WHat do you think of parents who don't immunize their kids?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by MidwestMom, Oct 1, 2011.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I ask because at one of our elementary schools, whooping cough is going around. One of the parents decided to put off immunizations (I am not sure how she got away with it, but I know you can claim certain religious objections and other things).

    The school had to be shut down, all the kids put on medication that can cause bad side effects, and I believe the kids all have to be immunized over again, but I'm not sure about that.

    This is my opinion: If you are afraid of immunizations then homeschool. There is no evidence that shots cause autism, although I know some parents still insist they think it does. I've even heard people say that there is no autism in the Amish community because they don't immunize.

    I live near the Amish. If a child was autistic, nobody would know. They don't utilize school and community services and don't go to doctors for things like that. So I doubt there are no autistic Amish kids.

    Back to the original question: Should parents be allowed to opt out of immunizations and still expose their kids to other kids at public schools?
  2. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I wonder about this all the time, since I go to so many different schools. I just do my best to keep my shots up to date and pray that I don't catch anything worse than a cold.

    in my opinion, if you reject the immunization laws of your state/county, then don't expect that state/county to kick in for the hospitalization costs (through Medi-Cal or other state sponsored programs) to save your kid when he/she catches whatever disease you chose not to have them immunized against. Accept the responsibility for your decision and pay the bills yourself.
  3. buddy

    buddy New Member

    I personally agree. I understand that the fear that was stirred up all those years from the now debunked research probably still runs deep. If a child has immuno-compromised kinds of things then there may be a reason not to immunize but those kids are not likely to be around lots of school kids anyway I would think... It is scarey but i am surprised from your story, that the immunizations that the other kids had didn't cover them. Why have them in the first place then...I dont get that because I am not a medical person. Maybe it was out of caution because a case was actually identified???(was it?)

    That said, I do now remember hearing about a child who actually got ill and thus very disabled from immunizations, they certainly can cause bad side effects in certain rare individual cases, that's why we all sign the permissions with the risks etc. (many things in life have risks and we can't just avoid everything....I bet more kids get killed or seriously injured in bike accidents than from vaccines, just my guess) If something terrible happened to someone close to me I would maybe be a little paranoid but for me, not so sure if I would be scared enough to risk his getting all of the diseases that they protect us from. I just read a pro-vaccine article that said there are around 40 documented real injuries/complications from vaccines every year compared to the millions who dont get diseases that would wipe so many out. For anyone who has personal experience witha horrible response, I am truly sorry, I can see how that would make someone terrified. I dont think that is the majority of people who object to vaccines though. I think most do it out of ignorance or rigid thinking from years of false research and reports being spread. I went to some of those seminars back in the early days, they did scare the pants off you.

    the worst that ever happened to my difficult child was he got a 104 temp and was wiped out for two days, actually sleeping and felt terrible following his last set of vaccines (around 10 yrs old). It was not fun for him, BUT I hate to admit this, the ONLY time my boy is sweet and cuddly with me for any extended length of time is when he is that sick. I kind of liked that part.
  4. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    Our school districts have a no immunizations, no school, no exceptions religous or otherwise. I happen to agree with it. If indeed the vacine is ever found to be the cause of autisim, then it must be outweighed by what is for the greater good of the population as a whole.
  5. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    I fully believe in immunizations and make sure my kids have all of theirs. The only exception I would accept is if a child or adult is allergic (for instance, a friend of mine has the egg allergy that makes you unable to get flu shots) or immuno-compromised and a doctor certifies that the vaccine could (not might, I'd like a highe standard).

    I also think that if there is an unimmunized child in a school, for religious or medical reasons, that a letter should be sent to the entire school advising that there is an unimmunized child in attendance (without naming them). That way, other parents could take the opportunity to make sure their own childrens' shots are up to date so that if the unsafe child gets sick, the disease doesn't spread to other children.
  6. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    I understand that some parents wish to exercise their right to deny their children immunizations, I really do... but I also live in fear of weakened herd immunity because Duckie is usually one of the kids that get very sick when things go around. Certainly, if you have a legitimate religious objection and of course if there is strong medical suspicion that the immunization could cause an adverse reaction in your child, then don't follow the schedule. But... many communities are now facing severe outbreaks of diseases that had previously been considered nearly eradicated that are again killing children. There are costs and benefits to being part of a community.
  7. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I remember reading about the pros and cons in my life span development class last year. Another student made a good point and the teacher agreed. Due to immunizations and the laws in place that dictate them, advanced medical, preventive medicine and awareness, people are living longer. Most deadly diseases have been nearly eradicated or have become very rare in the US because of immunizations. We need to respect that and take that into consideration when choosing to immunize our children -or not. Those who do not immunize are the minority and as such should be aware of the fact that others, the majority of our population, will not want to be around them.

