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We’re Talking About Vaccinations, Right?

Vac5_127.jpgOne of my favorite online magazines, Slate,  had a funny article (read it here http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2013/04/16/social_networks_and_vaccination_facebook_friends_can_influence_politics.html ) about a soon to be published study in the Journal of Pediatrics regarding the prevalence of a new technique that many parents use when making vaccination decisions for their infants.  They poll people on their social networks. Huh?

 

I am at a loss here.  The Slate article made me chuckle, but the implications of what was being said is really no laughing matter.  People are really making decisions that could affect the health and lives of their children by polling their social networks!  Go back and read that line again – are you as scared as I am right now?  I am suddenly grateful to live in a state that will bar children at the door of schools if they don’t have every immunization or a shit-load of paperwork to prove why they could not/ have not gotten them.  I’m not talking about missing a doctor’s appointment and then guiltily having to hold your infant for four shots instead of two.  I admit to having this happen.  But if you’re the kind of person who puts up a Facebook status that says “ Like’ this status if I should get my kid immunizations, ‘Comment’ if I shouldn’t”, I am afraid of you.  Please ‘unfriend’ me.

 

Ok, seriously though, I’ll just ‘unfriend’ you.  My 19 year old son who is the proud father of a six month old baby girl calls me for advice weekly and I am happy to impart knowledge that I know he needs to be the best parent he can be. But I am no pediatrician, and there are times when he asks me a question and I say, “call your pediatrician.”  The importance of getting a pediatrician that you trust and can build a relationship cannot be overstated.  Good pediatricians keep up with the newest breakthroughs in medical care for infants and children and don’t mind answering exhaustive questions put to them by clueless, often unnecessarily worried new parents.  My youngest child will turn 8 years old on Saturday and long gone are the days when I would pepper my pediatrician with questions about infant care.  To answer questions like how many soiled diapers a three month old infant should have in a day, I would need to call my kids pediatrician and ask, I can’t remember.

 

When he asked me when his daughter should get her first shots I said one month to six weeks.  This was when the immunization schedule began when his brother was born.  Now it seems, they aren’t even beginning to give vaccinations until babies are eight weeks old. Good to know, but my point is, if you are going to poll people regarding a vaccination schedule, how about polling, I don’t know, DOCTORS!  You can Google “pediatricians in my area” and call or email ten of them.  Ask them or someone in their office what the current vaccination schedule is and if they have time to talk about how and why it has changed over the years.  That would be a definite bonus.  I really can’t understand people who trust their cyber associates on medical advice for their children over a doctor who has completed years of medical school and residency.  That’s just scary!

Category: Education, Health, Main
  • MamaJ says:

    The whole vaccination issue is a touchy one. And honestly, it’s one that I don’t always trust or agree with doctors on. When my first was born I was all ready to vaccinate on schedule. And then he received two doses of a vaccine that was then pulled from the market because it was found to twist the bowels of some infants. That made me a little more hesitant about them and I started doing a little research.

    I discovered that many vaccinations contain allergens and that children who are allergic to certain things shouldn’t be given those vaccines. The only problem with that is that most doctors don’t recommend testing children for allergies until they are 3 years old, and by that time they’ve already had a slew of vaccines. Another hesitation I had had to do with the chicken pox vaccine. First they said it would protect for 25 years, then they said it needed a 10 year booster. My question is, why would you vaccinate a child against a disease that is relatively mild in childhood, when that vaccine could wear off and leave them vulnerable to the disease as an adult when it can be devastating and even deadly?

    Next my daughter developed asthma and allergies. One of her allergies, to peanuts, is one that has become increasingly more prevalent over the years, and yet no one knows why. Some people are certain that there is a link between vaccines and the increase in allergies and asthma. I don’t know the answer, because the medical industry is not doing much research. The drug companies that develop vaccines do some research – but of course it’s in their best interest to make sure it shows that vaccines are perfectly safe and not at all connected to anything detrimental.

    Vaccines are BIG business, and unfortunately, most of the people who question them don’t have the money to do the research to back up their suspicions. So, what’s an average, curious parent to do?

    When my second daughter was born, I really had to think long and hard about it. I didn’t poll people on facebook, but I had a lot of conversations with people who stood on both sides of the issue, and I took my daughter to a pediatrician who was known for doing modified vaccination schedules. We agreed on only one at a time, and to start later and finish later.

    One thing that really sold me on this was discovering that children today receives TONS more vaccines than we did as kids, and we get a lot more than our parents did. I don’t remember the exact numbers, but, for instance, I asked my father and aunts and uncles, and most of them didn’t have any, or only had one or two as kids. Imagine that – 14 unvaccinated siblings and no one died or caused an epidemic!! Kids born in the 60′s got about 10 and children born today get something like 30. Again – those are not exact numbers, but you get the idea.

    My point is that we are led to believe that there will be huge epidemics of children dying from all kinds of diseases if we don’t vaccinate – and yet NO previous generation has had the sheer volume of vaccines that our kids do today – and while yes, there were illnesses, and some deaths, kids were not dropping dead in the streets the way the pharmaceutical industry would have you believe will happen if one kid misses one vaccine today.

    I think every parent has to look at all the facts they can find and then weigh the decision for themselves. Talk to doctors, talk to other parents, read everything you can and determine what’s tainted by big business, what’s just crazy talk from quacks and what’s true and then try to make the best decision you can.

    May 8, 2013 at 7:02 pm
    • Cheryl says:

      Thanks for your feedback, MamaJ. I’m just not comfortable with a poll of social network friends that doesn’t include people who are knowledgeable and educated about a subject that affects the health of children. The more time I spend on social media, the more I think parents like you and I are in the minority. We may limit our ‘friend’ list to people we mostly know but too many have one or two thousand ‘friends’ that they really don’t know. I love the responses I get from my own family and friends because to be totally honest, it’s basically the only feedback I get on this blog, so keep it coming. But hopefully the young moms who aren’t sure what to do will read me (and my mature,intelligent, knowledgeable commenters and be able to take something useful away from it all.

      May 8, 2013 at 7:24 pm

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