So, did you know that the world is absolutely terrifying? Well it is, and if you're a parent you probably know that already. I'm not just talking about big scary things like terror plots and violence and what has become this year's presidential election. Having children has shown me that even things you never thought could be scary, are scary; like grapes and the edges of coffee tables and even toys. Because the world is so fraught with dangers, even when parents "don't worry," they're still kind of worried. However, there are certain things that parents who vaccinate their kids don't worry about.
Now, there is a lot of information and misinformation about vaccines, and it is completely understandable that some parents (loving, thoughtful parents who only want their children to be happy and healthy) would encounter some of this cleverly disguised, or woefully misguided, misinformation and think "Goddamnit! First I have to worry about my kid falling into gorilla enclosures at the zoo and anchoring furniture to the wall and now you're telling me about neurotoxins in vaccines?! Screw this. We're out of here. My children and I are moving to the moon. We'll be moon farmers, growing moon moss in moon caves and we'll all be safe." But, the truth of the matter is that vaccines are safe, and they keep children even safer by protecting them (and others) from catching potentially deadly illnesses.
In fact, vaccination can provide a very-welcomed and oh-so necessary boatload of things we really don't have to worry about is parents. And when we feel compelled to worry about everything else, it's just as helpful to us as it is to our children. Here are the things vaccinating parents don't fret over:
A Slew Of Serious Diseases
Polio, diptheria, rubella: these are all potentially deadly diseases (and often were in days of yore) that parents who vaccinate their children really don't have to worry about. To be fair, the CDC admits that no vaccine is 100% guaranteed, but I'll take 99% effective and not lose too much sleep over that remaining 1%. My children have a better chance of being struck by lightening than they have of contracting polio. Incidentally, I don't worry too much about the lightening, either.
Former doctor, Andrew Wakefield admits that his 1998 study linking the MMR vaccine to autism was falsified. Wakefield has since been stripped of his medical license. Moreover, study after study conducted by not-discredited scientists have shown that vaccines do not cause autism. The fear that vaccines cause autism is unfounded. Moreover, most vaccinating parents worry a lot more about their children dying of tuberculosis if un-vaccinated than becoming autistic if they are.
After conducting a study on mercury levels in food and drugs in the late 90s, the CDC (along with the AAP) requested vaccine manufacturers remove the compound thiomersal, which contains mercury, from all vaccines. Manufacturers obliged. Even though thiomersal was proven safe after changes to vaccines were made (the mercury in thiomersal, unlike mercury found in some fish or 17th century millinery practices, does not stay in and subsequently poison the human body), the ingredient was not reintroduced into any vaccines children routinely receive, with the exception of some multi-dose flu vaccines.
Incidentally, I'm pretty sure Freddie Mercury, my shimmering rock-and-roll god, was also free of harmful mercury. (I will use literally any excuse to post a gif of Freddie Mercury. You're welcome.)
Getting Other People Sick
I mean, of course we are considerate of the fact that all people, even vaccinated people, are bubbling cauldrons of germs and disease, but those of us who ensure our kids get all their shots have less to worry about. Despite claims to the contrary, regarding vaccinated people being more likely to spread the illnesses they seek to fight (I'm not going to link to those sites, but trust me they're out there and you can Google "vaccines spread disease" if you really want to see for yourself), the short answer is: vaccines do not spread disease. The longer answer, if you're interested, is, "The minority of routine vaccinations made with live but weakened virus or bacteria could theoretically spread the disease for a short period after being administered, but even then it's mild and extremely unlikely."
The best news is that, after that period after being immunized, even that ridiculously small risk goes away and your child will not catch or spread the disease to anyone else, including babies too young to be vaccinated, the immunocompromised, or those who for whatever reason are unable to be vaccinated.
Travelling Outside The U.S.
While certain diseases are mainly unheard of in the U.S. (thanks vaccines and herd immunity!) this is not true of other places around the world. As such, even if one is not at risk for, say, tuberculosis in their suburban home in Connecticut, they would not be so lucky in Russian or the Philippines. Additionally, in some places, it's not only a good idea to be fully vaccinated (and to snag a few extra that aren't routinely given in the U.S.) but it may be a requirement in order to gain entry into a specific country, the first place. Parents who vaccinate don't worry about how a decision to forgo these inoculations might affect their child's ability to see the world.
The Efficacy Of Vaccines
Because vaccines work. That's really all there is to say about it.
Government Mind Control/DNA Collection/Whatever Conspiracy Theory You Saw Someone Else Post On Facebook About Vaccines
There are so many vaccine conspiracy theories out there (again, I'm not going to link to any of them but Google "vaccine conspiracy theories" if you don't believe me). From mind control to DNA theft to infecting children with cancer and HIV; there are a lot of very, very strange ideas about why vaccines are administered. However, a quick glance at illness (and mortality) rates since the discoveries of routine vaccines lead us to the most likely reason doctors, governmental agencies, and scientists all recommend inoculations: they stop the contraction and spread of diseases. So, speaking personally, I'm not terribly worried that Obama has gathered my children's DNA to make clones of them to fight in Biblically prophesied wars, or whatever.
Aborted Fetal Tissue
While some vaccines are cultured with human cell lines, and while some of those cell lines originated from electively aborted fetuses (decades ago, incidentally) most are not. Furthermore, those abortions were not performed specifically to gather cells to create vaccines. So, parents who vaccinate aren't worried about abortion providers coaxing unwilling women into ending pregnancies because they're motivated by mad scientists paying them for fetal tissue. It's not a thing.
The Zombie Apocalypse
Because we all know that's going to be cured by a vaccine, right? I mean, how could it not? As soon as the powers that be concoct a vaccine that will fight the walking dead, I'll venture out and the whole family will get it. So, let's hear it for vaccines, everyone! They're the only thing standing between you becoming a zombie one day!