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Monday, February 2, 2015

Vaccinations?

Vaccinations are a controversial subject anymore due to a lot of misinformation and intolerance. With the measles outbreak, I thought I'd share my thoughts on this. This is my opinion. You are welcome to your opinion and you are welcome to share it even if it differs from mine. But please, for the love of pete and for the sake of rational and civil dialogue, keep it polite. I'm not pointing fingers. I'm sharing how I feel and why.

First off, I have eight children, most of them adults now. Most of them are also autistic. Although the medical community says there is no link between vaccinations and autism, there are other medical conditions associated with my kids' autism that make the risk of vaccination complications higher. All of them have allergies of one kind or another. Most of them are vaccinated, with only a few experiencing severe reactions. My youngest has only had a couple of shots total. Yes, we delayed them. Yes, we consulted with our pediatrician before deciding not to vaccinate for a long time. Yes, I know the risks of not vaccinating and understand that vaccines do save lives. But sometimes vaccination is not the best choice.

My youngest has severe food allergies. She was diagnosed at one month old. Because her immune system was so hyperactive, we chose to delay vaccinations. When we did get her the first shot at ten years old, she reacted badly. We have chosen to only do the bare minimum of vaccinations for her for these reasons. For some people, vaccinations do more harm than good.

Fortunately, we live in a society with very good access to health care where most children are vaccinated. The percentage of unvaccinated children is rising, however. For my child, I'm hoping that herd immunity will provide her some protection.

I had someone inform me once, very stridently, that herd immunity only works if everyone is vaccinated. Excuse me, but no. Herd immunity means that if most of the herd is immunized and doesn't get the disease, the chances of the non-immunized members catching that disease are much lower because very few members are passing the disease around.

So whether your children are immunized or not is your choice. Just be certain that you are making an informed decision and understand that choosing not to immunize makes your child more vulnerable to some very nasty diseases and if enough people choose not to immunize, those diseases will come back. With devastating consequences.

As I stated at the beginning, this is my opinion and my choice. If yours are different, I respect that. Feel free to share, but keep it civil and respectful.