Vaccinations: Taking A Stand

posted in: Rant, Vaccinations 40 comments

Taking a stand on vaccinations

Vaccinations. I am FOR IT. Yes, all of it. Bring it. Give it to my children according to schedule. Make it compulsory, please. I don’t want diseases that were wiped out, through painstaking research and hard work on many people’s part, to come back, and come back as epidemics. People die from these diseases. Worse, children die from them. Teeny tiny babies, who are too young to be themselves vaccinated, depend on other people to make the right choice in vaccinating their own children when the time is right. 

Vaccination is NOT a personal choice. A personal choice does not affect hundreds, thousands of people, entire communities. Making a choice to not vaccinate because you are afraid of autism, and saying it’s personal and you’re entitled to that choice, is simply wrong, and bullshit. 

Breastfeeding or not, is a personal choice. Which school your child goes to, is a personal choice. Deciding to raise your child gender-free, is a personal choice. Homeschooling is a personal choice. Which church/ synagogue/ temple/ mosque you attend, is a personal choice. Vaccination is NOT a personal choice, and should never be, ever. Not in this lifetime, or the next. 

And you know what? Even if I believe vaccinations are linked to autism (and I do not because it IS NOT, there are PLENTY of studies to prove that), I’ll take autism over death any day. I’ll take that chance with my children. I can work with autism. I can understand it, learn about it, advocate for my child, and we’ll get through it. At least I can hold my baby, watch him grow up and navigate all those milestones every child born, has a right to navigate. (Before someone says, you say that only because you don’t know what it’s like to have a child with autism – hold on right there. I do have a child, who though technically not diagnosed as being on the spectrum, has a set of challenges and issues that we are dealing with right now. So I do understand what special needs are.)

You don’t get to decide that for me. But when you say, I choose not to vaccinate and it is my right! – you are deciding for me, and thousands of other parents and their children. You are exposing your children and mine to diseases that should no longer be here. You are exposing elderly folks and yes, even adults whose childhood vaccinations have weakened (and yes, you can get boosters, go get them now), to these diseases. You are taking away children, parents, and grandparents away from their families. That is your personal choice? No, it is not.

Have you seen a 5 week old in ICU because of whooping cough? Have you seen them hooked up to machines and drips, fighting to live? They wouldn’t even have to be there if their siblings had been vaccinated, and not passed it on to their innocent little brother or sister (and this is a true story told to me by a doctor friend living in Holland).

Pertussis (whooping cough) can kill. If you survive it, it can damage your lungs, and give you long-term health problems. People used to die from small pox (and still do). There are severe and real repercussions to your ‘personal choice’, on other people. Don’t we have enough freaking diseases in the world which God knows, if we can find vaccinations for, we’ll all be queueing up to get them? Cancer, HIV, various respiratory diseases, Ebola and who knows what else is going to strike us down. 

So please, before you decide to make this a “personal choice”, get educated about vaccinations. Pore over all the information that is available out there. Do not be blindsided by fear mongers. Remember that what you choose to do or not do, affects many people. 

I don’t normally write about subjects that are divisive and controversial, but as a parent, I feel strongly about vaccinations and I will keep shouting until I am blue in the face about this, until people come to their senses. If you choose to disagree with me, please do so, but if you call me (or others who agree with me) a name, I reserve the right to delete that comment.

Alison Lee is a former PR and marketing professional turned work-at-home mother. After a 10-year career in various PR agencies, and of the world’s biggest sports brands, Alison traded in product launches and world travel, for sippy cups, diapers, and breastfeeding. Alison's writing has been featured on Mamalode, On Parenting at The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Everyday Family, Scary Mommy, and She is one of 35 essayists in the anthology, My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends. In 2012, she founded Little Love Media, a social media consultancy specializing in blog book tours, and because she doesn’t sleep, is an editor at BonBon Break, an online magazine. Alison lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with her husband and four children (two boys and boy/ girl twins).

