Okay, so we all know that vaccination is a hot-button topic with those against it, vehemently so, and those for it, strong advocates. It's hard to have a neutral discussion about vaccination even among all-vaccinating parents or all non-vaccinating parents. That said, it's a discussion that needs to happen. In 2010, there was a whooping cough outbreak in California, where nearly 10,000 cases were reported. 10,000!! Researchers say that clusters of families that decided against vaccinating their kids were most likely to be affected by the outbreak. I don't know about you, but whooping cough, or pertussis, is not something I ever want my kids to experience. That or any communicable disease really. And I wouldn't want for them to be the ones to infect our whole community if they did catch something. For that reason, I vaccinate. Of course there are risks associated with vaccinations. There are risks to everything. But surely the benefits to society at large must be worth something. Vaccines, along with clean water, are the most effective instruments in public health in human history. Naysayers like Jenny McCarthy have muddied the waters so much that such facts have become inconsequential. For those parents who choose not to, that is their decision to make. It is something you really need to feel comfortable doing. However, I don't think it's responsible to not vaccinate over fears your child might develop autism. Or, to expect other parents to vaccinate their kids so you don't have to. The reality is, we can get whooping cough, but there is still no solid evidence that there is any link between autism and immunizations. Specifically, it's the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine that has been linked to autism so it's unclear to me why anyone would then rule out all vaccinations based on that fear. Ultimately, when it comes to your child's health and that of other children, please don't just listen to the squeakiest wheel. Or worse, please don't let fear be your guide.