Wednesday, November 10, 2010


What are we?

Are we under educated or are we overeducated?
Do we line up our kids to be injected with diseases that we don't really understand?
Or are we protecting them from some hideous illnesses that can change the sequence of someone's life?

I have always considered myself to have a love of both Modern and Complementary Therapies BUT on this issue the answer is just down right foggy!!

If it wasn't for medical intervention I would not have my children, Finn would not be alive and if he did survive he curtainly would not be walking. If it wasn't for complementary therapies, I would not have my healthy state of mind, body and soul. Our family would not be maintaining such a good level of health and we would battle far more with the "everyday" flus and buggs. the problem...its the big bugger that scares the crappers out of me.

I walk in the disability world, I have spoken to Mums and Dads of Autistic Kids.....Do they think there is a connection?....some do...some don't. Some choose not to vaccinate any additional siblings...just in case! THEN yesterday I spoke to a woman who has a sibling that is severely disabled because he was NOT vaccinated.....The only thing I do know, is that this answer is NOT black or white....there are so many variables that are involved in making this decision, so many unknowns..............

Heres what I know....I DO NOT want another disabled is enough BUT
I have been in a special care nursery, I have seen children being worked on, for what seamed like hours to keep them alive, I have spoken the words "Do what ever you need to do to keep my child alive....I don't mind....JUST DO IT"

I have this form to sign if we DO NOT wish for Asha to have the MMR (Finn has had his as it was given long before the "Autism" debate). The decision to sign this paper will be a personal one between David and I and I will keep that private, but I think its ok to say that as parents, with all this information that is presented to us......the answer is still very UNCLEAR!

Note : I understand this maybe a post that causes some passionate responses....which is fine...I have no problems with that...BUT when leaving comments please remember your manners. If I find a comment totally offensive to either side of the debate I will delete it without hesitation. thanks Leonie x


Jo (sparkly green knickers) said...

Oooh, Leonie! You've opened up a can of worms!

Anonymous said...

I totally understand where you are coming from. I was not vaccinated as a child 30 some odd years ago long before the debate started but only because my father did not "believe" in vaccinations. I chose to vaccination both of my children and held my breath for a while waiting for "something" to happen.


Sally said...

It's a personal decision - one that every parent needs to make. Follow your heart and your instinct - the "right" decision is different for all of us.
Take care.

Cath @ chunkychooky said...

I will be brave and go first with my two cents worth.
I live in an area of Australia with the lowest rates of vaccination in Australia ( the mid north coast of NSW) also has the highest rate of breastfeeding as well- just in defence. we also have an epidemic of whooping cough every winter and every year or so a little dies. From whooping cough. The topic of vaccination in this area sparks such horrific and violent and at times aggressive reactions from the yes/ no camps both sides equally agitated - that people do not bring it up at all. We use a lot of natural alternatives here and I will go to a natropath befoe a GP most of the time.

We have chosen to vaccinate Busy but not without some serious research and reading and asking. I have read so much on it and gone to a trusted doctor with a lot of questions. We have not done all the vaccinations as we thought Hep B at birth was excessive- will do it later. We have spaced them out a lot more and I have lost sleep the week before every time. i cancelled and rebooked her MMR appointment 3 times before I did it. Which I did. She has never had any side effects from any vaccinations.

I found it so difficult, as I am sure you did too to find info that was accurate. i got all caught up in the use of some additive in the vaccination and then later found out that additive is not used anymore. etc etc so many examples like that.

The thing that swayed me?
When I was pregnant I always asked myself what do women around the world ( in less fortunate economies than ours) need for their babies? I decided all I needed was working boobs a sling and some cloth nappies. i approached vaccination in the same way. I read of women walking literally through the desert for days and days, waiting in queses for hours and hours to vaccinate their littles, to give them a chance. I felt sick that i could sit here in a rich country with access to state of the art medical assistance and be concerned about a very small risk - but yes a very large consequence... I felt like I was letting down all those women who had walked through the desert for their babies, like I was some rich spoilt brat.

So, I reckn, get all your questions and take them to the doctor. I know the study that started this MMR/ autism debate has been discredited and the sciesntist that did the intial research has even come out and said it was flawed.... good luck Leonie. listen to your belly. it will show you the way. xxx

Rachelle said...

It is such a difficult decision to make. Both my boys have some issues, I don't know if they were related to MMR or not. Eldest is fully vaccinated at 8yrs old, youngest hasn't had the final set they do here in NZ at 4 years as I'm pretty sure it was the Meningococcal B vaccine that tipped him over the edge into autism; I'm just not prepared to take the risk that he'll get worse by giving that last lot to him.
I hope I've done the right thing, but I don't know if I have or not.

Anonymous said...

I had my two eldest children immunised and my youngest three are not. it so very difficult to wade through the sea of information and misinformation and in the end i went with my gut feeling. When my eldest two were born I was young and had no idea that there was any debate and as i got older and started to question things i realised that sometimes the medical profession use scare tactics to have us all conform. not saying that immunisation is wrong, it just isn't right for my mob.


kello said...

