Here's an excellent video from Penn and Teller on vaccinations (and antivaccinationism). Given all the recent attention to Andrew Wakefield and the far reaching and tragic effects of his fraudulent scholarship, a little humour can go a long way to moving the vaccine agenda forward. Vaccines need to be safe but so do our children.
Vaccine conspiracy theories do not help us and, it turns out, can blind us to conspiracies within the antivaccination movements themselves - movements that parents want to trust because they appeal to the natural and emotional side of parenting. As a parent, natural, attachment or otherwise, I feel the same discomfort that others do when I watch a health professional stick a needle in my precious child's precious little arm.
However, we live in an age when we are blessed enough to have the vast majority of our children survive to adulthood. Vaccines are, hands down, one of the most incredible discoveries of all time and should be celebrated, not vilified.
It's okay to ask questions, to show concern and to evaluate the evidence before vaccinating our children. We do not have to choose every vaccine every time or always stick to the recommended immunization schedules. However, when we do decide against a vaccine or a schedule, we should understand the real risks. We should not be lied to by antivaccination movements that claim to protect our children but instead seek to profit from our blindness. We should be given the truth and trust that the 'truth' is the closest representation of the truth available.
Our children deserve safe vaccines and the best way to find safe vaccines is to support vaccines. Not to avoid vaccines.
In the end, I want my child to stand on the side of vaccines, not paranoia. I want her to be safe and to be healthy and to not live in fear of preventable and devestating illnesses like polio, mumps or meningitis. I am not afraid that the vaccine will give her autism. I am also less afraid that she will experience a serious adverse effect from a vaccine than experience permanent damage from a preventable communicable disease.
And I also want to protect all the other mother's newborn babies whose immune systems are too young to offer any significant protection and other mother's babies who have cancer or HIV or genetic conditions that leave those babies little immunity. We are all mothers and we need to protect all children.
Finally, as a mommy-blogger, attachment parent, natural parent and all the other titles that are ascribed to mothers in the online parenting community, I am proud to say that I vaccinate my child.
So, what side do you want your child to stand on?