Shots, shots, shots

Parents weigh in on vaccines

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Parenting decisions are often scrutinized. It seems everyone has an opinion on breastfeeding, whether to send kids to public school or private school or whether to have a natural birth or an epidural. Vaccines have also entered the mix as some believe they can cause allergic reactions, seizures or autism.

We asked several readers whether they’re “yay or nay” when it comes to vaccines and got a resounding response in favor. However, a couple of people reached out and said the topic has become so taboo that those whose children have or may have been harmed by a vaccine are uncomfortable speaking out about it. And a few are on the fence, saying they aren’t sure whether they’re harmful or it depends on the particular vaccine and its ingredients.

Here’s what we heard:

“Yay. But we have followed an adjusted, extended schedule.”

- Mary Heartfield, Graham

“I believe that vaccines do work. We haven’t seen a case of polio in years. However, the new age vaccines such as the flu are not necessary and are a pharmaceutical ploy. I don’t take them and don’t give them to my kids.”

- Marti Powell, Katy

“I was a yes until my youngest became disabled for no apparent reason. Doctors are clueless and she started having seizures and is now disabled. I’m pretty sure the vaccines had a part but of course no one in the medical community will question it or discuss the possibility.”

- Jennifer Hynson, San Diego, California

“As a mother who vaccinated and a grandmother whose daughter is vaccinating, I believe in vaccinating. I also have a daughter who is in medical school who has had conversations with doctors on the pros and cons of vaccinations. The bottom line is that there is a lot of misinformation out there about what is and is not in the vaccines. They (the vaccines) prevent diseases that otherwise can (and do) kill people.”

- Regina Keilers, LaGrange

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“With no … zero … none … hesitation, all and I mean ALL of the anti-vax sources have been debunked as, at best, anecdotal hearsay. Science has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that vaccinations work. Even if you don’t believe that, just looking at all of the deadly diseases that have been eradicated through vaccines proves that vaccines work. We do and will continue to vaccinate our kids. And we’ll fight those who don’t from being around our kids.”

- Jason Rabinowitz, Grand Prairie

“Yay. Because I have known people who had polio as children. I have read and seen what measles can do to a body and a life. My husband has dealt with shingles because we didn’t have the chicken pox vaccine when we were kids.”

- April Roche, Frisco

“Yay. My kid has an autoimmune deficiency that does not need to be additionally compromised by children who are not vaccinated. Personally I feel that parents who choose not to vaccinate their children, for whatever reason, do not consider how their choice affects more than just their child – especially in social and school settings. Kids are gross and can’t help but to share germs.”

- Rita Carter, Willis

“We vaccinate with the one exception of flu shot for the youngest child with egg allergy. Not sure the benefit for that one is greater than the risk.”

- Alicia Dohnalik, Cameron

“I would ask, which vaccines? As far as mandatory for school goes, yes! Vaccinate your children. As far as optional goes, no! I didn’t give my kids the flu vaccine and they never had the flu until this week when my daughter tested positive for flu. She had to have a flu shot for her new job. She is almost 20. As a child we always got a flu shot from my grandparents (doctors) and guess what? I always got the flu. When I grew up and said no, guess what/ I haven’t had the flu in almost 30 years.”

- Larah Medina, Bryan

“The science is overwhelming, as is history. Yay and always yay. Doctors know much more than a Google search.”

- Catherine Couturier, Houston

“My gynecological oncologist says the HPV vaccine could all but eliminate cervical cancer. We had both of our sons vaccinated so we will never have to tell our grandchildren we could have prevented their mother’s cancer.”

- Patti Jett, Houston

“Yay. Without a doubt. I can tell you nightmares – every single one completely avoidable if parents had vaccinated their kids.”

- Patsy Weinberg, Plano

“I vaccinate. I don’t love it, but I do it. I have the doctors space them out over time, which makes me feel a little bit better. I’m not sure I always believe in them.”

- Cari Dickson, New Hampshire

“Vaccinate. Absolutely, positively vaccinate. If not in our lifetime, then in our children’s lifetime, vaccines will prevent or cure cancer as they already do for HPV with cervical and head and neck cancers. The link between vaccines and autism has been debunked over and over again. The risk of injury or death from a vaccine is much, much lower than the risk of death from the disease it will prevent. The odds stand in favor of vaccines.”

- Jennifer Hartwell, Zionsville, Indiana

“Yes, yes, yes. I remember the days of standing in line in the Crockett High School gym getting polio vaccine on a sugar cube. That disease has almost been eradicated in the U.S. However, without vaccines, it only takes on infected case to bring it back in. My dad was adamant that we keep up to date on tetanus shots. He saw cases of lockjaw when he was overseas in World War II and the death of those soldiers was terrible. As we have progressed, vaccines will only go farther to protect us from other diseases such as cancer.

- Nancy Hanson, Katy

“Yes. Without vaccines you are putting not only your child but others at risk. I’m glad my son doesn’t have to worry about chicken pox and shingles. I believe vaccines save more than they harm.”

- Mischelle McCarthy, Sealy

“Yay. Because my grandfather had polio and because of vaccines I’ll never have to worry about my daughter or I ever having it.”

- Alex Ebert, San Antonio

“I’ve always been a little iffy on the flu vaccines simply because it’s based on previous strains. I did it this year and had my 2-year-old and my husband get one as well.”

- Elizabeth Dominguez, Fernandina Beach, Florida

“There is a huge issue with way too many vaccines too soon. If you feel you must vaccinate then spread it out. In Texas you can get approval to not vaccinate or slow vaccinate. I have friends who do not vaccinate, friends who do and some of us have had our children have bad reactions.”

- Penny Watson-Cook, Houston

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