10 Effects of Not Vaccinating Your Children

syringeMore and more parents in the United States are choosing not to vaccinate their children for religious, philosophical, health and other reasons. Anti-vaxxers, as they're called, run the gamut across the political and geographical spectrum. Overall, more than 10 percent of parents are either delaying when their children are vaccinated or not getting the shots at all.

The decision of whether or not to vaccinate your child is a personal one, but make it a well-informed one. Ask questions. Do your research. Talk to your pediatrician. Your decision affects not only your child, but the people around them (at school, at church, on the playground, at the grocery store, and so on). Understanding the risks of not vaccinating your child is an important part of the decision-making process.

Here, some repercussions of not vaccinating your child.

  1. First and foremost, without vaccinations, your child can get sick with the diseases vaccinations protect against. "Some parents have adopted the idea that with infants and vaccines, there are 'too many too soon,'" says Dr. Frank Destefano, the Director of the Immunization Safety Office at the CDC. "But without them, children could contract diseases that are otherwise completely preventable." If a child gets one of these diseases, such as measles, rubella, and pertussis (or whooping cough), they face the risk of hospitalization, brain damage, paralysis, and even death.
  2. Since non-vaccinated children are at risk for developing diseases, that means that these almost-eradicated diseases can have a massive comeback. A recent outbreak of pertussis was traced back to families who chose not to vaccinate their children. According to a 2009 study published by Dr. Jason Glanz in the journal Pediatrics, children who are not immunized against pertussis are 23 times more likely to catch the disease, giving them a higher chance of spreading it to others.
  3. The theory of "herd immunity" only works if up to 94 percent of the population is immunized against a specific disease, and even then, "herd immunity does not seem to completely protect unvaccinated children," writes Glanz, an Epidemiologist at the Institute of Health Research. This means, that even if the vast majority of the population is immunized, a non-vaccinated child still faces great risk of contracting an otherwise avoidable disease.
  4. Non-vaccinated children also pose a threat to individuals with weak immune systems, specifically those who cannot yet be vaccinated or ones who cannot naturally fight off antibodies. "The idea of the 'common good' persists and children who are not vaccinated are harmful to other children and babies that are too young to be vaccinated, as well as pregnant women, and the elderly," says Glanz. Those without vaccines are dangerous to people with serious diseases, such as leukemia and certain cancers, who cannot receive immunizations.
  5. During an outbreak, children and families of un-immunized children may be quarantined for protection, and might be excluded from certain areas and events. Be prepared to tell your kid they can't go to the school picnic.
  6. Some doctors and pediatricians refuse to treat non-vaccinated kids.
  7. Non-vaccinated children can also legally be banned from certain day care facilities, as well as after-school programs, depending on their immunization records.
  8. If you live in a big city, your child is at an even greater risk for contracting a disease if they're not protected. Cities tend to be travel hubs for airports and tourists -- thousands of people pass through these ports per day, making the chances of encountering a sickness higher.
  9. Similarly, if a child is not vaccinated, he or she faces stringent travel restrictions if they ever plan on visiting other parts of the world. If they're not protected against certain diseases, they might not be allowed to travel.
  10. According to the CDC, every time you ride in an ambulance, or take your child to the emergency room or the pediatrician, you must inform the doctors of your child's lack of vaccinations. This way, doctors are aware of their immunization history and can properly approach their situation and tailor their medications.

Did you vaccinate your child(ren)? Did you take these effects into consideration?


Image via Melissa Wiese/Flickr

toddler health, vaccines


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KathyTh. KathyTh.

And... here come the idiot conspiracy theorist anti-vaxxers... in 3, 2, 1...

nonmember avatar Sarah

I love how PP starts out name calling, that's cute, mature and makes you look very smart. I have a Masters in nursing, so health wise I know my stuff. No conspiracy theory here. I find it comical that it's written that unvaccinated children could these diseases to come back for "the entire population." If we are vaccinated, then wouldn't we have the immunity in theory. FYI the true life span of vaxes are 2-5 years. So the "unprotected" population would be the majority of the population. I believe it is your right to vax or not vax your child, they are yours to determine what is best for them. In our house, we selectively vaccinate. We do the tetanus vaccine because you never know when kiddo will step on a rusty nail.

nonmember avatar Ashley

We didn't really get a choice. Our kids have horrible reactions to more than one vaccine at a time. Our oldest son has seizures from too many at once and can't be given the cluster vaccines. Thankfully his pedi understands and makes sure he has the single shots for my son.

nicki... nicki.hemingway

1.) Still may happen despite vaccinating your child.  In many cases these illness are in fully vaccinated people.

2.) Yet again still a risk for the vaccinted who can and do get sick from vaccine preventable diseases all the time.  Several vaccines Shed (this means you are contagious for up to 28 days post vaccination).

3.) Herd immunity is a theory not fact.  There is no proof to confirm nor deny this theroy.  Also the theory applied to natural immunity from illness not artificial immunity from vaccination.  Please learn to do some reseach?

4.) In previous generations everyone having these relatively mild illness themselves in childhood protected the elderly, pregnant, and ill.  As for vaccination now, well if the vaccinated get sick and vaccine can spread illness well then there is no difference.

5.) This is true in some areas but not all.  Plus as mentioned before vaccination does not mean immunity. 


nicki... nicki.hemingway

6) Also partly true, but all 50 states have some form of waiver, and 48 have personal or religious waivers.  In many states finding a dr that respects your parental rights is quite easy. 

7.) It's called an exemption.  Look it up.  As long as the program gets any state or federal money they must take your child and their waiver.

8.) Also not true.  Small towns get outbreaks too, and since no vaccine is guaranteed and vaccinated people get sick all the time this argument falls flat as well.

9.) With very few exceptions this is not true.  Btw if anyone wants real info please visit the consulate website of the country you wish to visit. 

10.) This is also false.

HEY STIR!!! Please fact check before posting articles full of mistruths and fear mongering.  You just discredit yourselves as writers and this site as being a great place for mom's.

miche... micheledo

So much I could say, but I'll just address one thing.

Do you realize the CDC recently came out with a statement acknowledging that people VACCINATED for pertussis are sometimes sick with it and don't even know it?  THEY (the vaccinated) are unknowing spreaders of this disease.  In my opinion, they are probably the most dangerous to have around a newborn since they have no knowledge that they are sick.  The CDC admits that the new (as of the 80s) pertussis vaccine is NOT effective.  

the4m... the4mutts

Unvaccinated people don't get you sick. GERMS get you sick. Anyone can have germs, vaxxed or not.

Kattey Kattey

It's best not to even post about vaxxing. A study showed that even using science as evidence, those who don't vax won't change their minds.

Since there is no chance of making anyone see the light, just be honest. If you don't vax, you're a fucking moron. You're welcome.

nonmember avatar a parent

I love my son enough not to jab him with a cocktail of shit!

nonmember avatar rockinmom

And I love my son enough to give him the shots he needs so he doesn't get sick! Those who don't vaccinate are idiots. Thanks for putting my child in a greater risk of getting a virus cause y'all are to stupid.

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