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Our Firm Stance on Vaccination

I haven’t made much of a secret that my husband and I are both heavily involved in the medical field. He is a pediatric neurologist and when I graduate this May I will likely also head into pediatrics, though not as a physician. We are careful with our research and try to make levelheaded decisions. And we have made one such decision, and it’s one that I’ve seen several of our friends make as well.

There has been a major outbreak of pertussis (whooping cough) in California and other states over the past few years. This is the result of parents opting out of vaccines as well as vaccines being admittedly imperfect, but the consequences of these outbreaks have been tremendous. My husband himself has been unfortunate enough to care for a very young infant who died from pertussis because he was too young to receive the vaccine.

What I’m getting at is that pertussis and infants can be a deadly combination.

Which is why we’ve taken a firm stance with our family and friends on vaccines. We understand that the risk is relatively small, but until our son can get his first pertussis vaccine and his body has time to develop antibodies to protect him, we will only be having visitors who have received a recent Pertussis booster. No exceptions.

A few friends and family members have already voiced displeasure about this and others think we’re being overprotective. And maybe we are, but if the worst thing I do is over-protect my son from pertussis, well, then I’m going to consider myself a pretty decent parent. Knowing what we know about this disease, and with what my husband has seen first hand, we are just unwilling to take any risks with our son.

I realize that there are plenty of people who don’t like or want to vaccinate and while I strongly disagree with their reasoning, I respect their decision. And it is my hope that they will respect mine in return. But if they don’t, I can tell you that I care far more about my child’s life than about any friendship that could be harmed over a shot.

I had mine last October, my husband is getting his this month. Talk to your doctor about when you should get yours and how long to go between boosters. I may not have my degree or a child yet, but I can tell you that this annoyance is worth the ache in the arm.

And so is my child’s life.

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