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Vaccinations Shouldn't Be Optional

Photograph by Getty Images

Recently a friend and fellow contributor, Leah Campbell, wrote about an experience she had with her daughter’s vaccines and shared the importance of education and playing an active role in her medical experiences. While I understood her message to be one of vigilance and awareness, many others took the message as an (appropriate) attack against the medical community—a community of health care professionals that are lazy and unaware and "out to get us" at every turn.

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Obviously Leah’s case is an important reminder to be aware. And there are many warranted instances for delay or the total avoidance of vaccines, especially for children with preexisting conditions or family histories. BUT—and this is a big, fat, mama bear BUT—for the vast majority of children it is irresponsible to totally avoid vaccines and expose your children, and then my family, to the diseases that we have eradicated through modern medicine.

If you move to a compound and never again interact with the rest of civilization, I encourage you to do whatever your heart desires under the guise of "health" for your family. If you intend to put your children in school, have them play sports or take dance class, do us all a favor and vaccinate your children.

How does it make sense that we are shunning modern medicine and the eradication of major diseases in favor of "holistic" living?

I am currently expecting baby No. 2, and my health practitioner—a midwife who generally prescribes to the hippy-dippy, voodoo-woodoo natural birth mumbo jumbo—(that yes, I willingly participated in the first time around) had a serious discussion with families under her care about the importance of making good choices for your family. She addressed the very serious rise of whooping cough and recommended that patients follow the recently released CDC recommendations that expecting women and their families receive updated Pertussis vaccinations. The fact that she even had to make the point is but one example of a significant shift in the developed world.

Why are we rejecting the use of vaccines when so many of the world's developing nations are clamoring for even the cheapest and most widespread vaccines available? How does it make sense that we are shunning modern medicine and the eradication of major diseases in favor of "holistic" living?

RELATED: Cold and Flu Myths

Do you know what the implications are for the decline in vaccines?

Sure, this perspective is in the minority in the health conscious, quinoa-revering, Paleo-eating circles that are on trend in the middle class, which probably includes most of the women reading this. Regardless, you'd better believe my kid will be vaccinated from the big scary health monsters we can protect them from when I send her off to school, and I certainly wish your kids would be, too. When it comes to the monsters under the bed, I’ll stick to my version of voodoo-woodoo mumbo jumbo for that; and trust a team of doctors to help when it comes to the health and well-being of my family.

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