I'm a vaccinator

There is a measles outbreak in New York. As a parent, reading headlines about this is pretty concerning. As a parent of a child who has yet to receive her MMR vaccine, it’s terrifying.

Vaccines are one of the hot button topics in the Mommy Wars. It’s almost become one of those things you don’t talk about in public circles right next to politics and religion. People are passionate about their vaccination choices. And I don’t blame them.

Jenny McCarthy and her campaign alongside the now discredited MMR vaccine/autism study by Andrew Wakefield got a lot of people’s attention. I know I hadn’t heard anything negative about vaccines until then. But it seems that this study and media coverage launched the general public’s awareness that vaccines are NOT mandatory as many may have previously thought.

I’ll just get this out there: I’m a vaccinator (Wow. That sounds a lil’ Schwarzenegger-ish. It’s not that intense, I promise). I get the recommended vaccinations for my kids and occasionally space them out if they have illnesses or if I feel like they need some time in between for their bodies to mellow. I’m not a doctor. I’m just a mom.

But, I know there are so many out there who disagree with me. I get that. Injecting your baby with a virus (weakened or not) is scary. It’s also scary that the shots don’t come with a list of ingredients. AND the Internet puts out a lot of scary things about vaccines. It also doesn’t help that there are more celebrity moms joining the vaccination and anti-vax movements and delivering their opinions through mass media. It makes an already difficult decision that much more daunting. Just last week, Kristin Cavallari joined the anti-vaccine ranks in Hollywood. I think I see an article for either side at least once a week on my Facebook news feed.

There are many out there who will say that I’m only vaccinating because big pharm companies have launched a fear campaign to make me scared enough to blindly vaccinate. You know what, though? I’m kind of okay with that. Because if it came down to it, I’d rather my child get an ugly side effect from a vaccine than die from a preventable illness. But, I can say that because my kids are healthy, handle medications well and don’t have any current medical concerns. If they had medical issues, I might feel differently. I don’t know.

It’s scary out there though. In addition to the measles outbreak in New York, almost every year, I read about a whooping cough outbreak here in Lawrence. One of my kids was exposed to H1N1 this year and I also just happened to miss getting her a flu shot. She was fine, thankfully, but you can bet I won’t miss that one again. These illnesses scare the bejesus out of me. If there is a way to protect my kids, I’m all over it. However, the anti-vax camp says I’m injecting toxins into my children as I try to protect them from these infectious diseases.

It seems like a lose-lose.

So I will continue to vaccinate. I also respect the many parents who believe that they are protecting their child’s health by opting out of vaccinations. I’m not judging them. Every child is different. Every parent is different. You can find an article or study to back up almost every claim in the world of parenting. We’re all just doing our best with the situation and information we’re given. It’s all done out of love for our kids.

Does your family vaccinate? Why or why not?

Tagged: vaccines, anti-vaccine, parenting

Comments

Renee Sanford 4 months, 1 week ago

Vaccinate! I applaud you for caring for your children and the thousands of elderly or immuno-compromised folks who CAN'T vaccinate! Not only are you protecting your child from preventable disease, you're protecting others that your children come in contact with that are unable to vaccinate for any number of reasons.

Always know you have folks on your side. :) And? Your kids are stinkin' adorable. There's always that! :D

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Karrey Britt 4 months, 1 week ago

The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department is happy that Megan has brought up the topic of vaccination — it is an important issue to talk about.

We understand that parents may have questions about vaccines. A parent's top priority is the health of their children. We feel disease prevention is key to good health. Vaccines protect both the people who receive them as well as those they come in contact with.

Vaccines have dramatically decreased the incidence of many infectious diseases that were once common in the U.S. including polio, measles, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), mumps and others. Over the years vaccines have prevented countless cases of infectious diseases and saved millions of lives.

We encourage parents to discuss their concerns with their child's health care provider. Thanks Megan for starting the discussion!

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Mary Wooding 4 months, 1 week ago

My problem is the parent who jumps on the anti-vaccination bandwagon in part because of celebrity hype without truly doing their own research and/or working with their health-care provider. Not only is their child subject to disease, but someone you or I love is also subject to that disease because they're too young to get the vaccination. Measles is the perfect example. Very easily transmitted prior to developing symptoms - scary for the community

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Jason Johnson 4 months, 1 week ago

While I don't personally vaccinate myself for the flu (I rarely get it, whether or vaccinate or not - and it seems I get it sometimes even if I do vaccinate), but I will vaccinate my children for it (and other diseases).

Vaccines work. The science is there. I don't base my decisions on celebrities. I base it on scientists and science. (I just have personal bad luck with the flu is all)

Vaccines aren't the work of a government conspiracy.

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Jason Johnson 4 months, 1 week ago

Ask my great-great Aunt Clara what polio is like. She's dead now, so you can't, but she spent her entire life having suffered from polio. It's preventable now, why would you want your child to suffer through something like that? I just honestly don't get it.

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Randall Uhrich 4 months, 1 week ago

Jenny McCarthy and bad science. Not victimless criminals.

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