Second, and if anything even more important, recovery also conferred on them a non-specific immunity that resulted from the concerted mobilization of the immune mechanism as a whole, like a graduation ceremony for the entire system, in effect a certificate of the body’s readiness and capacity to respond acutely and vigorously to whatever other viruses and bacteria might threaten it in the future. I am reasonably certain that I owe the good health I enjoy today, at the age of 76, in no small part to having contracted and recovered from this week-long illness, with fever and so much else, seventy years ago.
        So part of what I’m saying is that we didn’t really need the measles vaccine at all, because after several hundred years of experience with the virus the developed nations of Western Europe and the United States at least had learned how to deal with it quite safely and effectively, and even extracted from it huge, profound, and lasting benefits for the health of every individual and indeed of the race as a whole, such that nursing mothers gave a borrowed immunity to their infants through the milk at their most vulnerable time of life.
        In short, the decision to vaccinate against the measles was not made in response to a genuine public health emergency, but rather simply to showcase the efficacy of the vaccination concept. And this it has done quite brilliantly, it must be said, at least on the surface; for in perhaps ten years it reduced the incidence of the acute disease from about 400,000 cases annually to only a few thousand, and to considerably less than a thousand at present. This is a truly remarkable achievement, albeit with a significant downside, as I will presently relate. So it’s interesting and rather curious why the medical and vaccine establishments don’t simply claim victory at this point, and let it go at that; it’s a claim that few would argue with, and everybody would be happy. After all, everybody knows that infectious diseases come and go: new outbreaks comprising a few hundred cases from time to time are hardly surprising and certainly don’t qualify as an appreciable threat to the population as a whole.
        So as we listen to the news stories, we need to ask ourselves what all the fuss is about, to say nothing of the hysteria and the fanaticism that everybody seems to be caught up in around them. The one thing I can say for sure is that it can’t be about the disease, for the reasons I’ve already given. A moment’s thought is sufficient to provide the real answer, which lies in what the vaccine and medical establishments want to do about this major non-problem. The punch line of all the stories consists of two clearly-articulated and closely-intertwined political agendas, which actually they have already been pushing for for decades:
        1) to blame the outbreak on the unvaccinated kids; and therefore
        2) to drum up support for new legislation to eliminate the very few
        across-the-board exemptions that still exist in some states.
        New laws of this type have already been proposed in three states that I know of — Pennsylvania, California, and New Mexico — and probably will soon be in others as well.
        Purely from the viewpoint of logic, this strategy makes no sense, not least because the few hundred cases are so insignificant in the scheme of things, as I’ve said. In addition, the best way to blame the unvaccinated kids would be to broadcast as widely as possible the disproportionately large preponderance of cases in people claiming a religious or philosophical exemption. The curious fact that they fail to provide such statistics strongly suggests that in fact the numbers point in the opposite direction, that the preponderance of cases are in the vaccinated group, just as has been true in past outbreaks in the ’80’s, ’90’s, and since; once again, it’s strangely difficult to extract this information, which is exactly what you would expect state health departments to be doubly eager to give out, if their argument were correct. In other words, by bullying the folks who are simply exercising their rights to refuse treatment for their children, they are certainly deflecting attention away from the very evidence they would need to back up their argument.
        Moreover, the vaccination rates are already well over 90% in the United States for most vaccines, and over 95% in many areas, among the very highest in the world; so it would be only natural to expect that most of the cases would occur in this group. The obvious way to dispel such doubts would be for the reluctant health departments to simply divulge the number of vaccinated and unvaccinated cases, rather than expecting the public to accept their unsupported claim as fact. What they are really asking is for everyone to be vaccinated, with no exceptions: here we get into the area of civil rights, namely, the right of every patient to refuse treatment, and the right of every parent to determine the health care appropriate for their children, which is why these very few and seldom-used exemptions were created in the first place. They could of course be waived temporarily in the event of a genuine public health emergency, which these small clusters of an ordinary childhood illness most certainly are not.
        Which brings me to another equally obvious point. If the vaccine were effective in conferring a genuine immunity, similar to that acquired by coming down with and recovering from the natural disease, then the unvaccinated kids would be a threat only to themselves, which would be perfectly OK, since they made that choice. But if the vaccine-mediated immunity falls far short of that standard, such that the immunity conferred by it is not genuine, powerful, or long-lasting, then by all means admit it, and let the people make their choice. You can’t have it both ways: simply scapegoating the people who are exercising their right to choose, and bulllying them to conform with your ideal society of perfect obedience, isn’t going to wash, and it wouldn’t work even if people submitted to it. Vaccination is a trick, a simulation of immunity that is partial, temporary, and with other major downsides that I’ve written about elsewhere and don’t even need to discuss right now.
        The immediate issue is preserving the frail remnant of personal liberty that is embodied in these tiny windows of exemption, and that the vaccine manufacturers and the doctors who serve them are bent on taking away. I hope and pray that the American people will not let that happen.

  2. Let’s see the science-based information, not correlation, but science, which shows why we should not vaccinate for polio or measles. This everyone-get-along rhetoric is not only pointless, it is dangerous. We cannot put science versus correlation on an equal playing field. Period. Talk to medical professionals. Ignore social media.

    1. Wow did you not head any sound advice. I’m also guessing you haven’t done any valid research of your own. The very nature of science is that it is always changing, always correcting itself, always proving itself wrong. That is why it is always evolving. It is also why it is NOT infallible. Now let’s put the “science” talk aside. Your statements assumes that parents making a decision that differs from yours apparently don’t believe in science. That they are under the impression that vaccines don’t work or that measles are a myth. Now I can’t speak for all “anti-vacciners”, and I say anti because if you aren’t 100% staunch follow the schedule that has been set for the masses and not for your families individual needs then you are considered anti, but I can speak for most. We believe in measles, we know chicken pox are real, we’ve read or seen the devastating affects of polio, we are so very thankful men like Jonas Salk dedicated their lives for our future. We also know that certain vaccines that are prescribed for our infant isn’t’ necessary until they reach their teens. We know that getting the polio vaccine is necessary for our future generations but not when they are babies, unless traveling to a country that have a prevalence, we’ll wait until their bodies are older and when we aren’t already pumping them full of vaccines for stuff that will affect them now. We know that chicken pox is dangerous for adults and choosing to vaccinate them when they are young when it poses almost no risk sets them up for a life of boosters or the potential lethal illness (or birth defects and/or death for our pregnant daughters who are exposed as adults). Some of us choose to vaccinate for illnesses that are prevalent in our area or that we’ve deemed more of a risk than the vaccine itself. Some of us choose to wait until our children are older before exposing them at all. Some choose not to vaccinate at all because of beliefs, personal decisions, family history of vaccine complications, or a slew of other thoughtful reasons behind their decisions. Whatever the reason we have come to it after much research, family discussion, planning, and oh yes our pediatricians involvement. As for anti-vaccers that are “anti” based on ignorant fear??? Well, there is nothing to worry because they will be fully vaccinated shortly, if they aren’t already. Anyone ruled by fear will constantly follow the path most traveled. They would have been the first ones in line for the MMR when the measles outbreak first started.

    2. Most people who choose not to vaccinate either themselves or their children, have made that choice out of a personal experience where vaccines went awry. Had I not gone into a coma and nearly died as an infant from the DTP vaccine, my mother would’ve continued to vaccinate me on the normal schedule, and would’ve done the same for my siblings. People don’t choose not to vaccinate out of the blue; they choose not to vaccinate, because they’ve seen the risk first hand, done an immense amount of research, and found that the research doesn’t show vaccines in a great light. Now, I’m not pro OR anti vaccine. I see risks and benefits to both sides of the argument – and there ARE two sides to this. I continue to look for answers on this issue. I’m not one to go along with the media circus (I don’t even have Facebook or any other social media account). I am one to read studies, articles, and listen to people who are older and wiser than myself about this subject. But I think that we would have a lot more sense if we stopped hating on each other for disagreeing about this issue. When I hear someone (even an internet stranger) rant to me about how irresponsible I am to even think about not vaccinating, it makes me want to run for the hills. It makes me want to dig in my heels and yell back that they’re wrong. It makes me want to find facts that support not vaccinating. It does NOT make me want to vaccinate. But when someone comes to me with love and compassion and calmly engages me in a polite discussion, I’m likely to come away with a different point of view than when I first sat down.

      1. That’s usually true, but not always. I made my decision in a statistics class when I dug through the real numbers, publicly available on the CDC website. It was very eye opening.

