Why I Changed my Mind About Vaccination

ImageSo if you have followed my blog you’d notice that most things I do are pretty ‘crunchy’ and you are correct to make that assumption. We use floral remedies and homeopathics, eat whole and local foods and my method of parenting is one of boundaries (not punishment) with love and respect for my sons needs. I even had a home birth and went to Waldorf teacher training. Well, along with all of these things it comes as a shock to some that I am very PRO-vaccination. Not to fear if you are not pro-vax as I won’t be bombarding my blog with this topic in the future, but I wanted to share my journey from anti-vax to very pro-vax.

When my son was born I lived in Seattle where there were a few cases of Pertussis and pneumococcal and HiB were threatening to come back, so at 2, 4 and 6 months we had only these 3 shots. I never worried about him going about public with me or frequently visiting a Waldorf school where most do not vaccinate. Now I live in Portland where 5.8 percent of kindergarteners entering school in 2013 chose vaccination exemptions; this does not even include homeschool and private school numbers! This rate is so shockingly low that ‘herd immunity‘ basically does not apply to us anymore and the risk of an outbreak is terrifyingly high.

“If enough parents in a community refuse or delay their children’s vaccinations, an infectious disease can spread among many individuals. The outbreak can threaten all unvaccinated children, vaccinated children and adults who have weak immune systems, and babies who are too young to get their shots.” (Scientific American) Do you know what this means? I AM currently in the group of those who have weak immune systems and soon my newborn child will be as well. Measles is contagious 4 days before any signs/spots occur, chicken pox is contagious 1-2 days before any rash appears and whooping cough is contagious for up to 2 weeks before- all according to CDC sites. The problem is that you can catch these illnesses and be spreading it before you know and before there are signs.

Mostly the reason why I care so much now is that it’s not just about myself and my family, its about doing my part in society to help eradicate these illnesses. Sure, you can survive these illnesses if you are a healthy person with a strong immunity, but you cannot prevent yourself from catching and spreading. There are MANY out there that cannot vaccinate because of health issues or age and these are the people I worry about. After selectively vaccinating my son the first time around with very minimal complications, I have no problem doing this with my second as well as keeping my family up to date with boosters. Even if we may be strong enough to fight these diseases, not vaccinating makes us possible carriers that could infect those who are not strong enough to fight these off. I’m Pro-vaccination because I care deeply about the people in my society and not just about my loved ones.

I’m not writing this to ‘convince’ you about vaccinations and especially not shame you for your choices as this is not my style. I understand that you are making the choices you believe are best and respect that. If you really don’t believe in vaccines there is nothing I can say to change your mind. I won’t even try. I am sharing my story to those on the fence who are or were in my shoes. You CAN be crunchy and vaccinate, it’s perfectly acceptable to be a walking contradiction. Once you live in an area where ‘to vaccinate or not to vaccinate’ has REAL consequences it’s pretty easy to allow your mind to change towards supporting your family and your community in a different way than you imagined.


70 thoughts on “Why I Changed my Mind About Vaccination

  1. Thank you for writing this! I too am a “crunchy” vaccinating mom. The only thing I take issue with is the idea that certain healthy people are “strong enough” to fight the diseases you mentioned but need to vaccinate solely to protect others. This is not true. VERY healthy people can succumb to, be scarred by, and even die from vaccine preventable diseases.

  2. I completely agree! I am crunchy in a lot of ways, but this is not one of them. Having worked in a hospital and seeing people dying of things like the flu, one of which was a perfectly healthy pregnant 16-year-old, I have to say the risks of the vaccinations are greatly outweighed by the benefits. If this is what the flu can do, I can’t imagine what measles, mumps, pertussis, etc., can do. I would rather protect my children than look back and realize that I failed them by not giving them a dose of prevention because of an unproven fear. In any case, I still go with holistic health, nutrition, and other healthy, natural preventative measures most of the time ;).

  3. Thank you. As a crunchy mom who bed shared, extended breast fed, and try to focus on healthy foods, I am also hard core pro-vax.

    I have two reasons for my stance. I used to work in nutrition-based child survival in West Africa. I know the limitations of good diets and sanitation (as well as their importance) in protecting children from early death and disability due to these preventable diseases like measles and pertussis. Our programs ALWAYS included a package of interventions that stack on each other – extended breastfeeding, clean water, vitamin A rich foods (and supplements when needed), and vaccinations.

