Sometimes, the hardest thing for the parent of a vaccine injured child to listen to isn’t their own child’s response to pain; it’s what comes out of another person’s mouth that can be difficult to hear. Like this admittance that comes after advice from the parent of a vaccine injured child has been given:
“I went ahead and got his shots…”
Of the few that I’ve heard, that response is one of the hardest ones to hear. Personally, I think that one sounds like a cop out, too. “I went ahead and…” doesn’t eek confidence and has a smidgen of guilt added. When it’s said to the parent of a vaccine injured child after we’ve been sought out, and after facts have been laid out, after websites, and books and journals have been referenced, and after we’ve included the retelling (and subsequently, the reliving) of our own child’s vaccine injury, the response, “I went ahead and got his shots…” actually kind of hurts. Now, yes, advice certainly does not have to be taken, I understand that, but when the other parent who was so afraid and so worried and somewhat doubtful about vaccines came to me for information but ends up doing the exact opposite of what I suggested, yeah, that hurts.
I’d like to believe this one, but when I hear this, I’m the one who has doubts:
“Well, she got her shots and turned out just fine…”
I would love nothing more than to believe that statement. But I can’t when the child who received the shots ends up with signs of eczema, unexplained allergies, attention issues and asthma that didn’t exist before.
To me, “just fine” means there are no reactions whatsoever. That means no fever, no swelling, no joint pain, and none of any of other “mild” vaccine reactions that the CDC lists on the vaccine package insert. “Just fine” also means no resulting eczema, sensory issues, allergies, asthma, attention issues, sleep issues, changes in personality, juvenile arthritis or diabetes, and no need for accommodations to be made in school or home.
So, as much as I’d love to believe that the rise in those childhood disorders (and sensory issues, eczema, allergies, asthma, attention issues, autism…) had nothing to do with vaccines and that they can never be linked in any way to any vaccine whatsoever, and that it is just a coincidence that those issues and those disorders just happened to show up post vaccination, I can’t believe it. Don’t get me wrong, “Just fine” would be great. It really, really would! But I doubt that today’s vaccine schedule offers that particular outcome.
As seen on the Rage Against the Vaccines FB page
When an adult makes this next statement, it makes me cringe. And, it makes no sense to say it:
“I was vaccinated as a child, and I turned out just fine…”
In a perfect world, that response could work. But we don’t live in a perfect world. If we did, officials wouldn’t be allowed to force parents to vaccinate their children. They also wouldn’t be allowed to force them to follow a vaccine schedule that boasts of as many vaccines as today’s schedule does.
Assuming the adult making this claim is at least 20 years old, saying that the vaccines and the number of vaccines that they received as a child are in any way comparable to the ones children get today is impossible.
Twenty years ago, children were given far fewer vaccines. Back then, far fewer children were
overweight, or had learning disabilities and asthma, and had seizures and autism, too. Sadly, children today are not as healthy as they were 2 decades ago. So, what’s changed?
During the last two decades, one thing that we’ve witnessed is the adding of more than a few vaccines to the recommended schedule. And shockingly, more keep on being added!
To borrow a phrase, you can’t compare apples to oranges, an adult today cannot compare his very light vaccine schedule to the very full (and growing) schedule today.
Now, I think we should compare today’s schedule to that of 20+ years ago, but I will add to that sentence: We should compare today’s schedule to that of the one from 20+ years ago AND go back to it.
If that ever happens, adults might then be able to compare how they fared with how children of today fare. But you know going back to that simpler schedule is not going to happen any time soon. That’s because the next statement that parents of vaccine injured children hear from other parents is still being said:
“The doctor told me that I had to get all of them…”
And, sadly, this one as well:
“The school said she had to get all of them…”
I don’t know which of those statements are worse. Both of those are equally terrifying to me as those statements usually include “…or else.”
Typically, from a doctor, it’s “…or else I won’t treat you!” and from the school, it’s“…or else we won’t let your kid into our school!”
Something else that’s terrifying about that second statement is that, for the most part, it isn’t entirely true. Vaccines are still optional, and children can still go to school without them. I know that is not be true for everyone in our country—and maybe not the rest of us for very long with the way things are going, but for the most part, people in America can take vaccines or leave them. It’s just that people don’t know that they have had the right to make that decision.
That’s because someone else may quickly turn on them for making it.
I’m not sure when this trend started, but I am hearing more and more that in order for a child to be seen by a doctor, the parents must adhere to the CDC’s recommended vaccine schedule. Some parents can’t even begin a conversation about vaccines with certain providers, let alone be treated by them, when that attempt to say the V word. “I tried to ask a question about vaccines and was given a lecture.” “All I wanted to do was get some information. But, I got yelled at instead!” “I asked about exemption, but my doctor refuses to write those.”
