We chose not to vaccinate our baby. The rationale was likely identical to that of most parents regardless of whether they chose to vaccinate or not. We want her to be healthy.

I could stop there. That’s the real reason. You don’t need to read any further.

I’m sure we can all agree that we love our children and want them to be as healthy as possible. We chose not to have Hailey vaccinated. That was our choice. I’m 100% ok if you want to vaccinate your children. I know you believe you are doing what’s best for them. I am doing what I believe is best for my child. It’s ok if our beliefs are different. I respect your decision and I hope you will respect mine.

Vaccinations (a.k.a immunizations) are a controversial and highly debated topic. I usually remain silent on the issue, not sharing my point of view unless someone asks directly. I’m not afraid of the debate. I just don’t care that much. And I especially don’t care to try to convince anyone of my point of view. Our decision was made not to prove a point. Our decision is what we believe to be in Hailey’s best interest.

I am writing this post to share with you the rationale behind our decision, not to convince you that vaccinations are bad. I have found that people are intrigued as to how we could have possibly come to a decision so vastly different than their own. I’m not posting this to debate facts or sway you in any way.

Context – First, let me give you some context. My husband and I have been heavily vaccinated. We received our immunizations as children and additional vaccinations as adults in preparation for our travels to third world countries. We have not had any noticeable side effects from any of our vaccines. The only one I remember is as a small child. My leg was too stiff and I couldn’t ride my tricycle 🙁

Over the last few years, our group of friends has grown significantly and we now associate with many people who happen to be against vaccinations (not on purpose, this just happened). This has opened our eyes to different perspectives. Had Hailey been born 5 years ago she would probably be getting vaccinated. We never would have given it any thought had it not been for our new friends.

When it came time to make a decision to vaccinate or not, we agreed that there were reasons to question immunizations but that we weren’t ready to jump on the anti-vaccine bandwagon.

We needed to do our research – This actually proved to be more difficult than I anticipated. There is a plethora of conflicting information, the majority of which is presented in support of vaccinations or against. It is extremely difficult to find factual, unbiased data.

We told our doctor that we would like to defer Hailey’s vaccinations because we wanted to do more research. He gave us some material to read, mainly pointing us to public health and government sites.  All of the information he gave us was pro-vaccine.

We rented The Greater Good, a provocative documentary about the adverse affects of vaccines in the US. I highly recommend watching this. It gave us a lot to think about. But again, a biased point of view.

We concluded that we couldn’t take a blanket approach. It wasn’t as simple as being for or against all vaccinations.

We needed to look at each vaccine individually – After some quick digging on the internet, I purchased The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child by Robert W. Sears. I selected this book because reviews said it was fairly unbiased even though Dr. Sears is pro-vaccines. This book highlights each immunization, the risks associated with the vaccine (by manufacturer), the risks of the disease or virus for which the inoculation is being given, reasons why people are for or against that particular vaccination, and his professional opinion.

One piece of information I had never thought to consider is that there are different manufacturers of each vaccine and therefore different risks depending on which brand is administered.

Another tidbit we got from this book was that we couldn’t consider each vaccination on their own because the vaccine schedule groups several inoculations together. We had to be mindful that there could be side effects simply by administering vaccines too closely together.

My husband and I read the book and made our own decision about each vaccine. We then discussed the ones where our views differed.

It seems counter-intuitive to need to poison yourself to make yourself healthy – There are poisons in vaccines. We’re told they are ok in small doses and there’s nothing to worry about. I’m not terrified of the toxins but this is just counter-intuitive to me. It’s that simple.

Someone said this to me a few years ago: If I added a drop or two of my urine to your drink would you drink it? Same concept.

Anecdotal Observations – A few years ago I sat next to a man at a conference. I’m not sure how we got on this topic but he told me that he had 3 kids. The first two received their vaccinations. By the time his third child came along he had changed his perspective and decided not to vaccinate the third child. He said his first two children had ear infections and colds throughout their childhood while the third was rarely sick. I know there may not be any correlation between the illnesses and the vaccinations but there may be.

A friend of mine is a kindergarten teacher. She knows which children in her class have been immunized vs. not because during outbreaks the children who have not been immunized are suspended. In her experience, the kids contracting the viruses are the same ones who have been vaccinated. The ones who haven’t been vaccinated are fine.

Reasons to Vaccinate – I have generally found from talking with other parents who have elected to have their child vaccinated have based their decision primarily on the fact that it’s what you’re supposed to do, it’s what the doctor and the government tells us to do to stay healthy. They are going with the flow and don’t know much about vaccines. The other main reason is that it’s required to enroll in school. It’s not. Not in Ontario. They are misinformed.

Advertising – All of the advertising for vaccinations suggest that you are a bad parent and your child is going to die (or get extremely sick) if you don’t vaccinate. I don’t respond well to scare tactics. My guard goes up immediately. (The same is true with respect to the scare tactics used in the anti-vaccine movement.) When I think about the amount of money spent on advertising vaccines it makes me suspicious. Why is there such a push for vaccinations? There’s a lot of money at stake. The government is very much in bed with the pharmaceutical companies on this issue. Conspiracy theory? Just take notice of who’s putting on the advertising (the government) and who’s profiting (the drug companies).

Politics – Regardless of whether or not you believe there is a conspiracy between the government and pharmaceutical companies, one thing has been made very clear to me through my reading. There is definitely politics involved. The waters are muddied making it difficult to know who to believe. It makes me not trust what I’m reading on any government website. I read bold statements saying that “vaccinations are safe with huge benefits to children’s health” and another statement on the same website saying that “all serious cases were reviewed and found either to be expected based on known vaccine-related adverse reactions…”  Vaccinations are safe but there are known serious side effects? This contradiction makes me uncomfortable.

Our Decision – We felt the politics really muddied the waters. In fact, it made us suspicious of most of the pro-vaccine information. We mainly used the information in The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child to make our decisions. It was the most unbiased.

When it came down to it, none of our research provided a compelling argument for any vaccination. In fact, many of the side effects from the immunization itself seemed worse than the actual disease.

We continue to do research. I feel like we are trying and trying to find a compelling reason to vaccinate but we just can’t seem to get there. We may revisit decisions around some of the vaccines depending on where we travel with Hailey. But right now, it doesn’t make sense for us to have her vaccinated.