I Don’t Care How Busy You Are – Vaccinate Your Kid Before You Make The Rest Of Us Sick

shutterstock_144787315__1392742241_142.196.167.223An alarming rate of parents are skipping vaccinations for their children – and it’s not necessarily for the reasons you may think. Many of these parents aren’t anti-vaxxers, they are just busy people who find it easier to check a box and skip a visit to the doctor. With some states making it just that easy to opt out of vaccinations, it’s not hard to understand why so many kids are falling behind on their schedules.

A 2013 study funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that ”an astonishing 49 percent of toddlers born from 2004 through 2008 hadn’t had all their shots by their second birthday, but only about 2 percent had parents who refused to have them vaccinated. They were missing shots for pretty mundane reasons—parents’ work schedules, transportation problems, insurance hiccups.” You may be inclined to think, horrible parenting but try to think for one moment about how hectic and jammed your schedule is. It’s not hard to believe that parents would check a box rather than juggle yet another obligation.

This is terrible, but understandable. How many times have you put off a visit to the dentist until you had a horrible toothache? How many times do you find yourself paying a bill at the last minute, filing your taxes on April 15 – the list goes on. People procrastinate. People fall behind. States making it so easy to opt out of another scheduling obligation are really failing their communities.

“In a 2012 study of vaccine exemption policies across the country, a team of researchers led by Saad Omer, a professor of public health at Emory University, found that of the 20 states that allowed personal belief exemptions for enrollment in a public school or child-care program, less than a third made it “difficult” to do so,” reports Mother Jones. Making it a little more difficult would include things like requiring parents to reapply for an exemption every year, requiring them to write letter or requiring a notarized letter of approval from a health care provider.

Omer’s research also shows that states that make it easy to get a non-medical exemption see a corresponding dip in numbers of schoolchildren who get their shots. Rates of non-medical exemptions in the “easy” states were 2.3 times higher than rates in states with difficult exemption policies. Not only that, but that rate is climbing faster in easy states than it is in difficult states.

This research points to the idea that non-medical exemptions are climbing simply because taking an exemption is easier than dealing with vaccinations. This is disturbing. Clearly, states need to make it just as much of a hassle to get an exemption as it is to make an appointment for the shots.

Non medical exemptions threaten herd immunity, and the fact that these exemptions are climbing is already having some devastating results:

In California, the percentage of kindergartners who get their full set of shots has been dropping since 2008, while the rate of personal belief exemptions jumped by nearly a percentage point in that time. Given that the national average exemption rate is 1.8 percent, that’s a big increase. During a California outbreak of pertussis in 2010, more than 9,000 cases were reported, and ten infants died. It was the worst outbreak of whooping cough in 60 years.

Yes, there are people who really don’t believe in vaccinating their children. But with exemption rates being so much larger in states where it is easy to get one, it’s clear there is more at play here than an anti-vax stance. If parents are indeed skipping vaccinations because it is so easy to do so, public safety dictates that we make it harder.

(photo: yang na/ shutterstock)

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  • Alexandra

    I never quite understood this – so if you’re kid isn’t vaccinated, and my kid is, how exactly could your kid get my kid sick? I plan to vaccinate, and by school age, my kids will be on schedule. I guess this is for situations where pre-vaccinated kids are exposed?

    • keelhaulrose

      It has a lot to do with kids who can’t get vaccinated, due to age, infirmity, whatever. We depend on healthy kids who can get these vaccinations to give herd immunity to those who can’t. A six month old baby can’t get a whooping cough vaccination, but they can get whooping cough (and die from it), and in those places with high vaccination rates they don’t get it because the older kids aren’t getting it and spreading it.
      If your kid is healthy and able to get vaccinations they should, not only to prevent them from getting something, but to protect those around them.

    • elle

      Well no vaccine is 100% effective. For example MMR vaccine is 95% effective. That’s why herd immunity is so important,you just never know when a vaccine will fail (or why).

    • Kay_Sue

      Pre-vaccinated and immune-compromised, as well as those for whom the vaccine does not “take”, if you will.

    • Rachel Sea

      Not every person maintains immunity with vaccines. Just like there are the rare people who got chicken pox twice, as kids and again as adults, there are rare people who get sick in spite of being vaccinated. You don’t know if you or your kid are one of those people until it happens to you.

