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.
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.