To vaccinate or not to vaccinate — that has become the question on many parents' minds. Almost everyone has a strong opinion as to which is in the best interest of their children and is willing to argue their side fiercely. It seems the anti-vaxx argument has come under more direct fire, as this mom may go to jail for not vaccinating her child. How did it get to this point? The mom was reportedly concerned that her child was receiving too many shots at one time, despite expert advice that has long said that combining vaccinations is perfectly safe.
Rebecca Bredow is the Michigan mother, according to Scary Mommy, who has stated that she would rather go to jail than follow through with a court-mandated vaccination schedule, a decision that comes across to many as both reckless and extreme. When discussing the issue with ABC News, Bredow said that the believes it should be her "personal choice" whether or not to get her son vaccinated. "I would rather go to jail for standing up for what I believe in than vaccinate my child," she told the outlet.
Bredow is reportedly fighting against her ex-husband, James Horne, over when and how to vaccinate their son. She told ABC News that her ex initially agreed to her plan to space out the boy's vaccinations, but later changed his mind and has asked that he be fully vaccinated. The issue was escalated to legal heights and an Oakland County court has reportedly ruled in Horne's favor. Bredow has since been instructed to vaccinate her son in the "fullest extent medically allowed" by Wednesday this week — an order that would require her son to receive eight vaccines over the course of just a few days, according to ABC News.
ABC News also reported that the vaccination argument has long been raging between Bredow and the courts. Bredow was legally ordered to vaccinate her son in November 2016 and almost a year has lapsed without her following through. It is now up to a judge to decide what Bredow's punishment will be, including potential jail time. Bredow told The Washington Post that it is an issue of religious conviction, though her beliefs were not explained, and she will not back down:
I can’t give in against my own religious belief. This is about choice. This is about having my choices as a mother to be able to make medical choices for my child. I haven’t had the opportunity to have my side heard. Most likely, I’ll be going to jail on Wednesday.
The overwhelming data behind vaccine safety and effectiveness is not enough to convince all parents of their importance. Some states allow such parents to refrain from vaccinating their children — including Bredow's own state of Michigan. According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, parents can fill out a waiver to opt out of vaccines for both medical and non-medical reasons. It is unclear how Horne's stance on the issue impacts that legal loophole and what role the state courts will play in Bredow's case.
When talking to WXYZ Detriot, Bredow shared that it is the combination of vaccines that most concerns her. "It wasn’t until they started grouping them together that I backed off of doing vaccines," she told the outlet.
While as many as eight vaccines over the course of a few days is intimidating, the CDC has stated that there is no harm in combining children's vaccines:
Scientific data show that getting several vaccines at the same time does not cause any chronic health problems. A number of studies have been done to look at the effects of giving various combinations of vaccines, and when every new vaccine is licensed, it has been tested along with the vaccines already recommended for a particular aged child. The recommended vaccines have been shown to be as effective in combination as they are individually.
In fact, such a vaccination schedule comes with two advantages:
First, children should be given their vaccines as quickly as possible to give them protection during the vulnerable early months of their lives. Second, giving several shots at the same time means fewer office visits. This saves parents time and money, and can be less traumatic for the child.
These combined factors lead both the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the American Academy of Pediatrics to recommend that parents get all routine childhood vaccines on time. Fears associated with vaccination are not backed up with scientific evidence. "Personal choice" aside, properly vaccinating children protects them from dangerous disease and enables them to be around other children safely.
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