People who don't vaccinate their kids get called selfish a lot, but one anti-vaxxer wants you to know that's not true. In fact, Alex Alexander, mom of one partially vaccinated child, would like all you people who vaccinate your kids to know that she kind of thinks you're the selfish one. In a recent post for Lifetime Moms, Alexander lays out her argument that demanding parents vaccinate their kids is putting your kid's health before hers because vaccines are actually super dangerous.
Now, before you go off about the benefits and relative safety of vaccines, Alexander asserts that she has done her due diligence and is 'not without a medical background,' whatever that means.
"I’m not without a medical background, I’ve read the studies and done the research, and while I don’t actually believe the MMR vaccine causes autism, I still don’t believe it’s safe. I don’t need someone to point out the research or tell me the facts. I’ve made my decision and I’m sticking with it because I do believe that the risks of vaccinating him are worse than the risks of not vaccinating him."
She reasons that asking her to follow the advice of medical professionals and vaccinate her child for the sake of herd immunity is exactly like asking her to carry your child across a busy street while leaving her own to fend for himself in traffic.
She even compares vaccines to peanut allergies, writing, "The vaccination situation is like the 'peanut-free' accommodation, only more serious." She adds that she's happy to comply with peanut-free policies to keep kids safe, so you should totally comply with her stance on vaccines because getting the MMR vaccine and being exposed to peanuts when you have a life-threatening allergy are totes the same thing.
Regardless of what this woman believes, her arguments are not backed up by science and her analogies don't make any sense. You cannot compare vaccines to food allergies or a small child crossing a busy street alone because unlike both of those things, vaccines have not been proven unsafe for the majority of people.
Exposure to peanuts when you have a peanut allergy? Definitely dangerous and potentially deadly. Little kids running in traffic? Yup, dangerous and potentially deadly. Vaccines? According to the CDC, severe reactions occur so rarely it's difficult to even get an accurate calculation. Vaccines carry a risk, of course, but a risk that small doesn't merit the kind of response Alexander is asking for, which is for her personal feelings about vaccines to be treated as equal to the overwhelming and heavily researched opinion of the scientific community.
Alexander's choices don't just put a few kids at risk. They also endanger infants, the elderly, immuno-compromised adults -- her choices endanger people of all ages. It's not selfish to demand that members of a society consider other members of that same society and make choices for the benefit of the public good. Sorry, Alex Alexander, but we do not exist in a bubble and accounting for the impact of our choices on others is actually the opposite of selfish.