Why Child Vaccinations Are Important

There are a lot of different reasons why people do or don’t choose to participate in child vaccinations.  I’m not here to criticize them or bring up any logical fallacies.  I’m giving my opinions on child vaccinations, and maybe a little bit of factual information sprinkled in.

That being said, think about what you learned in history class.  Think back to that time before child vaccinations.  I grew up hearing stories of loss due to childhood illnesses that are largely eradicated.  Before the days of the dtap shot, my grandmother (who, if she were still living, would be a great great grandmother today) grew up.  It was the Great Depression.

Why Childhood Vaccinations are Important (Cloth Diaper Addicts)She used to tell me stories about growing up in the Depression when I was a little girl.  Some of her stories were ghostly happenings from her childhood in Alabama.  Others were stories of loss due to medicine not being what it is today.  She had an older brother who died of Diphtheria.  Back then, there was a treatment, but it was a “kill or cure” thing.  He got the treatment, but it killed him.  Had the dtap shot been around, then he might have survived his childhood.

Some childhood vaccinations that were common during my mother’s childhood are no longer given.  The one that comes to mind, of course, is the Smallpox vaccine.  Because Smallpox has been completely and utterly eradicated (aside from samples in labs), the vaccine is no longer given.

Some diseases were on the verge of being wiped out.  Measles, for example, was no longer a common childhood killer that left a percentage of boys sterile if they were fortunate enough to survive.  Child vaccinations did that.  Unfortunately, there was a scare a few years back.  A British doctor linked childhood vaccinations (particularly the MMR) to autism.

Jenny McCarthy made that her cause and her mission in life.  Her child was misdiagnosed as autistic, and she blamed the MMR vaccine.  Suddenly, parents were afraid to vaccinate their children against mumps, measles, and rubella.  The fear still exists today, in spite of Andrew Wakefield being discredited, his studies being a fraud, and generally being debunked.

Because of this unfounded fear, there are parents out there who are not vaccinating their children.  On one hand, I have to support their rights as parents to do what they feel is in their children’s best interests.  On the other, I can’t help but criticize the threat that they are posing to society.

Yes, I do mean a threat to society.  You see, there are benefits to inoculating a population against certain illnesses.  That benefit means that if a person does end up with the illness that he was protected against, it will generally be far milder because the body already has the antibodies to fight it off.  It also means that there’s a shared immunity, which means that the people who cannot for some reason or other receive the vaccine will also be protected.

After all, it’s hard to get sick from an illness if there is no one to give it to you.

That group immunity is threatened by the vast numbers who have refused to vaccinate their children.  And because of that, measles is on the rise.  It was approaching eradication before the trend of skipping vaccinations came about.

I vaccinate my children on the standard schedule.  There are alternate schedules out there if you don’t want your children getting so many at one time for some reason or other.  Please, vaccinate your children.  Not just for the safety of your kids, but for the health and safety of the infants that are too young to be vaccinated.

Originally written July 17, 2010.  I’m still militantly pro-vaccination, though I’ve become a bit more understanding of those who fear child vaccinations.  Only a little, though.  And I still loathe Jenny McCarthy.  Did you vaccinate your children on the standard schedule?

Image by posterize / freedigitalphotos.net

Note: I recognize that this post will be controversial.  It’s fine to disagree, but debate must be civil.  I reserve the right to remove comments that are not.

About Suzi

Suzi is an American ex-pat living in British Columbia. She's a cloth diaper addict, wife, mom of three, and President of the Prince George chapter of Cloth for a Cause.

Comments

  1. We vaccinate on schedule, but we ask for single dose vaccinations which supposedly do not have the same preservatives as multiple dose vials.

  2. I vaccinate my kids on time.. I keep tabs on the schedule so that I don’t want them to miss out on their dosages.
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  3. I vax on time (mostly) sometimes I’ll delay a lesser shot until the next appt if he is bombarded with several, but in general, it’s on time. I will say I was torn about the Chicken Pox vax, b/c I got the vax when I was a kid, got chicken pox at about 2nd grade, and mere WEEKS before my wedding got shingles too. I did not want my kiddo to follow that path, but I’d also never forgive myself if he had gotten the pox early on, died from complications or something… It was the first REALLY tough decision that we made as parents I think and in the end, we DID vax, simply because everyone else did, so there would be no “wild” pox for him to get and getting it when he was older seemed scarier yet. So, herd mentality on that one I guess. Great post!

  4. I vaccinate my daughter with MOST of the recommended shots, and that’s on an alternative schedule. To each their own. I have a similar story that my dad told me, that was told to him by his grandmother about when she was in her 30’s she became very ill and was pretty much written off to die. Then the doctor tried this miracle drug… PENNICILLIN … and she lives another 40 years 🙂 In rural Poland. But that only worked because she had never taken any medicine before in her life.

