The post below is sponsored by I Vaccinate, a Michigan public health campaign. I am tackling this subject because I am passionate about it. All opinions expressed belong to me.

I’m not usually one to post about controversial subjects. I like to keep it hearts and rainbows, and feel squeamish thinking of upsetting people.

Today I’m shedding my sensitive skin though to take a stance on a subject impacting our children’s health and public safety. Today I am standing tall and declaring it: I am pro-vaccine.

Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but ignoring the science behind vaccinations can cost lives, and that is NOT something I am willing to debate. Michigan vaccination rates have been declining recently, and our state’s children deserve better.

I am neither a scientist nor a health advocate. I’m simply a concerned mom that has done my own research and come to my own conclusions.

Because these three are my world and the last thing I would want to do is jeopardize their health and the health and safety of others.

MY FIRST EXPERIENCE WITH VACCINES AS A PARENT

I’ll never forget when my highly trained doctor looked at me with concern when I questioned vaccines and their schedule during an infant well check with my daughter. I was just doing my due diligence. Plus, let’s be honest, a child getting vaccines doesn’t make for a “fun” appointment/day, and I was trying to make it easier on all of us.

She kindly listened to my thoughts and said words that stuck with me: “Not enough parents in this community are vaccinating their children, and it’s becoming an issue.”

The look in her eyes told me this wasn’t just her opinion, or big pharma, talking. This was a genuine fear. During our appointment, we discussed research, and in my paperwork to go home, she shared links to evidence-based research explaining why the recommendations are the way they are. That day I vowed to her I would stick to the recommended AAP {American Academy of Pediatrics} schedule and not become a part of Michigan’s staggering statistics.

Because as of 2019:

Only 59.1% of Michigan toddlers are fully up to date on all of their recommended vaccinations. This makes it easier for serious vaccine-preventable diseases to spread.

{Look up vaccine rates in your Michigan county HERE.}

Wow. To see that number was a bit of a shock. Is it un-informed parents? Is it the spread of mis-information? Is it from Facebook parenting groups, which can spread toxic power to those who don’t have research credentials?

The reality is that not enough pro-vaccine parents talk about the benefits of vaccination, which means the misinformation, fear, and false stories are what some concerned parents might see. That’s why I’m here today — to spread the word on this campaign and tell you why our family chooses to vaccinate.

I DON’T WANT TO SEE ERADICATED DISEASES COME BACK.

It’s in the news almost daily — diseases that once had zero report of incidence are climbing again. Measles outbreaks. Whopping cough cases. Hepatitis A, flourishing.

There’s even a grave in Benzie County that reminds parents of how horrible diseases like Diphtheria once were. As the grave shows, this disease took out an entire family in 1890.

Just this year, Ann Arbor has seen several cases of pertussis {whopping cough} in its public schools — with eight cases in October alone.

Let’s not let these terrible diseases make a comeback, friends.

I STAND WITH SCIENCE AND RESEARCH.

As science has shown time and again, your decision to vaccinate affects the health of all children in your community, including your own.

One of the most common myths is the idea that vaccines cause autism. This is simply untrue, and let’s be real…There are SO MANY things far worse than being diagnosed with autism — like dying from a preventable disease!

Vaccines have a long record of SAFETY and they are more effective than any other treatment we have available for contagious diseases. It’s not just a simple process for a vaccine to come to the masses. Tons of research goes into vaccines. A graphic I found very interesting is linked here and shows the journey from vaccine idea to fruition.

I WANT TO PROTECT THE MOST VULNERABLE.

When 90–95 percent of a community is protected, it is nearly impossible for a vaccine-preventable disease to spread.

We have a lot of infants in our life. There’s no way we are risking hurting them!

Herd immunity is real, and if we aren’t getting our vaccines on the schedule recommended by doctors, we run the risk of hurting our most vulnerable populations — infants, elderly, pregnant women, and those who cannot receive vaccines. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want my child being responsible for getting another person sick.

WHAT ABOUT VACCINE INJURIES?

I absolutely understand children can have vaccine injuries. Like all medications, there can be side effects beyond the typical ouchie on the shot site, but these side effects are extremely rare. Thanks to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System {VAERS}, we know that most side effects are categorized as non-serious and the benefits to vaccinating {on schedule!} far outweigh the risks.

My middle baby and I received matching flu shots this year at her well-check. I went first and showed her shots are nothing to be afraid of!

STRONGER FAMILY, STRONGER COMMUNITY

My children are my world and I would never do anything to jeopardize their health and safety, nor run the risk of hurting others around us.

At this point in time, I plan to always choose vaccinations as recommended by my doctor — even the ones not required for school such as the flu shot and the HPV vaccine, which I stand behind too.

The science is there. I trust my doctor. I adore my children. It’s healthy to question our options, but it’s pretty clear — vaccines save lives and prevent diseases. Why risk it?

If you have questions about vaccines, I urge you to PLEASE do your research but make sure you are referencing credible sources. I Vaccinate has a fantastic list of reputable resources and an extensive FAQ section with answers to the most common questions.

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