Why Childhood Vaccinations Should Not Be a Choice

The Baby is about to have her first MMR (Measles Mumps and Rubella) vaccination. The Toddler had hers a little over a year ago. The Baby’s upcoming vaccination has prompted me to explain to the anti-vaccination movement why they make me so angry, and why I do not believe participation in childhood immunisation programmes should be the parents’ choice.

Of course, this subject can not be discussed without mentioning that study, the one that resulted in widespread panic about the MMR, reduced uptake of the vaccination, outbreaks of measles. The study, of course, claimed that there was a connection between the MMR vaccine and autism. To be completely clear, that study was completely discredited many years ago. The research was proven to be falsified, the doctor was struck off, and the paper was retracted. In the years since it was published, there have been multiple large studies worldwide that have shown there is no link between the MMR and autism. Yet the entirely incorrect belief that there is a link continues to be peddled by anti-vaxxers. In the years following publication of that paper, MMR vaccine uptake levels dropped dramatically in the UK. Having risen over the past few years, levels are now roughly back to those seen prior to the study, but remain lower than those recommended by the World Health Organisation. During the period of fallen vaccination rates, measles was declared endemic again in the UK. The anti-vaccination movement in both the UK and US remains vocal.

Before I tell you why I do not believe you should have a choice to refuse vaccination, I firstly have a question for anti-vaxxers. It is this: if you are so concerned about autism that you would refuse to vaccinate your children at the mere suggestion of a risk, why are you not concerned about what measles could do to your child? Actually, there is no need to answer. The answer, presumably, is that you don’t know what measles could do. Thanks to widespread vaccination, we have forgotten what full-blown measles is capable of. There were millions of cases of measles in the UK and US each year prior to vaccination programmes. It is still one of the, if not the, biggest causes of death from a vaccine-preventable illness in the world. It is highly infectious, infecting around 90% of non-immune people exposed to it. Severe complications, which can include brain damage, blindness and pneumonia, occur in around 30% of cases. The majority of measles deaths occur in children under five years of age. Non-immune pregnant women who contract measles risk miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth. Measles is an unpleasant, highly infectious, sometimes debilitating, potentially deadly disease. Yet, you, the anti-vaxxers, apparently decided it was preferable to an alleged small risk of autism.

So, here is the problem with the argument that it should be the parents’ choice whether their children are vaccinated. It is based on the fallacy that this decision only affects your child. It is based on a major misunderstanding of the purpose of mass immunisation programmes. It assumes that they are about individual immunity. They are not. They are about herd immunity. The point is not concern for the health of specific individuals, therefore the decision should not be made on an individual basis. These programmes do not work if they are allowed to be about individuals. The rise in measles outbreaks in Britain and America since the MMR scare are testament to that fact.

The point of mass immunisation programmes is to protect the community as a whole, thereby reducing pressure on health services, and ultimately eliminating serious illnesses. If a high enough percentage of the population is immune, the spread of the disease can be stopped. For highly infectious diseases such as measles, this herd immunity requires 90-95% vaccination rates. Below this, the disease will start to spread again. There will always be some people who cannot be vaccinated and are immuno-compromised, for example, babies too young to be vaccinated and cancer patients. They are protected by herd immunity. Illnesses can be effectively controlled, or even eradicated, by vaccinations and herd immunity. Measles was. It was.

So, no, participation in mass immunisation programmes should not be your individual choice. It is not about you. It should be civic duty, like numerous other regulations you are required to comply with for the good of society. Your ‘freedom’ to make this decision is not relevant. You lack individual freedom in many aspects of your life. Very few rights are absolute. Most are qualified, to allow for rules and regulation in society, to allow for the interplay between your rights and the rights of others. Nor do you have absolute control over decisions about your children. You are required to put your children in car seats. You cannot choose to put your child in the car without one because they are ‘your child and it only affects you’. You are required to have your children educated. If you refuse medical treatment your child is deemed to need, you can bet that the hospital will invoke the inherent jurisdiction of the courts to override your authority and force treatment in your child’s interests. This is not different. This is simply another aspect of life that has nothing to do with your individual beliefs; where the decision does not only impact on you, and therefore should not be yours to make.

