Vaccinations: Are You For or Against?



 
The choice is yours, but…
One of the first things we’re asked forced to think about when we become parents is the safety of our child. “Do you breastfeed?”. “Do you put your infant to bed on its back… with or without a blanket?” And without even asking our opinion on immunization, before we know it, we’ve got an appointment for initial vaccinations and booster shots at four, six, 12 and 18 months. So what are your thoughts on the subject? Are you for or against vaccination?We’re not here to preach or guilt mothers who may only want what is best for their child. We are pro-choice, however, so we think it worthwhile to examine certain (false) claims about immunization.

Fighting a virus with… a virus?
Indeed, it seems contradictory but viruses contained in vaccines have already been neutralized. They’re harmless to perfectly healthy people, who generally have an effective immune system. With the exception of certain side effects like fever or muscle pain, vaccines are risk-free.

A vaccine for a disease that no longer exists?
Certain diseases no longer exist thanks to mass immunization. Whooping cough or diphtheria sound foreign; the kind of ailments you only catch when you travel to distant, remote places. And since most of us have never even heard of these diseases, it’s difficult to imagine the scope or extent of the damage they could cause. Take for instance the commotion the measles outbreak at Disneyland this past December caused. Yet these diseases have a history in Canada, and before mass immunization, several thousands of people would contract these diseases every year.

And what if my child becomes autistic?
To this day, there isn’t a single relevant study that supports a link between autism and vaccination. However, this lack of evidence does not prove that a link should be dismissed.  What’s the proof?  Many scientists are still looking into it.

The most cynical (or realist?) among us would argue that pharmaceutical companies have everything to gain from concealing incriminating results about immunization. And they may be right. But the fact of the matter remains that this so-called “conspiracy” prevents more than 250,000 people from contracting measles every year.

Must we get our children vaccinated? Given the alternatives to Western medicine and following the ineffective vaccination campaigns against the flu, we can’t help but ask ourselves that question. Vaccination is used for its safety and efficacy. It helps us to eliminate certain pandemics from spreading throughout the continent. Refusing to have our children vaccinated can have long-term repercussions, even on future generations. There’s more to vaccination than protecting our children; it is a social policy concern where 95 % of the healthiest and strongest get the vaccine in order to help the 5% who don’t have the luxury steer clear of infection.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has some answers on the subject that could help reassure those with mixed feelings on the topic. Visit www.phac-aspc.gc.ca.

What are your thoughts about immunization? Sound off in the Comments section below!

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