Being an immunisation nurse and having done all the study associated, I have read the discredited MMR autism study and it makes a good case for discrediting it- but it does add that element of doubt in the back of your mind around MMR immunisation - in the end I just hoped for the best and held my breath and immunsed the girls- with no ill effects. You just have to sit down and weigh up the pro's and cons -with good reliable information- and remember you can always choose to have the vaccine anytime in the future.
I know exactly where you are coming from as we have discussed on many occasion. Let me know if you need any info.
Goodluck on that one!

Cat J B said...

We've gone round this loop too. We're starting school next year, so it's all coming up again.

Kate said...

There's a huge debate going on in our town right now that is the result of an outbreak of whooping cough. For some reason its not an argument where anyone ever sits on the fence either. There are scare tactics and statistics and newspaper articles everywhere you turn.
I feel like next to schooling it is definitely one of the big parenting questions. And I believe everyone has the right to do what they feel is the right thing for them and their family.

Anne said...

My babies are now 20 and 17 but I still remember the dilemma we faced when making the decision whether to immunise or not. We chose to wait until they were older, 6 months with the first and 4 months with the second. The first baby was given a half dose of MMR by a very sympathetic alternative minded doctor. The only reaction my babies had was a slight temperature for which I am very grateful, but I still remember waiting with held breath to see if there would be any major side affects. My oldest daughter has a slight disability, but I don't believe it was brought on by her being vaccinated.

When my sister was a baby(1960), there were children in our farming community dying of measles. My mum was terrified that my sister would contract the illness and die and as soon as she could get the vaccination into her she did.

A question for those parents who choose not to vaccinate their children. Are you willing to quarantine your children if they become sick or come into contact with other children who have illnesses they haven't been vaccinated for? This means even if your child isn't sick and doesn't get sick, they are excluded from going into the community until the quarantine time is up. This practice would surely help the spread of such illnesses. A sick child may have to be visited at home by your doctor. Quarantining and home visits by the doctor may be a sacrifice you have to make if you choose not to vaccinate your children and would surely help eleviate some of the fears of the parents who choose to vaccinate.

The quarantine or exclusion of people/children in the community is an issue I've wondered about a lot in the past even in regard to minor illness. I've seen children going to school with full blown colds, rocking up to school after a night of gastro when the recommended exclusion time is I believe 48 hours. I've heard parents say "He/she was vomiting last night but he/she really wanted to go to kinder/school today and he/she seems to be o.k. now". I'm sorry, but I think this is very selfish behaviour.

In regards to vaccination, I understand both sides of the debate, it's a personal choice. So good luck everyone in making an informed decision.


Michelle said...

It is such a tough decision. All three of my kids are immunised - it was something I automatically did with my eldest, but then really thought about for the other two. At the end of the day, for us as a famuly, the benefit of immunising outweighed the risk - and I think that is the only way you can look at it - what are the risks to your family/community if you do/don't. One of my biggest problems with the scheduled immunisations is how many of them are combined together, so much for a little body to deal with.

Good luck with your decision.

Christie said...

I really hope one day this issue will be a lot more black & white. I had a discussion about it with my GP (before immunising my eldest) which was really helpful, however I still don't feel 100% confident that there isn't a link.
I guess for me immunisations (like many other decisions I make for/about my kids) is about what I feel the most comfortable with. Personally I felt more comfortable knowing that they were immunised & safe from mumps/whooping cough/polio etc... & I felt that not immunising them posed a greater risk to them.
That is my personal choice & I respect that other people feel differently.

A few years ago we were planning on making the move to live in China, it was quite an eyeopener to see how many diseases were an issue there, diseases that we don't have to deal with in Australia because of our heath/hygiene standards & vaccination programs. I think sometimes we do take for granted the positive legacy that vaccinations have left in a country like Australia.

Good luck with your decision Leonie.

CurlyPops said...

I don't have children but I live with chronic illness due to two autoimmune diseases that I have. Without vaccinations, someone like me would no longer be on this earth. My immune system doesn't work at all so I'm at just as much risk of getting something like whooping cough as a newborn baby.
This is only my personal opinion, but it scares me that some unecessary diseases seem to be returning to the community.

MonetPaisley said...

We began to immunise our eldest daughter a little later than the schedule instructed. It was really scary, she slept solid for 12 hours, I oculd not wake her up, she would not feed, I would even go so far as to say she was a little limp. I called the doctor, he told me not to worry.

I went back for the second one. She got a raging temperature and immeadiate bronchitis. After courses and courses of antibiotics I decided to give her no more immunisations.

We have however given them homeopathic imunisations which are used with good results. I try to make sure their immune systems are strong and believe that natural medicine goes a long way to reduce the severity of viruses and infections.

Hope I haven't upset anyone, It's really scary putting this out there. Good on you leonie, it's something I think about often.

Liesl said...

It is a very interesting discussion and you can see that no matter what the outcome, everyone is trying to make informed careful, decisions for their kids.

We've had both of the kids fully immunised, including seasonal flu. The youngest had pneumonia when he was younger, so I know how scary the complication of a seemingly innocuous bug can be.

When it was time time for our eldest to have the first MMR, my dad (a virologist) was able to point me in the direction of this interesting article:

I think you can also choose to have the MMR done as separate component shots?