    I also have an aunt who had a stroke at the age of 7 months due to pertussis – she was permanently disabled by it. My sister in law nearly died at age 6 months of pertussis because of an outbreak in the UK due to parents not vaccinating their kids. It really hits home when you see the impacts yourself in “developed” countries.

    Vaccinations may not be perfect (what is??) but they are a heck of a lot better than the alternative!

  4. Yeah…heard immunity a fallacy. Most adults are not fully vaccinated (are you?) and therefore less than 50% of the population is actually fully vaccinated. Also, only legit with natural immunity, not vaccine immunity (or lack thereof).

    “In the original description of herd immunity, the protection to the population at large occurred only if people contracted the infections naturally. The reason for this is that naturally-acquired immunity lasts for a lifetime. The vaccine proponents quickly latched onto this concept and applied it to vaccine-induced immunity. But, there was one major problem – vaccine-induced immunity lasted for only a relatively short period, from 2 to 10 years at most, and then this applies only to humoral immunity. This is why they began, silently, to suggest boosters for most vaccines, even the common childhood infections such as chickenpox, measles, mumps, and rubella.”


    • These aren’t peer reviewed sites and do not contain good, scientific data. You should be referring to sites like the National Academy of Sciences, the Centers for Disease Control or the National Institutes of Health.

      Stop spreading harmful information, it will get people killed.

      • The information on those sites is mostly conjecture rather than scientific fact. Of course my own health is just anecdotal information but I recently titered as immune over 30 years after many of my childhood immunizations – many without boosters. Most of my classmates that had the same titers had the same results (immune) after 20+ years since getting immunized. Might be my sample, but I doubt it.

    • Sarah, I am truly sorry that your research has led you to ‘cherry picked’ facts.
      Real data that I would risk my child’s life on comes from peer reviewed, Cochrane Database Reviewed literature which is no more than 5 years old. I encourage others to do the same.

      Further, remember, not all vaccines are the same depending on your location, so some of this information is irrelevant to your geographical location. Same companies, different countries = differing recipes.

    • “vaccine-induced immunity lasted for only a relatively short period, from 2 to 10 years at most, ”

      This is where you get it wrong. Measles vaccine, for example, appears to provide lifelong immunity. Thus, we have excellent herd immunity to it (at least until recently, when clustering of vaccine refusal may be undermining it). Pertussis vaccine, on the other hand, does not provide lifetime immunity, and the herd immunity is not as strong. This is why they are working on a better pertussis vaccine as we speak.

  5. “Herd immunity” is a THEORY, it has not been proven. Also, children who HAVE been vaccinated are the ones who catch the diseases at the highest rates. Do you ever wonder why there isn’t even one study comparing the health of vaccinated children to unvaccinated ones? Hmmm, perhaps because it would show without a doubt that the unvaccinated kids are truly much healthier (case in point; my 4 year old has never needed or been on antibiotics her entire life) A study like this would lead to decreased profits for the Pharmaceutical industry, no wonder such a study does not exist. These days we have proper sanitation and medicine to treat people if they do catch something…I much rather my children get whooping cough (which I had a as a baby and lo and behold, I was vaccinated for it) then risk them getting Guillam-Barre syndrome. Ask your child’s paediatrician to show you the patient information insert in any of these vaccinations…you will read that there is a huge risk that comes with vaccination, and the risks of the vaccinations are much more severe than the risks associated with potentially catching any of the diseases. People of our generation were healthy as kids and yet children are now being given three time’s the amount of vaccines that we were given. Why even write a post about this in the first place? Is it not because you want support from other “crunchy” mom’s that you’ve made the right decision? I won’t be following your blog anymore, not because I disagree with you but because you wrote that you are not trying to “shame people for their choices” but by you stating, “I’m Pro-vaccination because I care deeply about the people in my society and not just about my loved ones.” you are obviously implying that people who are not pro-vaccination do not care about other people in society, so in effect you are “shaming” people who disagree with your conclusion. You are being hypocritical, just like every mother is, in my opinion, who calls herself “crunchy” and then does the most unnatural thing in the world with her children; vaccinate them. Sorry, but that makes you a fake “crunchy” mom in my books. I bet you won’t allow my comment here.

    • You are completely attacking me. I will allow your comment here because it is shocking the kind of attacks I receiving for being honest about what I believe and trying to be kind about it. The problem is that we all have this fear of being hypocritical when it is REALLY SO IMPORTANT to realize that we have the freedom to change our minds and make distinct choices. I’m sorry that you live in a world where making informed choices that go against a certain ‘state of being’ is so incomprehensible to you.