    3. So when my son’s allergist said the MMR would kill him, after his allergy tests came back with several severe ones and nasty rashes after every vaccination in his one year of life, I’m acting on rhetoric? I DID talk to medical professionals. They said don’t and that my other children would be at greater risk to suffer reactions as well. Even though he’s not vaccinated, as a teen I do not worry about him any more than any other child. The world is full of risk and illness. RSV is far more dangerous to an asthmatic, and it’s out there…he got it every year for 7 years. He had pertussis AFTER his first 2 vaccinations “against” it. He caught chicken pox from a child who shed the vaccination (10 of 20 children in that class came down with it in the same week, and yet some still claim measles, chicken pox, others don’t shed). Social media is a great place to share and support each other, and since we are all digging, talking to doctors, etc, it’s hardly “anti-science.”

      1. Your kids would be the ones who would be eligible for valid, science-based vaccine exemptions – kids with real risks of vaccine reactions. No one is saying that kids like yours should be forced to get vaccinated. The point is that everyone else needs to get vaccinated so that the people who legitimately CAN’T get vaccinated, either because they are at risk for reactions or because they are otherwise immune compromised, are protected from vaccine preventable diseases. Those of us in favor of vaccination are not opposed to legitimate, health- and risk-based exemptions.

        1. ^
          Exactly.
          Kim even said to talk to a medical professional. I am sure she is aware not everybody can get a vaccination lol. Jill did the right thing and talked to a medical professional. Lara is right, this is the exact reason others need to be vaccinated to assist him making sure Jill’s kid does not get sick since they are ineligible for vaccines.
          The anti-vaxxer campaign always show science and correlation. Even in attempting to debate this one person said to “Put science aside.” While here is why that is very, very stupid:
          http://www.pd.infn.it/~dorigo/autism_organic_foods.jpg

        2. but what about the children who did die or get injured from vaccinations.. they were fine until then.. and were not allergic.. the government forces the mandatory vaccinations is wrong and unconstitutional.. everyone thought Hitler was great because he brainwashed the people.. that’s exactly what is going on in this country.socialism.. we are all puppets.. its very scary to me that my government is going to control my decisions and my life..

    4. Dr Viera Scheibner is Principal Research Scientist (Retired) with a doctorate in Natural Sciences from Comenius University in Bratislava. After an eminent scientific career in micropalaeontology during which she published 3 books and some 90 scientific papers in refereed scientific journals in Australia and overseas, she studied babies’ breathing patterns with the Cotwatch breathing monitor developed by her late husband Leif Karlsson in the mid 1980s. Babies had alarms after vaccination, indicating stress. This introduced her to the subject of vaccination. She then started systematically studying orthodox medical papers dealing with vaccination issues. To this day she has collected and studied more than 100000 pages of medical papers.
      Despite such extensive research of orthodox medical papers published on vaccines over the past 100 years, she established that there is no scientific evidence that these injections of highly noxious substances prevent diseases, quite to the contrary, that they increase susceptibility to the diseases which the vaccines are supposed to prevent and also to a host of related and unrelated viral and bacterial infections. Vaccines are involved in a great number of modern ills of childhood such as immunoreactive diseases (asthma, allergies), autoimmune diseases (diabetes, multiple sclerosis, lupus erythematosis), cancers, leukaemia, degenerative diseases of bone and cartilage, behavioural and learning problems, to mention just the most important conditions.
      Her research into vaccination has culminated so far in two books and a number of shorter and longer individual papers published in a variety of scientific and medical publications. She has also conducted frequent international lecture tours to present the results of her research to parents, health and medical professionals and anyone else who is interested. She has also provided a great number of expert witness reports for court cases relating to deaths and injuries caused by vaccines, such as so-called “shaken baby” syndrome.
      – See more at: http://www.vaccinationcouncil.org/2013/01/29/measles-vaccines-part-ii-benefits-of-contracting-measles-by-dr-viera-scheibner-phd/#sthash.DAM3I0pi.dpuf

    5. Kim, I’m just curious. Who would be doing this research? Merck? Since medical research is typically product driven it’s extremely easy to say there aren’t any studies for things that won’t create any profitability. However, don’t confuse lack of studies to mean it couldn’t be studied and wouldn’t have interesting results. What is studied in medicine is merely a reflection of our medical system. It’s been known, but largely ignored, that viruses may benefit the immune system. My sister’s father in law was told by his oncologist that he probably lived so long despite having terminal cancer because of being infected with Hep B. Additionally, there were recent tests of measles to see it’s effect on cancer. However, the vaccine strain of measles doesn’t have the same immune response benefits, and therefore, the research was discontinued. Studies below illustrate that vaccine strains of the disease don’t have the same benefit, but measles and mumps have various immune system benefits. The functional or evolutionary view of the immune system would benefit medicine.

      Ronne T. 1985. Measles virus infection without rash in childhood is related to diseases in adult life. Lancet; 5 Jan: 1-5.

      West RO. 1966. Epidemiologic studies of malignancies of the ovaries. Cancer; 1001-1007.

      Albonico H et al 1990. Vaccination campaign against measles, mumps and rubella, A constraining project for a dubious future? Working group of doctors for selective MMR vaccination.18 pages, self-published.

      Sheheen et al. 1996. Measles and atopy in Guinea-Bissau. Lancet; 347: 1792-1796.

      Alm et al. (1999). Atopy in children of families with an anthroposophic lifestyle. Lancet; 353: 1485-1488.

      Carmon Mota H. 1973. Infantile Hodgkins’disease: remission after measles. BMJ; 19May: 423.

      Msaouel P, et al. 2009. Clinical testing of engineered oncolytic measles virus strains in the treatment of cancer: An overview. Curr Opin Mol Ther; February; 11(1): 43-53.

      – See more at: http://www.vaccinationcouncil.org/2013/01/29/measles-vaccines-part-ii-benefits-of-contracting-measles-by-dr-viera-scheibner-phd/#sthash.L3wphruc.dpuf

  3. The problem is that non-scientific people quote “scientific studies” all the time without the understanding of how to evaluate the study for clinically sound design or to determine if the data analysis is sound as well. There are many “scientific studies” that have extremely poor design or the data was interpreted in a biased or non-scientific way.
    The bottom line is that being that we are not in egoic isolation and that we are community based creatures, it is beyond irresponsible to not follow the pediatric associations recommendations on vaccinations. These recommendations come from a wealth of scientifically sound evidence.
    If you are a lay person, the responsible thing to do is to talk to someone who has a higher level understanding of the scientific method and has significant experience analysiing clinical research papers. This way they can tell you what is sound and what is not,

    1. Okay. Done. My last two doctors, both with over 30 years of experience each, did not fully vaccinate their own children. I have read books written by immunologists. Your argument rests on the assumption that the entire medical field is pro-vaccinate, I assure you they are not.

      1. Not fully vaccinating is ambiguous and can mean many things. Leaving one vaccine (like the flu, or Hep B), out can mean “not fully vaccinated.” It doesn’t mean they avoided the MMR because of fears of Autism, or because they don’t believe they work.

        1. Then let me clarify for you. Neither of my highly intelligent, responsible, experienced, and weather-worn doctors gave their children the MMR vaccine, due to lack of unbiased evidence that proved its reported safety.

        2. Not to mention the first-hand experiences they had watching their patients become injured from the vaccine. All of your comments and arguments are heavily weighted on assumptions.

          1. ^Prove it.

            So many “stories” on here about doctors supposedly saying this or that. These people will then call you a “sheep” since you do not believe their fictional tales. Do not fear them ignorance or allow it spread. If the fear does consume you, fine, do your own research by talking to medical professionals and you will quickly learn that the vast majority of these people are full of it.

    2. Perhaps you should tell that to my pediatrician friend, who didn’t vaccinate her own children, not a single one. She researched, dug deeper, and researched some more, and what she found was beyond disturbing. Biased research, research that was done to “prove” the pre-determined outcome, research paid for by the ones who would benefit if the data could be worked to show desired results (and oh did it). This is research done over 30+ years. I hear the sheep’s worried call in your voice.

      1. This is definitely logical. Let’s all ignore the advice of 99% of doctors, but base our decision on one person, what Jill’s Pedatrician Friend says. Thank you for saving so many lives with your brilliance.

        1. ^I completely agree.

          I think I am going to tell my kids to have unprotected sex because evil corporations make money on selling condoms.

