Wednesday, May 13, 2009

To Vaccinate Or Not?

I'm sitting here watching an Law and Order: SVU episode and it has really gotten me thinking...What made me choose to get my daughter vaccinated? In all honesty, I didn't have to think twice about it. I never weighed the options between vaccinating or not vaccinating. I was vaccinated as a child, so when it came to my child, it was an automatic decision.

So what's the argument between the two? Should vaccinating be a personal choice or should all children be vaccinated to ensure that certain diseases don't spread?

Personally, when I sit here and think about my options, I would make the same decision to vaccinate. My daughter was born with strep b, which can cause sepsis, meningitis, and pneumonia, which can all be deadly diseases. I had tested negative during my pregnancy, but Brooke tested positive when she was born. She ended up spending 14 days in the NICU receiving antibiotics that saved her life.
So why shouldn't I make the choice to get her vaccinated against other deadly diseases?

But let's take a look at the other side. Why do people choose NOT to vaccinate? Some choose not to vaccinate for religious reasons, and some just don't agree with the practice. The recommendation is 20 vaccinations against 11 different diseases before the child reaches 18 months of age. Some parents choose not to vaccinate because they fear the side affects tat vaccines can cause. Some believe that vaccinations can lead to certain neurological disorders like autism and ADHD.

In 1990 there was a scare with the level of mercury in vaccinations, that same decade there was a spread of the measles. Coincidence? One will never know, we're all going to make our own assumptions.

Pediatricians highly recommend and urge parents to vaccinate their children because the benefits outweigh the potential complications. People today are living longer and longer, and that's not a coincidence. Health and medical care is getting better and better every day. This advancement contributes to growing elderly population. Take a look back in history and research what the average age of death was. You were lucky if you saw the age 50. And why do you think that was? Why do you think school require that children have all of their immunizations up to date by the time they enter a public daycare, preschool, or kindergarten?

This may be a controversial issue. And I am not saying that I think parents who don't vaccinate are negligent, I'm just saying that I would never take the risk of not vaccinating. I do believe that each parent has the right to choose, and I choose to vaccinate. If my child is around another child who has not been vaccinated and they are carrying a disease that could harm them, I can sleep well at night knowing that my child has the defense of the vaccination.

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