When You Discover Your Friends Don’t Vaccinate
Buckle your seat belts because it’s about to get a little political around here.
Don’t hit the back button just yet. This is mainly a post to educate those, like me, who didn’t understand/know the ins and outs of vaccines.
Did you know that children without vaccines are more than welcome to attend public schools? That is something that I never knew. Maybe I am naïve, but I was surprised when I learned this information.
All 50 states have laws that require children to be vaccinated from certain diseases. Those same 50 states offer medical exemptions, 47 of those states allow religious exemptions, and 17 allow philosophical exemptions. The only instance where a non-vaccinated child would be asked not to attend the school is if there were outbreak of the disease(s) that they are not vaccinated against. Private schools that do not receive government funding do not have to accept the exemption.
I am throwing all this information at you solely because I was uneducated.
I respect decisions that parents make for their individual child; however, that doesn’t mean that I agree with them.
The level of risk varies depending on how many people in your area are choosing not to vaccinate from certain diseases. Diseases such as the flu, whooping cough, rotavirus and a handful of others that I can’t even pronounce can be harmful and even deadly to an infant and are very much alive in many communities. Measles, mumps and chickenpox, have all been seen in the US recently, and are not vaccinated against till 12 months.
Why all the research?
I recently discovered at dinner that a friend of mine does not vaccinate her children due to allergies. As nonchalantly as they might have viewed the situation, my heart was racing. I was having brief flashbacks to all the times their young girls interacted with Olive. I know that might sound a little extreme, but I was oblivious about vaccinations and so I freaked out.
No, I didn’t go all psycho mom right there at the dinner table and I didn’t question their parental decisions, because ultimately, we are all trying to do the best for our children.
I went home and started researching.
I didn’t know what to do or what the future was for my new friend and me. At Olive’s 9-month appointment I took the plunge and talked to my doctor to see what the risks truly are.
I’m just going to be upfront, the risks are scary. Obviously, my child contracting a disease that could kill her is the biggest issue. The fact that everything is so incredibly unknown is what worries me the most. You have no idea if your child is at risk unless you have a magical way of discovering how many people in your community are unvaccinated and how many are currently carrying a disease. My doctor told me to use my judgement, however, do know that an infant is at a high risk as opposed to my older children who are fully vaccinated.
How do you have this conversation with a friend without questioning their parenting, sounding judgmental, or shaming them?
I honestly don’t have a perfect answer besides to speak to your friend with love and compassion.
Let them know that until your infant is fully vaccinated you would like to stick to only doing double dates. There is absolutely no reason to dance around the subject and shut people out only because they have a different opinion than you do.
Instead of judging let’s try loving.