Tuesday, March 2, 2010

To Vaccinate Or Not To Vaccinate

A while back I had to take my daughter in to see her pediatrician. It wasn't anything major and I was expecting to be in and out of there... and I almost was. Before I knew it, we were back on the topic of flu shots. Now I had just been in for my daughter's check up a few months earlier, where I thought we had covered the whole flu shot shebang, but apparently my pediatrician had geared up for round two without telling me.

So there we were again- 'Have you thought about getting your daughter the flu shot this year?' 'Nope.' 'Well, then have you thought about getting the swine flu shot for her?' 'Nope.' Allow me to elaborate - From the day my daughter was born I have been very selective about the vaccinations I am willing to give her. Not because I believe that there is a link between certain vaccines and autism (although I most certainly do!), but because I honestly believe that we were given an immune system for a reason. You might think that it's cruel and unusual punishment for me to leave it open to chance that my daughter may or may not have to endure the chicken pox as a child, but I think her body was perfectly crafted by God and I would like to do as much as I can to keep it that way. Injecting her with a virus and added toxins just doesn't seem the way to do it.

On top of that, they now offer vaccines that don't even serve a real purpose. For example, they are giving the hepatitis vaccine to newborns these days, because it's easier to make sure everyone gets their shot at birth than to wait it out and hope the teenagers show up to get it. It's not really needed for babies and young children. And here's the kicker - chances are it will be out of your child's system again by the time they are old enough to actually have to worry about it and they will most likely have to take the shot all over again! Now, tell me how that makes sense... unless of course, you are the pharmaceutical company supplying these vaccinations, then it makes plenty of sense! Add to that the vaccine that helps prevent ear infections in babies. Seriously, who is getting that one? Maybe wait it out a little and see. Chances are your baby won't have chronic ear infections and in fact will be just fine. If time goes by and you find that your baby does seem to be prone to them, you can always get it then.

We, as a people, don't want to suffer and when we do, we insist on the immediate magic fix. Well, sometimes it's just a part of life to suffer and if you suffer a little and stick it out, you may not suffer at all later on. Point in case - the swine flu! As it has turned out, the older you are and the more you've been around (perhaps have had the regular flu a time or two in your life) the less affected you are likely to be by the swine flu. Want to know why? Because your body (once perfectly crafted by God) can evolve and adjust and learn to fight things off like the flu all on it's own... but only if we let it.

As I am telling my pediatrician all of this (the condensed version, of course) she decides to try and ease my fears. How does she do this? By looking me square in the eye and saying ' Well we are giving pregnant women this shot, and you know we wouldn't do that if it wasn't completely safe.' Really?! Lady, when was the last time you turned on the TV? Last time I checked there were about a gazillion attorney commercials looking for women whose children were born with birth defects do to the medications they were taking while pregnant. No doubt their doctor told them it was completely safe, too! I didn't laugh at her, but I wanted to. When that tactic didn't work she moved on to this one -'What about other people? Your daughter may be able to handle the flu just fine but what if she exposes other younger children or pregnant women?' Keep your guilt Doc! I'm not packing to go on that trip! Didn't you just get done telling me that pregnant women are GETTING the vaccination?!

Look, the bottom line is this, I am responsible for my daughter's health and well-being, period. Every parent has to make their own decisions about what's right for them. I can't worry about every kid in the world, I keep pretty busy with just one. In case you are still wondering, my daughter will not be getting the flu shot. Not now, probably not ever! Oh... and I'm also in the market for a new Pediatrician.

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