Spare a thought for the Gold Coast mum who has gone viral this week.
She’s accidentally placed herself in the crosshairs of two very vocal groups: passionate anti-vaxxers, and passionate pro-vaccination advocates.
It happened because the mother shared that when pregnant with her baby daughter, she chose not to vaccinate herself (and her unborn child) against whooping cough, because she was “a healthy pregnant woman, I worked out, went to gym, ate very healthy”.
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She felt that because she was healthy, she didn’t need to be vaccinated: “I was offered the injection in week 28, [but] being the healthy, fit organic woman that I am I said ‘leave me alone’, I said ‘I don’t need this crap’.
Imagine her devastation when her baby daughter Eva contracted whooping cough, and ended up in intensive care.
“If I could turn back time I would have protected myself,” she says. “That’s my message.”
She’s copping a lot of flak from both sides of the fence now: pro-vaxxers are saying she was negligent, non-vaxxers are saying she could have passed on whooping cough even if she was vaccinated.
I feel for her, because the reality is, she was just a mum doing what she felt was best at the time. It’s what we all do, isn’t it?
My problem with the whole vax debate is that in the past, we leant on qualified and experienced health professionals to make medical decisions.
Now, we do research on the internet – where every organic paleo health blogger has an opinion. Unqualified ‘health’ experts are being given just as much weight as scientists and researchers, which is a scary prospect.
I must admit, this mum’s story is a huge part of the reason why we vaccinate our kids; because I know I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t vaccinate them, and they got sick (or worse) from a preventable disease. It’s all about risk minimisation and while vaccinations don’t provide complete protection, they do minimise the risk.
To me, it’s like putting on a seat belt every time you travel in the car.
Yes, there are negative risks associated with wearing a seat belt – they can cut in to your skin during an accident, and some studies have even shown that a seat belt can cause more harm in an accident than good.
But overall, wearing a seat belt has been proven to keep millions and millions of people safe from a preventable death.
It’s risk mitigation. As a parent, I need to know that I’ve done everything I can do to keep them safe – and that includes vaccinating.
Do you agree that vaccinating is like wearing a seatbelt, or do you believe there are more factors at play?
Here’s your chance to get your opinion in front of a larger audience. And earn a dollar!
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