I’m currently wondering just how many hits I’ll get merely from including the word “vaccinate” in the title. Hmm…

So, I’ve been sick for the last couple of days now. Something started coming on Sunday and I ignored it, thinking it would go away. By Tuesday, I realized it probably was not going to go away without some sort of rest. I took yesterday off and today as well just to make sure I recoup before jumping back into my schedule.

This weekend, one of our professors and his wife had to leave because she’s really sick and will be spending the next month or so in the hospital doing tests. As much as it was really sad to hear that news, there was a slight upswing for us. We’ve been wanting to get satellite for awhile now, but can’t afford it on our own. Every other missionary splits one plan, but it’s maxed out, so we can’t get on it and there’s no one else to split the cost with. But, while this guy is gone, somebody has to use his satellite and pay his bill. That means us! Perfect timing for my illness. I don’t normally miss TV, but this has been really nice.

I’ve been catching up on my crime shows that I used to watch religiously even though Brian could never figure out why. I always liked “Law and Order: SVU.” They always seemed to have controversial topics intertwined in their shows. The one yesterday was rather intriguing, especially considering how relevant it is. Now, this may have been played years ago (all shows aren’t current here), I don’t know, but the debate is definitely current, especially in my circle of friends.

The show was as follows, and forgive me for recapping a TV show, but I’m sick and in bed… I have time on my hands.

There was a young mom, early 20’s, who had a little baby girl, under the age of 2. Her parents were divorced and there was no boyfriend in the picture. The grandma came to the police saying she hadn’t seen her granddaughter in three days and was afraid her daughter had killed her. Long story short – the daughter thought she had killed the baby. The baby had gotten sick and was crying constantly, so she had spanked her, hard, and then left her overnight. When she checked on her in the morning, she was dead, so she buried her in an abandoned gas station. Turns out, the baby died of measles, not because of the mother. Then the question came up – how did she get measles in the middle of New York City? More research and they find out there was a slight outbreak of measles, traced back to one conservative mother who had chosen not to vaccinate her son. Her 4 year old son contracted measles and since measles is contagious long before the symptoms show up, she took him to a park and a bunch of kids who weren’t old enough to be vaccinated yet, got exposed to measles. So, they arrested the mother for murder of the little girl. She was acquitted and the grandma and the mom went ballistic. They were caught throwing bricks into her house and while the police were arresting them, the grandfather, who was horribly distraught after the baby died, charged into the house. He told the woman that now she had killed two people and he committed suicide in her living room. And… the story ended.

Okay, so, it got me thinking about the whole “to vaccinate or to not vaccinate” debate that is currently raging among moms my age in the States. So many of my friends on facebook will post articles, videos, thoughts, blogs – all on whether you should vaccinate or not. Mostly the people who are opposed are the ones who post the most. Granted, some of it is very interesting and I have no idea what is valid or not. It’s kind of like all the food that gives you cancer – if you listened to every new piece of research, we wouldn’t eat… anything. Anyway, I digress.

I remember having this one long conversation with a good friend in Wyoming about this debate. Her in-laws were convinced that she was NOT to vaccinate her little girls, so her husband was the same way. But, she didn’t think it was correct. However, at the time of the conversation, she hadn’t vaccinated either of the girls and they were getting to the age where some vaccines are no longer given because they’re too old. BUT, she was also thinking about what happens when they’re school age and she is NOT going to home school. Therefore, they must be vaccinated. But, what do you do when the parents are split on what is good for the kids? She was really stuck. I still don’t know what she chose.

During our conversation, though, she told me about someone she’s related to who lives in another state who chose not to vaccinate because she was home schooling. One of her kids got, I believe, measles, and within weeks, the entire city had a huge outbreak! Pretty sure that’s what vaccines are trying to prevent. We all know what happened with polio. Measles is not something to mess around with. In fact, I’d dare say most of the things kids get vaccinated for are not things to mess around with. And honestly, I had to agree with one thing that was said on the fictional show – your choice to not vaccinate affects the choice of others who want to vaccinate but their kids aren’t old enough to receive it yet. When you live in a society, I believe your choices on how you raise your kids affect more than just your family. This goes for how you discipline, or lack of discipline, the manners, or lack thereof, you teach, how you educate, and yes, how you keep your kids healthy. Remember the families in the States that got in trouble a few years ago for naming their kids after key Nazi leaders and raising them as fascists? Personal choice… that affected hundreds of people. So, they got the kids taken away and I’m not sure what else.

Now, granted, I think some vaccines are uncalled for. If given the choice, I’d rather my kids not get the chicken pox vaccine. We all survived chicken pox as kids. I remember kids getting chicken pox and being sent to school so the entire class would get it all at once and be done with it. My siblings and I got it all the same time and now, we don’t have to worry about it. With the vaccine, they’re finding out that it’s not lasting long enough and adults are getting chicken pox – which is obviously a lot worse than getting it as a child. But chicken pox is not measles, mumps, polio, or even whooping cough.

It’s quite an interesting debate, especially now that I’m pregnant and have to start thinking about my own children. I can’t imagine purposefully giving my child something that might give them paralysis or even autism. I’d feel like it was my fault. But how would I justify NOT giving them a shot that may or may not potentially hurt them and then they get a fatal, preventable disease? In some ways, it seems like a lose-lose. We are also in a different situation. Some shots are required to travel back into the States, so most vaccines are going to be unpreventable for us.

I have to admit, the debate is fascinating. I can’t say what’s right or what’s not. I like to be informed. At this point, my children will be getting most if not all vaccines offered because I feel the odds of getting any of the side effects are minimal. Like I said – at this point, I feel my children will be better protected, especially growing up in a two-thirds world country, with getting vaccines than by not getting vaccines. If I was home schooling in the States would I feel the same way? I can honestly say I don’t know. But seeing a friend’s son here get mumps – something that really doesn’t exist in the States – convinces me that vaccinating is a good way to go at this point.

Sorry this was such a long post. I’d love to hear your opinions, especially since I know some of you live in other parts of the world. But, please keep them nice. I’d rather not read anything rude. Remember, I’m not advocating for or against.

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