Did you know the overwhelming majority of parents vaccinate their children?
In an effort to transform statistics into real conversations about how children and families benefit from immunizations, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) asked parents to send in personal stories and testimonials about why they vaccinate their children.
Here's What You Told Us:
I value caring for my baby.
"There are SO MANY things I cannot protect my child from, so I will take every safe and healthy way to protect her that I can find. Vaccinating her from potentially deadly diseases is a gift—one that she needs now that diseases we thought we had conquered are starting to come back." —Bonnie Stetz, Mom
"As parents, we of course want to protect our children from serious danger. Even more so though, we want to say we did our best to 'prevent the preventable risk'. I couldn't imagine my child coming down with a disease that we had the opportunity to provide some sort of barrier against, but didn't." —Kara Hepp, Mom
"I vaccinate to prevent my four children from contracting horrible diseases—the exact reason vaccines were developed! Thankfully, we live in a time where this is possible. All children deserve the gift of wellness." —Teresa Motz, Mom
"I vaccinate, because I want to keep my children safe. It's the same reason that they wear helmets and seatbelts." —Kelly Hargraves, Mom
"I vaccinate my kids, because I believe in providing them with the best healthcare possible. Vaccinations play into that because they protect children from harmful, sometimes deadly diseases. Failing to vaccinate intentionally puts my kids (and others' kids) at risk. We're fortunate to live in a country that makes such vaccinations available. " —Marina Mayer, Mom
- "I vaccinate, because I want my daughter to be as healthy as possible. Vaccination is one incredibly important way to guarantee that!" —Jessica Hodgson, Mom
I value caring for my community.
"I am also a nurse, so I have always had firsthand examples of illness available to me. That said, life is tough enough as it is, who wants a vaccine-preventable illness on top of everything else? Working with people who are not able to be vaccinated for medical reasons makes me grateful for herd immunity. We, as a community, want the best for each other. What better way to say
'I care'?" —Victoria Reierson, Mom
"I vaccinate, because I truly feel it takes a whole village to raise a child. I'm not only protecting my child but also those around her." —Cassie Thompson, Mom
"I vaccinate not only to protect the health and future of my wonderful boy but to protect the vulnerable in my community. The very young and the old need us to protect them against these awful, sometimes fatal, illnesses. I tell him it's like the sheriff putting up a wanted poster so his body knows what the bad guys look like and can fight them off as soon as it sees them." —Victor Lewis, Dad
"We love to travel. I do not want to worry about my children contracting an infectious disease in the US and then exposing other people to it overseas. Likewise, I don't want my children bringing infectious diseases from another country back home either. We have a social obligation to our neighbors, co-workers, and classmates not to expose them to preventable illnesses." —Amy Warren, Mom
"Vaccinating is just one of many ways that I strive to give my kids the best possible chance for healthy and happy lives. Plus, it's the responsible thing to do for others who are too young for vaccines or who have compromised immune systems." —Heather Cooper, Mom
"We vaccinate our children, one of whom is autistic, because we want to protect them from preventable diseases that can have a long-lasting impact on their health. We trust the science and research behind routine immunizations. We also want to protect the members of our community with compromised immune responses, people for whom vaccines aren't effective, or people who aren't eligible to receive a certain vaccine." —Sandra Turner, Mom
"I vaccinate, because I had a brother with childhood cancer. When I was young, we had to be so careful all the time to make sure he didn't get sick. A vaccine-preventable disease would have killed him. I vaccinate for all the other people who are at risk for serious complications from vaccine-preventable illnesses. It's our job to protect the most vulnerable members of our society." —Allison Alexander, Mom
I trust my baby's doctor.
"The primary reason I vaccinate my children is because it is recommended by my pediatrician whom I trust. Our pediatrician's practice sees hundreds of children day in, day out and have children of their own, not to mention years of medical training and expertise." —Anne Lee, Mom
"My wife and I vaccinate our children, because we trust science. We trust the scientific method and we trust the overwhelming amount of doctors who recommend vaccination. There is no possible way we can know everything as a parent, so there have to be authorities which we can trust. I love my children too much to place their safety in anything else but science and logic. We don't want them to contract viruses nor do we want our children spreading viruses to other children." —Travis Harmon, Dad
"A quick needle poke is much less damaging to an otherwise happy, healthy life than measles, mumps, polio, etc. By vaccinating, we are most definitely protecting those who need extra security. We vaccinate, because we trust our doctors. We trust science. We trust research. We trust the experts. Thank you biologists, researchers, doctors, nurses, and all others who are helping eradicate diseases." —Lisa Giles, Mom
"In a nutshell, I trust my pediatrician and the overall guidance of the AAP. I believe thorough testing has been done to ensure they are safe and that getting vaccinated is safer than not getting vaccinated." —Stacy Cordero, Mom
"Science has proven through much research and study that vaccinating is the best choice to make! Plus, it's recommended by my pediatrician." —Christy Lee, Mom
"While I do educate myself about my children's health concerns so that I can be an active participant in their health care, I also trust their pediatrician and the medical community as a whole to be the experts. Being informed does not mean being at odds!" —Christie Jett, Mom
I want to protect my baby's body.
"We know first-hand the stress that comes with hoping that a very small child doesn't get very sick. My son was born with a congenital heart defect and spent time in the NICU and later in the hospital after surgery —all during flu season—all before he was more than 3 months old. My daughter, who was only 14 months old when her brother was born, was not only vaccinated, but learned a great deal about handwashing and other healthy habits, because we all had to do our best to protect our little one." — Sara Nolan, Mom
- "When I reached the age of 3, I had high fever and was diagnosed with meningitis. I was given 72 hours to live if the fluid couldn't get removed. Thanks to quick actions by the medical team, I am now 36 and live a healthy life. I wouldn't want something like that to happen to my child. If a vaccine would save my child's life...why not?" —Joeti Shrestha, Mom
"I vaccinate my children to protect them from contracting a debilitating disease that could impact their entire life. My thought has always been,
'Why would I want to take the chance if a 3-second shot will protect them?' I had chickenpox and measles as a child; my kids are not missing anything by not having them!" —Tracy LaPointe, Mom
"As a parent and provider, I vaccinate. I have seen too many preventable illnesses and death. There is strong evidence that shows vaccines are safe and clearly worth the effort. As far as I am concerned, there is no reason not to vaccinate." —Ann Petersen-Smith, Mom
"I vaccinate my children (one daughter and twin boys), because I believe passionately in furthering public health. I also believe in the power of science to better our lives. My grandfather was crippled by polio as a child, and while he still leads a happy and productive life, it is tangibly different from the life he would have led without his disability. I know that other children affected with polio and other preventable diseases are not so lucky." —Christie Jett, Mom
- "As a nurse in a traveler's clinic, it breaks my heart to hear from the travelers' tales of children who have died from tetanus or other vaccine preventable diseases. I cared for the last iron lung patient in my city, and if you need a reason to vaccinate against polio, there it is. It is not a life one would wish for their child." —Cindy Ruma, Mom
Additional Information & Resources:
Editor's Note: This article is part of the AAP #WhyIVax campaign in recognition of National Infant Immunization Week, which is held in April every year.