On that point, why would you believe it should be yours to make? Your all important choice not to vaccinate your child could have put my children at risk for the year of their lives that they were too young to have the MMR. Where is my choice? Where is the choice of the parents of the child with leukaemia, whose only protection is herd immunity, and who will be desperately vulnerable if exposed to measles? It should be a requirement to vaccinate your children. Instead of lamenting your lack of choice (in being forced to accept the protection of your and other people’s children from potentially deadly illnesses, no less), you could consider how lucky you are. In many parts of the world, people have no choice about childhood vaccinations, either. They have no choice to receive them. They have no choice but to watch their children die from diseases we are able to prevent.

This is what I want to say to anti-vaxxers: your thinking represents the worst of egocentric, entitled, misguided, selfish behaviour. Childhood vaccination programmes, meanwhile, represent an amazing achievement in medical science, and they are not about you.

(If you still feel inclined to criticise vaccination programmes, may I suggest you look up smallpox. Just look it up. Look up the terrifying prognosis and infection statistics. The horrifying symptoms. How it was eradicated.)

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    • Silly Mummy says:

      Brilliant – love the statistics & the back up! Re one of your points in that post, I actually remember when that study first came out, before it was shown to be falsified, both my parents (who worked in education) immediately said that it is difficult to identify autism at an earlier age than the MMR vaccines so you would expect diagnosis to be after vaccines, does not mean there is any connection!

      • Mrs Tubbs says:

        Also, if there was a connection, the rates of autism would have decreased alongside the rates of vaccination. They haven’t. Even allowing for improvements in diagnosis, you’d still see a change.

        Our GP also pointed out that no one had been able to replicate the study that linked the two – which struck him as odd. But this was before it was revealed the findings were made up.

        I think part of it is that we want a reason / explanation for things. Sometimes there isn’t one. Stuff just happens …

        • Silly Mummy says:

          Well, quite! I don’t personally think that anything is ‘causing’ autism, and I don’t think autism rates are rising, either. I think autism diagnosis is rising, but that is not the same thing at all. I just think ASD was something that used to be overlooked. People who had it were probably either treated as having something else or simply deemed to be a little different. Awareness, diagnosis and management of ASD have vastly improved in recent years, and it just happens that some vaccinations were introduced in the same time frame. I believe very clever mathematicians would refer to this as coincidence! Mobile phone technology has also dramatically increased during the time that MMR has existed, but I think it is unlikely the MMR caused that either!

        • Michelle says:

          I agree with you about the vaccines and autism. Instead of decreasing, Autism has increased. When my son was first diagnosed it was 1 in 150. now it is 1 in 68 (1 in 42 for boys). It has increased drastically and only seems to be getting worse so the connection to vaccines is wrong and completely irrelevant.

          • Silly Mummy says:

            Indeed. It was always clearly an irrelevant connection. For one thing, the very fact that autism is so much more common in boys would obviously make a connection with something like the MMR very unlikely, surely?

          • Michelle says:

            I believe that too. I’ve heard all sorts of reasons what causes Autism but I have yet to see the proof. It’s still a mystery but to pin it on vaccines, scaring parents and starting a panic that led to this whole vaccine choice thing is ridiculous. Once the study was proven to be false, it should have been let go but I guess it was too late because the seed had already been planted.

      • Ronald Gibson says:

        Me again. Please do not swallow mainstream media hype before doing the scientist, convicted by the media, and then the Medical Board, a disservice. In the retracted study it clearly states, “We did not prove an association between measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and the syndrome described. Virological studies are underway that may help to resolve this issue.” The other lead scientist, John Walker-Smith, also discredited and struck from the roll was exonerated in 2012 buy the UK courts. But of course few publications dared to print this , and despite the court ruling and the judge’s comments, this is overlooked on a regular basis in articles and posts like this. I was involved in the pharmaceutical trade, and my family worked for Merck and Bayer for 20 years handling data and statistics on adverse events to include in rep training. It was the exposure to these statistics that indicated to us that something was seriously wrong. http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(97)11096-0/fulltext.

        • Silly Mummy says:

          Well, I believe Wakefield was actually criticised for, despite the fact that his own paper did not find a link, holding press conferences claiming there was evidence of a link and that the MMR should be suspended as a result. (& I think there were also some unethical practices regarding testing on children. Little things like that.) He did himself a disservice, and I am not about to feel sorry for him.

    • Ronald Gibson says:

      Dazzle with statistics, then you come up with “1 – 2 children in every 1,000 will die” in the whole article in the link?