      Also, lots of school-aged children have infant siblings. An uninfected, vaccinated child can bring home germs against which their sibling has not yet been vaccinated.

    • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

      True. I discovered when trying to get pregnant that my rubella immunity had waned (the fertility clinic tests for such things, apparently it’s very bad to get rubella when you’re pregnant).

    • Alexandra

      Thank you for all the replies – I was genuinely curious – herd immunity – that makes total sense!

    • Jessica

      & thank you for asking! I hadn’t understood it well either. I just assumed herd immunity helped protect kids unable to revive vaccines.

    • SarahJesness

      Not to mention that kids with weak immune systems or certain medical disorders or conditions can’t get vaccinated. They rely on the herd immunity.

    • EmmaFromÉire

      In addition ot the points about immunocompromised people and herd immunity, unvaccinated people become a vector in which a virus can mutate. If there is immunity to a virus within a population, it can’t mutate within someone, it can’t become a new sub strain, and it’ll die out.

    • Amber Starr

      It also affects my 2 & 1/2 month old daughter. Her series of vaccines won’t be complete until she is 6 months old, so until then she is at risk of contracting one of these illnesses from someone who hasn’t been vaccinated. I’d say that she is safe because of herd immunity, but thanks to parents like these, herd immunity is dwindling.

    • Momma425

      Vaccines are usually given to children in series. For example, pertussis is given in the form of a DTaP shot (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) and is given in a five part series at different intervals. Babies receive their first dose at 2 months, second dose at 4 months, third dose at 6 months, 4th dose between 15 and 18 months, and final dose between 4-6 years (and then a booster at 11-12 of TDaP, which is an adult version of the vaccine, and boosters every 10 years following that into adulthood). Let’s say your baby is less than 2 months old- he/she is too young to receive ANY vaccination against pertussis. If I don’t vaccinate my 5 year old, and my five year old gets pertussis- my toddler will probably survive whooping cough just fine. But if your baby is exposed (say I brought my toddler to the park, the grocery store, school, whatever beforeI learned my toddler had whooping cough)- your baby has a very high likelihood of not surviving.

      Vaccine efficacy is 80%–85% following 3 doses of DTaP according to the CDC, and efficacy data following just 1 or 2 doses are lacking but are likely lower. So even if your baby is 8 months old, and has had all 3 doses of the vaccine that they are due for- your baby is STILL at a 15-20% risk of getting pertussis from my unvaccinated toddler. Your 3 year old is at risk as well (a three year old isn’t old enough to finish the series- 5th dose is at 4-6 years old).

      For things like MMR (measles, mumps and rubella)- kids younger than 12 months cannot be vaccinated (it’s a 2 part series- one dose between 12-15 months and another between 4-6 years). So again- if I don’t vaccinate my 5 year old, she can give it to YOUR 9 month old, who hasn’t received vaccines because she isn’t old enough.

      A lot of people don’t believe that the diseases we vaccinate against are serious. They might not be to my 5 year old, or 10 year old. But to a baby, they really can be. To the elderly, they can be. And really- to anyone they can be. People die from the flu every stinking year. So to say that the flu, or measles, or pertussis isn’t “serious” is really subjective.

      Additionally- even if you have vaccinated your kids, nothing is 100% effective, unfortunately. If your kid is exposed to something- even after being vaccinated- there is always a possibility of your kid getting it. Let’s say our kids are in the same class at school. My kid goes to, I don’t know, Siberia, and is exposed to pertussis. If my kid has been vaccinated- there is a VERY SMALL possibility of her getting it, despite the exposure. If everyone in the class has been vaccinated as well- even if my kid gets pertussis, the likelihood of anyone other than her getting pertussis in their class is extremely low. She recovers from pertussis- it dies there, problem over. Now, let’s say that my kid gets pertussis and some of the kids in the class haven’t been vaccinated. Then multiple kids are running around with pertussis. Now siblings are exposed. Now kids in the class are exposed multiple times. There is a much higher possibility of the disease spreading further and branching out reaching more and more people the more kids aren’t vaccinated. Does this make sense?

      This is why vaccinating is important.

    • K.

