Thursday, November 16, 2006

Don't Be an Idiot: Get Your Kids Immunized

Okay. I will be the first to admit that I don't trust pharmaceutical companies or the government to have the best interests of mankind at heart. That said, there are reasons that most of us don't spend our summers indoors hiding from one another anymore and why our infant mortality rate has declined and why killer diseases like smallpox have all but been eradicated. One of those reasons is vaccines.

I'm not a fan of all the combined vaccines or giving 2-month old babies four shots at the same time in the same leg or of giving a newborn baby a vaccine for a sexually contracted disease. However, I think there are better ways to look after your child's well-being than not having your child immunized at all. I did ask our pediatrician to delay the Hep-B vaccine and to only give my child one or two vaccinations at a time. I even looked into having him break-up the MMR into three separate shots. I understand looking at the system and routine practices with caution.

I do not understand putting your child's life and THE LIVES OF OTHERS at risk by not immunizing your children. It's utterly irresponsible and a way of saying to society at large, fuck you!

I am pissed right now because there's a 3-month old little girl lying in a hospital bed in Montgomery, Alabama right now, struggling for every breath because some idiot probably didn't have their child immunized. against pertussis. Or because some adult who has been around her, like 99% of the rest of us, has not had an adult booster for whooping cough because no one ever thought we'd need one. Why? Because the disease should have been eradicated by now.

I am also pissed because my mother-in-law, who is supposed to come help us look after Brendan when I have the new baby sometime between now and the next three weeks or so, held that little girl just five days ago. Right before she was diagnosed with whooping cough. Her parents thought she had a cold. She wouldn't stop crying and my kind mother-in-law who has mad baby whispering powers held her to help the poor mother out. Well, now if I go into labor, my mother-in-law can't come over here.

The incubation period for pertussis is anywhere from 7-21 days. We can go almost all the way up to my due date before we know for sure if our MeMe contracted it. My hope is that her doctor can and will start her on a prophylactic course of antibiotics when she goes to see him today. Still, it will be in the back of my mind when she comes here. All because of the story I read about a year ago of a woman who was exposed to whooping cough while pregnant and gave it to her newborn when he was born. He lived less than three weeks as a result.

Damn it, People! It's not like these diseases don't exist anymore just because we have the relative fortune of low rates of them in the U.S. Have you failed to notice the number of immigrants and illegals coming into our country every day? Do you think Guatemala has a really awesome healthcare system for migrant workers and is immunizing all its residents against every communicable disease?

If you don't immunize your kids, you are putting my child's life in danger. Or my life. Or my elderly grandmother's life. You don't have that right. I don't care how many piles of paper printed off the fucking Internet you have that show some correlation between the MMR vaccine, thimerosol (which, by the way is not used anymore except in a very few instances), and the rise of autism. I can print an equal number of pieces of paper showing that researches think there is a genetic connection. Signs of autism are apparent as early as three months if you know what to look for and that's long before your child has received most of his or her vaccinations.

I understand your desire to protect your child. But you can't just pick and choose what you're protecting them from, a brain disorder (that really you have very little control over) or a communicable disease that you can do something about.

Just, please, don't be an idiot. Sure, think about. Ask your doc to space the shots and not give more than one or two at the same time so you can figure out what may have caused a specific reaction. But don't just let your children run loose without being immunized. Then, you're putting all of our lives in danger.

2 comments:

Courtney said...

HOLLA!

: D

P.S. I hope MeMe will be okay.

Anonymous said...

Thank you! I feel exactly the same way. Besides, I fully intend to take my children to parts of the world where those diseases are NOT erradicated, and I will not put them or any other children at risk by not getting them their vaccines.