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(picture by: multiple-sclerosis-research.blogspot.com)

To be honest there are two subjects that most moms try to avoid discussing with other moms, those are vaccinations and car seat safety. I have avoided participating in these discussions because it gets so heated, argues for their side, and can get just down right nasty to those who do not agree with their point of view. In light of a lot of things being said lately due to the measles cases in the US, I have two questions for everyone to think about. You may not agree with me and I may not agree with you, but these are questions everyone should be thinking and asking themselves. 

First let me just say this. Yes, my children are vaccinated, but we did a very altered schedule that our pediatrician was ok with. He was also impressed with my arguments and concerns which led me to that decision. I was also an ICU Nurse for many many years before the triplets were born and I am well versed in the medical side of it as well. 

We live in a drug company age, and this includes vaccines. It is like most technology out there: It can be great for the people when used / implemented properly, but greed usually twists it to where it becomes not good for the people. Let's take a very common, well known example, the flu vaccine. Medical professionals know the strain you are being vaccinated for is from last year and the virus mutates at a much faster rate. So every year the drug companies and doctors push everyone to get the flu vaccine because "At least it will help you recover quicker and not have as bad of an episode." The majority of nurses I have known will agree, that the majority of flu cases we have seen, and some of the worst, have been those did get the flu shot vs those who did not. Most of the nurses I have known, myself included refuse it every year because we do not see the benefit and what was just stated. Does that mean we refuse ALL vaccines, no. We are just making an educated decision based on medical data and what we observed.

So on to the two questions:

1) If you vaccinated your child, why are you so afraid of those who did not?

Here's the thing, you were sold on vaccination because you were told if you give this to your child it will give him/her immunity to that disease. In essence you did it so your child would never develop that disease even if exposed to it. So if you believe in your decision, and believe that vaccination would give your child immunity, then why are you scared of the neighbor child who did not. If they get measles because they did not get vaccinated, you gave your child vaccinations to give them immunity to measles, then wouldn't it be logical that you should have complete piece of mind. The only ones who should really be worried are those who do not really believe that the vaccination did it's job, and then wouldn't that make it more of "I gave my child vaccinations because everyone says to, not because I believe in them"?

The first time a child is infected with a specific antigen (say measles virus), the immune system produces antibodies designed to fight it. This takes time . . . usually the immune system can’t work fast enough to prevent the antigen from causing disease, so the child still gets sick.  However, the immune system “remembers” that antigen. If it ever enters the body again, even after many years, the immune system can produce antibodies fast enough to keep it from causing disease a second time. This protection is called immunity.      -From the CDC

2) When a parent is against vaccines, the first thing out of everyone's mouth is about the crazy autism study. Why?

To be honest, that study doesn't really come to my mind and had nothing to do with my decisions. If you go look up vaccine initiatives/trials in other countries (usually impoverished areas where they don't speak a lot of English such as areas of India, Pakistan, and Africa) you will truly see some horror stories. In India there was a huge push to vaccinate against Polio. A good majority of the parents didn't speak or understand English, did not understand what they were signing (waivers), and a large group of the children became paralyzed, had neurological damage, and some died. There are documentaries, articles, research articles, and so forth out there filled with stories like this. I am sure there are a lot of anti-vaxers out there that have seen and read these types of studies  and their choice was based on those instead of one autism study. If I am wrong in this, I really think people need to research more before making life decisions. To be honest I think everyone needs to research and find out about all their medical stuff and make educated decisions instead of just following what others say blindly (and that includes what your doctor says).

Personally I think vaccinations can be a good thing (otherwise I wouldn't have done it). I also think that the way we vaccinate (how many at one time) is more about convince for doctors and parents, then about the best course of action for a child. There is a large portion of children that do ok with it, but there is also a large populations that have complications, get sick, and so forth. Think of it in terms like this: You are shooting 3-4 different viruses into a small child/ baby's body all at the same time. You are expecting that young immune system to cope with it, develop good antibodies against all of them, and expecting they will not have a reaction/ get sick/ etc. Personally, I think that is just too much to ask. Yes, spreading them out a little and doing alternative schedules is a hassle. It's more trips to the doctor. It also gave me piece of mind and made me feel that they were getting the best protection possible. Again this was just my decision based on my own research and what I have seen. 

Closing Thoughts: Don't do something because everyone else is. Don't do it because you feel pressured. Do your own research and make your own educated decisions about what is best for you and your children. Lastly, don't judge others if they choose to do something different. As a parent we all do what we think or feel is right for our children (at least I hope so) and sometimes it is going to be different from other's choices, because our children and families are different.