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why do parents refuse their baby / childs vaccines?

(346 Posts)
bethjoanne Fri 28-Sep-12 23:59:29

in the uk we are so lucky to have an nhs---- doctors ,nurses ,treatments and vaccines we should be so third world countries babies /children die of terrible diseases and also our relatives eg great great great grandmas would have done anything to have their children vaccinated IT WOULD HAVE BEEN THERE DREAM TO HAVE AN NHS AND VACCINES, instead they had to witness their child suffer i dread to think what they went through.
what country you are born in is luck of the drawer.
we should be grateful for medical care and vaccines available to us and have our baby/ child vaccinated.
i cannot believe some parents are so selfish and ruthless putting others at risk and starting an epidemic what happened in history and other third world countries .when the nhs is here to help and protect us now.x
ps think about babies 0 day old to 15 months who are too young to be covered /vaccinated.10 babies have died recently from whooping cough.also there has been 2 well known footballers had meningitis recently so there is reported cases,surely this needs nipping in the bud .
why are parents still refusing to vaccinate?

Brycie Sat 29-Sep-12 02:41:06

On the "science is factual" point, Ben Goldacre wrote a really good piece in teh Guardian quite recently about how we can't rely on many scientific studies. About four days ago? It was about how little we can trust the studies scientists produce to support their proofs and they often aren't proofs at all. e was specifically referring to studies funded by the manufacturers of medicine and drugs. So science is factual in the sense of, an apple drops to the ground, the sun is 93 million miles away etc, but not in the sense of xxx drug doesn't cause heart attacks etc. All science isn't the same.

Brycie Sat 29-Sep-12 02:44:23

So, I'm sorry I didn't read your post quite properly, I don't hink it's fair to say, well philosphically we can't know that anything at all is true ie that the sun is 93 million miles away and that is on the same scale of "not knowing" as the uncertainty surrounding various scientific studies. Look at how child rearing advice changes, and each change in recommendation is based on scientific studies. Lots of doctors think differently about these issues, but not one think the sun is not 93 million miles away!

Brycie Sat 29-Sep-12 02:45:58

Oh right I have just realised this is an am i being unreasonable thread, I am not up to this! Bye everyone!

ElaineBenes Sat 29-Sep-12 02:52:22


You're quite right that one scientific study, on it's own, isn't really evidence of very much. But if study after study is replicated with the same kind of results, the body of evidence becomes very strong, even overwhelming in the case of vaccine safety. Its the whole picture which is important. There will always be doubters on the other side but it's the weight of evidence which is the determining factor.

AgentZigzag Sat 29-Sep-12 03:00:09

I didn't mean you can't 'know' anything grin but I agree some things are more ambiguous than others (although has anyone actually gone out with their yard stick and measured the 93 million miles? grin)

Aside from all the different influences on what 'science' gets produced, you can't ignore what the parents who choose not to vaccinate feel, because that's what's ultimately driving us all to one 'side' or another, how you feel about what you've read/heard on it.

I didn't read up on anything before going in for the vaccinations with both DDs, that makes me as bad as those who choose not to vaccinate in some peoples eyes doesn't it? Or is it OK because I went with the herd?

Probably just ignorance.

ElaineBenes Sat 29-Sep-12 03:11:27

But agent zigzag, it shouldn't be about feelings! I don't see where feelings come into it?!

It's about misinformation, conspiracy theories and scaremongering - and I'd also say a desire to be 'different' - hence all the herd/sheep analogies.

No, you went with the medical advice. If you go against medical advice, you had better darn well know what you're doing and not assume that a few hours on google can replace years and years of scientific training and research.

margerykemp Sat 29-Sep-12 03:12:31

Before the mmr, so for everyone over c. 30 now the rubella job was given to girls only at the age of 11/12. There was no medical reason to give it to boys and girls at 15 months it was a purely financial reason to make mOney for the pharmaceutical company.

Pharmaceuticals are the biggest single export of the British economy. These companies have the government by the balls!

Their profit margins are bigger than some countries GDPs!

ElaineBenes Sat 29-Sep-12 03:23:49

Thank you for demonstrating my point margery.