      Children who are not vaccinated also put the general public at risk–including the elderly, newborns (who don’t have vaccines yet), and people who have immune deficiencies. I know someone who’s elderly mother (yeah, I know that sounds sketchy, but it’s true) was put in the hospital for whooping cough. She’s okay now, but it was scary.

    • brebay

      Good grief! Do you get it yet?

    • Kelly

      Why the nasty attitude? She asked a question honestly and politely and even thanked people for the information. So why are you being rude to her?

  • Guest

    People are so effin lazy. I, for the first time, am behind on my dog’s vaccinations and feel like a douche…I can’t imagine just letting my kid go without because I’m so “busy”. I hear this constantly at my job that people are just sooooo “busy” because they have a job or have children. Well, guess what, if you don’t learn some time management it’ll come back to bite you in the ass at some point.

    • Mystik Spiral

      I am the Queen of procrastination on my cats’ vaccinations. But also, my cats are exclusively indoor. They don’t live with any other animals, they are never in contact WITH other animals that are allowed outside.

      Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about children whose parents don’t get them vaccinated. There is no quarantine for these kids…

    • SusannahJoy

      Seriously. I’m terrible at remembering to give my indoor only cats their heart worm meds. And I feel soooo bad about it, but not nearly as bad as I’d feel if, God forbid, they got heart worm. And I haven’t taken them to the vet for shots in a year and a half because that’s a major deal. The vet we can afford is an hour away, we have three cats and a baby, they’re only open during the week, and my husband works during the week. Ugh.

    • SarahJesness

      My dog got heartworms several years ago, but she overcame it and now we give her medication. We didn’t know that dogs (at least in our area) should always be getting heartworm prevention medication… When her heartworms were detected, they were all dead and just floating around so they weren’t much of a threat to her, but we needed to prevent her from moving around and getting excited so she had to stay tied up and no one could go see her except to feed her. When we finally could start to play with her again, I’d go in the backyard and do that, but whenever I tried to leave she’d cry so much. I’m glad that she was able to get through it without problems, though it would’ve been nice if we knew beforehand that all dogs in our area should have heartworm prevention.

    • Katherine Handcock

      Out of curiosity, do you have another pet that does go outdoors? My vet actually told me not to bother with worming medication for our cats because they were indoor only, and they’re our only pets. (Actually, she gently hinted that even the boosters weren’t necessary, but we try to keep current with those!)

    • SusannahJoy

      No, just the indoor only cats, but don’t they get heart worm from mosquitos? I live in HI, and pretty frequently (like once a month, which is way too often for me) wake up with mosquito bites. Yeah, it’s unlikely that they’ll get sick, but I’d rather be safe than sorry.

    • Katherine Handcock

      Ah, that’s a different matter! We’re in a relatively mosquito-free zone, and we don’t get any in the house. If we did, you’re right, I’d also rather be safe than sorry.

  • Ellen

    Alexandra – herd immunity


    It’s about weakening the collective immunity and allowing “bugs” to live, thrive, and then mutate.

    • Andrea

      I pretty much have published that link in every anti-vax discussion I have witnessed (before I learned to stay away from them). And the usual response was something like “well I do my own research and don’t trust govt/big pharma to tell me what to do”
      At that point I would simultaneously facepalm and headdesk so I had to stop.

    • SarahJesness

      I really hate the “big pharma” bit. Vaccines only make up a tiny portion of pharmaceutical profits. There’s much more money to be made in telling people to forgo vaccines and then selling them treatments when they get sick.

    • Andrea

      I know…hence the facepalming…
      Like my daddy used to say, you can’t fix stupid.

    • MaebykittyRN

      I have found that their “research” usually involves google and a few homeopathic blogs. If they could come up with an actual scientifically valid study, I might fall over.

    • Williwaw

      Thanks for the link – that is a very effective graphic (not that I needed any convincing to vaccinate my kid, but I still think it’s a great visual explanation).

  • Rachel Sea

    All those lazy parents are very lucky. If they had been touched by an epidemic, or known someone who was permanently disabled or killed by a vaccine-preventable illness they wouldn’t be so cavalier.

