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Should Parents Vaccinate Their Children?

Do you welcome immunizations, or refuse them?

Share your thoughts, ask questions and weigh in on the conversation in the comment section below.

The recent whooping cough epidemic has not only spurred a new shot requirement for children, but has also reignited the immunization debate in parenting circles.

Last year, more than 7,800 whooping cough cases statewide were reported, including 10 infant deaths—three from Los Angeles County. This is the worst outbreak the state has seen in 50 years, according to the California Department of Health.

In response to the epidemic, a new California law, effective July 2011, will require every middle and high school student in California to be vaccinated against pertussis. All students entering seventh through eighth grades in public and private schools must show proof of their immunization, or "Tdap" booster shots, before enrolling in the new academic year.

Previously, the booster shot was only a recommendation. It protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. Although whooping cough is not considered fatal in school-age children, it can be fatal for infants, according to the Department of Health.

Most parents in the U.S. immunize their children, but there are many who choose not to vaccinate—often because of fear that autism could be caused by vaccines (though there's no scientific evidence of a connection), or they have other philosophical or religious objections.

That's why the number of young children who are not fully vaccinated for preventable diseases, such as mumps, chicken pox and Hepatitis B, has been steadily increasing over the last decade.

Where do you stand on the vaccination debate? Do you question the safety of the vaccines? Should an unvaccinated child be kicked out of a play group or public playground, or denied an education?

Share your thoughts, ask questions and weigh in on the conversation in the comment section below.

Me March 11, 2011 at 01:53 PM
Just ask your child's doctor how much mercury is safe to ingest--I am sure the immediate answer will be none! Then ask same doctor why you should allow your child to have any amount of mercury ( or formaldehyde or any other cocktail of chemicals in these injections) to be introduced into your child's developing immune system. By the time a child is 3-years old, if you have followed the current immunization schedule, your child has been exposed to more mercury (many times over) than one is supposed to be exposed to in a lifetime. Do your research, think, then breastfeed your child for as long as possible, to give them the best defense against these diseases, as you pass these immunities to your child when you breastfeed, which is why humankind has survived through the ages, long before the AMA and pharmaceutical companies came into existence. Human milk CANNOT be duplicated, no matter how many versions of formula you see on the store shelves, and of course, there is money to be made by all of the above entities--beware of anyone who stands to make money from your decision. It is still your decision to make for your child's welfare-do no be afraid to think for yourself and your child because they are sent home from the hospital with several immunizations that you agree to, probably without realizing, and tracking requirements of vaccines are scant at best. Remember, you are the parent, this is your child and your one chance to make the best decisions for them. Good luck

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