When we arrived in Stockholm earlier in the week, we had a packed schedule for the week ahead. Lunches and dinners with friends, family, and colleagues, things to buy, and so on. One of the big ones was a check-up for the little guy with his nurse, as well as a developmental checkup with a doctor, and some vaccines.
He got a host of vaccines in 2 shots – one on each leg. It is horrible to hold the little baby that you love while they are screaming from the pain. He handled it like a champ and did not cry for long after it was over, since he is a visual guy it was interesting to him that there was a poster of a lion on the wall to look at 🙂
A few weeks ago, I watched a documentary about vaccinations for babies. Apparently there is a huge debate about the issue. On the one side of the debate is the people who say there is a connection to the high amount of vaccines given in a short amount of time to babies, and developmental regression (slowdown or backward development) – and there is even a claim that the vaccines are tied to things like Autism. On the other side of the debate is the scientific and medical community who say that there is absolutely no “causal” connection. The scientific and medical community make a case that these claims about Autism are a coincidence that coincides with the timing of getting all the vaccines. In other words, the age where you can determine that a baby is Autistic is the same as when you give the vaccines, and that does not mean they are connected. The people against all the vaccines also claim it is outdated to give vaccines for things that we do not have to deal with anymore in the USA in particular – like Measles and Polio. The other side (medical community) states that the world is not insulated, and you need the vaccines now more than ever because of how mobile everyone is globally.
I found this documentary fascinating (it was done by PBS, the American television Public Broadcasting Service). I had no idea there was a debate about it, because I naively thought you had to just give your child vaccines, and that was what you do to protect your child from diseases. This is not the case, you do have a choice. But now they are finding that because of people’s resistance to giving their children vaccines, there has now been a resurgence and even some outbreaks of things like Measles and Polio, which were considered “eradicated” from the US and most of Europe years ago.
I guess my thoughts on it are simple, and in line with every parent, no-matter what side of the debate you are on: I do not want my child to contract a disease that we could have prevented if we had just given him some vaccines. I also do not want him to have an adverse effect from the vaccines. So, if we are giving the little guy vaccines (which we are) we must have a lot of faith and trust in the safety of the vaccines the government (in our case, in Sweden) says are mandatory for his health and public health. I am more concerned about the timing of it all – many vaccines stacked back to back on top of one another sounds like it would be hard for anyone to handle, let alone a little baby, and I could see how this could be potentially damaging. For example for the little guy who had his 2 shots yesterday that vaccinated him against a lot of things, he has been very tired. Mix that with jetlag, and you get a very sleepy baby. If that was 6 or 7 shots, I cannot imagine the toll it would take on him.
It is definitely scary to think about anything that would hurt or delay the little guy’s development, or the other side, him getting a disease. So I guess we just take that leap of faith and walk forward, otherwise we will be afraid of everything. And that does not seem like a very good way to raise our child, or to live a happy and healthy life as a family. Life is too short to be afraid of every potential thing that could go wrong, right? There is a lot that is going right, and that could go right, to focus on, too 🙂