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A Pro Vaccine Approach to the Great Vaccine Debate: Vaccines and Your Child

Updated on April 28, 2014

The book Vaccines and Your Child: Separating Fact from Fiction recognizes that in American society, the word vaccine can't help but have scary connotations. I'm a pro-vaccine mom in an anti-vaccine circle of friends, and so it was especially necessary for me to have a detailed understanding of why I've chosen to put my daughter through the stresses of vaccination.

Of course I don't like watching my daughter cry, and I am less than thrilled about putting foreign cells and chemicals into her little body, but this book gave me a much clearer understanding of why it's the right choice for our family and for her healthy future.

In their book, Dr. Paul Offit and Charlotte Moser explain the pros and cons of each vaccine given in the first years of life and also debunk a lot of major rumors regarding vaccines, their makeup, and the controversy surrounding them. Pulling from scientific studies and facts rather than anecdotes and rumors, their data is reliable and reassuring.

In this age of "Facebook Science," where rumors, celebrity influence, and snarky memes abound, it is important that parents have the truth about their child's well-being. I believe this book does just that. Offit and Moser do not hesitate to tell the drawbacks and negative elements of vaccines; they want the reader to be well-informed. They do a great job of explaining the history, trends, and current recommendations for vaccines without going over-the-head of the average parent in terms of medical jargon.

Yes, Offit and Moser do land in the pro-vaccine camp, but they ended up there due to overwhelming evidence and a logical perspective.

I recommend this book to any current or future parents, caregivers, childcare workers, or anyone who has or will be getting a vaccine. It is important to know what you're putting in your body and your child's body, and the reasons behind it. Or, if you're anti-vaccines, this book will give you the information you may be overlooking.

Photos courtesy of morguefile.com

Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All
Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All

Dr. Paul Offit explain how the anti-vaccine movement is dangerous for our whole society, not just those who refuse the vaccines.

 
Autism's False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure
Autism's False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure

Have you wondered about whether or not vaccines cause autism? Although it's been supported by outspoken celebrities, this theory just doesn't hold up. In this book, Dr. Offit explains the bad science behind this theory.

 
Do You Believe in Magic?: The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine
Do You Believe in Magic?: The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine

Curious about the reliability of alternative medicine? Dr. Offit goes beyond the rumors and discusses the facts of today's trendy alternative medicine.

 

Check out Dr. Offit (author of the book above) explaining the dangers of the anti-vaccine movement. He gives some really interesting and compelling information. A MUST WATCH if you are on the fence about vaccination, or if you have friends who are.

Photo courtesy of morguefile.com
Photo courtesy of morguefile.com

Are you for or against vaccines?

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Vaccination Voices: Where do you stand?

I recognize this is a hot topic. So, where do you stand? Are vaccines doing more harm than good? Are you choosing to vaccinate, delay vaccination, selectively vaccinate, or skip vaccination completely?

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      iannicholson 3 years ago

      @David Stone1: Dave, in 1980, the average 10yo would have received 9 vaccinations. Today, that number is 32! I am for SOME vaccinations, but not all. I see no benefit in vaccinating a newborn against Hep B - a 'social' disease. I see no point in the Chicken Pox vaccine, especially when it is seldom life-threatening (statistically, you're more likely to die being kicked to death by a donkey) and raises your likelihood of getting shingles.

      I do not for one second believe you can inject a child with 32 vaccines and there not be adverse reactions or consequences. The CDC website contains a litany of adverse reactions to vaccines.

      You say vaccines were routine in your day, but not 32 of them!

    • jcortright profile image
      Author

      jcortright 3 years ago

      @KimblyWimbly: It's a book review lens. So, yup, just one person (the author). "Vaccines and Your Child" is the name of the book, and the beginning of my lens title is his stance on the topic. Sorry for any confusion.

    • KimblyWimbly profile image

      KimblyWimbly 3 years ago

      This whole lens is based off of one person (Offit)? I was really expecting more from the title.

    • profile image

      changrcoacher 3 years ago

      I believe motivation matters. Follow the money. Statistics can be massaged to "prove" anything. I think this debate will rage on. I also hope that freedom of choice isn't obliterated though.