      • Vaccinating kids sucks! My son is afraid of the doctor now (even when I’m the patient being seen). He’s terrified of medical clinics in general. He’s felt like crap for a few days after many of his vaccines. They have to preserve the vaccines to be effective so indeed, we probably are injecting kids with chemicals. But I’m quite sure that polio, measles, mumps, rubella, flu, chickenpox, meningitis, pertussis, etc. etc. suck way more.

        I have tons of pox scars from chickenpox. Luckily I only have a couple on my face. My husband grew up overseas and has ongoing complications from mumps. OH yah HPV sucks too… although I never tested positive for HPV, I went through 15 years of abnormal paps, which every doctor said was caused by HPV even if we could never isolate the DNA. These resulted in a LEEP and scar tissue on my cervix. That resulted in a failed vaginal delivery, failed spinal anesthesia, general anesthesia c-section, followed by a spinal headache that lasted a week and ongoing migraines that lasted two years. I get my next general anesthesia c-section next week. I’ll take the HPV vaccine for my kids!

        These are just my stories which don’t include any moderate to severe complications of disease. In addition to vaccinating my kids, I cosleep, breastfeed, grow my own vegetables, keep bees, keep chickens, eat organic, try to avoid most medication, try to walk whereever I go, etc. But I guess that since I vaccinate, I’m also a “fake crunchy mom” too.

        • Not all chemicals are bad, and much of that depends on the dosage.

          Even then, many people are frightened by chemical nomenclature. I could try to scare the crap out of people by describing the dangers of “dihydrogen monoxide”, aka “dihydrogen oxide” or “hydric acid”. I wouldn’t be lying when I told you that it’s a major component of acid rain, it’s widely found in many streams, lakes and rivers and that it’s deadly if inhaled.

          Then I would tell you that it’s also known as water. Just because something is a chemical doesn’t mean that it’s bad, it all depends on context.

    • Where is the date supporting your claims? A case study of one child is not proof of anything.

      It’s also ridiculous that you are creating some standard of what a “crunchy” parent is or is not. The shame and judgement coming from your comment is not helpful.

    • To LM
      You are wrong…when you have cared for a child with pertussis or seen disseminated varicella kill a child, then you might possibly be able to step away from your labels of “crunchy” or “green” and act like an intelligent member of society. And to the author of this blog, you are not a contradiction, you are smart. Eat organic, buy local, have a family bed….whatever, but vaccinate! The most “natural thing in the world” is for a mother to do everything in her power to protect her children and not worry what her “crunchy” friends think of her decisions. Because when your baby turns blue in the middle of the night from choking on their secretions, I bet you come to the ED instead of contacting your local “crunchy” to ask for their help.

    • The fact that you don’t understand the difference from the colloquial use of ‘theory’ to the use of theory in a scientific setting really says it all.

      A scientific theory is based upon EVIDENCE, not conjecture. For someone who claims to be educated, you’re certainly falling short in that department.

      The risks of encephalitis from the MMR vaccine is 1 in 1,000,000. The risk of encephalitis from the measles? 1 in 1000.

      Even better – once you’ve had the measles, you’re in the lottery for SSPE – which is a fatal complication of measles. The younger you are, the greater the risk of SSPE – and if you’re female, your risk is even higher.

      Your claim that vaccinated catch diseases at a higher rate is demonstrably false. While the absolute #’s might be higher – you have to also remember that the unvaccinated population of the US is estimated to be about 2 percent.

      2 percent of 360 million. So of course, there’ll be more cases in vaccinated individuals, because they outnumber unvaccinated so greatly. However, if you look at population based statistics and incidence rates, UNVACCINATED individuals have a higher rate of disease burden than their vaccinated peers.

      “Fake crunchy”?


      Are you the ‘crunchy’ police now? Protecting your children via vaccinations is the intelligent choice.

    • Gravity is also a theory but you don’t see people jumping out of buildings all the time….

      No, the risk of vaccination does not outweigh the risk of natural infection. You very rarely see people with genuine vaccine damage (this doesn’t include people who ‘claim’ it caused autism or whatever else, genuine cases) and it’s often associated with underlying medical conditions.

      Guillain–Barré syndrome is an autoimmune diseases, it has nothing to do with vaccination. Nor do any autoimmune diseases.

