The perils of the vaccine debate

baby vaccine

Last week, Harley finished off her first batch of vaccines. She is sorted until she is nine months old, when she gets the next round, but at least now she is protected against polio, TB, diphtheria and hepatitis. She only had one bad day following her inoculations, one time when she came down with a fever and generally felt miserable. One poorly day compared to the risks of diphtheria? Sounds like I’ve come out ahead!

Harley’s next vaccine includes her chicken pox shot. I have vague memories about there being some issue with that one – something I heard when I was a teenager or something about kids who got that vaccine as babies ended up contracting chicken pox as adults when it was far more dangerous. I wanted to read up on this to see if it was just the dawn of anti-vaxxer stuff back then or a real concern, but thanks to all the anti-vaxxer sites out there, I can’t trust anyone who claims to be a source. I like to think of myself as informed about medical things, especially for my little one, but here it’s become pretty much impossible to read up on things without taking everything with a grain of salt (which isn’t a bad way to take all things read online anyway).

Really, though, I think the whole vaccine debate is pretty silly. There are tons of medical professionals who know way more about this stuff who are constantly doing research and development to make vaccines that will keep the world’s population safer and healthier. The idea that a bunch of couch researchers could know better is simply wrong and foolish. And yes, some kids can’t be immunized, but those cases are rare and those children need to rely on the umbrella effect of having the majority of babies inoculated against all the dread diseases. I love the way Penn and Teller explain the importance of vaccines in this video.

But seriously, I want to be an informed mom. I want to know what I’m putting in my kid’s body. But I think when it comes to vaccines and protecting her against all the horrible diseases out there, it’s best to simply trust the medical practitioners I’m using and follow the recommended guidelines. Getting shots isn’t fun, and it makes my heart so sore to see Harley so upset in the nurse’s office. However, I’d rather see her upset for a few minutes following a shot and maybe get a bit of a fever in the evening than deal with her getting a horrible illness and landing back in the NICU. If those are my options, I think it’s pretty clear what’s best for my baby.

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  • Tracy Benson

    Fun story about vaccinations: I couldn’t get the MMR (Measles Mumps Rubella) vaccine because it was cultured in egg white and, at the time, I was deathly allergic to egg white so they had to skip it (I’ve since grown out of that allergy, thankfully). So, I was one of those people that had to rely on herd immunity. I relied on everyone else not getting sick so that I wouldn’t get sick.

    I got measles when I was about 4. It was relatively “mild” even though I had a fever so bad I could barely move, the bumps got in my throat so I couldn’t eat, and I dropped weight so drastically that they wanted to put me on a feeding tube. Instead I had to have a “chocolate milkshake” (Ensure meal supplement) with every meal just to keep my weight up so I could fight the disease. And that was *mild* bear in mind.

    Then a few years ago I got Rubella. It was painful, and awful to go through, and my doctor actually originally misdiagnosed it because it’s too rare and people shouldn’t be getting it. The Rubella gave me a fever and the scariest whole body rash, it affected my eyesight, and my joints (with some permanent damage), and I had to be quarantined for over a week in case I passed it on to anyone else (ebcause if I passed by a pregnant woman and gave it to her, she’d need to basically have an abortion because of the birth defects it would cause).

    So yeah, herd immunity is great until the fucking anti-vaccination movement has caused it to fail, meaning that even me, as an adult, is in serious danger. TL;DR; trust yo doctors and vaccinate yo kids, people. It’s important.

    • Ouch ๐Ÿ™ Sorry to hear that

      • Tracy Benson

        I survived, through sheer dumb luck apparently ๐Ÿ™‚

        • Her Highness the Hipster

          Geez, that’s crazy! and yes, all the more reason the anti-vaxxing trend is so dumb, and dangerous!

        • Not dumb luck. Anti-vaxxer nonsense. Just glad you got through it all

  • Good on you. Our little one is vaccinated. Now I know my kid is safe from anti-Vaxxers and will also not be the cause of someone else’s kid catching something I could have prevented in my kid.

    To just prove how people are simply anti anything taht sounds chemical check up the stuff about dihydrogen monoxide and how people have got companies and every day people to rally against it and call for it to be banned.

    SPOILER: dihydrogen monoxide is water.

    • TriangularRoom

      This is gold!

  • I am so glad you are sensible and doing vaccines. The Chicken Pox one is about it “working out” around teenage size – and then you either need to vaccinate again or not. Our A got because just before the boys’ birth there was a small chickenpox epidemic and we could not let the newborns be exposed to it. The boys I opted not to as in itself chickenpox is one of the less dangerous ones.

  • TriangularRoom

    That video really sums it up nicely!

  • Megan Stow

    I cannot actually explain how much the anti-vaxx movement angers me. I actually spit fire when I read the drivel they come up with. Bunch of complete idiots.