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Have the anti-vaxxers gotten to you yet? No? Maybe? Your kiddo is at the pediatrician and the doc is telling you all about the vaccines she needs. You’re getting the low-down from the medical pro. But, there’s still a nagging, “Hmm. Will all of these shots hurt my child?” feeling going on.
Hey, no one blames you. The anti-vaccination mop goes hard when it comes to getting their (um, misguided) message across. We get it. You’re completely confused. Some of your mommy group friends are telling you that vaccines cause horrors galore. And then there’s all of that supposed ‘info’ on how they contribute to autism.
Well… the CDC and plenty of major medical bodies (that is, organizations, associations and professionals who have actual medical degrees, not Jane Doe’s anti-vax blog) agree that vaccines do not cause ASD. But, that still won’t stop some people from raising the red flag and refusing to vaccinate their kids.
Okay, so this is a totally personal choice. Your child is your child, and whether you choose to vaccinate them or not is your business. Right? Hmm. Kind of. The problem here is that not vaccinating a child is putting them in danger. Oh, and it’s also putting the rest of us in danger too. How? Read on to find out why parents who absolutely, positively refuse to vaccinate their kids are selfish.
We know, we know. Calling them selfish may be taking it a bit too far. Some parents are misinformed, some are unwilling to believe the truth and some are just plain ol’ confused. But, when it comes down to it, they may be causing more harm than they think.
15 Vaccines Don’t Cause ASD
Say it with me, “Vaccines do not cause autism.” We get it, ASD is scary stuff. No parents wants to hear that their child has this diagnosis. And that can make a mama look for causes everywhere. So when you hear that there was a study, published in a major medical journal, that found a connection between autism and anything, it gives you pause. Serious pause.
That’s what happened when the medical journal The Lancet published a study that supposedly found a link between autism and vaccinations. Since the study was published countless parents have not vaccinated their children in the name of keeping them safe. Did they really believe the hype? Possibly. Did they think they’re doing the right thing? Probably. Were they proved wrong? Absolutely.
The Lancet has retracted the study and the lead researcher on it, Andrew Wakefield, was accused of fraud. Oh, and his medical license was revoked too. Even though this study was totally debunked, the author was proved to be a fraud and there were more than a few super-shady things going on in it, parents still continue to use this ‘research’ as a reason for not vaccinating. It’s not a reason. These parents likely either suffer from the repercussions of serious misinformation or are selfishly using it as a scapegoat.
14 Making Measles Possible
Who wants measles? You don’t. Your kids don’t. And guess what? The kids of the anti-vaxxers don’t either. Why not? Duh, that’s obvious. Measles are absolutely no fun. Beyond that, they’re dangerous. Yeah, that’s why those smarty, smart scientists developed a vaccine – so that no one ever has to get measles.
So here it goes – the anti-vaxxer wrongly believes that the measles vaccine will somehow damage their child. Okay yes, vaccine-related accidents and injuries do happen. But they’re not the norm. The parent selfishly thinks only of their own beliefs and decides to nix the notion of vaccination. Hey, who gets measles anyway? That’s what they’re thinking. Well…that’s probably what people who went to Disneyland in 2015 thought. But after an outbreak that was believed to have started with a traveler who had been overseas brought measles to multiple states across the U.S., they were shown what can really happen when people don’t vaccinate.
What can measles do to a child? As it turns out, kids 5 and under are most at risk. Complications include common issues such as ear infections and tummy troubles. More major problems include pneumonia, swelling of the brain and possibly death (in one to two out of 1,000 childhood cases).
13 Polio Sucks
If no one wants to get measles, they really, really, really don’t want to get polio either. Come on. An iron lung? Paralysis? Limited mobility? Those aren’t exactly things that anyone hopes for.
Choosing not to vaccinate puts the child and everyone around them at risk. Hey, not everyone can get vaccinated. Some people have totally legitimate reasons why they can’t have an immunization (or a few). Allergies and other medical conditions may make it impossible for some people to enjoy the protective benefits of the polio vaccine. And not vaccinating a child puts these people at risk.
In many people, polio causes very few symptoms or problems. But, that’s not always the case. One in four people get flu-like symptoms. Even though that may not seem like a big deal, if it can be prevented, why not? Then there are the serious symptoms. These include meningitis and paralysis. Somewhere between 2 and 10 people out of every 100 who have polio-related paralysis die from the disease. Along with paralyzing their legs, the disease can paralyze the muscles used to breath.
12 Long-Gone Diseases Can Come Back
Oh, you thought polio was long gone? It’s something that your grandparents had to worry about. Right? The same goes for some of those other dreaded disease. You know, the ones that seem like they died out decades ago.
When a parent gets selfish and decides to ditch the idea of vaccinating their children, they up the risk of bringing back some of those old school diseases. Just because a disease isn’t popular or all over the news doesn’t mean it’s gone. Seriously. Think back to that Disneyland fiasco. Someone brought the illness to the U.S. from another country. That time it was measles. But, it could be another disease – one that is less common or one that was thought to be gone (at least over here).
