Feb 10, 2013
“I am a public health of official,” the nurse said with authority as she pointed to the hokey-looking certificate on the wall. “So it is my duty to inform you of the risks you are taking by refusing to vaccinate your children.”
My twin daughters go to public middle school and I do refuse to vaccinate them. In California this year, there is a mandatory whooping cough vaccination of seventh graders. Even though a child may have received the “Tdap” vaccine earlier in life, the new claim is that it is “wearing off.” So, they need to take it again.
At any rate, the school nurse laid into me for refusing. Here is my summary of how the conversation continued:
I said, “Well, I am just here to sign the waiver so they can attend school.”
She replied, “Yes, of course, and you are allowed to do that, but I need to explain the risks you are taking. Why aren’t you willing to have your children vaccinated?”
“I am against vaccines.”
“Yes, but I see they were vaccinated earlier in life. Most parents don’t change their minds like this.”
“I’ve learned a lot more about vaccines since then.”
I am nervous and don’t trust this person. I want to hold my ground and stand for something, but do not want to become confrontational. My kids need to attend school here. This is an unfortunate position to be in.
“Okay,” she condescended. “But you need to be aware of the dangers before you sign the waiver. If there is an outbreak of whooping cough this year, your kids won’t be able to come to school. Further, you need to understand that children have been known to die because of this illness, so it is important that we take the necessary precautions.”
I hold my ground. “I do not believe vaccines are the best precautions to take.”
As I left I wondered if I was just paranoid. Am I really neglectful for not vaccinating my children according to the government’s protocol? Wait…did she just call me a murderous parent? Did she subtly blame me and people like me for the existence of illness in schools?
Even though nothing she could have said would have changed my mind, I still left her office feeling like a schmuck. It took a few minutes to get over it and move on. Is that what they intend? Of course.
Have any public officials harassed you?
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This article was posted: Sunday, February 10, 2013 at 9:08 am