  1. Alice says:

    I nodded along at this all the way through. I am afraid you will not convince any of them. But really, what well informed, right in the head parent would deny the protection immunisations offer their own and other people’s children?
    We really are fortunate to have vaccinations.
    x Alice

    • Silly Mummy says:

      Well indeed! I think that is what makes me most angry – imagine living somewhere where you lose your kids to these illnesses regularly, and cannot save them despite other countries having the vaccinations that would. Yet people here do not appreciate what they have! x

  2. Alison says:

    I have nothing to say except ‘this!’ Brilliant rant and I could not agree more. It’s baffling to me why some people value wishy washy nonsense over actual science and are blithely unaware that it’s not their kids who will suffer.

  3. StressedMum says:

    Well said, totally agree with you. When my daughter was due her MMR it scared me, but I read into it and looked at having the separate injections (was never not going to have her vaccinated), but my husband was adamant to have the MMR. I think a lot of it is the scaremongering, but you have to look at the bigger picture

    • Silly Mummy says:

      Thanks. Yes, it was scaremongering. & I do think that there is a real issue that these vaccines have been so good that now whole generations think measles, mumps & rubella are just mild little annoyances, and that therefore if there is any mention of a risk to the vaccination it is not worth it. That awful doctor tapped into a time when awareness and diagnosis of autism was rising, whilst awareness of measles had fallen away because it had been eliminated, and he exploited it.

  4. Doctomum says:

    I totally agree with you and I also agree with Alice above, in that, unfortunately you won’t be able to convince the hard core anti vaxxers, but there is hope for the sitting on the fence vaxxers!
    I’ve met through work and witnessed on Facebook rants, the amount of different reasons why someone will chose not to vaccinate and in most cases they would rather believe want ‘he said/she said’ rather than a robust study. It’s unfortunately not just the Wakefield (piece o crap) study that they cling to but anything from minute trace elements in vaccines (often that aren’t there anymore) to thinking it’s all a conspiracy from doctors and the government. I remember seeing on Dr Ranj’s pro vaccine Facebook status one Facebook user adamantly and superficially saying she wouldn’t believe any of the evidence and only going by studies but in the next sentence asking another user for her anecdotal dietary cure for autism (which of course had no scientific evidence), but it seems you have your own free will to pick and chose however stupidly you like when it comes to your children’s health. Maybe if we just stick to keeping the resolve strong in those who have looked at the balanced evidence and vaccinate, then it will filter down through the generations, but of course this will take time.
    I wish people would understand how serious measles can be. Or how serious whopping cough to a premmie. Or mumps to a boys ability to have children. But sometimes people have too much choice that they feel bewildered and need someone to assimilate the facts and decide for them. But that’s where Wakefield creeps in again, undermining the whole system, making people think that the NHS is ‘hiding’ something and has an different motive – it doesn’t. Any who, I think you get my stance and I’ve written on it before.
    We will be here to support you if the anti vaxxers come for you with their twisted stats and homeopathic weapons.

    • Silly Mummy says:

      Thanks! Yes, I know you can’t change the hardcore minds but, as you say, there are fence sitters. Plus, I do think that sometimes you should state your views, even though it will change no one’s mind, simply because everyone remaining quiet allows the opposing side to claim they are unchallenged. I have had huge debates with anti-vaccers too, & I have heard all those random arguments. I particularly enjoy the conspiracy theories. In the interests of not rambling more than I was, I thought I would not try to go into all the other objections they raise to vaccines. Particularly as I have noticed that, even when they say they know that study was discredited & that is not what they are talking about, the word ‘autism’ still tends to creep in there at some point!

      Not the homeopathic weapons! (I can’t hear homeopathic any more without thinking of that joke about not seeing many Homeopaths Without Borders helping ebola patients!)

