Attention Parents

Yesterday when I picked up the kids from daycare I found a note tucked into their box. The note was to notify parents that there was an outbreak of chicken pox at the school.

Immunizations are a touchy subject with some parents. My feelings have changed over the years on whether or not kids should be required to be immunized. When Emily was a baby her first babysitter did not immunize her children. I had to sign a waiver showing that I understood this and was fine with it. At the time Bret and I talked it over and thought that it didn't really affect our kid because she was immunized. Four years of med school for Bret and hours of reading for me 5 years later and I realize that this is not entirely true and that even back then I should have been more cautious.

Immunizations only work about 80-90% of the time. We count on disease eradication and groups of immunized children to cover the difference. You also don't get all of the immunizations you need when you are born so there is a gap between when you are protected or not. Pregnant women's babies are also not completely immunized (although they do receive protection from the antibodies from their mother it may not be enough) and can still be at risk also.

What this means is that if you CHOOSE not to immunize your child you could be putting me and my children at risk too. At the point you are putting other children at risk this no longer becomes an individual right.

I watched an episode of private practice (albeit pretty far fetched TV) where a mom decided to not immunize her younger children because her oldest son was autistic which she thought was to blame. Of course in this TV episode her youngest child got sick and died.

I think sometimes our generation forgets that these are serious diseases that many people have died or have long term effects from. There is a reason that all of the money and time and research went into eradicating these diseases. For a while people who stopped immunizing could say see it doesn't matter and it worked because people like me were in the majority and continued to immunize which kept your children safe. As long as people continue to resist immunizing these diseases will come back and children will die and no one will be completely safe.

I understand the fear of autism. I have friends that believe with every inch of their being that immunization is the cause but the research doesn't support it. If some how immunizations causes it the link must be very rare because they would have found it by now. I spent hours reading the research before I got Palmer immunized (cause the risks are so much higher for boys) and still came to the same conclusion. I want to believe these parents that are so convinced but science in every case points a different picture. There is study after study that shows that we as pregnant women subject our babies to 25 times the amount of mercury in our everyday consumption than what is present in immunizations with no connection to autism. Some other studies done after the war have even more conclusive evidence to show the lack of connection between the too.

We have to go with what has been proven to work. Immunizations save lives but only when everyone participates.

I don't usually point fingers and tell people how they should parent because I do think that we have to make the best choices for our own kids. However when you put me and my children at risk I believe strongly enough to tell you that you are wrong. I know that the chances of us being in harm's way over Chicken pox seems a little rash but after understanding the possible affects to a baby while in utero (birth defects, abnormal growth, death) and having to go get tested I am a little less than rash right now. These tests came back fine but the next pregnant woman may not be so lucky.


Caroline said...

I like this post. It makes you think, for sure.
I hold my kids off on the MMR for 6 months, so instead for getting it at 12 months they get it at 18 months.
I go back and forth on this issue a lot.

FRANNIE said...

My state requires a chicken pox vaccine for children in public schools. Is this not the case in PA?

FRANNIE said...

Forget to say I like your never july 4th look :).

LegalMist said...

You are absolutely right. It is simply irresponsible not to immunize kids. And I am so tired of the uninformed anti-vaccination groups making the world a more dangerous place for my kids.

Thanks for blogging about this really important topic!

And I'm so glad you and your baby are fine. :)