  4. Now if only people would actually listen to this message! Whether or not to vaccinate truly is one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make as a parent, and I still second-guess myself every single day. But being called names (by either side, really, although my news feed has also been filled primarily with hateful pro-vaccine posts) is not going to make anyone change their minds.

    1. The true irony is that only reason why the decision to vaccinate is so difficult for many Americans (particularly upper-middle class white Americans) is because of the very success of vaccines themselves. We are simply not faced on a real, daily basis with the horrors of vaccine preventable illnesses because vaccines have made them largely a problem of the past and other less developed countries. I guarantee you if you lived in another country, or in this country back in the days where measles or polio were rampant and all the horrible things they caused, the decision to vaccinate your children would not be a difficult one at all – you would be clamoring to get them vaccinated. Simply stated, being anti-vaccine is a privilege caused by the success of vaccines, and it is one that if taken too much for granted will no longer be possible because those diseases will once again become part of our reality.

      1. Or, maybe – just maybe because we care and because we have more time on our hands to conduct an intelligent research, connect the dots and make an educated decision. Please consider.

  5. It is a hard decision. I too have been awfully tired of getting blasted. I have talked to “professionals” or “higher educated medical experts” who agree that vaccines aren’t for everyone and that I should trust my intuition. There are drs out there who disagree with the whole vaccine regime. Even the AMA said they disagree with making vaccines mandatory. There are risks on both sides and we MUST respect each parent’s decision because it isn’t laziness or stupidity that directs how I care for my family and I would never try to tell someone who does choose vaccinating how awful it is.

  6. Compassion? How about the compassion of people who choose to not vaccinate/delay/or make up whatever rules they want because they read some article and put those around them at risk. Vaccination is one of the safest things there is – proven by empirical research- not by reading a bunch of opinions and coming to an -‘informed’ conclusion. I am very pro do whatever is right for your family – except when it puts others risk. I don’t agree that we should go to extremes with those that don’t vaccinate – but they also need to understand that if you choose this you are literally making the world less safe for those around you. If you are ok with that, then go on and be compassionate – although being only compassionate to yourself (the definition of irony).

    1. Greg you are basing your words on bogus knowledge. I’m an adult who 4 months before she got pregnant had a flu shot and developed a rash, fever and spent a month feeling like my head was on fire. I did research when my daughter was born asked my pediatrician mother family and decided to vaccinate my daughter evan though I wasn’t convinced. She s five months now and has had 12 vaccines and me and her dad are shocked at the toll they took on her, at the way she stares at a fan like a zombie or the way she scratches her head like it was on fire. We both decided this is where it stops. I grew up in Romania and had 12 vaccines done in the 80s when I grew up but what you guys are doing in U.S. is ridiculous giving a child more than 35 shots before they turn 6. I came to this country thinking is the country of the free. No it’s not its the country of the zombies who vaccinate, eat genetically modified crops that gives them diabetes and cancer, the country where drinking raw milk is illegal in many states and the country where medical marijuana is illegal in many states evan though it helps kids with autism, epilepsia and gives cancer patients comfort. I’ve been here 10 years almost joined the Air Force and was ecstatic about being an American citizan now sadly all I want is to return to Europe. My husband is American and our daughter was born here yet he is willing to relocate too as he sees how blinded we are here. You state me not vaccinating is me not being compassionate what about my compassion. Who was compassion for me when they want to inject my baby’s body with Mercury, fetal cells from an aborted fetus. Why don’t you travel a lil go to Italy, Japan look into their vaccination scheduled and open your mind a little bit. I speak four languages and have traveled the world. I base my statements on facts and observation of different cultures. What do you basing yours on? Taking for granted what the government tells you it’s safe?

    2. So Greg, you are saying that I should forget the doctor’s warning, and vaccinate my child, which would likely kill him, ignore that while he was receiving on time vaccinations he was horribly rashy and caught whooping cough and chicken pox anyway, all while less than a year? So that someone else’s child (in theory) lives? Bottom line, parents can and should have the final say. I value freedom and parental rights far more than some theory on herd “immunity.” You have no idea how it is to say no to vaccinations, but then how could you? You are too busy shouting “do as I say, you idiots!” Perhaps you should read the original article, and heed the suggestion of compassion and allowing for choice.

  7. I have compassion for those that can’t vaccinate and are unprotected from serious and life threatening illnesses due to age, allergies, or other illnesses such as cancer. I have compassion for parents that struggle, as I did, with making the conscious decision to act, and say “Yes, go ahead and cause my child pain and possibly serious complications with a shot for something she may never need protection from.” It’s much easier to NOT act, and thus avoid the responsibility and blame if the vaccine causes problems.

    However, being a parent, or a member of society, is not about taking the easier path, the one with less potential guilt, the one that seems less scary. It’s about following the advice of professionals we trust that know infinitely more than we do, to guide us in what’s best for our children and families. To not let fear, arrogance, paranoia, celebrities or propaganda lead us astray.

    The overwhelming evidence is clear, that most vaccines are completely safe, for most people. That without 95% of people vaccinated, those that can’t be vaccinated will suffer from the hubris of those who could but aren’t, when preventable diseases find a foothold, as measles has.

    Several of my close relatives died from whooping cough. I bet my Grandmother would have crawled through a mile of broken glass and salt to get a vaccine that would have saved them so she didn’t have to listen to them suffer and cough for days, and eventually slowly suffocate to death.

    I’m not an immunologist, or a scientist, but I know some. Every one of them understands the science and supports vaccination. So does our pediatrician. So I’ve put my faith and trust in them and done what’s best for my child and community.

    I hope you will as well.

    1. You are out of touch if you think it is much easier “not to act”. Try being called an idiot by anyone with a big enough mouth, constantly criticized, dismissed, judged and assessed….by people, like yourself, and you call that the “easy” road? Were you being serious? You have no idea how much I have wished I could be at peace with giving the shots & never talking about any of this ever again or reading more on the research, efficacy, statistics….ever.

      I have spoken to our ped at length about vaccines as well & my decisions. He has no issue with it. He isn’t against them, he isn’t entirely for them either, he believes they are safe & effective for most people and he also understands my specific concerns and is not bothered by my choice.

      What I find hilarious is those so pro vaccine they miss that we ARE at 95% coverage overall…then they talk about “clusters” and what a problem clusters are. You do realize, the way you ostracize those that don’t vaccinate is WHY CLUSTERS EXIST. Why would I want to hang out with people that dismiss and bash my choices or worse yet believe I have no right to make a choice? I don’t try to find other parents & convince them not to vax and then we can be friends, we find each other AFTER we have chosen not to vax because we are sick of listening to THIS type of crap. Would you want to hang out with non vaxers if they talked about what an idiot you were or how they hope your kid has a vaccine reaction & how you ought to jail if they do, blah, blah, blah?

      I don’t understand why people feel the need to claim those that don’t vax are taking an easier path or that there could be any less potential guilt. My kids caught whooping cough at 5 months & 3 yrs old. People flipped out about it, despite the fact we exposed no one and my kids did fine, it was truly mild. My fully vaxed nephew gave it to us. He was even over vaxed, had stitches just 6 months earlier & took an extra booster, which is why his Dr FAILED to test him for WC for too long. You know who called it early? Me…because in my research I did look at WC & kept saying to my sis, are you sure it’s not WC? Because she exposed us to what I thought might be WC, I immediately took precautions in regards to others & potential spreading, but exposure had already occurred, so for us I waited & watched and took them for testing as soon as I saw any sign. I told her to ask them to test her son, he was positive, long before us…and this is before my kids showed any signs. My nephew, 12 was very sick. He went undiagnosed & exposed a ton of small kids in the family, as young as 2 months, at a family event. All the kids caught it regardless of vaccine status & none were terribly ill at all. My unvaxed infant & toddler required no medical treatment and were barely ill. My 12 yr old nephew had it terribly & required O2. I get it, illnesses are unpredictable, we can’t know anything until it happens, etc…but don’t act like we are somehow feeling free of potential guilt. You can’t be a mom & be free of feeling like you coulda woulda shoulda. My sister felt no guilt at all about exposing us all, because “how was she supposed to know”? Had my kids exposed anyone, people would want to lynch me.

