We Are Both Right

And the Debate on Vaccinations Continues…

Say the word vaccination in a roomful of parents and you better be ready for an onslaught of opinions. Because it doesn’t matter what approach you take to childhood vaccinations — whether avoiding them altogether, staggering the schedule, or going along with national recommendations — someone is likely to disagree with you.

Just the other day, I had an interesting conversation with a new dad on the topic. He is debating the pros and cons of having his children vaccinated according to government guidelines and knew that the often-quoted study linking vaccinations to autism had been debunked. Still it wasn’t comforting enough, because we both knew about other cases of children suffering brain damage and a variety of developmental setbacks immediately following a set of vaccinations.

And then he pointed me to this link — which I can’t help but consider sensationalist in some respects. But then again, who doesn’t love a good conspiracy theory?

It’s enough to make you second-guess yourself. And then guess again. Which is what I did a few months after my second child was born. I had just walked into the waiting room where my son was taking swimming lessons, and no sooner did I place the car seat carrier at my feet than I heard from two other moms in the room — whom I had never met before.

Completely unsolicited, and with the oddest timing, the first came right out and told me that she hoped I wasn’t getting my baby vaccinated according to schedule. The second chimed in with the litany of developmental delays her own child had experienced and which she attributed to a set of vaccinations the child had received.

I thanked them, saying of course I was cautious in everything I chose for my children, and would take that all into consideration. Inside, I was shaking. Not scared, not mad. Just questioning myself and the decisions I had made.

Ultimately, we went ahead and S. received her full set of vaccinations. I staggered a few so that she would get no more than two at a time, but otherwise, she had everything her pediatrician recommended.

When I talked to Amanda about it later, we discovered that we had each done our fair share of research on the subject, and then some with each additional child. The more we knew, the more questions we had. And even though the oldest children had done just fine, it didn’t stave off the worrying about how the younger ones would be.

You also come to realize that there are risks on all sides of the story. With mandatory vaccinations, there’s always some degree of sacrificing the well-being of an unlucky few for the benefit of many. Then again, it’s only because there’s still a majority of children who get vaccinated that allows unvaccinated children to benefit from herd immunity. Otherwise parents might be back to worrying about children dying of diseases like polio instead.

So there’s certainly a lot for parents to think about when it comes to vaccinations. What was your approach?

One Response to “And the Debate on Vaccinations Continues…”

  1. Way cool, some interesting arguments! I appreciate you making these thoughts available, the rest of the site is also high quality. Have a good.

Leave a Reply