Whether or not vaccines pose a risk to infants and small children has been called one of the great debates of this decade. Some claim that there is a connection between vaccines and the rising rate of autism in the U.S., while others argue that vaccines are not only safe but vital to keeping kids healthy.
Oregon requires children to be vaccinated against 11 different diseases in order to attend school, but the state does allow for exemptions. These are technically religious exemptions, but religion is defined broadly as “any system of beliefs, practices or ethical values.” The exemption rate is 4.1 percent statewide but Ashland has recently drawn national attention for their unusually high rate of vaccine exemptions. More than 28 percent of kindergartners there were not vaccinated in 2007. That’s why the Centers for Disease Control will be hosting a public meeting in this southern Oregon city on Saturday to listen to parents’ concerns and gather information for a vaccine safety study.
Are you a parent? How did you decide whether or not to vaccinate your children? Were you vaccinated as a child? How has your experience informed your medical choices? With the preponderance of the medical community in favor of vaccines, but with access to plenty of anti-vaccine information, how do you decide who you can trust?
- Jennifer Margulis: Travel writer and mother in Ashland who chose not to vaccinate her three kids when they were babies
- Dan Salmon: Vaccine safety specialist with the National Vaccine Program Office
- Jeffrey Baker: Pediatrician and the director of the History of Medicine Program at Duke University School of Medicine
- J.B. Handley: Co-founder of Generation Rescue