Parents Who Refuse to Vaccinate Are Ignorant and Irresponsible Parents
by Damien Powell
In 2000, the US declared measles officially eliminated, thanks to vaccination. However, the country experienced a record number of measles cases in 2014, with 644 cases across 27 states – the highest number since 2000. This year, more than 150 people have been infected with measles across the US. The majority of these people were not vaccinated and thus prone to catching the infectious disease.
It’s no wonder why. In recent years, the anti-vaccination movement has grown louder, and more parents are reluctant to have their children vaccinated due to unwarranted fears against vaccines.
Let’s debunk some of the common claims anti-vaxxers have against vaccines:
Fear of Big Pharma
While it’s true that natural immunity in some cases can actually result in a stronger immunity to the disease, the dangers of this approach far outweigh the relative benefits. Anti-vaxxers believe vaccines are some sort of conspiracy fueled by money-hungry pharmaceutical companies who stand to profit by injecting us all. Proponents of vaccines are told they’re “sheep” or are in the pockets of Big Pharma.
The truth is, vaccines hurt profits. The primary purchaser of vaccines is the government, and vaccine suppliers have always been squeezed. In some countries with socialized medicine, the suppliers have absolutely no negotiation power. Further, vaccines actually hurt future business for Big Pharma: Vaccines make for healthier people, and healthier people require less medication. On top of this, pharmaceuticals are pressured to give away large supplies of vaccine to developing countries. A look into any pharmaceutical company’s financial statements will support these claims.
Vaccines Cause Autism
The most popular explanation for non-vaccination is the false claim linking the measles-mumps-rubella shot to autism. This claim was made in 1998 by Andrew Wakefield in a British medical journal, so it’s understandable parents took it seriously at the time. However, Wakefield has long since been exposed as a fraud, his medical license has been revoked, the journal has apologized profusely for their error, and repeated studies since have debunked the claim over and over again.
Natural Immunity is Better than Vaccine-Acquired Immunity
Some say that contracting infectious diseases like measles are nature’s way of building up our immune systems. Osteopath Jack Wolfson recently said that, “We should be getting measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox; these are the rights of our children to get it.” While it’s true that natural immunity in some cases can actually result in a stronger immunity to the disease, the dangers of this approach far outweigh the relative benefits. By contracting measles, for example, you would have a 1 in 500 chance of death from your symptoms. In contrast, the number of people who have had severe allergic reactions from an MMR vaccine is less than 1 in 1 million.
Vaccines Are Obsolete Due to Low Infection Rates
Some anti-vaxxer parents believe that if all the other children are vaccinated, their kids won’t get sick. This logic relies on “herd immunity” to protect even unvaccinated children. But due to the growing number of parents who believe this, herd immunity is being undermined by the increasing pool of susceptible children. So while the national vaccination coverage in the US is relatively high, it’s still not high enough to fully prevent outbreaks, as evidenced by the growing number of cases. And worst of all, national averages hide local variances that can lead to bouts of outbreaks.
Other claims anti-vaxxers make are that shots can lead to permanent trauma in newborns, vaccines have dangerous ingredients in them, and infants’ immune systems can’t handle numerous vaccines at once. The only thing these claims have in common is that they are misguided, misinterpreted, or simply baseless.
The takeaway is this: vaccines are one of our greatest public health achievements, and one of the most important things a parent can do to protect his or her child. People who choose not to vaccinate their children against infectious diseases are not only putting their own children at risk, but also other people’s children. It is therefore in all of our best interests to settle this issue once and for all.
Why I Choose Not To Vaccinate My Children
Does it come as a surprise to you that “crib death” became much more popular with the rise of mass vaccination in the 1950s?
Quite honestly, statistics such as these don’t shock me any longer, and despite my doctor’s persistence that vaccinations for babies and children are “perfectly safe, Mrs. Jenkins”, there are several reasons why I choose not to have my kids vaccinated.
Having received every vaccination possible as a child, I often feel like I have no power to damn the popular vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella.
“Look at you, Laura!” my mother will declare all too often. “Nothing ever happened to you as a result of the odd injection.”
