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To Jab or Not to Jab

06 Jan

Vaccines are a hot topic for many parents, especially here in the UK, and especially amongst homeschooling families in the UK. I know many homeschooling families who have chosen not to have their children immunised, and one mother even claimed that the rise in measles was due to immigration. I had to bite my tongue and go to my happy place to avoid responding to that.

I know immunisations aren’t without risk, and I’m well aware of what those risks are, but not immunising is also full of risk: brain damage, paralysis, heart failure, and death. Yes, for some children the immunisations don’t ‘take.’ But if all children, who are able to be, are immunised, their immunity provides protection for the unprotected ones, as they will not catch and pass on the illness.

I feel that many parents have become complacent because we don’t know what it’s like to live in an age full of communicable, deforming, deadly childhood diseases. We don’t know what it’s like to worry that our child will catch polio or diptheria…and this is because vaccinations have just about wiped them out. We now fear the result of the immunisation more than the disease itself. That’s understandable; I always felt a little nervous whenever Esa had another vaccination, and I, too, worried about any long-term damage. But I knew the risk of him catching measles and suffering complications was higher than the risk of a severe reaction to the jab. I also didn’t want to put other children at risk but leaving my son unprotected and allowing him to not only catch a disease, but pass it on to another child who is not immunised.

I’m not posting this to spark debates or condemn parents who don’t immunise; it’s just one of the many tough choices we parents have to make and to each their own. I’m just voicing my own opinions on vaccinations,  and I wanted to post a link to an article that may be of interest:

Doctor Behind Autism-Vaccine Link Study Accused of ‘Deliberate Fraud’

It turns out the data in the study linking MMR to autism was fudged and Dr. Wakefield’s been banned from practising medicine.

After the study was published,  many parents stopped administering the vaccine to their children, and the cases of measles increased, as did measles-related deaths.

This passage, in particular caught my attention:

“We had a measles epidemic in Britain, a drop in immunization rates in [the United States]. I personally know of children who were brain-damaged as a consequence of their parents deferring immunization as a result of this concern,” Wiznitzer said. At the same time, he said, “[autism] research monies were diverted to disprove a hypothesis that was never proven [in the first place] rather than invested in exploring issues that would be of benefit to the public and to children with the condition.”

Not all children who are immunised actually gain immunity, so he can’t really prove that all the children he’s come across have suffered brain damage because of not being immunised, but surely some of them could have been spared such a horrible outcome had they been immunised. Not only have many children suffered from preventable illness, but autism research has suffered, which is such a shame.

What are your thoughts on vaccinations?

*****

Since posting the above, I’ve had a comment that I wanted to share:

HI, Michelle,
Oh, I agree with you!
Yes, there is risk in any immunizations and for that matter in taking any medications.
But, as a Polio survivor, I know what it is like to live a life after getting one of the diseases that today we have an immunization for. I lived in a time when many, many children came down with Polio every year! Our parents lived in constant dread that their child would be the next victim. I was one of the very must lucky ones: My experience with Polio as a four year old child left me to learn to walk all over again and then with little or no problems until I hit age 50 and became one of the generation of Post Polio Syndrome victims. No one knew about PPS and no one predicted its results. I went from being an active adult to walking with a cane, from a practitioner of yoga to one who could not get into the most easy pose, from an independent person to one who has limited mobility. Yet, I’m still one of the lucky ones: others suffer breathing problems, depend on wheel chairs and scooters, or have great difficulty swallowing food or liquids. Almost every family had one or more polio victims when I was a child: our family had three. One cousin spent her life in steel braces, on crutches and in the end in a wheel chair. Children spent years in “iron lungs” just to stay alive. All life has risks, yet we have polio immunization now, we no longer have whole hospitals filled with children and teens with polio.
My mother lost two little sisters, one in the morning and one that same afternoon, to diphtheria when Mama was a child. The whole community was hit. My grandfather dug the graves and buried the girls himself as no one else would for fear of the terrible disease. (early 1900′s)
My grandmother lost two siblings with in one week to scarlet fever, in her childhood. We NEVER want to go back to that time. There are risks in taking ANY medication, but to go back to a time before immunization we just do not want our children to do that!
Keep Esa safe as our medical level can!
Love,
Elsie

 

 

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6 Comments

Posted by on January 6, 2011 in About Us, Family Life, Hot Topics, Michelle

 

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6 responses to “To Jab or Not to Jab

