Facing Anti-Vaccine Friends
When my daughter was born, I vaccinated. It's what parents do. It protects their kids. All parents did it. It was required for schooling in our area. I had no idea about 'exemptions'.
When my daughter was about two, a friend from my childhood told me she didn't vaccinate her kids. She yelled at me about how I was harming my daughter and putting chemicals in her body. She told me vaccines were toxic and started naming off several (incorrect) things that made made up vaccines. I argued until I was blue in the face.
I didn't know much about vaccines then. So when we were finished arguing, I looked into what she was saying. It looked scary! So scary! I stuck to it, and looked into what each scary sounding word meant and why it was used/how it helped my daughter. I looked at the safety of vaccines. I made sure I was looking at credible sites and credible information. In the end, I found that I was correct. I spent many years looking into how vaccines work and such.
We are both from California. California just removed personal and religious exemptions for vaccines and schooling. (Editor's note: Schoolchildren in California are now required to be vaccinated unless there is a medical reason not to do so). So, now it's 4 years later and she is feeling desperate, beaten down, and like she has to give up. With all her pride put aside, she came to me and asked me to explain to her what I had learned. I was able to make her comfortable enough to get her 2 daughters vaccinated. In return, she was able to tell her other friends the new information she learned. My community now has, at least 10 kids who got vaccinated thanks to the bravery and open mindedness of my once anti-vax friend.
It was a very proud moment in my life. I am proud of her, too.
(Editor's note: In California, parents who chose not to immunize their children based on philosophical or religious reasons were exempt from school vaccine requirements until recently. Now, only medical exemptions are allowed).