I probably should. As the father of one small child who is perilously close to becoming the father of two small children I should get fired the fuck up about this and shout down whoever is on the other side of my personal vaccination choice fence. Dismiss them as utter simpletons who are either lambs being led to government and big pharma slaughter, or back woods country bumpkins incapable of understanding any sciencey stuff and thus clinging to folksy pagan beliefs on how to take care’uh yer own. Because clearly there can be no middle ground in this raging debate. You’re either on my side, or you’re fuck you, idiot. The Vaccinators condemn the non-vaccinators as irresponsible, the Vaccination Conspiracy Theorists believe themselves irrefutably correct because they’ve “read too many books” to vaccinate. Vaccinate your kids or don’t vaccinate your kids, I don’t give a fuck.
I’m not doing one single, solitary minute of hard research on the issue. Not one. Lazy as hell on this one. I’m basing my own decision on “collective personal experience” and “trust”. How dumb is that? Pretty dumb really. I have so much shit to worry about that I cannot, will not add vaccines to the preexisting list of petty concerns. Is the health of your child over the time horizon of Their Whole Life a petty concern? Meh, I don’t know. Here is my ill-informed, pathetically researched, and wholly “by feel” approach to making a vaccination decision:
-Collective experience: My wife and I were both vaccinated. All of our friends were vaccinated. In the 1970′s and 1980′s everyone was vaccinated if they had access to it. It is just what you did. The memories of the parents of these children, and even more so the grandparents of this generation, included knowing someone, if not multiple people, who were stricken with polio. Then the vaccine dropped, everyone got it, and there is no more polio. None. I’m sure there is some polio cruising around somewhere with some pimp ass chrome braces, but I’ve personally never encountered it in my lifetime. I’ve traveled a little-not extensively. I’ve lived in some extremely population-dense cities. I haven’t even caught a whiff of polio. Suffice it to say that none of these people who witnessed its horrors, then watched it disappear overnight because of a vaccine, are going to say “fuck that, I’m not vaccinating, fucking government crawling up my asshole”. Is one vaccine story all-encompassing for every disease? No. Of my inner circle and all our friends, I don’t know anyone who has either A) been afflicted with anything we were vaccinated against and B) been afflicted with any of the stuff that could be a side-effect of a “bad dose”. Nobody. Is that a scientifically respected sampling size? No. Does it mean people in my era who were vaccinated never got the diseases they were vaccinated for or the hideous side effect ailments like autism? No. I have just never met them. Let me remind anyone frothing at the mouth that I’m merely explaining the lazy-assed way I arrived at my personal choice.
-Trust: I’m an unapologetic Dr. Z guy. My Dr. Z could ask me to slaughter a group of innocent, slumbering vagrants for “The Cause” and I would do it. Dr. Z has on several occasions refused to prescribe me pills that I told him I “needed” because he doesn’t believe in over-medicating, he believes in letting the human immune system work its scary, scary magic and only give it an assist in dire circumstances. I believe in Dr. Z. Maybe I’m a pathetic, idiotic, naively trusting bastard that would be sold to a vile big pharma company by Dr. Z in a New York Minute. I will live and I will die by my Dr. Z affiliation (Those associates of mine from the University Days know there is another Dr. Z. University Dr. Z is not to be confused with my medical Dr. Z. I would not make medical choices based on the teachings of University Dr. Z. I might even fade them). Secondly I have seen my wife’s doctor, with my own eyes, do amazing shit. Both doctors work for one of the best hospital systems on planet earth. Are they infallible or all-knowing as a result? Absolutely not. But to beat a dead horse here I’m merely pointing out the road my horse and I traveled to get here.
Am I positively, beyond a reasonable doubt absofuckinglutely right on this issue? Who knows. I simply do not have the time or the energy to sit in my log cabin in the wilderness and stare out the windows with my musket just waiting for a gang of drunken Redcoats to show up looking to rape my women and confiscate my guns. I share some beliefs with the Militiamen but I lack their energy. So I go with my collective experience, the people I blindly trust, and maybe my gut. I’m fine and dandy with the people who aren’t vaccinating their kids. It is their kids, not my kids, and I’m not going to shout down their personal choice on the matter. Live and let live, bitch. I do think that before their movement really takes off they need to recruit better public faces than Jenny McCarthy and Kristin Cavallari. Give me Bill Cosby or even Kelly Ripa, some blow-hards with a little credibility for Christ’s sake. Use your Twitters or your Facebooks or whatever the kids are doing these days for some positive discourse on the topic rather than shouting out your front door then promptly slamming it before anyone can yell back, and calm the fuck down.
That being said, I’d love to discuss with whoever remains of the Navajo people, or any other indigenous North American peoples, their autism concerns for measles or smallpox vaccines. Regardless, in the end I’m confident they’d preach tolerance.
*I’m also tagging two of my cousins in this post. They are siblings, one a hard science cancer researcher and the other a doctor…..of animals, but still someone who knows a lot about both disease and vaccines (Kramer of Seinfeld fame would argue they are more knowledgeable than human doctors owing to their versatility). I’m curious if the subject ever comes up around their professional lunch tables?