  • AlbinoWino

    I think we’re just so used to people not getting a lot of the illnesses we vaccinate for they live in a bubble. They have lived a privileged life and not had to see droves of people around them suffering from horrific illnesses. I get the inconvenience part but you know what else is inconvenient? Your kid getting polio or some other life threatening illness. People need to take this shit seriously and realize life won’t just exempt them from some awful disease creeping up and taking the life of their child.

    • MaebykittyRN

      Exactly. The last couple generations have not had to deal with these diseases, so they are no longer afraid of them. Sadly, I don’t think vaccination rates will go up again until these diseases make more of a comeback and start claiming more lives.

    • Kat

      Yes, exactly. Watch the American Experience documentary on the Polio epidemic. Scary as hell. I cannot fathom why people would risk their child’s life when horrible diseases that KILL are completely preventable.

    • keelhaulrose

      My mother once gave a verbal smack-down to friend’s daughter who loudly started spewing anti-vax stuff at a baby shower (not hers). My mom told her the wonders of living with polio, how much fun it was for her as a little girl struggling for her life. She then said that there’s enough anti-vaxers in our area that one person bringing it over from a place that still has it could be catastrophic. Finished her rant with “I hope you never have to know what an iron lung is like”.
      Honestly it was a thing of beauty, and it had to come from someone like her. The polio vaccine was licensed and distributed a year after she got polio, and she says that in her class in a school for disabled children there were six polio patients in her year, one in the year after, and none after that in any year.

    • Shannon

      This is so awesome.

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      My dad actually got Scarlet Fever as a kid and his whole house was under quarantine (with a sign on the door and everything). He said the fever made your skin weird and peely and when he first stood up after laying in bed for so many days in a row, the skin on the soles of his feet peeled off and he fell down. But totally sounds like fun and we should avoid those shots.

    • whiteroses

      Because, you know, surely their little precious will only get a little bit of the disease.
      Good luck if your kid wants to go to college, become a nurse, or travel abroad. Actually, that might do some anti-vax parents some good. If measles isn’t a big deal, take your kid to a country where hundreds of kids die from it, then try to tell those grieving parents about all the mercury and preservatives. Take your kid to a country where vaccine workers get killed for trying to vaccinate children, or to a place where entire villages are wiped out thanks to diphtheria, then tell me those diseases are nbd.
      The privilege in denying life saving vaccinations is, frankly, staggering.

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      No doubt. It’s just dumb.

    • whiteroses

      Yep. And I guarantee you homeopathy won’t do you much good when you’re dealing with a kid who has tetanus. But you go ahead on, anti-vaxxer.

    • Lilly

      My father had a friend who had polio as a child and was disabled as a result of it, this definitely affects how I view vaccinations. I think seeing the effects, even with regards to someone who lived through it made me aware that these are not to be messed with illnesses.

      I think the second thing was living through a serious outbreak of meningitis (http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-14983079.html) when I was in middle school, reinforced the idea that there are diseases that don’t care who you are or what you do.

    • Andrea

      Watch your kid suffer through the whooping cough (my sister had it and she’s in her mid-30s now, so not THAT long ago!) and then come back and tell me how inconvenient shots are.
      People like that GRATE ON MY FUCKING NERVES. I’m SO sick of hearing about it. It is NOT AT ALL a personal decision. Your decision not to vaccinate your kid affects THE ENTIRE community you live in!

    • SarahJesness

      That’s what I think. Plus the whole “What’s the point of getting vaccines? No one gets sick anymore anyway!” thing made it easier for the anti-vaccine movement to latch on. If pointless vaccines are giving your kids autism, then it’s better not to get them! But if there’s some deadly outbreak of polio or some shit? Most parents who believe that “vaccines cause autism” would probably rather have their kids be autistic than dead.

    • Sara610

      One thing that irritates the hell out of me is when anti-vaxxers say, “But Dr. Sears says we don’t need to vaccinate on the AAP schedule!” (For anyone who doesn’t know, “Dr Sears” refers to Dr. Bill Sears, the author of “The Baby Book” and one of the fathers–if not THE father–of the American attachment-parenting movement).

      Uh, no. The guy who advocates delaying or opting out of vaccinations is Dr. BOB Sears, his son. Dr. BILL Sears, who was practicing medicine when children still routinely died of polio, measles and whooping cough is absolutely, unequivocally in favor of vaccinating according to the AAP schedule. You know, because he’s actually seen the horror of these diseases with his own eyes and isn’t deluded into thinking that they could never happen again. People who opt out of vaccines but follow pretty much every other piece of advice Dr. Sears gives in The Baby Book seem pretty comfortable with ignoring him on that one crucial area.