What the anti-vaxxers don’t always take into consideration is their ability to revive almost gone illnesses. These diseases are on their way out. But, not vaccinating can stop this and let the sicknesses sneak back in.
11 Sick Vs. Scared
Fear is a powerful motivating factor. As parents we know what fear can do. It can make us crazy. Not just a little bit of crazy. But instead it can make us big time, major, lock us up crazy.
It’s normal to feel fear at some point during parenting. The problem comes up when it gets in the way of rational thought. The parent wants their child to have the best of everything. And they’re scared that won’t happen. So they do things like not vaccinating their child, just to quell that fear.
But what the parent doesn’t think about is the fact that a sick child always outweighs fear. Yep. The fear of having a sick child or a child with other issues shouldn’t come before actually keeping the child healthy. Sure, we all kind of want to put our kiddos into big ol’ bubbles. But it’s not worth it when it comes down to their real safety – and, of course, their health.
10 Doctors Know More
When that parent who chooses not to vaccinate their child sites their ‘medical expertise’, you start wondering, “Hey, are they a doctor?” And the answer is…no. Okay, maybe this isn’t always the answer. But most of the time it is.
When it comes to your child’s health you trust the pediatrician. After all, that’s why you chose them. Now imagine that your pediatrician tells you a medical fact. And then you go and dispute it. Why would a parent seriously dispute a doc’s advice? Well…that’s what’s happening when an anti-vaxxer thinks they know more than the medical professionals.
Maybe that medical degree doesn’t mean as much as the doctor thinks it does? Hmm. It kind of does. Medical professionals don’t just google a few facts and call themselves M.D.’s. They’ve actually trained, for many, many years, to be experts in this field. If the pediatrician says that vaccines are safe, and necessary, maybe it’s because they know more than the rest of us.
9 Preventing The Big Bad
Come on, you’ve heard it all before. Vaccines are basically the root of all evil. Not only do they cause ASD, but they cause allergies, a buffet of developmental delays and everything else that could possibly happen to a child. Okay, okay, this isn’t exactly true. Oh, not that the anti-vaxxers blame immunizations on the big bad. But, that vaccines cause any of these.
When it comes down to it, some (and that is a some, not an all) anti-vaxxer parents use these types of totally, entirely, unbelievably incorrect arguments for their own selfish purposes – to get their agendas across. Maybe it starts out with good intentions. But, it grows, and grows, and grows until ‘prevention’ (or preventing the worst of the worst possibilities) is twisted into something that it’s not.
Hey, we’re not talking about the moms and dads who have a legit reason for hating vaccines. Yes, there are kids who have had majorly adverse reactions. Keep in mind, this isn’t the norm. Bad things happen, and it sucks. Big time. But, it’s not always a vaccine that causes a reaction or a negative outcome,
8 Other Children Are At Risk
Not every child has the opportunity to be vaccinated. No, this doesn’t equal a money problem. There are plenty of programs out there to help families vaccinate their children. But, there are some kiddos who can’t get vaccinated for medical reasons.
Anyone with an allergy to the vaccine, or to a component in the vaccine, can’t get vaccinated. This is a completely legitimate reasons for skipping a vaccine. You wouldn’t feed a child with a life-threatening peanut allergy a peanut. So, why would you give a child with a life-threatening vaccine allergy a vaccine? It just isn’t worth the risk.
Along with this, some vaccines aren’t recommended for children who are actively ill. For example, the CDC doesn’t recommend the DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis) vaccine for children who are moderately or severely ill (until they have completely recovered from their illness) or a child who has had a brain or nervous system disease within seven days of getting a DTaP dose.
Now here’s where the selfish parenting part comes into play. Not vaccinating a child who is completely able to get the vaccine puts these other children at risk.
7 Herd Immunity
Herd immunity is the idea that when most (a majority) of a community or group of people in a geographic area are immunized, their immunization protects everyone else. Huh? So, what does that mean? It means that if enough people get vaccinations, the people who can’t get vaccinated should be protected. In other words, if most of the herd is protected, the rest will be too.
Okay, so some anti-vaxxers figure that herd immunity will protect their kids from illnesses such as the flu, measles and the mumps. And, it might. But, the less people who get vaccinated, the less herd immunity works. If you stop immunizing the herd, you stop everyone from benefiting.
When parents refuse to vaccinate their children, they throw off the balance and reduce the effects of herd immunity. That may mean the children and adults who are immunocompromised, allergic to vaccines or for some other real reason can’t get immunized, won’t benefit from community immunity.
6 Adults At Risk
Children aren’t the only group of people who are put at risk when parents chose not to vaccinate their children. There are also some adults who can’t get vaccinated. Again, immunocompromised, allergic (to vaccines) and severely ill adults may be legitimately unable to get vaccinated.