  5. Sadie says:

    Completely agree with you have shared similar sentiments on social media to this but not nearly so eloquent and with so few four lettered words!
    I had to battle against my mother in law to get my two vaccinated and it really angers me the way pseudo science will cite allsorts of ‘experts’ without looking at the studies, clinical trials and also opposing experts opinions.
    There are a few people who genuinely should not risk a live vaccine, but you will find these are most at risk and will beg the rest of the 99% to vaccinate to curb the spread. Herd vaccination sits at around 96% (I think) that would give us a nice 3% buffer of those who can’t be vaccinated due to illness or auto immune issues and those who choose not to yet the vaccination rates in many developed counties are lower than this.
    Go to 3rd world countries and they are begging for vaccinations as they have seen the devastation that is so easily prevented with modern medicine yet are not fortunate enough to have the ‘choice’.
    Measles, whooping cough, even Rubella (to pregnant women and foetuses) are a killer, ask your grandparents they probably still remember the times when large families became small families as a measles outbreak was expected to kill a very sad reality of the 19th century and early 20th century – not that long ago – but of course we didn’t have social media back then where everyone could see and mourn a childs death.
    The autism issues whilst debunked is also insulting, is it really worse to have a happy bright healthy (whilst difficult) child with autism than a child who could develop lung problems, hearing problems, brain damage and other disabilities, that is if anitbiotics saves them from death – these are all very real consequences of some of these preventable diseases!
    I only meant to comment a line or two but got off on a rant! Great post – sharing x x

    • Silly Mummy says:

      Thank you! I agree entirely. &, yes, even if there had been any truth to that autism study, I would have been prepared to run a small chance of a child developing autism in order to protect them from potentially deadly illnesses. Yes, I believe 95/96% is considered the ideal for herd immunity for something as infectious as measles. I think we are now around 92/93%, and were 93% before that study came out. At lowest point after study, in about 2004, I think we were down around 80%, with some parts of London nearer to 60%. I believe, though I am not sure, that in the US they are still in the 80s for MMR now.

  6. Thank you for writing this post, however controversial! It’s absolutely right!

    I thank every single person who gets their child vaccinated, every single day! Why? Because my little dude can’t be vaccinated. He suffers with a multi allergic system disorder, where he will suffer a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine because of his multiple severe allergies. In addition, just a simple cold/virus causes such severe problems/ allergic reactions (sounds crazy, right!) he usually ends up in A&E and a subsequent 3-4 day stay on iv antibiotics and more!

    The children who are vaccinated all help to keep him safe! Without the vaccines, I dread to think what could happen!

    Please peeps, keep vaccinating your little ones!

    Thank you from me, and the little dude! x

    • Sadie says:

      Your son is exactly why we all should vaccinate are we so selfish to just think of ourselves and our little bubble – we should be we are supposed to be an intelligent species with emotional intelligence and compassion for a built up community.
      It is a win win situation, protect your own and protect others who need a bit more.
      I have noticed a few anti vax celebs (Mayim Blaik) don’t discourage others from vaccinating as they know that puts their un vaccinated children at more risk!
      Hugs to your little superstar x x

    • Silly Mummy says:

      That is very moving, and perfectly illustrates exactly why this is important, and it is not just about people risking their own children. Thanks for your comment!

  7. RF says:

    So actually I agree that vaccination is the best most responsible choice and to be clear my kids are vaxxed. However I have to say that I don’t really think that the way pro vaxxers are going about the argument is going to be effective. If you want to change someone’s mind you don’t attack them amd call them idiots you empathise and find common ground. The vax vs anti vax argument isn’t going anywhere because its just becoming more and more polarised.

    Additionally, while I agree that there are many other instances of where you must do a particular thing to protect your children, vaxxing is different. It is very rare but horrible and sometimes deadly reactions to vaxxing does occur and we still aren’t sure why or how to predict it. If they could figure out how to predict which children would have these reactions and exempt them I’d be happy to make it compulsory. But without that you’re effectively requiring parents to play Russian roulette with their kids and thats just not right.

    I wrote a post a few months ago about the medical establishments role in the anti vax movement, I can’t link to it now but will try to later in the day if I get a chance.

    Great discussion, hope you take my comments in that vein. 🙂

    • Silly Mummy says:

      I do take your point about the argument. & I could, of course, have been less inflammatory. Though I would say that I have argued many times with very many anti-vaccers, & I have used a range of techniques & have actually never been personally insulting (ie calling them idiots) to a specific person, & I have never got a single one of them to listen to a single thing I have said. Or indeed to actually respond to any point I have made. What I find frustrating at this point, which is what leads me to state it in stronger terms than I once would have, is that – while at the start I accept that people genuinely, albeit misguidedly, believed what they believed to be a valid study – I think at this point, in most cases, this now must be classed as willful ignorance. These are people who are quite deliberately ignoring a mass of well tested and researched evidence that shows they are wrong.