  • Angela

    In my school district you have to physically drive to the public health department to obtain a vaccination waiver. Parents are also required to pay a fee which is the same cost as getting vaccinated at the health department. That way at least it’s just as difficult to opt out as opt in.

    I do kind of wonder about a couple things though. The study cites that the toddlers weren’t fully vaccinated by their second birthdays yet my pediatrician’s office refuses to schedule the check-ups before their birthday so unless I decide to take my kid in for his shots on his actual birthday (not happening) it sounds like he’d be included in that 49%. I’d also want to know by what age the kids are vaccinated by. For example, if it turns out that by 26 months most of the parents have gotten around to vaccinating then I really don’t think it’s a huge problem.

    Also I would imagine that in states where opting out is as simple as checking a box that some parents do it just so they won’t have to track down vaccination records even when their kids are fully vaccinated. I know I have done this for jobs in the past. My work was offering Hep B shots and I knew I’d completed the series but rather than submitting the records it was easier to just opt out.

    • SusannahJoy

      Yeah I wondered about that too. Or about kids who are on different schedules than what’s recommended. My pediatrician doesn’t advise different schedules, but she’ll do them if parents want to. Those kids have all had all their shots by the time they’re in school, but at 2 years old they might not have.

    • Andrea

      My pediatrician flat out refuses to do any kind of “schedule” that’s not the one recommended unless there is a real good medical reason (and there are of course kids that can’t get vaccinated). One of the main reasons I picked that practice.
      The LAST thing I needed is to have my (at the time) unvaccinated babies mingling among the unvxed kids in the waiting room.
      Now of course, they go to public school. Where, in theory, you have to be vaccinated to attend but people can and do get “exceptions” that piss me right off.

    • StarHopper

      When I was touring a pediatrician’s office last year, someone else in the group asked about vaccinations. The doctor said that if you weren’t in favor of vaccinating, this isn’t the practice for you. Sold! He is now my son’s doctor.

    • Sara610

      Our pediatrician has the same policy, and I LOVE it.

    • Tanya Engesser

      that gets tricky when the “recommended schedule” changes from time to time as was the case when my oldest 2 were young

  • SA

    One thing that is being left out of this discussion is that a large part of the outbreaks of whooping cough are due to the vaccine not lasting as long as they had originally thought. A lot of the people getting sick at one point were adolescents that had been vaccinated, who were no longer protected as thought and spreading to those who had yet to be vaccinated. Pretty much anyone from 10-12 up who hasn’t received another booster could be at risk.

    • AP

      I know a decent number of people in their mid to late 20s who fell victim to this in the past 5-10 years. They were told they were up to date on vaccines and got sick anyway. One of them was a clinical researcher whose vaccine record had been vetted by one of America’s top hospitals. Even they didn’t know the immunity fell short.

    • Steph

      Yes, people don’t always realise that some vaccines wear off. Sometimes when someone is on a bit of a herd immunity high horse I feel the urge to ask if they have had their own boosters. I understand most mothers get the necessary ones during or immediately post-pregnancy but what about everyone else?

    • moonie27

      I got mine! Mainly because my cousin refuses to vaccinate her kids and I didn’t want to place them at any higher risk. :(

    • Steph

      Onya Moonie :)

    • Sara610

      This is a good reminder.

  • Marisel

    The vaccines that we give our children are also easily treatable… Just an FYI

    • whiteroses

      I’m sorry, but that made absolutely no sense….

    • brebay

      I think if you could put a sentence together you would have said that the diseases against which we vaccinate are easily treatable…and that’s also wrong. There is no treatment for the effects of polio. As for the others, there are some treatments, but doctors aren’t looking for these diseases anymore so your child is likely to be misdiagnosed, making permanent damage or death more likely. Also, once an infant shows symptoms of whooping cough, it takes a long time to treat and can be fatal. Nice try, though, keep getting your medical advice from Jenny McCarthy.

