I am not the most educated person in the world on the topic of vaccines. I am not staying current. I had a 6-12ish month period where I read everything I could get my hands on. That was 5-6 years ago. This is a field of science that is changing rapidly. My information is almost certainly out of date. This is why I do not try to tell other people what they should do. I don’t know. Your life circumstances are yours and you need to determine what is right for you.
I feel ok living with the decisions I made. I think that is the end result of where people need to get on the topic of vaccines. I don’t think I need to obsessively keep up with the research and be willing to argue every specific with every person who wants me to. This is Not My Field and I don’t have to know everything about it.
This means that some people are going to decide I am stupid, ignorant, and other mean words. Whatever. It is not possible for me to stay fully up to date on every field in the world. I can live with this. Vaccines (and whether to get them or not) is not my field. I’m not trying to convince people that they should or shouldn’t vaccinate. I think everyone has individual factors. I think people should do their own research and not fucking look to idiots like me to tell them what to do.
I don’t god damn know what you should do.
I suspect I have the opinions I have because of the anecdotes that have walked through my life. I got to play with a little girl who was a quadriplegic from the polio vaccine. Her father was the doctor who injected her. I know people who have to live with horrifying traumatic brain injuries because they wore a helmet. Many of them wish they were dead instead of living with the injury. So I’m not pro-helmet laws either.
I don’t think people should be forced to preserve their lives. I think that is a bizarre point of view. I don’t get the purpose in forcing people to stay alive as long as possible under any awful circumstances.
I don’t think people should be killed to put them out of the misery of the rest of society either–I’m not promoting eugenics.
But people should be allowed to hurt themselves and make stupid decisions. The trouble with vaccines is we have herd immunity questions (that frankly science hasn’t proven beyond the shadow of a doubt–this isn’t the “theory” of gravity here) that mean that some people opting out impacts the people around them.
But I’m still not happy about my government forcing people to do things. If the Jehovah’s Witnesses want to die of entirely treatable issues… that is their business.
I’m also not a big fan of locking people in mental hospitals to prevent them from hurting themselves. I have this body. I should be the only one who gets to decide how much pain I can inflict on it.
I’m not telling you that you should hurt yourself. I’m saying that my government should not be allowed to prevent me from hurting myself. I’m saying the government shouldn’t be allowed to decide that everyone has to be equally subjected to vaccines because vaccines kill and injure some people. Go spend some time on VAERS. Yes, the reactions are rare…. but no one has died of measles in this country in a long time. So we are balancing a rare death from measles on a rare death from vaccine reaction. The stats are very different on each vaccine. The efficacy is very very different from disease to disease.
My kids are mostly vaccinated. I’m mostly vaccinated. I travel to places where I don’t have the crutch of easy instant access to medical facilities. I take care of the risks I can take care of because it seems smart. I’m not going to god damn risk tetanus for some hoity-toity holistic ideal. The tetanus vaccine fucking works and I’m going to god damn stay current. I’m comfortable with that.
I don’t get to tell other people what their risk profile looks like because I don’t know.
It is fascinating to me how vaccine arguments seem to polarize so strongly. Folks on both side get very angry with me because I won’t pick a side. I can’t. I think there is more than one right answer. I know a lot of people who don’t vaccinate at all. I’m comfortable with going to their houses and taking the risk of exposure. I feel it is an acceptable risk.
I think Americans want to feel safe too much. We believe we can coat the world in bubble wrap and stop having to be afraid. We can give people enough injections/pills to GUARANTEE health!!!! WE CAN WE CAN WE CAN we say.
I think that studying the hypnosis during pregnancy and then having two labors from hell convinced me that not everyone is going to get to the same level of safe or health. You can have privilege and take All The Steps and still have things go to hell. I’ve seen so many bad things happen to people who were doing the right thing that I just don’t believe there is a right path that will keep you safe.
It takes all kinds.
How do I feel about people who refuse vaccines? Like they get to make their own choices and I hope to hell I don’t have to watch this person go through something awful. I’ll be there if something happens, but I hope I don’t have to help this person through a disease. And if my kids want to fuck a boy and the boy refuses to get the HPV vaccine… I will tell the girls that is a boy who cares more about his own discomfort than your potential cancer. Not a great choice for a partner. Even though I think it is ok to not vaccinate.
I’ve had people tell me they won’t have sex with me/come to my house/etc because of my disease and/or vaccine status. It’s not awesome, but it is life. You get through being held accountable for your actions. More than one boy has said they won’t have sex with me because I tested positive for HPV. They didn’t want to risk picking up an infection they would pass to their other partners. (Then I found that the next girlfriend was HPV+ in one case and I felt very rejected.)
People get to make choices and live with the consequences of those choices.
I do wonder about segregated schooling for vaccinated or unvaccinated children. I wonder if I would be ok with that. I don’t know. I haven’t thought through the topic enough. But it is a thought that wanders by occasionally.