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What do you think of childhood immunizations?

May 9th, 2010 / 3 Comments

Last week, I started a series on giving my opinions about the 10 hot button issues of parenting identified by’s article on 10 Controversial Parenting Tips.

Today’s post is hot button issue #4, childhood immunizations. (See #1 co-sleeping, #2 homeschooling, and #3 spanking)

“Should parents vaccinate or not? Immunizing your child is increasingly becoming a controversial subject and a difficult decision for many parents to make.”

I am not a medical expert. But as parents, we have to know a little about everything, don’t we? I am always on the internet reading up on anything that affects my children.

I know some parents who do not want their children vaccinated, possibly because of side effects. But most often it’s because of their philosophy of avoiding anything that is not necessary – after all, has there been an outbreak of polio in the last 20 years or more? Why should we still vaccinate for that?

Here are two examples from my personal experiences on this issue of childhood immunizations that illustrate my philosophy of immunizations.

My two older children were born in the late 80’s before the chicken pox vaccine was available. The prevailing thought at the time was to make sure our kids catch the chicken pox as early as possible to get it over with. When a case of chicken pox broke out in preschool, all the parents made sure their kids rub shoulders with the infected child!

But when it came to my youngest child born in 1995, a vaccine just became available for chicken pox. I discussed it with other parents at the preschool whether they were opting for the vaccine for their children. They were all pretty much going along with their doctors’ recommendation to get vaccinated. I wasn’t particularly enthusiastic about it. Why not just let them catch the chicken pox like my older children did? Why bother with a vaccination that is not 100% effective?

But then, I figured if all the other children were getting vaccinated, there will be no outbreak of chicken pox amongst my daughter’s friends. She would not be able to catch it, and would risk the possibility of being infected when she is older. So I finally did have my daughter vaccinated.

More recently, the cervical cancer vaccine was offered to my two daughters. From what I read, cervical cancer is transmitted by sexual contact. This means if you are not sexually active, you don’t need the vaccine.

Now, I know, I don’t know everything about what my kids do, and I know, my daughters don’t tell me everything they do. But I believe I do know the values that my daughters live by. I believe my relationship with my daughters are such that they would be honest with me if their are sexually active. Since they tell me they are not sexually active and do not need the vaccine, I believe them. There is no reason to take the vaccine until such a time that they become sexually active. The longer they wait, the more studies there will be to show any side effects.

On the whole, I don’t question the routine vaccinations that are administered. I would not want to risk diseases such as hepatitis and pertussis. Vaccinations are in fact one of the best advances of modern medicine. But I do think it is important to ask questions, and with the abundance of information on the internet, parents can be better informed.

What do you think of childhood immunizations?

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  1. […] #4 childhood immunizations […]

  2. hi katy. if your child is more at risk (such as mine who has global muscle tone issues and could potentially be more at risk health wise), it’s important to vaccinate. I can’t really speak for those who have perfectly healthy children but those with health conditions of any kind should get certain vaccinations unless they are isolated from all other children. For example I decided to get the H1 vaccine for our son because i believed i didn’t wnat to risk him getting it and it being fatal for him. it was nice for me to have that peace of mind. I wish we didn’t have to vaccinate but in the world we live in, you may be putting your child at risk if we don’t.

  3. You bring up an excellent point, Cathy. For children at risk, discuss this more with your doctor.

    I did not opt for the H1 vaccine because I was told it was only good for a few months, and the flu season was already half over. However, there were outbreaks of the virus at our schools, so I should be more careful next time.


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