Article at a Glance
Potentially deadly diseases like pertussis and measles were rarely seen in the United States a few years ago, but they are making a comeback. Areas of the country where vaccination rates are low are at the highest risk for outbreaks. Given how dangerous some of these diseases can be, health officials are concerned about parents who have decided not to vaccinate their children.
We know that choosing medical care for your children is an intensely personal choice. So we wanted to find out some of the reasons why parents chose to vaccinate.
We thank the following parents for sharing their thoughts with us.
“I vaccinated our children for two major reasons. The first and most important to me is their health. I would feel absolutely horrible if something happened to them as a result of my choices (especially permanent issues). I know that there has been a lot of talk the past few years about some of it not being safe, but there has been much more, and a longer time span of research and use, telling us otherwise. And as my husband is currently in his first year of med-school, we have learned that not all research and studies are created equal. (Or accurate for that matter!) And since the majority is on the side of vaccines, it becomes a no-brainer to me. In reading and hearing stories from older generations, I never want my children to have those diseases. So why chance it by not vaccinating?
‘The second reason I choose to vaccinate my sweet children is for the sake of others. I have a very hard time with “it’s my kid and I’ll do what I want.” If any decision only affected those making them I wouldn’t have any argument here. But all decisions always affect some one else. For some kids it’s not just when they’re babies that they are vulnerable. Some older kids have things like cancer, autoimmune diseases, and leukemia. It is becoming apparent that not vaccinating does affect others since in areas where the population is under-vaccinated there have become outbreaks of diseases thought to have been taken care of. To sum up, it is my job to be responsible, first to my own children to give them the best care I can, and secondly to my community through my care-taking of my children. God has kindly given us great medical advancements for our benefit, so I choose to take advantage of those gifts.”
“There a couple of reasons why I have chosen to vaccinate both of my kids. The first is for their own safety. I know that vaccines are safe and I know that vaccines can keep my children safe from diseases that not too long ago took young children’s lives. The second is because I couldn’t bear to think how I would feel if my unvaccinated child infected another young infant and that infant became very ill or passed away. The third and final reason is because I know that there are many women in developing and under-developed parts of the world who would love to protect their children and have them vaccinated and they do not have access to the same type of medical care. We are very blessed to have access to great resources and preventive medicine.”
“I vaccinate my kids because we never know what country we may end up in due to my husband’s job in the military. I also have researched/read/and have been informed of the possible risks. But I feel the pros way outweigh the cons. Also my mother-in-law had rheumatoid arthritis and it compromised her immune system. Had her grandchildren not been vaccinated they would not have been able to be around her and get Grandma hugs and kisses.”
“I have chosen to vaccinate because I feel the potential risks from the vaccines pale in comparison to the risks of not getting them. I realize that this is a touchy subject. I have many extended family members that are extremely opposed to them. To each their own. However, I don’t want to be the one that contributes to bringing back a disease that’s been close to eradication because I didn’t vaccinate. And more importantly I want to protect my children. I certainly rely on my mother’s intuition when it comes to my children and I assume all mothers do that.
‘Some perhaps feel vaccinating is not for them. I would never judge anyone for that choice. But what do you say to the mother who’s 8-week-old baby contracts pertussis from a child who was not vaccinated for the disease and then ends up unable to fight the disease. The mother tragically leaves the hospital without her baby. And it could have been prevented. Its instances like that where I really want to push for vaccines. And yet I realize everyone’s circumstances differ and each needs to make their own decision. However, we are not healthier nowadays by happenstance. These vaccines have worked miracles in drastically reducing, or in some instances eradicating, the occurrence of some horrible diseases. I for one am extremely grateful for that.”
“I never really thought about vaccines until I had kids, but then it became a very serious issue. After doing some research, I have to admit I had my misgivings. Nobody likes doing something to their children that could even remotely have side effects, but I ultimately decided to vaccinate my children. I could find no firm evidence on most of the concerns (most of it was anecdotal). And we have years of research and evidence that vaccines are effective at preventing serious and deadly diseases. We don’t see most of those diseases anymore, but from what I have seen in the news, the protection of herd immunity is a fragile thing. With international travel and low immunization rates in some communities, we are seeing some of these diseases make a comeback. When I read about the devastation that those diseases caused, I don’t want my kids to be even remotely placed at risk. So I decided to protect my children (and other children) against the monster that we know exists instead of the monster that just may very well be imagined. And when I read about babies dying from whooping cough, I went in and got my booster shot!”