      My issue with your argument about the rare risk of reactions to vaccinations is that, if you follow that through, then we are all running that risk so no one would do it, at which point we would all be running the much higher risk of our kids contracting deadly illnesses. Unless we either all don’t do it (which would be a much more real health risk than the chance of unexpected reactions), or we all have to do it (apart from kids with medical reasons not to), you would effectively be saying that the majority of us are expected to run that tiny risk of a reaction to protect everyone so that a few people can say they won’t run the risk, thanks, and will rely on the rest of us. That is unreasonable. Also, we must accept that we balance risks for our kids all the time. Unless they never did anything, we have to run some risks, and we judge the ones worth taking. This would also be true in the example I gave of forced medical treatment – a common reason parents object is because of the risks of treatment. But if the risks of not having it outweigh those, parents will be overridden in the child’s interests. This is the same. & the risk of a problem from vaccination is so tiny it is insignificant, otherwise it would not be something allowed to be done on children. I would also note that from The Intolerant Gourmand’s response above, it sounds like they knew he could not have vaccinations. I would guess that is often true – that by MMR time, most children with severe allergy problems would already have been identified. I’m speculating here though.

      Will be interested to read your post if you find it, and thank you for your comment and constructive discussion!

      • RF says:

        Re: IG’s response, I’m really glad for her that they knew of the risk of adverse reactions before administering any vaccine. They do know *some* risks, just not all. There are kids who have horrible reactions and no one knew they would. For example, encephalitis and brain injury. They don’t know why that sometimes happens. It’s incredibly rare but it happens.

        I think most of us know we are taking that tiny risk of adverse vaccine reactions. It’s why they ask us to sit in the office for five or ten minutes and wait before leaving. Most of us choose to take that chance anyway because we believe the science. Other people do not believe the science, mostly because they have been presented with believeable pseudo-science. I’ve been fooled by some of the anti-vax information out there before, until having it explained to me by someone who understood better.

        The thing is there are people who trust authority and those who don’t. People who do not just blindly trust what the authorities say do research and want to know the facts for themselves. When you do that you start to learn about all sorts of things that the medical establishment lies to us about, just because it’s easier than trying to explain everything to everyone.

        Here’s my post: http://renegadefeminist.com/uncategorized/dear-medical-establishment-anti-vaccine-rates-fault/

        I’ve had arguments with both sides and I haven’t found either side particularly interested in finding common ground. I just find it sad, because there will be no mutually agreeable resolutions at this point.

        It comes down to this: I decided that if my child had a reaction to a vaccine I’d think that we were incredibly unlucky to have had that experience while if my child developed the measles I’d feel guilty for not vaxxing. And anti-vaxxer feels the opposite. They think its rare to contract measles so it would be unlucky for that to happen and even more unlucky to have serious repercussions to them whereas if there was a vaccine injury they would feel guilty. We may think that silly but the information they have recieved in life up until now informs this.

        Perhaps a law could circumvent this, as it wouldn’t be their choice and guilt could be circumvented. But, I’m still uncomfortable with the idea of a law that could lead even one otherwise healthy child to things like encephalitis or death.

        • Silly Mummy says:

          Your post is a very interesting read, and I agree that some people are anti-authoritarian and some like to learn things for themselves. I am like that, in fact. I don’t personally believe that would turn out to be the personality type of anti-vaccers generally. Simply because that movement is so very willing to blindly accept anything told to them by these peddlers of pseudoscience (and Jenny McCarthy!), & are so unwilling to look at anything else. Those with an inquisitive mind would look at all the arguments. Those who are suspicious of people dictating to them surely would not fall for these almost cultish leaders?

          I also agree that there are plenty of errors made in the medical world, and plenty of inconsistent information given , and that is frustrating. I don’t personally agree that a relevance to vaccination issues and attitudes follows from that. Many of those problems actually come down to the fallacy of individuals. That exists in any area. However, vaccine research and advice has not been decided by one individual. I’m not sure that the fact that some doctors make errors equates to the medical profession being responsible for anti-vaccination attitudes.

          Thanks for sharing the post.