    So, on one hand – medicine is good. But on the other hand, inundating our bodies and more or less conditioning ourselves to need higher doses isn’t a good idea either.
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    • Antibiotics are a whole different matter. Norton is 3.5 years old. He’s never taken antibiotics. Eudora is 19 months old. She’s never taken antibiotics, either. Over-prescribing has been quite an issue. However, that’s treating an illness, not preventing them in the first place. 🙂

      • Yes. I concur. Antibiotics are vastly different than vaccines. Antibiotics are truly over-prescribed and the rate of antibiotic resistance is worrisome. There have been some very interesting studies out lately about how antibiotics drastically alter gut flora. Scientists are just starting to identify the role that gut flora plays in being healthy. Moreover, scientists have started looking at antibiotic use in babies and children- If I remember correctly their gut flora was permanently altered following antibiotics. It will be interesting to learn more about unexpected uses of antibiotics.
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  5. Our daughter is fully vaccinated, but I wished we had spread them out, similar to what is written here: http://thepaleomama.com/2013/10/alternative-vaccination-schedule/. I don’t know if we’ll do it that way with #2, but I’m planning on discussing it with our pediatrician.

    I think that if people are against ALL vaccines that they’re forgetting their history. There were reasons vaccines were introduced, especially Dtap, polio, MMR, etc. The vaccine I don’t think is right to be given to children across the board is Hepatitis B. Sorry about rambling. Overall, I definitely agree with you.
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  6. We pick and choose which vaccinations to give our children using an alternate schedule. My kid’s pediatrician goes with my decision and has no problem with it.
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  7. I spent some time in Africa and saw people affected by polio, measles, and other illnesses that we’re lucky not to have to experience here (and malaria, which there is not yet a vaccine for but hopefully will be someday). I get the recommended shots myself and plan to vaccinate my kiddos (first is due shortly). The importance of vaccines seems more real when you see first hand people who have suffered as a result of not having access to them. I’m concerned about recent outbreaks in the US of illnesses like mumps and whooping cough which were rare for years. These outbreaks put people at risk who have compromised immune systems or are too young or otherwise unable to get vaccinated.

  8. Amen! This is one of those topics I avoid discussing because I become irate at times but I am glad there are people that vocally support vaccines.

  9. So true! Vaccines are so important to our kids and we should do it on time.

  10. Christina Howell says:

    I am so glad to hear someone who feels the same way I do. I have a sister who gives me a horrible time about vaccinating my kids. I recently read this article that gives a whole bunch of information about why vaccinations are important and helps you defend yourself why you do vaccinate. Thought I would share the article since it really helped me out (not saying that you need it) http://bostonwed-murakami.blogspot.ca/2013/09/vaccination-laypersons-perspective_26.html?m=1

  11. Beth Gallinger says:

    I’m absolutely militantly pro-vaccine as well! Thank you for this post!

  12. My kids are not vaccinated on schedule, mostly because I have just fallen behind. I vaccinated my oldest on schedule and then went slower with my second. I have chosen to wait until 1 year to start vaccinations with my third. I do believe vaccination is important but I am just not comfortable with doing it at such a young age.

    • I get your discomfort… but the longer you wait, the longer you’re leaving your child at risk because of those folks who don’t vax. Whooping cough is on the rise and babies are at special risk.

  13. I realize this is a fairly old post, but I wanted to add…any child who has a compromised immune system (for whatever reason) or is for any other reason medically unable to be vaccinated is put at incredible risk by being around those who are able, but unwilling, to vaccinate.

  14. Tami Lewis says:

    After much studying we do not vax at all. The lies spread about how effective they are and how they help reduce the diseases are widespread and permeat society. Nowadays it’s even quite often a money scheme ! I will not vax any of my seven children given the extensive research I have done.

    • How much of that research has been from actual peer-reviewed studies?

      Really, in my province, it’s far from a money scheme… after all, we have universal health care. It costs the government money, not private individuals. Don’t you think that if it was just “a money scheme” that they’d have slashed the immunization budget in order to save money?

  15. I have all my shots and so do my kids. My sisters have never gotten any of them and now that my youngest sister has a child, he doesn’t have any of his either. With some of the life threatening diseases returning that these shots protect you from it scares me to know that I could lose some of the ones I love because they chose not to get the shots. I think the risks of not getting them far outweigh the risks of getting them.
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  16. I’m pro-vaccine but I might consider giving them on a slightly slower schedule. I definitely find it concerning when people refuse them.

  17. Laurie P says:

    We vaccinate on schedule. Yesterday we received a letter in the mail advising us of the current changes to vaccinations policies, and now my son needs yet another….
    This is not the first time we have gotten a letter about yet another change in policy. What I don’t like is when they state “if you don’t provide the paper work showing received vaccination (or exemption), your child could be at risk of suspension from school”. WHAT THE HECK IS THAT??

    • It’s for slackers like me who will make an appointment at the last possible second. 😉

      But an exemption is so easy to get that the “risk” is non-existent.

  18. Agreed! For too many people, vaccines have been a victim of their own success. So many terrible diseases are practically unheard of anymore because of vaccines. I would like to see measles, mumps, rubella, whooping cough, chickenpox, and other preventable diseases go the way of smallpox — eradicated because of vaccines!
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  19. Thank you for writing this article, we need to hear this voice more. The anti-vaccine movement is so loud and in your face and it makes me frustrated when people with no scientific training are being coerced into believing vaccines are dangerous despite OVERWHELMING evidence to the contrary. Thank you for your article.

Trackbacks

  1. […] their parenting rights to keep their children in a way that I consider to be risky due to my pro-vaccination stance, I’m forced to wonder where your parenting rights end and mine begin.  The old saying is […]

  2. […] years of studies from around the world that confirm the efficacy and safety of vaccines, many parents are still hesitant to vaccinate their children. Now three new studies have uncovered […]

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