Childhood Vaccination – Facts, Figures and Feelings!

One of the quickest ways to kill a dinner conversation or totally heat one up, is too venture into the vaccination discussion, especially if you have people from both persuasions at the table. Much like sex and politics, it is better not to enter into the war that has both sides so passionate about why they chose to vaccination or not!

I have just finished reading about vaccinations, arguements for and against, and have had tears flowing from some of the cruel deaths children had to endure from not being vaccinated and also a very sad story of young boy who died and even though he had a genetic condition, his parents are convinced that the vaccination triggered Alexander’s Disease.

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Australia is a large island, protected from many world health issues, by vast amounts of water and a strict quarantine protocol, and many people will never be directly exposed to some of diseases that we vaccinate for. Should we choose to travel, the whole game changes, as so many of the popular holiday spots we love to visit do not enjoy the hygene levels we are used to and these diseases are still causing illness and death. I have been fully vaccinated with more than the normal protocol as we left Australia when I was 9 to live in Papua New Guinea. As a corporate travel consultant I spent years galivanting around the world to some places that were awesome and some that would make you shudder, but I never had to worry about contacting a long list of nasties. People who travel often re-introduce these diseases into our country and we have no way of screening every person who arrives on our shores.

Our vaccination rate is high, with an average of 91% of our children aged 5 and under have had the full vaccination schedule. There is a slowly increasing number of parents who are choosing not to vaccinate, and they are convinced that the potential risks outweigh the diseases they are designed to prevent. There is a number of sources available on-line who are anti-vaccination, and many parents could be convinced that the risks are too high. Many doctors are concerned that if this number keeps increasing, a possible vicious outbreak of a disease such as measles could occur.

Smallpox killed an estimated 300 million people in the 20th century and has now be eradicated, surely there must be value in the effectiveness of vaccination. UNICEF credits vaccines have saved over 20 million lives over the last 20 years, but 140,000 people still die from measles each year.

The whooping cough outbreak 2 years ago, saw 38,000 people infected. One in 200 babies that contract whooping cough and die because it often happens before they are old enough to have their first round of vaccinations.

All medicines have risks, and vaccines are no exception, and they can have side effects. Localised swelling and itching and possibly fever are the most common. 1 in 10,000 children will have febrile seiures after being given the MMR vacine, while 100 in 10,000 children will have them if they contract measles. One in 4 million children will experience anaphylaxis  after receiving the MMR vacine, very long odds in anyones language.

One of the most powerful threats to vaccination is the threat of autism and other learning problems, that was sparked by a study compiled by a doctor Andrew Wakefield. This study was withdrawn and his medical license revoked after it was proven that the study only included 12 children carefully selected by lawyers for financial gain. Hundreds of studies have since looked for a possible link, but none has yet been found. Regardless, the anti-vaccination use this as an arguement against vaccine, and as a parent, you have to raise the question in your mind, am I prepared to risk my perfectly healthy child becoming ill.

As a Natural Therapist, I am one of those parents that will go straight for pure essential oils, homeopathic drops, and herbal remedies to help my family deal with health related issues. I certainly did a lot of investigating before I took my now 17 year old for her first shots, but I did do it, and both of my girls have had the full schedule and very fortunately are no worse for it. For me the possible risks, where outweighed by the dangers of the diseases they are designed to protect us from.

A dose of panadol before each visit to the doctor, and a lovely lavender essential oil bath after their vaccinations, saw us sail through the shots with nothing more than a little grizzle.

As parents, all we want is happy and healthy children, and we have to make decisions that sometimes carry risks. Many years before having children, I was sitting in the doctors surgery to get a new prescription for the pill (just a little ironic), and I overheard a very distraught parent yelling at a GP “there must be something you can do, how in this modern day with all the fancy medicines available, can you just let a child die”, this little boy was sent away in an ambulance at great speed. I later learned that this little boy passed away from whooping cough. I think my choice was signed and sealed that day.

This post is my feelings towards vaccination, and I have no intention of bagging or bashing any parent who has chosen not to vaccinate. Good friends of ours have made that choice, and thankfully their children are fine, and I certainly hope it stays that way. There are so many things that can happen, I am simply happy that there are a few less options on the table for my gorgeous girls.

If you chose not to vaccinate, I would love to know the main reasons you made that choice?

Sharing for #IBOT with Essentially Jess