Who Doesn't Vaccinate Their Kids? and Why?

Updated on June 28, 2012
J.O. asks from Novi, MI
29 answers

I'm simply curious for the reasons you don't vaccinate. I don't mean to be disrespectful about it at all; I'm just baffled by it.

I knew of a group of mothers (not personal friends but knew of them) who did not vaccinate their kids, and then some of them started losing children to preventable diseases. And they said, through heartache, never again would they refuse to vaccinate for their future children.

We've always vaccinated and mercury certainly has not been a concern because it isn't in any of the vaccines my kids have gotten. The one that could potentially have it (flu), we've requested mercury-free kind and drove out to a clinic far away to get that.

A friend of mine who works with children dying from some of these diseases said that if any parent saw what it does to their kids, they would vaccinate in a heartbeat. And, she noted God doesn't want children to die. Another friend of mine who lives in the third world said most of her neighbors lose at least 2 kids before they even turn 6 from preventable diseases, and they would vaccinate if only they had access.

So I'm curious why people don't vaccinate. I'm really anti-meds and would rather have a headache than take a pill (but, um, I appreciated the epidural!). I'm just trying to understand since I like both points of view of any topic. Thanks! A friend from school does not and I didn't really know what to say. Not that I pushed her to go into it or anything, but I mean I just have no information from the "other side."

To answer someone's question, yes I am in regular contact with a girl I've known for 10 years in Africa. She tells me tetanus is available but not much else. Her own sibling died! And, there was a big article about a group of parents who were losing kids, north of us. So yes, these are people I know or know of, as mentioned.

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answers from Phoenix on


9 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

You're opening a can of worms here... it will be interesting to see the "debate" that happens........

I vaccinated all 4 of mine...... and would continue to do so! We have the power and ability to prevent some really devastating diseases with those vaccines, and I would do that again.

Granted, my kids are older now (20, 26, 28, 30), but we all feel it is important.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Grand Rapids on

Crazy not to vaccinate! Those children without vaccines also put babies at risk that are too young to get vaccinated. Adults should get the whooping cough vaccine boosters! I know of a 3 month old that caught this and died.

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Norfolk on

If there was a vaccine to prevent stupidity, someone somewhere would be against it.

20 moms found this helpful


answers from Boca Raton on

Well, when your most aggressively vaccinated kid is your sickest one, and has 41+ food intolerances, it really makes you wonder . . .

16 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

You can also ask one of the thousands of parents about vaccines and they will say "never again will I ever get a vaccine for my child" and that is because in the U.S. more children are harmed by vaccines than there are children who die of these diseases. So, it goes both ways. I don't know why people constantly bring up the 3rd world counrties. We in the U.S don't live there. We have good food here, flushable toilets, good hygiene and most importantly, we are not malnourished. Combine all those and you most certainly will die of disease. They have no immune system there, but we do. And I'm sorry to say this, but there will always be people who die of disease. Diseases will never go away because most diseases have life cycles. They come and go and they literally hibernate. My oldest son developed seizures right after having his vaccines. I know several people who have vaccine injured children and they say "I wish I knew the facts before I poisoned my child". My youngest 2 are not vaccinated and they are so healthy. I watch 3 fully vaccinated kids and they are constantly sick and on antibiotics. It's gross.
And I don't know if you know this, but there is mercury in vaccines beside the flu. It's just now under the label of thimerosol, and theimerosol is derived right from mercury. Sneaky little buggers, aren't they?

I just have to add to someone who wrote that if the girl had had the vaccine for meningitis, she would have lived. How in the world can you say that? There's no way to know if a vaccine would have saved her. I don't believe that vaccines work. There have been 59 cases of whooping cough here and on the news they said that every single case was partially and/or fully vaccinated for it. That is a very sad story about the girl dying from that awful infection, but in my opinion, a vaccine would not have made a difference. You have to wonder, if you don't get a disease that is going around, is it because you were vaccinated for it, or because you never came in contact with ir, or is it because your immune system kicked it's butt? There's never been any studies to show that vaccines work and yet, it would be so easy for the FDA or whoever is in charge to do a study on it. Makes you wonder.

