The Decision To Vaccinate Is for Parents Not Government to Make


vaccnineI value my pediatrician's advice, but I don't always do as he has suggested. I make informed decisions and to some extent, I also trust my instincts. My kids are vaccinated on a slightly modified schedule and there are seasonal vaccinations that we say no to. There are risks with every vaccine, just as there are risks with not getting vaccinated, which is why I believe parents should have the right to choose to vax their children or not.

Vaccinations shouldn't be forced upon us by doctors or the government -- it should be up to the parent. Philosophical exemptions should be allowed for every school, public and private.

I spoke with two moms who agree. Ginger Summerford Gorrell, a mom of three from North Carolina, shared, "I trust the schools to make the best educational choices for my child, from curriculum choices to quality teachers. Health care choices, however, are for me to make with my child's doctor."

New York mom of two Rebecca Wong said, "We should have the right -- the choice -- to sift through the available information and research on vaccines and decide which ones and on what schedule we -- together with our pediatrician -- feel comfortable vaccinating our children. Unfortunately, that ideal doesn't match our reality. There are some vaccines I feel no hesitation about giving to my kids (on a delayed schedule) while there are others I'd like to see more long term research on that doesn't come from the pharmaceutical company that manufactures and profits from it."

That research, and who it is funded by, puts far too many questions in parents' minds. How can we feel truly safe injecting our children's bodies with something when the safety of it -- the long term safety -- can be questioned. That is where our instinct kicks in -- that voice in our head that says it's okay to go ahead or that we should wait. I've waited to vaccinate when we were scheduled, even on our delay, when my child was sick, even if it was just a cold.

When it comes to school, all children despite if they are vaccinated or not, should be allowed in. We pay a lot of taxes for public school. And private schools are costly. Most likely a private school will have full disclosure on their policies and parents see if it's in line with their way of thinking so this isn't much an issue there. But it is for public schools. If a parent is that concerned that their child will be studying next to a kid who hasn't been vaccinated, then that parent should also consider never taking their child to the supermarket, the public parks, the library, or on any playdate without first seeing records of immunization. There are people all over this world who aren't vaccinated, not just in schools, not just children. Any time we step out the door, there is a chance we can catch something. But we can't live with that kind of paralyzing and overly cautious kind of fear. There are also some kids who have severe allergic reactions to eggs who cannot be vaccinated, so children like this -- under this thought -- shouldn't be allowed at school either. How could that be allowed? Should we start separating the vax from no-vax, giving them their own schools, and hope the two never play together? That's not right. We also can't force vaccinations.

We shouldn't fear no-vax kids. I don't want those nearly eradicated diseases to creep back and infect our society, but I also feel we should have a choice, and the choice each parent makes for their child should be respected. A parent who vaccinates also shouldn't be overly concerned about other children who aren't because they are already protected -- isn't that why they got the vaccine in the first place? Besides, it's not like non-vaccinated kids are walking around carrying every frightening disease out there. They aren't.

Our bodies. Our kids bodies. Should be our choice. And the government and schools should stick to what they know best.

What are your thoughts on schools banning non-vaccnated children? Take our poll, here.

Image via Daniel Paquet/Flickr

vaccines, education


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PonyC... PonyChaser

Honestly, I don't think this is truly a "vaccinate/don't vaccinate" debate. This is a debate about what kind of government you wish to have, and what kind of society you wish to live in.

It's been my personal experience that many "non-vaxers" are vehement about not being told to vaccinate their children. They fight with other parents, their doctors, and find ways around the school's rules. But then they stand up and say that the government should pay for birth control, abortions, kids' lunches, and cell phones.

So which do they want? Do they want the government OUT of their lives or do they want the government IN their lives?

Further, I don't think we'd be having this much of a debate if every damn vaccination that came down the pike wasn't suddenly "required" - when I was a kid, we got something like five vax: whooping cough, polio, smallpox, diphtheria, and tetanus. Now? Holy crap!! All of those plus hepatitis through the alphabet, chicken pox, and a host of others when baby barely has her eyes open. Now there's that STD one. And Flu-this and Flu-that every year that we're not sure will even work!! And all of them are supposed to be miracle cures.

We're putting WAY too much faith in the government to make every decision for us, and not taking enough personal responsibility.

