The Great Vaccine Debate: Where Do You Weigh In?
I’ll admit, when I first heard there was anything controversial about vaccines for infants and toddlers, I was surprised. Why wouldn’t everyone want their child immunized from such terrible things as polio, measles, chicken pox? I remember having the chicken pox as a little girl (the same day I came home from the doctor with the diagnosis, my little brother informed me that my imaginary best friend “Ben” was now his best friend. How can you forget a double-whammy like that?) and that it was quite unpleasant.
The more I’ve read, and the more people I’ve talked with, the better I understand the vaccine debate. For many children, there’s no fall-out from vaccination, but for a small group, there can be serious reactions, or even life-changing or life-threatening ones. Mothering Magazine just began a forum for discussing vaccines, pros, cons, and the extended schedule. Check that out here. There are other great resources out there too, like the Vaccine Pro/Con website. And a plethora of very partisan blogs and websites.
And then there’s the pervasive Autism-Vaccine concern. Huffington Post had a great article up last year by David Kirby that discussed why the concern over the link between the two hasn’t yet gone away. Most pediatricians are pro-vaccine on the regular schedule as recommended, a few are not. Most parents have an opinion one way or the other. We chose to vaccinate J on the regular schedule, with the exception of Hep B as a newborn. He just began that one as a year old. I was not concerned about my child contracting Hep B through sexual activity or a dirty needle as an infant.
A girlfriend’s daughter just had a terrible reaction to the MMR, and I’ve heard of other friends having bad reactions as well. What have your experiences been with vaccinations? Pro/con/bad reactions/no reactions? Any advice to mothers of vaccine-aged children?