Letters to the Editor

Your views in 200 words or less

VACCINE: Requirement for opting out is demeaning

Letter by Karen L. Larsen, Auburn on March 29, 2011 at 9:17 am with 17 Comments »
March 29, 2011 1:51 pm

Re: “It shouldn’t be too easy to opt out of vaccinations” (editorial, 3-25).

I am one of those parents who exempted my children from school-entry immunization requirements. That choice came from many hours and years of research; it was not made lightly.

I take offense that I am referred to as one of those parents who get their information from “questionable Internet sites and quacks” and that I am “too busy with other matters to bother scheduling an appointment.” That implies I am risking my children’s health by signing a “convenient” signature on a form.

Requiring me to get a note from my doctor stating that I have been “informed of the risk” is very demeaning to me as a parent and implies that I do not understand what is best for my children.

A child’s health is the responsibility of the parent, not the state. Does the state come in and support a family when their child is harmed by a vaccine? No. Children are harmed by vaccines, and the emotional and financial toll is left to the family to bear. There can be, and are, consequences with both choices. Parents who make the choice to “opt out” are aware of this.

If you would require families opting-out of vaccination get a doctor’s note stating they have been advised of the possible benefits of vaccination, then you should also require families opting-in to vaccination get a note from a holistic doctor stating they are aware of the possible risks of vaccination.

Leave a comment Comments → 17
  1. itwasntmethistime says:

    Karen, I too was incensed when I read this article, for the same reason you were. Opting out of vaccinations is not taking the lazy way out. Parents who opt out of vaccinations have likely spent countless hours researching the issue. The number of people who are rejecting the full battery of immunizations is indeed increasing, but it’s not because more people are lazy about it. It’s because more people are taking the time to educate themselves on the issue instead of blindly following like sheep.

    As for getting a note from a doctor saying that you’ve been provided information about immunizations, exactly who would you be giving the note to? My kids’ doctor had me sign a form from the department of health stating that she had provided me written and verbal information on immunizations. The doctor or the health department (or both) already have this on record. Will that not be good enough until a school secretary is holding the information as well?

  2. klthompson says:

    At the risk of dating myself I can only remember one vaccination when I was a child and that was for smallpox. While I don’t subscribe to the “let ‘em eat dirt” crowd there is something to say about over protecting our kids to the extent that they don’t build any natural immunity to some of these childhood diseases. I managed to survive whooping cough, chicken pox, several varieties of measles, and a number of other unidentified maladies but I also remember the fear generated by the summertime arrival of Polio for which there was no protection. My kids were the first in line for the Salk Polio vaccine when it first became available. If we protect out kids for the major disabling diseases and let them build immunity to the more inconvenient diseases that should be enough. Common sense should prevail. Being over protective has a downside.

  3. itwasntmethistime says:

    One other important fact that gets overlooked a lot is that many parents who opt out of vaccines don’t opt out of all of them, just some. For instance, many children have received the polio vaccine, but not the varicella (chicken pox) vaccine.

  4. The problem is that one does not know if your child will have a “routine” course of measles or chicken pox or other diseases or have a severe reaction. The most common of measles sends 20% of its victims to the hospital and half of those have very serious illnesses and complications.

    I know people have the right to gamble with their children’s lives and health by ignoring all of the scientific evidence and choosing quackery instead. Still, I shake my head and wonder why people who want to see their children suffer and die from preventable diseases even have children. I guess they are just sadists who deep in their heart like to see children suffer because they did.

  5. The fact that the letter’s writer does not understand, know or recognize that immunizations are primarily a group rather than individual protection, and therefore the state has a very valid interest, informs us about the effectiveness of her “research”. This is also backed by her apparent idea that the (risk of) harm from vaccines outweighs the benefits, or that evidence backed-medicine is equal to “holistic” “medical” practice.

    I am quite confident her “research” was based on anecdote-based, mutually reinforced self-reporting or fraudulent pseudo-scientific studies such as Andrew Wakefield’s.

  6. itwasntmethistime says:

    The risk of being harmed by a vaccination does outweigh the risk of being harmed by the disease it means to prevent. I, and almost everybody else in my age-group, had measles, mumps, and chicken pox as a child. Uncomfortable, but no harm done. A week home from school, and you are immune for life. There’s your herd immunity. Make sure every kid gets it when they are a kid, because adults are more prone to complications.

