I’m The Weak Link

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By Asha Brogan

I was never vaccinated. My parents are wonderful hippies who made the concious decision when I was born to let me “build up immunity”.  As a child I always thought I was so special for this, I would proudly tell people, listing the reasons why my parents had made the decision. Occasionally it raised conflict, such as almost being sent home from summer camp when the administration found out I was a potential biohazard, but on “religious standing” my parents convinced the camp to let me stay. The reasons were not religious though, but lay in a deep distrust of pharmaceutical companies and “modern medicine”. I was born at home with a midwife, never brought to a hospital, and was either by luck or the vast array of herbal medicines and supplements very rarely sick and had no allergies.

My emphatic support of the lack of vaccines carried through till I was 20 and became close friends with a microbiologist who’s opinion I highly valued. He was worried by my lack of immunizations and I was given lecture after lecture on the matter, in the friendly way of someone who deeply cares for your well being and thinks you’re about to contract polio THIS INSTANT. I had been rolling many of his points around in my head, many of them talking about how there are children and adults who aren’t able to get vaccinated and it is up to the community around them to keep them safe. That currently, as an unvaccinated individual it was fine if I didn’t want those vaccines, because everyone around me had them, and was acting as my protective blanket. But since I COULD get vaccinated, I was one less safety link for those who could not, a potential major threat to someone out there.

During the recent lecture, Thursday, on public health and the readings of last week I thought a lot on my conversations with this friend, on how there was what felt personally good the individual (i.e., not getting vaccines) and what was better for the public good. I have been so convinced, raised in a community where it was normal not to get vaccines*, but the lecture and readings this week made me feel as if it was time to really take control of my health situation, and not just for me, but for those living around me as well.

* http://wyso.org/post/why-yellow-springs-kindergarten-vaccination-rate-so-low-wyso-curious-explores-psychology

picture from: http://memes.doublie.com/ca-law-vaccine-debate-memes/

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6 thoughts on “I’m The Weak Link

  1. Interesting, not get vaccinated is so frowned upon in today’s society and world. I like to think of myself as being neutral. There is so much uproar about baby vaccinations and why should get vaccinated if it is going to lead to you getting sick, or the fact that new vaccinations are pushed when there isn’t much study behind it. I grew up not getting all the vaccinations that my peers had received and my reasoning behind it was due to health reasons and constrictions and here I am with no regrets. I think some vaccines are so pushed just because its the normal thing to do, but I am a strong believer that it should be a choice and not chosen for you.

    Shayla Ford

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  2. What a lot of people don’t consider when deciding not to get their children vaccinated is how it effects others, not just their own child. As a society, we tend to forget about what is needed for the public good. We should put aside our beliefs for support to a more healthy environment, and the step that you have taken to take control of your own health is amazing.

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  3. Refusal of vaccinations is actually very complicated. Some countries in Central Africa such as the DRC would never trust any American health organization to put needles in them because of the bias against. Also there have been instances such as the Tuskegee incident in which African Americans were injected syphilis without consent and died. Yes vaccination is great and definitely helps the population, but we must be able to convince those who think that vaccines are bad to understand the benefits and remove any doubts.

    Usamah Ali

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  4. I think it is a great idea to let a child build up his/her immune system but in my personal opinion not getting vaccines is not the way to go about that. Vaccines help the body create antibodies to the certain diseases being vaccinated against and in turn help the immune system to be prepared when the child may run into that disease. The vaccines mimic infections by having a dead or weakened strain of a certain virus. Vaccines help the entire community by creating a herd immunity for those who cannot receive vaccines for health reasons.
    http://www.vaccines.gov/more_info/work/

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  5. Whether you’re vaccinated or not, I think it is positive and mature of you that you kept an open mind when seeking information from a source that has opposing views from the environment that you were brought up in. I feel there are too many people who ignore opposing views just because they’re afraid of what family and friends my think of them. It is important to do what “YOU” think is right when it is regards to your health, because the only one who will live with those kinds of decisions at the end of the day is yourself, so it’s up to you to seek what is right for yourself. Good job!

    Gerald Brenner

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