By Deb Avery
Bring up the subject of vaccinations and you are going to get a lot conflicting emotions, opinions, and ideas.
Those who vaccinate their children are doing what they think is best for them. They love them and want to protect them. Those who do not vaccinate their children are doing what they think is best for their child and they love and want to protect them as well.
It’s sometimes hard to stick with facts when emotions run high on both sides of the line. It seems to be a tug of war with the children’s health being pulled back and forth across the divide.
Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Could they both be right in different ways? Should everyone have the freedom to choose if their children should or should not be vaccinated?
The reasons children are not being vaccinated are varied, but the two main factors are usually a mistrust of the government and not trusting the vaccine to be safe for their children. There is also a huge amount of misinformation and myth that unfortunately still exists. “It’s on the internet so it must be true” type of thinking.
The majority of parents with young children today have not seen firsthand these dangerous, yet very preventable diseases. They have not lived through the fears of wondering if their child is going to be one of the lucky ones that makes it through unscathed, or maybe doesn’t make it at all.
While few may die from the common measles or mumps, there are numerous complications that can and do occur.
This is true of all viruses and diseases. And everyone, whether old enough to remember or not, should be aware of the seriousness of polio.
But, polio has been eradicated in the US, you may say.
Well, yes it has. But, it would be as simple as one person coming from another country where this disease is active, to bring it back into the US and cause a reemergence. Yes, it’s that simple—it’s that simple with any disease.
What about flu vaccines?
With all the many forms of flu and the numerous, often serious complications (including death of all ages and paralysis in young children) does it not make sense to get a flu vaccine? Yes, the virus may mutate, but still, some protection is better than none.
Not according to some. There are some who argue that the flu vaccine has killed healthy, young people and adults. However, when something like this does occur (which happens very rarely) it is most likely an allergic reaction to the eggs used to help produce the flu vaccine, not the vaccine itself.
There are those who think you can get the flu from the actual vaccine itself. This is not true.
Vaccines are made from the dead virus. Therefore—it is dead. You may become achy and run a temp for a day or two, but this is common with any vaccine as our bodies do their natural work of immunity.
The experts in health will tell you that vaccines are one of the greatest lifesaving inventions in modern times. They have saved countless lives and still continue to do so. But myths still abound and rumors run rampant.
We now have a battle line drawn in the sand with pro-vacinators on the one side, and anti-vacinators on the other. But it’s the children who get caught up in the middle. They are the ones who must suffer through a preventable illness and it’s many possible complications.
It is up to each parent to educate themselves, do research on reputable websites, and make a logical decisions as to whether to vaccinate or not. There is so much at stake. The experts in science, along with most all doctors, believe that the pros of vaccination far exceed any cons.
We live in a time with rapid transit all over the world.
A time when illnesses and viruses can spread like a raging wildfire. Do we really want to take the chance of not doing everything we can to keep our children from becoming ill?
So far this decision has always been up to the parents. And we as parents have a responsibility to do everything we can to protect our children, especially the very young and the infants, who will likely suffer the most from these illnesses.
What about the responsibility we shoulder to our neighborhoods, communities and society as a whole?
Is it possible that there will come a time when vaccinations will be mandatory—with no exemptions? Anything is possible, and with the emergence of new strains of flu and the reemergence of diseases we had thought were long eradicated, it is a strong possibility that vaccines could one day be made mandatory. However, that would be met with a lot of resistance from those who already think the government has too much control over their lives already.
We as Americans are notorious for not liking to be told what to do by the government.
For some there are no easy answers. Their beliefs, fear and mistrust of the government and its agencies will keep them from listening to logic and reason. For others, they feel it is their responsibility to vaccinate their children from whatever harmful diseases that may come. And there are those who feel it is the responsibility of all parents to seek vaccinations for their children, especially when they are attending school and socializing with the children of those who hold this belief.
As of now, the choice is with the parents.
It is their responsibility as parents to educate themselves about vaccines and the diseases that they prevent. It is their responsibility to make the right decisions for their children, and hopefully for all the children.
Editor: Dana Gornall