Today was the first good vaccine conversation I’ve had with someone who has elected to get her daughter immunized. It was a very matter-of-fact conversation. It was mutually respectful and no one ended up trying to defend their position.

It was the first time I felt like I didn’t have to dance on egg shells in fear of offending anyone. This conversation was a breath of fresh air.

The conversation was with a friend of mine who had just completed the first round of vaccinations for her 2 month old daughter. The conversation started with me asking how the shots had gone. She said they went well and asked how Hailey has been doing with hers.

I told her we had elected not to vaccinate. She laughed and said that we were on completely opposite ends of the spectrum, especially because she had paid to get the extra meningitis vaccine.

To my surprise, she had done her research. She is the first person I’ve talked to who has elected to go ahead with vaccines (most but not all) and done a decent amount of research. All of the parents who have elected to go ahead with vaccines that I’ve talked to so far have referenced their doctor’s opinions or main-stream media when I’ve asked them why. Or have simply said it’s what their supposed to do.

My friend said that the bulk of the anti-vaccine information she found was anecdotal and alarmist. Whereas, she found statistics of the chance of side effects of the vaccines. When she saw the low percentages she decided it was a risk worth taking.

She found my approach interesting because it was completely different. I tried to determine whether the vaccines would be of any benefit to Hailey.

The reason this conversation was so easy was that we both agreed on the fundamental points. We didn’t discuss these but this is my postmortem of our conversation.

  • Every parent should do their own research. They’d be silly not to.
  • Every parent should form their own opinion and do what they’re comfortable with.
  • There are risks associated with the vaccines and risks associated with not having the vaccines. A decision to vaccinate or not is simply a risk assessment.
  • Parents should be free to choose.
  • There is no right answer. Neither of us judged the other for their conclusions, nor did we feel judged by the other.

I loved this conversation. I think I mentioned to her several times that I was SO happy she took the time to do research. She said it was a must.

But sadly, it isn’t for most. We both weren’t sure why.

I would encourage anyone with children, whether they are an infant or older to do research before vaccinations. It doesn’t matter if your child has already been immunized. There’s always new vaccines coming out or recommendations for booster shots.

It’s not too late. Be informed. Make your own choice. And just because we agree with some immunizations doesn’t mean we have to agree with all of them. It’s not that black and white.