    It’s appalling that young parents are being scared to death of experiencing chicken pox. Instead, they should be told that their child could have a permanently disabling or even fatal to the vaccination for chicken pox.

  7. itwasntmethistime says:

    You people vaccinating your kids for stupid things like chicken pox, because you don’t want to be inconvenienced with having to take a week off work while your kid is sick are creating a huge problem. With very rare exceptions, kids weather chicken pox pretty well and have a full and speedy recovery. Adults are more prone to complications. If you get your 1-yr old immunized, you will prevent him from catching chicken pox while he is young enough to brush it off, and you will leave him vulnerable when the shot wears off as a teenager.

    Booster shots every 12 to 15 years? Sure. I will believe every person will get their booster shots for the rest of their lives when I see people take control of their weight. Won’t happen. The next generation will have millions of vulnerable adults.

    But chicken pox could be eradicated if everyone got the shot? Nice thought, but it will never happen. Some people have other health issues that prevent them from getting immunized. Babies aren’t scheduled for this immunization until they are a year old. And, immunizations just simply don’t work for some people. There will always be enough people vulnerable to keep it around to some degree.

    So the real question is do you want your kid to get it over with when he is 5 and he can watch cartoons and color until it passes, or do you want him to catch it when he is 50 and risk complications?

  8. itwasntmethistime, unfortunately the facts are so far different from your reasoning that it shows you have done no research. Talk to all of the deaf kids who suffered deafness and their parents who did not immunize them for measles and ask what their opinions are about measle vaccinations. Talk to all of the people who have loss of balance, pneumonia, encephalitis and ataxia from chicken pox. Even with a huge majority of children getting the immunizations, over 10,000 people are hospitalized every year due to chicken pox, and the side effects can be very severe with adults, just like mumps.

    Please keep your children locked away at home, home school them and do not let them expose others if you choose no vaccinations, since the contagious part of these diseases are often before symptoms are known.

    Unfortunately adults forget to get those booster shots, iforeign visitors often doe not have common immunizatiions, many people have compromised immune systems, and the elderly lose a lot of their immunities. That is why it is important to keep your kids away from society or give them shots.

  9. itwasntmethistime says:

    tuddo — I’ll tell you what. I’ll take my extremely healthy kids (we’ve never missed a single day of school due to illness) with their top-notch test scores out of school if you’ll first rid the schools of fat, lazy, unprepared, and or behaviorally-challenged kids.

  10. itwasntmethistime says:

    How about focusing your efforts on the parents who have over-used antibiotics to the point where they are now ineffective? Thankfully, my kids have never been sick except a mild cold once a year or so, but if we ever needed antibiotics it sure would be nice if the rest of you hadn’t rendered them useless.

  11. itwasntmethistime, ah the selfish response. The people you talk abouyt are harming only themselves. Your children have the potential to kill and maim many others as well as themselves.

  12. itwasntmethistime says:

    Not true, not true. There isn’t much you can do that truly effects just yourself. The kids coming to school not 100% prepared to learn (because they are sick, or tired, or hungry, or upset, or poorly fueled, etc.) diminish the education experience for others. The masses who have overused antibiotics have caused bacteria to mutate into super-strains which will probably end up killing people. Immunizations, which have been created to prevent rare fluke deaths from normal childhood illnesses cause rare fluke deaths themselves.

    My friend Rick’s kid is going to be severely retarded for the rest of his life because of a rare fluke reaction to a vaccination. He can’t form a complete sentence and needs help dressing himself. Please explain to me why you think it’s okay to sacrifice one perfectly healthy child for another when we have no way of telling which kids are going to react badly to the vaccination or to the disease?

  13. The reaction you talk about was probably DPT, since that one has had the most number of serious, life threatening reactions or ones that caused disability. In over half of these cases an infant was mistakenly given an adult dose causing convulsions, high fever or other reactions.

