February 28, 2020

Why I have not yet vaccinated my daughter

It looks like The Atlantic is the latest media outlet to bash parents who choose not to follow the most aggressive vaccine regimen in the world. My wife and I have chosen not to vaccinate our 11-month-old daughter, though we may change our minds when she heads off to school. We feel good about this decision, which is not at all religiously based: There are plenty of Mormons who vaccinate their kids, and some who don’t.

Infant vaccines and I didn’t get off to a good start. When our daughter was all of 15 minutes old (!), the nurses wanted to cart her away to the nursery in order to administer a Hepatitis B shot to her. Since there was a zero percent chance of her becoming infected with the disease, we refused the shot. I accompanied my daughter to the nursery a little while later in order to ensure that our wishes were respected.

My wife is from Europe, which has a less aggressive vaccine regimen than the U.S., and doctors in my small Midwestern city simply didn’t administer dozens of vaccines to small kids decades ago. You can imagine our surprise, then, to learn that the regular pediatric “checkups” that our daughter is supposed to have are little more than a chance for doctors to push vaccines to parents. Indeed, instead of welcoming us to our six-month checkup, our doctor’s nurse told us a few months ago that we were in fact bringing our daughter to the “six-month shots” visit.

We are constantly told by the media that we are enjoying the benefits of “herd immunity” (e.g., the eradication of polio) while refusing to contribute to it. To this I plead 100% guilty. While I am grateful to the herd for protecting my family’s health, in the end my primary responsibility is to protect my little calf, not the herd. I’ve learned from years of observation that when people are harmed by vaccines, the collective “herd” offers very little support.

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