Health (baby) – Vaccines

My son got his six month shots last Friday. The next day, he was what the doctors call ‘irritable’. Which translates to upset, demanding, fussy, and very difficult to sooth. (In medicalese, the next step is ‘inconsolable’, when you just can’t sooth them.) He was also warm, though he never quite reached the point of having a fever, and there was mild swelling around one of the injection sights.

Welcome to ‘mild reaction’ to vaccinations. I couldn’t put him down for 2 days, without his screaming. The second day, he would accept being in the baby carrier on my back, and I could at least have my hands free and get some cleaning done. When we went shopping, I brought the carrier to, because the stroller was a no-go.

I debated calling the doctor, but he was getting better each day, and by Monday he was pretty much fine, though still a bit more clingy than usual.

When my first child was born, I read up on all the information on vaccination I could find. I wanted to make an informed decision. In the end, she was vaccinated, despite very mixed feelings on my part.

I don’t believe the horror stories about vaccinations. The whole ‘mercury in vaccinations causes autism’ thing may have made sense – if there was more than a single vaccination that included mercury (ok, Thimerosal, a mercury derivative), and if they didn’t have a mercury-free version of it. And yes, severe reactions to vaccines happen. Frankly, a 1 in several thousand chance of a bad reaction versus a 1 in 10 chance of dying . . . my math is bad, but I can crunch that equation.

Which doesn’t address the issue that with most of these diseases practically (if not literally) erased from the country, chance of having a reaction from a vaccine is way worse than chance of dying from the disease the vaccine is preventing. Except that if we stopped using the vaccines, the diseases would come back. Except that vaccines came into use at the same time proper sanitation was being introduced, and we really don’t know if modern sanitation would prevent the spread of these diseases without vaccines. Except that . . .

Yeah, nice little headache in the making there.

For what it is worth, after seven years, and three kids, here’s my take now: if modern sanitation were enough to prevent the spread of childhood diseases, dangerous or not, chicken pox wouldn’t have been a normal rite of childhood until the vaccine came out. That said; in the UK children receive 23 vaccines before they turn 18, in Australia 28, in the US over 40. I haven’t heard anything about children dying in droves from preventable diseases in the UK or Australia, and I know several people who lived in the UK until very recently. So while I think vaccines are in general a good thing, and are our best defense against some very dangerous diseases; I also think there is ‘too much of a good thing’ going on in the US right now. We’ve seen the danger to too many antibiotics, to much dieting, too much exercise, to many vitamins . . . practically every other ‘good for you’ health thing has been proven to be a bad thing taken to extremes. I’d be surprised if that doesn’t apply to vaccines.