Happy New Year 2015!
I thought it might good to start the New Year with some reflection. It has been over 40 years since I began to pay attention and then get active in the choice in vaccination movement. And, boy, has there been changes — more vaccines and more doses of vaccines, forced on all ages! From the womb to the tomb.
When I was a child in the 1950's, the vaccines required for school entrance were DPT (diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus) vaccines. In elementary school, I remember having to get the polio vaccine. My mother brought me to our family doctor for the shot because she didn't trust mass vaccination at school, even though it was free. When I entered college (1965) I got the smallpox vaccine (it was discontinued in 1972) and a tetanus booster.
By the 1960's when my nieces and nephews came along, so did the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccines. Since then, as many of you know, more vaccines and more doses have become the norm.
Beginning in the 1980's opposition to vaccines became better organized and in 1982 we had the founding of Dissatisfied Parents Together (DPT) because of children damaged by the DPT shot. The name was later changed to the National Vaccine Information Center and it was, and still is, the only nationwide, grass-roots parents' group dedicated to vaccine choice and safety (www.nvic.org)
I became involved with the DPT organization in 1984 in Endicott, New York and met a number of parents whose children were brain damaged or died from the DPT shot. They came from all over the State for support and help. This also became the beginning of meeting parents who wanted to avoid vaccines for their children.
Beginning in 1997, the National Vaccine Information Center had their first conference in Virginia. These were followed by conferences in 2000 and 2002 and again in 2009. At one of the earlier conferences I met members of New Yorkers for Vaccine Information and Choice (NYVIC) and became involved in the work they were doing.
In the 30 years since my Endicott involvement, there have been a small number of children who were unvaccinated (about 1% of the population). We are now in the second generation of unvaccinated children — so now I have some questions:
1) Did you obtain an exemption from vaccination for your children?
b) Was it difficult for you to obtain?
2) Were there any problems in school?
3) Were there disease “outbreaks” and
a) if so, did you keep your child out of school or
b) did you get them vaccinated?
4) Did your child(ren) ever get the diseases? How did you handle it?
5) Did you become active in the movement?
a) Why or why not?
For the unvaccinated young adults:
1) Do you have the same belief about vaccination as your parents?
2) Have you taken any vaccines?
3) Which ones?
5) Are you looking for vaccine exemptions for your children?
6) Are you vaccinating your children?
7) Did you have any problems in college or on your job about not vaccinating? How did you resolve it?
8) Are you active in the vaccine choice movement?
a) Why or why not?
I've looked a little bit at the past and the present. But, now, on to the future!
My resolution is to write more of what is happening regarding vaccination in New York State — after all, some things never change!
What do you think needs to be done in 2015 for the free choice in vaccination movement? What are you willing to do to help make change possible?
Best wishes and until next time,
Bonnie Plumeri Franz