In a recent Slate.com article titled Why Do Rich People Refuse to Vaccinate Their Kids? there is a point made about parents in the upper echelon being more likely to refuse vaccinations for their children.
Nina Shapiro, a professor at UCLA is quoted as saying of the people who are making the choice to not vaccinate:
“I’m going to be pure and I want to keep my child pure”
Um. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that’s a really horrible way to share that sentiment.
There’s this whole thing where people who have more money tend to be more educated – unlike me, it doesn’t usually take them a hundred years to get a bachelor’s degree – and when you’re more educated you tend to do things like:
- Research purchases like food (and you can afford to go organic or grass fed if you want)
- Determine that while you cannot control things like war or global warming, you can make a choice to feed your children food you deem the healthiest available.
- Research ingredients in vaccinations and do more research on the ingredients you don’t understand.
- Take your research and determine solutions based on the information gathered from sources you and your friends and family deem reliable.
This isn’t because they’re smarter, it’s because the main thing that school teaches (especially good, expensive schools) is critical thinking. The main hallmark of critical thinking is questioning pretty much everything. Then they discuss their findings with the rest of their peer group and all pretty much come to a consensus on the issue.
If you go to a parent mixer at that school mentioned in the article above where only 20% of the kids are vaccinated, I can tell you right now, no one is going to stand up and tell everyone they should shop at Kroger instead of Whole Foods. They’d be glared out of the room and probably shunned. Saying you eat organic and didn’t vaccinate says YOU CARE ABOUT YOUR KIDS in the way everyone else you know does. You are saving them from the world and from horrible things you can do nothing about like oil spills in the ocean.
It’s not just rich people, it’s anyone who thinks critically. I know a lot of poor people who are capable of some serious critical thinking. I mean, you have to be a problem solver and be able to analyze to figure out how not to be homeless when you’re living paycheck to paycheck, right? When you don’t have a great education and fabulous connections through your family and school, you have to find other ways to make your money and pay your bills.
So you go from, “I want my food to be pure” to “I don’t know what is in those shots and my friends think it’s safer without them” plus the most important add-on, “I have access to healthcare if my child does get sick.” That last one there mitigates a lot of fear that most people would have about not vaccinating. There is a trust in the medical system that if your child gets sick, there’s a cure for what ails them.
There is also the rampant fear of autism. You have these well-to-do people who are educated, I think the final step from, “There are trace amounts of mercury in XYZ vaccination.” To, “I’m not vaccinating my child.” Is that if you do vaccinate and your child does get autism, it doesn’t matter if those two things are related, your entire social group is going to look at you as the idiot who broke your baby forever. Because they will. So, it becomes safer to risk polio than risk autism.
That’s the real choice that’s happening in the minds of people who don’t vaccinate.
Do you want to risk your child getting a disease that was eradicated a hundred years ago and that your child probably won’t get because of herd immunity….or do you want to take the risk that you make a parenting choice that makes your child autistic forever and ever, amen?
I don’t think that vaccines cause autism. I am not a doctor, though, so my opinion (should) mean nothing to you. But as long as autism is blogged about and talked about and shared as this massive responsibility that takes everything out of a parent, you’re going to find that people don’t see vaccines as prevention, but as a potential risk factor to ruining their child.
My children are all vaccinated. One of the three is very, very petite and so I put her on a delayed vax schedule. She was all caught up by Kindergarten, but I didn’t understand (and for some reason, my doctor couldn’t explain it and actually supported the delayed schedule) why my itty-bitty daughter was going to get the same amount of dead virus pumped into her as my regular-size daughter. It scared me.
You can also bet your bippy I watched my kids sleep for two nights after every. single. round. of vaccinations. I was so scared they would wake up and the light would be gone from their eyes (seriously, Internet, you drove me half mad during that time with your in-depth, horrible descriptions of children who changed overnight) and they would never be the same again.
It’s not about how much you care for your kids (because whether or not you vaccinate, your reason is that you care for your kids) and it’s not about how much money you have (just because people with money tend to be more educated and the benefit of more education is, in many cases, better critical thinking skills) and it’s not even about the friends you have (I have poor friends who are very well researched about vaccinations that fall on both sides of the fence).
It’s whether you are more afraid of autism or polio/whooping cough/measles/mumps/rubells/etc.
People pick the lesser of two evils.
The lesser of two evils – in this case – all depends on where you get your information.