I’d do it again in a heartbeat

Vaccination: I'd do it again in a heartbeat

Let’s just put aside the irrefutable scientific evidence that there is no link between vaccinations and Autism. Let’s just forget that for a moment. Let’s just entertain, just for a tiny second before we let common sense prevail, that there is a risk of Autism related to vaccinations.

Even if we suspend all scientific truths, and this is where as a parent to a child with Autism, I fail to understand the logic of the anti-vaccination lobby; if Autism was a risk of vaccination (remember we are pretending), why would you risk your child contracting a deadly, preventable illness to avoid it?

Autism is a lifelong condition, something that we’ll always have to support Poss with to varying degrees. It’s an intractable part of who she is, the bits with Autism are indecipherable from the bits without. But she’s so much more than that, so much more than a label. She’s our daughter, our only child, our funny, smart, loving baby girl who walks around with our hearts cradled in her hands.

Sure, we have hard days with Poss. Days that leave me feeling like I’ve gone ten rounds with a prize fighter. Days when we have to hold onto her tighter than any parent should to stop her slipping into a spiral of depression and anxiety. Days when the world so overwhelms her that all she can do is curl up in a ball and wait for the hours to pass.

But I wouldn’t swap a single one of these days, a single moment, for the risk that she may get sick and die. Because that’s what can happen when kids get things like whooping cough and measles.

Autism can be hard, it can be an absolute bitch. And I know we’re relatively lucky, Poss is high functioning, so maybe I speak from a privileged position. But whichever way you look at it, she’s not going to die directly from it.

So when parents say they aren’t going to vaccinate because a risk of Autism, I find it hard to wrap my head around…

Are they saying that having a child with Autism is worse than having a child so sick that they risk death?

Are they saying that’s a risk that they’re comfortable with?

Are they saying that having a child with Autism is worse than putting those who can’t vaccinate (with genuine reasons such as autoimmune disorders or babies that are too young) at risk of these life threatening illnesses?

Are they saying that a raising a child with Autism is worse, harder, more confronting, than facing a possible world without their child?

I don’t know the answers to these questions. And to be honest, I’m not really interested in finding them out.

I know generally speaking I’m all for debate and conversation, but as Jo Thornly so eloquently said last month; debate only exists when both sides of the argument have valid and comparable points.

There is no debate with this. We vaccinated Poss and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. A thousand times over. Just vaccinate.


I don’t often do this, but as vaccination can be such an emotive topic, I will be monitoring comments on this post carefully and will act in accordance to the guidelines I’ve stated here. 

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  1. I totally agree with you Renee, I don’t understand why this would even be an issue anymore, with ALL studies being debunked, why can’t the anti-vaxers, just own it and say that they made a mistake. Just pretend, like you were, that if there were links between Autism and vaccinations, wouldn’t there be MORE kids on the spectrum than there are already??? I read an article about a lady in Canada (I think) who didn’t vaccinate her kids, they were quarantined for a week or so, and she said that if she’d had the chance to vaccinate against whooping cough, she would’ve before her kids actually got sick…….I think this says it all!!!! Love your posts, they are all brilliant 🙂

  2. Absolutely Renee!!

  3. As someone who vaccinated all my kids and still had two of them contract whooping cough – one of them so seriously she was off school for three months and developed asthma as a consequence – I would not hesitate to agree. I have never felt so helpless as when holding my daughter while she coughs until she collapses, and wondering if she will ever be strong again. My eldest caught measles before she was old enough for the MMR and she was lucky; I knew a girl at school who almost lost her eyesight from the same disease.

    It will always be an emotive subject as parents are desperate to find someone or something to blame, especially in the case of the very severe Kanner’s end of the autistic spectrum, but I still think that balancing the supposed risk from a vaccine and the certain possibility of death is a no-brainer. Personally I have seen obvious evidence of my childrens’ autism (or more specifically their sensory issues) from birth, even though at the time I wasn’t able to recognise it as such, so I am firmly of the opinion that being autistic is someone one is born with.