      You must really struggle with your ability to feel empathy if you can see what is said about us & then believe there is ANYTHING easy about taking this road. It’s not that hard to imagine how you might feel if it were you that people talked like that about. Not only do you have your own kids to worry over if they get ill, but also a million people setting around thinking you are worthy of jail if by chance your kid gets sick, or worse yet a child in your vicinity catches it from the “unvaxed kid” as if they themselves spawn diseases and the vaxed never spread it, or that the majority of adults who are way past needing boosters play zero role in anything. I could never think anything bad about a parent whose child had a vaccine reaction & was injured. I would just feel heartbroken for them to have to go through that. There is no “I told you so moment” in my heart. I’m not trying to be “right”, I’m trying to be mom & make the choices I feel are right for us. I’d never try to tell you what choices you should be making. I give YOU enough credit that you can figure that out for yourself.

      People weren’t this feverish and hot over other people getting measles shots when measles was COMMON. How do I know? Cause I had ’em and NO ONE thought it was a big deal, I’ve asked. It never occurred to my mom to even consider me dying, in hospital, going blind, or any of the other rare complications I read about as if they are measles symptoms these days…..the longer it’s been since people here have an illness the scary it is marketed & believed. I had lots of them, mumps, absolutely everyone I knew had chicken pox…no one was worried & no one was terribly ill. No one. I promise you. And my mom didn’t let me ride double on a bike (too dangerous), walk 3 houses down the block in the dark, in a good neighborhood, when I had a babysitting job at 14 yrs old, or cross the street alone until 6th grade, so it’s not like the lady doesn’t worry. 😉

      1. “notevenclose” – I appreciate your post. My kids were fully vaccinated when they got whooping cough, most likely from my MIL because as always back then the doc said “oh you just have bronchitis.” Turned out a lot of “just bronchitis” cases could be whooping cough…if a cough is pretty bad, tends to get a bit worse at night or early morning, and lasts for about 6 weeks, it could very well be whooping cough. While my infant was still recovering from whooping cough his sis, and then he, got exposed to chicken pox. From a child in my daughter’s preschool, who SHED the virus. 10 of 20 students all came down with it the same week a number of days later. But the underline in all the for me is having our allergist say don’t dare vaccinate the middle one because the MMR would kill him and the others are obviously making him terribly rashy, and a pediatrician friend who showed me some of her research on the vaccinations and the companies, and who never gave a single vax to any of her children.

  8. Thanks for writing this. I’ve been part of many a debate. I believe vaccine injuries are real, but significantly more rare than anti-vac arguments make of it. I also understand being critical of the schedule, but some things are a public health risk and it’s irresponsible to make decisions “for your family” that might affect others who trust that society cares about public health.

    If you’re not vaccinating you need to tell people, and keep your kids out of the public.

    I live around the corner from the WHO. These are researchers and scientists that do the research for a living. They know about vaccine injuries and don’t dispute they can and do exist, and they analyze the data and look into how to improve vaccines. These are the people educated with the real, true facts that the Internet likes to distort – on both sides. These are moms that send their kids to my daughter’s crèche. These are people that my daughter does Gymboree with. I know them as parents but I talk to them about vaccines. NOT A SINGLE PERSON I know or have heard of at the WHO would consider not vaccinating their own babies. That says volumes to me about the risks of vaccinating vs not. It’s easy to get caught up in a horror story on one side or another, but when the people who actually know the facts are so 100% sure of what is right for their own precious children, I listen to them.

    1. Did you breastfeed your children? If you didn’t you need to tell people and keep your children out of the public. Breast milk does far more for a child’s immunity than vaccines designed for few and rare diseases.
      The odds of a person getting a vaccine-preventable disease (whether vaccinated or not) + the odds of a person passing it to your vaccinated children + the odds of that being an extremely rare case where the effects are debilitating is basically zero. Definitely less than the odds of getting a vaccine injury.

      1. Immunity through breast milk lasts 1 month, 2 at most. After that it disappears. Infants 100 years ago got nothing but breastmilk yet died by the thousands from diseases that their Mother survived. If you don’t vaccinate kids, then they grow up to become breastfeeding Moms with no “natural immunity” to things like Polio, Measles, Whooping Cough, and those “rare diseases” (which were commonplace before vaccines) will once again run rampant.

        If more and more people opt out of vaccinations, your logic falls apart. The odds of contracting a disease + the odds of spreading it to other unvaccinated people + the odds of it being a not-so-rare case anymore where the effects are debilitating are raised exponentially.

        I don’t believe the complications of measles alone where 1:20 gets pneumonia (often requiring expensive hospitalization), 1:1000 will have brain swelling leading to possible permanent brain damage, blindness, deafness, and/or death, and pregnant women contracting it can miscarry or have premature births is “basically zero.”

        We live in a country where the incredibly traumatic injuries and deaths from these preventable diseases don’t exist in the public eye, because several generations before us have been vaccinated for them, driving such diseases to near extinction here. In areas such as Africa and Asia where vaccines aren’t as available (and breastfeeding rates are much higher I should add), 96,000 people died from it in 2013. Before programs to increase vaccination rates in the 80’s, over half a MILLION people died. The only reason half a million people aren’t dying every year from measles now is because of vaccines. Not breastfeeding, or homeopathy, or healthy eating. Vaccines.

        I have two Aunts that died from Whooping Cough (pertussis). I can’t imagine the horror of listening to your children struggle for breath and slowly drowning to death from a disease that could have been so easily preventable. My Grandmother wouldn’t have hesitated for a second to get that vaccine had it been available to her. You, because the vast majority of the people around you HAVE been vaccinated, do have that luxury. Or so you think. Until you happen to go to Disneyland or some other public place where an infected person just was. And then you’ll find out the hard way how well that “breastmilk immunity” theory works in the real world.

        1. That is not true. AT. ALL. Breast milk gives lifelong immunities against a host of diseases! 1-2 month protection? You are just making stuff up! This is something I am currently studying and can throw a lot of textbook quotes at you if you’d like. It is not made up. More studies confirm the lifelong immunological benefits of breastmilk than there are studies on the vaccine-autism link. That is a fact. Make some peace with it.
          Knowing this give me no faith in any of the other numbers you came up with, 1:20 get pneumonia?? Uh. No.
          The number of traumatic injuries and deaths from vaccines is very real. Thousands of children are reported injured with lifelong consequences in VAERS every single year. These children and their debilitating injuries are real.
          You obviously don’t know that vaccine-preventable illnesses were on a sharp decline in our first-world country (with clean water, hand washing, etc) before vaccines were introduced.
          So your personal story is a testament to get vaccinated? What about the mothers who watched their children spike a fever, convulse, and then die after a vaccination? Do they not get your sympathy or compassion? So while we are wishing ill on people let’s hope your children or a child you loves does not ends up collateral damage in the current crusade to pressure and shame all parents into vaccinating their children.

        2. Actually 100 years ago in 1915 many babies got formula, it gained popularity in the mid-1800s when wet-nurse popularity started to decrease and was pretty ubiquitous by the turn of the century. In the 18th and 19th centuries many babies (especially babies born to poor families) were fed animal milk, especially if their mother worked in a factory or as a wet nurse. My grandmother told me that her mother told her that only low-class women breastfed- and she had her babies in the 1920s. So I don’t think you can use that time period as proof that breastmilk doesn’t offer protection against viral illnesses. I actually don’t have much of an opinion one way or the other, historical inaccuracies are just one of my pet-peeves.

        3. So it doesn’t matter at all to you that in the past 10+ years not a single death occurred in the US from measles, and around 100 people died FROM THE VACCINE? Also, I am not in the least worried about my children being around other unvaccinated kids. My kids are athletes, in musicals, and also hang with about 50% vaccinated groups (homeschool kids, many more in general think before vaccinating and do something other than the standard schedule). I value liberty and parental rights above vaccination…we dare not go down the road of forced vaccinations, parents hiding their children. Isn’t that just as bad as back alley abortions of the past? Liberty. If the drug companies didn’t know that they’d sell billions every year in vaccination sales, perhaps they’d instead do some research to help in other areas. I don’t trust companies who have the gov’t and media propaganda fulfilling their bottom line and making them wealthy beyond belief. Something is wrong there.

  9. I’m still trying to understand what is wrong with the average person ( I don’t mean someone who has a good reason to avoid it) getting these diseases which gives you lifelong immunity? I had most of these diseases, including measles, as a child. Why are people coddling their children and in the process not allowing them to have real, lifelong immunity? I have 8 children who have had some of them. They are all fine.

    1. I assume your “research” has shown to you that you can get pertussis more than once? Why I am thinking probably not? Is that the new definition of spoiling kids now? Providing them with the means to avoid dangerous diseases?

      1. lol yes hilarious! We are “spoiling” our kids so they get vaccinated hahahahaha. We may as well be buying them Ferraris!