When parents refuse to vaccinate their kids they put every adult who comes in contact with their children at risk. This includes teachers, daycare staff, babysitters and anyone else they regularly come in contact with. But, these aren’t the only grown-ups who are put in harm’s way. An adult who is allergic to a component of the MMR vaccine and sits near the child at a movie is at risk. An adult sitting behind the unvaccinated child in an airplane is at risk. Along with the adults who directly come into contact with the child, the adults that come in contact with these adults are also at risk.
Keep in mind, an unvaccinated child who hasn’t been exposed to a disease and isn’t carrying the bacteria/virus can’t put anyone at risk.
5 Assuming Others Will Vaccinate
It’s the other guy’s responsibility. Right? Um, what? The selfish parent figures that they don’t need to vaccinate their child because everyone else will do it.
This typically isn’t a ‘lazy parent’ thing. Instead, the parent has some completely unfounded fear. Instead of addressing the fear, getting the medically correct information or vaccinating the child, the parent assumes that it’s no problem. Why wouldn’t it be a problem? Well…because everyone else is doing it, of course.
If those other parents vaccinate their kiddos, then the anti-vaxxer parent can feel safe and secure knowing that their child won’t get sick. Hmm. It seems kind of strange that vaccines aren’t okay for one parent’s child, but alright for another’s. Maybe it’s just a case of the selfish-ies. Parents who refuse to vaccinate their children shouldn’t feel comfortable with other parents immunizing theirs. Hey, no one is saying they should impose their values on other parents. But, if they honestly believe vaccines are bad, they shouldn’t expect anyone to get them.
Obviously, some parents truly believe this. But, the ones who think not vaccinating is just for their kids are all about being selfish.
4 Privilege And Money
When you have unlimited resources (or at least enough resources to pay for medical costs) it’s easier to say that you don’t need to vaccinate your child. Okay, no one is saying that an anti-vaxxer wants their kid to get sick. Um, well not all of the time. There are parents who prefer to expose their children to common childhood illnesses, such as chicken pox, instead of vaccinating them.
You could just vaccinate your child against the bumpy, itchy illness. Or, you could send your child off to a ‘pox party’. A what? Yep, a pox party. That’s where you send your child to casually pick up chicken pox from a friend. When one child has the pox, the parent invites all the other parents of children who haven’t had it yet to bring their kiddos over and expose them to the virus.
Well, if you have the money to pay for an awesome insurance plan, pay for the copays and pay for anything else that the illness requires (like taking off a week or so of work to care for your child), it seems like it’s no big deal. But, for parents who can’t afford insurance, have astronomical copays and deductibles or can’t take time off from work, the privilege of letting a child get sick just isn’t there.
3 Wanting A Choice
Everyone likes choices. That’s probably why so many of us parents give our kids choices. Your child doesn’t want to go to ballet class. Okay, no problem. Give her the choice between going to class or staying home with you. She’ll work it out. Kids love choices. And so do adults.
But, sometimes there aren’t choices. That makes kids, and adults too, angry or unhappy. Obviously. Wanting a choice is a natural part of life. The problem creeps up when parents make not vaccinating their kids a choice issue.
They don’t necessarily believe vaccines are the world’s worst enemy. And they don’t really think that immunizing their child will definitely cause some sort of horrible condition or chronic illness. What they do believe is that they’re always entitled to a choice. And, not vaccinating their children is a choice – not anything else.
Sure, parents should have choices. But when it comes at the expense of other people, is that choice really worth it?
2 Schools Should Be Safe
You send your little one off to school. When she gets there, you think that she’s safe. You make sure that your child is in a secure school and that she has everything she needs to thrive.
The last thing you’d expect is that your child brings home some long-gone illness. When a parent decides to not vaccinate their child, and then sends said child to school, your kiddo is suddenly at risk. Of course, the non-vaccinated child needs to have or carry the illness for your child to be at risk.
You have to send your child to school. And you may not have a choice when it comes to where you send her. It’s not fair that your child’s health and safety should be out at risk simply because of a selfish parent who won’t vaccinate their child.
Schools should be safe places. You shouldn’t have to worry that another child will infect yours with measles, the mumps, chicken pox or anything else – especially if your child can’t be vaccinated for a medical reason.
1 The Child’s Choice
Let’s go back to the idea of choices again. Sometimes parents get selfish and use their kiddos as the scapegoats. Instead of admitting that they’re afraid of vaccinations or that they want to make their own choices, they put the ‘choice’ on the child.
Obviously, a child is too young to make medical decisions for themselves. Ask any toddler or preschooler if they want a shot in the arm and you’re not likely to get a “yes.” They child only sees the pain. They aren’t able to logically reason through the pros and cons of vaccinations, and they don’t understand the arguments that adults use.
But, some parents (the selfish ones) put the blame on their kids. “My child chose not to” or, “I don’t want to force this on my child” become reasons. Of course, these aren’t reasons. The child doesn’t get the choice whether she wants to eat or not. She also doesn’t get a choice whether she wants to go to school or not. So, why should she decide if it’s okay (or not) to get a vaccination?