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  • September 12, 2014 Janine Huldie

    I am so with you on this Alison and even do flu shots every year for all of us, because I would much rather get the shot then any of us get so very sick from something we don’t have to suffer from. So, you are totally preaching to the choir on this 😉
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  • September 12, 2014 Dana K

    I am so disappointed that people STILL believe falsified information & outright lies over science. I’m part of the Mitichondrial diseases community & I am very aware of children who cannot have vaccines for a variety of legitimate health reasons. These are our most vulnerable members of society. They need & rely on herd immunity.
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  • September 12, 2014 Andrea

    I never understood why people choose not to vaccinate their children. I feel it is irresponsible, like telling them that it’s okay not to use a seatbelt, because so far they haven’t died in a car crash.
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  • September 12, 2014 Tove M Stakkestad

    Here’s my hope for this post – I HOPE IT GOES VIRAL!!!!!
    I couldn’t believe it when I read your post this morning – it was every word and every feeling I have had on the subject!
    We have an immune compromised child – all of our boys are always fully vaccinated, but they don’t work on one of our kids… so we RELY on herd immunity – we NEED HERD IMMUNITY!
    Alison – if I haven’t told you yet – I will tell you now – I LOVE YOU! XO
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  • September 12, 2014 Jennie Goutet

    PREACH! With you heart and soul on this one. (I participated in the immunisation drives in Africa).
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  • September 12, 2014 Ruthie Bunkelmann

    Well put!!! and I agree. I am a parent with 2 boys one who “had” Autism and one who still thrives with it. I say “had” because my son Seth also had cancer that of which he did not survive. Autism was nothing compared to cancer. With chemo his immune system was often at zero. We constantly worried about those un-vaccinated kids/adults that could possibly have a preventable disease exposing our son. He had so many Dr appts and hospital stays and hospitals are the worse place to be when your immune system is at zero because of just what walks through those doors …..sick people. Thank you for stating it so well.

  • September 12, 2014 Elaine A.

    I have friends who have not vaccinated their children for various reasons. They made such a case for it that I started to question my own stance. That is how I am, I always am willing to listen to both sides of story. But… one of them says “why worry about my kids not being vaccinated when yours are? Not like they are going to get the disease since they have their vaccinations!” Oh goodness, where do I start?

    I did delay a few for G and K but they are now up to date and I have always been pro-vaccination. None of my children even had any “issues” (like fevers, breakouts or things more severe) so I never worried about them getting them for those reasons.

    What I hate is that this is something that is now out there to question. As in, the media, etc. has made it such a “thing” that people are wondering if they should vaccinate their children. First-time parents have something else they think they need to reconsider. And it just should not be that way. If you can, you should.
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  • September 12, 2014 Kim

    I agree. We have made so many medical advances that have made our world a saver and healthier place for everyone and we are allowing fear and misinformation to take that away. You are so right, there are enough diseases to worry about out there, to have to now fight ones that we have the capability to prevent is very frustrating. And so sad for those affected.
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  • September 12, 2014 Stephanie

    Good points. Vaccination simply should not be a personal choice. Agreed!
    Stephanie recently wrote…A Word About VaccinesMy Profile

  • September 12, 2014 wendy

    I can’t believe we have to talk about this in countries where life-saving vaccines are plentiful and free. most of the world shakes their head at us as parents wait in lines for days to have their children vaccinated. It’s such a tragedy what’s happened — vaccines are the number one greatest improvement in public health. It’s terrifying–terrifying–that we’re talking about children dying from preventable diseases in countries like ours.
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  • September 12, 2014 Kerstin

    I’m all for vaccinations as well. I would not vaccinate my kids against chicken pox or other “unnecessary” illnesses – but I have always relied on my pediatrician for advice like that.
    In Canada it’s: no vaccinations, no public school and I’m 100% in support of that!
    Good for you for taking a stand! xo
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  • September 12, 2014 Sisters From Another Mister

    Music to my ears as I am packing for a trip to DC as a Champion leader for shot@life for a Summit this week … vaccinations save lives. Yes they do. Down in FL, public schools have billboards that say – No shots. No school. No kidding.’ Schools are providing the flu shot free of charge … and Walgreens are running a campaign this month where for every shot you get, they will give a shot.
    Let us do this thing .. because years of research, lives saved and because it is the right thing to do.
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  • September 12, 2014 Tamara

    I live in such a crunchy area that I just know our doctors must get a lot of push. When they mention vaccinations, it’s always as if it’s such a choice. I always says, “Just do it! Anything they need. Please!”
    And they look relieved and then get a nurse to stick my children with needles! It’s worth it.
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  • September 12, 2014 Leigh Ann

    I’ve always been pro-vaccination, and never had a reason to think otherwise, but we did delay a few. Got all caught up before kindergarten though. I have a few friends who don’t vaccinate, but they also homeschool and don’t go anywhere really. The thing is, you can’t change people’s minds when they’ve done their own research and made up their own mind. But the news out of LA is terrifying.
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  • September 12, 2014 Keely