AgentZigzag Sat 29-Sep-12 03:26:44

If you don't factor what parents feel about the evidence they encounter and what makes them decide one thing or another Elaine, you're missing half the picture.

You can look what's portrayed as objective research all you like, but that research is nothing without the subjective opinions of the people interpreting it.

And that includes the parents.

Some might dismiss their opinions as ignorance, I would say that's patronising and underestimating the strength of feeling parents can have for their children.

Or is that not part of it either because it can't be measured?

SarahStratton Sat 29-Sep-12 03:27:28

God, I hate conspiracy theories.

ElaineBenes Sat 29-Sep-12 03:33:03

I really don't understand agent zigzag. I don't doubt the motives and agree that parents who dont vaccinate love their children and, for the most part, think they're doing the best for them as much as parents who do. But just because they like stories, don't understand statistics and have a propesntiy for a good conspiracy thepry doesn't make it ok or right.

AgentZigzag Sat 29-Sep-12 03:50:55

'But just because they like stories, don't understand statistics and have a propesntiy for a good conspiracy thepry doesn't make it ok or right. '

People go on what resources they have available to them, they might not be reliable and valid evidence to some, but it's reality for the majority when they take day to day decisions.

How do parents weigh up the evidence vaccinations aren't linked with any risk, with those which are?

Not everyone can evaluate statistics and some do place importance on anecdotal evidence, it's a 'fact'.

You can tell them it's not plausible evidence, but if they believe all science must be true because it's claiming to be an objective fact, why would they believe that over the other objective facts they've heard?

ElaineBenes Sat 29-Sep-12 04:04:56

No. That's why there are experts who discuss these issues and make recommendations. If you go against medical advice, you absolutely should understand the implications and the risks involved.

For example, i can do stats but I can't understand immunology or virology, way too complex for me. So I look to the NHS,CDC, WHO etc and go by their recommendations. I certainly don't think that a few hours on google qualifies me to understand this research. But many people who don't vaccinate fool themselves into thinking that they are more enlightened than the rest of us 'sheep' and understand way more than any expert possibly can (or alternatively that it's all one big conspiracy theory)

ElaineBenes Sat 29-Sep-12 04:15:28

And on reflection, azz, I think I agree with what you're saying. Most people who don't vaccinate (against medical advice) either reject or don't understand the scientific method and are certainly not in a position to critically appraise the whole body of evidence. Yet they are very suspicious of experts and authority.

Which means that they are easily led by the crankosphere and the whole slew of websites which cherry pick evidence to suit their needs and hyper criticize any study demonstraing vaccine safety, post paranoid conspiracy theories, play on parents' fears with moving (and usually unsubstantiated) anecdotes of vaccine damage, and generally encourage a superior feeling of being the enlightened and more savvy parent (as opposed to the rest of the sheep).

I think it's tragic personally.

sleepywombat Sat 29-Sep-12 06:10:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LesleyPumpshaft Sat 29-Sep-12 06:57:04

When DS was a baby (now 13) there was a huge scandal about the MMR vaccine being linked to autism.

If I recall correctly, even Tony Blair refused to say whether his child had had the MMR. Obviously this didn't instill much faith in the public. A surprising amount of people refused to let their babies have the MMR around that time - for obvious reasons.

CrikeyOHare Sat 29-Sep-12 07:08:31

AgentZigZag Ignorance means "without knowledge". That most of the parents of refusers are making decisions without knowledge is the simple fact of the matter, I'm afraid. If people don't have (and make little effort to get) the right information, how can they stand a hope of making the right decision? And how does calling them ignorant in this regard undermine the love they have for their children hmm?

There is only one place people should get their information from - the medical community. Not the newspapers, not obscure websites, not model/actresses etc.

And if you understand how science works, why say "it's all educated guesswork"? It's guesswork, is it, that keeps planes flying, puts man on the moon & rovers on Mars, provides your internet connection & keeps your computer working, that's eradicated smallpox from the world & saved millions upon millions of lives with antibiotics?

Of course not. Science works. Without it, most of us would not have survived beyond our 5th birthdays.