          You would be uncomfortable with a law that could create a tiny risk of an adverse reaction causing harm, but are you then comfortable that by there being no regulatory intervention the health and lives of many children is being risked? A decision not to act is still a decision. So we are currently saying that we are fine with a decision to let any person who wants to risk multiple other children by their actions, but would not be fine with a decision to risk far fewer children by removing the choice. So it is not actually about risk. If something is about risk, it is quite simple: you take the option carrying the least risk. This is about choice being more important than risks and lives. I know many people think that is how it should be. That is where I disagree. I think we live in complex societies, one person’s individual choice will often remove another person’s (as it does with those who don’t vaccinate), therefore individual choice sometimes must be regulated.

          I would also note that there is a risk of hypoxia associated with babies being in car seats, yet the law makes people use them.

    • Silly Mummy says:

      It’s just ridiculous, isn’t it? The way I see it, your child would have Asperger’s Syndrome regardless because that is just the way it is. What you have is a child who has Asperger’s Syndrome & won’t get measles! If you hadn’t vaccinated, you would have had a child with Asperger’s Syndrome who may also get measles. Looked at that way, I don’t think vaccination is a complicated decision! Thank you for your comment!

  8. Charlene says:

    I know there are people that are very conscious of chemicals and have major concerns about what’s contained in vaccines. Whilst I respect the right of parents to make decisions for their own families it is difficult to accept that people that choose not to vaccinate are able to keep their children safe because the majority of people ARE doing it. I think that (unless there is a medical reason for exclusion) parents should have to evidence they have vaccinated before their children attend schools or child care providers – you can be anti vaccination but you better be pro homeschool!

    • Silly Mummy says:

      Absolutely! I know there was some fuss about some schools in America introducing that, but I think it is absolutely correct. If you want your children to go to a state school, you should have to vaccinate them. I mean, really, you can’t put your cat in a cattery without proving it is vaccinated up to date. What kind of a crazy system says that you can risk other people’s kids’ lives by refusing to immunise your children, but you had better not risk anyone else’s cat by not having boosters up to date?! I know there is fuss about chemicals, but I do think people tend to be selective about when they worry about these things, and pretty unclear on what chemicals actually are. Plenty of natural things are chemicals. Plenty of harmless things are chemicals. Chemical is not an evil word.

  9. Paul says:

    Reading through the comments in this discussion it all seemed very convincing, but I am not convinced. The basis of the arguments put forward is too simple, too black and white and with simple arguements simple solutions are obvious. Life however is not simple especially when dealing with human beings.

    In the discussion research is mentioned and statistics are pointed to, but none of it is critiqued or examined for it’s validity. The reader has to take it on trust, or not. We have all heard the phrase “lies, damed lies and statistics” and probably know that statistics can be manipulated in many ways, but it is not just the statistics themselves that we need to question. The science that produces those statistics also needs to be questioned. The results that you get from a scientific enquiry will, to a great degree, depend on the questions that you ask, but also the questions that you do not ask. Peer review is often given as a check against the distortion that the scietist’s individual perspective can bring to scientific investigation, but the reality is that if my peers think in a similar way to me they are likely to ask similar questions and also leave similar questions unasked. Peer review is certainly a valuable discipline, but it by no means guarantees objectivity or rigor. This is why we have paradigm shifts in science, where the accepted truth today can suddenly become seen as folly tomorrow.

    The use of motor vehicles causes many deaths and injuries every year. If we got rid of motor vehicles we could avoid this death and suffering. We do not do this because we also recognise that motor travel has benefits for both individuals and society. Disease, suffering and death are all essential aspects of life, but modern science has no conception of their value or meaning, because it has no concept of the value and meaning of human life, existance and evolution. Until this lack is addressed science will not be able to adequately deal with the question of vacination and many other problems.

    Science needs a much broader scope and far more rigor than current practice allows if it is to rise to this challenge and build on the great achievments that have already been made. A major prerequiste for this is a funding of science that is free from all vested interests both economic and political.

    I hope that these very briefly outlined ideas will give food for thought and show that perhaps there is more to the question of vacination than immediately meets the eye.

    • Silly Mummy says:

      Motor vehicles, a human intervention, are an odd comparison to pick for the natural order of death and diseases, that very much mixes up the point being made.

