In the midst of all the discussion surrounding the current measles outbreak in the US, I decided I might as well jump on the bandwagon and share my opinion on this matter.
I spend my entire pregnancy telling everyone that I wasn’t going to vaccinate my child. I mentioned the countless articles I read on how in most cases the risk of harm to a healthy infant from a vaccination far exceeds the risk of harm from the disease itself. I went on to talk about the articles floating around the internet which (wrongfully) links autism to vaccines and how I refused to risk my son’s health because everyone else refuses to question the pharmaceutical companies. The pages and pages I read seemed very convincing. The statistics made it look like it was far more likely for my son to be hurt by the side effects of the vaccines than to catch the various diseases against which the vaccines protected, after all we live in America where most of these diseases are not a threat. So I convinced myself that I was doing what was right for my child.
But I refused to take into consideration that the point of vaccines isn’t just to protect ourselves but our entire community.
As a liberal, you would think that I got this concept. I mean, I have always defended universal healthcare even if it meant I had to pay more taxes. I currently have no problem paying a higher insurance rate through ObamaCare so that families who can’t afford the full price of insurance on their own can have access to health care. I’m happy to do so for the sake of public health and the greater good. How is vaccinating my child any different? How did I manage, for so long, to think it was somehow different? I am core believer that those who are better off in life have a moral obligation with those who struggle. Yet, I couldn’t understand the moral obligation I had with those around me when it came to vaccinating my son.
It wasn’t until I talked to a doctor (and humanitarian) friend that I understood how selfish I was acting, and I managed to vaccinate my child as quickly as medically possible.
He told me that in the past low vaccination rates were due to low-income families lacking access to doctors and medical care. Now, low vaccination rates appear more often linked to well-off families opting out. And if privileged parents keep opting out of vaccines, the likely outbreaks will end up hurting everyone, and especially those without adequate medial coverage. We also have to take into consideration those who can’t be vaccinated, like young babies and children who suffer from already health depleting diseases, such as cancer and aids. In fact, the current measles outbreak in the United States started at Disneyland, here in California. And because it’s a small world after all, there are over 100 confirmed cases of measles in 14 states and Mexico. The latest case is a baby at a Santa Monica Daycare. Thankfully, it’s not my son.
Being vaccinated is a civic and moral responsibility. By vaccinating our kids we are not only protecting them, but we are also protecting our community, especially vulnerable kids and low income kids who have no access to health care. We are protecting those who are in most need of protection. So please parents, don’t be a d*#. Vaccinate your kid.