I will start this post with noting that I am not without bias. I have chosen to vaccinate my children and there is at least one vaccine that I will probably not give my children when the time comes. My mind could be changed on that vaccine if the data changes. Also I have friends that I respect greatly that have chosen not to vaccinate. What bothers me in the vaccine debate is that those of us debating whether to vaccinate or not have rarely or never seen these diseases. So my post today is to encourage you to get first hand information about what these disease look like. We need to do this because with our free choice to vaccinate or not it makes it possible for us to see these diseases in the future. Especially as the number of us that choose not vaccinate increases the risk becomes more possible. Take for example, the recent out break of measles in Texas, the 10 confirmed Syrian paralysis cases from polio, and in 2012 the over 48,000 confirmed cases in the US of whooping cough(source CDC) makes the possibility of your child developing one of these disease possible if not probable. Now a person must decide if what can happen from the disease is worse, than the risk they perceive exists with the vaccine.
As you make this decision, I would encourage you talk to people have seen the diseases for real. I am not talking doctors and healthcare professionals alone though they are great sources. The first vaccine was introduced in 1952. Find people that grew up before that date. They may be your parents or grandparents. Take Diphtheria, Influenza type B, Measles, Mumps, whooping cough, polio, rubella, and tetanus ask them if they remember seeing any cases or deaths from these disease. Ask them what an iron lung was and if they knew any one that developed long term effects or even died from these diseases. It is easy say we don't want something when we have never seen a child with this disease.
Second, look at treatment options if the child gets the disease. Are willing to give your child the particular treatment or deal with the fact that there may be no treatment for that disease if they get the disease. Polio has no treatment besides treating symptoms. With measles are you willing to risk your child being the 1 in 1,000 that gets encephalitis(data from Mayo Clinic website). Are you willing to be the mom of a child with whooping cough must be informed of the risk infantile hypertrophic pyloric stenosis (IHPS) from the drugs used to treat the disease(one source CDC).
I would encourage each person to look at each vaccine and ask the following questions.
1. What does does this disease mean for me and my child if we get it?
2. Are benefits of the vaccine worth the risks of the vaccine?
3. How do I feel about the treatments or lack of available for this disease?
4. Are there other ways to prevent this disease?
I have not addressed the cons of vaccines in this post but I suspect from all the posts I have seen lately on Facebook that you can find the other side without much problem. Whether you choose to vaccinate or not please make an educated decision.