      Also, about 900000 child in developing countries die of measles complications due to lack of medical treatment and malnutrition. They’re parents would probably try to do anything to prevent their children from dying. Not vaccinating your child is crazy. You don’t know how lucky you are to live in a country that you have access to medical care.

    • LM – Please read my invitation below. You have CLEARLY NEVER BEEN TO ANY DEVELOPING COUNTRY FOR ANY LENGTH OF TIME. Your view is insular and until you’ve gone and lived in a village in Nepal or India or Peru or Bhutan or Thailand – your view is relevant only in your little world. You need to bust out of whatever little suburb you’re in and get on a plane…..

    • Common misconception among the unvaccinated or anti-vax crowd is that they assume that doctors say that vaccines 100% prevent the disease (not true), vaccines are more like bullet proof glass, shoot it once, nothing happens but shoot it in the same spot many times it will eventually give way.

      “Ask your child’s paediatrician to show you the patient information insert in any of these vaccinations”

      And those inserts show many bad things, sure, but like every other medicine they have to list every ‘adverse event’ even if it had nothing to do with the medicine, here is a list of ‘adverse’ events from the simple paracetamol tablet:
      – Bloody or black, tarry stools
      – bloody or cloudy urine
      – fever with or without chills (not present before treatment and not caused by the condition being treated)
      – pain in the lower back and/or side (severe and/or sharp)
      – pinpoint red spots on the skin
      – skin rash, hives, or itching
      – sore throat (not present before treatment and not caused by the condition being treated)
      – sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
      – sudden decrease in the amount of urine
      – unusual bleeding or bruising
      – unusual tiredness or weakness
      – yellow eyes or skin

  6. Thank you so much for sharing this. Our daughter is almost 3,5 years old and has not been vaccinated up until now. We also sent her to a Waldorf Kindergarten, but then we moved and there are none nearby our new home. We have just made the decision to vaccinate her now and in fact the doctor is coming by tomorrow evening to administer it. I spent all evening yesterday trying to research the topic further – but it is difficult to find a balanced opinion. People seem to be either totally for or totally against vaccination.

    Greetings from Germany!

    • Good luck Melinda.
      The only advice I would give someone vaccinating is this. Antibodies are made of proteins, so protein up before vaccinations, and for the two weeks after to help your body recover.

  7. ^^ fake crunchy! Lol! Is that like GMO crunchy?! Since when does one give oneself such a label that is more important than using your own power of decision making? Hmm do I like this? No. Is it crunchy? Yes. Well, I guess I should do it then and ignore my authentic self. Lol. Is there a Tea Party equivalent for Crunchy People?

  8. As someone with a background in the biological sciences, I share your utter frustration in discussing issues such as these. Many people lack the ability to properly discern legitimate scientific research from random blog posts, and posses an incomplete understanding of the current scientific consensus. That doesn’t mean they’re dumb, they just don’t have the right tools at hand.

    How do you react to someone who abuses their children? Maybe they’re beaten and left outside in the cold as punishment; maybe they’re starved instead. We shame people like that, we remove children from homes where that occurs and we send the people who do such heinous things to prison. We form advocacy groups to prevent this from happening in the first place.

    There’s another thing we rightly punish caretakers for: withholding medical attention. Now, there are certainly issues with healthcare availability and whatnot, but that’s not what I’m talking about here – I’m talking about the conscious decision, against mainstream medical advice and against our best understanding of biological systems to say “I know better than the experts, I know more than those who have dedicated their lives to research, and I’m wagering the health of my children on this belief”. *There are certain medical conditions that make vaccines unsuitable for certain people. These folks are obviously excluded.

    Yet with vaccines, it’s called a “choice”. This is so much worse than other forms of abuse because (as you rightly point out in your post) this form of abuse is contagious. The harm caused to one child can spread to countless others in a way that physical abuse cannot. This is why I take such a strong stand on this issue – the ignorance of a select few is preventing terrible diseases from being eradicated and is causing immeasurable harm to those who are unable to have a say in the matter. My own state of Washington was just a few years ago 50th in kindergarten vaccinations and is now hovering at 43rd.

    I’m not saying that you need to be the poster mom of this movement, and I’m thrilled that you’ve spoken out on your decision. I just believe that parents who chose to abuse their children should be made responsible for their decisions, and that we need to recognize this as such.

