I WANT to be in the herd
I really do. I love the herd. I MISS the herd. I’d blindly followed medical advice my entire life and I wasn’t anxious to stop. After all, who knows better than your doctor, right?
Before my son was born in October of 2004, I separated myself from my parenting peers by recognizing vaccines aren’t compulsory. I had a choice when it came to vaccinations. The first choice I had was whether to inject my hours-old newborn — about whose immune system NO ONE knew ANYTHING — with Hepatitis B vaccine to “protect” him from contracting this disease. Even though every hospital worker was required to be vaccinated against Hep B, my wife didn’t have Hep B and I was fairly sure my young son wouldn’t be having sex or sharing drug needles in the hospital nursery, I was urged to give him this shot. How does that make any sense?? What rational reason could there possibly be to inject a newborn baby with foreign matter and hope his little body was equipped to handle it. WHY would I do this???
The first instinct of any father is to protect his child. In this scenario, I protected my child with information. I learned that beyond the Hep B vaccine my wife and I were confronted with in the delivery room, my son would be faced with 13 other vaccines and 35 other shots in his first 18 months outside the womb. I also learned that there was something called the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). This program was created by the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 — yeah, I didn’t know about that, either. The Vaccine Injury Compensation Trust Fund provides funding for the VICP via a $0.75 excise tax on each dose (disease that is prevented) of a vaccine. Get all that?
Since it was formed, the VICP has paid out more than $2.8 billion — BILLION, with a ‘B’ — to compensate vaccine-related injury or death claims for covered vaccines and more than $121.6 million to cover attorneys’ fees and other legal costs.
These discoveries terrified me. Why hadn’t my doctor told me that my son would be getting 35 shots before his second birthday? Why wasn’t I apprised of any of the risks of the vaccines or made aware of the staggering history of vaccine injuries? Worse, as a way of convincing me that the vaccination route was the only way for a loving parent to go, I was given fictionalized data about deaths from these terrible diseases. [Unfortunately for my pediatricians, I’d also learned about the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) database, a national passive reporting system established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that accepts reports on adverse events associated with vaccines licensed in the United States. A simple search of the VAERS database sussed out the truth behind the doctor’s propaganda.] What was my doctor’s motivation for such a scare tactic??
When my panic abated, I calmly begged my son’s pediatricians for compelling data from a healthcare standpoint to show it was careless for me NOT to vaccinate my son. My wife and I realized we’d be in a distinct minority if we chose to opt out of the vaccinations — and we really did want to remain in the herd — and our son’s doctors were none too sympathetic. When pressed, you know their #1 response in favor of vaccination? “Your son won’t be allowed in school without his shots.” You let me worry about that, I replied. MEDICALLY, why should we do this??
Plainly, I never got an answer. “Everybody else is doing it” wasn’t going to suffice when it came to my son. I looked carefully at the data for each of the diseases against which the pediatrician wanted to inoculate my baby and I laid out the information in front of them, basically saying, “There…convince me this information is all garbage and I should give my baby all of these shots anyway.” Each time I pleaded for some counter-intelligence, my request fell on deaf ears. At that time, the first vaccine on the super-fun vaccination schedule provided by the CDC was DTaP. “DTaP is a safer version of an older vaccine called DTP. DTP is no longer used in the United States.” Well what happens when we find out years from now that today’s vaccines weren’t safe?? And what if my child suffers a vaccine injury? How is diminished capacity measured? Lost potential??
In the most recently completed reporting period back then (I’ve still got most of my research), there was one case of diphtheria reported to CDC. 1. Nationwide. Tetanus? 25 cases. Reported cases of pertussis were considerably higher than diphtheria and tetanus, but the reported mortality rate for pertussis was still dwarfed by the number of reported serious adverse events reported to VAERS (and don’t forget — VAERS is a passive reporting system which means its data is likely significantly lower than actual) by more than 23:1!
Pediatricians have a duty to provide complete information to their patients’ parents before a course of action is followed. They’re not fulfilling that duty when they matter-of-factly announce that Bobby’s getting his shots today without disclosing the risks of those shots. They’re not fulfilling that duty when they don’t tell parents that children are routinely injured by vaccines. They’re not fulfilling that duty when they don’t tell parents that the VICP has paid victims nearly $3 billion to settle injury claims, an amount I’m sure would be higher if pediatricians told parents that the VICP existed.
I could go on and on, disease by disease, and elucidate why I decided the risks of the vaccines far and away outweighed the risks of the worst possible outcome (i.e. death) from not vaccinating. But I’ll leave you with this final salvo from one of my son’s pediatricians. After supplying a fresh batch of propagandized data that conveniently had no source, he wrote me that “the issue of statistics becomes mute [sic] if it is your child who develops a life threatening disease for which there was a readily available prevention. From my perspective, regret and remorse can not replace a vital thriving infant.”
I couldn’t understand how he could be so concerned about his patients developing “a life threatening disease for which there was a readily available prevention”, yet so cavalier about the documented risks associated with vaccines. But on his point that “regret and remorse can not replace a vital thriving infant”, I couldn’t agree more. I’d be devastated if I injected my child with a vaccine that killed him or gave him permanent brain damage and/or seizures.
Parents have a duty to do what’s best for their children. And that’s what I’ve always done.