Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. --John Milton

Thursday, May 26, 2016

I Just Want My Kids to Be Safe

Intriguing comments on Facebook and in person inspire me to continue this lively conversation about vaccinations.

When I think others in society are jeopardizing my safety, I tend to react passionately. Have you noticed this too? Living in society feels vulnerable, and I instinctively fear what my neighbor might do to my family.

I grab hold of a promise of safety.

It doesn't take a conspiring government for society to stomp on any suspicion that vaccines might not work. Why? Because it has to do with keeping my kids safe. It's understandable, but oddly this approach (of squelching suspicion) wears a scientist's lab coat.

One can make a rational argument for vaccine effectiveness to some extent (perhaps immunity for a few years or for certain strains of a disease). But then what happens? Rational argument turns to hysteria - "Vaccinate all children or we face epidemics."

It feels like one of Grug's stories from the Croods: "And died!" I feel like Guy: "Whoa! Twist ending. I did not see that coming!"

One rational argument I heard this week was from the public health site, "Formaldehyde is produced at higher rates by our own metabolic systems." If true, that's a helpful point. (Can someone give me a non-government source on this?) Then on the same page: "But if too many people don’t vaccinate themselves or their children, they contribute to a collective danger, opening up opportunities for viruses and bacteria to establish themselves and spread." Ahem. Do you hear the hysteria?

Careful research is lumped together with sweeping assumptions in a finale conclusion that vaccines are perfectly safe and effective. Open and shut case. Anyone who still has her hand raised should shut up and get those kids to the doctor.

I suspect that this so quickly becomes a passionate lecture as vaccines touch on that hot button of safety.

Hysteria can be a two way street. I emphasis the frenzy of the 100% safe and effective view because of what it guarantees. Safety. My kids won't ever get this nasty disease. And then the suspicious perspective promises the age-old human struggle with disease.

Understandably, "100% safe and effective" is much more popular. I think we want so badly for it to be true that we dismiss facts that cast suspicion on our feeling of security (example: artificial immunity wears off after maybe five years and adults aren't getting booster shots).

I'm curious. Like me, do you get excited by this discussion? It's hard to keep my thinking cap on coming from any perspective - I just want to know my kids are safe. And that's good. I'm a mom after all.




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