Immunization debate: Why I say “yes” to vaccinations

National Immunization Awareness Month

Guest writer: Christa Ferguson and son Caleb

Editor’s note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of WOTV 4 Women, its staff and/or contributors to this site.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.  (WOTV) — I’m a first-time mother, and anytime my 11-month-old son gets hurt or cries, it’s like someone is stabbing me in the heart.  But when we head to the pediatrician’s office, I know it’s something I’ll have to endure for his own good.

Vaccines are a necessity, and Caleb will get every one of them that has been approved by health experts.

caleb at the doctor

I’ve seen how badly uncured disease can ravage the body– my own father died from Multiple Sclerosis, which robbed him of the ability to move, speak and think. He became a prisoner in his own body, which eventually broke down and gave out.

I do not want that for my son. While researchers are still trying to find a cure for MS, I will do my part to protect Caleb from every disease there is a cure for.

Still think vaccines are bad news? Here are five reasons why you’re wrong:

Myth: My child is healthy and doesn’t need vaccines.

Newsflash: your child is healthy because of vaccines.  Have you ever heard of or seen the effects of smallpox, diphtheria, measles, polio, rubella and varicella? Probably not, since they ‘ve been virtually wiped out because the majority of Americans rolled up their sleeves for a vaccine.

Overseas, people are begging for vaccines. Doctors travel millions of miles to answer their pleas for help, but for some parents, it’s too late. They have to watch that precious life they created slowly die before their eyes.

Not good enough for you? How about this number- 3 million. That’s how many children worldwide are saved each year by vaccines.

Myth: Vaccines cause autism.

This one drives me nuts because it’s a big, fat lie. The man who published this bogus conclusion, Andrew Wakefield, botched the study, violated ethics and had financial conflicts of interest. Later investigations showed Wakefield launched the study specifically with a goal to sue the people who make the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.

But before Wakefield was stripped of his medical license, the damage was done- his paper was published by The Lancet. Families dealing with autism read his false findings and clung to it like it was the long-sought cure via prevention. Since then, The Lancet has retracted the study and several teams of researchers have shown vaccines do not cause autism.

Myth: My child’s natural resistance is better than vaccines. 

Our bodies are amazing and can create anti-bodies to protect us after they battle disease. But is it worth all of the coughing, fevers, aches, rashes and other variations of pain and suffering that come with these conditions? I think not.

And the risk is high. According to health officials, If 500 people choose to gain immunity to measles by contracting the disease, one person will die. In contrast, less than one in one million people suffer a severe allergic reaction to the MMR vaccine.

If you ask me, turning down vaccines for your child because “they’re not natural” is tantamount to neglect.

Myth: Vaccines aren’t worth putting my child through the pain.

You don’t let your child ride a bicycle without a helmet or ride in a car without their seatbelt on, do you? Then why would you skip shots?

Those five seconds of pain could prevent a life filled with sickness and possible death. (See above.) This is one of the easiest things you can do to protect your child.

Myth: Vaccines go against God.

While this one is open to interpretation, here’s how I see it: my God doesn’t sentence the most vulnerable souls to death, if it can be helped. Also, last time a checked “Thou shalt not vaccinate thy child” was not in the Ten Commandments.

For all you religious math geeks out there, here’s a simple, logical proof- God created man. Man created vaccines to save lives. Therefore, God created vaccines.

And who are we to impose our own beliefs on our children, when it’s a debate involving life and death?

We all have different perspectives, and your child’s may be different than yours. Right now, it’s your duty to keep them alive until they can think for themselves.

I’m a pescatarian but my 11-month-old son eats meat every day. While I’m ethically against eating lots of animals, I buy him meat because he’s shown me he loves to eat it. That’s his choice, and I’m not going to rob him of it.

caleb lake mich collage

Links I used to back up my viewpoint:

http://miaap.org/about-us/immunizations-2/

http://www.publichealth.org/public-awareness/understanding-vaccines/vaccine-myths-debunked/

http://www.bmj.com/content/342/bmj.c5347

 

 

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