Samantha Jones

Sam's Notebook

Samantha Jones is associate editor for Carroll County Newspapers. Her email address is Citizen.Editor.Eureka@gmail.com.


Vaccinate your children!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Earlier this week, I stumbled across a post on social media that astounded me. A former Bachelor contestant turned Instagram influencer shared a story saying her daughterís pediatrician supports all parenting decisions, whether thatís to vaccinate, selectively vaccinate or not vaccinate at all. She said her daughter would only receive ďabsolutely necessaryĒ vaccinations.

Thatís a strange stance to take, considering all vaccinations are absolutely necessary. This influencer is certainly in good company ĖĖ†I could fill this entire space just listing the names of celebrities who have chosen not to vaccinate their children. Kat Von D is a notable case, announcing she wouldnít be vaccinating her child because thatís a parenting decision.

Lots of things are parenting decisions. Should you limit time on screens or use tablets and mobile devices as a way to teach children? What should your childís diet look like? Should you stay at home for a couple years or enroll your kid in daycare? Is it better to be a helicopter parent or to leave certain decisions up to your child?

See, there are many parenting decisions you can make. Vaccinating your child is not a parenting decision. It is a requirement. You might point out that Iím not even a parent, so how would I know whatís a parenting decision and whatís not? Well, I have enough common sense to trust what trained medical professionals have to say. Youíd be hard-pressed to find a doctor who supports the decision to avoid vaccinating. If you do, you might want to find a new doctor.

Whatís so wrong with not vaccinating? After all, those diseases we vaccinate against donít exist anymore. Itís not like thatís a real threat. Well, itís not a real threat unless people stop vaccinating. When you choose not to vaccinate, your child becomes a carrier for all kinds of diseases we stopped worrying about when vaccines were introduced decades ago. That doesnít necessarily mean your child will get the measles or whooping cough, but they could easily give those diseases to a smaller child who hasnít been vaccinated yet.

This is why new parents are terrified of taking their children in public. You canít fully vaccinate an infant, and you canít control whether or not other parents vaccinate their children. You can do everything right and still endanger your child, because some other parent decided vaccinations arenít necessary.

Celebrities like Jenny McCarthy donít only believe vaccinations arenít necessary ĖĖ†they believe vaccinations are detrimental. McCarthy popularized the idea that vaccines cause autism after reading a now-dubunked study perpetuating the theory. I suppose sheíd rather have a dead child than an autistic one.

But sheís not alone. Many celebrities continue to believe vaccines are connected to autism, and some take it a step further by claiming theyíre just making a personalized decision for their kid. The conversation is now about what decisions parents are allowed to make, as if itís not a no-brainer to vaccinate your children. Iíve said it before, but it bears repeating. Vaccinating is not a parenting decision. It is necessary for the general health of our population.

Admittedly, Iím a bit worked up writing this column. Iím upset because I donít feel like anyone should ever have to defend vaccinations. Iím upset because someday I will bring a child into this world, and the anti-vaccination movement gives me pause. Iím upset for all those babies who were on a traditional vaccination schedule and got sick anyway.

Vaccinate your children. Donít think twice about it. If you truly view it as a parenting decision, then youíre making a parenting decision for everyone else. Youíre making a decision that will inevitably doom us all.

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Samantha Jones is associate editor for Carroll County Newspapers. Her email address is Citizen.Editor.Eureka@gmail.com