    With the freedom to choose comes responsibilities and I agree that we all need to consider what is best for the common good as opposed to a select few. Sounds arrogant, but I don't think it is.

    Both of my daughter's skipped the 2nd and 3rd dose of the whooping cough vaccine as babies because they had horrible reactions. difficult child developed whooping cough twice as a baby, easy child never. Although a horrible thing, it is easily treated in today's world with antibiotics-not like back before and during the development of the vaccine, when many who caught it died. That is where advanced medical care comes into play.

    I personally hate unnecessary medical interventions, but try to use my head when choosing those interventions, weighing the pros and cons.
  8. seriously

    seriously New Member

    Warning: My reply is likely to offend someone who strongly believes that vaccination is wrong. So you might want to skip it so you can keep your blood pressure low. And I do not plan on replying to anyone who wants to address specific points. You are welcome to do so but I will not argue with you about it. And the mods may want to just chuck the whole discussion if it gets heated.

    Many of the people I am acquainted with who are not immunizing hold two core beliefs about this subject that reinforce each other.

    1. Immunizations are bad for a child because of _________ (fill in the blank - mercury in the vaccine, it isn't "natural", it causes autism, etc.)
    2. The immune system works differently when a child contracts an illness (rather than receiving a vaccine) and that difference is important in the long term health of the child when they grow up because it will shield them from other health problems like cancer.

    In my humble opinion, both these beliefs are specious and represent serious ignorance of how vaccines work, how the immune system works (as far as we know right now) and how herd immunity works. Admittedly we don't know all there is to know about the immune system so we are all left to take what IS known and apply it as well as we can. But we absolutely do know how herd immunity works and we have pretty good information on how/why vaccinations works along with lots of proof over the past century that it does indeed protect the larger community from killer diseases like polio.

    Herd immunity is what is keeping everyone well so far. Those who are not vaccinating are being protected by herd immunity despite their risky individual choices.

    As far as I am aware, there is no solid scientific basis for the assertion that their children have 'stronger" immune systems than the immune systems of vaccinated children. There is no proof that chicken pox parties (popular here in our area) do a better job of protecting children from other illnesses than having been vaccinated.

    On the contrary, titers (blood test that shows that a person has developed an immunity to an illness) on my children who received the chicken pox vaccine were very positive so they are protected against developing this potentially deadly and disfiguring illness.

    It is not enough to homeschool the children who are not vaccinated. Those children still go to the library, church, grocery stores - everywhere all the rest of us go. Regardless of their school setting they are putting everyone at risk. For example:

    Although the rate of two-dose immunization against measles was 95% in the area (San Diego), a single case of measles from a 7-year-old child returning from overseas sparked an outbreak that exposed 839 people and sickened 11 other children, according to David Sugerman, MD, MPH, of the CDC's Epidemic Intelligence Service, and colleagues. None of the 12 children, who ranged in age from 10 months to 9 years, had been vaccinated -- nine because their parents had refused the vaccine and three because they were too young, the researchers reported in the April issue of Pediatrics.

    In our area, many of the pediatricians have started either refusing to take families who refuse immunization without medical cause (like allergy or immune-suppression) or aggressively attempting to educate these folks about herd immunity, the true risks to their children and the community and the scientific evidence refuting the specious arguments being advanced to oppose universal vaccination. I completely agree with this and hope, for everyone's sake, that they are successful.

    As you can probably tell I feel pretty strongly about this issue. My son is immune-suppressed in order to control a severe, life threatening auto-immune condition. Many elderly people have lost a great deal of their immunity to diseases, even if they had them as children, due to the natural aging of the immune system. And the number of elderly people in our country is growing at a rapid pace.