    • MariaMontgomery profile image

      MariaMontgomery 3 years ago from Central Florida, USA

      Congrats on LOtD. As a public health educator, I am so glad to see a lens of this type and on this topic get the recognition it deserves. I lived through the polio and measles scares of the 1960s. Two of my classmates still walk with a limp from polio, one of them had braces on his legs all through elementary school. Another classmate had her eyesight affected by measles. I was out of school for 30 straight days in the first grade due to scarlet fever, followed by measles, then chicken pox. I had scars from chicken pox that did not completely disappear until adulthood -- a minor problem compared to many of my classmates. I remember that, while I had measles, my parents would not let me read or watch TV for fear that using my eyes would cause the disease to "settle" in my eyes and cause blindness. I remember community swimming pools being closed due to hysteria around polio. I don't mean "hysteria" as a criticism -- it was well founded fear. Parents today haven't seen the huge numbers of sick children, and haven't experienced the fear that my parents' generation experienced. Thank you for highlighting this very important issue.

    • SusanM5725 profile image

      Susan spencer 3 years ago from Texas

      I never felt comfortable with the thought of completely skipping vaccinations for my children. I spoke to their pediatrician about my concerns when they were babies and she helped me come up with a comfortable plan. Instead of giving 4 shots at a time,for example, she suggested breaking those shots down into 2 at a time or just one. I used to worry about the side affects that could appear with just one shot. Fortunately my children are healthy, they never had major side affects from a shot, and waiting a little while to give them any kind of particular vaccine has never posed a problem either. I believe its a parents own decision to vaccinate or not. You gotta do what you feel is right for your child and talk with your pediatrician about your worries.

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 3 years ago

      @Lee Hansen: Hi Pastiche, I tried to visit your lenses but can't because it says you haven't posted any. Surely that's not right, so what gives?

    • AnonymousC831 profile image

      AnonymousC831 3 years ago from Kentucky

      Great lens, I think all children/adults need the most vaccination offered. Without them the world would be a sick place.

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 3 years ago

      My parents and relatives gathered around when measles looked like they would take my life at 5 years of age when I had them for the 4th time. It was believed that you could only get them 3 times. The room was darkened to protect my eyes and the pain and stress of the disease is still recalled all this many years later. Parents who don't vaccinate risk their children's lives. Well done to report this and congrats on LOTD.

    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 3 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      I am old enough to remember the frightening times when I was I child when all children were at risk for contracting childhood diseases which could result in hearing loss, damage to their eyesight, permanent disabilities or even death from polio, measles, whooping cough, chicken pox and mumps. Vaccines have made such horrible outcomes rare. The small risk from vaccines is nothing compared to the high risks of complications from contracting the diseases they prevent.

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 3 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD! I've had all my childhood shots, but never had a shot for flu or colds only my Tetanus shot is kept up. I have not had the flu since 1980 and rarely get colds. Both my daughters had their childhood shots that were recommended at that time. Everyone should make their own choices.

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 3 years ago from Vermont

      My mother had whooping cough as a child. I suffered through serious cases of measles, mumps, chicken pox, German measles and several serious bouts of influenza as a kid. I've had shingles in the past 3 years, and recently got the shingles vaccination in hopes of avoiding another go-round with that nasty disease. And now that I'm a senior, I get a flu shot every year. I was one of those kids who waited at clinics in long lines for the Salk polio vaccine when it was made available so I had polio protection. And I was vaccinated against smallpox before I started school. I also got vaccinated (and had a booster recently) for diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus. I am pro-vaccine, but am also supportive of my daughter's choices for when and which vaccines her children receive. They don't need to get all the vaccines in one doctor visit, but they do need the essentials.

    • Cari Kay 11 profile image

      Kay 3 years ago

      Except for Gardasil, unapologetically pro-vaccine!

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      If people are concerned about "impurities" in vaccines they can be cleaned up. If you want polio and too many other horrendous diseases to stage a comeback continue to oppose vaccines. Seriously, learn to take a step back, remove the hyper emotion from the issue and listen objectively. Excellent lens, a well deserved LotD!

