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15 Things We Need to Stop Saying in the Vaccine Debate

admin September 2, 2014

vaccine debate

Image by USACE Europe District

The vaccine debate is real.  And it’s rough.

I, for one, am sick of it.  (The ‘rough’ part.)  I want all parents to have access to important information on vaccines.  I want all parents to know that they have a choice.  I want all parents to feel confident with their decision and not be shamed, whether they choose all, some, or no vaccines.  It’s your choice.  And no one else’s.

Unfortunately, a lot of harsh things are said when people are arguing about vaccines.  And it’s not okay anymore.  You guys hear me?  I’m declaring that over.  Right now.  Everyone is free to ask questions, share information, and debate respectfully, but no more rudeness.  No more shame.  Over!!

In that vein, I’m sharing some things that people need to stop saying.  (This post is in honor of my live appearance on the TODAY show, which is happening tomorrow in the 9 AM hour, EST.  You can watch me talk about why some parents choose to opt out of vaccines and why I believe in choice!  We call this movement Vaccine Choice, not anti-vax.  Make sure you say it right!)

By the way, many of these things have been said to parents who do vaccinate, too, and that’s not okay either!

#1: “You don’t love your children if you don’t vaccinate.”

Get this straight, right now: all parents, regardless of the decision that they make about vaccines, love their children.  All of them only want what is best.

We may disagree on what that means.  We will make different choices.  But it is never ever okay to say that parents don’t love their children because they made a different choice than you did.

#2: “Shame on you.”

What good is trying to shame someone else, really?  Do you think that someone else will listen to you or change their position if you make them feel ashamed enough?  Most people will just get angry, and if anything, feel even more set in their ways.  They certainly won’t turn to you for information.  Plus, it’s downright rude.  Just don’t do it.

#3: “You’re putting your child at risk.”

There is no way to eliminate all risk.  Choosing to vaccinate is a risk (an immediate one).  Choosing not to vaccinate is a risk (a future one).  Getting out of bed in the morning is a risk.  Anything at all places your child at risk.

Of course, vaccines are not the only way to protect children from serious illness, either.  Parents are the ones who are best equipped to know their child, their situation, and choose if or when their children should be vaccinated, or how else they should be protected.  Parents make this call, and no one else.

#4: “You’re putting MY child at risk.  You should vaccinate to protect babies/elderly/immunocompromised.”

This is really two separate arguments.  First, if you believe that not vaccinating places your vaccinated child at risk, then why do you trust vaccines?  If they work, then you don’t have anything to fear.  Second, babies, the elderly, and immunocompromised people are at risk (potentially) from anyone who is sick.  Whether they are vaccinated or not, and no matter which illness they have.  It’s up to the parents of those people (or the people themselves) to protect them, not ask everyone around them to do it.

Finally, we don’t ask others to make medical decisions that could be risky to benefits ourselves.  We each make the medical decisions we feel are right for us, and take on the risk we feel comfortable taking.  We can’t, and shouldn’t expect, to control what others do.

#5: “Mothers in third world countries would be grateful to have vaccines.”

Mothers in third world countries would be grateful to have clean water.  Plentiful food.  Access to medical care.  A safe place to live.  And these things are much more necessary to life — especially clean water — than vaccines.  A person literally cannot live without safe water.  People can and do live without vaccines all the time.

Plus, those mothers in the third world don’t have any way of doing research.  They don’t have access to information.  All they know about vaccines is what they’re told.  If doctors come into their villages and say, “You need these.  They’re amazing.  They’ll save your child’s life.”  Of course they are going to want them!  They don’t have access to another viewpoint!  (Of course, if their children then come down with the measles caused by the vaccine, or polio caused by the vaccine — which has happened — they won’t exactly feel so grateful.)

I personally feel privileged to have access to science and information, as well as the ability to make my own decisions about my family’s medical care.  I wouldn’t want to live in a dangerous third world country and have to accept what I was told because I simply didn’t have options.

#6: “You just don’t really understand science or you would vaccinate.”

This is so unnecessary.  It’s an elitist point of view.  The only way that a person would opt out or disagree is if they’re too stupid to get it?  No.

There are parents on both sides who might have made a choice because they didn’t look into the facts much — maybe their friend or their doctor told them to, so they just went along with it.  But there are lots of people who’ve done incredible amounts of research and have come to a careful conclusion.