Parents want what they think is best for their child—which may include vaccines. They may ask for guidance from others, which may include asking their doctor or the school nurse for advice. But, when they attempt to ask for information about “school shots” or about having to follow the entire CDC’s recommended vaccine schedule, parents find that they are not being guided but are being belittled and threatened. That’s a problem. That’s a big problem.
And funny how the word recommended gets glossed over so quickly with some folks when vaccines are being discussed. Parents are told that they may not opt out of the recommended schedule. They may not pick and choose one vaccine over the other. It must be all of them. “Get ALL the shots…or get out!” If a provider ever told me I that had to get vaccines or else, you better believe I’d be taking my children and my business elsewhere. Not every parent does that though.
Years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to confidently walk away from those who push vaccines. I didn’t know much about them and therefore, like many other new parents, followed exactly what my children’s pediatrician said. I’d encourage parents to not follow in my footsteps but to do their own research early on. In taking time to do that, parents have the chance to educate themselves sooner than I thought to. That leads up to the last statement. It’s one that I myself uttered so many years ago:
“I had no idea…”
In this day and age, with as many resources as we have available to us, the “I had no idea…about vaccine reactions, about vaccine death, about Vaccine Court, about vaccine exemptions, about vaccine package inserts, about vaccine choice…” response is one that you’d think we’d never hear. But we do hear it. And that has to stop.
As seen on the National Vaccine Information Center FB page
For a parent to say that they do not know at least something about vaccines is troubling. More troubling is when the parent “who had no idea” admits that they “went ahead and got the shots” anyway. Making decisions blindly is not usually recommended when someone’s in the market for a new car or an appliance or a new car seat. Even when searching for a new gym, new restaurant or a new doctor, people tend to conduct a search or ask for recommendations from others. When it comes to vaccines, though, parents sometimes accept them blindly. It’s only after a bad experience or after a vaccine reaction that parents see how blinded they were.
Believe or not, after they open their eyes, there is hope. Here’s the silver lining.
One can’t go too far these days without running into someone with a vaccine story to tell—books, magazine articles and blogs, there is no shortage of vaccine stories. One can’t escape a news story about “vaccine debate”—the media loves those! And one can’t claim not being able to find information on the internet either—oodles and oodles and oodles of info can be found on the net. So, even after realizing that they had no idea, parents will see that they have options. It may feel like they are at a point of no return, but the parent who stated, “I had no idea…” has actually made their way to the beginning.
What happens at the beginning? Being pro-active. Being informed. Being aware. And being confident for the next time around. The work isn’t over for the parent who thought that they had no idea. Far from it. But taking steps to inch forward is possible. That can be done by listening, by reading, by asking questions, and by discussing vaccines.
Listen to what’s being said by parents who’ve already gotten their child’s vaccines.
Read everything there is to read about vaccines.
Ask questions about vaccines, and don’t be afraid to continue to ask questions about vaccines.
Discuss them. Discuss them with your family, your neighbor, your provider. Even if it’s heated discussion, have a discussion about vaccines! Just don’t wait until your child’s sleeve is rolled up to have it.
Those discussions should never be one-way conversations as what seems to happen in doctor’s offices lately. So after talk about them. Keep reading. Keep learning. Just don’t wait until you are in the exam room to do start learning about vaccines.
Long gone are the days that we must believe everything the authorities tell us. Long gone is the notion that vaccines save lives and that they are only safe and only effective, too. Vaccine Court and recent vaccine-induced outbreaks show us that vaccines fail. So, parents must listen, read, ask, discuss and teach themselves about vaccines. In doing so, they should discover that vaccines may in fact come with benefits, but they most certainly also come with risks.
Vaccine risks and benefits must be weighed like any other product a parent is offered. But nowhere else does a parent get bullied into a product like they do with vaccines. Nowhere.
Unless parents know to stand up for themselves, vaccine bullies will continue to bully. They will continue to misinform. They will continue to mistreat parents and children, too. Something that else that those who push vaccines do is let parents think that it’s okay that “preventative” medicine hurts.
Preventative medicine and health care should never hurt. But people have been lead to believe that it’s okay if it does. You hear that mentality when a parent likens getting vaccines to getting battle wounds. You hear that when a doctor says, “You need to take one for the herd.” You hear that mentality when a nurse says, “This will only hurt just for a second…”
Vaccines shouldn’t hurt. But they do. As much as no one wants to hear that, they do.
Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.
If you’ve been on the receiving end of a particular shocking response about vaccines, share it with. Let us know how the conversation played out. More importantly, let us know if you were able to educate a fellow parent, how did they take it? For many of us, we educated ourselves too little too late when it came to vaccines. But that’s why we’re here now—to share what we can with those who choose to listen.