Oh boy, where to begin. Hopefully I can write this in stages without losing it....as you know, its hard to find a decent chunk of time, and homework usually takes priority. That is why my other message was brief.....but if you want more, here it is.
First of all, I re-read my message to be sure I hadn't at any point told you what to do. I was simply telling you how it is for me, and was only adding my perspective as I thought thats what you were interested in. I absolutely appreciate the fact that these are not easy and simple decisions, and I believe that you have to go with your gut and it is your choice no matter what. I was simply trying to give you a perspective you may not have given how fortunate you have been to have Simon so healthy. I hope it never happens, but Simon will probably be very hurt or sick one day and you will realize the pain and difficult decisions we have had to face. Nothing is ever simple, especially when it involves your baby that you would lay down your own life for in a second.
Ok, back to the subject at hand. First of all, don't discredit what I have to say because I am in nursing school. That does not suddenly make me "one of them". I actually decided to go back to school to be a nurse because I thought the medical profession could use more people advocating for responsible use of information and patient education, and the support of less invasive medical procedures. I too have subscribed to Mothering since early in my pregnancy, and I think it is always important to consider alternative perspectives. This would include science of course, as that is my background.
As you continue on your quest for information, I would caution you of a few things. Most importantly....be weary of "statistics". They are NOT all equal. THere is nothing like correlational data and out of context proportions to to mislead readers. EVERYBODY has an agenda, remember that. They will all be able to come up with numbers to support what they believe. However, some statistics are more rigerous and closer to truth than others, these are often the ones required tor studies to be published in scientific journals vs. popular literature. I took 4 graduate level statistics courses while I was getting my masters, and I would be happy at any time to help you decifer between such numbers. For example, based on what you provided (there could be more I'm not seeing) the numbers presented by Geier mean nothing as far as I am concerned. This is a perfect example of the abuse of numbers. Most children are currently vaccinated, and in the first year when many of the above conditions occur, most children are within 28 days of a vaccine by the very nature of the schedule. I've already forgotten, but its something like, when they are born, 1 month, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 1 year, blah blah.....pretty easy for numbers to fall out like this. I bet 75% of babies also cut their first tooth within 28 days of a vaccine. It was going to happen anyway, so what does that mean. Nothing. As a scientist, all I can say is that there is nothing there to give evidence that vaccines casued any of the above. Last I checked, and this may have changed, this isessentially the same sort of "data" that exists for the link to autism. There is not currently any scientifically defensible evidence that vaccines cause it. There is correlational data, but there are many many other factors also correlated and in many cases more strongly correlated than vaccines.
I think one of the best things you can do is find out what type of vaccine each are and what the risks are of contracting a given disease and what the implications of such a disease are. They certainly are not all equal, and I would not lump them all together. We basically trusted Kathy's judgement, and if I had to do it over again, I would have considered these factors more seriously.
In my medical microbiology course I learned a lot about the different types of vaccines (e.g. live vs attenuated, etc.) . We should talk about it all sometime. I'd be happy to explain the detail, but don't want to type it all out. Suffice it say, ingeneral, the more "safe" a vaccine is, the less effective it is. Live vaccines are the best for eliciting a more complete immune response. I could also explain how and why they work......and why, therefore, some people wind up contracting something they were immunized against, and why you sometimes need boosters. It has to do with memory of the immune system, and it is not perfect. Nobody can promise this. But at the very least, your body would be less effected and your immune system will be quicker to recognize and defend against a virus then if you didn't have the vaccine at all. You see, there are primary and secondary responses....blah blah, its why some people get things twice or three times when your only "supposed" to be able to get something once.
Also important is the virus itself. There was discussion of strains and virulance....this is true especially for the flu.....and we certainly didn't get vaccinated for the flu for that reason. But most of the vaccines children get are for viruses for which there is only one strain, and they are not rapidly mutating. Its not like antibiotics and resistance.....vaccines are not causing the flu virus to mutate, they figured this out on their own to beat our immune system. This is one of the reasons researchers have been unable to come up with a vaccine for the AIDS virus, it mutates so rapidly that a vaccine would be futile unless it could protect on a more general level.
One other important thing, is the whole getting sick and having a reaction. Amelia ran a few low grade fevers and was sore. We were liberal with tylenol, and she hardly noticed. Some kids certainly get a lot "sicker", but its not actually any form of the disease or an actual illness. Its simply the immune system doing its thing. When foriegn bodies are recognized, signals are sent to produce fever and other common symptoms. SOme people feel worse, but it doesn't hurt them beyond the mild discomfort. Many of the reported cases are coincidence. Amelia has been sick somewhere around 20 times in the past 10 months....if one of these happened to fall after a vaccine, I might be tempted to blame it on the vaccine. Unfortunately kids get sick a lot, and I know from experience, it often happens following a trip to the Dr.....all those germs are there from the kid before you, and so it goes. There are also allergic reactions, which can be serious, but it is usually to something else in the vaccine. For example, a couple of them have egg prodcuts in them, Amelia is allergic to eggs, and so she can't have those. One reason why waiting till there older can be a good idea. By then you are generally aware of such allergies. As for actually contracting the virus....that is only even feasible for the live vaccines (which are very uncommon). Don't quote me, but I think the only live one SImon would be offered is the chicken pox. One view is not to bother, its only the chicken pox, on the other hand, if you contract the chicken pox, well, its only the chicken pox. You mentioned you thought Amelia got whooping cough. She actually got the chicken pox from the vaccine, although we never knew it. She did however then get shingles.....which is the activation of the virus which is dorment in your nerve cells. Anybody who has had the chicken pox can get the shingles. Luckily, like with the chicken pox, when you are young when you get it, its not nearly as severe as when you are older.
Ok, I probably forgot some things I wanted to write, but I'm exhausted and my bed is calling me. Sorry if there are a bunch of typos, I'm not even going to read back through this. Anything profound I'll add later. Lets seriously get together and chat if you want.