Let’s talk about vaccines

Let’s talk about vaccines… I know this is a bit of a heated subject, but it is something I feel very strongly about. I am an animal rights activist, I am Vegan, I believe natural is best and I believe that Mother Nature can cure a broken soul… I also believe that there is a place in this world for modern medicine.

Like you, I looked into the scientific evidence surrounding vaccines with an open mind and I came to the conclusion that I would go to any lengths to vaccinate my children. This should not really come as ground breaking news, especially if you look at the medical case studies, listen to the horror stories (and no, not fear-mongering – reality), take into account the advice from nearly all the world’s governments, the WHO (World Health Organisation) and the vast majority of medical researchers, scientists, health practitioners and parents.

Let me ask you this… If your child got cancer, would you seek any treatment possible? Even if the treatment that would save their life is radioactive or chemical? If your child got a terrible infection, would you give them antibiotics? If we had an Ebola outbreak tomorrow, would you give them the vaccine? I would. As a parent, the only job you have on this planet is to keep you child safe and to raise them to the best of your ability. If you answered yes to any of the above… Then what makes vaccines any different?

Both my children are vaccinated/being vaccinated. I just cannot justify taking the slightest risk with their lives, can you? By not vaccinating your child, you are underestimating the severe consequences of your choice.

Let’s look at some of the most popular arguments against vaccination, and why they are a load of bull…

ARGUMENT NO. 1 – Vaccines Cause Autism

Vaccines do not cause autism. That’s a solid fact and has been proven in study, after study, after study, after study. Science has repeatedly disproven a link between vaccines and autism. Go read about Andrew Wakefield, the idiot that started this ridiculous story and how his paper that claimed a link between the MMR vaccine and autism has been withdrawn, and his medical license revoked.

Here’s another thing that drives me mad – Autism and neurodiversity are far from the worst things that could happen to you as a parent or your child, it is not the best – but at least they are alive. Even if there was a chance of this myth having any truth to it – If someone offered me a medicine that might put my child on the spectrum instead of them becoming one of the 4 in 1,000 kids that die an excruciating painful death, I”ll take it.

If you are really worried about this, speak to your doctor, or a medical professional that you can trust. Ask them about spacing the vaccines out if possible. But please vaccinate your children.

ARGUMENT NO. 2 – You Can’t Die From Measles

Thanks to vaccines, we as parents have not needed to worry about this once-contained threat in quite some time. So to most people, it is probably not common knowledge that measles can kill or leave children permanently disabled. If you need any more convincing – See Roald Dahl’s story about his daughter for a particularly affecting testimony.

Measles, a viral respiratory infection, killed over 500,000 children in 2003, more than any other vaccine-preventable disease. The measles death toll in Africa is so high – every minute one child dies – that many mothers don’t give children real names until they have survived the disease. Measles weakens the immune system and renders children very susceptible to fatal complications from diarrhoea, pneumonia and malnutrition. Those that survive may suffer blindness, deafness or brain damage.

I know what you are thinking – “If you’re vaccinated, you’re safe, so why do you care what I do?”  14 of the 32 measles cases in California last year were children who were intentionally not vaccinated for ideological (not medical) reasons. These children fueled an outbreak that put infants too young for the vaccine and individuals with compromised immune systems at risk. Which brings me to…

ARGUMENT NO. 3 – There Is No Such Thing As Herd Immunity

First of all, it is common knowledge that vaccines aren’t always 100% effective, so it is possible for a vaccinated child to still become infected if exposed to a disease. However, there reaction will be much milder and not nearly as bad as if they were not vaccinated.

Worse, there are some people who can’t receive vaccinations, because they are immune deficient, fighting cancer or because they are allergic to some component. Those people depend upon herd immunity to protect them. Heard immunity means that your child may be protected from an illness if 90% of the people in your community are vaccinated. By choosing not to vaccinate your children against infectious diseases you are putting not only your own children at risk, but also other people’s children.

So many of you are foregoing vaccines now that herd immunity is threatened. Because of this your unvaccinated child should not be allowed anywhere near a hospital, pediatrician or doctor’s waiting room. You also put pregnant women at risk for miscarriage when you expose them to the disease. If parents continue to vaccinate, certain diseases will be knocked out in the future. That’s what happened with smallpox – it was eradicated thanks to years of adherence to innoculation. Do you realize that not vaccinating your child is safe only as long as the majority does vaccinate?

Herd immunity is real – you can see it in history, it is a proven fact.

ARGUMENT NO. 4 – Vaccines Are Unnatural

I once had a parent tell me that they don’t believe in vaccines and that the ingredients were harmful. When I asked her about cancer treatment, she told me that she believes in natural selection. I found that extremely offensive, and as a mother – I found it extremely worrying. Obviously there is nothing more “natural” than large numbers of children dying in a cesspool of vaccine preventable contagious diseases. But I think we should try avoid that. There is no natural, effective alternative for vaccinations. Some of you seem to believe that several hundred years ago, before GMOs or pesticides existed, there were no communicable diseases. You are wrong. Can you tell me on one hand how many diseases homeopathic medicine has eradicated? Thought so.

