Keep Your Unvaccinated Kid Away From Mine

I try to stay out of the vaccine “debate” as much as possible. As someone who works in clinical psychology and has a son with a rare metabolic disorder, I find the “debate” infuriating and have so many different issues with it, but I refrain from arguing about it because it’s a waste of energy. However, it’s been on my mind lately given Gus’s health issues and today it’s all coming out. So, here goes (be warned):

1. The supposed link between autism and vaccines has been completely and 100% debunked by the medical community. For those of you who do not know what debunked means- it means that it does not exist. There is not any truth to these claims. There is no real evidence.

2. Any medical professional who says that there is a real relationship between autism and vaccines is first of all, a quack. And second all, they probably have a product or line of treatment to sell and promote. They are preying on the desperation and vulnerability of parents.

3. The idea that the medical community is somehow involved in a grand conspiracy to infect our children with potential developmental disabilities is preposterous and ridiculous. Doctors and medical staff that are involved in pediatrics are some of the most amazing and special people on this planet. If you think that those individuals who spend countless hours on the front lines fighting for children could in any way be involved in the actual harming of children, you clearly have not spent any amount of time on a pediatric hospital unit. As someone who has, the medical community who work with children are modern day angels and superheros. I’ve seen them at work. It’s insulting to the entire pediatric medical community to think they would harm children in any way.

4. There is a frenzied fear and paranoia that exists regarding autism in our society that is incredibly stigmatizing to individuals and children who actually have autism. People treat autism as if it is some type of terminal illness that must be avoided at all costs. People live in fear of this disorder that they actually know nothing about. Most people who harbor such fears have probably never even met a real person who has autism. Their views about children with autism are what they’ve seen on TV or read in their latest Google search. If people actually met and had relationships with individuals with autism, they might discover that they are absolutely wonderful people. They do not have some type of plague which must be avoided at all other costs.  They might realize that autism isn’t actually anything to be afraid of.  Get rid of the fear and you get rid of the stigmatization that this vaccine/autism “debate” continues to perpetuate.

5. The “dilemma” about vaccinating children is a white, middle-class problem that’s not actually a real problem at all. The highest incident rates of whooping cough and measles (which by the way were almost nearly eradicated and are now on the rise) are highest in affluent communities. It’s true. Check out the statistics for yourself.  The “dilemma” is fueled by people who need something to obsess and worry about.

6. Not vaccinating children is a public health risk and it kills children. Yes, kills children. And it has the potential to kill mine and other children like mine. My son becomes critical when he gets the stomach flu, the effect measles would have on his fragile system would have devastating effects. I think babies and kids dying is a big deal. I think anything that helps prevent the potential loss of innocent lives should be used. And as far as I know, no child has ever died from autism, but there’s plenty that have died from childhood diseases that could have been prevented.

So, while you’re “protecting” your child from a threat that doesn’t even exist, you’re exposing mine and millions of other children to real threats that have the power to kill them.


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8 Responses to Keep Your Unvaccinated Kid Away From Mine

  1. Tiatammy says:

    Thank you! I have a grandchild who has a diagnosis of autism and I agree, most people have no idea what it is all about. I am appalled that people would put the general population at risk because of some unfounded idea that someone may have mentioned that, “they read on the internet”.

  2. Tara dSL says:

    The other argument you hear a lot is that Big Pharma is pushing vaccines to boost their bottom line, which makes no sense at all. They make a lot more money from people getting sick than from people staying well. A vaccine is administered one to four times in a person’s lifetime. Pharmaceutical companies make a lot more money on drugs that are taken regularly over years and years. This recent wave of anti-vaccine insanity is strictly a first world problem and thoroughly disgusts me.

  3. Mama Bear says:

    Those are all excellent points. The anti-vacciners just seem childish. I think the real issue is that parents’ distaste for needles is overriding their common sense and has been highly over rationalized.
    I’ve known a couple of kids with autism and they were interesting, albeit very sensitive, people. Why on earth would a mother risk death for their child in order to avoid an imaginary risk of autism?

  4. Daniel X says:

    My issue is not with autism. I like to read labels and having read the labels of the vaccines I would not put some of the ingredients in my body, or my child’s. When the risk of a complication from a vaccine is higher than the risk of a complication from the disease, what is one to choose? The majority of recent whooping cough outbreaks have been in fully vaccinated populations. The vaccine is only 20% effective in adolescents. If you are immune compromised than you need to stay away from sick people, regardless. If you get some vaccines, you are supposed to stay away form people with compromised immune system for a period of time, to avoid infecting them. Most diseases are on their way out by the time medicines are given. The choice not to vaccinate is not a choice directed by a fear of needles or science denial. This is a choice, often made after much deliberation and research. I respect your choice and desire to protect your children, I am doing the same with mine.

    • Angela says:

      I understand your concern for your child however I think you are mistaken on your facts. There are *some* vaccines such as anthrax or small pox that have a higher risk of side effects than the chance of contracting the disease but none of them are included in the recommended child vaccination schedule. Yes, the risk of the disease is small but the risk of side effects (excluding minor fever, ache, etc) is still much smaller. A fully vaccinated population means 100% vaccinated. There currently are no large communities of fully vaccinated populations anywhere in the US and there have been several studies demonstrating a direct link between low vaccination rates and increased measles and pertussis outbreaks. While certain types of pertussis vaccine are less effective in adolescents and adults the rate is actually between 53-64%, not 20%. Immunocompromised people DO try to stay away from sick people but obviously they cannot exist in a germ-free bubble so it only makes sense to give as much protection as we can. The only vaccine that is contraindicated for those who live with an immunocompromised person is the oral polio vaccine which is no longer given in the US.

      I’m sure you have done a lot of research but there is a reason that data needs to be verified and thoroughly vetted and interpreted by experts. The medical and scientific communities are in complete agreement that the benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks both to the individual and community. The only experts who are championing your cause have been discredited and generally are financially motivated. So either there is a mass conspiracy involving multiple governments and every worldwide medical and scientific community to suppress information and endanger children (unlikely) OR you are somehow more qualified to assess medical data than any doctor or scientist in the world (also unlikely).

  5. Keith says:

    Thanks for addressing this issue. I can sympathize with your reluctance, and yet you are admirably thorough in making the case for vaccination. Part of the problem that you address indirectly is the “whatever is best for MY child” mentality we have here in America. For example, in the case of small pox, it was pointed out by another commenter that there is little real individual benefit to getting vaccinated. However, the eradication of small pox worldwide depends on people making the tiny sacrifice of getting a shot. Similar reasoning makes the decision to get vaccinated against whooping cough and other ailments much clearer for those of us who take the well-being of others into account. And besides, the autism claims have, of course, been exposed as a complete deranged hoax.

  6. Jack says:

    The article is what I’m looking for, thanks a lot.

  7. KD says:

    Well said! The ‘debate’ is no debate at all; it is informed vs. misinformed, unfortunately. I just found your blog and will be reading more. It’s not often you see psychologists blogging (I am a psychologist myself and interested in blogging). Any tips?

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