I’ve seen quite a few quizzes posted on Facebook lately. From What Kind of Animal Should You Get? to Which TV Mom Are You? and Where Should You Live?, people are letting an algorithm tell them something they probably already know. These quizzes are usually done for pure entertainment purposes, but many people are quite proud of the results and post them for others to see:
“Dog. Of course! I love love love my dog!”
“Sweet! I got Mrs. Brady. She’s always been my favorite J”
“Texas! Been here all my life and have no plans of leaving!”
As silly and fun as these quizzes are, I wonder if parents were given a real quiz, say at their child’s “well-baby” visit, could they answer the questions correctly. They’d be simple questions, as you will soon see, but, I wonder if people would have the vaccine knowledge to answer the quiz correctly. There’s only one way to find out.
Go ahead. Take the quiz:
What Do You Know About Vaccines?
1. What are the vaccine laws in your state?
2. Does your state mandate that all children get all vaccines to enter school?
3. What is a vaccine exemption and who can get one?
4. If your state has a vaccine exemption, which one(s) can be granted?
d) none of the above
5. If you are being bullied into getting vaccines, either from your medical provider or from a school nurse, what action(s) can you take?
Of course, knowing all there is to know about vaccines cannot be covered in five short questions. But it’s a start. And it’s my hope that for those who were unable to answer all of the questions will realize that educating themselves further on the topic is important, especially if they are being offered a vaccine.
Now, for the answers.
1. The first thing to know is that vaccine laws vary state-by-state. To begin a search, find a vaccine education or vaccine safety group that posts specific information about your area. These groups will not only list the law, but will also delve further into the vaccine exemptions and how to get one. Those types of groups also tend to list useful resources as well as post current news that pertains to vaccine rights including vaccine legislation. I have found the most comprehensive information on vaccines from the National Vaccine Information Center website http://www.nvic.org/ and frequently check their Facebook page to stay more informed about vaccine news and how it affects my personal health care rights.
2. Where I live, no, my state does not mandate that all children receive vaccines prior to entering school. But, and it’s a big but, the wording on the “health” documents and “health” forms that are sent home from the school, and from what’s posted in the school (and one their website) makes it sound otherwise. I think that’s because the school is influenced by and relying on the local health department whose message is “GET YOUR SHOTS FOR SCHOOL OR WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!” I’ve learned that nope, that scare tactic and that information is absolutely not true.
Something else I’ve also learned (the hard way) is that if I don’t verify the information I’m being told (by the school, the school nurse, or the “authorities” printing the information), then I, like so many others, can easily fall into the indoctrination of the system (be it the school system, the health department or the medical industry’s mouthpieces).
What can a parent do?
It’s simple, really.
Know the law. Know your rights. Exercise your rights. Protect your rights, and protect your children.
Recap of #2: No, we’re not gonna die if we don’t get our vaccines, and yes, my children can go to school without getting vaccines. (And note that enrolling your children sans vaccines is possible for many parents in almost every state—see the NVIC map http://www.nvic.org/Vaccine-Laws/state-vaccine-requirements.aspx for your state’s specific details.)
3. & 4. A long time ago I overheard someone say, “For every rule there is an exemption.” I’ve come to learn that for some laws, yes, there are exemptions. This includes vaccines. Without going into too much detail in this post because many of our writers have discussed vaccine exemptions in previous posts (use our Google search feature on the left side of the screen with “vaccine exemption” as your key words), I’d encourage you to learn what your state exemptions are. You can do that by checking out vaccine resources found at the VacTruth http://vactruth.com/ website and scroll through either Dr. Sherry Tenpenny or Dr. Eisenstein’s books and websites.
5. Bullies come in all shapes and sizes. Some pounce on their prey in the exam room while others sit behind computer screens 24/7 intimidating their victims online. http://www.ageofautism.com/2013/10/things-to-know-or-do-when-youre-up-against-a-vaccine-bully.html Despite how typical relationships work, some parents feel pressured and are bullied about vaccines even before their child is born. They can quickly feel as if they’ve been put in a corner for simply asking questions. Worse, they can be belittled by their medical providers, the same ones who parents initially sought to guide, to educate and to support them.
Parents who ask question often feel the “Vaccines or Else” hammer come swinging down long before they’re ready to make a decision to vaccinate or not. I’ve heard of people being “fired” from their pediatrician’s practice for not only questioning vaccines but for also requesting that vaccines be delayed. Instead of having a good ol’ sit down talk about the pros and cons of vaccinating, which would hopefully include discussion about vaccine injury, the US vaccine compensation program and that vaccines can certainly be delayed, these parents are thrown out of the practice or are threatened to be reported to CPS for not wanting to follow standard medical “protocol”.
If someone feels uncomfortable with what they are being told or in how they are made to feel, most people have the option of walking out of the exam room. Even in the tensest of situations, parents should remember that that doctor or nurse works for you. You schedule the appointments. You bring in your children. You pay into the insurance premiums. You pay the bills. Just like with any other business, businessman or salesman you may deal with, you expect a certain level or respect and professionalism. Parents should expect the same from the doctor or nurse they’ve chosen to oversee the choices they’re allowed to make for their children.
If it comes down to walking away from that doctor and that practice, I understand that making that decision isn’t easy. I have been there. I have had to do that. But, when I am left to feel stupid for asking a doctor a question, or when I say no, thank you to the nurse for a procedure that is a merely a recommendation, and most certainly not a requirement, it’s that medical staff person’s time up. I can go elsewhere where I know I will be respected and where I will not feel threatened or worried for my child’s well-being.
It’s a shame that some parents cave to their doctor’s bullying, especially once the parent later learns that they didn’t even need the vaccines (for school entry, for example) like they’d been told. It hasn’t happened yet, especially with how the mainstream media has joined the belittling brigade, but in the future, I hope we see less bullying and more respect given to parents who have very real vaccine concerns.
So those are the answers to today’s online quiz. I don’t have any cute names like some of the other quizzes offer their quiz takers. But, if you are looking for a grade of sorts, I’d propose this:
If you got all five correct, you are Fully Informed. Yay, you!
If you got 4 out of 5 right, I’d say you are on the Right Track to being fully informed. Keep up the good work!
If you got 3 answers correct, I’d encourage you to become a Bookworm and read a little bit more. Every day is a good day to learn!
If you got only 1 or 2 answers right, instead of answering questions, you might need to become the Question Asker. What don’t I know? What do I need to know about vaccines and vaccine choice? Who can I trust to get the answers? Remember, if you can’t trust your doctor to give you all of the information, to include reviewing the vaccine package insert, remember that you can go elsewhere to find someone who can help you search for answers.
Online quizzes are fun and can help pass the time. Well-baby visits, on the other hand, can be stressful and time consuming. They should always be conducted with respect with regard to a parent’s choice though, which includes respectfully counseling parents in a non-judgmental, non-confrontational way. That isn’t too much to ask, but from experience I know that it isn’t always done that way. Thankfully, I now know my rights, and I know whom I can trust.
Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.