    Choosing not to immunize risks not only the health of the children but the health of millions of others. In the case of legitimate medical reasons for refusal - that is fine. That is a tiny % and will not effect herd immunity. Otherwise, there should be universal immunization.
  9. keista

    keista New Member

    Here's where I get confused with all these vaccination arguments: If "everyone" is vaccinated, and one kid isn't and the one kid gets sick, then those who ARE vaccinated should be protected by the vaccine. The argument is that each time someone gets sick with one of these diseases, there is a chance, albeit small, that the disease will mutate and then infect vaccinated ppl because they are not vaccinated against the mutation. Similarly, we have more ppl abusing antibiotics and causing mutations and super-strains on a daily basis, than ppl not getting vaccinated.

    I'm still on the fence with it either way, just as I was on the fence with the "vaccinations cause autism" debate. I actually delayed DD2's vaccinations because of this. At birth and infancy, she was much more similar to son than DD1 in personality and development, so I delayed (not refused) her shots, to be staggered with developmental markers. The person giving the shots at the county clinic totally understood my concerns and position and agreed that my plan made sense and worked with me on timing the immunizations. However, I did not have her in a daycare or a playgroup. If I had, I may have speeded up those immunizations to protect HER, not anyone else.
  10. seriously

    seriously New Member

    Hey Keista -

    Here's a link to a good explanation including graphics that explains herd immunity.


    The issue isn't that one kid here or there isn't vaccinated.

    There will always be some people who are immune due to illness, age (young and old), allergy to vaccine, etc.

    It's that those people rely on herd immunity to protect them. For example, think of all the babies who are too young to be vaccinated being put at risk if a significant percentage of people are not vaccinated and disease spreads through the community because of that.
  11. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    This has not been an issue with me as "the kids" of both generations received the shots as a matter of course. There was no discussion and therefore no reason to fear. The immunization that I find of interest is the one that they are giving teenage girls. Evidently it was mandated in the State of Texas. I've read alot about that preventative shot and have to say I wonder if I would opt in. My Texas gd's were immunized a few years ago. DDD
  12. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    Unless the child has had a bad reaction to an immunization, is immuno-compromised, or has other legitimate health concerns, I find it extremely irresponsible not to immunize for contagious diseases. They are risking their child's health, other children's health (babies too young to be immunized), and public health. Should their actions cause damage to the health of any of these, the parents should be held accountable - criminally and financially.

    FWIW, this is the first year we haven't gotten a letter from the SD informing of us of a whooping cough outbreak and to be on the lookout. We got one the first week of school, every year, since my son started school and he's 20. I think that finally enough kids in our SD have been immunized.
  13. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I know all my kids were always vaccinated on schedule so I completely agree but I just had to say something about the whooping cough thing.

    I have never heard this before and after raising three kids and having contact with three grandkids, this time in the hospital we were told that if you hold a baby against your chest you can give it whooping cough. What in the world? Wouldnt you have to have it to give it?

    Oddly though I had heard that people my age might possibly need to be vaccinated again for the whooping cough so I was going to ask my doctor next time I go because I need my other yearly shots. I get my flu shot at a pharmacy but I need my pneumonia and meningitis shot as well.
  14. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I know, I saw a commercial saying the same thing and wondered WTH? I think the point was something that many elderly have lost their immunity and may not know they're carrying it? Tell us what your doctor says.
  15. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    If you are in the United States, that is an illegal policy. All states except Mississippi and West Virginia have laws that allow a "religious exemption" and all 50 states allow medical excemptions.
  16. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Janet, whomever told you that is an idiot spreading an old wives tale. The ONLY, absolute 100% ONLY, way you would give a child whooping cough by holding it to your chest would be f you HAD whooping cough and breathed on her. If that was true, if you were three feet away and coughed you would give her whooping cough. I am flabbergasted that a hospital employee would tell you this. Whooping cough is caused by germs, NOT NOT NOT by being held a certain way.

    You held your boys up to your chest, didn't you? Did they get whooping cough? If what you were told is true, then your sons, my kids, and about every baby on the planet would have whooping cough. Please reassure Cory and Mandy that thsi is about as true as stories about the Tooth Fairy.

