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Sickness and Viruses and Vaccines (Oh My)

October 8, 2014

In my own odd effort to procrastinate last night, I stumbled across this article. It’s a little long, so I’ll sum up the points here: “My parents didn’t vaccinate me but raised me extremely healthy and I caught everything so vaccinate your kids. I vaccinate mine and they’re okay. If you don’t vaccinate, your kids and the world will suffer.”

Hmmm. I don’t know a ton about vaccinations, but I feel like that’s a very one-sided argument. After reading that I immediately looked up other articles about vaccines, read personal antidotes, and many many many comments. I’ve come to this conclusion: it’s a personal decision. And here’s why…

I grew up extremely healthy. I ate mostly vegetables and fruits, very little sugar and processed foods. I spent a lot of my life outside. I wouldn’t bathe for days (which is sort of gross but I was stubborn). I grew up around animals. I was a child raised on extensive breastfeeding. And, on top of all of that, aside from vaccines such as polio and other big-ticket diseases, I received very few vaccinations.

Today, I can say that although I’ve definitely gotten sick before (I’m not a god), I’ve never gotten that sick. I’ve never been on antibiotics (knock on wood), I’ve never broken a bone, and I haven’t gotten a flu vaccine for as long as I can remember. I’m very lucky and thankful for my good health, not much of which I credit to vaccines. To me, this debate about vaccines makes little sense. Why should we impose our own personal views onto someone else? Why are we attempting to influence the personal choices of others? 

And I know the rebuttal to my argument: “If you don’t get vaccinated you could get sick and get others sick.” Could. It could happen. It’s not clear that it will. The times I most clearly remember getting the flu (aside from once when I was in France), were after a friend or classmate had just gotten the flu shot. I caught chicken pox from someone who got the vaccine. This vaccine business is not an exact formula for how to live your life illness-free. And it’s foolish for us to believe that it is. There is not a magic shot that will prevent sickness, a special pill to kill viruses, or a formula to solve our problems. I believe that modern medicine has the potential to reach the point of new developments, but we’re not there yet.

So until then, I will continue to take my supplements, eat healthy, wash my hands, not get vaccines like the flu shot, and be a respectful human being to those that choose to make choices different from my own.

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