Compassion is always a good start to any attempt at communication.
This post touches on some of the better approaches to assuaging parental fears about vaccine.
It’s a great start. But here’s what the vaccine insistent community also needs to understand. Not about anti-vaxx parents, but about the discussion at large.
Transparency is another very important factor in this conversation.
And one that seems to be sorely missing. This post is my attempt at some constructive criticism. With a detailed story to illustrate my point.
I recently went to my doctors office with my kids, and have to say they were very compassionate and full of explanations and information.
I was impressed. I really like my doctor.
But they actually failed to actually give me the actual vaccine insert I requested, or answer my questions to my satisfaction.
Here’s what happened when I asked about getting a tetanus shot for my little girl.
My son has already gotten his, as they are both regularly barefoot outside, and I’m aware of the risks from this behavior.
First I was given a generic vaccine approval form.
And, to their credit, a checklist to screen for contraindications.
When I asked for the package insert, I was given the packet of Vaccine Information Statements instead — which if you read them carefully to the end, it says at the end to ask for the package insert for more information.
When the doctor asked me what my concerns were, I asked her a bunch of questions:
1. What science is there to explain any risks that might arise from the aluminum adjuvants in the shot?
2. How was herd immunity a thing, when it requires adults to get all their boosters to maintain?
3. How is vaccine-mediated immunity different from cellular-mediated immunity? Or how does the vaccination mechanism work differently than getting sick and recovering?
4. Why were there so many more cases of shingles now than before there seemed to be before there was a chicken-pox vaccine?
5. Was there a way to test and find out if my kids would have a normal reaction to this vaccine? Or could they be low responders, who would derive little to any protection from the shot?
6. Why is pertussis having a resurgence, even among highly vaccinated communities?
7. I have had friends who have had their kids go through the sleep / scream thing you mentioned, then suffer from developmental delays after a “mild to medium adverse reaction.” What are the risks of that happening to my kid?
8. And most perplexing to me, how could vaccines list meningitis and high fever as risks, but not connect the potential of damages to the myelin sheath development of the nerves in the body?
The doctor could not answer these questions with any depth of explanation.
So she offered to have a “vaccine specialist” reach out and talk me through these questions.
I accepted the offer, but have not yet heard from this person.
Maybe they’ll call.
Incidentally, I was also asked to sign a form releasing my children’s health information the vaguely stated Integrated Care Collaboration (ICC) which manages the Health Information Exchange (HIE) which may release your Personal Health Information (PHI) to its particpants.
This form helpfully provides a rather long, unwieldy URL which takes you to a list of providers and information — in a paper format that very few people will probably ever check.
This website isn’t secure, and makes no mention of HIPPA.
And after reading this post,
What You Don't Know About Your Health Data Will Make You Sick
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… I chose not to sign the form.
Again, to their credit, the office gracefully accepted my choice. And told me that I’d just have to sign to release information as needed, rather than giving them a blanket authorization.
I can deal with that.
At this point I had been sitting in the office for about 20 minutes between delivery of each informational resource.
Not only were we taking up clinic space and time, but by then my kids were both hungry and getting antsy.
So I ended up leaving without actually getting the package inserts after all of that. I could have insisted, but I chose not to.
I DID receive compassion and several very patient attempts at explanations from my doctor, for which I am grateful.
But between the misuse and lack of security of health information that is happening these days, and the layers upon layers upon layers of obfuscation and avoidance of (what I feel are reasonable and well researched) my questions -
I don’t get the feeling that I’m getting the whole story. Ever.
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In this environment, how can you wonder that the highly-educated, liberal parent contingent are increasingly questioning the efficacy of vaccination?
Compassion is a very necessary start.
And answering questions with well designed science with provable integrity is another.
The transparancy and the viable protection of my KIDS private health data is another necessary key.
Hell. I wanted to get my kid her tetanus shot. I’m sure I probably will at some point.
I’m not an anti-science idiot, even though your perspective paints me as a fearful, uninformed purveyor of misinformation. Am I really comparable to someone with a mental health disorder? Or someone with irrational fears? Really???
I don’t see myself that way, at all.
And I’m not afraid based on a lack of personal research.
No, I’d love to actually just nail down a better sense of confidence in these measures. Especially before I make a choice that cannot be unmade.
And of course I want to protect my kid.
But until this discussion gets a whole lot more open, clear, and honest — you’re going to be dealing with the reasonable fears of a Mother who really wants to make sure that I’m doing my best to actually protect my kids. Not just go through the motions.
We are all going to die. Eventually.
Guess that is one fact we can all agree on.
I just wish we lived in a genuine enough society that we could all choose to just do our best and get on with the business of living.