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5.1 Story From: Paula Burch


This article is from the Childhood Vaccinations FAQ, by Lynn Gazis-Sax lynng@alsirat.com with numerous contributions by others.

5.1 Story From: Paula Burch

We choose to give our son all of his vaccinations as recommended by
the pediatrician. Vaccinations are one of the few true successes of
modern medicine, and despite some extremely small risks prevent far,
far more agony than they ever cause.

Some who would otherwise choose to have their children vaccinated
cannot, for odd medical reasons. These individuals depend absolutely
on the rest of the population's being vaccinated. Parents who elect to
refuse vaccination for their children, for no better reason than that
they've been listening to some quack, put not only themselves but
these other children in danger. When a child who cannot be vaccinated
dies due to infection from a child who could have been vaccinated but
wasn't, the parents of the latter child are morally though not legally
guilty of the dead child's murder. When only a small number of
children are unvaccinated, the risk is small, but when many elect to
refuse vaccinations, the risk of an epidemic becomes quite high, and
in some cases this has already been seen on a small scale.

Almost all problems blamed upon the pertussis vaccine actually have
had nothing to due with the vaccine, but were observed coincidentally
in children who would have had the problems even in the absence of the

In no case has our child shown any reaction at all to any of the
vaccinations he has received, through 18 months, except for pain
immediately after the injection. Even if he had shown some problem,
however, I would still be convinced of the necessity of the
immunization. A one in a million risk of a side effect is a whole lot
better than a one in twenty, or worse, chance of dying. It is my duty
as a mother to do what I can to improve my child's chances of good
health, and it is extremely clear that immunizations improve the odds

At the turn of the century, no more than one or two out of five
children could be expected to survive to maturity. Vaccinations are
one of the primary reasons why our own children can expect to grow up.

Having said that, I saw no reason to give the hepatitis B vaccine to
my newborn. My peditrician gives it when the child is several months
older, which seemed preferable to me, as there was so little risk of
exposure before that time. The need for vaccination against hepatitis
is much lower than the need for immunization against the diseases of
childhood, but, as the hepatitis vaccine is genetically engineered,
there is essentially zero risk of ill effects, so I felt it was well
worth getting.

Paula Burch pburch@bcm.tmc.edu


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