Let’s normalize vaccination because vaccines are love

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Lactivists are constantly nattering on about “normalizing” breastfeeding. They are absolutely convinced that baring their breasts on Facebook and Twitter will encourage more women to breastfeed their babies.

In their view, breastfeeding fell out of favor due to a concerted assault by formula companies on women’s comfort with breastfeeding. In other words, it was social pressure that convinced women to switch to formula feeding and it is social pressure that will convince them to return to breastfeeding.

If you care about your baby’s health, there is no greater gift you can give her than vaccines.

Homebirth advocates are constantly nattering on about “normalizing” childbirth. They are absolutely convinced that baring their bulging vaginas on YouTube will encourage more women to have homebirths.

In their view, homebirth fell out of favor due to a concerted assault by obstetricians on women’s innate “trust” of birth by “playing the dead baby card.” In other words, it was social pressure that convinced women to switch to hospital birth and it is social pressure that will convince them to return to homebirth.

Let’s take them at their word, but let’s apply it to something that has exponentially greater benefits than breastfeeding or unmedicated vaginal birth: vaccination!

In contrast to breastfeeding, which has never been shown to save the life of a single term baby, and in contrast to unmedicated vaginal birth, which in nature has an appalling death rate, vaccination saves literally hundreds of thousands of lives a year. Anti-vaccine advocacy has become popular among people who value defying medical authority over scientific evidence. It has been endlessly promoted by charlatans and celebrities who play on parents worst fears.

Anti-vax advocacy has become a social identity for its proponents; they gather in echo chamber communities on social media ruthlessly deleting and banning anyone who offers real scientific data. In other words, it is social pressure that convinces many parents to forgo vaccination for their children and perhaps social pressure will convince them to return to vaccinating, thereby protecting their children and everyone else’s children from deadly disease.

Let’s normalize vaccination!

Let’s do it by filling social media with pictures of ourselves embracing our newly vaccinated babies and children with the hashtag #vaccinesarelove because vaccines ARE love. If you care about your baby’s health, there is no greater gift you can give her than vaccines. Vaccination saves far more lives than breastfeeding, than unmedicated vaginal birth, than carseats or nearly any other safety measure that you can name.

Feel free to post your pictures here or on The Skeptical OB Facebook page. Flaunt how much you love your happy, healthy babies and flaunt your knowledge of science at the very same time!

  • MI Dawn

    I’m not quite UTD with my vaccines, since when I went in for my post-op checkup and MMR update the office was too busy to give it to me (and I couldn’t wait any longer than the hour I’d allotted off work for the visit). I’ll get it soon. Flu vaccine every year is sponsored by my employer, so I always get that. If grandchildren appear in the future, I’ll join the coccoon and get the DTaP again.

    My kids have learned from my ex and me, and are fully vaccinated and UTD also. They don’t subscribe to the anti-vax nonsense.

  • Dr Kitty

    OT:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-36917746

    A London hospital is setting up the first maternity service for survivors of rape and sexual assault. They also plan to offer one-off remote appointment via Skype or similar to women who cannot physically attend the service, even for non UK residents.

    Erin- I thought this may be of interest to you.
    At least now if your team throw their hands in the air and say they have no experience you can tell them that there is an NHS specialist service who are more than happy to share their advice.

    • Daleth

      WOW. That’s so fantastic, at least for the women who don’t mind sharing this part of their history with their medical team. But wow, what a difference this will make to such women! Wonderful!

    • Erin

      Thanks. One of those stories in particular really resonated with me. It’s horrible knowing that someone else went through something similar but it’s also comforting in a miserable way.

      I have to admit, I’m pleasantly surprised at the moment, with the exception of one community midwife (who I don’t have to see any more), everyone is trying really hard to be supportive. Somehow, I’ve also managed to be honest to myself as well. A big part of the reason why I wanted a general anesthetic was because I feel that I don’t deserve a better experience, that I don’t deserve to see my baby, or hold them when they’re newly born (plus I’m terrified that skin to skin contributed to my son being taken to NICU…they put him on me in just a nappy but I was freezing and so was the ward so of course he never got any warmer). Yes, being triggered is an issue but those feelings of guilt and also that the hospital are incapable of doing better also play a major part. I didn’t have any control over being raped, I didn’t feel I had any control over what happened with my son (mostly because everyone kept telling me it would be fine until it wasn’t) and so now, I feel if I pick the most ungiving birth opinion possible, at least it’s my choice. If it’s a huge mistake or I hate it or it goes horribly wrong, it was my decision.