13 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

My daughter is fully vaxed, but my son is not and I will not be finishing it up either. I wish I did more research when my daughter was younger, but I just went along with what every one told me to do. I know a lot more now. I do not believe in putting bad chemicals into my kids bodies. Some of the time the vax's don't even work. Most of the kids who have gotten whooping cough recently, have had the vax for it. Vaccines do not prevent diseases. It could lessen your chance of getting it, but it doesn't prevent it. My son had a bad reaction to prevnar. He is not able to finish all the rounds of it. My son's previous dr (dr. Sears) does not even believe in getting the chicken pox vax. He told me "do not do it. It doesn't work". My daughter actually got the chicken pox when she was 2 years old from her friend who did have the vax and a month later broke out in chicken pox. We were at their house the week before, and 3 weeks later, my daughter got it. I would rather my kids have a natural life long immunity to that one. We also have many food and medicine allergies in our family. There is only 1 safe antibiotic that my son can take that won't put him in the hospital (learned through trial and error). With my kids history of having bad reactions and allergies, I will not ever have them get another vax. ever.
Also, we have not had a problem enrolling them in school, clubs, camps, or sports. We just sign a waiver and be done.
Call me a bad parent or stupid or whatever, I know what's best for my family and I have dr.'s who agree with me.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

We don't vaccinate. I did years worth of research, and a long with my pediatrician (He is a highly regarded MD, not some quack) decided that would be best for my son.I did NOT make this choice lightly, consulted doctors, and very carefully waded through all the nonsense (like vaccines causing autism, I don't and have never believe that.) I am not anti-vaccine, which people seem to assume. I am against dangerous vaccines, that contain dangerous materials. If the way vaccines were formulated changed, I would have no problem with vaccinations.

I was not vaccinated as a child, just by default. My parents were poor and there were not free clinics or pharmacies for vaccines. I was exposed to a number of serous illnesses and can count on one hand the number of times I've been sick in my life. That didn't weigh into our decision with my son. However, people think non-vaccinated people contract and die of diseases at alarming rates. That is simply false.

I guess I don't need for other people to understand, or accept it. To be truthful, I don't care what others think. We made a serious, educated decision, and feel confident in that. If people say they don't agree with my decision, I say great, they are allowed to disagree. I respect a parent's right to make decisions for their child.

You can expect to get more answers from people who DO vaccinate and put down anyone who doesn't. Don't expect a very kind, open discussion about this.

ETA: Cheryl - I have a vaccination exempt form from the state, that I can present to anyone asking. My son isn't in daycare, and I've never had camps or classes ask. I can present the forms in public and private schools, as well. I only know about the laws in my state, but it's very easy here.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

Sorry, but I'm finding it "interesting" that you have "3rd world friends" that you chat with, and also that you knew a "group of moms who started losing their children" to preventable diseases. If there was, indeed, a tight population of families who were having familial outbreaks of rare diseases, I'm pretty sure it would have been on the news. ;)
As for reasons not to vaccinate, I'm sure that you can do the same research that the rest of kthe moms do, and come up with the reasons all on your own. And, if after reading all the studies yourself, and understanding the risk/benefit ratio to your children, you still choose to vaccinate, well then I guess you can consider yourself a good "community citizen" who provides that age-old herd immunity for the rest of the poor, unvaccinated children.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

I'm sure you know the big concern over mercury and autism. But what most people do not know (and it's never mentioned in the reports) is the quick rise in autism numbers came at a time when they redefined what autism means and broadened the spectrum to include a wide variety of conditions that previously had not been included. The link between autism and vaccinations or mercury has never been concretely established, but many are still concerned. I know people who do not do vaccines because they believe the way they are administered (multiple vaccines at once) is too much for a child's small system to handle. Some do not trust big pharma and would prefer to boost their child's natural immunity through alternative/holistic means. Some avoid vaccines for religious reasons. Personally, I have vaccinated and do not believe children should not be vaccinated. My father lost siblings or had siblings disabled due to polio and other childhood diseases. However, those children are not my children, and as hard as it would be for me to live with myself knowing they died from something I could have prevented, that's how hard it is for other parents facing the fear and distrust of the medications. And even if you could prove autism was not caused by the vaccines, a coincidental occurrence of it would still weigh heavily on the hearts of parents who didn't believe in the vaccines in the first place.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

We did most vax but we don't do flu and have not done hep A. I debated chicken pox because I just don't see it as a very serious childhood disease, but it was easier in terms of school and camp apps to just do it. I believe some vaccines are absolute life savers and I would never dream of skipping diptheria, polio and a couple others. Other ones I think we are going a bit overboard with ones like chicken pox and mumps. I believe a strong immune system is the most important thing and good nutrition is key for a healthy immune system.

I also know first hand that vaccines are not bombproof. I got measles when I was 16 even though I had been properly vaxed and I know there are regular outbreaks of measles and pertussis within the vaxed population.

I also know people whose kids have had horrible reactions (seizures, etc) to vaccines. I feel bad for them because rarely does the CDC take them seriously. But they have had to stop vaxing because of fear the reaction will be worse each time.

