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  1. #1
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    How to make an informed decision on vaccination

    At the Pregnancy and Parenting Network today we explored many issues around vaccination. One of this issues raised was how do we make an informed decision whether to vaccinate or not vaccinate your children. I must admit this is an issue that I found challenging as a parent. I read widely and became more and more confused. Some of the suggestions from today's group on the best ways to inform yourself are:

    • Read the Australia Vaccination Website
    • Read information on the NSW Health Website on immunisation particularly the information on the incidence of the diseases and mortality rates of each disease
    • Dr Sears book on Vaccination
    • Talk to a supportive doctor on vaccination


    For me the best source of information is the book Childhood Vaccination. This book is written by Dr Lauren Feder. Lauren provides both the pro vaccination view point, the anti vaccination view point and provides some really valuable information of her own. How did you make an informed decision on vaccination?
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  2. #2
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    The Feder book is a great read and presents things really clearly. It's a decision that I consider to be ongoing in my case, and something to continually reassess, as it is so hard to set a level of 'acceptable risk' of potential disease or potential side effects when it comes to our children.

  3. #3
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    I also found the Childhood Vaccination book to be an informative and helpful read about vaccination. It can be hard to make an informed decision when there are so many personal opinions and scare tactics being pushed along with the information about the benefits and risks of vaccination. As Mel said, it's definitely wise to continually reassess the situation bases on each child's health and your family's circumstances, and handy to know it's a decision that can be changed along the way if necessary.

    I have also heard of some families choosing to use homeopathics in place of vaccination to help prevent diseases. Harbord Homeopathic Clinic on Sydney's northern beaches runs a program providing homeoprophylaxis alternatives.
    DD Nov 09 ~ home waterbirth

  4. #4

    Vaccine Choices

    The first time I even thought about whether I had a choice to vaccinate my children or not was when I was interviewing a midwife. Prior to that I'd just assumed that all children are required to get vaccines and assumed I'd just follow my doctor's direction in vaccinating our children.

    My midwife told me a story about a family she had seen at the park, who had a child that was handicapped. The cause of the child's handicap was a severe vaccine reaction.

    This midwife shared with me that there are choices to be made about each and every vaccine, and that each vaccine comes with it's own level of risk. Then she said something that helped me make my decision not to vaccinate our children. She told me to think about how I would feel if I gave my child a vaccine and she had a serious vaccine reaction - autism, paralysis or even death.

    She then asked me to think about how I would feel if I chose not to vaccinate, and my child contracted the disease and there was a serious outcome from the disease.

    After doing a LOT of research on the potential benefits of vaccines versus the potential adverse reactions, I decided that I would feel better if my child ended up getting a disease that had a poor outcome. It took a lot of research to come to this decision, but basically I didn't think I'd be able to live with myself if I chose to give my child a vaccine and they had a very bad reaction to it.

    It's important to do research on every vaccine that you might consider giving your child because some have more risks than others, and some provide more potential protection than others.

    When a vaccine is given, it does not always provide immunity. Many parents think that once their child is vaccinated they are protected from the disease they were vaccinated for. However no vaccine offers complete protection.

    We initially decided not to vaccinate when our first child was born. We felt that if our children contracted the Chicken Pox that this was a fairly mild disease for children under the age of 13, and if they actually got the disease that they would build up a higher immunity to it as compared to the protection a vaccine might give.

    But when our first two children hit their teens, we decided to vaccinate them for Chicken Pox because we felt the risk of them contracting a serious case outweighed the risks of vaccinating them at that age.

    We also made sure to boost their immune system before having them vaccinated to reduce the risk of vaccine reactions. Here's a forum thread with more information about this and it talks about when you should vaccinate your child.

    Do your research and then make the decision that's best for you and your family. If you'd like to try to find a health practitioner that will support you in your decision of "non-vaccination" or "partial vaccination", take a look at the Health Professionals supportive of vaccination alternatives thread or you can search for one through the Find a Practitioner page.

    Warm regards,

    Kate

  5. #5
    I found the book to be really good and I have to say I think that where I live everything is different, but I chose to vaccinate, because no one wants to see their child sick and I was vaccinated as well. I basically have researched everything in full detail before I made the decision, but I knew that once I had my kids I wanted them to be able to go to school and be healthy. Now some of the vaccinations are not good, because i don't think all of them work but it is better for them to be able to go to public school and not be at home over a shot. I find it sad that they will not let your kids attend school because of these reasons.

    Always make sure that you are informed and make your own decisions about it, you should not let any one influence you to vaccinate your kids if you do not want to.

  6. #6
    Hi Lucky120,

    I noticed that you are in California (USA) and I know that parents in California can sign a "personal beliefs" exemption form if they do not want their child vaccinated for personal reasons. In Australia you can sign a "conscientious objection" form.
    ===============
    California - http://www.gval.com/legal.htm (California Health and Safety Code Section 120365). This is the "personal beliefs" exemption in California law.

    The exemption is fairly easy to exercise. Each student in California is required to submit a "California School Immunization Record" to be admitted to school (California Health and Safety Code Section 12-375).

    On the reverse of the form is the following statement: "I hereby request exemption of the child, named in the front, from the immunization requirements for school/child care center entry because these immunizations are contrary to my beliefs. I understand that in case of an outbreak of any of these diseases, the child may be temporarily excluded from school for his/her protection." To exercise the exemption, you simply sign the immunization record under this statement.

    There is another exemption which is available, although it is more difficult to exercise because a medical opinion is necessary. If immunization is "contraindicated", that is, considered to be potentially harmful to the child for medical reasons, an exemption is granted upon the filing with of "a written statement by a licensed physician to the effect that the physical condition of the child is such, or medical circumstances relating to the child are such, that immunization is not considered safe, indicating the specific nature and probable duration of the medical condition or circumstances that contraindicate immunization..." (California Health and Safety Code Section 120370).
    ==================
    Australia:
    The exemption may be religious, medical or conscientious objection. To claim these objections requires a form to be signed by your GP stating that s/he has 'counselled' you on the risks of not vaccinating. This form can be obtained from Medicare or Centrelink offices. "

    Austrialia conscientious exemption form in pdf format http://www.hic.gov.au/CA256976001D06..._objection.pdf

    Medical Objection link ... http://www.hic.gov.au/CA256976001D0618/Lookup/PDF_GENERAL_ACIR/$file/cfrm_acir_contraindication.pdf

    The forms above can be found at: http://www.hic.gov.au/yourhealth/forms/index.htm
    ==================
    For all other Countries and States this website is a great resource:
    http://www.unhinderedliving.com/statevaccexemp.html

    You also said "I find it sad that they will not let your kids attend school because of these reasons." I just wanted to clarify that our choice to homeschool had nothing to do with vaccines and as a private school, we are required to keep the same vaccine records for our children that public schools do.

    It's great to hear that you researched everything ahead of time - what's most important is that you make an informed decision that's best for you and your family.

    You mentioned that you believe that some of the vaccines are not good. Did you choose to only vaccinate your child(ren) with only some of the vaccines and not others?

    Warm regards,

    Kate

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