    Yes, yes, a thousand times yes, Amen.
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  • September 13, 2014 Tenns

    Yes! I’m so glad someone is advocating for those of us who are pro-vaccination. I can’t imagine taking the risk not vaccinating my children versus doing so. There’s a reason we were given the knowledge and technology to create them, therefore they should be utilize, of course safely! There’s no guarantees, but if there is a chance they can help tremendously, I’m for it! I now worry when my son starts school he’ll be subjected to sicknesses that when I was coming up, didn’t have to worry about so much…all because of people choosing not to vaccinate.
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  • September 13, 2014 Mo at Mocadeaux

    Absolutely! I couldn’t agree more with every word you so eloquently wrote. Now I’m going to pass this along. Thanks for taking on this (ridiculously) controversial subject.
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  • September 13, 2014 Jennifer

    I will stand with you. I agree with this.
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  • September 13, 2014 Jen

    Amen! I just finished off the first 18 month round of vaccines for my youngest daughter and i am a HUGE supporter of them. My Dr. today told me that over his lifetime he has seen such a significant decrease in the terrible diseases he would treat children for because of vaccinations. I think it is criminal to falsify information about this life saving procedure!
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  • September 13, 2014 Arnebya

    Agreed. Admittedly, it wasn’t until I started blogging that I realized people were anti-vaccine. It had never come up before as an option or choice.
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  • September 13, 2014 Adrienne

    Good for you for taking a stand. Controversial topics are always hard for me b/c my skin isn’t thick enough for the debate, but I so agree with you! Like I mentioned this morning, I once let the autism/vaccine hype get to me, but we still chose to vaccinate our second child. It’s just a no brainer for me. To read this report this morning was so alarming!
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  • September 13, 2014 My Inner Chick

    VERY Interesting.
    I’ve not heard this perspective before, Alison Lee.
    Excellent, Superb, & perhaps, a life changing post.
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  • September 13, 2014 Leslie

    I was just trying to explain this to someone this morning…though not nearly so eloquently. Thanks for putting it so well!
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  • September 13, 2014 Janice

    I feel the same way! Right now, there’s some sort of something going around in Orange County and I know it was on the news that a lot of OC folks weren’t vaccinating their kids. I’m so glad we had moved out of that city by the time that news came out! But now that my kids go to public school, this vaccination issue is at the forefront of my mind again! Ugh. Seriously. Vaccinations isn’t just a precaution for individuals – it’s for the community! Why don’t people get this?
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  • September 13, 2014 Alexandra Rosas

    I try to be patient when I explain to people that by their decision to not vaccinate their children they are making that decision for mine. I count on children who are able to be vaccinated, to be vaccinated, because my children are allergic to the egg that some of these vaccines contain and they can’t have the immunizations. If they could, I would have them immunized. But I can’t… so I count on others to do it to keep my children safe. We had a child die here, a 4 year old, about five years ago from whooping cough. The parents had decided against shots, I was so distressed it would somehow find its way to my children. Please, vaccinate your kids for the ones that can’t be. THANK YOU.

  • September 13, 2014 Amanda Jillian

    I am with you on this point and its one of the reasons I am only semi-crunchy. Not only have many people studied and develop these vaccines to protect our children, the doctors who give them out have gone to school for YEARS they have studied this stuff for YEARS I have not, so if a doctor tells me he needs a vaccine, unless I’m worried about a family history of adverse reactions or something they will get it when the doctor says to give it to them. And my personal thought is that if someone thinks it is a personal choice about vaccinations then they can personally decide to live in a bubble and not unknowingly infect others with diseases and illnesses that can and do kill people.
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  • September 13, 2014 Rebecca

    I am surprised that there isn’t one opposing comment yet given that this is such a hot button issue. I am vaccinated, my dogs are vaccinated, and so is Dylan- but on an alternative timeframe which means his are spread out more.
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    • September 13, 2014 Alison

      The post is on Scary Mommy, and there were a lot of opposing comments, lol. I was called names. Ah well, I have thick skin, I can live with it. 🙂

  • September 13, 2014 Kara

    Totally, 100% agree.

