All Akimbo: Vaccinate? That is the question

By Kim Blakely, mama blogger

bennett-and-juliana100_4109.jpgWith all the debate swirling around the H1N1 vaccine, I thought long and hard about getting Mojo vaccinated.

I armed myself with all the information I could find about what might happen if he got the shot and about what might happen if he didn’t.

I kept close tabs on news reports and word-of-mouth about what was happening here and elsewhere with kids who got the flu.

I tried not to panic about the flu because I heard about several kids who got it and recovered just fine, but when a note came home in Mojo’s backpack to let me know that there were confirmed cases of the flu in his school, I almost came unglued.

If he got it, would he be OK? And how would I keep him isolated so Moxie wouldn’t get sick, too? She’s still so tiny …

Mojo wasn’t happy, but I made him stay home from school for a few days that week, just in case.

I chatted up lots of moms about their takes on the issue  – some said they would absolutely go to the ends of the earth to make sure their kids got the vaccine and some told me stories about their friends whose kids had seizures, three days of high fevers, blinding headaches, etc.

In the end, I decided to go forth and wait in line …

A day or two later, I was talking with a couple of other moms in Mojo’s preschool class about the vaccine – who did it and who didn’t, mostly – when I heard one mom say that her son had never had a shot.

Not one. Not one in his whole life.

We don’t believe in those, she said.

And, she went on, the only way you can really keep from getting the flu is to take a lot of Vitamin D

I’m not so sure I agree with her, and I’m not so sure she’s not putting my kids at risk by not vaccinating hers, but I do applaud her for sticking to her convictions. I’ve seen plenty of research that says we’re over-vaccinating our kids and that vaccinations are linked to all kinds of nasty effects.

But I can’t imagine the angst I would have battled if I had weighed the pros and cons as carefully with each every immunization on the schedule from the very beginning as I did with this latest flu shot.

I guess when it comes down to it, I can’t let go of the feeling that if my babies miss a shot on their pediatrician’s schedule they will get seriously ill and it will be all my fault because I didn’t take care of them the way I should. Should I be worried that I’m doing them an injustice by having them vaccinated on a traditional schedule or having them vaccinated against things like the chicken pox etc.? Maybe. I just don’t know.

What do you think? Anyone out there feel strongly that vaccines are the way to go? Anyone out there anti-vaccine?


  1. We got the regular flu mist at the doc yesterday, but no H1N1 yet. My daughter’s school is going to be doing the vaccinations soon. Did Mojo have any side effects?

  2. My teenagers got the H1N1 shots at school, but I am not rushing to get my five-year-old vaccinated. He has never had a flu shot, and has never had the flu. He does have all of his regular “baby shots”, and I never had a problem with any of my children who had those.

    I think the bottom line is that there are ALWAYS going to be a certain level of risk for ANY medical procedure. The pharmaceutical industry is a multi-billion dollar one, and that means there is a LOT of money going into the promotion of vaccines and medications that are pushed into the hands and heads of our physicians. The odds have to be weighed for each shot. I think the benefits outweigh the risk, personally.

    That said – if my child had a pre-existing health challenge like an immune system problem or a history of serious childhood infections, I would have them vaccinated.

  3. From Kristy:

    In regards to the vaccines, there is also a great alternative vaccine schedule that allows you to spread the shots out, BUT your child still gets all of their vaccinations. I found for my little one, who is sick ALL the time, that spreading them out helped me pinpoint the ones that he reacted to. I knew, then, when he got the second round of that shot, to mark three days off the calendar according to how he reacted to the first dose.

    The alternative vaccine schedule is proposed by Dr. Sears. Like I said, your child gets all of his/her vaccines, just spaced out. The WAshington County Health Dept has been wonderful giving the shots as our regular doctor will not space the shots out. We have to pay a 30$ copay each time we get shots at our regular doctor and at the health department it is 5$ each time. The nurses there are very compassionate and in my opinion really won me over. Alternative vaccination schedule or not, I always recommend the WCHD because of how they have handled my baby during a quite stressful time!

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