Tuesday, November 15, 2005

For the good of the whole

Iris is quickly coming upon her 18th month, but I am still researching vaccines and am incredibly torn on the topic. Even though Iris has been selectively vaxed, on a delayed schedule, I am still not sure what schedule I want to continue on. Sigh. The one thing that has been hard for me to wrap my head around is vaccinating my child for the good of the whole population. In theory, I feel very strongly about making special efforts in my life to have a positive effect on the world. In ways such as recycling, eating organically, raising my daughter in a socially conscious way, etc etc. But I'm having a hard time getting behind the theory that it's important, for example, to give my child the flu vaccine so that she won't spread the flu virus along to those who are, for example, immune compromised. Wait, I guess I understand the theory, but I am uncomfortable bearing the risk of a vaccine in order to potentially protect, um, everyone?

There are some people who are so adament about the necessity of vaccines that they truly believe people who don't vax are horrible, horrible people. Vaccinating has been made mandatory for many situations, including going to school, camps, daycare, etc. Everywhere my environment is telling me that I MUST vaccinate my daughter, yet it's been very hard to get honest information about what it means to actually vaccinate MY child. I have read many books, done much research online, and talked to several different doctors about the risks and benefits. How can I be told I must vaccinate and yet vaccines are still so potentially dangerous? How can I keep the good of the whole in mind when my child is the one bearing the risk of these vaccines?

Not suprisingly, I haven't decided what I'd like to do from here on out. I really think that parents need to be some effort in to making sure vaccines are safer, but until then, we're stuck in the struggle.