  • Crusty Socks

    1. Market DIY vaccination kits
    2. ???
    3. Profit$$$

    • moonie27

      2. ??? = spend ten years and several million dollars proving equal safety and efficacy to the FDA, who takes all those “chemicals we pump into our body” pretty darn seriously.

    • whiteroses

      Nice Underpants Gnomes reference!!!

  • Ms. Anne

    I think that “insurance hiccups” is an important overlooked term here. If for some reason your insurance refuses to pay for your vaccine, that shit can get expensive fast so some people may put it off because they don’t have the money. Due to an insurance SNAFU I got a bill for over $400 for a vaccination visit when my kid was a year old. I had no idea that vaccinations could get that expensive until I got the really fucking shocking bill. My insurance company is very fussy about the exact timing, order, etc of visits and it doesn’t always match with the doctor’s recommendations.

    • Sara610

      Hooooolee crap, that is indefensible. I guess I’m just really lucky–we schedule my daughter’s vaccines according to the doctor’s recommendation, she goes in and gets them, they’re covered by insurance, and that’s it.

      Seriously, it’s a VACCINE. No one should have to be haggling over something so basic and life-saving. *sigh*

    • andrea

      YES!!! I will admit this is the reason my 2nd child’s chicken pox vaccination was late. At the time we had our first child, insurance paid NOTHING toward preventative care, so well-baby and immunizations were 100% out of pocket. It took me 3 1/2 years to pay off the $2500 pediatrician bill, then I had my second baby and BOOM, the bill was back up to $2000 within 6 months. I love the office, and they were fine with me making monthly payments, but they flat-out said, look you can get chicken pox vax here, paying $400 for it, or go to the health department and pay $25. Then it just became a matter of getting her to the health department (eww, i HATE ours) so I procrastinated.

    • Andrea

      The money could be an issue, but most areas that I know have Public Health offices that vaccinate for free (or close to it)

    • Erin

      I got a bill for $1400 for my son’s 1-year vaccines. We apparently had met the vaccine maximum payment for the year (didn’t know there was one). Luckily I knew someone who got us into a program retro-actively that reduced the bill. RIDICULOUS.

    • Erin

      They charged me at the full rate, not the uninsured rate. If I had known, we would have gone to the health department. That was part of my argument. I could have gotten them for $40 through the health department.

  • whiteroses

    I got into an online argument about this very subject- and the other mother’s response was, verbatim: “I don’t give a shit about anyone but my family.”

    I’m not sure how she sleeps at night.

    • Kelly

      Yet if anything happened to her kid and nobody helped him or her, she’d be screaming her head off about how horrible people are. That’s what kills me. They publicly proclaim they don’t give a shit about anyone but their family but somehow they expect everyone else in the world to also give a shit about their family, even total strangers. It’s stupidity to the extreme.

    • whiteroses

      One argument was that she didn’t want to “pump my baby full of chemicals”. There’s more formaldehyde in an organic pear than any vaccine, you know?

      I hope sincerely that her child never has to pay the price for her mistakes.

    • Kelly

      That’s the saddest part. It isn’t the parents who will suffer the most if an outbreak hits, it’s the kids.

    • whiteroses

      Yeah- because she freely admits that she’s vaccinated.

      You can’t fix stupid.

    • SarahJesness

      So getting a shot is being “pumped” with chemicals? A bit dramatic, if I do say so myself.

    • whiteroses

      I agree. I’d rather give my kid a vaccine than watch him suffer through the many, many awful things that diseases (easily preventable ones- that’s what kills me!) can cause- up to and including disfigurement, blindness, deafness, sterility and death. But Zeus forbid little Psneauflakyediamond get chemicals in her body.

      If she eats ONE McDonalds, she’ll get more chemicals in five bites than God knows how many vaccines.

    • zeisel

      loved the fast food bit, so true.

    • SarahJesness

      Exactly what I was thinking. The amount of chemicals in a vaccine are like, nothing compare to what is found in most food. (and not just fast food junk; most food has chemicals) Hell, if you live in a very urban area, I wouldn’t be surprised if a day of breathing in polluted air exposed you to more harm than a vaccine.

    • SarahJesness

      If an unvaccinated kid spread a nasty disease to her kid, do you think she’d complain about how that other kid should’ve been vaccinated? (but her kid shouldn’t be vaccinated because he’s delicate)

    • whiteroses

      Oh, yeah. Also accused me of using my son as a guinea pig.
      I pointed out to her that the term guinea pig is used during trials, not through actual, proven medical science. That, ya know, works.