CrikeyOHare Sat 29-Sep-12 07:13:44

Lesley Yes, there was. All because of one paper written by one man, now struck off as a doctor because of dishonesty & child abuse. In the intervening time, hundreds and hundreds of studies have been done worldwide that show, beyond any real doubt, that MMR is safe & that there's no link with autism.

And Leo Blair did have the vaccine - but the Blair's took the view (rightly or wrongly) that their son's medical information was nobody else's business.

HecateHarshPants Sat 29-Sep-12 07:18:48

Yes Lesley, when mine were due the MMR it was that time. The whole MMR = Autism thing was new and it was scary! Really scary. You have your toddler, you want to protect them, you don't want them to be ill, you believe in vaccinations (in my case, I know that there are people who disagree with them in principle) in order to protect them from getting these illnesses and then here all over the news is the story that these vaccinations themselves carry a risk of triggering a life long disability. It's bloody worrying!

We discussed it at length and decided that they were not having the MMR. We paid for the single vaccines instead. Had our choice been MMR or nothing (as I believe it is these days) then I can't in all honesty say we would have given them the MMR. Not based on what was being said at the time. Because you base your decisions on the information you have at the time. And it was very clear and very blunt. have the jab and risk damaging your child, or don't have the jab and risk them perhaps getting a disease and maybe coming into contact with someone who perhaps will catch it from them and maybe have a bad reaction.

As a parent, what are your priorities? honestly? You're going to be thinking of your child. They're your first consideration. You balance all other considerations against the risk to your child. So although I believe in inoculations, I can understand the thought processes of those who choose to not vaccinate.

As it happens, my two both have autism any way. So much for my MMR fear grin

LesleyPumpshaft Sat 29-Sep-12 07:19:51

The goverment have a vaccine damage payment so I can see why some parents are concerned about the safety of vaccines.

On the other hand, it's not an issue for the vast majority. I only know one person who's child has been affected.

I had a severe allergy to tetanus vaccines as a baby and as a teenager. After my vaccines at secondary school I had some sort of mystery illness after a severe allergic reaction that lasted for two years and I was unable to attend school. I had tests to see what had caused the reaction and they told me it was the tetanus vaccine.

Mind you, DS didn't have any trouble with his tetanus vaccine.

CrikeyOHare Sat 29-Sep-12 07:21:13

Brycie Ben Goldacre was not critical of the science itself, in that article - he was highlighting the habit of large pharmaceutical companies of publishing only the experimental data that supports the effectiveness of whatever drug they are marketing, and "losing" any negative stuff.

HecateHarshPants Sat 29-Sep-12 07:24:11

[hhm] there should have been an 'or them catching it' in there, and maybe something about the possibility of complications.

I don't know. It's early. Stupid time to be up on a bloody saturday.

lozster Sat 29-Sep-12 07:24:54

Ben goldacre has indeed written recently about some mis-leading pharma papers. However he has also written at length about the ridiculous and damaging charade that was the mmr scandal. I can't do a link but go to his blog or google Ben goldacre mmr media hoax.

LesleyPumpshaft Sat 29-Sep-12 07:26:33

Tbh Tony Blair probably made the wrong decision. It just added fuel to the fire and worried parents jumped to the conclusion that he was keeping quiet because his son didn't have the vaccine.

HandHolding Sat 29-Sep-12 07:30:11

But that most certainly does not mean it only amounts to "educated guesses" - and I find that viewpoint really rather ignorant. Are you not familiar with the notion of evidence, data, research, the scientific method?

Having seeing how research in medicine is conducted and knowing that about half the research publish can NOT be reproduced, I would say you are TOTALLY right.
I would be VERY weary to trust any research, incl papers published in very respectable journals, as a proof that X, Y and Z are efficient and safe.

Actually history is showing us that what we once thought was the best thing after the wheel was actually detrimental to the patient (Again, I am thinking of recent research paper on chemo that shows it actually does more harm than good for patients).

Which is why saying 'Oh but research has proven that vax are good for you/the surrounding population' is actually quite ignorant in itself. As for any medicine, some people will be able to use it and some won't. Saying that everyone can take aspirin would sound crazy (Some are allergic to it, some will get very ulcers/bleeding that could or will kill them etc...). In the same way, saying that everyone can and should have a vax is just as crazy.

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