Editors Note: The title of this post has been changed and the word “myth” has been removed to emphasize that this post is the opinion of the blogger.
Choosing to vaccinate your child or not is a very personal decision, which is up to each individual family to make. There’s a lot of anger out there on both sides of this debate. And usually when I read the comments on any post dealing with vaccines, I see a ton of what I consider incorrect claims. (And no…in sharing those things with me and telling me I’m a bad parent, I will not be persuaded to see things your way, and no, you are not telling me anything I haven’t heard a hundred times before.)
Today I’d like to address some of the worst things that I see flying around out there:
1) “You better keep your unvaccinated kid away from mine because I don’t want mine to get sick!” — You do realize that in order for my child to get yours sick, my child would have to…actually be sick? In that regard, only children who are actually ill can pass along illness. It does not matter if a child was vaccinated or not, if a child is sick, then the child can pass along the illness. Unvaccinated children aren’t magical disease-carriers. In fact, many are rarely sick. If they are, they’ll stay home! It’s just not a good argument, because anyone *can* catch an illness, and unvaccinated kids aren’t extra-special in this regard, especially not when it comes to general mingling with society.
2) “But the greater good…!” — Nope. If there’s something out there that’s “for the greater good” and promises absolutely no harm to my child, guaranteed, sure, I’ll do it. But vaccines come with their own set of risks, and parents must be willing to accept them. And since unvaccinated kids aren’t disease-carriers (see point #1), it really isn’t that big a deal anyway.
3) “Your child will die of the measles or another preventable illness!” — Highly unlikely, and not because of vaccines! Let’s suppose my child does catch the measles. The primary reason for complications/death from measles, according to the WHO, is vitamin A deficiency. In fact, the WHO recommends immediate vitamin A supplementation in areas where children frequently catch measles and aren’t vaccinated. My children aren’t deficient in vitamin A, and if they were, could easily be supplemented. Knowing the position of the WHO and why people do die in third-world countries eases my mind, because that is just not an issue here. (Along with poor nutrition and sanitation causing complications, also not an issue here.)
4) “You don’t love your children!” — This is just a rude thing to say! Every parent loves his/her children, and makes what s/he believes to be the best choices. You may disagree and that’s your right, but it is absolutely wrong to say that a parent doesn’t love their child.
5) “If you don’t vaccinate, your kid can’t go to school!” — False! In 48 states there are medical exemptions, in most religious exemptions, and in about half, philosophical exemptions. Yes, you can use them for college, too. Basically you just have to fill them out and your kids can attend public school, without any vaccines at all. This is a scare tactic that schools and doctors use to get reluctant parents to vaccinate, and it is a lie. (All of you who are afraid of your kids going to school with unvaccinated children…they probably already do!)
There are a whole bunch of other things, but those are the most common. But if you want to say, “We couldn’t have healthy people without vaccines,” or “Wait till all those iron lungs come back” or whatever else…rest assured I, and other parents who choose not to vaccinate, have heard it before! This question simply isn’t settled and decided, it’s very much up in the air.
Choose what works best for your family, and don’t let people scare or shame you into making any particular decision.
What things have you heard?
Top image by UNICEF Svergage
Learn more about why parents choose not to vaccinate, and what that means for our kids.
One mom says: I don’t vaccinate my kids and it’s none of your business.
And head to Strollerderby for Sierra’s post on why you should vaccinate your kids.