Six People Who Should Be Vaccinated

Even the staunchest anti-vaccine advocates, even if they want to believe that some vaccines are optional, must admit that there are some kids that really need to be vaccinated.

After all, there can’t be anyone so anti-vaccine that they wouldn’t allow their child to get the rabies vaccine after they were bitten by a rabid dog, right?

Optional Vaccines

Wait, some vaccines are optional?

“The main reason I feel that vaccines should be optional for parents is that every vaccine has the potential to cause a fatal reaction… And no government should be able to force parents into putting their child through something that puts that child at risk of dying. I think that’s just a fundamental right that every parent should have.”

Dr. Robert W. Sears on Why Partial Vaccinations May Be an Answer

Parents do sometimes ask about optional vaccines.

Which vaccines can they safely skip or delay?

That’s easy to answer.

Which disease do you want to risk your child getting?

Which disease, if more and more parents decided to make that vaccine optional, would you like to see come back?

“And if parents want to accept the disease risk because they don’t trust the vaccines, I think they have the right to make that choice.”

Dr. Robert W. Sears on Why Partial Vaccinations May Be an Answer

All vaccines are important and none are optional, despite what you might read on those so-called alternative immunization schedules that have been pushed by ‘vaccine friendly’ or disease friendly pediatricians for years.

Of course, parents do have the option of skipping one or more vaccines, even if the great majority of pediatricians advise against them doing so. That’s the fundamental flaw in Dr. Bob’s reasoning. The government, even with mandates to attend daycare and school, isn’t forcing parents to vaccinate their kids.

It’s not the only flaw though…

Essential Vaccine Situations

Do parents who delay or skip vaccines worry that their kids might get sick?

Some likely do, especially those who have been on the fence about vaccinating their kids.

For others, it is likely easier to be anti-vaccine when you think that you are hiding in the herd – you don’t get vaccinated and you don’t vaccinate your kids, and instead, you simply rely on the fact that everyone else around you is vaccinated to get protection from vaccine-preventable diseases.

That gamble doesn’t always work though.

“I think our Constitution guarantees parents the right to make health care decisions for their children, as long as they’re not putting their children’s life in danger. And by not vaccinating, you’re not putting your children’s life in immediate danger. Yes, you are taking some risk with diseases, but it’s not such a high risk where that should counteract or take away your freedoms as a parent to make your own health care decisions.”

Dr. Robert W. Sears on Why Partial Vaccinations May Be an Answer

So how high a risk are you taking by not vaccinating your kids?

It depends, but there are certainly special situations in which you would be putting your children’s life in more immediate danger if you didn’t get them vaccinated, including:

  1. a child bitten by a rabid dog, coyote, or bat – needs HBIG and a rabies vaccine series
  2. a completely unvaccinated teen who gets a deep puncture wound while playing in a field – needs TBIG and a tetanus vaccine (keep in mind that a child might still need a booster if they are up to date, but it has been more than five years since their last tetanus shot)
  3. an unvaccinated older teen living in a dorm on a college campus where there is an ongoing outbreak of meningococcemia – needs the meningococcal vaccine
  4. a preschooler with a cochlear implant – needs the pneumococcal vaccines because of an increased risk of pneumococcal meningitis
  5. an unvaccinated 1st grader who’s sibling is starting chemotherapy for leukemia – needs to get caught up on all age appropriate vaccines, including live vaccines
  6. unvaccinated kids traveling out of the country to parts of the world where vaccine-preventable diseases are still endemic – needs to get caught up on all age appropriate vaccines, but especially the MMR vaccine and likely needs more travel vaccines depending on the destination

What if a family member with chronic hepatitis B was going to be visiting or moving in with you? What if you had hepatitis B and you were having a baby? Would you get your baby vaccinated?

Polio Vaccine - don't wait until it's too late.
Who are you going to listen to?

Would you still skip or delay your child’s vaccines in any of these situations?

If you believe one or more anti-vaccine talking points or believe in any of the “experts” of the anti-vaccine movement, then you might.

Of course, none of the vaccines on the childhood immunization schedule are optional and delaying or skipping any of them increases your child’s risk of getting a vaccine-preventable disease.

The problem is that many vaccine hesitant parents greatly underestimate the risk of getting a disease and overestimate the risks of side effects from the vaccines.

And often, the immediate danger isn’t so obvious.

So instead of a dog who is obviously rabid, foaming at the mouth, what if your child was scratched by a stray cat that had never been vaccinated against rabies, or:

  • instead of a deep puncture wound, what if he just gets pricked by a thorn and gets tetanus?
  • instead of a possible exposure in an ongoing outbreak, what if your child is exposed before the outbreak of meningococcemia is widely known to be happening?
  • your unvaccinated child gets chicken pox and exposes a classmate who is immunosuppressed because they are being treated with chemotherapy?
  • your unvaccinated child gets measles after being exposed to an unvaccinated friend who had recently traveled to Europe, where there are many ongoing outbreaks?

The bottom line is that you can wait too long to get your child vaccinated and you may end up regretting your decision to skip or delay those vaccines. Partial vaccinations aren’t the answer.

The answer is to get educated about vaccines and to understand that vaccines are safe and necessary and that vaccines work.

What To Know About Kids Who Should Be Vaccinated

Whether you are anti-vaccine, on the fence, or a vaccine advocate, you should understand that there are some high risk situations in which kids can be in immediate danger if they weren’t vaccinated. And many other situations in which you may regret skipping or delaying your child’s vaccines.

More About Kids Who Should Be Vaccinated

4 thoughts on “Six People Who Should Be Vaccinated

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