I think the CDC has big credibility problems because they are afraid to be upfront with the public about the actual rate of bad reactions, the rate of vaxed people still catching the disease, and they don't really know how long many of the vaxes last. People feel like they are guinea pigs so I can understand why some people say no.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Those of us who don't do not skip it because we believe the herd will protect our children. And you don't need to be up to date to attend school, every state has some form of exemption. I wonder if people who blindly make false statements or assumptions have ever researched what products they are using or allowing their children to be injected with?

The ingredients and the given purpose of the human immune system is why most people don't vaccinate or do it on al alternative schedule. I don't know anyone who doesnt do it "because everyone else does" so I'm protected, more it seems that is why the people who do vaccinate do it, because "everyone else does". Suppose they do everything that "everyone" else does too?

I know two people who don't vaccinate because of autism, that's it. Not even a factor for most. The people I know who don't are highly educated, many of them doctors, who have done their research on vaccines and the likelihood of the diseases we vaccinate for. More good information on that at www.thedoctorwithin.com.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Colorado Springs on

We used to vaccinate. Then, I learned that some vaccines were made using the cell lines of aborted babies. That stopped me cold. I decided, for the first time ever, to actually spend some time studying and researching what I was injecting into my children's blood systems. I was horrified by what I learned. One thing to remember is that the vaccines are injected directly into the muscle. Diseases actually go through the air/respiratory system or the digestive system. They are ingested. This gives the liver/kidneys a chance to filter out the toxins, etc. With a vaccine, the toxins go straight to the blood system. There is no filter for them. This is not how God designed our bodies to work. No wonder so many diseases have increased in our children's generations. They have been assaulted with so many toxins, both in their early developmental years and even while we are pregnant with them. It is this great experiment, and our children are the lab rats. Well, mine aren't anymore. The research has convinced me that the vaccines do not benefit the overall health of my children. We are healthier than we have ever been. There is a graph somewhere, I will see if I can find it, that shows that the disease incidence was actually decreasing at an incredible rate before the introduction of vaccines. The graphs we normally see are a small section of the graphs from right before the vaccines to current day. It shows the decline in diseases, of course. But, that decrease was already significantly lower than it had been because of other factors like washing hands and not sharing needles, etc. Okay, I found a link with graphs: http://www.whale.to/a/graphs.html At the very least, it is worth studying and considering. We are responsible for the medical decisions we make for ourselves and our children. Nobody else is. Not your doctor, not your neighbor, not some stranger on mamapedia. I honestly don't care what others do with their children. My responsiblity lies with my own kids. I can't take on anyone elses. Do your own research and come to your own conclusions. My conclusions were hard fought. I resisted what I was learning because it freaked me out to consider going against the status quo. But, with more research, my confidence grew. And so, here we are. If someone comes to a different conclusion than we did with their research (and by research I don't mean reading the opinions of strangers about the topic), I am all ears to hear the reasons and real science behind the decision. I am not so arrogant to think I have everything nailed down. But, I would need some serious convincing. And, all vaccines with the aborted baby cell lines in them are an automatic no for us. (MMR, chicken pox are two of many that fall into that category)

For the person who doesn't think she is capable of doing her own research, I'm sad for you. You have bought into the lie that only the so-called professionals can know anything. This is what they want you to believe.

Also I have brought my research to two different doctors who no longer offer vaccines in their practice. They told me that they were never taught this stuff. You see, the pharmaceutical companies write/fund their text books. Slight conflict of interest. Did you know that our government protects big pharma from being sued because of vaccine injuries? Instead they have a multi-billion dollar slush fund to pay off parents (funded by our tax dollars). One of the requirements to get the money is that you have a gag order on you about it. Yeah, I trust the gods in the white lab coats. Not.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

I hate medicines myself, and avoid them if I can. I don't over medicate my kids, I look for other ways to help them first before shoving tylenol down their throats. I always waivered when it came to vaccinations, but as a foster parents, we didn't have a choice in the matter. You vaccinate, end of story. And now, after having some really important things pointed out to me, I am so glad we were not given that choice.

As a mother to a medically fragile baby with a compromised immune system, you need to understand that not vaccinating your kids can have an effect on OTHER children as well. If another parent chooses to not vaccinate, and their child either gets ill or becomes a carrier without getting ill, MY child could wind up dead. Even if my child has been vaccinated, because of all of the issues he has, he is more likely to have vaccines not have the same effect as they do on typical children. Even the chicken pox, which almost all of us had when we were kids, could send my child into the hospital to be put on a respirator.

