Trigger Warning

Trigger Warning

These days it seems nothing is off limits. But even years ago when we were raising our eight kids the vaccination question popped up regularly. Now I understand mom talk. We discuss everything and have genuine curiosity, interest and desire to learn how to best take care of our kiddos. That’s not what I’m talking about. It’s one thing to volunteer information. It’s quite another to be required to reveal medical information that is no one’s business but our own.

I think this is an invasion of privacy. Would we ask a coworker if they have herpes and did they wash their hands the last time they were in the bathroom? Or question someone’s decision to eat a donut if they are overweight and diabetic? Of course not. It would be rude, insensitive and awkward. Hmmm.  

We’re going to have different opinions about this topic but can we agree that it should be a personal decision free from judgement, shame, fear mongering and – almost worst of all -- incentives? In what world are students being paid to get vaccinated, shoppers offered 10% off their groceries or $100 – if they get the shot? Easy. Our neighborhoods, cities and countries.

Oh, but they tell us it’s to “save lives.” I won’t even go into all the misinformation about masks, safety, efficacy, transmission, treatment, etc., because it’s coming out every day now. But if you think about it, since when are “they” so interested in life?

Since they are so interested in “saving lives” why are cigarettes and alcohol legal? Why isn’t everyone who has an alcoholic drink required to take a breath test before driving home? Or on a positive note, how about paying people to take their vitamins or exercise 30 minutes a day or not drink soda? For some reason we are trusted to make a choice when it comes to these things, but when it comes to what we inject into our body, we are apparently too stupid to decide if it’s good for us – or not.

We did lots of research. We read books on the pros and cons. We watched the videos the schools required when we filled out philosophical exemption forms. These videos did everything possible to scare you to death that your child would die of Chicken Pox if you didn’t get the shot. They are pretty convincing because as parents, we all want to eliminate any risk to our kiddos, and if a shot will save them, terrific.

Problem was that even a cursory study of the vaccine industry, the efficacy of the shots, the diseases we deal with in first-world countries today and most importantly the risks associated with vaccines, you wonder why anyone even considers the shots. We finally decided that the people who didn’t vaccinate probably knew a heck of a lot more about vaccinations than those who did. Why? Because most people don’t have the time or interest to look into it. After all, isn’t that what we pay our doctors for? And wouldn’t the pharmaceutical companies who promote the vaccines to the doctors be honest about side effects, studies and effectiveness?  

Well, no surprise here but we decided against vaccinating our kids. We trusted their immune systems to do their jobs. We also minimized refined foods and tried to eat healthy most of the time. We were able to get philosophical and religious exemptions for school. This worked well for us. But things have radically changed. Most of the exemptions have been eliminated, the number of required vaccinations have increased and the rules tightened.

Our kids are grown and we don’t have to fear they’ll be excluded from sports or school or a medical office that won’t take unvaxxed patients, be asked to leave church or be banned from the family get together because they don’t have a shot. But this is happening and many of you are dealing with the fallout.

We don’t have to agree on all the details of parenting, but don’t we believe that most parents take the health of their kids very seriously?  

There’s a saying that goes something like, “My right to swing my fist ends where your nose begins.” I feel it sums this up nicely. You be the best parent you can be and allow me the same privilege. Sure, let’s talk and even debate if we feel like it. But parenting is a tough job and we need support, not judgement or guilt. And at the very least, let’s be nice to each other.  

If you are trying to decide if your newborn really needs 23 shots before he’s 1, read “Vaccination is Not  Immunization” by Tim O’Shea

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