To Vaccinate or Not To Vaccinate Your Child: Three Guidelines to Help You Decide
I came to question the need for immunizations when I brought my new born to the doctor for the first time and was given an immunization chart. It looks like a maintenance schedule you get with your new car. There are approximately nine vaccines covering about fourteen infectious diseases. Most vaccines require a few dozes. So, by the time your child reaches two, he or she would have had 22 shots. Well, that seemed like a lot to me.
I am not a conspiracy theorist who believes there is a global conspiracy perpetuated by Governments, hiding behind pharmaceutical companies to systematically program, categorize and reference us through vaccines? Sorry X-Files fans. I just wanted to make sure the vaccines were necessary and won’t compromise my child’s ability to ‘naturally’ develop his immune system.
The research on the impacts of vaccinations are literally split down the middle – half says it’s the only way to go and there are no worries whatsoever; the other half says, whoa, it’s bad and can cause problems worse than the infectious disease.
Take the vaccination for mumps, measles and rubella (MMR) for example. One study says it causes autism in children and another says there is no proof it causes autism and it’s merely coincidence – as autistic behaviours generally rear its’ ugly head at around age 2, the same time you shoot your child up with the MMR vaccine. Or is this just the terrible twos? So, what do you believe? How do you make an informed choice?
As an involved father, my questions were: is it absolutely necessary to be immunized for all these diseases? Will being shot up with so much stuff, especially at such a young age; affect my child’s ability to develop his ‘natural’ immune system? Will these vaccines cause side effects or other problems worse than the disease? Are the vaccines 100% effective in immunizing against the disease it was designed for? How effective are the vaccines? Will these diseases kill my child? Why are we immunizing children at such a young age? Can’t some of these wait?
These questions led me to three guidelines in making a vaccination decision.
1. If it won’t kill you, it’ll just make you stronger. I had mumps, measles, flu and chicken pox and I lived. I remembered it was pretty uncomfortable but I got over it. So the decision was to vaccinate for the infectious diseases that could kill you or cause serious complications in adults. Although I had put chicken pox on the ‘no vaccine’ list originally, I changed my mind after my Doctor explained there hasn’t been much of an outbreak so the probability of my son getting chicken pox as a child is slim. However, the problem is if he gets it as an adult. This leads to shingles and that could have serious complications.
2. The amount of time the vaccine has been around and the clinical testing done. There are vaccinations that are created quickly and did not go through proper clinical trials i.e. H1N1 vaccine (this was actually in the pharmaceutical company report when it was introduced). The decision was therefore to immunize for diseases that could kill you where the vaccine has been around for awhile and has gone through proper testing.
3. Wait until as long as possible to get the vaccine. There is a point where physiologically, a child becomes an adult. For the ‘yes vaccines’, the decision was to wait as long as possible to give the body a chance to develop.
Immunization is definitely an important subject for an involved parent when dealing with your child’s health. I can’t tell you what your child should vaccinate for, because that would be irresponsible. I do hope these guidelines will help you make your decision easier. For more information on vaccination risks, check out this site.