      Of course that admission made everyone else in the room get slightly wet eyed. I’m trying to be sensible and have 3 plans…(worst birthzilla ever!!!!). One for general anesthetic, one awake (which is the one everyone else seems to be voting for) and one in case I don’t make it to the section date.

      Much to my surprise, I’ve also been given the name and phone number of a doula who specializes in working with women who survived sexual assault. Apparently she’s not too “doulaish” and has also done peer support work at the hospital in the past so knows a lot of the staff.

      • Dr Kitty

        Forgive me for prying, but is the birth plan still for a hypothetical pregnancy or is it now an actual pregnancy being discussed?

        • Erin

          Still early days yet so I’m trying not to get too invested in case something goes wrong but yes, morning sickness and all.

          Apparently I’m a lot better at getting pregnant than I am at giving birth.
          We weren’t even strictly speaking trying, or at least I wasn’t.

          Mostly happy though.

          • Dr Kitty

            I thought I detected a change in tone.
            Congratulations, I know it is early, but the odds are in your favour.
            As regards the pregnancy , que sera sera, but I hope that this time you’ll feel much more in control of the birth itself

          • Erin

            Thanks. Extremely emotional at the moment so flip flopping all over the place.

            Just terrified of being as ill again, although my Psychiatrist says he will make maternity hospital visits if needed and I have a much better support network now.

          • Box of Salt

            Best wishes for you Erin!

  • Mishimoo

    Last night I ended up in A&E with the youngest thanks to him still having a 39C fever 1.5 hours after nurofen. The relieved expressions on the nurses and doctor’s faces when I confirmed that he is up to date with vaccinations made me feel so much less anxious. Thank goodness for vaccines!

    • MI Dawn

      Hope youngest is doing better!

      • Mishimoo

        Thanks! He got better, then his sisters got sick, and then they caught something else. They’re all better now thankfully, it’s just one of those winter things.

  • Amy M

    Luckily, the majority of Americans still think vaccination is normal. 🙂 I am a big fan, personally. Recently, I walked around in an old cemetery (about 200 yrs old) and noticed a lot dead children listed on the stones. Of course, there’s no way to know why they died (at least not from just the headstones) but I was guessing some kind of epidemic in a few cases, because it was multiple children from the same family, dying at the same time, but all different ages.

    • T.

      Diphteria or measle could kill off a whole group of children. I remember tales of women in my grandmother or great-grandmother generation who lost 5, 6 children all in one go.

      I can’t even think about it.

      • Gene

        I live in fear of measles. Since I’m in a big international tourist destination, it’s a constant threat. Most people vaccinate in my county, but the one next door has a sizable anti-vax community.

        Fwiw, I diagnosed a case of Zika a few weeks ago…

    • Madtowngirl

      One of my uncles was stillborn. We visited his grave year ago, which was in the “child” section of the cemetery. I think I was 13 or so. It was a profoundly sad experience, but it definitely convinced me that modern medicine is a lifesaver.

    • Sue

      IN Australia too, vaccination IS seen as ‘normal’. Those of us who live in the social media world and ague against the anti-scientists can sometimes get a distorted view, but the vast majority of the population understand that vaccination is part of modern life.

  • demodocus

    Sometimes people’s kid pics on TAVS get swiped by anti-vaxxers, so I’d be cautious. We are up to date on everything for our respective ages.

  • namaste863

    I travel a great deal, so Ive been vaccinated against everything under the sun, including typhoid and yellow fever.

    • Amazed

      My dad has 3 yellow fever shots in a much shorter period than the one the vaccine covers. He lost his verification for having this one twice and if he wanted to go to sea again (he’s a sailor), he needed proof that he had it. No VAERS worthy effect noticed yet.

  • BeatriceC

    The problem, of course, is vaccines aren’t “natural”. They come from big bad pharma and are given by big, bad doctors. *eyeroll*

    However, in this house, all vaccines are up to date, with the exception of the annual flu shot for me. My doctors won’t give it to me after several years in a row of increasing severe reactions to it that eventually landed me in the hospital for several days. Everybody else gets it and I have to hope that’s good enough to protect me. This year it wasn’t, and that sucked. Though next year OK’s girlfriend is likely to harass her mother into getting it for her because she feels awful that she’s the likely transmission point for me.

    • Sue

      Exactly – both vaccines and cesarean/instrumental delivery are BETTER than nature. Just like international air travel is better than walking and swimming, and the internet is better than shouting.