I recently wrote a post explaining why my wife and I decided not
to give our children the MMR vaccine, and it elicited quite a response.
One commenter on Facebook pointed out that people are too quick to blame
vaccines for other conditions like autism, obesity and ADHD. Another noted the
recent outbreaks of measles and pertussis and conveyed how heartbreaking it can
be for doctors to see patients who are seriously ill with vaccine-preventable
I wanted to address some of these comments, because I think it’s
important to have open discussions about tough and polarizing issues such as
the vaccination question.
As far as whether vaccines are related to ADHD, obesity, autism
and allergies – I’d like to clarify that I absolutely do not believe (and never
suggested) that vaccines are directly responsible for these problems. My
primary concern was whether repeated and/or excessive use of vaccinations could
be causing a functional shift in our immune system balance.
Additionally, my heart goes out to the communities and doctors that
deal with outbreaks of diseases like pertussis. I simply can’t imagine how
heart-wrenching it must be to watch an infant suffering from pertussis gasp for
But the same image runs through the mind of a parent who has
fears about their child’s 12-month MMR shot. “Will my baby have an
anaphylactic reaction?” “Could she be that 1 out of 1,000 that will
have febrile convulsions?” These
fears are enough to stop any parent dead in their tracks, and AT LEAST slow
down enough to do some research and ask questions.
I am not
“anti-vaccine.” I am also not “pro-vaccine.” I think it’s a
complex question, and every parent should do their research before making a
For example, I was scared to tears of giving our little girl the
MMR shot – so I assessed our individual situation. We live in a low-population
area, drink clean water, my kids receive the proper nutrition, we supplement
our diets, and we all have good hygiene. Additionally, my wife and I are able
to work from home with our children, so none of us go to school, work, daycare
or other places on a daily basis where we could contract an illness or put
other children at risk of exposure.
As a result of all these
factors, I decided to forgo the vaccination for my children at this time. I
feel secure in my decision, but I would never have the audacity to suggest that
it’s the right choice for everyone.
I think this is the most important point – the decision whether
or not to vaccinate needs to be made on an individual basis with many factors
Parents should know that
they have options, they need to realize that they DO have choices. For example, they could hold off on vaccines until the child is two or older and has further
developed. Or they could opt out of the chicken pox / HiB / Hep B vaccine, or
maybe even space out the vaccine schedule so it’s not so many all at once.
I certainly don’t want to
dissuade parents from vaccines. My sentiment i that we need to use vaccines
carefully, on an individualized basis and take into account the child’s health,
among other factors (living conditions/nutrition).
I hope this article provides food for thought – something to consider, and a way to
share what I’ve learned in my own personal research. I hope that as parents, we
can keep our minds open and continue to learn about this subject. Information
truly is power, especially when it comes to your child’s health.
What do you think? Did you struggle with whether to vaccinate your child? Share your story in the comments section.