Parents Choosing Not To Vaccinate Your Kids? Risks And Responsibilities

Posted September 25, 2019 by Mitch Fraker - See Editorial Guidelines

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The choice not to vaccinate, or to partially vaccinate, is just that, a choice. As a parent, you have the ability to choose whether or not to vaccinate your children. Vaccinations are designed to help the immune system build up a protection against disease. This happens through administering a weakened form of the virus, proteins, or toxins from the organism. There are some people, perhaps those in the anti-vaccination movement, who believe that the administration of any form of the virus, whether it be weakened, or killed, is enough to make you sick. Some believe that the risks of vaccinating do not outweigh the benefits. Of course, many would also argue that vaccinations are the only safe and effective method to protect yourself and others against the risk of infection. Parents are responsible for the health and well-being of their children and it is up to each individual to decide if vaccinating is the right choice. Delaying or refusing to vaccinate your kids creates certain risks and it’s important to know what those risks look like. We’re talking about the risks and responsibilities that come along with the choice not to vaccinate your kids.

Risks Of Not Vaccinating

The decision to delay vaccination, partially vaccinate, or refuse vaccination completely isn’t one that should be taken lightly. There are many various factors to consider when making the decision not to vaccinate, or to partially vaccinate your child. Two big risks include the medical and social implications of not vaccinating.

Medical Implications:

There are many medical implications that come along with choosing not to vaccinate your children. Along with the decision not to vaccinate comes the understanding that people around you are at a higher risk of contracting a disease in the case of an outbreak. It is also important for parents of non-vaccinated children to inform any and all medical professionals of the child’s vaccination status first thing. Your child may need to receive distinctive, or out of the ordinary, treatment due to their vaccination status. Also, non-vaccinated pregnant women are more vulnerable to diseases that may cause complications in pregnancy, so be sure to be open and honest with your doctor about whether your family is vaccinated or not.

Social Implications:

There are also some social implications that come along with the choice not to vaccinate your kids. It might not be uncommon for other parents, teachers, etc. to ask for your child to be kept home during an outbreak. And if a child does become sick or infected with a contagious disease, they may need to be quarantined until they’ve beaten the infection. The need to keep your child separate during an outbreak or infection has the potential to create a feeling of exclusion in a child, a feeling of isolation from his or her peers. When compared to vaccinated kids, non-vaccinated children generally end up missing more school and events during an outbreak.

Responsibilities For Anti-Vaxxers

An anti-vaxxer is anyone who is opposed to vaccination, more specifically referring to a parent who has chosen not to vaccinate their children. Aside from being diligent about informing health professionals of your child’s vaccination status, there are many other responsibilities of parents in the anti-vaccination movement.

Protecting Your Child

  • As a parent, it’s your responsibility to protect your child against preventable diseases. Whether this includes vaccination or not is up to you, but if it doesn’t, you still need to protect your child’s health. From keeping your child home from school during an outbreak to notifying doctors of your child’s vaccination status, it’s important to know the responsibilities that come along with choosing not to vaccinate.

Protecting Those Around You

  • A parent’s main concern is the health of their own child, but it’s necessary when an outbreak occurs to think about those around you as well. Non-vaccinated children are at a higher risk of contracting a disease, which in turn puts those around them at a higher risk as well. Some people are already high risk for infection, including people with weakened immune systems and chronic medical conditions, as well as the elderly and newborn babies.

Be Aware When Traveling

  • It is extremely important to do your research before traveling with a non-vaccinated child. Are there any specific infections or disease risks in the place you’re traveling? Also be aware that if your child does get exposed to an outbreak, he or she may not get the same quality of care that can be found back home. Consider vaccinating all members of your family before embarking on a trip.

Educate Yourself

  • Stay up-to-date on any future potential outbreaks and what to do if they happen. Also, be sure to educate yourself about common vaccine-preventable diseases. Stay informed of any potential outbreaks so you’ll be armed with the knowledge to keep your child healthy.

Common Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

  • Chicken Pox
  • Diphtheria
  • Hib
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • HPV
  • Influenza
  • Measles
  • Meningococcal Infections
  • Mumps
  • Polio
  • Rotavirus
  • Rubella
  • Tetanus
  • Whooping Cough

What To Do If There’s An Outbreak

Before an outbreak:

  • Before an outbreak occurs, parents of non-vaccinated children should inform the child’s school, childcare facility, or any other caregivers of the child’s vaccination status. This knowledge ensures that anyone who interacts with the child is informed of the situation and has the correct tools needed to keep your child safe. Parents of non-vaccinated, or partially vaccinated, children should be aware that a person does not need to be showing signs or symptoms of an illness to be contagious. Some people can be carriers of the disease without showing any symptoms, which can increase risk of a non-vaccinated person falling ill during an outbreak. To ensure the safety and maintained health of your child, you should stay up-to-date and informed of any potential outbreaks in your area.

During an outbreak:

  • In the case that an outbreak does occur, it may not be too late to get your child vaccinated. Be sure to talk to a doctor about the possibility of still being able to administer the vaccine. While some vaccinations take time to become effective, some can take effect in as little as a week. So be sure to ask your doctor in the event of an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease. Parents of non-vaccinated kids should also be well-aware that their child may need to be taken out of school, daycare, or any other organized activities to limit the possibility of spreading disease. It could take several days, or several weeks for an outbreak to reach a point in which it’s no longer dangerous to non-vaccinated persons.

Has your child been exposed to a disease?

  • It’s important for parents who choose not to vaccinate their kids to stay educated and learn the early signs of disease. Has your child been exposed to an outbreak that he or she isn’t vaccinated against? Learn as much as you possibly can about any outbreak in your area and seek medical help if your child, or any member of your family, shows early warning signs of the sickness. Prevention is your best bet, but a visit to the doctor at the first signs of infection can be the catalyst to a happy ending.

Reasons To Vaccinate

It can save your child’s life

  • Vaccinating is designed to help the immune system build protection against a disease and prevent the disease from spreading. There are many common vaccine-preventable diseases that you probably almost forgot about because the vaccinations have done their job.

Helps keep everyone healthy

  • Not only should you consider the health of your child, but also the health of family, friends, and the community as well. Vaccinating has the potential to keep your child healthy, while at the same time ensuring the continued health of those around them.

Disease can spread easily over borders

  • While you may not be worried about an outbreak at this very moment, it doesn’t take much for a disease to spread across the border and become a very real concern. With traveling becoming more and more accessible, diseases can spread quickly without much warning.

Save your family time and money

  • Vaccinating your children can help them stay healthy and in school, which means that they will miss fewer school days and parents will miss fewer workdays. Also, if a child does contract a vaccine-preventable disease, it can be more expensive to cure. You may be able to save your family valuable time and money by choosing to vaccinate.

Protects the future generation

  • It’s important that we keep children as healthy as possible so they can grow up and do amazing things. Vaccinating your kids can help protect the future generation.

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