    • Mike, we are all entitled to our own opinions, but calling a parent who chooses not to vaccinate their children a child abuser, makes you a complete nutcase. There are many doctors who are anti-vaccination, not all experts agree on this topic. Thankfully, people like you, don’t usually have any real power in society.

      • Due to the increasing frequency of outbreaks of preventable disease, I have heard more support for taking legal action against parents who choose to not vaccinate children without medical reason. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this soon, just like we see prosecutions of parents who neglect to take their children to get medical attention when they are critically ill.

        I have to think about medical ethics a lot and I was pondering this question last night after seeing a post about a “chicken pox party” online. What if someone hosted a measles party or an HPV party (I mean in a non-sexual way of course!), in order to get their children “naturally immunized.” We could extend this to a meningitis party or a whooping cough party. At what point would we consider the behavior neglectful or abusive?

        Society draws all sorts of lines about what is legally abusive and what is not. For example, it’s child abuse in Oregon if you allow your child to witness domestic abuse while in Washington it’s not. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the courts start to take up these issues as more and more outbreaks take place.

      • L.M. There are as many medical doctors against vaccination as there are climate scientists who don’t believe in climate change (you really, really, really have to search for them, unless they are one of the few making a lot of money on distrust of established science).

      • LM, I spent a good deal of time and effort crafting that post. The least you could do is explain why you feel the way you do rather than simply barging in here and calling me a nutcase.

        By the way, would you mind telling us your experience in medicine or the sciences? Thanks.

      • With all due respect, naturopathic doctors are hardly at the same level as medical doctors. Their schooling is subpar and their license isn’t recognized in all the states. If they supported vaccines, they wouldn’t be making their millions (yes, millions) selling different herbs and roots to “strengthen” the immune system.

      • Actually – the experts do agree. It’s called scientific consensus. There’s a TON of data to support the safety and efficacy of vaccines.
        Sure, there is the odd medical professional who is opposed to vaccines. But these people are in the minority. And not a significant minority either. The vast, vast majority of medical professionals believe in the safety and efficacy of vaccines because that’s the inevitable conclusion that comes from the body of evidence we have.
        Well, what would you call parents who knowingly and deliberately expose their children to life threatening diseases? These diseases are no joke. I find it hilarious that the anti-vax movement thinks the very small risk of side-effects from vaccines is still a risk ‘they’re not willing to take’ yet they treat serious diseases with serious risks of death or severe disability as though they’re nothing.

    • Mike you are delusional. Thanks for taking us on a journey through the twisted mind of a leftist scientist. Seeing the ugliness of your beliefs up close will show parents the insanity that fuels vaccine extremism

  9. This is a really great post! Thank you! Until we moved to Portland, we had no idea that nature-loving, “crunchy” parents often eschew vaccinations (although most complimentary and alternative providers urge their patients to, sadly, which has resulted in me losing some respect for them).

    Oregon has the lowest vaccination rate of children in the country. As a pregnant mom of a young child who can’t yet be fully vaccinated, this makes me very, very, very nervous. People die from these diseases every year, and their deaths can be easily and safely prevented.

  10. There needs to be a balance. I feel drs vaccinate too early. Preemies and little babies that may never come in contact with such viruses do not need to be vaccinated so young. And the Hep vaccine is not necessary right at birth if the family has no history/or won’t come in contact with it. We need to be educated and make the decision based on what we feel is right for our own kids. I do agree with less vaccines means the children can build up those antibodies and fight off disease better. But that’s just my opinion. And yes I do vaccinate my children, just with a schedule that makes them more spread out. And my son has not gotten the chicken pox vaccine, not sure I’m in a agreement with that one, still working out where we stand. And the flu vaccine we also opt out of since we never get it, and are very healthy. But I take the risk, and I know that.

    • I heard something the other day that made me ponder this. It was suggested that the reason vaccines are given so fast is that the health care in the US can be a little unpredictable for some. There certainly are diseases that the children won’t come in contact with so it would make sense to delay these. My son has not had the vaccination polio or hep b on schedule and we may wait a bit for these, but he will have them eventually.

    • Having been exposed to Hep B blood as a kid, I would disagree that holding off is a good idea. For all I know, that vaccine has saved my life.
      Regarding the building up of antibodies, there is no difference between antibodies built up by vaccines and antibodies built up by diseases. Some diseases you would like your child to avoid, like the ones that cause scarring of the skin or can damage the lungs, thus making vaccines important. Having a little baby with pneumonia, struggling for his/her life, is truly heartbreaking. Having pox scars (like I do) is not all that ethically pleasing.

