Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Advice On Vaccines From A Mom Who's Have Been There

I have recently been asked many question about vaccination.

Parents, grandparents, and others are concerned about safety, effectiveness, and their rights.

This blog post is FAQ's about vaccinating and my best answers. I am not a doctor so please do not take this as medical advice. These are opinions and advice from myself (and others) who have had to make hard decisions regarding vaccination.

*But before I get too far into this I want to make it very clear that this is a very personal issue and I believe everyone should have the RIGHT to information and be able to make the choice that they think is the best for their family without fear of being judged, refused services, threatened with visits from social services, and made to leave doctor's offices.

Whether you agree or disagree your comments are welcome as long as they are kept respectful.

Thank you!

Ok, now onto the questions.....

1. Q: I'm not sure about vaccinating my children, how do I tell my doctor?

A: My advice, if you aren't sure then keep reading and researching! You can always give a vaccine later if you choose but you cannot take it back once given. Don't overload yourself with research if you get overwhelmed easily. Find out which vaccines your child is scheduled to get next and read up on those. Tell your doctor that you are still researching and you need more time to make a decision. If they want to have a civil conversation, try it. But keep in mind you probably won't change their mind. If they vigorously try to change your mind, berate or belittle you, tell you they will call social services, or are not at least open to the idea of you doing some research then I would say you hire them, feel free to fire them! You and your doctor should be partners in health. If these kinds of behavior are occurring then your doctor is not treating you like a partner. They should be glad that you are educating yourself but that is not always the case. So if your doctor is not supportive, look around and find one that is.

One more piece of advice, I always had better luck when I took someone with me to my daughter's appointments. For some reason if my husband, mom, or sister went the doctor's didn't seem to give me as many problems.

2. Q: I was told that if I don't want to vaccinate I have to sign a waiver, is that true?

A: Your doctor may want you to sign a waiver (school or daycare may too) or something stating that they have informed you of the risks and benefits you are taking and are refusing to vaccinate. Be sure to read the entire form VERY CAREFULLY!! (It also helps very much to know the laws regarding vaccination in your state, you can find these at http://www.nvic.org/ ) In the State of Michigan form, right about the place when most people stop reading it says "By signing this waiver, you acknowledge that you are placing your child and others at risk of serious illness should he or she contract a disease that could have been prevented through proper vaccination"

I see what they are getting at, they don't want to take responsibility but personally, I would not sign that form. Or at the very least I would use a permanent marker and cross out any and all parts that I did not agree with. My line of thinking is that if I thought my child or others were at risk from not vaccinating why would I have made the choice not to vaccinate? Why would I put my child at risk?? And I certainly don't want to sign a form taking responsibility for others illness! You can contract disease whether you have been vaccinated or not! The form I use and like is here http://www.momvaccines.org/forms/vaccination-exemption.pdf.

Just so you know... There are many, many people that do not realize you do not have to vaccinate and there are many in doctor's offices, schools, daycares,etc. that do not know the actual laws. This is why it is very important to know your rights!

3. Q: I am in the process of reading and it seems like all of the information I find is conflicting. I don't know who to believe? Do I believe those that say vaccines are safe and effective or those that say they are dangerous and don't really work?

A: This can be really difficult and very confusing :(

For me, I had to read information from all sides, I looked at the ingredient list of each vaccine, checked the number of cases of each disease in my area (you can get that info from the local health dept.), took into consideration who was giving the information-do they have something to gain by swaying people a certain way (like making more money), and ultimately, after reading and researching I had to go with what seemed right to me.

I also did a lot of reading from Dr. Mendelsohn,Dr. Eisenstein, Dr.Mercola, Dr.Tenpenny(you can find all of them online) along with information from our pediatrician, the CDC and many others.

Thanks for the questions, keep them coming!!

Next post we'll answer a few more :)

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