I am all for parents making well informed decisions for their children. I really, really am. However, you MUST think of the whole picture. It is for this reason that I am all for vaccination now.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I do not mean to sound harsh but people doing their own research???? Are you freakin serious??? I would not trust myself to be able to make such an important decision seeing as I myself am not a doctor or have the backround to. The women who posted below said she does not care about other peoples children only her own and they are so healthy and are not vaccinated. Well thanks to people like her we run the risk of seeing diseases like polio measles ect... coming back and putting all of our children at risk. When I asked my pedo about this his responce to me is I am a dr who has gone to medical school and been in practice for 30 plus years. He said people who do not vaccinate their children should be charged with neglet. Do I think autism has become an epidemic of some sort yes. But vaccinations are not the problem. I worked with a women who did not vaccinate her kids they are allergic to everything you can think of. They are sick all the time. She is living her life afraid to touch something not organic yet she is making her kids sick. Its sad. Most schools require a child be vaccinated as they are a risk to others if they are not.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

Though I personally am pro-vaccination, I also think we over-vaccinate now. I fear that vaccinating everyone for everything possible will take us to the same place over-using antibiotics did. Meaning, I fear vaccine-resistant strains of flu (etc) will develop.

I think vaccines are a "good thing" but when it comes to preventing disease, we need to consider the evolutionary biology of viruses and bacteria too.

I do know folks who don't vaccinate and folks who can't (due to serious allergic reactions). Though I don't understand the choice to refuse all vaccines when no medical condition prevents it, I also do not judge. But for my kids, well, I grew up in a poor rural area where people still got polio, so....

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

i agree to vaccinations selectively. meaning, i decide what my kids get. some things are just plain silly, so they don't get them.
but i also understand people who opt out of vaccinations. i think you have the right to decide what's right for your child, but you do not have the right to ask someone else to vaccinate their child because you don't want your child exposed to something. if that's what you fear, then put your child in a bubble. my biggest pet peeve is when people try to preach my way is the right way. well it is, for you. maybe not for me, and definitely not for the smiths.
understand? not trying to be mean but i read some of the responses and got chills all over when i read someone saying so and so had someone die because they didn't vaccinate. first of all, your best friend can tell you they get vaccinations or they don't but you will never know for sure. this is a private thing and a private decision. another poster said something along the lines don't send your unvaccinated child to school with my vaccinated child. really? how about keep your kid at home so you avoid everything under the sun, and by the way, if your kids are vaccinated then that means they're protected against the illnesses, right? then why do you fear? could it be because the vaccines have a huge failure rate?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Well my kids get every vax. And we all get flu shots. And don't kids have to be vaccinated to go to school...

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I considered not continuing to vaccinate my kids because EVERY TIME they got them they would end up in the ER with high fevers. For now they are current on theirs. Now there are some that I think are stupid to require like the chicken pox one. You give your kids that and they can still get it and also does not keep them from getting shingles which is a form of it. I don' t give my children or myself the flu shot. Every time I have gotten one I have gotten so sick right after worst than I do when I don't get it. So I wont expose my children to that either.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dover on

I vaccinate both my kids. My son is now 20 and my daughter is 5. My son has never had the flu shot and, since he hates needles, refuses to get it. He didn't get the chicken pox vaccine since he had cp when he was 8 months old. When he went to China, he had to see what he needed (he got anything he needed except one that was optional...we discussed w/ the doctor what would happen "worse case scenario" without it and decided it was ok to skip...doctor agreed). I did insist on the meningitis one when he left for college. So far my daughter has had all the recommended shots except the H1N1 vaccine and now since it is combined w/ the one for flu, she didn't get that one.

I agree with you in "why would you not?" but some people strongly believe otherwise. I just want to reply to something another poster said "about there are far more people hurt by vaccine than die of the diseases"...well yeah BECAUSE so many are vaccinated against it. I don't believe that the vaccine causes the problems but rather brings them to the forefront but even if you believe otherwise would you rather have your kid injured or dead?

Those that choose not to vaccinate have the comfort of knowing that for the most part, their children are protected by those of us who have vaccinated our children. What they don't think about is the infants and unhealthy that can not be vaccinated being exposed to others who may be carriers.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I followed the schedule with all of the recommended vaccinations for my 17 yr old daughter with 1 exception......... Guardasil. NO WAY will I allow that one.

My Ob refused to vaccinate his 3 daughters with that one and he is one of the most highly respected in this area.

We are pretty much anti meds as well and fortunately, a very healthy family. I will only take an RX if I have to ( I am on an HRT patch due to menapause being jump started due to hysterectomy, best thing I ever did).

