Why We’re Not Doing the MMR Vaccine

Peanut walked out of her one year doctors appointment last month with zero pricks on her thighs. This is a rare circumstance because of our decision to space out Peanut’s vaccinations. So why did she not get a vaccination this time? Peanut did not get the MMR vaccine.

No, I do not think the MMR vaccine causes autism.

No, I am not under- nor mis-informed.

No, I am not stupid.

I’ve read some articles in the newspaper lately about how doctors are concerned that parents are choosing to not vaccinate their children. They all say that the parents are misinformed. Parents think that vaccines—not actually saying MMR, but implying it because that’s the one that has been linked with it—cause autism. The articles say that parents don’t understand the seriousness of these diseases because they have not seen them first-hand. These articles say that because of these parents, there will be outbreaks and these diseases will become common place again.

I did my research—when I say I, I do not mean to imply that my husband was not involved in the decision making process, rather he trusts me to do the research and give him a detailed explanation of each side. I made a logical decision that the risks of the MMR vaccine outweighed the benefits.

Let’s go over the diseases first.

Mumps. Whenever I think of this disease I think of the Family Guy where Meg catches it because her parents forgot to vaccinate her. Yeah, it was pretty funny. I had to remind myself that it’s just a joke and they’re not implying we’re bad parents for not vaccinating Peanut, but that’s another story. On Wikipedia, the first thing they say about the prognosis of mumps is “Death is very unusual.” Mumps is one of those diseases that has a severity level of a cold in children, but is somewhat more serious in teens and adults.

Measles. Pretty much the same symptoms of the common cold with a rash thrown in for fun. This disease has a fairly high fatality rate (The Vaccine Book says 1 in 1000) which was a big deal when a million people caught it a year (in the US) before the vaccine was invented. Now there are less than 100 cases reported a year.

Rubella. This one is so mild that it often goes unnoticed. The main issue is when a pregnant woman gets it. If a woman catches it during the first trimester (or possibly the second) her baby can have some pretty major birth defects.

Now the vaccine.

The toddler will pretty much always have flu-like symptoms after the vaccine. So, for comparison sake, you’re basically guaranteeing that your child will have at least the most mild and most common side effects of the viruses.

There is also the risk that your child will contract any (or all) of the three diseases. This is pretty rare, but sometimes they don’t weaken the viruses enough. With most vaccines they don’t give you a live-active virus so that’s why there’s no chance of catching pneumococcal disease from the PC vaccine. My major problem with the vaccine is that you’re giving them three weakened viruses at once. I know, I know, they’re weakened, but you’re giving them Three. Viruses. At. Once. If the vaccines were still offered separately this would be a completely different post.

Then of course there’s a whole list of other possible side effects which include diabetes, allergic reactions, deafness, seizures, and even death. Really, all vaccines have a whole list of possible side effects because they have to report anything that happens to any of the test subjects. Of course these are scary risks, but you’re taking these risks with any vaccines. The main problem for this vaccine in particular is that there is a much, much longer list of possible side effects for this one than others which leads me to believe that side effects in general are more common with this vaccine.

Other general reasons why we’re not getting this vaccine.

Breastfeeding. Breastfeeding your kids makes them less likely to catch diseases. I really feel like I’m preaching to the choir here. You give them antibodies in your milk and that makes them less likely to get sick in general. Case in point: over this past week Peanut has had her very first cough and she is 13 months old. We go out a ton and I’m not a nit-picky mother when it comes to her eating food off the ground and the like, so if I weren’t breastfeeding I’m sure she wouldn’t have made it this long.

No daycare. It’s just a fact that daycare makes your kids more likely to get sick. They’re constantly around other kids and even with rules in place about not letting sick kids come to daycare, they’ll still expose everyone before they even know their sick. I know I take Peanut around other kids all the time with Music Together, La Leche League, etc., but an hour a day is a lot different than eight, especially when Mama is standing right there making sure you don’t stick the other kid’s booger in your mouth.

Now you’re saying:

“What if you decide to leave the country?”

We can always reassess. If we decide to go to Africa, we can always get her vaccinated then. If we decide to put her in daycare when she’s older, we can always vaccinate her then.

“What if she’s exposed to rubella when she’s older and pregnant and you’ve doomed your grandchildren?”

We may decide to give her the MMR vaccine when she enters school. If we don’t do that for whatever reason, we’ll have her tested for all three diseases (yes, you can test to see if you have immunity) when she’s 11 or so and if she doesn’t have immunity, we’ll probably vaccinate her then. There is even the possibility that she’ll be exposed to enough of the disease to cause immunity, but not enough to get her sick. Either way, her 11-year old body will be much more able to handle the vaccine than her one-year old body.

What’s your opinion on vaccinations and what did you do for your kids? If you still think I’m wrong, tell me why. I love hearing other’s perspectives because I can’t possibly think of every scenario myself.

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12 thoughts on “Why We’re Not Doing the MMR Vaccine

  1. I don’t want to sound like I am trashing anyone for what they are doing with their children. I know there are many nice parents that might not believe the same as me, and I would not want to offend these wonderful people.

    Had I known that I could change the schedule of DD’s vax I would have. I was informed that if I missed a dose that she would have to start all over again (why I believed that I don’t know).

    Personally, knowing what I know now. What I would have done with our daughter is delayed vax. Upon the time that I noticed her weaning I would ensure she would have had all vax up to date.

