Friday, December 28, 2007

Jab the kids

Y'all remember how Bob Barker used to admonish the viewers to spay and neuter their pets at the close of every Price is Right? Man, I wish somebody would update that message for the noughties.

And remember, please vaccinate your children.

For pete's sake people, pleeeease, vaccinate your children.

I participate in these online forums for babies born in May 07. Yes, my baby wasn't born in May, but he was supposed to have been. Anyway, on both the US and British equivalents, there are a number of parents who have chosen not to vaccinate their children. Generally, the discussion forum etiquette is to not criticize. I skirt the line already and I knew that I couldn't reply and be civil. These are threads I've seen today:

American scenario in which I paraphrase:

I want to give up pumping breast milk. It's a pain. It takes a good part of my day and I only get 8 oz a day for my 7 month old son. But the thing is, I haven't vaccinated my child so my husband is on my case saying that what's a little bit of time when it's our son's health on the line? What should I do (support only please)?

OK, sweetie. I'm a big breastfeeding advocate, and I would gently (hopefully) encourage anyone with a baby under one to stick it out a little longer. But I gotta admit the pumping thing is a pain in the ass and frankly I probably would have given that up ages ago. But kudos to all the pumping moms who are able to do it. And for sure, your hubby probably doesn't understand what it's like to have a machine slurping at your bosom, so I'd discount his opinion slightly.

Yes, I also believe that breastfeeding helps with immunities and it's part of the reason I continue to breastfeed Buddy.

But breastfeeding is not a magic bullet. It does NOT GUARANTEE against your child catching infectious diseases. If it did, do you think infant mortality pre-vaccines and pre-formula when babies breastfed would have been quite so high? If it did, do you think we'd have epidemics and stuff? We'd all be drinking little bottles of breastmilk daily.

If you don't want to pump anymore, fine. But please, vaccinate your child.

British scenario:

I think my 4 year old son has measles, he's been (a run down of measle like symptoms). I asked the doctor what I should do? He said not to worry, but to keep my son away from old people and those who haven't been inoculated. Now my baby has a fever, too.

I feel bad for this woman. I do. I hope it's not measles. I hope it's just a little snuffles that goes away tomorrow. But she'd be a lot more sure it wasn't something serious if she had vaccinated her child.

And you know, I'd be a lot more sure that Buddy wouldn't be exposed to measles before he was old enough to get the shots if she and a lot of other people had vaccinated their children.


genderist said...

I'm pro mass inoculations.

Anonymous said...

I didn't get whatever vaccination they required before registering for school (smallpox, it was--I never got the scar other adults my age have) because when my brother went a year earlier, he screamed and cried (two nurses, just to hold him down) so much I KNEW there was no way I would stand for that. So I pitched a fit and my mom never took me. She told the school I had the sniffles and couldn't be vaccinated, so they let me enrol and I never did get one.

God forbid smallpox ever comes back. I'll be the first to fall.

Sinead in Oxford said...

Although there have been times when I feel like bottle feeding Zach (like when bottlefed babies his age sleep 12 hours through the night!, I realise the benefits of breastfeeding when his Dad and myself came down with colds in the last couple of days and he is still healthy and happy!

Vol Abroad said...

Sinead oh yeah! - breastfeeding does seem to work for that sort of thing - and 'cause we live in London - a filthy old town, I'm continuing to breastfeed (not the only reason) - but it's no substitute for vaccinations against the real nasties.

Also re. sleeping - Buddy was sleeping through the night for a couple of months. And there are lots and lots of ff babies that DON'T sleep through. I just think there's a lot of pressure for them not to admit it if they don't.

And Kathy - because almost everybody had it - provided you with that famous "herd immunity" - I never had the smallpox vaccine myself - no need. But you won't just get smallpox if it ever comes back - they'll revoke your grade school education!

Sinead said...

We are also vaccinating Zach for everything. I to believe that to not vaccinate your child is irresponsible. Yes, there are risks, but they are tiny compared to the benefits.