I get a little irritated at health care professionals and health care educators who tout Evidence Based Practice in the same breath as proclaiming that everybody needs to get vaccinated against everything, and if you don’t get vaccinated against everything you’re just not educated.  Poor uneducated stupid people.

Vaccinating is just one issue of this point on Evidenced Based Practice that I want to make.

Evidence based practice means questioning with a critical mind and evaluating ALL the evidence.  Just because there is research on something doesn’t mean the method is sound.  Evidence based practice means evaluating all the research, evaluating the client’s history, the need for the intervention, as well as the culture of conformity in which it exists.

I’m not saying that you should or shouldn’t get vaccinations.  I am saying that if you really wanted to make an educated decision about whether to get them you would evaluate the disease, the likelihood of contracting it here in the States, whether you will be traveling to a region where that disease is prevalent, the percentage of adverse reactions associated with that vaccination, who did the research, as well as the size, duration, and efficacy of the trial period of that particular vaccine.

We have a polarized cultural climate around vaccinations.  This does not help us reach an educated decision about whether and when to vaccinate.  It’s understandable that the government would prefer that everybody get vaccinated in the interest of herd immunity.  It’s also understandable that they would want people to be afraid of getting sick or losing a child to an illness to encourage compliance with immunizations.  But the truth of it is, it’s your body and nobody can force you to alter it.  Well, unless you get Ebola or Tuberculosis.  Then all bets are off.

In opposition to the government stance on vaccinations are the families who have suffered losses from adverse reactions to vaccinations.  Some have lost children.  Some have children permanently damaged for the rest of their lives.  Their experience is real as well.  It is understandable that they would want to shout from the rooftops how evil and horrible and scary immunizations can be.`

In the middle of it all are the pharmaceutical companies.  They stand to gain billions every time a new vaccine is mandated.  Why not come up with a vaccine for everything and anything.  People don’t want to suffer from common colds.  Get a vaccination for it.  After all, the payoff is HUGE.

On the other hand, it’s good for healthy people to get sick.  Not small pox or polio, but colds and the flu and the chicken pox–there are a lot of illnesses that are part of life, and developing natural immunity, allowing your immune system to do its job is a good thing.  It makes us stronger and it might mean better immunity than a vaccination.

The person who gives you your vaccinations is required to give you an information sheet about the vaccination, but I’ve never seen anybody read the sheet or try to understand it.  Not even the person giving the vaccine.  If they did read it, seriously, they would see that there are some very real adverse reactions that could jack up your life when you get that vaccination.  And the reality of it is that we don’t really have good data about how often adverse reactions occur or how severe they are because in this culture of conformity and Fear Based Practice we are bullied into believing that we would be stupid to even question if a vaccination is safe, much less to believe that we should report an adverse reaction to the VAERS (what is that anyway?).

To vaccinate or not to vaccinate is a very personal decision.  Most people just trust the health department, and for the most part that works out just fine.  I’ve been shot up with everything, probably multiple times.  And while I did not see the point of vaccinating my infants at the ripe old age of 2 months, now that they are older (my youngest is nine) they are all up to date on their vaccines.  Well, except for Ben.  He had an adverse reaction to the MMR vaccine and we applied for a medical exemption to keep him from having to get the second shot.

I know people who have suffered from Guillain Barre syndrome after a flu vaccine-losing the ability to walk for several years, and people whose children were sick for months after receiving vaccinations.  I don’t know anybody who ever reported an adverse reaction, and I’m pretty sure there is no benefit to the doctor, financial or otherwise, to report a reaction.  It’s just more unnecessary paperwork.

I did not live through the polio epidemic, but I do know people whose children survived pertussis at a young age.  It’s got to be difficult watching your children coughing so much that they can’t breathe and they are losing weight because of the coughing and gagging and inability to get air.

Whether or not to vaccinate is a heavy decision if you take it seriously.  But people on either side would do well to reconcile to the middle.  We need vaccines.  We also need to look at each of them critically.  And we especially need to advocate for education and not bully people into making decisions because our culture allows it.

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, owner of I.M. Spa, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 20 plus years, a gardener, and a nursing student.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.  Schedule an appointment 479-251-7422