  10. Heeding my own advice, I’ve not read nor will i read any of the previous comments. I just want to say to the author, Selena, that I appreciate the article and hope people take her sentiment to heart.

  11. I recently terminated a friendship, IRL and online with a person who persistently called me an “idiot” and “liar” in his facebook thread. He also got a facebook response calling thoughtful anti-vaxers “&$^#*” and did nothing to curb the bullying.

    I sent him a personal email stating that this kind of language was hurtful and harmful to our friendship as well as to others of his friends who he may not know how they feel about the question..
    No reply…no wish to talk eye to eye as the article points out.

    I have not been bullied as an adult until the last few weeks.
    mother to 4…various vaccines…nana to 6 with various vaccines…all well thought out..different conclusions

    Thanks for the article.

  12. I’m sorry, but no, no, people who do not vaccinate their children do not have good, scientific reason to opt out. It is fear mongering among the elite and nothing else. I do feel sorry for people who are so misinformed that they choose to endanger all of society instead of doing the responsible thing, despite their fears, but saying we need more compassion for people who choose to ignore 100 years of scientific research is like saying we need to “inject compassion into the climate change debate”. Are you also calling for more compassion towards the big corporations and politicians taking kick backs out there who eminently deny the science around climate change? Should we feel compassion for the companies like Shell Oil, who want to go on, business as usual, while we all destroy the planet? It’s the same thing. I’ve really enjoyed “Mothering” in the past, but your complete cow towing to the folks, who, based on one study which was completely fabricated (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/02/us/a-discredited-vaccine-studys-continuing-impact-on-public-health.html?_r=0) and then paraded around as gospel by an idiot former model, is just too much for me. You could chose to do the responsible thing, as a parenting magazine reaching millions of people, but instead you decide to publish ridiculous, irresponsible “journalism” like this article. Thanks “Mothering”, but I’m out of here.

    1. Interesting argument – I would say it’s not the same thing but the complete opposite! One of my major questions around vaccines is the fact that they are produced by major corporations, there is big money in getting people vaccinated and huge lobbying by these corporations politically but there is no accountability for them for vaccine safety. I’d feel a lot more comfortable about vaccinating without the money and power behind it. Money can buy research, buy propaganda, buy “research”, buy the minds and beliefs of people, how can we determine what is real? Plenty of scientific studies are discredited all the time! It is a genuinely tough decision. I believe in the concept of vaccination, but not necessarily in it’s current model.

      1. Rachel – thank you. Lauren’s propaganda paragraph was hate-filled. I was actually going to unsubscribe to Mothering since I almost never read it. But for now, given this reasonable article and a call for civility over the I AM RIGHT, VAX YOUR KIDS, YOU ARE STUPID chorus, I’ll stay. 🙂

    2. We have to be extremely discerning when reviewing the scientific studies. Research shows that agenda does in fact get in the way and falsify reports of safety. The truth is that ALL vaccines come with known risks of adverse effects. It’s only the well-educated who question their doctors and research the listed ingredients and side-effects of each pharmaceutical given to their child, including vaccines. The CDC reported that the more educated the mother, the less likely she is to blindly follow the full CDC vaccination schedule. It’s time ALL mothers are informed prior to approving known neuro-toxins to be given to their instants/toddlers. This is a great article citing falsified research reports by pharmaceutical makers. We have have to remember that vaccinations are a 20 billion dollar industry and conflicts of interest do in fact play a large role in what the FDA approves for our children. Other countries are suing Merck and Guardasil for vaccine damage. The HPV vaccine currently being pushed on tween girls in the U.S. has been banned in other countries.
      http://chriskresser.com/behind-the-veil-conflicts-of-interest-and-fraud-in-medical-research

  13. As this vaccine debate has heated up I have been compelled to do more & more research. The across the board propaganda I have witnessed from the corporate media has me wondering why all the vitriol? And why, suddenly, all the focus on measles? Was it that the ebola ‘scare’ got so much media coverage that the measles outbreak represented another opportunity for a media feeding frenzy?

    Recently, I listened to a two part podcast with several experts, including Doctors Lawrence Palevsky & Brian Hooker. http://progressivecommentaryhour.podbean.com/e/special-broadcast-on-autism-and-the-vaccine-connection-part-1-021015/

    The information in these interviews is enough to cause anyone who is remotely concerned about personal & public health to question what we’re being told by the corporations and our government.

    1. You hit on an important point. I experienced something that in retrospect was quite sinister. My kids’ ped was not allowed to do a definitive test on my little ones to prove the diagnosis she was already quite ready to give, “whooping cough.” As I checked around, it turned out that for many years there was a lack of lab testing for that disease. Not until big pharma was ready to start scaring the crap out of people with a media/commercial campaign on the horror of whooping cough, and how we need to vax kids more, start vaccinating adults, did people start getting tested, and their positive results reported to the CDC etc. Whooping cough has always been around. A 6-week nagging cough in an older child or adult has a fair likelihood to be whooping cough. My fully vaccinated kids caught it. I coughed until I puked or dry heaved every night for several weeks one summer, was told I probably had asthma and treated with an inhaler that did nothing, probably was whooping cough. I do not trust big pharma any more than I trust Monsanto or the IRS. And now with some taking a fascist stance on the issue, the land of the free has become something rather disgusting. Bullies and fear.

  14. I am pro-vax, and very curious about how anti-vaxxers never talk about certain diseases, like rubella (the R in the MMR), but seem to talk about diseases which are not as serious for most people (while very serious for some). If infectious disease is not such a big deal, how would you feel if you got rubella while pregnant? What about if your child got rubella and then gave it to a pregnant woman? Rubella was a major cause of children being born blind and deaf or with other permanent and severe birth defects, because they were exposed in utero – that is, before the shot existed and pregnant women stopped being exposed.

    Children did not always recover from infectious disease – they too were sometimes left blind, deaf, brain-damaged, or sterile. Do you think breast milk stopped that from happening? A healthy diet? I can already hear people saying “But vaccines damage kids too!,” but in fact vaccine reactions are extremely rare compared with the risk of damage or death from vaccine-preventable illnesses.

    What about tetanus? You or your child could get tetanus in your own back yard or basement, it’s a bacterial illness so it’s still around. Do you even know what a case of tetanus could do to your kid? And speaking of bacteria, can an anti-vaxxer please tell me how your breastmilk and organic diet (or whatever) would stop your child from potentially losing their limbs from a case of bacterial menningitis? Do you assume your child’s immunity is somehow special so it couldn’t happen to them?

    See, this is what drives those of us who accept vaccines crazy – anti-vaxxers fear vaccines, but don’t seem to fear diseases that can be absolutely devastating. And I never hear anti-vaxxers talk about any of this, it’s always “I had measles/chicken pox/mumps and I was fine,” but funny how no one would say that about tetanus, diptheria or polio.

    I truly feel that if non-vaxxing parents really knew their history or knew people devastated by infectious disesase, or had seem it themselves, they would realize the folly of underestimating it. Children used to die all the time, if you don’t believe me just go visit an old cemetery. It’s hard to fear what you don’t know, but believe me, there are worse things out there than measles and chicken pox, and even those diseases can be plenty bad.

    So please tell me again why it’s a good idea NOT to vaccinate your kids against disease? If you are okay with your kid getting measles (which had been eradicated in the US by 2000), will polio be “good” for them too? Are we going to find out?

