I Almost Didn’t Vaccinate Our Kids

Syringe and Vaccine
Photo Credit:Flickr NIAID

We knew our pediatrician before we even thought about having children. Karen went to our church. Her kids were in my youth program and in the midst of her divorce, we became closer friends.

When Emma was born in the year 2000, she got all of the normal pokes and prods babies have been briefly (10 seconds, max) traumatized with since…oh, I don’t know…a long time. Annika came in 2002. By that time media reports of the MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) shots possibly causing autism started to gain wind. 

Living in liberal Oregon, I am the first one to tell you I fall into the locally raised, organic, hippie mentality. Not wanting Annika to get the MMR shot followed my usual course of thought. 

Apparently, I am a lemming. 

I didn’t want my child to come into unnecessary autism risks . And really, no-one has mumps, measles, and rubella anymore. (Here’s where you say: Yes, Andee. There is a reason for that.)

When I brought Annika into her first ever pediatrician office visit I told Karen I wanted to wait on the MMR shot.

Why? she asked.

I told her about the media reports.

Andee, the information we have about preventing these diseases far outweighs the initial reports which haven’t been truly vetted yet. It’s your choice, but I am your friend. I would never tell you to do something if I thought it would harm your kids. 

I thought about it for a second. Who was I going to trust? My friend and confidant – or Jenny McCarthy?

Annika got her shots that day.

I know some say they would never insert chemicals into a child’s body. But some of these folks also let their kids consume Cheetos, Oreos, and M&Ms – so I’m not too worried.

Karen passed away last year. Not only did I lose an amazing doctor who put up with all of my freaky concerns over 14 years, I lost a friend who put up with all of my freaky concerns over 18 years. If she were still here today, I’d text her right now and write, You were right! I love you and thank you for keeping your head on when mine clearly leaves my shoulders. 

So, God? Pass that message on for me, will ya’?


  1. Teri Huff says

    This story is so similar to mine! I actually had the MMR shot broken up because that seemed somewhat safer and less risk for autism. My pediatrician was not a personal friend but he put up with my neurotic fears and offered the voice of reason!

  2. Melissa Reyes says

    There are some doctors that I have connected with like that – but so far none have been my friend. That is very special. Thanks for sharing this.

  3. says

    Thanks for stopping by, Melissa. Yes, Karen was a special friend and a great doctor. I still need her, though! I still have freaky concerns about my kids. No other doctor understands me like she did. Rats.

  4. says

    I'm glad I listened, too. I'm shocked at how selfish that would have been and I wouldn't have even realized. I was thinking about MY kids, not the kids who would have gotten sick as a result of a poor decision.

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