Saying that their research “doesn’t count” because they don’t have a science background is just insulting — and wrong.  People are smart enough to do their own research.  They truly are.  A piece of paper that says so makes no difference.  (Plus, there are lots of doctors and other medical professionals who question vaccines or don’t vaccinate!  And they clearly understand the science.)

#7: “You should listen to what doctors tell you; they went to medical school and you didn’t.”

This is an extension of the last point.  Having been to medical school doesn’t make you an expert on vaccines (the average pediatrician or family-practice doctor — the doctors most people are getting their advice from — get only a few hours of education on vaccines).  Plus, a good doctor should serve as a guide.  The doctor should offer his/her opinion, allow the parents to do their own research, ask questions, and ultimately make their own choices.

You are the parent.  You make the choice.  Not the doctor.  Whatever happens to your child — if they’re unlucky enough to be injured by a vaccine, or get sick with a serious illness — who is responsible?  You are.  Not the doctor.

#8: “Just walk through a graveyard and see all the babies that died 100 years ago because we didn’t have vaccines.”

This is not a factual argument.  It’s fear-based, and it’s not even accurate.

Many of those babies died because we didn’t have access to basic medical care.  Water could be contaminated and babies could get dysentary or cholera (neither of which we vaccinate for).  Doctors didn’t wash their hands before helping a woman in child birth or before treating patients, which spread infection more easily.  There are a whole bunch of reasons why babies died more frequently 100 years ago, most of which are not related to vaccines.

(In fact, death rates for most diseases had fallen by more than 99% before the introduction of vaccines.)

#9: “My family member died of/was disabled by __________.  They would have loved to have vaccines!”

Any death or disability is tragic.  Absolutely.

But.  There’s no guarantee that vaccines would have prevented the death or injury.  Vaccines themselves don’t come without risks (yes, people can and do die from vaccination, too).  I understand it’s really hard if you know someone personally who was disabled or killed by an illness, but this is a purely emotional reaction, not a scientific one.

We need to keep this debate about the available science.  There’s always, always, always a small chance of something bad happening (see the part about ‘risk’ above), but we must balance risk vs. benefit.

#10: “Parents who don’t vaccinate are just listening to that debunked 1998 study or Jenny McCarthy.”

I pretty much stop listening when someone says this, honestly.  It shows they have no idea what this issue is actually about.

For the record — the 1998 study was on bowel disease in children with autism and had nothing to do with vaccines.  They found the MMR-strain of measles in the bowel of some children and noted that some of the parents said that their children “changed” after receiving the MMR.  They concluded that the issue should be researched further, to see if there was a possible link.  They did not say that the MMR caused autism.  Ever.  And the original results have been replicated…more than 25 times.  (A bunch of us in the vaccine choice movement have actually spoken to Dr. Wakefield…myself included.  Trust me, that’s not what the study was about.)

As for Jenny McCarthy, I know her son has autism.  I know she believes it was caused by vaccines.  I know that she has used biomedical treatments to help him recover.  I know that she is a proponent of “green the vaccines.”  I know basically nothing else.  No mother makes such an important medical decision based on “what celebrities are doing.”  Maybe she chooses an outfit for her child or how to style their hair because a celebrity did it, but not something this crucial.  This is just a dismissive saying, it’s clearly wrong, and it’s said to shut down the discussion.

#11: “The CDC/AAP/etc. wouldn’t recommend it if it wasn’t safe.”

Eh…I’m just going to mention smoking and cocaine.  The medical establishment used to recommend those, too, and we now know they are harmful.  Sometimes, the medical establishment is wrong.  Maybe they mean well, maybe they are making a recommendation based on how they interpret the available evidence, but our understanding of these issues evolves constantly.  Just because they currently recommend it doesn’t make it right.

#12: “Vaccines are the only way to protect your children; without them they WILL die, become deaf, become sterile, etc.”

Vaccines are not the only way to protect your children.

You need to know that whether or not you vaccinate your children, they could get sick.  If they’re vaccinated, they could be injured by vaccines.  There are no guarantees.  These dire outcomes are rare, but they are possible.

But — they are rare.  

Young boys can’t become sterile from mumps.  Only post-pubescent males can become sterile, and that’s really rare (mumps doesn’t usually go to the testicles at all; if it does, it usually affects just one side; and if it affects both sides, usually there is some fertility remaining, even if it’s reduced.  True sterility is exceedingly rare).

