I’m Lana Burgess, a 31-year-old freelance writer passionate about well-being. In this article, I explore why I disagree with my mom’s decision not to vaccinate me when I was a child — and how, as an adult, I decided to finally get vaccinated.
‘In a world of so many information sources, it’s easy to get the wrong idea.’
It was just after 3 p.m., and school was done for the day.
My classmates were all whooping and bounding about the playground, stopping to wave as their parents arrived to collect them. I spied my mom and ran over to her.
On the way home, she told me that I would not be going in tomorrow; instead, I was going to stay home.
As a child who loved school, my heart sank. My mom said that I had to stay at home because the other children would be getting their measles vaccine tomorrow.
We didn’t believe in immunization, though, so I wouldn’t be getting vaccinated.
My mom felt it was best that I stayed home on the day the children were injected with the measles vaccine. She said it was “live.” If I was at school, there was a risk it would infect me.
Not every vaccination day was like this, though; I typically went to school as usual, but I didn’t join my classmates as they queued up for their shot. When they asked me why I wasn’t joining in, I’d explain that I didn’t have vaccinations. My mom thought they were bad for me — that they’d potentially weaken my immune system.
Fast forward to 2018: I’ve just had a round of travel vaccinations in preparation for a 6-week trip to Australia, Singapore, and Thailand. So what changed? What made me finally reject my mom’s antivaccination stance?
Why didn’t my mom believe in vaccinations?
When I was 3 months old, I had the first round of childhood vaccinations. In the United Kingdom in the late 1980s, this was called the DTP vaccine. It protected against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (also known as whooping cough).
After the DTP vaccine, my mom noticed that I seemed irritable and that my normal sleep patterns were disrupted. She felt that the vaccinations were to blame.