    1. Maria – First, thank you. Thank you for asking questions. This is the first time I have ever read a “pro-vaxer” actually ask a question instead of assuming to know the answer. Second, I will not reveal my children’s medical information, as I have decided to keep that private, but I will answer your questions as an “anti-vaxer” might.
      You said that anti-vaxers say, “But vaccines damage kids too!” but then go on to say that those numbers do not equal the damage down by vaccine-preventable diseases. This is where we part ways. According to VAERS thousands of children are damaged permanently or die from vaccinations. Now I think I know what you are going to say “That can’t be proven, it must be an inflated number.” No, it can’t be proven, that is what makes this so difficult. I can’t point to a child’s coma that they fell into right after an MMR shot and say definitively that the vaccine caused that. But gosh, I think it probably did. The science and medical fields are ignoring these injuries. They are not considering the overwhelming amount of anecdotal evidence that is right in front of them on VAERS. And until those children and injuries are studied, scrutinized, taken seriously, or hell, even recognized, I would feel a whole lot better about the purported safety of vaccines. As to whether or not that number is inflated, I don’t think it is. A lot of people don’t even know that it exists. So even if a parent thinks their child’s seizures were caused by a vaccine, they go to their doctors, their concerns are pooh-poohed, and they go on with life managing their child’s new lifelong disorder, never reporting it. In addition, I don’t think that some side effects are immediate. Take severe allergic reactions as an example. This may not be discovered until the child is older, but there are a lot of highly intelligent doctors and scientists who think there could be a connection. You can point to side effects of Rubella and say this caused that. But for vaccines you have to look at everything that has sharply increased with our use in them (auto-immune diseases, neurological disorders, allergies, to name but a few) to get a fuzzy picture of what *might* be happening. It’s not as exact and is hard to prove, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. So we have to trust the parents and their stories, and that is found on VAERS. Take a look for yourself.
      To put this in prospective for you – no one has died from the measles in over 15 years. In that same time period hundreds of children who are no longer with us have parents who strongly believe that their child died from the MMR shot alone. Hundreds. And maybe not all of them are right. But let’s say that one is right, just one. That is one child dying for the cause of keeping measles at bay, and I am not okay with that. I do not believe that any child should be collateral damage.
      I don’t think that my breast milk is magic. I don’t think that my child’s good diet, supplements, and regular exercise that keeps their immunity strong will keep them protected from everything. But I do think it helps, a lot. And it definitely contributes more to the health of the public than a vaccine does.
      I fear diseases. I struggled with this decision. I lost sleep over this decision. I poured hours of studying, meditating, praying, contemplating, talking, and reading into this decision. It has so far been the hardest parenting decision I have had to make. So please do not assume that all parents who do not vaccinate came to that decision lightly, or don’t know about how debilitating these diseases can be. We know.
      So let’s take polio – there hasn’t been a reported case in the US in 25 years. So, no, I don’t fear it all that much. Now I know what you are going to say “That is only because of vaccines!” Maybe. Probably. But a lot of people ignore the fact that these diseases were on the decline before the vaccines were introduced. There are a lot of reasons why our first world country is a lot better at striving off infectious diseases than places where polio is a problem right now.
      Vaccine-preventable diseases are awful and no fun even at their best. And I wish they weren’t apart of this world. I don’t hate vaccines. They have their place. But some people don’t think that place is in small developing bodies. And maybe its only a testament to our awesome bodies that most of our children survive vaccines unscathed. But I *know* a lot of children are damaged and die from vaccines.
      We know that the majority of studies are not on the anti-vax side. We know that. But we also know that a lot of injuries and deaths are not being recognized. We know that scientists and doctors can be wrong (hello tobacco ads with doctors smoking). We know that a lot of money is at stake for a lot of people in positions of power. We know that the government and vaccine industries is a revolving door (current pres of Merk is the former CDC pres). We know that no double-blind, independent study has ever been done, ever. So now hopefully you understand why some parents who believe all this might decide to not purposefully put their child in a possibly dangerous situation (the vaccine) and instead go with the really great chances their children will never encounter the diseases that they (don’t fully) protect from.

    2. I would like to chime in on Rubella. Do you even know what it is? It’s one of those diseases you get once, as a child, and have life long immunity. My daughters got Rubella when they were little. They now are immune for life. I don’t have to worry about them catching it while pregnant because they will always have the immunity. For your information, Rubella is a 3 day rash, it doesn’t itch and the fever is very mild. As a responsible parent, I kept them indoors while they were contagious and for a bit afterwards just to make sure. I took them to the doctor afterwards who verified it had been Rubella and was encouraging that the immunity would serve them better than any vaccine might have.

      Yes, there are women out there right now who are of childbearing age and are no longer immune because they were vaccinated instead of gaining a natural immunity. I feel sorry for them and politely ask them to please get themselves vaccinated so that they can avoid the potential of catching Rubella while pregnant. I’m one of those women and I am so happy my daughters will not have to worry about such things.

      And for the record, a fear of autism was never a deciding factor for me regarding vaccines. Autism is a spectrum of disorders that come from a spectrum of causes and one of the causes MAY be vaccines, but it is not solely responsible. During the same time we have had a rise in autism we have also had a rise in excessive ultrasound use in pregnancy, harmful obstetric drugs during pregnancy and birth, excessive vaccine schedule, genetically modified foods, pesticides, television, cell phones…you get the idea. You name it and the rise of autism can be attributed to it. I see a new article almost weekly pointing to some organizations cause as the reason we have such a drastic increase in autism diagnosis. So, I made any vaccine decisions based on the evidence of other harmful effects as well as the realization that a life long immunity to a disease that is dangerous for adults but typically safe for children is much preferable.

      There are risks in life, Life is risky. It just is. As mothers we do everything we can to make the right choices for our families. Yes, my child could be the one to have a bad reaction to measles or chicken pox, she could also be the one to have a bad reaction to a vaccine. It is up to each of us to decide which risk we are willing to take. I, for one, have decided that blindly following what the government says when it is owned by corporations, is a risk I am not willing to take. I will question everything. I will spend a good part of my evenings researching the data from other countries so that I can make well thought out, balanced decisions. If you are more comfortable having that time for entertainment rather than education and would rather just “do as your told”, then (shrug), that’s your decision. I don’t have to understand it or agree with it.

    3. It was my responsibility to be sure that I had immunity to rubella BEFORE I became pregnant. In my case I knew I was immune because I had the disease when I was twelve years old. My doctor confirmed my immunity with a simple blood titer test.
      I know several women who chose not to vaccinate their daughters against pregnancy in the hope that they would be able to contract the disease during childhood. The plan was to be exposed to the disease, then voluntarily quarantine the girls. They all made the best possible choice they could when they weighed the benefit of lifelong immunity for their daughters against any possible risks.

  15. It appears that this has become the very thing the article is against…yet again we are seeing im right you are wrong and bashing those who chose not to vaccinate. I feel exactly as the article describes. I feel like pro-vaxxers just love to bash those who have made a different decision. My decision was not made because I want to be a rebel, or fight the medical infrastructure or even because of the whole vaccines cause autism argument. My decision came from 10 years of hard research into both sides of the argument. I actually started out trying to prove my husband and FIL wrong. I started out trying to find cold hard facts about how vaccines save lives and cause no harm. Unfortunately most of that info is by people backed by or benefiting monetarily someway from the sale of vaccines. I will rsearch until i find the truth. Even if it challenges my beliefs, which is something most people choose not to do because it is extremely uncomfortable….oh how i wish that i was able to prove my stance on vaccines right…how easy would it be to just go to the doc and get a shot and be protected against these scary diseases and be healthy how easy is that. Unfortunately the adjuvants and chemicals and metals and DNA fragments and fetal tissues added to vaccines make them not safe. So now because of my choice I have to be extra extra careful. Extra watchful, a pro at natural medicine, OCD about cleanliness and handwashing, and on top of that deal with other parents spewing their negative comments like i am neglectful like I am uneducated like I am a child abuser….well to all pro-vaxxers who think its ok to bash other parents i would like to ask a few questions…1) how long did you REALLY honestly research vaccines yourself…are you aware of the ingredients and the side effects of injecting those ingredients into a baby who has not yet finished developing? 2)if you and your family are protected why feel the need to bash other parents? …if you are safe then you shouldn’t care if a child with the measles came and coughed on your child since those vaccines protect you..right? 3) why is it that all parents aren’t calling for a safer alternative to the toxic adjuvants?…..
    Vaccine manufactures can make vaccines safer… we shoud be calling for that and also for protection when people are harmed. It is no secret that vaccines can and do harm but instead of helping those harmed, they have to jump through hoops and called liar. The manufacturers are even safe from persecution. They are above the law. The system does not have the health of the people as a priority. It’s priority is making inexpensive unsafe product and if/when someone gets injured they are safe all to make millions and billions of dollars….follow the laws and the money…that is not a system i chose to immerse my child in.

