To Anti-Vax Parents from a Pro-Vax Parent

Dear Anti-Vaccine Parents,

Hi, I’m a pro-vaccine parent. I have been pro-vax since long before I saw the second pink line, since long before my daughter was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy, placed on the heart transplant list, and restricted from live vaccines.

I understand that twinge of fear when your child is vaccinated. I felt it, because nothing in life is risk-free.

I know you’ve heard about the “Disneyland measles”. I know you are probably angry and scared.

I am angry and scared, too. I admit that some of the time I am angry at you. Most of the time, however, I am angry at the diseases and angry at the divisive rhetoric that, well, divides us.

Anyone who is truly pro-vaccine, well-informed, and a decent person with empathy knows these facts deep down:

We are all parents.

We are all angry and scared.

We also know these facts about many anti-vax parents:

You are not stupid.

You are not selfish.

You are not bad parents.

You don’t want children to be sick, maimed for life, or dead.

We also readily admit these facts:

Vaccines do have risks. The risks really are much smaller than the risks associated with the diseases.

The risks of the diseases are catastrophic, but unlikely. Still, they are more likely than catastrophic injury from a vaccine.

That is if you actually get the diseases. The risk of getting the diseases is still quite small. Vaccination rates are still quite high. But there are pockets of very low immunity and the numbers of unvaxed and delayed vax children have gone up as the population has grown.

This outbreak is quite small (but still growing). We are overreacting to this outbreak, but reacting properly to what future outbreaks will look like if the anti-vaccination movement continues to grow.

Vaccines are not 100% effective. Some people don’t develop antibodies for some reason. The mumps vaccine is only about 80% effective, because a stronger one produced serious reactions during tests. They chose a weaker, safer vaccine. Still, when enough people get it, mumps can’t circulate.

Honestly, I don’t want to have to care about your medical choices as a parent. I’ve realized after three children that every “Mommy War” but this one is ridiculous. That’s because this isn’t a “Mommy War”. It’s a public health issue.

We all need to talk to each other.

No yelling, no name-calling, no condemning the person instead of the argument. No accusations of being a “shill”. No talk of mandatory vaccinations. (I am not in favor of that by the way.) People on both sides need to feel the other side is listening.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am in favor of:

Disclosure of the number of unvaccinated children attending schools and daycares

Stricter requirements to obtain a “personal belief” exemption

Keeping unvaccinated children out of school and possibly quarantined during an outbreak or epidemic (That includes children with medical waivers, as my daughter would have had when she attended school.)

Let’s discuss.


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