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Parents, Protection and Freedoms

As my family celebrated Independence Day this past weekend, we took some time to visit several notable memorials in our nation’s capital, including the Lincoln, Vietnam Veterans, Korean War Veterans, World War II, Iwo Jima and the Pentagon Memorial dedicated to those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.

Lincoln Memorial

It wasn’t the first time we had brought our children to see these memorials – yet each time we are reminded of the great sacrifices that have been made in honor of our country.

Personally, I hear a great deal of discussion about our rights as they relate to issues of immunization.  Some argue that parents should retain the right to refuse vaccines for their child – a freedom which people can currently exercise across the nation.  However, others argue that those who refuse immunizations (for non-medical reasons) are negatively impacting public health.  They are concerned that people who don’t immunize themselves or their children are actually imposing a risk on the entire population and specifically on those who need and deserve disease protection, like the infants who have not yet been vaccinated.
It is difficult to agree on where our personal freedoms begin and end and how they impact our responsibilities to our fellow-man. While the federal and state governments try to balance these freedoms and responsibilities, it is the parents who are ultimately responsible for the decisions that impact their children’s safety and well-being.  Our children rely on us to keep them safe.  And so, it is this desire to be the “parent protector” that also influences the vaccine conversation in this country.  While a few parents refrain from vaccines to protect their children from possible side effects, the majority of parents recognize the dangers of disease and feel that immunization is the safest way to protect their children from suffering, hospitalization or even death.

If there is one thing for sure, it is that most parents – despite their personal opinions regarding vaccines – typically act out of concern for their children and just want what’s best for them.

Pentagon Memorial

But how is a parent to know what is best when they are faced with such conflicting information on the internet?

Here at Shot of Prevention, and on the Vaccinate Your Baby Facebook page, we try to refer our readers to reputable sources and encourage conversations in which people can explore the issue of vaccine safety and efficacy by allowing various points of view.  We hope that this discussion will help people decipher the facts from the fallacy and we are thrilled to see that others blogs are also encouraging an equally open forum.

Lynn Bozof, who has spearheaded a new blog called  Parents Who Protect explains that “Universally, we as parents believe that all children have the right to healthy development and the opportunity to achieve at their highest potential.”

Since Lynn lost her son to a preventable disease in 1998 she has been a passionate advocate for disease prevention and has tried to engage parents in the ongoing conversations surrounding immunizations.

“I see this blog as a forum where numerous voices and mine can share in a robust discourse about the benefits, risks and myths of immunization—hopefully driving awareness about the best approaches to disease prevention” says Lynn.

With each new forum, it is our hope that parents will seek answers to their questions, work to understand the science behind vaccines and identify the risks associated with vaccine refusal.

Just as I visit – and revisit – the memorials to remind myself of the lives lost in our fight for freedom, I believe that these new forums will help serve as constant reminders about the lives lost to vaccine preventable diseases, as well as the potential lives saved as a result of Parents Who Protect.

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