    1. Maybe you meant other posters, because I wasn’t bashing anyone – but honestly asking questions, which I notice you did not answer (for example, would you be ok getting rubella while pregnant, or if your child gave rubella to a pregnant woman).
      Pro-vaxxers do not lack compassion, they have compassion but it’s for the children who will suffer illnesses and spread it to others, especially those with compromised immune systems. You can make a choice, but no one lives in a bubble so your choice can effect others. I don’t think unvaccinated children should be allowed in public schools.
      To answer your questions: I did a lot of research and talked to people on both sides of the fence. Ultimately I trust doctors and immunology experts rather than quacks like Mercola et al.
      2. I feel the need to criticize, not bash other parents, because while I know they think they are doing the right thing, I feel they don’t understand the risks they are taking (as I asked before, do you really understand what bacterial menningitis can do? You can LOSE YOUR LIMBS – imagine if that happened to your child) Also, vaccines are not 100% effective and no one ever said they were, so it’s really important for people to do their part, although you probably don’t believe in herd immunity, even though measles was erradicated in the US once enough people were vaccinated)
      3. Adjuvants are not toxic, their purpose is to help make a stronger immune response and don’t stay in the body. Mercury in vaccines never caused anyone’s autism. Wakefield was nothing but a fraud.
      Ultimately you have to make up your own mind, but I encourage anyone who doesn’t vaccinate to at least read up on what all the different infectious diseases can do, and remember that all the natural medicine and hippie health food in the world won’t protect you from a bad case of one one of them. Please at least read this before your think it can’t happen to you:
      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10855638

  16. There is one important thing missing. MOST disease are MAN created. IE. Smallpox, AIDS, Ebola, Cancer and many more. I’m not going to post research to support my statement because YOU should do your own research on it. Its chemical warfare. The problem is that people are not getting informed by the right people. Because those who speak against things based on their research and some who were actually involved, get discredited. Get informed people. If they can make the vaccine/cure they can make the disease. Remember the vaccine contain the disease. Key words to search Henry Kissinger, culling human population, Kissinger’s 1974 Plan for Food Control Genocide, chemtrails, pesticides, GMO and even birth control. The TRUTH is out there you just have to be brave enough to see it.

  17. Thank you. I’m shocked at the vitriol that this debate has caused and the newspapers, even well respected ones like The Economist sadden me because they are insulting and mischaracterizing the ‘anti-vacciners”, which you rightly point out are not so black and white. I vaccinate my kid, but the research concerns me so I make adjustments as appropriate for my child’s needs. I wish we could have an adult conversation without name calling, but alas, most people can’t seem to do that and it’s sad.

  18. Nice article.
    Like the last poster, I’m constantly shocked how one-sided the major media has been on this. There are many MDs as well as NDs who are critical of the normal vaccination schedule, or even vaccinations in general, not to mention other researchers. Why are these experts of differing opinion never interviewed? Typically, if any “balanced” reporting is offered, the journalist will only interview an emotional and inarticulate non-vaccinating parent.

    I suspect that there is advertising pressure on most news media, even NPR because pharmaceutical companies are a big underwriter. But it’s deeper than that. People are marketed the “patented quick fix” in general, and most people want to believe in it. In medicine, that typically means anti-biotics.

    However, this paradigm is being challenged in recent years by the pro-biotic model of dealing with disease, which has the potential for undermining company profits since many such approaches are not patentable. Any smart corporation would do anything it could to discredit such natural approaches, and since our political system is largely influenced by big corporate donors, it’s no surprise that the public health strategy favors the patented methods.

    Still, things change with years of criticism. Only just now, public health recommendations against cholesterol and dietary fat are being rescinded, because–as it turns out–public policy on this since the 1970s has been based on not a shred of good evidence. It has taken years of complaints on that matter to change it, and it’s possible–though more difficult–to revamp our jab-happy public health strategy on vaccines as well.

  19. Dr Viera Scheibner is Principal Research Scientist (Retired) with a doctorate in Natural Sciences from Comenius University in Bratislava. After an eminent scientific career in micropalaeontology during which she published 3 books and some 90 scientific papers in refereed scientific journals in Australia and overseas, she studied babies’ breathing patterns with the Cotwatch breathing monitor developed by her late husband Leif Karlsson in the mid 1980s. Babies had alarms after vaccination, indicating stress. This introduced her to the subject of vaccination. She then started systematically studying orthodox medical papers dealing with vaccination issues. To this day she has collected and studied more than 100000 pages of medical papers.
    Despite such extensive research of orthodox medical papers published on vaccines over the past 100 years, she established that there is no scientific evidence that these injections of highly noxious substances prevent diseases, quite to the contrary, that they increase susceptibility to the diseases which the vaccines are supposed to prevent and also to a host of related and unrelated viral and bacterial infections. Vaccines are involved in a great number of modern ills of childhood such as immunoreactive diseases (asthma, allergies), autoimmune diseases (diabetes, multiple sclerosis, lupus erythematosis), cancers, leukaemia, degenerative diseases of bone and cartilage, behavioural and learning problems, to mention just the most important conditions.
    Her research into vaccination has culminated so far in two books and a number of shorter and longer individual papers published in a variety of scientific and medical publications. She has also conducted frequent international lecture tours to present the results of her research to parents, health and medical professionals and anyone else who is interested. She has also provided a great number of expert witness reports for court cases relating to deaths and injuries caused by vaccines, such as so-called “shaken baby” syndrome.
    – See more at: http://www.vaccinationcouncil.org/2013/01/29/measles-vaccines-part-ii-benefits-of-contracting-measles-by-dr-viera-scheibner-phd/#sthash.DAM3I0pi.dpuf

  20. How are non-vaccinated exposing others to diseases??? You can’t pass on what you don’t have! If I don’t have measles, how am I passing it on to you? Are you vaccinated against the measles? Did you know the MMR vaccine itself can give you measles? (and a myriad of worse side effects) Just research for yourself – read Merck’s ProQuad package insert (page 11, post-marketing reports) http://www.fda.gov/downloads/BiologicsBloodVaccines/Vaccines/ApprovedProducts/UCM123796.pdf

    Don’t people realize that once vaccines are mandated and exemptions removed, that no one will be able to say no to a vaccine? They are now pushing for the adult immunization plan, as manufacturers are racing to get 100s of vaccines fast-tracked into the market. Do you want to be forced into receiving the HIV vaccine and any others being created? You won’t have a choice as to what goes in your body. What if you develop a bad reaction and can no longer depend on a medical exemption to exclude you from this nazi-like program? Do you want to be forced to be injected with human and animal DNA? Aborted fetal cells? You will have NO SAY. None. And this is a violation of your human rights, and your parental right to decide what is best for your children.

    The only irresponsible thing is allowing the government to take over your life, not thinking that anything bad will ever happen to you because “they” have your best interests at heart…Only the manufacturers’ interests are protected. You can’t even sue them if you are vaccine injured. You can be one of many waiting to be compensated through the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (funded by you, the tax payer – so you get to fund free vaccine programs, fund doctors for office visits and treatments after injury, fund the hospital after injury, fund pharma for pills/treatments after injury…everyone wins, except you and your children).

    1. Everybody run for your lives!!! Sign this pointless petition!! The government is putting peanuts in needles, making our children allergic to kale!! We need kale!! Without kale, our testicles stop producing sperm! Do your research!! Go on Twitter and Facebook!! Ignore your doctor and “scientists”!! Who cares if it has been proven over 100 years. History is fraud! Hitler was actually a musician.

  21. A good source for risk/benefit information on vaccines might be your veterinarian. I’m not saying children are like puppies here, by the way.
    I’ve actually had several discussions with several vets on the subject of vaccinating and “over” vaccinating. Many vets have come to believe that over-immunizing dogs is the reason so many older dogs are contracting auto-immune diseases and even some cancers.
    I learned this many years ago when I adopted a dog who had been recently vaccinated against rabies by his owner. Since the vaccine was not documented by a vet I had to have him re-vaccinated in order to register my dog with the town for a license.
    My vet said that the immunity from the initial rabies vaccine may actually be life long. Like many vets he believes that there are problems with the yearly booster shot schedule many dogs are put on. He said that he prefers to do a blood titer on older dogs rather than re-vaccinating them because their immune systems are not as strong as they were when they were puppies. We did blood titers on my dog for the next ten years and every single time he came back with immunity to rabies so high that he would be cleared for international travel, even though we stopped giving him the vaccine when he was 1 1/2 years old.
    Lest we forget, vets are highly trained doctors who specialize in pets and farm animals rather than the human animal.