    There have been 120 of these cases in the last 10 years in the USA of vaccination resulting in disability due to this or related DTAP, etc) vaccines. There have been no proveable cases for most other vaccines. During that time over 10,000 in the USA have have very serious side effects from these two diseases themselves with several hundred deaths. In public health, such numbers are significant. You look at the numbers of death and injuries prevented by the vaccines, and the extremely tiny number of people with severe reactions. Then you look at what it would be if no one got vaccinated.

    There have been many significant outbreaks of diseases because of parents who did not get their children immunized being around children who were only partially immunized and in the process of getting immunized. If you are a parent and look at the fact that 30% of non-immunized children will have a severe course of a disease requiring hospitalization, emergency room visit and/or missing at least 5 days of school resulting from preventable diseases compared to less than a .001% chance from the vaccination, you are taking an unreasonable chance and endangering your child.

  14. mamakven says:

    As Mrs. Larsen pointed out, there ARE serious risk of life altering side effects that also need to be weighed. WHY is only one side represented? As a parent who has sat next to a hospital crib, and watched her 20 month old try to pull himself up and collapse in exhaustion after at least an hour of continuous seizing the day before (which of course wasn’t caused by the vaccinations, just his 101 degree fever!) and wonder if he would be permanently affected, I can say that I figured out really fast that I needed to take charge of my own child’s health and not rely solely on the information of those who consider a certain percentage of loss of life and life function to be an acceptable loss. My children are NOT an acceptable loss and i’ll do whatever is necessary to protect them!

    @Tuddo if there’s been so many “significant outbreaks of disease” do you really think all those who are afflicted are unvaccinated? Of course not. Vaccines are not 100% effective anyway, some have an alarmingly low effectiveness rate (which you would discover if you actually researched the issue instead of condemning others for informed consent.

    And how about “informed consent” Is that not the standard for an intelligent person’s response to a medical procedure of any kind? Why are vaccinations any exception? Really! we arent’ talking about outlawing all vaccinations of any kind! We are simply discussing allowing parents to make choices for THEIR OWN children. I don’t get why this should be such a struggle.

  15. mamakven, Yes, the studies do show that vaccines wear off and people need to get revaccinated. Many do not and the vidtims of outbreaks include unvaccinated, partially vaccinated (children in the process) and adults with compromised immune systems, and those with only partial immunity.

    They were all CAUSED by unvaccinated children, however, and that is my point.

    If you choose (I agree that it is your choice to kill and maim your kid if you want by leaving them vulnerable to disease) to keep your child unvaccinated, keep them locked up at home and do not let them infect others. (I would make that a law by requiring all children in public schools to be vaccinated). That way you will be protecting your child, too. Put them in an isolation room while you are at it.

  16. You feel it is “demeaning” that you are required to demonstrate that you have been informed of the public health and safety risks involved in opting out? Too frickin’ bad.

    btw – that one “vaccine causes autism” paper that started that whole nonsense in the first place…..turns out that the guy who did it faked his data because he was getting paid to make vaccinations look bad. Follow the money…..

  17. teaforthree says:

    Beerboy-I agree, follow the money, and you will find that those at the CDC who create the vaccine schedule; go directly from that job to president of Vaccine development at Merck, I am talking about Julie Gerberding MD who is now in that position at Merck.

    And how about Dr. Paul Offit MD. Chief of pediatrics at Children’s hospital in Philadelphia, who owns patents on many vaccines in use including, Rotavirus. He is the “go to” dr. you see on the Nightly News when the media wants to tell parents how safe vaccines are. He makes millions on children recieving vaccines.

    So, until you have looked at both sides of the issue, I suggest you keep your judgmental comments to yourself. Dr. Wakefield’s report did not start anything, it is one of the many major media reports that make society aware that vaccines are not all their cracked up to be. Back in the 1980’s (way before Wakefields study), NVIC was created and VICP has paid out some $29 millions dollars to families for vaccine injuries. And by the way, there have been independent studies done by medical scientists on the vaccine/autism connection, it is just that the main stream medical journals refuse to recongnize them. If you do your homework, you will find them.

*
We welcome comments. Please keep them civil, short and to the point. ALL CAPS, spam, obscene, profane, abusive and off topic comments will be deleted. Repeat offenders will be blocked. Thanks for taking part and abiding by these simple rules.

JavaScript is required to post comments.

Follow the comments on this post with RSS 2.0