let me start by saying that i believe that every parent has the right to decide what is best for their child. they have the right to prepare them how they see fit for the life they believe they should lead.
i also believe that children have the right to be protected, if not by their parent, by members of the community who care. i believe children have the right to a safe life where their emotional and physical needs are provided. i believe children also have the right to a childhood.
i also have learned as a parent, that once you have a child. you realize, despite any prior anti-social leanings, you are forced to engage with the world. you are forced to live with and deal with other people, people you may have had no interest in. you are also forced to consider how your decisions impact not just yourself, but your child’s generation.
for some parents, like myself. we care very much about all the children in our lives. i wish for them, the same as i wish for my child. i feel as protective of them, as i do my own. for those parents who do not wish to vaccinate their child. i really do understand their concerns and their wishes to provide their child with every opportunity for a safe and healthy life.
but as parents, we are also forced to teach our children, that their rights stop when someone else’s rights are infringed. if you want to spin around, great. if you do so and whack somebody in the head, then somebody else is paying the consequences for your desire to spin around.
some of the most potent ways that we can protect ourselves or our children is by acting not in isolation, but as a community. often, it is those social contracts that ensure our children’s safety the most. but if we begin to disregard those prior agreed to standards in favor of our own individual needs and insistences. as we spin around to the beat of our own drum, we are inviting many consequences.
same holds true for vaccines. vaccines are primarily effective only if a vast majority of us agree to them. thus far, we have all been in agreement and have kept many preventable diseases at bay. now, however, people are choosing not to vaccinate their children to protect them from what they feel could be potentially harmful side-effects. they want their child to be safe and healthy. they don’t want their child’s life destroyed. they believe vaccines can do that.
well, i know that not using vaccines could destroy my child’s life. not just because she, or her friends are at risk for getting a very serious disease, but also because i could.
i am not immune to the measles. and because my immune system is impaired, i am not able to get a vaccine, because it is potentially life-threatening for me. tragically, of course, the disease is also potentially life-threatening for me. until recently, i could be assured that i would be protected from the measles because of herd immunity. no more.
so, your child is fine. great. but what does that mean for my child, if she brings home measles one day from an un-vaccinated playmate? perhaps a new strain that has mutated and is now untreatable. not only can she get ill herself, but her mother could become fatally ill.
how am i supposed to protect my child from that?