There’s a very interesting feature article in Minnesota Monthly this month about childhood vaccinations and people to refuse them for their children. The Refusers (by Tim Gihring) looks at some of the controversy surrounding vaccines and contains interviews from people who have been harmed by vaccines and those who promote vaccination.
This article has been stuck in my head since I read it a couple of weeks ago, which is pretty amazing given everything else competing for head space these days. I would consider myself as slightly “vaccine hesitant,” even though I know the MMR/autism study from The Lancet has been retracted. Boopsie has gotten her vaccines, but I’ve looked for small ways to space them out and I’ve established a totally arbitrary limit of three “pokes” per doctor’s visit. Still, I worry about vaccines and honestly, most of that worry is about autism. That’s why this anecdote from Ashley Shelby, a pro-vaccine activist, totally stuck in my head:
“It’s the new parents I’m worried about—they don’t know what to believe,” she says. “But I’ve given the hardcore anti-vaxers up for dead. Doctors wouldn’t say this, but I will: would you rather your child be dead than have autism? Think about it—that’s essentially what these people are saying, and how offensive is that?”
It’s true — I don’t know what to believe.I know they’ve never found a vaccine/autism link, but how can SO MANY parents be wrong about their children’s experiences? I can’t discount their observations. It seems that everything with vaccinations is incredibly charged these days (shoot, just read the comments and accusations and anger reflected in the comments section of the article!) and it’s hard to trust what the government says. But for now, I’m comfortable choosing a risk of autism over a risk of measles, polio or other potentially devastating disease. What about you?