Saturday, February 19, 2011

Q & A: Vaccination Disclosure

Today's question is taken from the Agoura Hills Patch and comes from Lauren Rifenbark, who is a mother of a toddler:
Before I had my son almost two years ago, I never gave any thought to the issue of vaccinations and the fact that some parents choose not to vaccinate their children. Now that I have a toddler, who has not yet completed his schedule of childhood vaccines and does not have full immunity to many preventable illnesses, it is difficult for me to ignore recent outbreaks of measles and whooping cough. When we visit the local indoor playroom or the park, I can't help but wonder if any of the kids my son is trading slobber with is unvaccinated. This brings me to my question for the day: Do you believe that parents who choose not to vaccinate their children have an obligation (moral, ethical, or otherwise) to notify other parents of their decision?
Thanks for the question Lauren

The answer is "No". Parents who choose not to vaccinate their children do not have an obligation  to notify other parents of their decision.

As to your fears, remember, while you haven't completed the entire schedule (and due to teen, preteen and adult vaccines your child never will) you can rest assured you have vaccinal immunity to pertussis and the measles. Measles protection is purported to be very good -- so the next time an American returning from Sweden attends your play group your child will be protected. In regards to pertussis, the vaccine's protective ability is rather limited: it lasts perhaps five years.

Returning to the question of whether or not I should tell you about my child's vaccination status, the question may soon be moot. (Perhaps the government will require unvaccinated children to wear shirts saying "I'm not vaccinated" or have patches sewn on their clothing indicating the same.) But, as to the situation at hand, you have every right to ask parents and they have the right to either answer you or not. (Personally, I'd have no problem sharing that information) But, I'm curious, do you ask every adult with whom your child comes into contact with if they've had their flu shot and their adult series of boosters?

Finally, on a tangential note, what's particularly interesting about the question is that it reveals the Machine's fear mongering having its desired effect of scaring parents and creating and us (vaccinated) against them (unvaccinated) mindset

1 comment:

  1. A person's vaccination status is not anyone's business. However, if parent's who chose to not vaccinate their children had an obligation to notify other parents of their decision, then it would have to work the other way too in my opinion. If this was the standard then parents who choose to vaccinate should have to inform other parents as well due to some vaccines shedding and newly vaccinated children having the potential to spread the disease they were vaccinated against due to live viruses in these particular vaccinations. Also, vaccinated children can often be silent carriers of these diseases, so that would have to be disclosed too then if the reason for disclosure was to be informed that there was risk of infection.

    Since no vaccine is 100% effective and many diseases people get vaccinated against have cyclical rates of infection not based at all on vaccination rates (pertussis being one of them) the vaccination status of anyone really is not that significant.

    And it always comes back to the idea that if someone fully believes in the vaccines they chose to give to their children, and the idea that those vaccines will keep their children safe and healthy, then why does anyone else's status really matter?