Most people won’t go deaf from mumps or measles.  1 in 10,000 or fewer (of cases).  And fewer than 1 in 10,000 typically die.  To say it “will” happen is absolutely false.

#13: “You have to vaccinate to go to school.”

You do not have to vaccinate to go to school.

48 states (all except MS and WV) offer religious exemptions.  About 20 states also offer philosophical exemptions.  All 50 offer medical exemptions, but they’re harder to get in some states than others.  Most of the time, all you need to do is sign a waiver and your child can attempt public school without some or all vaccines.

It’s your choice, not the state’s.

#14: “Vaccines do not cause autism.  End of story.”

Ah, not quite.  Or, well, not at all.

It’s recently come out that a key study that the CDC used to “disprove” a link between vaccines and autism was falsified.  Statistically significant data was omitted from the results.  That data showed a 340% increase in autism among African-American boys when they received the MMR prior to 36 months of age, instead of after.  One of the lead researchers, Dr. Thompson, admitted this in a public statement.

It’s also true that a number of other studies show links between ingredients in vaccines and autism, or similar neurological disorders.

It’s also true that we’ve done very few studies on the link, the studies have been (generally) poorly designed, and that we have never done a vaccinated vs. unvaccinated study.  This question is far from settled, but from the evidence we do have (scientifically and anecdotally)…we can say, yes, vaccines do cause autism.

Not everyone, obviously.  Certain people are more at risk than others.  But just like we say that cigarettes cause lung cancer (even though many people who smoke do not develop lung cancer), vaccines cause autism.

#15: “We were vaccinated, and we’re all fine.”

The 1980s schedule and the 2014 schedule aren’t even remotely the same. 

Most of the vaccines in the 1980s contained quite a few more antigens and no adjuvants (aluminum).  Most of them have been removed from the market (OPV polio and DTP definitely have).  The schedule consisted of MMR (1 dose), DTP (5 doses), and OPV (4 doses).  All in all, children received around 10 shots in their first 6 years, covering just 7 diseases.  Up to 4 different diseases are addressed at just one visit (DTP + OPV).

Today, vaccines contain aluminum.  Children receive up to 6 shots in one visit.  They receive 36 shots in their first 6 years, covering 14 different diseases.  Up to 8 different diseases are addressed at one visit.

These are just not the same!  Saying “we were fine” does not mean our kids will be fine, with this vastly increased schedule.

Plus, honestly?  We’re not fine.  Many people have autoimmune disorders.  Many people are overweight.  A lot of people have allergies.  A lot of people have learning disabilities.  A lot of people (1/3) have cancer!  I don’t know about your definition of “fine,” but it’s not mine.  We don’t fully know if these things are related to vaccines or not, but I’d investigate that a lot more closely before we declare they’re not related and keep vaccinating so heavily.  No other country does it, and no other country has rates of these chronic illnesses quite as high as we do.

I’m not here to tell you that you shouldn’t vaccinate.  Any choice comes with its own set of risks.  I am here to make sure that I share accurate information, including the information that isn’t easy to find.  I want parents to know what’s out there before they make this very important decision.

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What things do you think we should stop saying in the vaccine debate?

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  1. Love this, though it does have an anti-vaccine vibe to it (being on a modern alternative mama page, I just don’t see you being pro vax). Not really neutral, however again, I love this. It absolutely burns me when people want to insult those who delay, selective, non vaccinate, or vaccinate on the regular schedule.

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  2. Kathy, so looking forward to your presence on the Today Show! Thank you for posting this and addressing what needed to be addressed. Many of us at the Thinking Moms Revolution appreciate what you are doing, and we are here to support you! Thank you for supporting vaccine choice, regardless of whether someone chooses to use them or not. That is what it is all about. Kudos for putting it out there concisely and lovingly!!!!

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  3. Adjuvants in vaccines can hurt and kill in itself why do drug companies have to use aluminum or mercury? Silver is said to not damage and can actually benefit the body. Also why do vaccines have to be given via a shot? This route of transmission is said to not be natural wouldn’t a pill form be safer?

