As a parent, I care about my children's health and future success. One way for me to insure their health was to immunize them when they were babies. I religiously followed the CDC schedule. It is a curiosity to me the vaccine debate that continues (it was around when I was a new mom); I've heard both sides, and do believe it's a parent's right to choose.
I've also fielded questions from people about the Amish vaccination of their kids. I think the culture - as a whole - may feel that group immunity protects their children so most Orders avoid immunizations. Remember, the parents raise their kids to stay safely within - and carry on - their culture.
With our Mosie, Harvey, Josh, and others I closely know from the Swartzentruber Order, no immunizations were given.
As an infant, Harvey barely survived when he contracted whooping cough. And as children, others suffered some illnesses we, non-Amish, avoid. Also, when I help ex-Swartzentrubers get their birth certificate and/or Social Security number, it can be a challenge because most have no medical records. Not that I care but, the Social Security Administration office asks for "proof" of U.S. citizenship citing one form is: a medical record.
Historically, in the early 1950s many Amish were immunized same as non-Amish kids because of the horrid polio epidemic. Those were some scary days and parents felt helpless. I remember my mom taking me to a community center where lines of parents and kids awaited their polio vaccination.
Presently, a couple gals who grew up Amish in Iowa said that immunizations didn't happen . . . unless there was a contagious outbreak such as whooping cough, then the Health Department became involved and those under 16-y/o received the immunization. This interests me because whooping cough is a three-part series.
Any child without all three shots is still susceptible to the infection. Hope those Amish parents insured their children got the entire series.
Among those who don't, when individuals leave, I've found they continue the mindset and don't immunize their babies. I've chatted with many ex-Amish moms who were raised without vaccines and won't vaccinate their babies even as English. They believe vaccines "do more harm than good."
Other former-Amish said the majority in their church did get shots, which seems supported by this article on The Panic Virus quoting a Reuters research in Holmes County, Ohio.
Numerous debates exist and are documented between Amish and English doctors about the need for vaccinations. The study's conclusion said, "The reasons that Amish parents resist immunizations mirror reasons that non-Amish parents resist immunizations." So I think it's not a culture thing as much as it's a parenting thing.
What do you think? Leave your comment below.
(c)Copyright 2013, Brenda Nixon.