  • September 13, 2014 A Morning Grouch

    It is way too easy to opt out of vavcinations. I think this when I take my kids to the doctor or when I go to work in a school full of kiddos. There are some who can’t get vaccinated, so the rest of us NEED to protect them (while protecting ourselves) from diseases that don’t need to be suffered through anymore.
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  • September 13, 2014 Meghan

    Wow! Who the he’ll do you think you are?! Of course its a choice! I will NOT vaccinate, myself or my children. How ignorant, to say that it isn’t a choice. Do you appreciate your choice TO vaccinate? Okay. So do I appreciate my choice to NOT!
    Youtube – “Hear this well” and you will find mom after mom after mom after dad after grandma telling you that their baby DOES have autism, thanks to a toxic shot or poison! Heard immunity is BS! There was a measles outbreak in N.Y. in 23 people- three of them were not vaccinated. That set of shots DIDN’T WORK! – – -THEY DON’T ALL WORK!
    Check out the documentary The Greater Good.

    • September 13, 2014 Alison

      Meghan, who the hell do I think I am? I am a mother, first and foremost.
      And I NEVER said, it’s not A choice. I said it’s not A PERSONAL choice, which is totally different. Personal choices do not affect other people, and I’ve clearly outlined it above, so I won’t say it again.
      If you want to talk about YouTube, social media, documentaries etc, then please look up the ones that discuss how vaccinations have saved lives over the years, about how very young children, too young to be vaccinated, hence, relying on other kids to be safe from these diseases, end up in hospital fighting for their lives because of whooping cough, a completely preventable disease.

    • September 13, 2014 Robin

      Saying “they don’t all work” is like saying “a seatbelt won’t for sure save my kid in a crash and it *might* give him a bruise across the chest so I’m not going to put it on him.” It’s ridiculous. There are so many factors that go into why someone who has been vaccinated would get measles, but the plain truth is they shouldn’t have been exposed to it in the first place, and most likely wouldn’t have been if someone who has been conned by scare tactics hadn’t chosen not to vaccinate.

      Alison, I’m with you 100%. This should not be a personal choice.
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  • I agree 100%. In Belgium certain vacinations are compulsory and yes this is a good thing!
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  • September 13, 2014 Meghan

    The car seat/seat belt theory is – ridiculous!!..
    -Car seats and seat belt work.
    -A car seat/seat belt will not harm my child.
    -Car seats and seat belts are the law.
    How is this comparable to vaccines?

    Thank God, it is a personal choice. I support your choice and right to vaccinate. I stand for and fight for safe vaccines for my kids and for yours. Until they are safe and effective, and my children are above 50lb, I cannot consciously vaccinate them. That IS my right and my choice. As mothers, we do not have to agree, but how can we challenge a right or decision because it is different?

  • September 14, 2014 MomWithaDot

    Boy! This must be the sternest voice of yours I’ve heard so far. Both the stand on vaccinations and calling out trolls in comments. Not complaining, just surprised. I completely agree with you on both, though honestly, I didn’t know there were people that considered vaccinations a personal choice. You go girl, for speaking up. BTW, I got to know recently, that in the UK, it is NOT mandatory to vaccinate a child against chicken pox. They even have pox parties….eeks!!! Really?!!!
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  • September 14, 2014 Bev

    Well boo, I wrote a comment and it seems to have disappeared. Anyway, I had JUST read this on Scary Mommy, nodding my head in agreement with it, and totally didn’t realize it was you. It is crazy to me that this is even a controversial issue. As a mom of a infant with a still-developing immune system whose tiny body relies on herd immunity for things that she is still too young to be vaccinated against, there is nothing that makes me angrier than people who make a choice to endanger not only their children’s lives, but the lives of others, particularly young children, the elderly, and those whose immune systems are compromised. I agree, it is NOT a personal choice for the very reasons you outlined. My choice to breastfeed my daughter (or, if I had chosen not to), has absolutely no impact on your child’s health. My choice to not immunize her against a disease that is contagious and can otherwise be prevented? Absolutely has an impact on your child’s life.
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  • September 14, 2014 Susanna Leonard Hill

    I agree with you, Alison. I am for vaccinations as well. If you can protect your children (and all the people they come in contact with) from life-threatening but preventable diseases, why wouldn’t you? I did worry about the potential for problems, because back when my kids were little the research was a lot farther behind where it is now, but I tried to minimize risks by having my kids’ vaccinations spread out a little more than usual so they didn’t get such a wallop at a time – a vaccination for only one disease at a time instead of several together. It seems to have worked for us.
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  • September 14, 2014 Chris Carter

    THANK YOU!!!! Thank you for speaking up with the very same opinion I have!!! Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!

    I applaud your view, beg those to please please keep our communities, our children safe from so many HORRIBLE diseases that do NOT need to be afflicting our precious kids.
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  • September 14, 2014 Natalie

    Yes and yes my friend!!! Congrats on having those babies!!!

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