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« There's a monster | Main | Is there a middle ground between normalization and siloing? »

Scared to vaccinate? So am I, but there is something I fear more.

Today was my son's six month wellness check. I knew what to expect having gone through the same thing with my daughter two years ago. I booked the day off of work because I know there's a chance he'll get a fever and an almost certainty that he will be uncomfortable, refuse to nap and want to be held.

No parent wants to cause their child pain. Lucas spend two days in the NICU after he was born. I could only hold his hands and sing to him as they made several attempts to set an IV. He doesn't remember those needles, but I do. I've never been fond of needles - who is? Add to that a lingering doubt, what if I'm choosing something that will harm my child and I could have prevented it?

We are luck to live in a country and time when many major childhood illnesses have almost been eradicated. I grew up in a time when everyone was vaccinated because one or two generations ago, children died of these disease or were permanently affected.

As long as there is one case in the world, a disease can always make a come back. We are seeing it currently with the drop in vaccination rates. Measles, mumps, whooping cough outbreaks are becoming increasingly common in the USA.

I'm a scientist. I understand there is no link between autism and vaccination. I know that my children do not have an allergy to ovalbumin. I know that the preservative in the vaccines will not harm them. Still there is always that lingering doubt. What if I'm making the wrong choice?

Parental guilt is inescapable. No matter what challenges our children face, we will always ask ourselves 'what could I have done differently'? I've watched the videos of mother's convinced that vaccinations caused or contributed to their child's development of autism. They are sincere in their belief and love their children very much.

There is just no science to back up their beliefs. In fact, there is ample research showing the effectiveness and safety of modern vaccines.

Yet it doesn't stop me from wondering 'what if'? But I know that the risks of a preventable outbreak grow with every year that the vaccination rates fall. And there is a proportion of children who cannot be vaccinated due to illness, immune disorders or allergies

So I vaccinate my children because I believe it is the best way to keep them and the children in our community safe from preventable illnesses.

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