I, for one, am someone who questions everything. Just ask my long-suffering father, my exhausted professors, or poor Mrs. Duncan, my 10th grade English teacher who had the unenviable task of preparing me for the Connecticut Mastery Test. (Sorry, Mrs. Duncan.) But one thing I never questioned, not for an instant, was whether I was going to vaccinate my children. That was an unequivocal yes. Vaccines have been proven safe and effective time and time and time again. My oldest will be five in September, so in five short years I've heard a great many things every parent who vaccinates are tried of hearing. I mean, I know I'm not alone.
Despite getting a ton of media attention and growing numbers, the anti-vaccination movement is still a vast minority among American parents. Most children are fully vaccinated, per Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations and, as such, diseases that once killed thousands upon thousands of people are largely kept at bay. Still (and sadly) several of these once nearly eradicated diseases are on the rise due to increasing numbers of parents opting their children out of routine inoculations. Measles, mumps, whooping cough, and chicken pox: all preventable, all of which can lead to severe complications or death even in otherwise healthy patients, and all returning. To put it mildly but bluntly, this sucks, and it's scary.
Because despite rantings to the contrary (I'm not going to link to them, but you can go ahead and Google if you're feeling like you need to raise your blood pressure for whatever reason), herd immunity works. Moreover, there are so many people who desperately rely on it. Even Dr. Sears, whose skeptical approach to vaccines has led to "Dr. Bob's Alternative Vaccine Schedule" (alternative to the CDC's schedule) admits the necessity of herd immunity, encouraging parents not to let neighbors know about their "alternative" plans lest too many people opting out damage this community immunity. In short: there is an admission that the continued existence anti-vax movement depends on the majority of people not joining in. While I've come across a great deal of maddening misinformation, there are a few key topics in this very noisy debate that I would literally pay money never have to hear again.