One of the hottest topics for parents today is the question of whether or not to vaccinate their children. Each side of this debate claims to have strong evidence to support their position and to make it even more complicated there is also a group of parents that, because of the controversy, has decided that the right answer is somewhere in the middle. If you are not sure which side you stand on (or if you are in the middle), then here is some information to start you down the path of deciding to vaccinate or not to vaccinate.
Advocates of vaccination believe that children should follow the vaccination schedule suggested by the CDC (Center for Disease Control), and should receive all of the vaccinations available to prevent childhood and adult diseases. This group claims that many studies have shown that vaccinations made available by modern science are not only safe, but help to promote the safety of society as a whole through a theory called herd immunity (or community immunity).  They do not believe that there is any evidence to show that vaccination has any negative side effects such as behavioral disorders or Autism.

Opponents of vaccination, believe that the CDC is unaware of (or unwilling to make public) the true health issues caused by the vaccination schedule, and therefore sign waivers stating that their children shall not be vaccinated, or shall not follow the vaccination schedule in its entirety. This group claims that, despite studies that rule out vaccinations as the cause of increasing childhood illnesses such as behavioral disorders and Autism, there is significant evidence to suggest that there is some link between these diseases and vaccination, which has yet to be illuminated or made public.

The third group is the ‘in between group’ which believes that there might be something to the claims of a connection between these increasing childhood diseases and vaccinations, but also find merit in the studies sighted by the vaccination advocates. Due to these conflicting views, this group chooses to mostly subscribe to the CDC’s vaccination schedule but often decides to draw out the schedule over a longer period of time, with their children only receiving 1-2 vaccinations at a time, or skipping a select few vaccinations altogether. Often this group waits until the child is a teenager to address certain more controversial vaccinations in order to allow the child to participate in the decision-making process.

A fairly unbiased documentary was produced on this subject in 2010 by Frontline, entitled “The Vaccination War”, which runs about 54 minutes (available from Netflix and PBS.org) and hits the highlights of each side’s perspective.  There are also countless websites and organizations for each side so that you can continue your research, while you try to decide…. to vaccinate or not to vaccinate.