And this is coming from a woman who is generally in favor of vaccinations.

Patty Blaney

I have no problems with you deciding to not vaccinate your child, but the bigger issue is, those non-vaccinated children are the ones who are currently spreading and having us see a resurgence in diseases we had once seen eradicated.  Whooping cough comes to mind, measles comes to mind.  Yes, you can choose to not vaccinate your child for "philosophical" reasons, but that does not mean that you have a right to put children who cannont be vaccinated at risk.  If that means that you may not get to take your child to a public school, then so be it.  Sorry,  but their are kids who cannot be vaccinated becuase of immune deficiency issues or because they have cancer or the like.  And going to the supermarket is not quite the same as your child sitting next to these kids and touching these kids which will happen in school...not the supermarket. 

Sorry, but your right to choose what to do with your child is one thing, but your ability to send that unvaccinated and maybe disease spreading child to a public school is another thing.  Sorry, but public schools to me are not an open season right for you child to potentially harm another child.

Rhond... RhondaVeggie

This isn't about kids who can't get vaccines, that's a tiny percentage of the population and if a kid can't get it they will be protected by herd immunity in a school full of vaccinated kids. I have no problem accepting a doctors note saying that a child is allergic to eggs or latex or whatever and therefore can't receive certain shots. I do have a problem with parents who listen to some quack and decide not to vaccinate their kids. If you want to endanger your child that is your business even if it's unethical and screams Bad Parent. You do not however have the right to endanger other kids.

fave82 fave82

"I value my pediatrician's advice" ... But then I do what I want anyways.

MamaM... MamaMay007

I agree. I vax but I have friends that are really prolife that don't. (Some vaccinations started off as aborted babies and though the cells of those babies are not in the vaccination the source is still the aborted babies, you can look this up if you want it is just a google away!)

There is a reason there is a religious exemption and not any other type as some religions still say that your child cannot get into heaven if they have been vaccinated.

Pink_... Pink_Love

My cousin doesn't get her son vaccinated, I get my 3 kids vaccinated, so according to this whole should they go to school w/each other or not is a no brainer for me. YES they should be able to! I take my kids to play with Ev all the time and they have a wonderful relationship. If Ev is sick my cousin calls me immediatly to tell me so I can keep an eye on my kids and stay away until he is better.

Bless... BlessedBeX3

most parents believe that the pediatrician is as high up as a greek god. they believe anything they tell them even if their kids dr is obese and unhealthy which i believe is  hypocritical. I never take advice from a dr untill i go home and research it myself bc most of them dont know what they are talking about when it comes to serious things. I vaccinate, but i don't do the flu shots. I believe every vaccination is detrimental and therefore i will protect my children. I read up on all of them and choose which ones will be administered.


the4m... the4mutts

Of course its every parents own decision. And people who are so afraid to let their kids play with others, should just keep them home in a bubble.

My children get vaccinated for things like the hepititis shot, that their little bodies could NEVER become immune to naturally.

But chicken pox, the flu, measels, etc, if they catch it naturally, its better for them. Then their bodies know how to fight off the real virus. 2 of mine have had chicken pox, 2 have had measels. The flu? Its almost non-existant in our house. And guess what? My son and I BOTH caught swine flu, from the neighbor boy who got a vaccine for it. Well, he gets a flu shot of some sort every year, and gets some flu more than once a year. After my son & I recovered naturally from it, we didn't even get a cold the rest of the year.

The government and public schools have no right telling me what I can and can't do, when I see the proof of what works for my family right in front of my face

Toni Hight

No you should NOT have the right to infect other children just because you have "decided" that they vaccines that have protected us for so many years should not be given! I would hate to know that I am putting my child in danger everyday by sending them to school to get an education because another parent isn't protecting their child. If you chose this path then you can home school! Besides good parenting involves doing everything you can to PROTECT your child, especially from diseases that have at one time or another killed several, if the protection is there USE IT!

Flori... Floridamom96

The government has no business making medical decisions for anyone. Requiring vaccinations in order to comply with mandatory attendance laws is precisely the government making medical decisions for our children. I don't care whether any of you think vaccinating is right, wrong, or even an obligation. It isn't any of your business what medical decisions I make for myself and my children. Period.

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