Do you see that band-aid?
It’s not often that a mom is excited to see a band-aid on her baby. In fact, I’d venture to say that it’s exactly *never* that a mom greets a sight like this with a smile.
With one exception.
When those band-aids are there after your baby’s four-month vaccines.
See, here’s the thing. If you look at Facebook or sometimes even the news, you might think that there’s actually some medical controversy over whether or not you should vaccinate your kids.
AND YOU WOULD BE WRONG.
Let’s be clear: Vaccines save lives. We are very, very lucky to be living in a country and at a time when vaccines against deadly diseases are safe, effective and readily available. Children all over the world do not have that luxury.
And yet, parents — a terrifying number of parents — choose not to offer their children this life-saving protection, because of misguided fears that ignore science in lieu of groundless speculation. The article that originally claimed to link vaccines and autism has now been universally discredited and withdrawn by the journal that published it. No medical data has ever supported any link between vaccines and autism.
And yet somehow this unfounded “controversy” lingers. And it is putting kids at risk.
As parenting goes, you will almost never hear a whiff of judgment from me. Breastfeed or bottle-feed? Both are great. Stay home or keep working? Up to you, mama. Daycare or a nanny? Either one! Night-wake till they’re two? More power to you. Cry it out? You gotta do what you gotta do.
Not one of those decisions is life-or-death for your baby. They are all choices that can be made in different ways by reasonable, caring parents.
Vaccinating your child?
That is different.
That is life or death — and not just for your child, but for every other child they interact with.
That is a life or death decision you are making for my child.
See, vaccines aren’t 100% effective. They require multiple rounds before a child reaches immunity, and individual kids may have different immune responses in a particular case, even if the vaccine itself is effective 99% of the time. The reason we don’t see these illnesses anymore, even though the vaccines aren’t perfect, is because of herd immunity — because all kids get the vaccines, even if your kid isn’t perfectly immune, it’s very unlikely for him or her to be exposed to the actual disease.
But when parents stop vaccinating their kids? Their kids are at risk, obviously. But so is every single other child, whether it’s a newborn who hasn’t had any shots or a five-year-old with a severe allergic reaction that prevented his own vaccination.
Deciding not to vaccinate your children is not just stupid. Sure, it’s stupid.
But it’s also profoundly selfish.
Those kids are depending on you. My kid is depending on you.
So, please. Please. Please. Inform yourselves. Learn the science. There is not, and has never been, any scientific evidence of a causal relationship between vaccines and autism. Vaccines save lives every single day, and as a parent, I am thrilled and grateful to be able to provide them for my child.
So those band-aids?
Yes, they make me smile.