    • The Hep B shot has reduced the incidence of neonatal and adolescent Hep B incidence in the US by about 79%. Because it’s not always vertical transmission (mother to child) – most of the time folks aren’t aware that they are Hep B positive (they have no symptoms) – but for young children, Hep B can lead to a lifetime of liver issues, liver cancer and/or liver failure.

    • Actually Melissa, forgiving your mother being a carrier, hospital is the first place you would come into contact with Hep B.
      The vaccination schedules aren’t just a throw away thought. They’ve been proven to be the best line of defense in accordance with the way we develop as little humans and in regards to what we are exposed to and when.

  11. As a biophysicist I find it funny that many of those who heavily advocate for natural remedies shun vaccines. The theoretical backing is they exploit an individual’s own immune system to protect the person by exposing it to a dead/neutered virus to allow the body to develop its own defenses from the essentially( read 99%) harmless disease.

    Kudos to you for looking at what’s happening and choosing to vaccinate for you, your kids and others kids.

  12. To state that parents who do not vaccinate are abusing their children is simply incomprehensible! There are other ways of protecting my children without the toxic chemicals and other ingredients that i do not want in my child’s bloodstream that are included with the vaccines. Additionally, herd immunity is not a reality, nor will it ever be with vaccines because it is based on natural immunity, not vaccine induced. Furthermore, the poster forgets about a very important fact: shedding that occurs after vaccinations. It is not the non-vaccinated population who is walking around carrying these diseases and spreading them, it is those who were recently vaccinated. That is why it is listed on the inserts to avoid those with compromised immune systems for weeks afterward. Additionally, I’m sure there have been studies comparing the health of the vaccinated vs the unvaccinated, but they were never released because pharmaceutical companies are not required to report all studies conducted. So they get to cherry pick which studies are released, therefore giving us very little to pick from when it comes to unbiased research. While everyone has the right to make their own choices regarding child rearing, including vaccines, it is sad to see a post implying that those of us who have made the (often very difficult, and hard researched) decision not to do so are in some way uncaring of the general population.

    • The inserts which say to avoid immunocompromised individuals are for live vaccines which have the potential for shedding.

      Shedding, as such, is demonstrably rare – the MMR vaccine cannot shed measles, as an example.

      For the varicella vaccine, about 10% of all recipients will develop a few pustules – these are not contagious unless they burst – and then they are only contagious via direct contact with the fluid. If you follow the rest of the directions on the insert and keep said pustules covered, there is no risk of transmission.

      The flu shot cannot shed. The flu mist *may* shed – but it’s still a weakened virus.

      How you can fear a weakened or dead virus, but consider a fully virulent one A-OK is absolutely mind-boggling.

    • Please, it’s obvious you know NOTHING about vaccination. Not protecting children against life threatening diseases is child abuse. Vaccines are heavily tested for safety and are non-toxic – there is much more mercury in a can of tuna than a vaccine (in fact, most vaccines no longer contain any mercury). Vaccines are not injected into the bloodstream. Also, like Herd immunity, gravity is also a theory, but you don’t see people jumping off buildings. Thanks to vaccination we don’t need to have a ‘natural’ infection to create antibodies to a disease as the body can artificially recognise it. If shedding from vaccines was so bad, why don’t more people have the disease.

    • Pfft…. Those aren’t reliable sites. Also, the graphs only show mortality rates but you’ll find that morbidity rates before vaccination were the same. Mortality rates from vaccine-preventable diseases were declining before vaccination because of advancements in medical care preventing death but there were plenty of cases. Vaccination prevents death and suffering. Iron lung anyone?

  13. I appreciate your journey and reasons for being willing to vaccinate. I find it ludicrous that people say this makes you not crunchy. Crunchiness isn’t blindly following what everyone else does. It is to my mind a rational choice of looking at the research and options with a wary eye for bullshit and choosing the best you can for your family and the environment. Unfortunately, it also tends to attract those who don’t have a firm understanding of science. A scientific theory isn’t a guess. Gravity is a theory, but I doubt we’ll be walking off our balconies any time soon.
    Saying this makes someone not crunchy or fake crunchy is like saying I’m not a bisexual woman just because I happened to marry straight and be in a very happy stable long term monogamous relationship. Who has the right to judge others in such manners?
    I don’t agree with everything you write about. Homeopathy is very expensive water, and most herbal remedies are unregulated so they may have ingredients unlisted and in different proportions, which could be dangerous. Belief that pieces of animals has certain properties encourages poaching. No well sampled unbiased study has shown any results from such things, and it lures some people into the dangerous position of choosing these placebos instead of going to a doctor for what may be a dangerous sickness. Perhaps someday you’ll reconsider, as you did with vaccinating.
    I feel as a crunchy person integrity of information is very important. Who did the research for a study and what precaution against bias was taken? How well and widely sampled is the control and test subjects? Have the results been repeated and proven to be reliable?
    This is why we choose to breast feed, to co-sleep, to babywear, to cloth diaper, to rearface our car seats past 2 years, to teach love rather than fear… to vaccinate. We are all doing our best within our means with what we know. And when we learn better, then we have a responsibility to act on it. To me, that is what it really means to be crunchy.