Baa-Me Kniits said...

We all have an opinion one way or the other and we all just want the best for our children....whatever you decide will be right for you.

Just a little neighbours child who is now 17 has just gone and had the full lot of vaccinations that her parents chose not to give her....she wants to be safe when travelling overseas??? Does our body handle the vaccinations better when we are older??? Food for thought.... :-)

Maggie said...

My doctor just told me we live in the area with the lowest rate of vaccination in Australia (Fremantle WA) at our wee one's first doctor visit, so herd immunity doesn't apply here. I'm wondering now if that is a common scare tactic after reading Cath @ chunkychooky say the mid north coast of NSW has the lowest rate...

Rattling On said...

My eldest (18) had a series of severe seizures, requiring hospitalisation, following the MMR, but wasn't left with lasting effects. My youngest has also had the vaccine with no ill effects.
I had all 3 diseases as a child and measles almost saw me off.
Now the girls are older we're having the same dilemma with the cervical cancer vaccine. It never stops.

Anonymous said...

I understand your dilemma. We have been there too. One of our relatives with an autistic child believes the MMR vaccination caused her child's autism, so when we had ours, I was terrified. After speaking to our wonderful GP, we decided to give the three vaccinations in MMR separately and with a time interval of a few months in between. It was still terrifying, but it worked out fine with us.
Good luck with your choice and just remember, all we can do is do what we think is the best for our families.

Amy Paul said...

Can o' worms!

I have spent A LOT of time and discussion and tears and fear around this subject.

You probably already know where I stand with this subject from reading my blog from time to time.

We have chosen to not vaccinate our kids. We first looked into it because of SIDS, Autism, death, mental retardation, etc. But now I feel that in addition to all of those fears - that the "science" behind vaccinations is questionable. Highly questionable - ie: are vaccinations really effective?

I have spent HOURS on this stuff. And I am not burying my head in the sand about it - ever.

Good luck with your info hunt. There's so much out there - but in the end.. your gut will tell you what is right.

Food for thought on the whooping cough "outbreaks" - we currently have the highest rate of vaccination (90-something %) for whooping cough - but continue to have these "outbreaks" Why?

Are the vaccinations effective?

I find a pretty "factual" not emotional group with info:

There are so many decisions that we have to make as parents. So many important ones. Sometimes it is so hard!


'Joyce' said...

Leonie, what a lovely and very honest post. I have an almost 8 and almost 6 year old. When my eldest was due for his vaccinations from day 1, I questioned everything, I did internet searches, I spoke to other parents. I would have to say that 90% of them didn't really think about why, they just did it because 'everyone else was'. This really scared me. I did not feel comfortable about a needle of 'stuff' going into my kids body 'just because.' With each vaccination that was due, again, back on the computer, sleepless nights, and more research and talking to my Dr, what to do what to do. I repeated the whole process two years later when our youngest was born.

You will know the right decision for you, you will know when you have gathered your information together what is the very best for your little one. I wish you all the very best with this decision. It's a heavy one. Bless.

Caroline said...

An eye opener here as to how much thought people have put into this issue. I am not medical but I have studied biology all the way to a PhD - and as a scientist I never ever questioned the necessity of vaccinating my son. Not for a second. And I feel strong and confident, and happy, with my decision.

I hope that what ever decision you make you feel that confidence too, of the right thing done for peace of your mind and heart. xx

Anonymous said...

You are quite lucky that you have a choice. They are discussing banning children from school in the UK, if they have not had the MMR immunisation. Good luck to you, and whatever choice you make, it will be the right one for you and your family.


Anonymous said...

What a lovely and thought provoking post. As a mum of a child with cystic fibrosis I chose immunisation all the way. And I have spoken those same words...whatever it takes just keep my child alive. I absolutely respect choice and would never criticise anyone elses choice, but due to our circumstances I have to agree with Anne. I think it is selfish to send children to school or anywhere else for that matter-the mall, the heated pool!! when they are unwell or have been unwell. A snotty nose and chesty cough for one child could be fatal for another. Yes it is a tough one, know in your heart we mums just make the best decision at the time.

Sarah said...

A hard one...

I am so pleased the 18 mth one is only one that I am confident with - I do not have to face this till the little man is 4...

Anonymous said...

jenny mccarthy has a lot to answer for as does oprah for giving her such a large voice on this issue... it was really irresponsible...

the fact is, some children get autism and it SUCKS... but there is absolutely no evidence that vaccinations cause it... none at all... vaccinations save lives... yes sometimes we still get the viruses we are immunised against, but they may be nowhere near the severity they would be if we weren't immunised... we live in such a fortunate country (which i think chunkychooky summed up nicely) and we shouldn't take it for granted...

i too am interested in why people aren't sufficiently quarantined when they are sick these days... as a teacher i have been shocked by the illnesses small children have been sent to school with simply because parents refuse to keep them home...

i always remind myself that i am responsible for keeping my children alive and i will do that to the best of my knowledge (which i base on SCIENCE and facts... not just uneducated opinions and looney websites that have ulterior motives)