I really don't want to have The Great Vaccine Debate here. Really, I've had it with myself a million times, and it's why I usually stay away from such topics, but it's on my mind in a big way, so here it goes.
I waited until our eldest was five to start getting him vaccinated. It was not a decision I made lightly, and I did a great deal of research before making that decision (around here, if it's about the kids, it's usually my call).
He was that one in a million. That one kid who has seizures and can't breath, swells up like a jellyfish, gets a fever so high you think he should be boiling water in there, gets so ill that you're afraid he won't recover, and basically subjects you to the worst parental moments of your life. Thankfully, there were no long-term effects.
I have been read the riot act by various physicians, watched them tell him he was going to kill old people because I wouldn't give him the flu shot (true story), and been generally treated like the worst parent on earth for refusing to let anyone inject him with anything since then.
I haven't allowed anyone to give his brother vaccinations. Until...Yea, there's always a rusty nail somewhere out in the country, right?
I was patient and calm while the Dr. condescendingly explained to me that tetanus lives in the dirt (so yes, he could have gotten it from a scraped knee at some point because he hadn't been vaccinated), and I let her give me the whole "Why vaccines are great" talk. I know all these things though. I have researched more about vaccines than your average Dr. Promise. I know tetanus live in the dirt, I also know that you are far more likely to actually get it from a puncture wound than an actual scrape. I know that vaccines have saved millions of lives, and continue to prevent deadly and dangerous diseases across the world. I also know that my son was that one in a million kid, and I count us as incredibly blessed that he had no long term neurological problems.
Turns out, here they won't give a DT vaccine to a kid under seven now. It's DTaP. The vaccine his brother had the reaction to. Well, technically they weren't sure which one it was, but they strongly suggested that we get him the next round of all of them since "He didn't sustain a fever over 105 for more than three days, and he didn't die, so we can't issue you a vaccine exemption". We told them to shove it. Who needs a vaccine exemption card for a dead kid?
Tetanus is bad. It can be treated, but two out of ten people die from it, and those who don't, spend a good chunk of time in the ICU. Just because you step on a rusty nail doesn't mean that you are sure to get it, but the risk is there. I asked for a few minutes to think, called Alpha, and asked him what he thought. He said let them give it to him, so I did.
Our eldest was one in a million. Chances are slim of having two of those, right? Still though, I doubt I'll be sleeping much tonight. Just in case.