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  4. Thanks Kate for another well written article. I really hope it inspires parents to research more about vaccines. I’m so very glad I did. It was not an easy decision to make but every year that goes by and every bit more we learn about vaccines I’m glad I made it over 10 years ago. Both my boys are vax-free and exceedingly healthy. We’re not perfect by any means in terms of food, etc… but I do the best I can. Thanks again!

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  5. Since this post is about being civil, I will be. I do, however, have to point out several flaws in what you wrote:

    First, you are absolutely right that both vaccinating and not vaccinating carries risk. What you are wrong about, though, is implying that those risks are the same, which you do by calling both “rare”. Vaccine “injuries” — real ones — are ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE rarer than serious complications from the diseases they represent.

    Try this analogy: you can be injured by wearing a seatbelt. If you don’t fall within a certain amount of the average size of an adult, wearing a seatbelt can be dangerous, because the shoulder belt won’t be positioned correctly across your torso. The seatbelt could also potentially get stuck, trapping you in the car when you would be best off getting out. And of course, the seatbelt could simply malfunction. But NONE of these things are even remotely as likely to happen as the seatbelt saving your life. Not even close. So, do you wear a seatbelt? Even though in some rare circumstances, it can be dangerous? Of course. Because chances are, wearing it will keep you safer than not wearing it.

    Ditto getting vaccines. Yes, a serious side effect from measles or chickenpox is rare. But they happen, and they happen a LOT more often than “vaccine injuries”.

    Second point: you are incorrect in saying that a vaccinated vs. non-vaccinated study has never been done. Here it is: http://www.aerzteblatt.de/int/archive/article?id=80869. Here’s the conclusion: “The prevalence of allergic diseases and non-specific infections in children and adolescents was not found to depend on vaccination status.” In other words, for diseases not related to the vaccine, there was no difference between the vaccinated and non-vaccinated children.

    Third point: in re #14, nothing of the sort has recently come out. The data that was left of out the study was done so for sound reasons; there were no shenanigans going on, and to hint darkly that there were is simply foolish. Also, Hooker’s “reanalysis” is fatally flawed in many ways and does not show what it purports to show. There are many critiques of his “study” readily available online. Briefly, he took data from one kind of study and interpreted it like it was a different kind of study, which is a statistical no-no; he used a method prone to false positives; and he sliced the data so thinly that he didn’t have sufficient numbers of subjects to draw any real conclusions. Not to mention his obvious conflict of interest.

    Heck, your own statement about what Hooker’s study shows is wrong! You say, “That data showed a 340% increase in autism among African-American boys when they received the MMR prior to 36 months of age, instead of after.” This is wrong on two counts: it was not 340% — a “risk factor” of 3.4 represents a 240% increase, not 340% (if you don’t see why, think about what percent increase a risk factor of 1, i.e. the norm, represents — it isn’t 100%, it is 0%). And second, it was 31 months, not 36 — he had to change the range because there weren’t enough subjects in it. You might think these are minor points, but personally, I think if you are going to use data from a study, you have an obligation to at least get it right. And it just goes to show how data starts to morph to mean what people want it to mean.

    Vaccines do not cause autism. This has never, ever been shown in any study that has withstood critical review. If you want pro-vax to stop telling anti-vaxers “shame on you” and other things, then I would suggest that you stop repeating the same tired, thoroughly debunked claims.

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  6. I’m with you that there are a lot of things being thrown around the vaccine debate that are NOT okay and need to stop. However, this post is pretty lopsided to suggest that only parents in favor of vaccinating are the problem. And that’s simply not true. If you support all parents having the right to decide what is best for themselves, then this post needs to aim for a more balanced approach. Many of the statements you make here “if you love your child, you’d vaccinate” can actually be said of the other side. As you mentioned, this discussion subject is ROUGH, but that’s because of problems on both sides.

    It’s the same as the circumcision debate; both sides have medical documentation and science backing them up (allegedly) but the uninformed folks caught in the middle are turned off from doing any research because people on both sides stress agendas rather than education.

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  7. Well stated on all levels. Most of all respect and tolerance for other people’s personal choices. Bottom line; what is someone else’s business is none of any other person’s business. Again, get it right, my business is none of yours and yours is none of my business. Love it!

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  8. Thank you. A wonderfully worded article.

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  9. I like your thoughts 🙂 Do babys not recieve the oral polio vaccine anymore? I began to vaccinate my child before I really wised up and began trusting my own intuition and researching the issue’s myself, and they had given my baby an oral solution when getting vaccines that the doctor said was the polio vaccine. This was only 4 years ago. What do they do now?