    • LiteBrite

      I see it the opposite as this mother. I give a shit about my family, particularly my son, which is why I vaccinate him.

    • whiteroses


  • Momma425

    I am a nurse at a community health clinic. We have a huge diverse population of patients here, and I can’t tell you how often it pains me when patients refuse vaccinations.
    The number of patients who refuse for religious reasons is actually not that many.

    There are an OVERWHELMING number of patients who come in and refuse to vaccinate their children “because my kid doesn’t like shots.”
    Seriously?!?! What kid likes shots? What parent likes watching that happen? It sucks. Shots are sucky and they hurt and yuck all the way around. I get it. We should invent a way to squirt it in kid’s mouths like a squirt gun, or put it in candies for them to eat or something.
    But seriously. As a parent, that is one of the most irresponsible things I have ever heard. My kid also hates: vegetables, milk, wearing a coat, wearing shoes, brushing her teeth… but she still has to eat healthy food and wear her coat when it’s raining and not go to school barefoot and brush her teeth because it’s healthy for her. She doesn’t get a free pass out of taking care of herself because it’s not fun. I don’t like going to work, or brushing my teeth or eating healthy either, but you know what? I still have to do things I don’t like. It’s part of being human. Learn to like it, or grit your teeth and get through it.

    I don’t know if it’s just ignorance (don’t understand how serious some diseases are and how vaccines help), arrogance and entitlement (“everyone else should be vaccinating, so my kid doesn’t have to because he is a snowflake,”) or a combination but it is dangerous and irresponsible and so frustrating.

    However, more frustrating and irresponsible and irritating than ANY of the above are patients who don’t even bother bringing in their kids for well exams, and only bring them in when they are sick. I get it- I work full time and having to request half a day off to take my kid to the doctor when she is healthy sucks. It’s one less day off I can take when we are sick or want to go on vacation or whatever. But I can’t imagine the PTO I would be taking if I just chose to big fat not take my kid in and she got measles or polio or hep b or something.

    • whiteroses

      My son hates having his teeth brushed, getting a bath, having his hair washed, or having his nails clipped. He also doesn’t particularly like eating protein in any form or wearing shoes. But it’s too bad that he doesn’t like those things, because if he didn’t do them he’d have impetigo and God knows what else.

      As a parent, we have to do stuff that our kids don’t like. That’s just how life is. I don’t understand parents who don’t get vaccines for their kids because their kids don’t like them. Who’s the adult in this situation?

    • SusannahJoy

      Oh man, my kid hates the car seat soooo much. Luckily I actually want him to, you know, live, so I don’t give a crap that he hates it. If we’re going somewhere, he’s in the seat, all firmly strapped down and screaming. He doesn’t like his shots either, but I don’t see how thats any more relevant to whether or not he gets them as his dislike of the car seat is to whether or not he has to be in it.

    • Andrea

      Oh that brought memories! My oldest LOATHED the car seat when he had to ride backwards! You can’t imagine what joy it was to put in a long day at work, pick him up from his child carer and then listen to him scream his head off for 30 mins in the car.
      But I fucking did it of course. Same way I watched him ball his eyes out every time he got a shot. Parenting is full of things that SUCK ASS but we do them anyways.

    • Karen Milton

      My daughter hated the car seat as a baby, so I just didn’t bother with it. It’s fine, everyone else uses a car seat, so I don’t need to use one and my kid will still be safe. Herd car seating.

    • SarahJesness

      They refuse vaccines because their kids don’t like shots?! That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard! Do they let their kids walk all over them and do whatever they want just because it’s what they want to do? Maybe you could retort back with “Do your kids like being sick?”.

    • Katherine Handcock

      I…have no words.

      No, wait, I do. But they’re probably not suitable for public consumption.

      I still remember when my son got his flu shot at age 3 – he asked, “Will it hurt?” and I said, “A little bit, but it’s very important.” Our doctor looked at me and said, “Oh, my God, thank you. You have no idea how many parents I see who say, ‘Did the mean doctor give you a needle?!’”

