'Why I Don't Vaccinate': 9 Moms Speak Out​


Whether or not you vaccinate your kids, it's not a decision to be taken lightly. The Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics both recommend immunizing all kids -- and doing it on a specific schedule. So why doesn't every mom follow along? You could jump to conclusions about anti-vaxxers, but have you actually sat down with a mom who's decided to not vaccinate her kids and heard why?


Well, we did, and their reasons run the gamut. Some of these moms' kids have experienced horrifying reactions to vaccines in the past, or suffer from medical conditions that make immunizations dangerous to their health.

More From The Stir: 22 Things Never to Say to Moms Who Don't Vaccinate

While you may not ultimately agree with their choice, these stories show that keeping their kids safe is always on their minds:

  1. A specialist said it could have killed our son
    "Shortly after taking our newborn son home, he developed a rash from head to toe; tests revealed his white blood cell count was very low. During our first visit with a specialist, he asked, 'Is he vaccinated?' I answered no. Then he said something I will never forget. He said, 'My wife is a pediatrician, and if she heard me say this, she'd kill me, but it's a really good thing you didn't vaccinate him. The consequences could have been disastrous.' Eventually, our son's bone marrow began to produce normal levels of white blood cells, and he has since been medically cleared 'healthy enough for vaccinations,' but I'm just not interested in the risk. This doesn't mean I won't vaccinate in the future, maybe as he gets older and stronger, or if safer vaccines are introduced. For now, I will continue to follow my instincts, because they haven't steered me wrong thus far."
  2. Bad reactions run in our family
    "I stopped due to bad reactions. After the DTaP at 18 months, my two oldest had extremely high fevers and major swelling. What's more, their father had the same reaction to the same vaccine many years earlier. Then, after the MMR at 15 months, the oldest had persistent diarrhea; the second had a seizure after the same set. While we have no proof it was the vaccine, it's highly coincidental if it wasn't. As a result of this experience, my three youngest are unvaxed."
  3. Shots are no guarantee your kids won't get sick
    "I did all the vaccinations to stay with my pediatrician, whom I love to death, until my son turned 4. Then they gave me the option on certain things. So I refused the flu shot because I found that the flu shot only protected against a very small percentage of flu viruses, all of which were mostly lethal to younger children and seniors ... which no longer applied to my guy. I also worry about the chemicals in his system; the effects seem worse than the alternative. I did research, and for every document that I read that said it was terrible to get your kids vaccinated, I also found a document saying how it was essential to get your child vaccinated. There is so much out there that contradicts each other, it's confusing. To me the safest bet was not to vaccinate at all."
  4. My daughter changed so much it scared me
    "I used to be huge on vaccinations. Then I stopped because after my daughter's 4-month shots, she didn't act like herself -- so much that it scared me. But that wasn't what sealed it. It only prompted me to put vaccinating on hold until I did research. It was the research that prompted me to stop. I question the schedule, the amount of vaccines, what is in them. I particularly question the effects of the aluminum in them as well as other deadly chemicals. I question what kind of long-term harm I am doing to my child. So then I thought maybe I will do select vaccines, so I researched individual ones and found there was way too much uncertainty and it was more about proving someone wrong than actual facts."

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  5. Our doctor told us to stop
    "With my first son, I vaccinated on schedule, starting with Hep B at birth. At his second DTaP shop at 4 months, my son had a severe reaction. We stopped with him. For my second son, we delayed and skipped the Hep B and DTaP. When he was 3, he got the 'new' MMRV in one shot. He, too, had a severe reaction. The severe reactions were documented and we were told by the doc to no longer vaccinate for DTaP or MMRV. My last son has a low white blood cell count. So even if we could, we wouldn't vaccinate."
  6. Most diseases with vaccines are treatable
    "I don't feel I need to shove a bunch of poison into my children for diseases that they may or may not come into contact with. Plus, most of the diseases that they vaccinate for are treatable if they do get them. I am not vaccinated, and neither is my husband or any of our siblings. The most any of us has gotten was the chicken pox."
  7. I choose other ways to keep my kids healthy
    "I choose other ways of keeping my kids healthy. Contrary to popular belief, the options are not limited to vaccines or disease. The third option, which we use, is 'healthy lifestyle.'"
  8. My child has an immunodeficiency
    "At best, [a] vaccine would do nothing, since the vaccine works because the body remembers the intruder and mounts a response if that intruder strikes again. Without a memory like this, [my sons'] bodies would do nothing. At worst, the vaccine could actually make them sick, especially if it were a live vaccine."
  9. My child is allergic to some of what's in vaccines
    "My daughter has a gelatin allergy. Gelatin is used to stabilize a lot of vaccines, so she can't have those vaccines. We do get the shots that don't have gelatin."

As for reasons that have nothing to do with choosing not to vaccinate, one mom was very frank when she spoke up and told The Stir that it's a myth that actress and former Playboy bunny Jenny McCarthy sways mothers' decisions on vaccinations.

More From The Stir: 10 Pediatricians on What They Really Think About Parents Who Don't Vaccinate

"I have about a hundred reasons, but I'm only responding to make the point that none of them have to do with Jenny McCarthy as most derogatory pro-vaccine articles insist is the main reason parents have decided not to vaccinate," she says.

What do you think of these reasons? Have you encountered any of these?

Image via Peerayot/shutterstock

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