      • I think the animal reference, is for things like Chinese meds, that require a piece of an animal (ie; tiger penis/rhino horn) and linking that form of medicine to homeopathics – linking in the suggestion that both are as effective as each other if I read correctly. In other words the author is saying both forms of ‘medicine’ are useless whereas real medicine could help?

        Great blog entry. I have no idea what a ‘crunchy’ mother is, not a term I am familiar with. I breastfed my kids for as long as they wanted, sometimes they slept in my bed and still do on ocassion, and I try to feed them healthy food (most of the time). I also vaccinate and follow our government’s schedule (I’m in Australia). I am fortunate to live in an area with a reasonable rate of vaccination (unfortunately less than 95%, but only just) and am always surprised that there are so many people ‘out there’ who choose to believe dodgy websites over experts in the scientific and medical fields. We have a dentist for our teeth and a GP for our health and haven’t had an issue with either of them. My kids are happy and healthy and as protected from vaccine preventable diseases as they can be, as are their parents. Never had an adverse reaction to any vaccines, unless you count a sore spot on an arm or thigh. Nor do we, as adults ‘get sick’ from the flu vaccine, which shouldn’t come as a surprise because you can’t ‘catch the flu’ from the flu shot.

        Vaccine refusers are causing a serious risk to the health of those who are immunocompromised. I agree with you however that you can’t look to them to change their minds as they won’t hear or see facts. They believe only what they want to believe and sadly put their own children, other people’s kids, the immunocompromised and elderly at risk with their ‘choice’ – it really shouldn’t be a choice. Those with genuine medical reasons not to vaccinate need the rest of us to keep them safe and healthy.

        • Thank you for clarifying the animal parts confusion. I had not realized that there was such a debate about homeopathic until reading these comments. I see now after researching that some use homeopathy instead of western medicine and have a general fear for all science based medicine. I do use homeopathy but in addition to western medicine. I see no reason to exclude one because you believe in the other. That seems very limiting and confining.
          I’m actually pleased that I had some private messages from moms who were on the fence and this post and my change of mind helped them change their mind.

          • Regardless of opinions of homeopathy, anyone claiming to have “Homoeoprophylaxis” or homeopathic ‘vaccines’ should be aware that in fact, the only real way to protect ourselves from VPDs is to vaccinate with real vaccines. I think this is the issue some of us have with homeopathy. No one really minds if someone else spends money on homeopathy where it’s not going to risk the wider community, but as a vaccine substitute? Then it’s a real worry.

            • I agree Coby. It was odd that people were so thrown off by my using homeopathy because this does not affect anyone. I’m not so much into homeopathy that I have even heard of using them as vaccination. This is very interesting. I will look into that because I am curious now, but we will still be sticking to western vaccinations for sure, 100%.

    • You might appreciate Tim Minchin’s beat poem “Storm” which is on youtube. Just as a note if you are a hard core believer in many forms of alternative medicine it may be upsetting; however, it makes valid points about natural remedies as they relate to medicine.

  14. I would advise the people who do not believe in herd immunity to study the current measles epidemic in the Netherlands as it provides a text book case of herd immunity in action. Substantial numbers of orthodox reformed parents refuse vaccination, mostly for religious reasons. Unlike other vaccine-refusing parents such as anthroposophists or people critical for other reasons, the orthodox reformed live in a highly clustered geographical band across the Netherlands (the ‘Bible belt’) where they attend faith schools and churches.

    Since May this year, measles has spread like wild fire within the orthodox reformed communities. Currently, in total >2000 cases have been reported but it is known that this is a large underestimation.