I am like you, I just don't understand why people do not vaccinate but it is their children. Sadly, we are seeing some of the illnesses come back into society due to the anti vaccination influx.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I have always vaccinated my children and will continue to do so (they are 2 and 3 now). The reason i decided to vaccinate was because there are so many new diseases that a child is exposed to now that i have to worry about why would i want to have all the ones that are so easily preventable added to that list. One of my brothers and sil have chosen not to vaccinate their 2 girls saying that they dont want to inject so many man made chemicals in to the perfect bodies that God gave us. So far the girls have been fairly healthy however that is just not a risk i am willing to take with my 2.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I don't give myself or my kids the flu shot. I think getting it is silly if you are healthy and have a well-balanced diet. Getting the flu only boosts your immune system for the future. Their pediatrician is more than understanding about it. They just simply ask "Do you want them to get flu shots?" I say "no", and that's all- and I'll tell you why, cause it is NO BIG DEAL to not get one. As well as I'd just like to limit what goes in my four kids bodies. Also, They have not gotten the flu for a few years... I know people that have gotten the flu shot and been a little sick for a week from it OR gotten the flu shot and gotten the flu anyway that year- it is just a silly way to make money.

We eat mainly organic, I don't slather on sunscreen constantly (if I DO use it, we use natural products- and BTW those chemicals are worse than UV rays), and I don't use DEET. I have healthy kids- all of them are perfect weight/on the thin side a bit and happy.

I do get the required immunizations because I do believe the benefits far outweigh the risks (mainly because the risks are SO rare) in those cases.

While i do give my kids their regular immunizations, I just think the whole flu shot thing is ridiculous. Here is an article i like about it: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/0...

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

My son was vaccinated, and he's healthy.

I'm glad you were "brave" enough to ask this question. Unfortunately, it seems that moms that do not vaccinate are always on the defensive. I would love to see more moms that give clear and concise answers. That would truly help us to understand each other's views a lot better.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I seriously considered it with mine, but came down on the side of doing it. I can't tell you why, though, because I don't remember what tipped the scale.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

People who don't know the consequences (death and disability) of certain diseases; or understand that the reason their unvaccinated child isn't getting the illness is because the majority of people are still getting vaccinated, so their kids are fortunately not being exposed (herd immunity, mentioned above).

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Lincoln on

I asked this same question about three weeks ago because i wa curious too. I read a heart breaking story in my hometown of a local girl here that died due to meningitis and had she have been vaccinated, she would have lived! All three of my children were vaccinated and i never hesitated to do so! I have a special needs daughter who was born with a very rare chromosome disorder and received vaccinations (the ones most pertinent) and she did fine! With her, we just spread them out over a course of three months. I think most parents are afraid of the Vaccination/Autism issue that is in an uproar right now. Did you know that last year there was a study done in Canada and Europe on Autism and they evaluated and researched parents who did not vaccinate due to this scare the the numbers of Autism still went up? So we know it is not in the vaccine. Maybe it is in the food we eat? Maybe it is something in the air? Maybe it is in provisions that we use in everyday life. Certainly there is something! My oldest is almost 15 years old, been vaccinated and is a gifted child. She accels academically in school and is an artist! I believe that every parent has a right to not vaccinate their children, but i dont understand why they wouldnt want to protect them.



answers from Miami on

Bug...do schools or camps give you problems about your kids attending? How do manage to get around their rules?


answers from Kansas City on

Every time I got pregnant the main thought was 'oh, no, the vaccinations'. I hated to get them. I had both kinds of measles, mumps, and chicken pox as a child, before there were immunizations for these diseases. I did get polio immunization though, and remember standing in line to get it for a long time, we all had to do it, as there was a huge out break of it after the flood of 1951 in Kansas City. I was about 5 years old then. I went to the hospital and remember seeing pictures of the iron lung for people with polio, my mother has a cousin and my husband has a cousin both now experiencing the polio syndrome that comes back years later on some of those who got the disease and they say the pain is worse than the polio first time around. So, I was given the polio vaccine which is the only one they had then. When my kids were born I thought why risk it when I lived through all of those diseases. The doctor told me I was not a doctor and hadn't cared for those who were now blind, deaf, etc, etc. from the diseases. Still I wrestled with taking a risk of getting it as being better than me causing it with the medication. I did get it for all 8 of our kids. One of our daughters does not give them to her child. It's such a hard thing to decide. Doctors aren't God and medicine is not perfect and disease is always out there. You have to decide for yourself what to do. I will say that I do not think they need all the vaccines they give now though and most of those newer ones I would not give my child ever. The debate goes on about the safety of the shots so just study up on it and do what you think is best but the disease itself can be very bad or deadly too.

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