Maybe it’s because it took almost forever to become a parent that I feel so strongly about holding my kids close and protecting them from illness, accidents and harm.
Maybe it’s because I have a compromised immune system myself. I have Crohn’s Disease, an autoimmune disorder. I know I can’t afford to get ill. When I get sick, I have a much higher likelihood of ending up hospitalized than your average Mom does.
Maybe it’s because our babies, both adopted as infants, needed more health care, more nurturing, support, and security, because circumstances of their birth were not what I would have wished and their fragile immune systems struggled for years.
I have so many reasons to immunize, but really the four big ones are: Paula, Jim, Payton and Ainsley—my family. We fought hard to become a family, so I think it’s normal that we feel the need to hold close this incredible gift of parenthood that we were given. By the same token we also work hard to stay healthy in my house. Health isn’t something everyone is given. It’s something you have to work hard at and it’s a privilege. So I vaccinate for them—for all of us.
We have been religious about getting our shots from the time the kids were both still in foster care and as we waited to adopt them. From the very beginning, our pediatricians supported getting vaccines according to the recommended immunization schedule. This last couple of years, maintaining our commitment to vaccinating has been challenging. My older daughter has anxiety disorder. With that disorder came a needle phobia that peaked right as she needed to get her grade seven and eight immunizations.
It would have been extremely easy for us to avoid her anxiety and panic attacks by delaying the immunizations, but this wasn’t a matter of negotiation. Our new family doctor was incredibly patient with Payton, taking the time to answer any questions she had. And she had questions, grilling him on the contents of each vaccine.
He told her that all vaccines are safe, effective, and tested.
He read her the contents of each vaccine. None of the worrisome things she had heard about were in the vaccines she was getting.
If your child has needle phobia or anxiety about the process, talk to your health care provider and ask him or her to help your child feel more comfortable. There are lots of strategies and tools to help ease the pain and discomfort of needles for every stage of life, including what you can do as a parent to help.
Did you know that?
- Vaccines have saved the lives of more babies and children than any other medical intervention in the last 50 years. Click here for more information.
- Thanks to vaccines, infectious diseases that were the leading cause of death worldwide 100 years ago are now the cause of less than five per cent of all deaths in Canada
- All children attending school need to be immunized according to schedule.
- Immunization protects children from many serious diseases that are easily spread in day cares and schools.
Vaccines are a part of our healthy lifestyle. They help protect my family, and yours, by building stronger immune systems—in all of us.
This post was developed in association with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. The opinions of the author are their own.
Like eating well and exercising, getting immunized is an important part of creating a foundation for a healthy life. If you’re on the fence about immunizing, here’s the information you need to make an informed decision for your family.
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