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  1. My husband and I have two partially vaxxed and two non-vaxxed children. We only started to research vaccines when my son had seizures and brain swelling following four vaccines and the oral rotavirus. We have scoured the manufacturers’ research and have come to the decision that real immunity and less risk is the way to go. Like us prior to my son’s adverse reaction we did not research–just took our peds’ advice. Why shouldn’t we? Now we know much more and the facts and science behind today’s vaccines tell us we’re better off on our own. For example, the MMR vaccine has caused more deaths (over 100) than the actual measles in the last ten years( zero)! Yikes! You actually have a better chance of being killed by ants than the measles. I’m trying to say that when you put it in to perspective not vaccinating your kids is hardly causing our society to fall gravely ill. In fact, in populations that are highly vaccinated against MMR (95-99%) you’ll find a higher percentage of those diseases. As a parent who wants to protect my kids I find that statistic frustrating. You know what, I don’t like that some vaccines contain aborted fetus cells too. How many parents don’t know that? And what about the cancer causing cells (SV40)? There are too many reasons for us not to vaccinate that I could read a book on the subject. Ugh, this is just too exhausting to even think about.

  2. Gretchen,
    Some quick points:
    1) If you are worried about the chicken pox vaccine causing a shingles epidemic, you should get your children the vaccine. Shingles rates among vaccinated children “were lower in the cohort of vaccinated children than in unvaccinated children during the prevaccine era” (PMID: 23545380)
    2) Can you imagine what a warning label for a chicken pox party would look like? Strokes, thousands of hospitalizations a year, tens of deaths . . .
    3) Despite its impressive sounding name, if you think the National Vaccine Information Center is a source that is “most informative”, I think you need to do some more research.

  3. There are some important facts you are missing.

    If you vaccinate your kids and they gain immunity from the vaccine rather than the bug, they will never have to suffer shingles later in life. This is a HUGE benefit to the vaccine. Shingles is basically chicken pox virus that has been dormant in your body, suddenly attacking again and it is very very nasty. There is now a shingles vaccine, but why wait for that when you can vaccine your kids now and avoid ever having to worry about it at all.

    Further, by not vaccinating, you play against herd immunity, so that young or ill kids who can’t have the vaccine or it is less effective in, are at great risk. This just seems selfish to me.

    My son caught chicken pox at 9 months (he was too young to vaccinate, we tried once we learned of a case he had been exposed to) and it was a miserable experience for everyone. The thing that makes me feel worst though about him having had the chicken pox is that later in life he will be at risk for shingles which is totally preventable.

    And last, perhaps most concerning to me, you allude to risks of the vaccine, can you point us to some scientific literature supporting this claim?

    This type of post is typical of the anti-vaccination scare mongering and why we have suddenly got higher levels of childhood diseases (measles, whooping cough) than in years.

    1. Hi Sarah – thank so much for chiming in! First off, I’m so sorry your son suffered from chicken pox so early in life. My heart skips a beat every time I hear of a baby coming down with a disease like chicken pox. And when illness strikes, mama carries much of the pain and suffering burden 🙁

      To address a few of your points … vaccination does not equate immunity. I found this information from the National Vaccine Information Center ( most informative, and they quote CDC statistics. It also addresses shingles and actually sites a 2002 study that worries that mass chicken pox vaccination actually might spur a shingles epidemic. Since we can’t see into the future, it definitely seems like the natural chicken pox/vaccination/shingles outcome is unknown.

      Discussions about herd immunity provoke a lot of emotion so I won’t go too deep here. For me, I’m making health decisions for my children and their needs. Yes, this can be perceived as being selfish, but it’s my primary responsibility to care for them. Of course, when we’re ill I keep my kids home and do my best to minimize exposure to at risk groups.

      All vaccines have risks – they’re drugs. Some risks are minor – like fever and injection site discomfort, others are more severe like seizures or allergic reaction. You never know how your child will respond. The vaccine insert goes into quite a bit of detail about reported side effects and clinical trial results. Whether you choose to vaccinate or not, it’s super important to read this information from the durg distributor before your move forward. Here is the Varivax insert from Merck:

      Again, thanks for your input and questions! It’s respectful conversations like this that allow us all to learn, grow as parents and in the end, make the best decision for our children.

  4. When I was growing up, it wasn’t uncommon for two mothers talking on the phone and having a conversation similar to this: “You think your daughter has the chicken pox? Can I send my kids over?” This was super duper common (where I grew up, anyways). So would I send my kids over to a neighbor’s house to catch the chicken pox? Yes, as long as my youngest wasn’t a baby still. If you want to call this a “party,” then I’m ok with that. I like the idea of catching the chicken pox naturally.

  5. Totally would have for each of my kids when I had the opportunity to had I not been pregnant!! Would much rather my kids get them when they’re little… 🙂

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