Mike and I have struggled with the frustrating topic of vaccinations for Poppy.
Firstly, we have found that most of the information available from the non-vaccination side of the argument are based on American standards (which make our research even more frustrating!). We took Poppy to her first check up with the pact to gather information only. The nurse practitioner was patient, but firm in her belief that we should vaccinate. The biggest concern was with the mercury and autism link even though it has recently been debunked. We were surprised to find out that, in Canada, the only vaccine which contains mercury is the flu shot (a shot we wouldn't go for anyway and even that is much less than you would find in a tuna sandwich). She also told us that people spend too much time fretting over vaccines when a very real issue lies in the overuse of antibiotics (something else we try to stay clear of as well).
We decided to move forward with the vaccinations one step at a time; one decision at a time. We have agreed to do the bare minimum and will not be going for the chicken pox or flu vaccines. I am still nervous to trust the same people who allowed drugs such as Thalidomide into the world, but I don't want to make these decisions based on fear alone and put Poppy at risk for diseases that are preventable. All we want to do is make the right and healthy choices for our child.
Now we are faced with the H1N1 virus and vaccine. The virus seems to be a ruthless and unpredictable one and that makes me nervous. It is also close to home as my mother works with a woman who's 4 year old daughter was just diagnosed with the virus, though only a mild case.
We have never been ones to get a flu shot, but everything changes when you have a child. Everything. It feels impossible to make the right decision or know what information is true. We are forced to play the 'what if' game to the bitter end. What if we get Poppy vaccinated and she suffers some rare or unknown side effect? What if we don't vaccinate her and she is one of the ones to get a vicious case of the flu? What if we take the risk of vaccinating and it isn't effective? All we can do is chose the lesser evil in a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don't scenario.
Is it really any worse than flu strains of years past? Every year it seems to be a new thing that is going to wipe out humans; the bird flu, listeriosis, SARS, the swine flu. Is this just the over-drugged world that we live in complete with mutating super bugs and insanely intelligent viruses? People are taking too many antibiotics and numbing their symptoms with drugs so that they can go to work and infect the public rather than taking the necessary time to heal.
It is hard to know the right answers, but it all makes me want to go deep into the woods and never come out.
Please share your thoughts and experiences.