Amanda Peet gave an interview to Cookie Magazine recently. She discussed motherhood, toys and vaccinations. She’s imploring people to vaccinate and isn’t candy-coating her message at all. She tells Cookie Mag, “Frankly, I feel that parents who don’t vaccinate their children are parasites.”
Zing! Snap! Zing! (She later apologized for the harsh delivery but stands behind the idea.)
During a television interview on Good Morning America last week, she said, “I’m not a doctor, which brings me to another point. It seems like the media is often giving celebrities and actors more authority on this issue than they’re giving the experts and that’s a sad fact. And I know that’s a paradox – that’s part of why I wanted to become a spokesperson, so I could say, ‘Please don’t listen to me, don’t listen to the actors, go to the experts.”
I have my own thoughts about vaccinations. I did hours and hours worth of research when Em was brand new. I worried myself silly over them. In the beginning, I actually contemplated not vaccinating Em, an idea I find completely crazy now. I’m not sure if I was merely getting caught up in the wave of hysteria so prevalent these days or if I was just worried about the actual needle-sticking part. But I worried myself sick.
And then he had his first vaccine (we did stagger them) and everything went well. After that, I began to loosen up a bit.
We chose to spread them out not because we thought a vaccine might cause neurological damage, we spread them out because I felt that his body should have enough time to cope with each one. This meant more co-pays, more visits to the doctor, and (unfortunately for everyone) more needle pricks.
We’re waiting on a few and skipping some as well. For example, we opted to wait on Hepatitis B until he is a little bit older. And I decided against the flu vaccine. We’re also waiting a bit to start the MMR—not too long, but a little bit.
We did couple some of them. I made my decisions based on the statistics on the CDC Web site. Basically, the higher incidences of side-effects, the more likely I’d give him that vaccine on its own. The more “easy going” vaccine (for example, Polio) the more likely I’d couple it with another. (If for some reason you are interested in seeing how we spaced them, feel free to email me.)
It’s my opinion that yes, parents should be given a choice as to whether they vaccinate or not. No one should ever be forced to do something to their child because the government says so. However, I think information needs to be made readily available to every American no matter who they are (rich, poor, black, white, purple, old or young). I think insurance companies should cover the cost of classes for parents-to-be. I think this may help correct misconceptions behind vaccines and teach parents why vaccinating your child is important. I was offered (and took) a breastfeeding class and a parenting class. Why can’t hospitals or pediatricians offer a class or two about immunizations? Because I firmly believe that if a parent does the research, if they can ask questions, they will feel better about vaccinating their child.
I think vaccinating our children is the right thing to do and the benefits far outweigh the side-effects. Remember this post? How about this one? It took a hell of a lot of research for me to get to this point. I no longer think that the government is some kind of boogeyman trying to poison our children. And I realize that for some this change of mind may come as a surprise. Believe me, there is still nothing more horrible than taking a newborn to the doctor and watching said doctor insert a needle into his or her leg. All the research in the world won’t make the actual event any less awful. But after a year worth of research, I’m (more or less) onboard with Amanda Peet.
But don’t listen to me either. Do the research yourself. It’s the only way you’ll ever feel better about it.