I know some people that have chosen to not vaccinate their kids, and a part of them (because they're knowledgeable and intelligent-yes they're different things!) have made informed, careful decisions. I'm not gonna rant about them, ok? You're safe. The ones I'm going on about are the ones that make blind statements like, vaccines cause autism, or, vaccines have so much mercury, or some nonsense like that.
We, as a nation, have pretty much eliminated some diseases, like polio and small pox, through the inventions of vaccines. Other diseases, like measles or pertussis, are well contained-diseases that are fatal to the very young and very old. Our population is living longer (if the demographics of patients at work is any indication-I usually have 2 people over the age of 80) and I'm sure they'd like to stay that way. Living, that is.
I hear all the time of people defending their choice to not vaccinate. Some of it's legit, some of it's a bunch of poo. Either way, that puts a lot of pressure on the health care system to pay attention to and report the infrequent illnesses that pop up. That puts a lot of dependence on herd immunity, something that non-vaxing-ers can't control.
Let's get out our imagination for a bit, shall we?The decision to not vax has taken hold in a wide spread town called "Novax." It's been going on for generations. No one has been exposed to the measles, neither vaccine nor live virus. Not a single person. A family vacations there because it's adorable, and a few days later, the kids (at home) come down with the measles. They just happened to not get immune when they were vaccinated (on schedule) as infants, or their mother decided to pass on the booster shot, or they're freaks of nature. The disease sweeps through the town, sends 50% of the very young and very old the hospital. The young, due to great medical technology, are able to struggle through, but a few end up with pneumonia. A few of the older people, because they're older and more fragile, succomb to the pneumonia and die. The numerous pregnant women try to avoid the measled population, but a few catch it. One lady has a traumatic miscarriage, one lady gives birth to a severely deformed baby, and one lady manages to squeak through with no problems.
Purely hypothetical, and I made it all up. So, if I happen to have a few errors, forgive me, I'm human.
In another town "Letsvax," only two families aren't vaccinated because of severe egg allergies, or maybe they're freaks of nature. The a-fore-mentioned measles-spreading brood stopped there overnight on their way home. Two, maybe three kids at school get a mild case of it (because that's possible), and one family is lucky enough to come down with it-full-blown! Oh, all the kids go to the same one school. Aren't you glad that I chose to vaccinate my kids so that your kids don't get sick?? Your kids, the ones that aren't vaccinated, are protected through herd immunity. Because the measles-ed kids played at the same playground as my kids, they would have probably gotten the measles and passed it on to your kids before we even knew what happened.
Again, totally hypothetical and a "what-if" situation, mainly because I only have one kid that isn't even old enough to go to school :D
I don't mind being the one who vaccinates, and I don't mind you being the one who doesn't vaccinate. I'm just thinking through about what if not vaxing runs rampant, like homeschooling is. Just think about it. Pertussis? Polio? Diphtheria?
If I had been this serious about it all before, I probably even would have passed on the Hep B series for Brendon. I will for my next kid. And the Gardasil for HPV? I will be raising my girls in a Christian home, and pray for their early salvation and, without sexual contact, there's no need for it. When they marry someone who has kept his body to himself, why worry about a STD transmitted disease?
So why do I vaccinate? I have a medical profession. I am exposed to tons of nasty bacteria. I have received all my scheduled vaccinations (except the chicken pox, I got that immunity naturally!), the Hep B series, and the flu shots. I got the Hep B because I don't want to share some crazee's liver disease when he goes crazee and gets me stuck with his needle, or spits in my face (almost happened!). I did get stuck once, and I was 18 weeks PG, and it scared the poop outta me! I get the flu shots (now) because I have an infant at home who could DIE if I bring home some other crazee's flu bugs on me. I passed on the H1N1 because by the time I got back in to work, the number of cases in VA had dropped significantly. I also get my tetanus booster on schedule-I think I'm due for one, BTW- because, again, I don't want get hurt at work and end up with some thing nasty. Not that we have lots of rusty equipment laying around at work, but the potential is there, IV poles, O2 carriers, beds.
There's my informed decisions, and I hope you, which ever choice you made, you made it informed-ly. And to my non-vaxing friends, you're welcome for the herding :D