    I truly HATE being around unvaccinated kids. I don't want them in my community, unless it is for medical reasons. Jess cannot take the gardasil vaccine - she got REALLY sick from it and we were told that it would be far worse with the second dose and her reaction means it is not safe for her. I wish it was safe for her. Other than that, my kids get ALL the vaccines. Period.

    Three years in a row I had to fight iwth the elem school about thank you's chicken pox vaccine. First they said he didn't have it because nurse did not know that varicella is the name for the disease - and what the pediatrician used on the record rather than using chicken pox. pediatrician was irate to have to send a letter explaning this, and apparently the nurse did it to enough kids (in letters that said you had two days to get the vaccine for your child or they couldn't come to school - doctor likes a week to do letters like this.) that she ended up fired for incompetence - it was the last straw in a hay bale of stupidity, Know what I mean??. The next two years it was a problem because he got the shot the day before his first birthday. There is a week either way to get the shot in this state, by state law (our state has laws for even super minor things) but again took a doctor's letter to the school to "prove" that this was true.

    My childhood bff worked in a daycare and saw a lot of kids with fevers because they had gotten shots. So she didn't want her kids to have them. Then she was around a child who didnt' get shots who almost died from something that most of us never get. That, and the school saying her kids could not attend, no religious or other waivers accepted there, and her kids got all the shots. Part of the reason she had refused them was her husband's stupidity.. At the time he was trying to claim that income tax was unconstitutional based on some whack job's book and lecture tour that said to send letters to the IRS and then the IRS won't respond and if you have some certain sentence in it then they cannot charge you tax. So he then refused to get social security numbers for the kids based on some religious belief that Satan will replace our names iwth numbers and the govt is the tool of Satan etc.... Tax tme came and she forced him to sign the tax return anyway, and she had already gotten the SSs cards with-o him knowing. Then she insisted he go on medications nad he has given up that stupidity about all of it.

    I have immune problems. The OB who delivered Wiz did a chicken pox titer among other things because there was so much of it going around our area. I have NO immunity to chicken pox, though I have had it twice, once very severely. My kids HAD to be immunized because if I got chicken pox the best outcome would be me in the hospital for treatment. It gets a lot worse each time you get it. Other docs didn't believe me when I told them that I had no immunity and did the test over - all with the smae results.
  17. keista

    keista New Member

    That's gotta be gardasil. I can think of no other that is female exclusive. I do find it ironic that Texas is mandating it since opponents of this shot are calling it a "license to have sex" yet every parent it Texas (it seems) is 100% convinced their little poopsies are going to wait until marriage.
  18. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Its a mixed bag.

    On the one hand, some of these are serious illnesses - rubella (german measles) is one example, where somebody can have it and be exposing others before they even know they have it... and the impact on an unborn child can be very serious. I really don't want that one floating around in our community.

    But not every current vaccine is for things that serious. Whooping cough is toward serious, but in my opinion chicken pox is not.

    Even serious stuff, though... will always have exemptions. My generation was the last to get smallpox vaccine... husband had it, my bro had it... not me. MD said that I was "too sickly" and that the reaction to the vaccine could be as serious or worse than actually catching smallpox.

    We did all the "standard" ones - but not the optional ones, partly because so many of these are "new" and the history isn't well known yet - do they really work? how well? how long? side effects?

    School here expects the standard vaccines. If your kid doesn't have them, then you have to sign a form that says you agree to keep them home upon notificaton of a breakout of ANYTHING in the school, until such time as the situation has been cleared up AND your kid has clean bill of health from MD. If you're not getting shots because of immune problems or reactions... its a reasonable safeguard. If its "by choice" (beliefs, whatever else), then... its still relatively fair to the rest of the students.

    The breakouts that happen here, by the way, are most often caused by immigrant kids from places where standardized immunization isn't really available (often refugees, or kids whose parents have been sent here for further education before returning home to teach or do research). That risk doesn't go away. We WILL be exposed to most of these diseases.
  19. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I have heard a lot of bad stuff about the gardisil vaccine.

    I'm not against vaccines, but mine nearly killed me. My niece contracted both measles and mumps from her boosters - she was quarantined for almost a month. But I think those who could - should.
  20. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My daughter just finished her gardasil vaccine and, frankly, I'm relieved she got them.