asphodellium

the immunity quotient

Posted on: 5 August 2012

Ashelyn was a rockstar during her four-month immunizations, crying even less than the first time and foregoing any anticipatory crying. She was already over it before our doctor finished administering the rotovirus oral vaccine.

Plus she weighed in at over 16 pounds, chasing the edges of the upper percentiles after having been born in the lower.

This post isn’t about that, though.

Shortly after Ashelyn’s two-month immunizations, a friend sent some anti-vaccination resources our way.

Apparently there’s a lot of anti-vaccination info out there. The internet is rife with it. Some of it even sounds kind of credible.

Now, I have an undergraduate degree in biology. I’m no researcher or medical professional, but I’ve taken upper-level courses in virology and microbi and I’ve studied how vaccines work at the mechanical and cellular level. So, yes, I’m skeptical from the outset. I’m also better equipped to see through bad science than, say, my husband, who has no background in this stuff.

Suffice to say that not a single anti-vaccine claim stands up to scrutiny. That’s a blanket statement, but it’s been thoroughly unpacked elsewhere, such as on this excellent site.

Anti-vaxers seem to fall into two camps, however: (1) those (primarily mothers) who are concerned about the risks of immunization, and (2) conspiracy theorists.

Engaging the second group is usually an exercise in futility, because conspiracy theorists don’t trust credible sources. “Have an open mind,” they urge.

But open-mindedness is not a willingness to believe anything, the most bizarre thing, whatever. It’s an openness to the possibility of being wrong. In that sense, I find that conspiracy theorists are actually some of the most narrow and close-minded people out there.

Where I live, immunizations are highly recommended but by no means forced. If I wanted to avoid them, all I’d have to do is not book Ashelyn’s appointments. It’s interesting that the government and healthcare professionals are accused of fearmongering when anti-vaccinationists tout story after story of vaccines causing seizures, autism, death. THAT’s fearmongering, and I don’t appreciate it. Mothers question themselves enough as it is.

I don’t care if you had a natural birth, or breastfeed, or cloth diaper, or EC, or co-sleep. The choices you make for your children are your business. Except with vaccinations, it’s different. Not vaccinating your child contributes to the breakdown of herd immunity, which affects my child.

The more people stop vaccinating their children, the more important it is for me to vaccinate mine.

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1 Response to "the immunity quotient"

[…] vaccinate. On schedule. In all other matters I stand behind the decisions of well-meaning parents, even […]

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