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Friday, June 7, 2013

Vaccination, It's Not Just About You!


I will preface this by saying that before I tell you what happened to me, I was indifferent to whether or not to vaccinate. I knew that we were going to vaccinate our kids, but as to whether or not I thought others should, well I thought it was up to them and it didn't affect me.

Until I was exposed to rubella at 11 weeks pregnant because someone I know contracted it from friends who don't vaccinate. 

For those of you who don't know what rubella is, it's more commonly known as the German measles and is included in the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine. We all probably got this vaccine as kids but your immunity can wane. Mine did. I was immune when I was pregnant with Ewan, but by the time I was pregnant with Cecily (13 months later, mind you!), my immunity was borderline, running on the no longer immune side.

If a pregnant woman contracts rubella, it can cause all sorts of problems with the baby, ranging from deafness to mental retardation to heart problems to miscarriage. This is no joke. I spent weeks 11-20 of my pregnancy terrified that Cecily was going to develop rubella syndrome. I never developed symptoms, but I had to have all sorts of extra blood work, meet with a genetic counselor, see a perinatologist and get the highest level ultrasound at 18 weeks to try and determine if she had any symptoms. She and I passed all tests with flying colors, but even then we still wouldn't know if she would have any symptoms that can't be determined by ultrasound until she was born. She appears fine now, but we still won't know until she's a bit older if there was any damage done. 

All because people I have never met decided not to vaccinate their kids.

The decision to not vaccinate your children doesn't affect just you. It affects your entire community and even those far away as in my case. Diseases that were basically eradicated in first world nations are making a comeback because of this. A perfect example is the recent outbreak of measles in Wales.

I realize that vaccines come with risks, although the autism study of the 1990s has not held up. However, the benefits FAR outweigh the risks associated with vaccinating your kids. Please think long and hard about not vaccinating. Because of some else's selfish decision, my beautiful baby girl might never have been born.

Please vaccinate your kids. It's not just for their protection, it's also for those that can't protect themselves.


  1. Holly, I agree with you wholeheartedly on the importance if getting vaccinated. Where we vary in opinion is where you believe it's a selfish choice to not do it. I don't look at it as selfish. I look at it as completely ignorant and improperly informed. It's sad that so many people see one study, done years ago, and that's all they need to see to make a decision about something so important. There is no cross checking, no reading other, more recent, articles about better funded studies with a greater scientific knowledge base to back them up. I believe that these parents really think they're doing what is absolutely best for their children, having no idea as to the extent of damage that one choice can cause. Of course, they look at us the same way. Dog eat dog world, huh?

    1. I agree that it's ignorant. It's also reckless, dangerous...I could go on and on!

  2. I wholehearted agree with you. My mother-in-law contracted chicken pox while pregnant and now my brother-in-law is autistic though extremely high functioning! While the chicken pox vaccine probably couldn't help her since it hasn't been available that long... it does give you perspective into how a simple shot can drastically affect someone's standard of living.
    PS- Not only is the austism-vaccine study debunked, the guy was barred from practicing medicine ever again.

  3. There's a statistic in one of the links that shows just how bad rubella syndrome can be. It just blows my mind how people just don't think.

  4. As a "crunchy" person, I've been struggling with this issue...I don't have kids yet, but I've seen both sides. It's great to hear your thoughts as a fellow person who I know tries to live green too!


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