The other day I watched a documentary screenings from NOVA entitled “Vaccines: Calling the Shots” The movie was essentially about parents, even though it mainly featured mothers, withholding or spacing out vaccines for their children. Due to the decrease in vaccines, infectious diseases that had all but disappeared, such as measles, are cropping back up in North America.
The films overarching purpose was to convert non-believers to the vaccine train. From the production and editing you go the sense of them sending the message that vaccines do more good then harm and parents need to understand that and set aside their fears. As I said, it was mothers being showcased as the voice of the anti-vaccin charge. Some of the reasons they gave for not wanting to spacing out vaccines and not following the physician recommended schedule is because they did not want to tax their child’s immune system. One woman also attested that one of her children had a seizure (which happens sometimes, but usually has no recurrence or adverse affects) after receiving a vaccine so she did not complete the vaccine regimen or vaccinate her subsequent children. Viewers are also shown the tale of a mother who’s 4 month old child is suffering from whooping cough. We watch as the new born falls into fits of coughing so severe he has to be propped up and given oxygen.
I think this film is relevant to birth and global health because of some of the biases that were apparent in the film Some things that were not addressed. For instance, most of the mothers portrayed were white, middle to upper class woman who have the privilege to decide whether or not to vaccinate a child. Other mothers of different racial and ethnic backgrounds were not shown. But I imagine infants in those households may miss vaccination as well but not by choice. Or there are others who don’t vaccinate for religious and cultural reasons, their stories were also left out of the film.
All that said, I am someone who was vaccinated as a child and will more than likely be vaccinating my children. I am curious to know what others opinion’s are on not vaccinating a child. If the child ends up contracting a preventable infectious disease and suffering or worse passing away do you feel this is grounds to make vaccines required? Should it be a mothers decision whether or not to inoculate her child and/or forego the vaccine schedule?
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/body/vaccines-calling-shots.html if you are interested in watching the film, heres a link to what its about.