There's nothing like a good vaccine debate to end a mommy friendship. But a fight brewing at a school in Billings, Montana over an HPV vaccine clinic is a good reminder to the anti-vax crowd that they can disagree with us ... but boy do they need us.
Tabatha Pearson claims the Gardasil vaccine caused her elder daughter's infertility. It's a rumored side effect that hasn't been supported by any investigation by the Centers for Disease Control, but OK, fair enough, she's a concerned mom looking out for her own kids. That makes sense.
What doesn't make sense? Pearson is trying to shut down a clinic that would provide a life-saving vaccine for other fifth and sixth graders in her local community at a fraction of the cost.
That's right. She isn't just opting her own children out of the vaccine that prevents several cancer-causing strains of the human papillomavirus. She doesn't want any other parent to be able to make the choice to protect their children.
Kind of ironic coming from a crowd that spends a whole lot of time whining that it's unfair for us pro-vax parents to want them to GET their kids vaccinated, isn't it? Which is it? Do they want freedom of choice or do they only want freedom for their choice?
Parents like Pearson spend a lot of time fighting for the "right" not to vaccinate their kids. But what they forget is those of us who do opt to protect our children with these life-saving medical advancements are doing them a huge favor. Our kids are good for her kids!
It comes down to simple statistics. You may have heard it called the "herd immunity." It's what protects kids who are immuno-compromise or legitimately allergic to something within a vaccine. The more vaccinated kids there are in a community, the easier it is for the unvaccinated kids to eke by without catching something ooky. If my kid is vaccinated against a disease -- be it HPV or the chicken pox -- she's one less person who can give it to her kid.
It's bad enough, frankly, that the more unvaccinated kids there are, the more the vaccinated kids whose vaccines didn't work entirely (yes, vaccines are imperfect, this pro-vaxxer will readily admit that ... ) and all those other kids who need the herd immunity are put at risk. At the very least, the anti-vax crowd can give us pro-vaxxing parents the right to protect our kids ... and theirs.
Where you do fall on what other people do with their kids?
Image via Andres Rueda/Flickr