I’m going to put this at the top in case you don’t make it through this whole post.  When they come out with a COVID vaccine I will most likely get it. Vaccines are developed by professionals who have dedicated their lives to their science. They know a hell of a lot more about it than I do. But I can still question and evaluate the evidence for myself and I intend to continue doing that.
Years ago, getting my first degree, I had to do a speech on a research topic—I chose vaccinations. That’s one of my first college memories of nerding out, researching health outcomes. Also, my kids were young at the time and I was struggling with the vaccination thing. I know people whose lives have been changed by Guillain Barre syndrome, severe reactions, and long-term illness as a result of vaccines. I learned a lot back then. For instance, vaccines have eradicated polio worldwide (this is new), conversely, for several decades, the only cases of polio in the U.S. were caused by the oral polio vaccine.  This is the crux of this whole debate on vaccines.  For the most part, they are amazing, and yes there are sometimes adverse events.  As humans we prefer a world of binary opposites, good versus bad.  The reality is, the good and bad exist simultaneously in a whole world of grey.
This link gives some research that addresses the incidence rates of contracting Guillain Barre Syndrome related to the flu vaccine:
First, it’s important to acknowledge that vaccines have changed the life expectancy of our population. It is one of the single most effective means of improving health outcomes. Smallpox, polio, pertussis, and other infectious diseases were a way of life (and death) before vaccines came on the scene. We forget that. The baby boomers are probably the last generation to have to deal with that with polio. They saw the crippling debility caused by the disease, saw the iron lungs, attended the funerals for loved ones, or survived with debilities for life.

I’m going to say that again though because of the magnitude of what I’m saying.

Vaccines have changed the life expectancy of our world population.

This is a really great website that shows how our life expectancy had doubled in the past 200 years.  That’s huge.  A big part of that is because of vaccines. This is not to be taken lightly.


Another thing that is important to address is adverse reactions. They happen. Do we know how often they happen? No. You want to know why? We have the VAERS reporting system, but there are no hard stops or incentives for providers or facilities to report adverse events. So, for instance, my friend contracts Guillain-Barre from a flu vaccine, there is nothing to compel the provider who is presented with this to report this event. That provider’s main concern is to treat that patient—not do more paperwork. When my son had a severe reaction to the measles vaccine I had to really push to get a note from a doctor confirming it. I had to push through the state to get a lifetime medical exemption so that the school systems did not keep telling us he had to go get vaccinated with that again, putting his life at risk of death from an allergic reaction. These are things that the general public might not do because they might not be as nerdy as me.

Which leads to the question: How can we have accurate data on adverse events with vaccines when the reporting system we have is not mandated or utilized to the extent with which it was designed?  This is a study that addresses these concerns:


I would encourage you to read the “What are the limitations” section of that study.  It has a ton of good information and research that you can follow up on if you’d like.

I can’t tell you how many people have told me that they have reported reactions to their providers and had the providers dismiss their concerns, saying something to the effect of ‘there’s no relation between your condition and the vaccine’ (@Carole Schuster). Here I have to acknowledge that I am using anecdotal evidence to support. It would be a worthy research project to continue to study how effective the VAERS system is, or how many adverse reactions are actually occurring. It might also be a good idea to look at other countries and see what the adverse rates are in countries that have socialized medicine and do not have monetary incentives for health procedures.
Also, more importantly, since the VAERS system is so ineffective, what can we do to change that?

So. On a personal level, there’s some unknown risk for taking a vaccine, that could be mitigated if we really knew what the numbers of reactions were. I think people who want to be educated about what they are putting in to their bodies would benefit from more transparency.  But I think that most people prefer to think in binary opposites.  The establishment has a more population-based agenda where this approach benefits them to create a culture where vaccine = good and non-vaccine = bad.  Which leads me to a bigger point. There are two perspectives (well there are many-but I’m going to point out two) on vaccines, the personal level where we are concerned with what we are putting in our bodies, and the global level where we back up and look at percentages and evaluate the health outcomes of the population in relation to the adverse events. This is important because as an educated human evaluating the risk to my kids of getting the measles, for instance, related to our ability to recover from the disease, I might prefer that challenge that will give them natural immunity as opposed to taking a vaccine. Does everybody evaluate this way? Probably not. Fear of the unknown motivates most of our decisions with lack of information.

