Look, I don’t know if vaccines cause autism. Or Guillian-Barre Syndrome. Or seizures. I don’t think they do, but I could be wrong.
Believe me, I like a good conspiracy as much as the next person, and I hate Big Pharma as much as the next person, and I am probably more cynical than most people. And I believe there are plenty of smart, well-educated, equally cynical, equally sane people who have good reason to think vaccinations have harmed their children in a variety of ways. I don’t know if they’re right. I’m not a scientist, I haven’t done the experiments. Maybe they have (they haven’t).
But for me, right and wrong isn’t the point. For me, it comes down to risk.
Even if I believed that vaccines do cause autism or brain damage or ovarian failure – I don’t, but from what I’ve read, some of those things may be possible, at least in small percentages – I’d still vaccinate my son. Because most of the things the anti-vaxxers are afraid of won’t actually kill him, but Polio might. And I’m simply more comfortable with my son’s tiny, possibly fictional odds of potentially contracting something harmful during well-meaning attempts to protect him from fatal diseases than I am with leaving him – and others – exposed to them.
If we skip the vaccine to avoid the risk of side-effects – and my son is lucky enough to escape the measles and the mumps and polio and rubella and diphtheria – simply not immunizing him would still leave others in my community at risk. And I think that’s fucking CRAZY. I don’t want to be responsible for an outbreak. I don’t want my son to be patient zero. I don’t want to be the reason “The Walking Dead” becomes a reality (partially because I don’t want people in real life to find Norman Reedus attractive).
I, being of sound mind and body and with no interest in becoming the new Hitler, think the risks that come with not being vaccinated are too much for me and my family and for the other kids at my son’s school and for my neighborhood and town and society and for future generations and also mankind in general plus any future species that we encounter once we invent hyper-speed. I mean come on, people, get your heads out of your asses you’re endangering all of us just give your kid the shot. GIVE YOUR KID THE SHOT!
Call me naïve, call me crazy, call me Star Lord, but I tend to side with the scientists over Jenny McCarthy. And that’s not an insult; it’s just me playing the odds. Jenny McCarthy is dumb and potentially dangerous. That is an insult. I just don’t trust celebrities or aggrieved parents* as much as I trust doctors, even if they are in the pocket of Big Pharma.
Obviously Big Pharma is evil and apathetic and just wants money regardless of who they hurt – the indiscriminate pain caused by erectile dysfunction ads is evidence enough of their heartlessness – but you don’t really think vaccines are intended to harm people, do you? GM made some major mistakes recently when they didn’t react quickly enough to a deadly flaw in their cars, but that doesn’t mean they designed the cars with the goal of murdering people. At the very least it was their second or third goal, after providing reliable transportation to the paying public and maybe offering stoners a cool place to hotbox.
I’m not a doctor, I’m not a scientist, I suck at chemistry, I’m bad at math, I’m barely even an adult. I’m not going to pretend I’ve done all the research or that I’ve read all the research or that I understand any of the research. Like most of us, I read what I can, I try to listen to people who are more knowledgeable than me – while doing my best to stay open-minded – and then I make a judgment call. In this case, I’m gonna go with the professionals.
Maybe in the future we’ll discover the tinfoil hats were right, and that they were all Galileo and we were the Catholic Church, but even if they were, I’d still rather my kid – and yours – be autistic than dead.
That’s why I vaccinated my son.
(*If something actually happened to my son as a result of a vaccination, I don’t think I’d be able to be rational about either side of this argument, and I’d like to say I’d recuse myself before igniting a flame war but I know I wouldn’t be able to and would dive in and get angry and frustrated and mean and that’s why I am trying to be somewhat sympathetic to both sides of this debate.)