Shots

Apparently parents who are convinced that vaccinations either don’t help or might give their kids autism are claiming exemptions from vaccination based on religious grounds – even if they don’t really have religious grounds. Check it out:

 http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071018/ap_on_re_us/vaccine_skeptics

This is one of those freedom of religion vs. community safety issues that you can wrestle with all day long. On the one hand, I’m all for freedom of religion – obviously, they’re all equal to me! – but on the other hand, if I had kids, I’d rather be sure that they won’t be sitting next to a kid who hasn’t had his smallpox vaccination. Shouldn’t freedom of religion stop where somebody else’s safety starts? Then again, what are the ethics of lying about your religion in order to avoid something you consider to be dangerous to your child?

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2 Responses to “Shots”


  1. 1 Brenda Z. October 20, 2007 at 12:35 pm

    I just stumbled across your site and just had to comment:-)1st of all- of the 15 recommended (and most “mandated”) childhood vaccines- small pox actually isn’t one of them:-). But aside from that- your last question was interesting- I personally have chosen not to vaccinate my 2 boys b/c I feel that the risk of immunizing is greater than the risk of not- and I have used the religious exemption form. BUT, I am one of the “honest” ones (I guess) b/c I do consider it against my convictions. I just think that every parent has the right to make the decision for their child- Most people I know DO vaccinate their kids and I believe that they are making what they feel to be the best choice for their children. We just agree to disagree. Intersting though to think about if I was not “religious” (I hate that word!)- would I be willing to lie if i believed it might protect my children? I think I probabaly would- especially when the state gives you no other choice!

  2. 2 John October 24, 2007 at 5:31 am

    I was actually going to write the same thing about small pox, it was eradicated years ago. Occasionally there is an isolated case that causes the CDC to go bananas.

    On the issue of to immunize or not. We wrestled for a bit when the twins were at that age, whether to get their shots because of the autism thing. Our pediatrician (a wise and noble woman) gave us several valid reasons to trust the vaccines but the one that convinced us was, “even if ONE child in a classroom gets measles or Whooping Cough there is a very good chance that many more kids will get the disease EVEN IF THEY HAD THE VACCINE! In that case, the benefit would be that the vaccinated kids’ case will be much milder.
    The reason smallpox was eradicated was because EVERYONE got the vaccine, the same is true with polio. I would not want to be responsible for a new outbreak of diphtheria because of some irrational fear. Thats right, even the crusaders will not place all the blame for autism at the feet of required immunization.


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