So 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.