It’s true – I was one of the healthiest kids in my large city school, and even after all my vaccines, I never developed any allergic reactions or worse, autism or MS.
When I gave birth to my first child in 2003, I was faced with the dilemma that many other parents before me, including my own, had faced. While it had been easy for others, I found it very difficult to confront.
My husband, Hugh, and I spent several hours discussing whether we wanted the Hepatitis B vaccine to be injected into our darling baby daughter, and we eventually decided that we would agree to it.
I regretted our decision almost instantly. The unease I felt prevented me from sleeping that night, although I didn’t mention it to Hugh until three days later. I was both surprised and relieved to hear that he shared the same feelings.
I found myself constantly researching vaccines, trying desperately to prepare myself for the next time we would make a vaccination-related decision for our daughter. The long, scary names of not only the ingredients, but the vaccines too, frightened me and forced me to delve further into the science and ethics behind what was really being injected into our children.
I’m proud to say that we never agreed to any vaccines after that day. We’re now a happy family of five, and our two younger children have never received any vaccinations.
Does this make me a bad parent?
You may be wondering, like many other parents, why I don’t want my kids to be vaccinated. Why do I have the right to allow my children to be at risk of contracting some awful disease like meningitis? Am I an awful parent for letting my unvaccinated children mix in the same school clubs, classrooms and playgrounds as your vaccinated children? I think not.
My first reason for not giving in to the pressures of vaccinations was that I believe it is merely a way for the drug industry to make more money. The U.S drug industry received almost $6million from the government in 2011, just for children’s vaccinations.
Is it any wonder then that we are encouraged to vaccinate our children? We are told on a regular basis that the big autism scare is “nothing to worry about” and that the chances of any danger coming to our children as a result of the vaccines are incredibly slim. We are excluded from sending our children to public schools unless they are vaccinated against measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria and several other diseases.
Just imagine how much money would be lost if we all stopped accepting the vaccinations for our children from the moment they were born up to the age of 18.
It empowers me when I see other parents not vaccinating their children. Apart from being a refreshing change from the snooty and snobbish pro-vaccine moms outside school, it makes me feel like my decision is all the more correct. From all the unvaccinated children and adults I know, I have yet to meet one who has suffered from one of the diseases which so many are vaccinated against.
It’s got nothing to do with peer pressure or ‘going with the flow’. I would still refuse vaccinations for my children if I was the only parent in the world to do so. Talking to other parents and discovering the different reasons why they choose not to vaccinate reinforced my initial thoughts.
One mother told me of the horrors she went through when she was asked to hold down her 4-year old son while he was vaccinated, while others simply refused for religious purposes.
I want healthy children, not children whose bodies have been injected with mercury, formaldehyde and aluminum. Did you know that most children in the U.S have received a staggering 38 vaccinations by the time they are just 18 months old?
My eldest celebrated her 11th birthday last month, and my younger two are aged 9 and 6. All of them have never suffered anything (other than the common cold, of course!) and have no allergies (at least none that we know of yet).
Could I have said the same thing if I’d allowed them to be injected with mercury-containing preservatives on a regular basis? Perhaps not.
For years I trusted my doctors, but I realized that just because it’s a doctor doesn’t mean they always get it right. We read in the media regularly about doctors lying to their patients, misdiagnosing them and making mistakes. Be it cancer, tumors or IBS, there are wrong diagnoses and mishaps occurring left, right and center, and some of them are fatal. What’s to say that doctors aren’t going to get it wrong about a vaccine which is injected into my child? I’m not willing to take that risk.
Babies are born with immune systems. It’s not like we have to inject them in order for their immune systems to activate. In fact, injecting a baby while it’s newborn immune system is at its weakest can be dangerous, which is one of the reasons why I’ve never understood the convention of giving babies so many vaccines so early on in their lives.
As the baby grows and develops, so does the immune system. The fact that parents are rushed to give their babies unnecessary vaccinations before their immune systems are fully developed only reinforces my view that vaccines are promoted in order to help only one party – the vaccination industry.