The Vaccination Debate

With the recent outbreak of the measles in the U.S. there have been numerous articles written about those not vaccinating. I’ve never been one to have much of an opinion on the whole thing. We vaccinate our kids and I’ve often wondered why you wouldn’t choose to if you can. Let’s not even get into the long term side effects of some of these diseases such as the measles, but I’ve always wondered who could afford to take that much time off to stay home with their child if it’s in their child’s school? Of course I’m assuming that you would be keeping your un-vaccinated child home during the outbreak if it hit their school. To me that just seems like a lot of time off work. I’ve been fortunate to work for very understanding employers, but even they would have a limit of how much time I could take off that wasn’t scheduled vacation.

My reason for writing this isn’t to get into that debate again, it’s to tell you my feelings on it. I was never really concerned before about outbreaks like this – as I mentioned we vaccinate our kids. They don’t get the flu shot, but they’ve had all the other basic ones they are supposed to have. Except our youngest son. But that’s because he can’t. He’s only 7 weeks old. So that’s what has really got me thinking with this outbreak. What happens to all those kids who CAN’T get their shots. Those who are too young? Those who have compromised immune systems? Those who are allergic to the vaccine (egg allergies)? What happens to those kids? They still have to go out in public. They still have a chance of catching those diseases, but they won’t be able to fight it off as easily.

I’m an Early Childhood Educator, and my 7 week old is our 3rd child. After working in a daycare for 20 years I’ve been exposed to many viruses and diseases. Our older 2 have of course brought lots home with them from school. So I’d like to think that I’m fairly easy going when it comes to this topic. But there’s something in me that’s making me nervous this time. I’ve barely taken our son to the mall for a walk. I was supposed to go back to the gym last week but didn’t want to leave him in care. All I can think about are all the different germs and viruses he could pick up. Maybe it’s because it’s the winter and there seems to be more out there, or maybe it’s because of this measles outbreak. I don’t know. All I know is that I can’t wait until it warms up a bit so we can go for a walk outside.

I mentioned before that this wasn’t written to debate the whole vaccination thing. I truly am a firm believer in doing what you believe is best for your family. I just truly hope that if you are choosing not to vaccinate your kids that you do pause to think about those people who can’t be vaccinated before you visit with them. Especially if there is the slightest chance that you or your kids have been exposed.

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