      Of course science can be flawed, scientific views can shift. BUT that is not, as some people believe, a valid argument to defeat every scientific discovery. Virtually nothing is an absolutely guaranteed certainty, and the ‘you can’t be sure, scientific views have changed before’ that the anti-vaccination movement is so fond of just strikes me as the world’s laziest argument. It is used by them to avoid having to consider anything or actually answer any argument made to them. The perfect get out: if you can’t 100% guarantee something, I do not need to consider it. Furthermore, in this particular area, we have to note the irony of the fact that we have people on the one hand challenging the knowledge, research and reliability of the scientific community, whilst on the other spouting a load of pseudo-science as ‘fact’ to support their beliefs.

      I would also point out that I think that people understanding the medium in which they are writing and commenting should not be confused with people failing to understand the subject matter, or to have given it full consideration. Neither this post, nor the comments people have made, are research papers or dissertations. To set out the full studies, the masses of statistics, the research, the counter-arguments, etc, in this context would be ridiculous. In this format – a short opinion piece – you have to summarise the key points of what you are personally advocating. The point is that it is simplified and picks a side. By all means disagree with the side picked, but do bear in mind that the level of detail used in writing is primarily determined by what is appropriate for the length and style of the piece, and is not necessarily indicative of the level of detail known or understood by the writer.

  10. Talya says:

    Great post! I am 100% with you – people should be more worried about what the actual disease their child could get will do to them compared to their other fears. #effitfriday

  11. Great post. Very brave of you to share your opinion on such a taboo subject. I don’t like judging other people’s decision, especially with regards to parenting, but I have to say I agree with you 100%. If you make a decision not to be immunised, fine, you’re an adult, they’re your risks, but choosing to not immunise your children is playing with their lives not yours. #effitfriday

    • Silly Mummy says:

      Thank you. I agree with you that judging others is not ideal in most circumstances. But I do just feel that this is not a situation where people should have been allowed to say that this is their decision and they should not be judged. If someone is making a decision to not only risk their own child, but also my babies, and someone else’s sick child, etc, then actually I am afraid that I can’t stop myself from judging! Thanks for popping by on my first (and quite possibly only) foray into a controversial area!

  12. Michelle says:

    I am so glad you wrote about this! I am right there with you. My oldest has Autism and was diagnosed around the time that study came out. I didn’t believe it then and I don’t believe it now. When it was time for my youngest to get the MMR vaccine, the doctor informed me of the “claim” that MMR vaccine is a possible cause but also let me know that he didn’t believe it and that we still don’t really know what causes Autism. Either way, I wanted my second son to get that vaccine. I believe wholeheartedly that vaccines are important and my second son doesn’t have Autism. thanks for sharing this on #effitfriday

    • Silly Mummy says:

      Thank you! & thank you for sharing your personal insight on this subject. Sounds like very balanced & sensible advice and information given from the doctor too. I wonder if parents who actually have autistic children are often less likely to believe any of these claims than people without autistic children? That wouldn’t surprise me at all – I think it is much easier to whip people into panic and hysteria about something they don’t actually understand.

  13. Andrea Dalziel says:

    I’m so glad you’re happy with this decision. However you may not be so happy if it was your child lying in the hospital bed having contracted whooping cough from her immunisation at approximately 6 months. She was my third child and the first two had the full course without any problems, so I didn’t think twice when I had her – how wrong I was.

    To see a tiny baby in a big hospital bed having to be held down while they put a tube down her nose to take a sample from her lungs is horrific. They have to do this to confirm that it’s actually whooping cough and not only did she have to go through this, but she could have died.

    She is now 10 and hasn’t had an injection since. We have spoken at length to the doctors and have made the decision to begin the course again in the next few months, because they take the whooping cough vaccine out at the age of 10.

    I’m not looking forward to it. In fact I’m terrified. But I have to do it as she will be starting secondary school next year.

    It’s all very well spouting that they should not be a choice, but please remember that autism isn’t the only thing that can be attributed to vaccinations.

    • Silly Mummy says:

      I am very sorry for your experience, which must have been very upsetting and frightening, and I can understand has made you concerned about vaccinations.

      However, and I am really sorry because I do understand why you feel like this, but what you say is just irrational. What about the unvaccinated children and babies who end up lying in a hospital with whooping cough? What about the babies who die from whooping cough? I’m sorry, but the chances of young children and babies contracting whooping cough if unvaccinated, and the risks associated with them contracting it, are far, far higher than the tiny risk of an adverse reaction to the tdap vaccine, which is an inactive vaccine. To suggest otherwise would be irresponsible.

      I do hope that your daughter’s vaccinations go well.

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