    I personally feel that my children should have all vaxes done, if they are not getting immunities from me, the mother. I ignorantly can not understand the situation of a child not breastfeeding or even have breastfeed and not getting vax.

    Maybe someone can de-ignorant me 😉

    • There is the argument that even after a child stops breastfeeding that they have better immune systems than non-breastfed children. On top of that, the older they get the better able their bodies are to fight off the diseases. The majority of the vaccines they give babies are specifically to keep them from getting diseases when they’re babies. Many of them don’t even affect the adult system (i.e. rota virus). Even the ones that can still hurt you when you’re an adult often require a booster shot because you don’t keep immunity over long periods of time.

      • This is a good argument. It does open my eyes, but as a Home Daycare Provider… I don’t know, it’s the unknown that I don’t know YKWIM?

  2. I believe it a personal choice that parents should make after lots and lost of research. I think people should know that, like you said, if you BF and don’t go to daycare, you really don’t need to vaccinate right away. I also think people should know that there is no rush! Do you feel like you don’t know enough? Do you want to learn just a little bit more? Do you want to wait until there is a real need, or just until your child grows just a little bit? Then WAIT! There is nothing that says you have to have a shot right then and there.

  3. Did you see there was a measles outbreak in Canada after the Olympics? It was all the foreigners bringing their germs. It’s not so far away from Utah.

    • I’m still not horribly concerned. The chances of an outbreak where we live are slim which makes the chance that she’ll have a bad reaction even more slim. As I said, I’ve weight the possibility of her catching it naturally and actually having a bad reaction versus the vaccine (which also gives her a possibility of catching it as I said).

  4. The chances of catching the Viruses from the vaccine is so slim, it’s pretty much impossible. I researched like crazy, and talked to my son’s doctor before doing the vaccine, mainly because my sister-in-law had me terrified that it was going to give him autism, which it didn’t. Anyway, The two things that stuck out to me was #1: The number of measles cases increasing in the last few years and the rising number of deaths and permanent brain damage caused by that and #2: the vaccines are meant to work as a safety in numbers type of thing. The more people that choose to not vaccinate make it morelikely for an outbreak, and I didn’t want to risk my son’s health being on the negative side of that. Measles can be very serious. That is my opinion though, and why I decided to get my son vaccinated.

  5. Another aspect that needs to be mentioned in regards to these specific illnesses…

    People have forgotten the benefits of contracting a mild childhood illness. Measles, Mumps and Rubella all play a part in developing the immune system. In fact, the impact of this was never fully understood or studied when we began mass vaccination programs.

    So it is only now, after the damage is done, that we have science showing us how vaccinated moms can’t pass on immunity to their babies. This means babies get the diseases now, which is not as mild or safe as in childhood.

    And it is only now, after the damage is done, that we have science showing us how contracting measles and mumps in childhood actually has a protective element against cancer.

    Furthermore, people tend t forget that vaccination does not automatically mean immunisation. I am a great example, as I received 2 doses of the MMR and still contracted mumps, AND I am not immune to Rubella. I’d rather my children contracted the actual illnesses and had TRUE immunity. The temporal immunity from vaccines (if the individual does develop this) does not stimulate the memory cells of the immune system. In other words, vaccines bypass the immune system and provide artificial, temporary immunity.

    Incidentally, this has caused a situation which we accept without fuss. Merck manufactures a Rubella vaccine (using aborted human cells ironically) JUST for pregnant women who do not have immunity from Rubella DESPITE being vaccinated in childhood and receiving the teen boosters.

    Scientists have speculated that receiving this live-viral vaccine during the first trimester activates the Rubella virus in the fetus and is actually the root reason for Autism.

    • Wow, that’s really interesting. I really didn’t know half of the things you said there, but it all makes sense!

      I always talk about the problems with things like anti-bacterial hand soap and hand sanitizer because our bodies are made to fight off small amounts of germs every day and when we don’t fight those things off, we start fighting our bodies instead. There’s speculation that this is one of the big reasons why there’s an increase in auto-immune diseases like asthma and allergies. There are also studies showing that drinking unpasteurized milk as a child (and therefore exposing yourself to minute amounts of harmless bacteria) makes you less likely to develop autoimmune disorders.

  6. I plan to get my daughters tested for Rubella immunity in their teens. Then they/we can decide whether they want to get the vaccine. I hope that they are able to acquire natural immunity before then, but if not, we may feel the vaccine is a beneficial thing.

    I do definitely think that what Guggie is saying about the benefits of natural immunity makes sense. I want my kids’ immune systems to be at their best… and I think that acquiring natural immunity to mild childhood illnesses is the best way to get that.

    I’m not totally anti-vaccine, but I do believe in weighing the risks of the disease versus the risks (which, as Guggie points out, may not be known until later, sadly) of the vaccine. IMO, mild childhood illnesses (chickenpox, anyone?) aren’t worth vaccinating over.

  7. Funny. It’s because of ignorant logic like this that an out break of measles occurred just 30 miles south of me. 14 kids were infected because a child whose parents thought much like you do. It cost the city more than 150k to get it under control. While it may not be best for YOUR child, it’s a selfish move that exposes other children to diseases should their vaccinations not be complete.

    • You’re right, I am being selfish. I entirely realize that I am relying on everyone around her being vaccinated. Though at the same time, why should I do something that I don’t feel is right just because that’s what’s best for society? Should I stop drinking water because we’re having a shortage of it in my state? No.

      Also, if you’re going to jump on my blog and try to guilt trip me, at least do it with a real name and email.

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