    • Tanya Engesser

      What? not like shots? I cant imagine! ;) ;)

      actually, I CAN.
      It took 5 nurses to give my oldest her kindergarten shots…. two with the needles, one on each side, two holding her still (+me) and one took the other 2 kids out in the hall. THANK GOD FOR NURSES!

      and it was not like my daughter had never seen needles… she often went on farm calls with her dad the large animal vet who uses much larger needles.

      a few years later and it was our son’s turn… I dreaded it. that boy hardly flinched.

  • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

    When I was in grade 7, we got hep B shots at school. There was a video we watched wherein we learned to hip hop that “Hepatitis B is a real bad rap”.
    Now, would it be possible or sensible to have a couple nurses visit schools and vaccinate the children there? Like, send the kids home with forms to sign and then have those children given their shots at school?
    I grew up in a rural school and we did fluoride rinses and lice checks regularly, plus the Hep B shots, and the daycare I went to (Adjacent to the school) actually required us to go there during school hours to get a Hep A shot as the cook had come down with hepatitis.
    I get in the States there’s insurance and the like… but I can’t help but think that working directly with and within schools could be the answer.

    • Andrea

      Didn’t they use to do that back in the day? I seem to remember reading about something like that, but I can’t remember the details.

    • AP

      Yup, they used to administer polio vaccines in school courtesy of the health department. They’d even visit private/parochial schools, so ALL kids had access to the shots. I believe the early polio vaccine was a virus-soaked sugar cube passed out during class to eat.

      Classes were huge back then, too (my mom’s elementary school in the 1950s had class sizes up to 100 kids) so this was more of a feat than you’d think.

    • Itpainsmetosay

      That’s how my mom got hers

    • Sara610

      Mmmmmm, virus-soaked sugar cubes……nom nom nom

    • Karen Milton

      We still got the polio sugar cubes when I was a younger kid (I’m 35 now). Far preferable to a needle, said eight-year-old me.

  • Shannon

    You know what reeeeally pisses me off is when people still use the (completely invalid) autism-vax link as a reason to not vax their kids.

    Suppose there was a link. So are you saying having a child with autism is worse than a dead/suffering child? That had got to be the most fucked up and insulting thing for an autism parent to have to hear.

  • Katherine Handcock

    I can’t imagine inconvenience being an excuse for not vaccinating! I get it, things are busy, but vaccines are always a priority for me. Actually, we’re dealing with that right now – moved recently to a place that has a very different vaccination schedule than our previous home, and my kiddos have to play catchup.

    Kids are kind of inherently inconvenient – pretty well from start to finish – but that’s just part of the deal.

  • K.

    I know women like this–who claim that vaccines are “inconvenient” or they’re doing the “slow schedule” and “forget.”

    Strangely, they are also the same women who are speeding on the freeways and cutting off old ladies to get to the doctor’s office if their kids so much as sniffle.

    And they’re all moms with some control issues. Coincidence? I think not.

  • Leigh

    As the parent of a kid with a vaccine waiver I am surprised their are states were it is as easy as checking a box to “get out of a vaccine” — We have one child with a medical waiver for one vaccine (he had a life threatening reaction to it) and even still its a HUGE ordeal every year to get the paper signed and filled out just so, if I so much as word the reason why incorrectly it gets rejected by the state health department, all of this despite his doctor having filled out a TON of forms for it as well. Where are these states where I might not get threatening letters from the health department and have my child be threatened with getting kicked out of school annually? (And for the record my other children are completely vaccinated – or as much as they can be for their age)

    • whiteroses

      In my home state, you need a notarized copy of a child’s birth certificate and a signed letter from a medical doctor in order to opt out of vaccines. And as awful as it is that kids who have a legitimate medical reason can’t opt out more easily, I feel better knowing that there’s no such thing as a philosophical objection in my state.

  • Pricette

    My cousin is totally an Attachment Parent. Family bed and everything. She’s a huge anti-vaxxer and god it’s obnoxious.

    She herself was vaccinated as a child and turned out completely fine. But she refuses to vaccinate her 2 boys. Two of my cousins on the same side of the family are autistic, but only because their mother was in her 40′s when she had them. I’ve seen my cousin come within a few sentences of saying that vaccines are why my cousins are autistic.

    She’s just so infuriating.