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Vaccination

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A balanced view on vaccines is generally missing from the available information/literature. It seems to me that what matters most is what you as a parent can get behind with regard to vaccination. It is said that vaccination can impair the development of the immune system in an infant or young child. There are the scary stories about adverse reactions to inoculations. These do occur. The other side of the argument says that childhood illnesses that formerly caused injury or death have virtually disappeared due to vaccines. This would seem to be true, yet I wonder if that means we should continue to administer them to all children forever? Modern medicine tends to turn a blind eye to long-term effects of allopathic treatments, but practitioners of alternative medicine can be as myopic and rigid in their own way. As the caretakers of our children, we are called upon to make decisions which will have life-long effects on them. Our individual parenting decisions also have impact in the larger community. It's no wonder we feel pressured!

With my first child, instead of starting immunizations at two months of age, my husband and I chose to wait until he was six months old to give his immune system more time to develop. We did the the first year's worth of vaccinations with him and no more. I recall that after at least one of these inoculations, he did have high fever and discomfort lasting many hours. By the time our daughter was born, we were considerably more relaxed and the inoculation question was a non-issue. We did not vaccinate her at all. When our daughter was under six, she and I—who was fully inoculated as a child!!—both caught a mild case of whooping cough from an un-inoculated playmate. We experienced many, many weeks of a lingering, gagging cough. My daughter would cough so hard she would throw up whatever food she had most recently eaten. I became quite expert at catching these up-chucks in many settings—playground, car, dinner table. Both our kids traveled with us on a five-week trip to India, before which they received homeopathic inoculations. I don't recall either one of them getting sick at all. And today they are both quite healthy and strong young adults. However, it is said that getting a childhood illness as an adult is much worse than getting it when young, so I may yet have cause to regret not fully immunizing them. 

Growing up, my two children were close friends with another family whose kids were fully immunized. Those children seemed to get sick more often than either of mine. Don't know if that was due to their being immunized but I did wonder. It's probably useful to question the assumption that our kids getting sick is bad, and not getting sick is good. In reality, childhood sicknesses do serve to develop a child's immune system. Truly, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the immunization question. We must simply make our best decision and endeavor not to second-guess ourselves once we have done so.

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Guest Wednesday, 22 November 2017