  1. Elsie Hickey Wilson

    January 6, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    HI, Michelle,
    Oh, I agree with you!
    Yes, there is risk in any immunizations and for that matter in taking any medications.
    But, as a Polio survivor, I know what it is like to live a life after getting one of the diseases that today we have an immunization for. I lived in a time when many, many children came down with Polio every year! Our parents lived in constant dread that their child would be the next victim. I was one of the very must lucky ones: My experience with Polio as a four year old child left me to learn to walk all over again and then with little or no problems until I hit age 50 and became one of the generation of Post Polio Syndrome victims. No one knew about PPS and no one predicted its results. I went from being an active adult to walking with a cane, from a practitioner of yoga to one who could not get into the most easy pose, from an independent person to one who has limited mobility. Yet, I’m still one of the lucky ones: others suffer breathing problems, depend on wheel chairs and scooters, or have great difficulty swallowing food or liquids. Almost every family had one or more polio victims when I was a child: our family had three. One cousin spent her life in steel braces, on crutches and in the end in a wheel chair. Children spent years in “iron lungs” just to stay alive. All life has risks, yet we have polio immunization now, we no longer have whole hospitals filled with children and teens with polio.
    My mother lost two little sisters, one in the morning and one that same afternoon, to diphtheria when Mama was a child. The whole community was hit. My grandfather dug the graves and buried the girls himself as no one else would for fear of the terrible disease. (early 1900’s)
    My grandmother lost two siblings with in one week to scarlet fever, in her childhood. We NEVER want to go back to that time. There are risks in taking ANY medication, but to go back to a time before immunization we just do not want our children to do that!
    Keep Esa safe as our medical level can!
    Love,
    Elsie

     
    • whimsyway

      January 6, 2011 at 4:25 pm

      Wow, Elsie; what a history. I knew things were bad pre-immunisations, but my goodness, I had no idea just how bad. I’m going to edit my post to include your comment; I want others to read it. I’m so sorry you and your family had to go through all of that, and I’m so sorry you suffer from Post Polio Syndrome. Thank you so much for this comment. Love, Michelle

       
  2. Wonder in the Woods

    January 6, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    I agree! My Dad had polio and was lucky to walk after. He might have some post-polio issues but would not go to the doctor to find out. His cousin was not so lucky and was crippled. I’m saddened to see the hysteria over vaccines. I watched my kids after for reactions to the vax and then put my worries aside. Now I have to pray these illnesses do not make a stronger comeback. 😦

     
    • whimsyway

      January 7, 2011 at 7:36 am

      That’s my fear, too, that these illnesses will make a stronger comeback. Thanks for the comment, Cori; I’m sorry to hear about your family members’ experiences with polio. 😦

       
  3. Neo

    January 6, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    Personally, I would use the following factors to make a decision:
    1) Comparing the risk factors, ie risk from side effects of immunisation versus risk of catching the disease.
    2) Comparing the conditions under which immunisations were introduced (ie post-war, low hygiene, poor sanitation) with our current living conditions.
    3) Researching on the actual ingredients in each vaccine and their long-term effects, and whether I feel they are safe enough to be introduced into the human body.

    There is a lot of dis-information out there regarding this topic so a very thorough research is well worth the time and effort.

     
    • whimsyway

      January 7, 2011 at 7:34 am

      Even using these factors, I still come up in favour of vaccinating 🙂

      1) Side effects are usually mild. Although the risk of catching the disease may also be low, if all parents stopped immunising because they felt the risk was low, within several years, the risk of catching the disease would climb dramatically. This is a societal issue, not just a personal one. These vaccines aren’t for illnesses like cancer, which aren’t communicable.
      2) Hygiene and better living conditions may have made great strides in the areas of childbirth and surgery, but it’s done little to stop the spread of communicable diseases, particularly air-borne ones. Just look at the incidence of ‘flu. Chicken pox, for which we in the UK do not vaccinate, infects over 300,000 children, and kills around 25 people in the UK every year. My son has had it, and after spending only 10 minutes with his cousins (their mother knew he had it), the 3 boys had chicken pox within a few days. 🙂
      3) The ingredients in these vaccines have been called into question many times, I agree. I look at as the lesser of two evils, as I do with all medications. An extreme example is cancer. Chemotherapy is essentially a poison which kills all rapidly-growing cells. But what’s the alternative? In most cases, certain death. The ingredients in vaccines may cause temporary reactions in some children, but they are not cancer-causing and don’t usually cause long-term damage. And what’s the alternative? We return to a time of polio, to a time when children were killed and crippled regularly by these horrible illnesses. These diseases can come back with a vengeance. I also take into account the fact that we breathe in and absorb far more harmful substances from our everyday environment than these vaccinations introduce into our bodies. That’s not to say I’m in favour of *all* medications and *all* vaccinations, but after research and weighing up the pros and cons, I came out in favour of vaccinating.

      “There is a lot of dis-information out there regarding this topic so a very thorough research is well worth the time and effort.”

      You’re right. Fortunately, I have medics in the family who have provided me with heaps of information, and my time as a student nurse was well spent; I took full advantage of my hospital placements to look at hygiene standards and how easily diseases were spread. All of this just made me more convinced that vaccines were important.

       

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