    • profile image

      bob-willis-501 3 years ago

      Primerisol (mercury), formaldehyde and all of the other little nasties in vaccines are not my idea of something to inject into your bloodstream.

    • tracy-arizmendi profile image

      Tracy Arizmendi 3 years ago from Northern Virginia

      I am a registered nurse and have seen first hand the devastating results caused to those children and adults who have not been vaccinated. It broke my heart to see an innocent child unnecessarily suffer the life-threatening effects caused by a 100% preventable disease. It saddens me to see just how naive our society has become in regard to information about vaccination and just to healthcare in general. It is shocking to me to find out how many people will take the advice of an unlicensed, untrained, celebrity with zero experience in healthcare over the advice of their healthcare provider. In my opinion, the younger generation of parents who have opted not to vaccinate their children have done so, because they have not witnessed firsthand the tragic, life alternating effects of diseases such as polio, hepatitis B, TB, measles, whooping cough, mumps, meningitis, typhoid, and influenza. These young adults were born in a time when most of these diseases were considered "eradicated" and so they have not taken them seriously. Thanks to this line of thinking, which has only grown in popularity because of some misguided celebrities, our country is now seeing increased incidents of these "eradicated" diseases. I regularly receive emails from my state health department proving what I have stated above and it is worrisome to me. Thank you a million times over for bringing this topic up and shedding light on all the false and anecdotal information floating around out there on the Web. Oh, and if you haven't already guessed, I am pro vaccine.

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 3 years ago from New York City

      As an adult who benefited from vaccines, routine in my day, I can't applaud your raising this topic enough. My brothers, sister and I all grew into healthy, successful adults without any of the consequences been bandied about so carelessly.

      Born too soon for the protection, my Dad came down with infantile paralysis, Polio, just as Franklin Roosevelt did. My Dad was a thirteen year old farm boy who could never do his chores, play, run or even walk normally for the rest of his life. You bet we got our Salk Polio Vaccine, along with all the others recommended. I'll thank my parents all my life for that, and I'll thank you for opening the door to some fresh, well-informed air.

    • Kylyssa profile image

      Kylyssa Shay 3 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @tazzytamar: Thank you for saying this. As a person with high-functioning autism I find it incredibly hurtful that so many people think it would be better to risk having their child die or become severely mentally disabled by not vaccinating than risk having a child like me. It's a false choice anyway because people born with autism will have it whether they are vaccinated or not.

    • Kylyssa profile image

      Kylyssa Shay 3 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      I go with the evidence and the science. I'm pro vaccine. If all of the vaccines that exist today were around in the sixties, I'd have grown up with another brother, my sister would have great hearing, and my parents wouldn't have been destroyed by the loss of their son. Just go to any older US cemetery and count all the little headstones and lambs and you'll see vaccines have changed our entire culture to one where parents can dare to get attached to children because child deaths are now rare here. Make a trip to an adult foster care home for developmentally disabled people with residents over fifty and you are apt to see more evidence of what our lives were like without vaccines. My partner's sister takes care of such people, people who might be healthy and working and spending weekends with their grandchildren if vaccines had been developed just a few years earlier. I'm a high-functioning autistic person. I don't believe vaccines cause autism as the evidence points to genetic causes. Even if vaccines did cause autism neither I nor my family would have been better off if I'd died of a childhood illness like my brother did.

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      SteveKaye 3 years ago

      I grew up when everyone was vaccinated. So I've never had any of the terrible diseases that ruined lives. And even now, I readily go in for flu vaccinations.

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      KyraB 3 years ago

      I am not pro-vaccination but I am not anti either. I don't think that you or your child needs every one that comes along but I do believe that you should carefully consider what each is for and whether it would be wise to avoid it or to accept it.

