Moms Talk Q&A: Vaccines

Sound-off with our Moms Council about this week's hot topic: do you vaccinate or not and why?

Moms Talk is a new feature on Georgetown Patch that is part of a new initiative on our Patch sites to reach out to moms and families.

Georgetown Patch invites you and your circle of friends to help build a community of support for mothers and their families right here in Georgetown.

Each week in Moms Talk, our Moms Council of experts and smart moms and dads take your questions, give advice and share solutions.

Moms, dads, grandparents and the diverse families who make up our community will have a new resource for questions about local neighborhood schools, the best pediatricians, 24-hour pharmacies and the thousands of other issues that arise while raising children.

Moms Talk will also be the place to drop in for a talk about the latest parenting hot topic. Do you know of local moms raising their children in the Tiger Mother's way and is it the best way? Where can we get information on local flu shot clinics for children? How do we talk to our children about the Tucson shootings? How can we help our children's schools weather their budget cutbacks?

So grab a cup of coffee and settle in as we start the conversation today:

Vaccines: Whether it's deciding whether or not to vaccinate your baby or debating the merits of the HPV vaccine required of young girls in the District, what do you think about vaccines? What choices have you made for your family? What do you think about people who choose differently?

Shaun Courtney March 02, 2011 at 03:00 PM
I think there is a "personal belief" opt out for public schools that was originally mostly used by religious groups, but is now also used by parents wary of vaccines. I've also heard of some private daycare facilities refusing children who are not vaccinated. I have all of my vaccines, I'm not sure what I'll do once I have kids, though at this point, I would guess my husband and I will decide to vaccinate.
Jennifer Perry March 02, 2011 at 03:03 PM
We also vaccinated our kids. For us the risk of getting these diseases was much greater than the potential side effects, especially when those studies are in question. Yes the original study that linked autism and vaccines was retracted (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/02/AR2010020203480.html) The resurgence of these vaccine-preventable diseases also puts those infants/babies who haven't had their complete set of boosters at risk as well. So not only are you making a decision for your own child but you impact all those kids around your child. (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/21/us/21vaccine.html) I had the same question as you Judith, where do the kids go to school who haven't been vaccinated? I know DCPS requires it.
Guiomar Barbi Ochoa March 02, 2011 at 03:11 PM
I know someone that had a hard time finding a pediatrician that would take her child because the parents refuse to vaccinate. They ended up finding a doctor about 60 miles away! Regardless of the autism retraction, I think parents are still scared. I also think there's a more puritan childrearing movement surging where some parents think it's better to keep the child "clear" of medicines, vaccines etc.
Doug Tallman March 02, 2011 at 05:35 PM
What troubles me about the vaccine debate is that so many basic questions are either not asked or not answered. For example, the Post story Jennifer cited doesn't provide the autism rate for the children who weren't vaccinated. If the number of parents who chose not to vaccinate could influence the occurrence of measles, that number also should affect the occurrence of autism. That answer would put a lot of fears to rest.
Ken Archer March 02, 2011 at 07:44 PM
We vaccinated our child, but are not dismissive of any parent's struggles or decision to vaccinate or not. I would encourage anyone to read The Vaccine Book by Sears. It's by far the most balanced book on the topic. Here are some questions that I continue to have, and hope will be answered by the time my children are making this decision for their kids. (1) Defenders of the official vaccine schedule say that vaccine concerns have been asked and answered. Given the many vaccines that have been removed from the market for safety reasons in the past, can these defenders assure us that no vaccines that are in the current schedule will ever be removed? (2) The increase in developmental disorders amongst children (setting autism aside) has skyrocketed over the same period of time as the increase in intensity of the vaccine schedule. If the environmental causes of this spike in developmental disorders is still unknown, how can vaccines be ruled out? The failure of public health officials to initiate proactive tracking of a large sample of children with different vaccination schedules has allowed these unknown questions to persist. Parents who don't vaccinate, or use alternative schedules, would gladly participate in any such tracking. Instead, public health officials have taken the path of stigmatizing parents with concerns as irresponsible, which has the perverse effect of lowering the vaccination rate by alienating them.


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