I wasn't going to weigh in (because I'm a passive-aggressive non-confrontational coward ;)) but just in case there are still people on the fence and trying to decide for their kids and for themselves, I wanted to at least offer my POV. I could say that my 8 years in graduate school and 2 degrees and 14 years spent in public health give me a certain amount of background on this topic, but I'd rather speak as a mom of two little ones.
Infectious disease used to be the number one cause of death in the entire world. It was the advent of vaccinations and antibiotics (along with improved sanitation) that made them fade from the industrialized, 1st world (keep in mind that infectious disease still runs rampant in 3rd world nations). I keep hearing that people want "proof" that vaccines work. We have historical records for hundreds of years of devastating infectious disease outbreaks (Black Death, anyone? 1918 flu epidemic? Small pox??), and we have documented proof that those numbers have been dramatically decreased since vaccines became available and routine. We
eradicated smallpox. Besides landing on the moon, this is possibly mankind's most amazing achievement. We eradicated (completely wiped-out) the existence of one of the most infectious and greatest killers to humans with the use of vaccines. Just 30-40 years ago, we were on the verge of eradicating measles as well. So measles is just a rash and a high temp and runny nose, you say? During the last run of unchecked measles epidemics in the mid 20th century, it also had a death rate of 20% in many areas that were affected. That's 1 in every 5 children, dead.
The vaccines have adverse side effects/events? Yes, sometimes they do. But the number of children who are affected by serious adverse events (serious side-effects like those that are caused by measles: deafness, brain swelling, death, disability) are very rare. You know someone whose child had a serious reaction to a vaccine? You've read about someone's child who had a serious reaction to a vaccine? Yes, it does happen. Consider how many people vaccinate their children though - how many of those numerous vaccinated children then had serious side effects? It is a very, very small number. In epidemiology (my field for the last 14 years), we call this a risk-to-benefit ratio. The risk, although life-changing and devastating to the families that are affected, actually affect a very, very small percentage of the entire public. But we as a society no longer see the benefit, and I think that's the crux of the problem.
We no longer see children in iron lungs or paralyzed due to polio. We no longer see children born with severe birth defects because moms were exposed to rubella (German measles) while pregnant. We no longer see body counts in the thousands due to childhood deaths from measles, mumps, whooping cough, or rotavirus. You want to be a cautious vaccinator and delay Hep A and Hep B vaccines? I hear you. I understand that. You question whether to give your child the HPV vaccine? Okay, I can understand that (although HPV is highly common/prevalent in the population and increases your odds of cancer). But for the love of all that is good in this world, do not decide against vaccinations of
preventable childhood, infectious diseases. Because not only is that irresponsible towards your own child, that is negligent and unethical towards the children of others who cannot receive the vaccine (because they are babies and simply too young, or immune-compromised, or allergic to the ingredients).
You want to argue that it's a big ploy between CDC/WHO and big-pharma to put toxic chemicals in your children for profit? I assume that you do not abstain from antibiotics if your child has a major ear infection? Or you have over-the-counter drugs like ibuprofen and Tylenol for high fevers? Vaccines are not a big-profit generator for big pharma. They would rather sell you something that comes in a pill that you will have to take for the rest of your life. One or two doses in your lifetime is a pretty small financial venture for them. Also, most vaccines are already around - there's not much drug discovery and profit to be made there. Viagra on the other hand, or Ambien or Prozac . . . blockbusters. If you can trust antibiotics and over the counter treatments, if you can let your child play on grass that has been treated by pesticides, or pools/waterparks that have been cleaned with chlorine, or brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste . . . don't pick and choose your science based on a handful of "doctors who disagree" or cherry-picked websites about the dangers of vaccines. Choose peer-reviewed publications like Nature or Science, New England Journal of Medicine or the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Or choose to believe the medical establishment and your doctors, the CDC or WHO or NIH.
My last argument will be this, and the one that I hope carries the most weight: I vaccinate my own children. So does my pediatrician and all of my friends in medicine and public health. If these vaccines really were as poisonous as you may fear or those blogs may claim, why in the world would we "poison" our own children? Surely if there is anyone we are going to protect first, it would be our own kids. Or maybe we are all ignorant and stupid? That may be, but we went to the same schools as the people who built the roof over your head and the car that you drive and the plane that you travel in. You can choose to trust that humans are innately good and believe in our collective talents at developing advanced technologies, or you can believe that it's all a conspiracy aimed at harming children (why?? there's no profit in that, really). I believe in the good in people, and I believe in a personal and professional responsibility to try to help others. Trust me, no one goes into public health for the money.
I love my children as much as you love yours, I will bet on that any day. I vaccinate my children for their safety, as well as for yours. I would do it for you. You should seriously consider why you won't do it for their sake or for mine.