21 February 2009

Things I've Learned - Vaccinations

I realize I may be opening a giant can of worms, and that some people may be offended for religious or other reasons, but I feel very strongly about this issue and absolutely must take a stand.

There was never any question as to whether we would have The Boy immunized on schedule. The mumps outbreak in an unvaccinated group of children near Vancouver when The Boy was just over two months old served to underscore the importance of making sure he got his shots.

We in North America are so incredibly sheltered from the horror and heartbreak of diseases that killed children regularly a hundred years ago, and still do in the poverty-stricken regions of so-called third-world countries. My generation's collective memory does not include a time when it was common to lose friends and family to polio, diphtheria, tetanus and other (now) preventable diseases. For this, I count myself lucky.

Except luck has nothing to do with it.

A couple of generations of widespread vaccinations against these diseases is entirely responsible.

Here's a quick-in-layman's-terms description of some once-common childhood diseases. I'd be glad to protect my child from any one of them. Fortunate am I indeed that I can protect him against all of them...







The one study (of only 12 children) that concluded the opposite has been widely debunked.

Unvaccinated children that do not get sick are benefiting from the diligence of the rest of us. They can thank herd immunity. Not God. Science. Not their unique specialness in a benevolent universe. Modern medicine. Not luck.

Okay, rant over. The Takeaway:
  1. Vaccinations, especially the first one, are harder on mom than they are on baby. It's hard to see your little one cry for any reason. Steel yourself. It's important.
  2. My doctor, who I love, allowed me to nurse The Boy during his first two sets of shots. He pulled off the nipple for a couple of seconds and let out a lusty cry, then went back to nursing and within 30 seconds had forgotten all about it. I highly recommend this approach.
  3. If you're really concerned about fever and or pain, some physicians recommend giving your baby infant Tylenol before the appointment. We didn't do this, and it turned out not to be necessary in our case. But we are lucky enough to have a buddha baby who takes pretty much everything in stride.


  1. THANK YOU for saying this so clearly (with references, even! :)