Nothing. I know there are a lot of parents out there that are struggling with this decision. Some of us vaccinate but we may question one or two vaccines. It is not easy being a parent today. We have to constantly make decisions for our kids on what they can watch on TV, on what to eat, and on their health for example. The problem is that we have imperfect information and we do not know what “expert” to trust. For those of us that are Christian, it would be so much easier if there was a verse in the Bible that said, “Though shall vaccinate,” or “Thou shall not vaccinate,” but alas, that is not the case. It appears on the surface that we are left in the dark about this very important decision and we are left wondering who to believe.
Pro-vaccination advocates tell you that you can trust the science and yet some of us have had a few experiences with the medical community that makes you question the “science.” I have gone to the doctor for something simple as backspin, and I have had three different doctors give me three different diagnosis, one of which told me that I had to suffer with this for the rest of my life. He was incorrect by the way. On the vaccine issue, I do remember back when I barely questioned the vaccination process, going to my health center and inquiring about the flu vaccine. My doctor told me something to the effect of, “We are no longer giving the flu shot here because we got a ‘bad batch’ and a lot of the kids here got febrile seizures. We stopped giving it all together until next season. But you can go to CVS and get one there.” Whoa! What? Really? All that kept going through my head was “bad batch” and “febrile seizures.” How does that happen? And so began a very painful journey of research to decide whether to vaccinate my kids, which vaccines to give them, and when I should vaccinate them.
Anti-vaccination advocates will tell you that the flu vaccines have preservatives that are harmful and that there have been countless cases of people having bad and deadly reactions. They will tell you that the testing is done by the pharmaceutical companies themselves instead of third parties and therefore cannot be trusted. I know people personally who have told me that the vaccine caused their child’s condition and I have no reason not to believe them. And yet, it is hard to ignore the amazing transformation of a country like India when they introduced the polio vaccine and how it practically eradicated polio in that country (although anti-vaccine advocates have questioned this success). I also look around here in the US and do not see illnesses that were common when I was a kid like the measles (at least until the recent outbreak) or the chicken pox and I just find it hard to believe that that was not the result of vaccines.
After looking at a number of reports, and studies, and charts, and stats, I became even more confused and I consider myself a fairly intelligent person. Stats provided by anti-vaccination groups certainly support their position. The stats provided by pro-vaccionation advocates supports theirs. This whole issue has forced me to do some inner soul searching and go back to the one that I CAN trust and that is God. The bottom line is that I don’t know what the right answer is and the Bible does not speak to this specific subject. However, I do know that I can trust my God and the Bible does tell us that when we face difficult times to bring it before Him in prayer. Phillipans 4:6 “Do not be anxious for anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Therefore, I know that I can lay this problem before Him and tell Him my concerns:
God, I want to do your will. I want to be a good steward of these children that you have given me. I want to love them and protect them as you have required of me to do. Do I protect them by vaccinating them or do I protect them by not vaccinating them? Part of me is distrustful of the vaccines and pharmaceutical companies. But within each of these companies are good people, smart people, and people that love you so that in my simple mind it cannot be all bad. I know some of these people personally and many are godly people. Part of me also gets fearful when I see these outbreaks and I want to rush my kids to get every vaccine under the sun. But if I do vaccinate, does that mean that I am not trusting you? The other part of me aches for the parents of children with compromised immune systems and I want to do right by them, but does that mean that I go against my instincts as a mom to protect my own ? Lord, I am conflicted. There is so much information out there and my brain cannot possibly comprehend it all so I put this decision before you. Only you know what the right course of action is and so if I choose wrongly, know my heart and that my intentions where good. Direct my paths. Make everything work for your glory.
I have made my decision on what to do about these vaccines and I am done worrying about it because I have laid my course before God. I have given it to Him and now my job is twofold. One, is to trust that God will hold true to his promises (Proverbs 16:3 Commit your work to the LORD and your plans will be established.) The second is to be gracious with those that disagree with my decision.
One of the most unfortunate consequences of this measles outbreak (other than kids being sick) is the vileness that has come out from both sides of the fence. Most of us are parents are just trying to do what is right for our kids and yet I have seen some of the meanest and most vile insults directed towards the other side, particularly towards parents that do not vaccinate. There is a lack of compassion and most parents that I know that do not vaccinate are good and intelligent people. Most of them actually decided to take that route because their child had a bad reaction. It might not have been deadly or life changing, but who am I to tell a mother that heard her child scream inconsolably for more than four hours after a vaccine that she shouldn’t trust her instincts? Who am I to tell her that she shouldn’t vaccinate? It is just plain mean spirited and yet we all know that condemnations, insults, and angry words will rarely soften someone’s heart to their point of view. I do not want to be like that. I want to stay true to Proverbs 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. I want to learn from different points of view and I want to be loving and kind when I discuss these issues because that is what Christ would want me to do.
So in the end, what did I decide to do regarding the vaccines? Only God knows. Just kidding. You are welcome to read an earlier blog that details my decision and how I got there.
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