I remember when pertussis was a live vaccine with higher adverse reaction rates. If you’ve ever seen a child with pertussis you can understand the fear that motivates us to want a vaccine for that. @Tabitha Ore is a good resource for how difficult that was to weather. When you get to the nitty gritty of this whole discussion, if you take your personal responsibility seriously, it’s not an easy decision either way.  The following is a good article that looks at the complications of DTaP vs. DTP as well as the history of this debate and the efficacy of these vaccinations:
Ok. I want to address the whole autism/vaccine thing. That study was disproven in the 90s. Unequivocally. It was a scandal in the science community. Here is an article that you can look at to learn about the whole Wakefield scandal:

What did I do with my kids with vaccinations? I’m going to tell you but this, by no means, is a claim that this is the right way to do this. It worked for me and my family and we were fortunate. Also take into consideration that at the time, pertussis was still a live vaccine. And pertussis is a scary, life threatening disease for children. Also at the time, the chicken pox vaccine had just come out as my kids were aging out of those vaccines. Yes, I purposely exposed my kids to chicken pox at a young age. They totally remember it and think it’s pretty sketchy that their mom would purposefully get them sick, which if you recall back to the development of the first smallpox vaccine is what the dude did when he dried chicken pox pustules and had people inhaling them—well it’s a little different😜 but you get my meaning. But it’s also what we do when we take a vaccine, we are exposing our body to a pathogen so that our body can manufacture the proper defense mechanism to kill the pathogen if it reappears.

This is a good history of the smallpox vaccine development where Jenner “innoculates” somebody with dried smallpox pustules:


I waited with my kids. I do not recommend people wait for vaccines. The CDC has laid out a schedule for childhood vaccinations that is based on good data. But yes, I waited. I had concerns about adverse events, I was homeschooling so my kids were not exposed to large classrooms and playgrounds full of kids, and I spread out their vaccines so that they were not given all together. I had seen the health department nurses have a blind acceptance for the idea that vaccines were harmless, such that they disregarded the guidelines for vaccine spacing in favor of getting all the vaccines into the kids—and I understand the motivation behind that. They’re afraid that people won’t come back to finish the series.

So I waited till my kids immune systems were better developed. I controlled their environment, because I was fortunate and I could, to limit exposure to deadly viruses. I tried to evaluate each vaccine independent of the others. I spread them out so that they weren’t getting multiple vaccines so I could better isolate if there was a reaction, and I would know what they were reacting to. But I also spread them out so that their bodies were only dealing with one at a time.

The thing that bothers me about the binary opposites of this debate is that people get really emotional about either side of it instead of admitting the weaknesses of each side. This is detrimental to the process.  Completely.


The following is more of a bottom line version of the above:

Ultimately, vaccines save lives. This is indisputable.

The adverse reporting system and the emotional culture of the medical community buying into the idea that all vaccines are harmless damages our ability to collect accurate data and truly measure adverse reactions.

People on both sides of this issue would do well to set aside their fear and emotional bias and be more objective in their search for the truth. This is what science is about, asking questions, evaluating data. I have sat in many classrooms that touted evidence-based science and critical thinking skills while simultaneously imbuing the fear that ‘if you believe something different you’re an idiot.’ That’s not teaching people critical thinking. That’s teaching them what they should think, instead of how to question, and how to evaluate data.

No, I don’t think the CDC is involved in a conspiracy. I know there are a lot of people getting into conspiracy theories and stuff right now. I grew up listening to that stuff and while I appreciate people who feel like they want to research those things that’s great for them. I do not want to live in that head space and prefer to focus my energy elsewhere and hopefully make a difference in the ways that I can.

Yes, I do think our health system has a fundamental problem with money as a motivator for science and for pharmaceuticals (and everything else about healthcare delivery for that matter).

Yes, I want to limit the amount of medications I put in my body. But also yes, if I need it and if the risk is small I want to take it.

Yes, I think it may be unconstitutional for the government to require you to alter your body with a medication. But at the same time, it is important to keep you from harming others if you refuse treatment for something like tuberculosis, or in our current situation, COVID with the PPE recommendations.

If you made it this far, I commend you. Welcome to the some of the intricacies of my thought processes. 🤓🧐😂🤗🙏🏼❤️

I wish you success in your pursuit of truth in your life.