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I'm a vaccinator


There is a measles outbreak in New York. As a parent, reading headlines about this is pretty concerning. As a parent of a child who has yet to receive her MMR vaccine, it’s terrifying.

Vaccines are one of the hot button topics in the Mommy Wars. It’s almost become one of those things you don’t talk about in public circles right next to politics and religion. People are passionate about their vaccination choices. And I don’t blame them.

Jenny McCarthy and her campaign alongside the now discredited MMR vaccine/autism study by Andrew Wakefield got a lot of people’s attention. I know I hadn’t heard anything negative about vaccines until then. But it seems that this study and media coverage launched the general public’s awareness that vaccines are NOT mandatory as many may have previously thought.

I’ll just get this out there: I’m a vaccinator (Wow. That sounds a lil’ Schwarzenegger-ish. It’s not that intense, I promise). I get the recommended vaccinations for my kids and occasionally space them out if they have illnesses or if I feel like they need some time in between for their bodies to mellow. I’m not a doctor. I’m just a mom.

But, I know there are so many out there who disagree with me. I get that. Injecting your baby with a virus (weakened or not) is scary. It’s also scary that the shots don’t come with a list of ingredients. AND the Internet puts out a lot of scary things about vaccines. It also doesn’t help that there are more celebrity moms joining the vaccination and anti-vax movements and delivering their opinions through mass media. It makes an already difficult decision that much more daunting. Just last week, Kristin Cavallari joined the anti-vaccine ranks in Hollywood. I think I see an article for either side at least once a week on my Facebook news feed.

There are many out there who will say that I’m only vaccinating because big pharm companies have launched a fear campaign to make me scared enough to blindly vaccinate. You know what, though? I’m kind of okay with that. Because if it came down to it, I’d rather my child get an ugly side effect from a vaccine than die from a preventable illness. But, I can say that because my kids are healthy, handle medications well and don’t have any current medical concerns. If they had medical issues, I might feel differently. I don’t know.

It’s scary out there though. In addition to the measles outbreak in New York, almost every year, I read about a whooping cough outbreak here in Lawrence. One of my kids was exposed to H1N1 this year and I also just happened to miss getting her a flu shot. She was fine, thankfully, but you can bet I won’t miss that one again. These illnesses scare the bejesus out of me. If there is a way to protect my kids, I’m all over it. However, the anti-vax camp says I’m injecting toxins into my children as I try to protect them from these infectious diseases.

It seems like a lose-lose.

So I will continue to vaccinate. I also respect the many parents who believe that they are protecting their child’s health by opting out of vaccinations. I’m not judging them. Every child is different. Every parent is different. You can find an article or study to back up almost every claim in the world of parenting. We’re all just doing our best with the situation and information we’re given. It’s all done out of love for our kids.

Does your family vaccinate? Why or why not?


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