    • tazzytamar profile image

      Anna 3 years ago from chichester

      I am totally pro vaccine - even if the choice was between having a child who would be autistic (and I would still adore him) if he had the shot or having a child who was unprotected against potentially fatal illnesses, of course getting the vaccination would be better! That being said, we need to be aware that it is possible to go over the top with shots, and just need to exercise a little common sense about which are necessary and which are not. Congratulations on your very deserved LOTD

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      ChocolateLily 3 years ago

      Excellent lens! I am "pro-vaccine" to a point. I do feel that certain vaccines, such as the chicken pox vaccine may or may not be necessary. I am also iffy about the flu vaccine if one has never succumbed to the flu. That being said, I think vaccination is important for children because it has knocked out many of the deadly diseases which were so common even less than a century ago (like polio and tuberculosis, which both of my grandmother's parents died from). We don't need to encourage these diseases to become epidemics again. Also, regarding the autism question, my brother-in-law who is over 40 years old is severely autistic (but very smart). His parents noticed the change around when his two-year-old vaccinations were given. It is possible that his condition was triggered by the vaccines, but the big point is that it was most likely the mercury in the vaccine that was the problem, not the vaccine itself. Mercury has since been removed from all vaccines. It was also very likely that he was already predisposed to autism genetically based on some other family information. Also, I think it is important to be vaccinated if one is to travel to a third world country, such as on a mission trip. I think it would be very helpful for those who are anti-vaccine to take those countries' conditions into consideration. It's an eye-opener. It's a very scary subject to consider, especially in the light of autism, but my husband and I do plan on vaccinating our children if we are blessed with them as it seems to be the best path to take. Thanks again for your perspective!

    • Erin Mellor profile image

      Erin Mellor 3 years ago from Europe

      Vaccines are scary, but I think people have perhaps forgotten why they are important. In the UK we've had people dying from measles because they weren't vaccinated as kids. Those same parents who declared they'd "done their research" and chosen not to vaccinate their children were complaining that no-one warned them that measles could be fatal.

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Congratulations on Lens of the Day! Great review on an important topic. I think it's important to look at each vaccine separately, weighing pros and cons, but I remember a young girl when I was growing up that had polio. Vaccines pretty much eliminated that. It's the case with so many diseases in the past.

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 3 years ago from Concord VA

      I think if the people that are against vaccines were living in the times that so many children were dying from these diseases...they would be thankful for them. People forget why the vaccines were made in the first place. Congratulations on a well deserved LotD.

    • RobertConnorIII profile image

      Robert Connor 3 years ago from Michigan

      The health system in this country has always been driven by big pharma/money/greed, so its hard as an parent to know the best for our kids!. Thanks for the interesting topic!

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      inkedwriter lm 3 years ago

      A very thought provoking article with great information. Congrats on LOTD

    • x sarah ashwort profile image

      x sarah ashwort 3 years ago

      I find it hard to trust Offit especially given he makes millions of his Rotateq patent and held a research position sponsored by Merck.

    • KarenTBTEN profile image

      KarenTBTEN 3 years ago

      It's interesting because my brother had just brought up this topic yesterday. We were talking about how some people in our family had serious health consequences to foods/ supplements that were ordinarily considered healthy. Then he brought up vaccines; he said he was willing to believe that there had been cases of autism triggered by vaccines, but he also believed that in those instances there had been some of genetic vulnerability that brought it on. My brother thought that vaccination was usually the right choice, recognizing that in some rare instances, there could be a serious consequence. I agreed. I believe my nieces are current on their vaccines.

    • jcortright profile image
      Author

      jcortright 3 years ago

      @SusanDeppner: I agree- it is SO hard to know where to stand on them. I appreciated that this book dispelled some rumors I'd heard but didn't understand. Vaccines are SCARY, and it's hard to know what the best choice is for kids.

      Thank your sons for their service! We have a great country and freedoms because of them!

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 3 years ago from Arkansas USA

      We were a bit behind the anti-vaccination crowd when our kids were growing up, so they got their required vaccines, but I wasn't thrilled about it even then. I'm having second thoughts at this point, with future grandchildren in mind. I'm also noticing the switch to pro-vaccine very recently. It's hard to know which is the better path to take, so I very much appreciate your input and book review. (P.S. My sons have since become military veterans and received just about every vaccine known to man, I think, during their world travels. So far, so good, but even that concerns me.)