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  10. It’s been a far gone conclusion that aluminum and mercury cause neurological damage. Just because the damage caused in a person is not labeled Autism, does not make it any less damaging,

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  11. I’m pro-vaccine but I have to say I agree with most of your list. You can’t make an argument based opinion and emotion and then turn around and criticize the other side for the same thing. With respect, I’d like to keep 3, 4, 6, and 14 because they are just the truth. They may sound mean but that doesn’t make them less true. You are entitled to your opinion and to your choice but you are not entitled to your own facts. Sorry.

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  12. Kate,
    re point #14, it turns out that the “cdc whistleblower” is just a guy at the CDC doing
    his job, and the new study you’re talking about has been taken down “because of serious concerns about the validity of its conclusions”. (See http://retractionwatch.com/2014/08/27/journal-takes-down-autism-vaccine-paper-pending-investigation/ ). So, once again, there doesn’t seem to be much evidence for the vaccines-cause-autism theory.
    – Dan

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  13. Although everyone is entitled to their opinions, I would like to request the same respectful treatment from those who choose to not vaccinate their children towards those who do. I have vaccinated all three of my children. No learning disabilities. No adverse effects. No allergies. Rarely ill. I’m not saying adverse reactions don’t happen. But in our case, they have not. However, I have been made to feel like less of a mother by others because I have chosen to vaccinate my children. It goes both ways.

    However, as someone in the medical profession, I am disappointed by the online information posted by so many who oppose vaccinations. They mention studies, but fail to adequately cite reliable sources. It’s like reading opinion articles only. This is very frustrating for an industry that is based upon science. Additionally, the concept of herd immunity has been completely overlooked. And the third world countries? Ask the individuals who were the most recent victims of polio in Syria whether or not they are grateful for a vaccine. And the clean water bit is true. Polio is a water-borne illness. If there were clean water supplies, then yes, Polio wouldn’t be a concern. But what should those in Syria do? A war-torn country, ruled by extremists? Is anyone going to come and purify their water any time soon?

    My point is that you cannot vilify all vaccinations. The argument needs to be put into context, as do all arguments. So as you appear on the Today show, please try to remember that those of us who do vaccinate their children, love them too.

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  14. Yes, we all could be hit by a car tomorrow. This is not a reason to opt out of vaccinations. Other risks in the world do not lessen the risk of disease. If that risk can be prevented, then it you should use all modern tools. And yes mothers in third world countries do want them along with clean water and food.

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  15. Excellent article…thank you. (On a side note, cigarettes do not cause lung cancer. Yes, smoking increases the risk of lung cancer, but it is not the cause.)

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  16. I love the fact that someone is stepping up, I am in Canada and things are a little different here…
    But it is what it is! Why can’t we just support one another as parents and let it be. If people would just relax for a second and do the research on what sugar does to a child – would some parents stop giving them fast food and pop the risk for many future problems could be in the cupboard. The risk for health problems is every where, whether you vaccinate is only one debate. The one thing no one should debate is the love between Parent and Child regardless of choice. Interesting article and very informative!!!

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  17. Seems like you have a lack of some basic understanding on how vaccination works and the concept of herd immunity. Unvaccinated children do pose a risk to other children. Depending on the vaccine there is approximately 15% of the population that will not develop antibodies even when vaccinated. Ever know a kid growing up who had chicken pox twice? There is also great risk to infants who are too young to be vaccinated for certain things, pertussis for example. So when you unvaccinated child gets pertussis and exposes an infant that infants life has not been put in danger.

    And religious exemptions are just that religious exemptions, not outs for parents with a philosophical disagreement with the state. They are also becoming harder to obtain in many states as courts have permitted sincerity tests. So in many states (including my home state of NY) you can be asked to write up what your religious beliefs are and if the district believes you are disingenuous then you will be denied. Happens all the time. ANd it’s not really a choice it’s public health law.

