At the risk of potentially getting some angry comments from a few folks, I’m gonna go ahead and say it: vaccines are a marvel of modern medicine that have saved countless lives, and any potential negative side effects (such as they are – the most commonly-feared ones have been widely disproved) are vastly outweighed by the benefits.
Many doctors have experienced real-life horror stories in their dealings with anti-vaxxers. Recently, we found out a few of these stories when a Reddit user posted the question, “Doctors of Reddit, what are some of your anti-vax parent stories?”
Brace yourselves. Some of these will shock you.
1. An odd rationalization
“Had a kid come in for generic upper respiratory virus. Asked mom if he was vaccinated, as is routine. She said no. When I asked why not, her response was “Well my boyfriend was vaccinated and he still got meningitis, so they don’t even work”
I told her that’s the same as saying your friend got bruised by a seat belt in a car accident, so you don’t wear them when you drive.”
2.This is shockingly heart-breaking
“I’ve told this story before, but the worst was when I was in medical school. The woman actually brought her daughter in to get catchup vaccines. Why? Because her other daughter was in the ICU with fulminant meningitis from a vaccine-preventable illness, hanging on for dear life. The nurse there sat her down and told her point-blank that she rarely sees this disease because people are vaccinated for it. The mom couldn’t understand how her girl had contracted it. We asked if she knew anyone who wasn’t vaccinated. Apparently no one in her church vaccinated, and several had been sick recently. She couldn’t believe the source could be them. The kicker? She also brought her son to clinic, but refused to vaccinate him, saying “he’s my only son”. No matter how we explained it to her, she believed giving her son the vaccine would result in brain damage.”
3. Doctors understand the dangers if only we’d listen
“Doctor here. Guy decided to not get a flu shot this year. Ended up in the ICU with flu infection in his brain He has currently been in the hospital for a month most of which in the ICU. Has likely permanent speech difficulty and left sided weakness.”
“Child A had an absolutely horrible time with chicken pox; to the point that I thought he might not make it. So what does she do? Intentionally expose Child B to it.”
5. Real talk from Dad
“Friend of mine is a military OBGYN. Was at a OB appointment with the pregnant dependent and servicemember. He had just returned from AFG a few months prior.
OB mentions about follow-ups after delivery in 1st year of life, including vaccines.
Wife says: ‘I read on the internet that vaccines cause autism, I don’t think we’re going to do that.’
Husband says: ‘I saw a lot of little graves in Afghanistan, sure as sh!t we are getting our kid vaccinated.’”
6. And vaccines have bad side-effects?
“I had a kid come in that was super sick. 3 years old and in septic shock. He had the flu and another compounded viral infection (I want to say pertussis). Heart rate was close to 200, respiratory rate in the 50s, blood pressure in the 70s. Kid was so fucking dry that we could barely get IVs into him and I almost had to drill an IO. We dumped a ton of fluids into him, started him on vasopressors and transferred him to the local children’s hospital.
I had asked the mom if he was vaccinated and she said “No, vaccines have really bad side effects! They’ll make you sick.” I explained to her that NOT getting the vaccines had made her kid 10 times sicker than he ever would have been from any mild vaccine reaction. She told me I was a moron and that I obviously have no clue what I’m talking and that’s the reason her kid was getting transferred…. She also told me that recommending she vaccinate her kids was racist.”
7. Anti-vax beliefs pushed to the extreme
“We had a 14 year old female come in for abdominal pain one time. She weighed 80 pounds. Looked sickly. Her mother refused to let her eat anything but a handful of things, nothing with very much protein at all. She literally had a binder full of articles about how horrible vaccines are, all the bad things they put in food these days, etc. She had completely brain washed this kid so the kid believed it too. Her labs showed malnutrition, her teeth were horrible. Just a sad case all around.”
8. This doctor knows what’s up
“When I was a med student, I had a parent who wanted to do a ‘delayed vaccination schedule’. Basically it means that you get all the same vaccinations but you pointlessly and foolishly do it over a longer time period. The mom had read a book promoting this practice that was unfortunately written by an MD. My pediatric attending had zero chill: ‘Is that the book written by Dr __? Yes? Well, then you should know that I was in the same medical school class as Dr __ but I got much better scores than he did.’”
9. A secret vaccination?
“I’m not a medical doctor but a mental health therapist, went to do a new client intake and while asking the mother about the kid’s medical history, vaccination records etc she said he was not vaccinated because vaccines cause autism and she didn’t want to risk her son getting it, then when I went to meet the kid within 5 seconds of laying eyes on him I could tell… he was autistic. Worst part was that when I told her she became very upset and started yelling at her husband saying he must have gotten the kid secretly vaccinated and then immediately ran out the house and took the kid to the emergency room for “testing” and just left me and the dad in the living room just kind of staring at eachother. Never answered my calls or texts again after that and I had to get DCF involved.”
10. Excuse me?
“This one time this lady came in for a check up. The child had not been vaccinated yet and I told her she needed to vaccinate him. She said that she didn’t want any needles touching him because she didn’t want him to get autism from the needles. She wanted him to get an ass spray of the vaccine. To this day it left me very confused and I told her we didn’t do that so she left. Maybe an anti-vax but idk anymore.”
Please do your research to understand the down-sides of not vaccinating your children. A preventable death is the ultimate tragedy.