Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Chicken Pox Debate

This is NOT a post to debate the relative merits and risks of vaccines.

This is NOT a post to judge others based on their beliefs about the relative merits and risks of vaccines.

This is simply a post about my experiences over the past few days. After extensive research and discussions with Ilya's doctor, Adam and I decided not to give Ilya the Chicken Pox vaccine. I'm not here to justify that decision. It is a personal decision. Its the decision we made.

A girl in our community came down with a case of chicken pox and we figured this would be a great time to expose Ilya. Being responsible parents we informed the community that we were exposing Ilya and that we would keep her separate from the other kids until the risk of contagion had passed.

This started a slew of emails from concerned parents who informed me they did NOT want their children exposed (well, duh. I was planning on having Ilya stick her fingers in their mouths, but now that you have expressed this desire, I guess I wont). That's fine. Whatever. Parents are worried about their children. I get that.

What I don't get is what happened next.

Chicken Pox will take AT LEAST 7 days after exposure to become contagious, but I was informed in no uncertain terms that Ilya was NOT invited into common spaces starting immediately. I was sent links about how irresponsible it was for parents to expose their children to chicken pox. I was refused entry into my friend's homes because "I might be a carrier" (not possible, by the way). This is a culture of fear. This is what happens when people allow fear and conjecture to run their lives rather than research and reason. This is a SCARY place to be.

If communities are little peep holes into the world, I worry about the human race.

1 comment:

Jeanna Scholz said...

We gave Stella the vaccine because we decided if she could live a life without another illness, that'd be great. Unfortunately, not everyone does the research that we did and that you and Adam did. Kudos to you for making up your own minds instead of letting someone else do it for you. I was on the fence about doing the same thing with Stella (exposing her to the chicken pox) and I don't see how it's the end of the world to do so. Some people just overreact and don't use any type of common sense that should tell them that no one likes to be preached to, especially not concerning their children. I'm sorry that happened to you.