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  18. My sentiments on the issue of vaccinating and not vaccinating is that it is too much for me. I have had issues with anxiety and trying to research something that for every one reliable source there seems to be twenty sources making their own assumptions and putting out false information. Most seem to rely on some form of fear mongering to make a point. I can’t take it. I feel my anxiety start to creep up just trying to narrow down the honest and real information. What might eventually give my kids cancer or other health complications…it could be any number of things, some which I will never see coming no matter how much research I do. I have to focus on the things that I know for sure I can control like keeping them warm in the winter, making sure they don’t go hungry, and giving them the giggles.

    Just reading this article I could feel myself becoming more anxious. I love my kids tremendously and for their sake I can’t think about the “what ifs.” It spirals me back into a world of panic attacks and that is good for no one in my family.

    My own personal take away from this article was not it is my choice what to do for my kids, but my fault for whatever negative happens as a result. It feels like somehow I now have to be as knowledgeable as a medical expert and research as much as a scientist at a cancer institute just to be able to make health decisions for my children. There is a reason people major in certain fields, it is so the rest of us can take their advice and not have to major in everything. Being a parent is tough enough and I would like to quit blaming parents for not knowing everything. I know I don’t speak for everyone, but my mind can’t take it.

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  19. […] 3. Herd Immunity is just a hypothesis. One of the reasons I vaccinated Wriggly was because I thought I was doing a service to those who immune systems are compromised or weakened…but if the vaccines work…then why would my unvaccinated child, be a risk to your vaccinated child? Second, babies, the elderly, and immunocompromised people are at risk (potentially) from anyone who is sick. Whether they are vaccinated or not, and no matter which illness they have. It’s up to the parents of those people (or the people themselves) to protect them, not ask everyone around them to do it. Here […]

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  20. I was reading this article and it was pretty interesting. Just be aware that this article, no matter how often you say, “be nice to both choices” does not make this a heavily biased arguement. Maybe try adding things that anti vaccination people say. Because every one of these is one sided with your own information given. Doing your own research does not make you a professional on the subject, and doctors are professionals. Their advice should be valued.

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  21. Dear Kate . . . Thank you for your article which reflects much of how I feel about the vaccine issue. To your point #15, I add my concern about the “compounding” effect of vaccines. By that I mean that young parents of today who were born in the 70’s and 80’s received more vaccines than those of us born in the 50’s; and as you have stated, many of them are “not fine” and are dealing with a variety of chronic health challenges at a young age. Now they are giving birth to children who are receiving even more vaccines. Only time will tell what kind of health impact that will have. Being a parent is not easy and one’s decision to vaccinate (or not) is one that should only be made after researching both the pros and the cons. An informed choice should be respected by health care professionals, well-intentioned family, friends and those who make a different choice. Despite our different choices, we need to focus on our sameness — we all want what’s best for our children. The “WAR” mentality (“We Are Right”) doesn’t get us anywhere. Like you, I am a firm believer in vaccine choice and I have started the Vaccine Choice Prayer Community to encourage both sides of the issue to pray, “to protect the rights of those who choose not to vaccinate and for safer, more ethical vaccines for those who choose to vaccinate.” I invite you and your readers to join the Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/vaccinechoiceprayercommunity/. VCPC website is http://www.vaccinechoiceprayercommunity.org. God bless and take care . . . Jeanette

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  22. You say you’re pro choice, but this whole article was about pro-vaccination people being rude to anti-vaccination people. Just another biased article that does nothing for us mommas’ caught in the middle. Anyone know where I can find legitimate evidence-based research that hasn’t been “pulled from” or “debunked” or biased?!

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  23. It seems that many people will correlate vaccines with autism or other conditions no matter how many studies negate any link. I suppose it just goes into the faith category of belief counter to evidence.

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  24. Kate, thank you for taking a clear stance on this. It really has become an ugly battle of uninformed, or misinformed opinions. I do not know who Daniel Patrick Moynihan is, but I do love this quote I read from him — “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.” That is exactly what people are doing with the vaccine “debate.” It is something I have learned more and more with my own blog, which is I cannot spout out personal perceptions and opinions as fact, despite how strong they may be. I do not have the right. Keep it up, mama! 🙂

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  25. I loved your article and set the dvr to record. I just watched it and instead saw another gal talk about the importance of vaccines. Did I miss something?

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  26. Nicely written article. I agreed with most of what it had to say and was going to share it on Facebook. Unfortunately when you wrap it up by trying to “sell” a health package it kind of takes some of the power out of your article. People will read it as you have something to gain by them not vaccinating. I’m not saying this is the case I am just saying it could give the appearance that you have ulterior motives.

