Thursday, April 29, 2010

To Vaccine, or Not To Vaccine

That is the question, people. I think about it every day. I brood over it. I pray over it. I am torn. That deep-down, mother hen instinct in me tells me, no, we're not going to do it. I've read the autism statistics and research, I've listened to tapes from doctors, I've re-read, re-researched.

Then I take my kids to the doctor and I feel the pressure, see the raised eyebrows. I fill out registration papers for potentially sending Elijah to Christian school, and there it looms: are your vaccines updated? Check beside all vaccines your child has received. And being that we started Elijah off getting his vaccinations, I wonder, should we finish them out? Grace is about a year behind, and Emma hasn't had any at all.

The reason I am torn is this: we are in a battle in this country, whether you realize it or not, for our parental rights. Our right to decide what we feel is best in the raising of our children, regarding their health, their education, and their spirituality. My brother is an advocate and spokesman of sorts for If you're not familiar with this situation, pay them a visit and read up. It's frightening.

How long will we be able to hold on to this basic, natural right of deciding what is best for our children without governmental intrusion and mandation? (if that's a word). The homeschooling movement is not well thought-of by our government, and they will seek any reason to tear it down. And it's going to get worse. My point is, when they come knocking on my door looking for a reason to take my kids away from me, do I want to give them a good one? And they could rightly use my choice not to pump my kids full of foreign substances as a reason to say I am not taking care of them (by their standards).

So, would it be better to go ahead with something I do not believe in, for the better sake of my children in the long run? Wouldn't vaccinated children safe at home be better than un-vaccinated children in foster care? Which they would then be appropriately updated on, most likely.

I'll give you a real-life scenario: a close friend of mine is the oldest of 10 siblings. They are a conservative, Christian, home-schooling family. The kind that makes liberals cringe. When my friend was still living at home (she is now married with children of her own), her 14 month old brother fell in a pond and drowned. He was gone by the time they pulled him out, completely lifeless. Someone immediately called 911. This family is a praying family and they gathered around the baby and began to pray. Within minutes, he started breathing again and vomiting water. By the time the ambulance arrived, about 45 minutes later, he was up playing normally as if nothing had happened. The paramedics took his vitals, and all was normal. The Dad did not want them to take him into the ER, because he felt like God had healed the child, while the ambulance had failed them. If they had waited on the ambulance to assist them, they would have been planning a funeral. The ambulance service called the authorities and the family was forced to take the child to the ER. While at the ER, the parents and older siblings were questioned extensively by child services. For three days their home was searched and they were questioned with threats of removing all 8 children from the home. They were terrified. Thankfully, at the end of this long ordeal, it was decided in their favor and they were allowed to keep their family together.

Up to this point, none of the children had been vaccinated, but after going through what they did, they decided to start . Having already been put under the magnifying glass, they did not want to give any reason for speculation, should anything ever come up.

I'm still not decided, I'm still torn, still praying. Our parenting methods are counter-culture, to say the least. We follow a more natural, old-fashioned approach that does not follow the societal norm of just following along, without question, with what is recommended by the medical world. I would like to hear the opinion of other like-minded Moms on this issue. Please share.


Natural Mama said...

Very thought-provoking post. You know how I feel about this issue. I say no to Vaccines because we've done the research and we've done the praying. If a deadly disease comes along, I can do one of two things: 1. Go out and get the vaccine. or 2. Trust God. As times get closer to the End, we'll have to do the second option more anyway. Even with issues such as 'They might take my kids if I do or don't do XYZ'. God has to be in control. Don't worry, be happy, er trusting! :)
God has healed me of severe allergies that have plagued me since I was a preteen. In the worst pollen season, I have yet to experience anything like I did year after year. I plan to do a blog about it soon. God will 'do' to trust.
Even if you don't homeschool, you don't have to vaccinate, you should be able to state Religious Exemption.

Rebecca said...

I know it is a touchy (and scary) subject. A video series that really helped me from YOUTUBE is actually a conference series by a very talented speaker. I blogged about it, sharing the first of like 10 parts on my blog here:

You ought to listen to it. On that series, I think you will find comfort in knowing that we still DO have rights and we ought to USE them (or we MIGHT lose them.)

If you don't feel vaccinations are good for you-don't be bullied into doing them anyway.

If you don't think vaccinations are bad, then by all means.

But don't let your rights be bullied out of you by fear, because that is just as bad as having them taken away!

Angie Sparks said...

The Christian School that Shaun goes to doesn't even ask if we've had vaccines. He's enrolled now for his 3rd yr and I have yet to fill out a paper that asks about vaccinations. Maybe you should schedule a meeting with an administrator at the school to see if they are "required". I did go ahead and have Shaun get all his vaccines, on the recommended schedule; but I agree with one of the other comments "If a deadly disease comes along, I can do one of two things: 1. Go out and get the vaccine. or 2. Trust God". I chose to vaccinate because Shaun was in childcare from 6 weeks of age and because he isn't homeschooled. Follow your heart, and your gut. :)

Anonymous said...


I may be a voice of dissent here, but you strike me as someone who sill sift through the assorted feedback and make your own decisions!

My children were all vaccinated and, having friends who have children with autism, I understand the fear of vaccinations. There is a great deal of information on the net that suggests one should avoid vaccines.

However, if you look at the scientifically supported literature (i.e. controlled, blinded, studies) the research suggests that there is no solid evidence that autism is linked to vaccines. Avoiding vaccines also places other very medically vulnerable members of soceity at risk...i.e your child might weather the "bug" like measles if they get it, but infect a pregnant woman or vulnerable member of society who cannot have the vaccine. So it is important think about stewardship to our most vulnerable members of society (my son fits this category).

If you wish to avoid vaccines I would humbly suggest you do it because you believe it is the right thing for you and you children rather than wanting to make a statement about parental rights....there are other ways to do that.

Daisy in Ontario

Bethany said...

I found your blog through a friend's page, and thought this post was thought provoking. I too struggled with the whole vaccination dilemma. As a public school teacher for 5 years, I had several autistic students and went to many workshops on spectrum disorders. While there is speculation about vaccines being linked, I was surprised that there are speculations about many more possible causes (beyond biological) such as personal hygiene products and cosmetics. All in all, I decided that the benefits of vaccines over-ruled the risks, especially since I have a son with special needs and a compromised immune system. In the fall, we were waiting on H1N1 vaccines to arrive to our ped. office when my son ended up contracting it. He was hospitalized and actually arrested 4 times. If I had been able to vaccinate him, this likely would have been avoided. But as you said, it's an important decision that parents must do their best to make an informed decision on. Thanks for sharing!