  4. For hubby and I, there was never any doubt that we would vaccinate our children, but it was brought home to us how vital immunisations are, when our 3 children contracted rotavirus. Our 18month old (at the time) had the rotavirus vaccination, but it was not around when our 4 and 6 year olds had their vaccinations. Our 18month old caught it first and while we were away for the weekend, threw up twice over our time away. As young children can throw up for a lot of reasons, we didnt think too much of it, and he recovered really quickly, he also had slightly looser than normal bowel motions but we definitely didnt think it was diahorrea. When we got back, we sent our 4 year old off to preschool, and our 6 year old off to school, as normal. Within 1/2 hour I had a call from preschool asking me to pick up my son as he had just thrown up. I still didnt connect it to the two times his younger brother had thrown up over the weekend. He continued to vomit and have diahorrea all day. His older brother got home from school and asked for some of the jelly I had made for the middle child to have. Within 10 minutes, he too had brought up all the jelly. After a very sleepless night, getting up to both of them numerous times and having to remake the beds quite a few times, or clean up vomit off the floor, where they had missed the bucket or toilet, we went to our GP in the morning. Our boys were so weak, we pushed the 6 year old in the baby’s pram, Hubby carried the 4 year old and the 18 month old thought it was wonderful to finally be allowed to walk next to the pram rather than restrained in it. Our GP took one look at our very pale and lethargic boys and admitted them straight to our small, rural hospital, where we were placed in an isolation ward. They were both so lethargic they didnt even flinch or attempt to put up a fight when their IV cannulas were placed. The next day, we had confirmation via stool tests that they had rotavirus. All up they spent 5 nights in hospital on drips to replace their fluids, there was nothing that could be done for the virus, we just had to let it take its course. I* cannot get over seeing my boys so lethargic that they had no energy to roll over to vomit and so would vomit and then choke on it, and they would be so embarrassed to know how many times they soiled themselves because the diahorrea was so sudden, and violent The nurses all commented on how well behaved they were, just laying in their beds, watching tv and sleeping. I told them that it was because they were extremely sick, if they were well, there is no way they would sit still for even 5 minutes. As we were in isolation, there was very strict infection control procedures and they really didnt want us to have visitors, but my dad and step-mum desperately wanted to visit and thought it was an over-reaction that they were in hospital on drips. She made the comment numerous times, that it “was just gastro, people get gastro all the time” She didnt understand that it was rotavirus, the one disease that causes so many deaths of young children in under-developed countries. Unfortunately, even with all the infection control procedures in place, my dad caught it from my boys. My Dad who, when he left Telstra had over 2 years of sick leave accumulated, he rarely took a sick day from work, was laid low in bed for almost 10 days and even with an ensuite, there were many times he didnt make it to the toilet in time to vomit and took over a month to then feel back to normal. My step-mum then realised that it wasnt just gastro, and that I wasnt over-reacting by having my kids admitted to hospital. I really do feel that if we were in a third nation country, or with no access to good health care, I may not have one or both of those boys today. When friends comment that they are undecided as to whether to vaccinate or not, I simply share my story with them, and tell them that as unlikely as they think their child will catch one of the immunisable diseases, I also thought that, and to this day, we still do not know where my son caught it from. We lived in a small community of 400, with a larger community of 2000 5 minutes away in a different state, so we knew just about everyone in those communities, and were the only ones to present at the Dr’s or the hospital with rotavirus. So as unlikely as they think their child will catch something, it really is much better to be immunised against it and if they are unlucky enough to catch something, then hopefully it will be nowhere near as severe as if they were unimmunised. All of my friends, have then chosen to vaccinate.

  5. As always so refreshing to hear your side Renee. I have three healthy kids and they’ve all been vaccinated. Last month two if them ‘contracted ‘ chicken pox. The each had. 4-5 spots and that was it. No fever. Absolutely no other symptoms. Thank goodness for vax. I think anti-vaxxers should travel back in time 300 years and see if they still disagree.

  6. Let’s get some t-shirts made up that announce, “Vaccinate” That is all. x
    CaroWebster recently posted..Bittergreens, Dahlias and Double BassMy Profile

  7. I think it has to be said very clearly that these same parents who argue this non existing, long disproven “link”would also probably be the first ones to get pre-natal testing if – hypothetically – it was ever available. And would then abort these children. This is where they stand, let’s be very clear. Pretty sick of seeing anti-vaxx idiots take a moral high stand, when in reality, their entitlement and indifference and hate towards autistics is already extremely damaging now and will most likely cost lives in the near future.


  1. […] won’t go into my views on the anti-vaxx “debate”. You can read them here. But in short, this rubbish is why we can’t have nice things as a […]

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