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  27. Wow, THANK YOU. It is so important to address these ubiquitous comments heard by every proponent of vaccine skepticism. It is so completely unnecessary to question someone’s parenting and ability to seek out their own information, especially considering I hear far less criticism of those who DO vaccinate. Parents who have chosen not to vaccinate their children tend to criticize the corporate medical establishment, not the parents who trust them. I totally respect that some parents might choose to vaccinate and I think it shows that they love their children as much as I do, because they believe it’s what’s best for their kids. But people tend to forget that we choose NOT to vaccinate because we want what’s best for our kids too! And yea, not because Jenny McCarthy said so. I’m not even sure who she is….
    Thanks for another great article!

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  28. My 3-yr-old cousin died from a rare liver cancer which the doctors believed to originate from his HepB vaccine. Last year my friend’s son had a sore and swollen knee after a MMR (I think) vaccine. These incidences make me question the “vaccines are great” line. My daughter has been vaccinated mostly according to schedule – some were delayed – but my 2 1/2 yr old son has not had any since about age 1. Still undecided … but just wanted to say that here is someone who’s had heartache from vaccines.

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  29. Kate, very interesting read.

    I am curious about one thing you said at the end of point #8:
    “(In fact, death rates for most diseases had fallen by more than 99% before the introduction of vaccines.)”

    Do you have a source you could share with me that gives more information on this? Thanks!

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  30. […] She is referring to the response to her recent article, 15 Things We Need to Stop Saying in the Vaccine Debate. […]

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  31. I believe the recent CDC Whistleblower story uncovered that african americans were 3.4 times likely to have autism. Not a 340% increase……

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  32. oops! nevermind!

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  33. Sadly i am too afraid to share this on my feed because i have not told anyone except my mother and my best friend that i stopped vaccinating my kids. Some of my friends have posted the scary mommy article and other very pro-vax articles so i know they are against not vaxing. I feel very much alone in this as i don’t know anyone personally who doesn’t vaccinate. But i am 100% sure this is the right choice for my children, i just wish i had done my research before i vaccinated my first 2 children, even though thank God, so far, they seem very healthy.

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  34. I think quite often in cases like this, people read the blog and only take what they want from it. I read it thoroughly and I saw where you were coming from. People that do not see you trying to take the middle ground must have been looking for something to get hung up on. As for all of squabbling about scientific research, well, it’s difficult for anyone to research scientific data unless they really know what they are doing. I would also like to point out that if you study medicine you will find out that studies are quite often proven wrong in the future. Many things that were proven as fact have been thrown out over the years.
    Kate wasn’t trying to say she was changing her view of wither or not vaccines are safe, or changing her mind about vaccinating her children. She was simply stating that we need to stop arguing. Apparently many of you missed the point. And this from a parent that has vaccinated her children.

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  35. Very well written.

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  36. […] debating Kate Tietje, at Modern Alternative Mama about the benefits and safety of vaccination. She started it. I responded, and two weeks ago, she wrote back. So I expected that the next time you heard from […]

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  37. I think what you’ve said here is true. I’ve never heard my family say to my in laws that if they cared about their kids they wouldn’t get their shots like my family has said to me about not vaccinating.

    We chose to delay vaccinations until a year old. My daughter’s first vaccination was 3 weeks shy of her first birthday. Except for a wee cold at around a month old she had not been ill. At 11 months and 1 week my healthy daughter had her first vaccination. 3 days later she was admitted to the hospital due to extreme vomiting and weight loss. She left the hospital a month later. Her lowest weight was 6lbs and she left the hospital after gaining to 13lbs. She was born 9lbs.

    They (hospital/medical profession) REFUSED to acknowledge a vaccination did that to her. She and I were tested for drugs, poisons, my mental status was checked. Tests that were painful and scary for her were ran on her. Even after calling the doctor that first day worried and letting her know my daughter had lost 3 lbs in less than 24hrs we were told she just had caught a flu.

    Every parent should have the right to make an informed choice. They should have all the information, they should not have scare tactics used on them, they should have information honestly provided and they should not be attacked for their choice. I know the risk of NOT receiving a vaccination but not everyone realizes the risk of receiving a vaccination.