    Here’s the kicker:
    1. Approximately 95% of the measles cases concerns unvaccinated patients.
    2. Orthodox reformed form around 90% of the unvaccinated measles cases
    3. Of all babies 2 year old who have not been vaccinated (~4% for the last 7 years), the proportion whose parents are orthodox reformed is a minority (currently estimated at 15-25%).

    If you don’t believe in herd immunity, please explain to me how it is that the orthodox reformed non-vaccinating minority (15-25%) is taking the brunt of this epidemic with the majority of the non-vaccinating freeriders not or hardly being affected.

    • To all Antivaxxers,

      I invite you into my time machine. Take a step back to, let’s say,…. to 1900. Have your child die in your arms from diptheria, nurse your mother aged 50 as she struggles with TB, pray hard that you’ll escape smallpox and then come back and tell me that immunisation has no place. Your mindset exists because of immunisation and the fact that you don’t even know what suffering you’re missing out on. Go to India, live in a village – hang out with thousands of children who die of pneumonia, measles and other easily preventable diseases. Come back and tell me how dangerous vaccination really is?

      Wake up please and educate yourself. I’ve spent 9 years studying. I’m a yoga teacher, a public health major and I have a psychology degree. I don’t even know what a cruncher is – But I’m guessing I’m not one. I’m a believer that we have such beautiful lives today because illness doesn’t surround us. Mums are worried about gluten and lactose allergies – years ago Mums wouldn’t sleep for days, mourning their lost children, friends and family as their temperatures rose and their skin festered, their bodies shut down and the ministers prayed over them.

      My time machine doesn’t lie. But plenty of websites in your search engine do.

      For the sake of credibility, your child, your understanding, the future health of all of us – review your crunchiness and your views on immunisation. Validating your own point of view by googling, is seriously going to turn back the clock.

      Nicola Keays

  15. It makes me very happy vaccination works for you and you family and I wish you all the best with your decision. I hope you would support the rights of other moms to choose what is right for thier families by opposing compulsory vaccination laws

  16. Nicola do you not understand the severity of illnesses vary over time and place? TB was not eliminated from America due to a vaccine but as a result of economic progress. that is why talk of what goes on in India is meaningless when I decide to vaccinate or not in The USA in the 21 st century. Go back to the 50s and 60s and see how little concern the measles, mumps and chicken oox generated

    • So little concern? My mother was sick for 2 weeks with measles – my grandparents were absolutely concerned! My mother had friends who died from measles during her childhood.

      Measles, mumps, chicken pox- they’re not harmless. ANY disease is something a parent should be concerned about.

  17. …not vaccinating makes us possible carriers that could infect those who are not strong enough to fight these off. I’m Pro-vaccination because I care deeply about the people in my society and not just about my loved ones.

    …it’s an excellent post. And you’ve done a great job moderating and replying to the ‘disagreeing’ comments. But it does feel strange that it is still necessary for people to ‘come out’ as being pro-vaccinations. Or that it takes some nerve and even courage to do so (and it can). Especially considering all of the ‘science’ supporting the ‘anti-vaccination’ movement has been so thoroughly discredited as absolute quackery.

    A friend wrote a post a few years ago where he mentioned the importance of vaccinations — it wasn’t even the main point of the post, but it was at the height of Andrew Wakefield / Jenny McCarthy mania, and the attacks in the comment section were vicious and full of links to websites that offered no science, but lots of paranoia regarding shadowy forces in charge of addicting everyone to something.

    That was my own introduction into the bizarre subculture that is the anti-vaccination world — at the time I had no idea that being ‘pro-vaccination’ was even supposed to be ‘a thing’. So, I do appreciate writing this post might cost you readers, and followers. At the very least you’ve had to deal with the anger in your comment section. But I do encourage you to write about this again in the future.

    Again, this seems weird to say, but congratulations on coming out.

    • Thank you. That is such an interesting way to put it. I’ve also ‘come out’ as a mom who sleep trained. I agree that it is weird that when we do not fit into this box people get really affronted. I have lost a few former followers and readers, but have gained that number back plus some from my being open and authentic. My blog is not about ‘crunchy parenting’, though that is often my experience that I share. It’s about what I am learning as a mother. We do not know what motherhood will be like as we grow and this is why I feel it’s important to be a voice for how you DO grow and change with your kids. There is no box and absolutely no right answer.

      Best to you,

  18. Pingback: Let’s Talk about Vax, Baby #NaBloPoMo | The Life of Kylie

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