Monday, August 11, 2008


The boy turned six months old over the weekend. (Woo! End of SIDS danger! Show me a girl who tells you she isn't secretly holding their breath a little bit until this risk is past, and I'll show you someone who didn't do any pre-partum reading on the topic.) And that meant it was time for his six month vaccinations.

This topic is the one above all others driving me insane. I believe there is zero evidence proving that autism is caused by vaccines, mind you. But I do wonder, with cause, what long term evidence we have that THIS many vaccines in such a short period of time is safe. Some of these vaccines simply lack any long term studies (at least, any studies available to the tenacious layman with internet access and a library card). I am concerned, with good cause, about the "inactive ingredients" in vaccines. Finally, I don't quite understand the reasoning that says a one size fits all vaccination schedule is a good idea.

The temptation not to vaccinate was not strong for me, however. This is a small world, and with easy, affordable global travel, all kinds of creeping awfuls are just one trip through an international terminal away. Even though the northern outpost of hell isn't quite as cosmopolitan as the town I was living in, we still have an international community hailing from places with drastically different approaches to public health. And I hope to teach my son to love travel, to love exploring, and to not be afraid of people.

I still have to look out for this one little person. I declined the Hep shot given at birth. He wasn't going to run into any hookers or dirty needles that week. I am holding off on chicken pox until I can no longer refuse due to school entry requirements - I'd rather he just got the chicken pox. We are not getting flu shots in this house for more reasons than I can list here. And even my pediatrician thinks the rotavirus vaccine is strictly a profit maker for pharmaceutical companies.

I've read all the books recommended by the anti-vax crowd. The science in most of them is... weak. However, there is no thoughtful rebuttal that doesn't require equal leaps of faith.

But my grandfather suffered for more than eighty years from post-polio syndrome, and he was considered lucky. Measles and mumps are more serious than chicken pox, and those vaccines have survived the test of time. And modern horrors like Hep, Hib, and the pneumo-nasties make me glad there is better living through chemistry.

We're still doing a delayed schedule.

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