    No parent wants to kneel next to a crib that holds an infant with plastic tubes and beeping machines. I’ve lived the fear and reality of praying daily that my child recovered from receiving a vaccination and I wouldn’t wish it on an enemy.

    ~Honey

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  38. The study you cited that claims a 340% increase among African Americans…. this was verified as FALSE information by snopes. You should verify these types of things before presenting them as fact. That is how misinformation is spread and fear mongering begins.

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  39. I thought you included things you said yourself and you where going to stop saying, but you just said things you don’t like people to tell you, which is fine.

    I think that the one of “You don’t understand the science” is a good thing, you don’t need to go to school to learn how the inmune system works, just buy a book on inmunology (Or many, you don’t have to limit yourself, I like the one from Dr. Roitt) And you will see how the inmune system and how vaccines will help it. The body is really fascinating, I would love if you saw how truly marvelous is the idea of vaccines is.

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  40. Thank you for this post! I, too, know so many people whose children have become “different” children after vaccines. These differences all look different from each other: autism, ocd, sensory processing disorder, apraxia. Did vaccines CAUSE these problems? Literally, no. But, through my research, I see a common thread of various chemical, drug, environmental, and food factors that work together to damage children’s guts. Our gut is our second brain. Each one of us has a certain capacity for all of the above negative factors, but when that capacity is reached, the “bucket” overflows…. damage is done. Vaccines can be the “straw that breaks the camel’s back”.

    I have several children who have experienced various drug/environmental factors from infancy and they struggle with behavior and learning problems. I shudder to think how much worse off each of them might be right now if we had made the decision to vaccinate. Would they talk? Would they recognize us?

    Like you said, each of us has to make our own decision for our own children. We also have a responsibility to research things for ourselves. There may not be many documented studies that prove vaccine dangers, and I believe there is a reason for that, but we all have common sense. Please be careful and do your research… physicians don’t know everything, and yes, they have been wrong before.

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  41. […] what am I referring to? Well, it’s not as old as the post I deconstructed yesterday, but it’s just as nonsensical. Worse, it’s a listicle, a particularly annoying […]

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  42. Well Kate, I totally understand your article and am in agreement. I am sorry that the big pharma hacks found your site and put a great deal of propaganda on here to discredit the IDEA of parent’s rights. If we do not have the individual right to our own bodies and our children’s bodies, we do NOT have freedom. People need to realize that the govt does not own us or our children. I am sad that a true understanding of liberty in this country is not mainstream anymore. Teach it to your children and grandchildren. We do NOT hate others who do not agree and we do NOT try to force others to do what we think is best. That is what our veterans and military gave us with their lives. Please remember that… I have worked with the elderly for 30 years and I will never forget a sweet old vet telling me, with tears in his eyes, that he would NEVER want it to become against the law to burn the American flag, because his buddies died for it and he fought for the right of every American to speak and think freely for themselves. God bless and Save America.

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  43. One more thing I would LOVE the provaxxer’s to stop saying, is that SHEDDING is a MYTH.

    Any hospital that treats cancer patients has a patient care fact sheet. John’s Hopkins, as well as St Jude’s Children’s states pretty clearly that patients should avoid contact with anyone who has recently had a LIVE VIRUS. THAT, my friends is all about shedding!!

    Great article!! 🙂

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  44. Love the article! Can be summed up easily for both sides of the debate – Mind your own business!

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  45. Great article, however California has now added a law that is literally more strict than Mississippi (the state with the lowest infant survival rate out of all the states). It goes into effect this month and takes away all rights to choose, except for a medical exemption, which are not easy to get, nor are they free.

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  46. Stop saying, “The science is settled” (similar to “End of story). It’s far from settled. About the only time you can use it would be from actual facts about past events. For example, the science is settled that vaccines cause injury and death to some. Go to CDC and VAERS for confirmation of this.

    And stop calling people who are pro informed choice, pro freedom, anti neurotoxin, etc., stop calling them antivaxx. If a pro-vaxx person wants everyone to get vaccinated, then an anti-vaxx person would want no one to get vaccinated. There may be a few of them, but almost no one.

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I’m Kate, mama to 5 and wife to Ben.  I love meeting new people and hearing their stories.  I’m also a big fan of “fancy” drinks (anything but plain water counts as ‘fancy’ in my world!) and I can’t stop myself from DIY-ing everything.  I sure hope you’ll stick around so I can get to know you better!

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