Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Why is it that it is easier to accept the decision of a parent to not vaccinate their child if you aren't close to them, but when they are very close to you and they tell you about the alternative literature they are reading and believe, and have decided against vaccination, it is something that is very hard to accept?

Yes, I respect the right of the parent to not give their children "pointy kisses." (See The Underwear Drawer's comic on Paediatricians.) It is just difficult when they accept the word of complete strangers over the opinion of those closest to them.


Brad S said...

Apart from the direct risk of infection for the non-immunized child, the public as a whole is affected. If you've studied immunology or are just aware of the need to be effective on the broad population, the few who choose against immunization actually put the rest of us at risk (disease can only persist if there are people that are not immune to it; think smallpox).

Personally, I think you should still be able to nominate whether or not your child receives the shots, but those of the medical world really need to advocate the importance, not only to the long-term health of the child, but the community as a whole.

The Girl said...

I should probably point out that I am also VERY pro-immunization. However, arguing with somebody in a crowded restaurant over lunch is never going to convince somebody to vaccinate their child, particularly when:
a) they read about how dangerous vaccinations are IN A BOOK (gasp!), and
b) I am just their friend
c) clearly "big pharma" already has me brainwashed/hypnotised.

If I were their doctor and they were my patient (or the parent of my patient) I would present the risks and benefits and try to convince them. I find it insulting when a friend believes some whacky book over my opinion (whereas it is easier to distance oneself from patients as they are not close personally), but they have their right to an opinion too.

Brad Smith said...

Yeah, they do have a right to an opinion and a choose to vaccinate or not, but that doesn't validate the truth behind their beliefs. As students of science, we know the relatively obscure risks of vaccination procedures and the utmost importance of broad community-wide vaccination for the effective dulling of potentially life-theating diseases. When they say to us that their child, and society, is better off not being vaccinated, their point of view is driven by misconceptions (animosity towards pharmaceutical companies who get rich, despite the fact that they produce vital medicines).