ARGUMENT NO. 5 – Breastfeeding Will Keep My Child Safe From Vaccine Prevented Illnesses

You may have heard that breastfeeding your child passes immunity on to him. But he gets antibodies only for diseases that you’re immune to, and these antibodies only lasts until your baby is 2 to 6 months old. In fact, this is why doctors recommend several vaccines during your baby’s first few months: so he’s well protected by the time he outgrows this natural immunity.

ARGUMENT NO. 6 – The Ingredients In Vaccines Are Not Safe

People are afraid of what they don’t understand. If YOU mixed mercury, aluminium phosphate, ammonium sulfate, formaldehyde and viruses and injected it into someone, you will kill them. Why? Because you have no pharmacological, medical or scientific experience. Your Google degree does not count.

If a scientist with years of experience in a lab mixed them together after thousands of peer reviewed case studies and safety checks – they know how they work, they are safe. They have medically assessed and peer reviewed evidence and followed strict guidelines to create a safe and effective product. All scientists are not evil, they are not out to get you or poison your child.

Also, just to store in your general knowledge bank: the mercury in thimerosal (used in vaccines) is ethyl mercury, which gets flushed out of the body… Unlike methyl mercury which is the bad kind. Do you know what has the bad Mercury in it? Tuna. Do you know that salt is made up of the two most volatile and deadly elements on earth, chlorine and sodium?

And yeah, I know it is scary when you read hydrochloric acid in the leaflet, but if you take your mind to that horrible place which is high school, you will remember that acids can be added to an alkaline solution to make it pH neutral – which is exactly what they do in vaccines. The amount of scary sounding ingredients are well within the FDA guidelines. Take formaldehyde for instance, a natural metabolic byproduct. You have produced more of this in your body while reading this article than you will ever get from a vaccine.

The anti-vaccine movement is very vocal, we need to start being vocal too! Look at where you are getting your “facts” and “research”. Websites like vaccinetruth.org or vactruth.com are not reputable sources of information! There is nothing modern or new age about a resurgence of polio or small pox. To this day, 1.5 million children die from vaccine-preventable diseases every year. That’s one child every 20 seconds. Let that sink in.

Vaccines are different from every other parenting issue in that the choices that parents make affect everyone else as well. Vaccines are everyone’s business. Choosing not to vaccinate is not yet another anodyne trend in personal parenting. It’s not a quirk; it’s a menace.

You should not be afraid of the vaccines – you should instead be afraid of what happens without them.

Maz Halliday

Maz is a Fashion Designer from Cape Town, South Africa. She is a full-time working mom to two of the most gorgeous kids and maintains her sanity by blogging at Caffeine and Fairydust (and rocking from side-to-side in her bath tub at night with a glass of bubbly - no one ever said you can't be fabulous while having a nervous breakdown). She aims to broaden people's perspectives and open minds.

  1. Well said!

    This whole anti-vaccine movement is such a ridiculous fad. Couch researchers, Google doctors and keyboard warriors. If you don’t want to vaccinate your kid, go live in seclusion with your family.

  2. Well written Maz. I was thinking back the first vaccine which was developed by Edward Jenner in 1798 – that was big and saved so many lifes -many were so grateful. You’re right about the Autismn arguement and Andrew Wakefield who didnt do a proper study and caused irreparable damage.

    I am an educated women and like you would do anything for my kids. The question of the HPV vaccine came up this year for my daughter who is 9 years. The Dept of Health were innoculating girls at school and I went through the exercise of speaking to my GP, my gynae as well as a pediatrician. On top, I did reading online on the WHO site because the fear-mongering that has been spread about this vaccine is huge. Everyone assured me that the vaccine was 100% safe and they had in fact had their kids vaccinated to. We have gone that route. I think its about making educated decisions on your own without listening to people who are opinionated and biased for whatever reason. It isn’t their business. Ultimately, we as parents are the ones who make these decisions out of love for our kids and I hope that the parents out there who are opting to not vaccinate have thought about it long and hard.

    It could be a life saver!

    Roald Dahl lost a daughter to measles and even he wrote about the importance of the innoculation:

    1. Thank you Michelle! I think people don’t realize that they are getting their information from unreliable sources – anyone can have a website! I am living proof of that. It is better to trust the professionals. Roald Dahls’ story is just so sad 🙁

  3. Very sensible. I have chosen to vaccinate my 1 concern is that my son has not had the measles jab because he has an egg allergy and the vaccine is cultured in egg. We tried to buy the vaccine and ask the doc to do it under close supervision as the egg amount is very low but he did not want to take the chance.

    1. Well done to you on your persistance. So sorry to hear, that is exacty why herd immunity is so important. Hopefully they will come up with an alternative to the egg culture soon.

      1. Exactly why herd immunity is so important! To keep little ones that cannot have the vaccine safe. This anti-vaccine movement is putting lives at risk and it is heart-breaking. I hope your little one grows out of her egg allergy, it is quite hectic 🙁

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