    1. My point here is that even in the veterinary world not every doctor believes that the standard schedule of vaccines is the best one. There’s room for debate on individual vaccines and the best schedule for giving them. One vet I saw was not in favor of “kitchen sink” shots which grouped several vaccines in to one booster. He preferred to give vaccines individually so that if there was a reaction you could see which component it was to. He preferred not vaccinating against a non-life-threatening complaint just because it was packaged in a group with the distemper vaccine, for example. His belief was that better immunity is gained when we vaccinate against one illness at a time, and that there is less chance of bad reactions. He preferred to stop giving the rabies vaccine when a dog was six and to titer yearly for immunity instead as long as the dog had the initial rabies shot and booster. Obviously if a dogs immunity started to drop he would give a booster no matter what the age of the dog because rabies is so dangerous. This approach seems so common sense when it’s applied to dogs. It weighs risks and benefits, acknowledges that there are risks, and makes decisions based on the health of the individual dog instead of adhering to a rigid schedule. Too bad we can’t use this approach with humans.

  22. The recent flood of media attention and heated discussion seems to me to be less about eradicating measles and more about finding someone to bash for our fears. Consider this: a certain percentage of people vaccinated for measles will not develop immunity to it. After each person has been fully vaccinated, we could run a titer test on that person to confirm immunity, but we don’t. And it’s a simple blood test. I had one when last pregnant and never since. Imagine if we did so — everyone who did not develop immunity or someone whose immunity had waned could be revaccinated. If we take that percentage of previously vaccinated people who are not immune we end up with a lot of people. And yet, never, not once, in no conversation on vaccination have I ever seen has anyone suggested using titer tests to confirm immunity. But there’s no shortage of outrage directed at parents who don’t vaccinate. That makes me think this conversation is more about unleashing anger, bashing people and finding an outlet for our fears than it is about preventing measles. Otherwise, someone, somewhere would have actually considered this. And I wonder how many people making comments that demean parents that make choices different from theirs have actually confirmed their own immunity. With all the negative comments I’ve seen lately, I’ll bet at least one or two of the writers are not immune themselves. Of course they don’t know that — they’re too busy bashing people to make sure that their own immunity is up to date.

  23. I suspect I am older than most of you. My kids are now in their thirties. I also have a teen and foster babies. I am a careful vaccinator. I do not follow the schedule and I start later than most. My grandmother died young, aged 26 in a TB epidemic and left behind a baby who ended up in care. I have know many people who contracted polio and lived shortened lives or lives with disability. I spent time in hospital with mumps meningitis which I contracted from my own child. MMR vaccine was not available then. I had a young baby who came to the infectious diseased hospital with me. Once every city had one of these hospitals. No they are all closed down. While there I listened every night to the noise of the iron lungs. Even children ended up in them after getting polio. This was 1980 not 1920. I am so grateful for the polio vaccine. Forty years ago I used to pass a hospital that housed many brain damaged children, some were born with congenital conditions, others were brain damaged from catching measles and meningitis etc. Their cries and screams will always haunt me. I met a young mum and admired her baby who was several months old. She told me sadly that her baby had contracted measles while in the hospital as a newborn. Her baby was blind and severely intellectually disabled as a result and would never walk or talk. We have had a whooping cough epidemic in my city in Australia. many young babies have been hospitalised and some have died. Watch one small baby struggling to breathe and coughing with whooping cough and you will vaccinate your baby. My friend, who did not vaccinate her children, had a son on the autism spectrum who caught whooping cough so badly he missed 6 months of school. Chicken pox can be mild but it can leave men sterile. I am vaccinated and I keep my vaccinations up to date. Before the flu vaccine I would spend many weeks in winter with severe asthma as a result of flu. Now I get vaccinated every year and have been totally well the last three winters. I understand the fear that some parents have around vaccinations. I am more afraid of losing a child to one of the infectious diseases that are becoming more common as the vaccination rates drop.

    1. “Watch one small baby struggling to breathe and coughing with whooping cough and you will vaccinate your baby.”

      That’s very true. But it’s also very true that if you’ve seen one child become severely injured within 24 hours of being vaccinated you will not vaccinate your baby. So it seems to be, like most things in life, that perception is colored by experience. If vaccination rates are to rise, then changes must be made. People must be listened to and full disclosure must be forthcoming. This article make one of those points very well.

      The current program in the U.S., as it is, is turning people away from compliance. The U.S. has the highest amount of mandatory vaccinations, many of them for illnesses that are not considered severe. In order to receive exemptions in this country, you must essentially be “all or nothing.” I know of several parents who would in fact accept some vaccinations, but if they do so the would be required to accept everything, and they feel that it is excessive. And information should be forthcoming so that informed consent is achieved. If parents are being told that X vaccination does not cause Y outcome ever, yet is says right on the package insert that X in fact has caused Y on rare occasions, then people feel they are being lied to. Further, as the article points out, bullying turns people away. You would think by now that some sharp p.r. person at one of our governmental agencies would see that the greatest damage to the vaccination programs here comes not from a few errant studies or celebrity spokes people, but rather from their own poorly formed policies.

      1. Thankfully I am not in the USA where medical services are provided for profit and the risks of damage is much higher. I am a foster parent and have been parenting now for 40 years. My professional experience as a teacher means that I have been around lots of children for a long time. I do not know one child who has been damaged by vaccines. Not one, despite the scaremongering of the anti vaccine movement. Vaccines are routinely given in schools here. My youngest child is a teen. When she needed to be vaccinated I had her titers done first and she only received the vaccines she needed. I never allowed multiple vaccinations in one session and had all her vaccinations done at the local childrens hospital. The hospital supported my decisions and accommodated my daughters drawn out process of being vaccinated. She had no reactions what so ever, no fevers’, no reactions at the site of the injection. I have fostered over 40 little ones and all have been vaccinated. None have suffered any complications as a result of vaccination.

  24. Oregon Health Sciences University did a study in 2007 which showed that nearly all vaccines are “good” for 30 years, not the 10 advocated by the medical community. Scandinavia has already changed its vaccination schedule accordingly. I guess the US has not because of the profit motive. If you suspect your child would not react well to vaccines, request an immunoglobulin panel from your conventional doctor. IgG, IgA, IgM – all of ’em! An IgA deficiency would certainly show that your child could not weather a vaccine, and any doctor who sees those results in black and white could not (with ANY conscience) order any type of vaccine. Actually, any markers which are out of the norm this panel will show any sane doctor that a vaccine would be harmful at this time, and that the immune system is simply not able to withstand these foreign bodies.

  25. I am 60 years old. I don’t believe I was vaccinated except for smallpox. And perhaps polio. Thank God bc I remember FDR’s suffering from polio his whole life. I remember suffering through measles, mumps, chicken pox. Fortunately I didn’t know anyone who died from the diseases we all had but we were lucky. Country kids. I wish I had been vaccinated for chicken pox bc now I have to get vaccinated for shingles and that’s only 62 percent effective!
    Have you seen the commercials showing shingles? It’s so painful people go to the er for morphine shots! Children in those days rarely got shingles but a 5 year old girl spent weeks quarantined in the hospital room crying w shingles pain. I was in the hospital w appendectomy and finally got to see her from the doorway as I got to go home.
    That’s the trouble w you that have had all your vaccinations thanks to your mothers. You don’t know what it’s like lie in bed for days with measles in the dark. Having unbearable itching from measles and chickenpox and begging to scrstch

  26. Want to have your rights and research and not vaccinate? Fine. Isolate your poor child and pray he doesn’t get sick from his other privileged unprotected home schooled kids. Keep him from my pregnant daughter and newborn grandbaby.
    Care about other people. These diseases are reappearing due to foreign travel and those who want their “rights.’. Don’t endanger others.

  27. I think positioning this as a “choice” issue is a reflection of race and class privilege.
    Disregarding wider public health ramifications for the sake of your “choice” is highly problematic.
    It’s interesting to me that the highest population of those who are resisting vaccination and arguing for “personal choice” are white people with economic and social privilege.
    Then again, mothering.com is a website catering to the white middle class while virtually erasing the experiences and realities of women of color in this country, so I’m not that surprised.
    Wake. Up.

    1. ^Nope.

      I will ignore your logic and call you a sheep since you didn’t read my neighbour’s facebook status last week, write a B.S. story I read online and pretend it happened to me, add in an emotional plea about a baby “I know” who told me they grew a second anus after an injection, then blabber on about breast milk, Hitler and a quack doctor, and, then I will pose the question, “Why should people be worried if my kids are unvaccinated”, completely misunderstanding the very basis of science; and, therefore, completely proving the scientific community is wrong and I am so smart because corporations.

  28. This article was beautifully written. Thank you for bringing some honesty back to the debate. We as parents are trying to do our best and when you see a child suffer or die some a vaccine you feel that you have failed that child. Whenever and however a child suffers we all should have compassion and find out why and make sure another child never has to suffer in that way. Thank you again for this article!!!

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