The research is clear: Vaccines do not cause autism. They do, however, protect children from preventable diseases such as measles, mumps and whooping cough. So it’s understandable that one concerned dad is considering going behind the back of his anti-vaxxer wife and taking their baby for her immunizations.
“We’ve been married for 3 years now,” Reddit user PinkyStinky1945 began in a lengthy post. “She’s always been one for quirky ‘against-the-grain’ thinking and interests … But now there’s this anti-vaxx bulls—t.”
The “very worried” father went on to explain that his spouse “got sucked into one of those anti-vaxx Facebook indoctrination camps” by a friend shortly after their daughter was born.
He wrote that he and his wife spend hours speaking in circles. He shows her statistics detailing the effectiveness of vaccines, she responds that the studies are “created by think tanks funded by the government and ‘big-pharma.’”
Terrified that his daughter will become “afflicted by some horrible disease like measles,” the dad is ready to take matters into his own hands.
“Is there any way I can sneakily just bring my child to the doctor and have her vaccinated without my wife’s knowledge?” he asked on Reddit. “What are my options here? Legally speaking, what kind of leeway do I have? I don’t want this to lead to divorce but I just feel quite lost at the moment.”
Commenters did not hold back. “Just go and get it done and don’t say anything. My city just reported a measles outbreak. If she finds out, she may be pissed but that’s better than having a dead kid,” wrote one person. Added another: “You absolutely have the right to get your child vaccinated, and have a moral responsibility to do so before they die of smallpox in the year 2019.”
After reading through the feedback, PinkyStinky1945 provided Redditors with an update. “I [came] to the decision that I will try and sit my wife down one last time, as I am skeptical to go behind her back because she may take it as an unforgivable breach of trust and that is not the outcome I desire,” he explained. “If that fails, I have decided to get my child vaccinated without her knowledge.”
Board-certified pediatrician Dr. Jen Trachtenberg stresses the importance of up-to-date immunizations. In Washington State, a measles outbreak has left at least 21 people ill this month. According to Dr. Trachtenberg, 20 are children and 18 had not been vaccinated.
“Vaccines are safe and effective,” the Pediatrician in Your Pocket host tells SheKnows. “Every licensed vaccine goes through years of safety testing and continues to be monitored.”
In 1998, discredited doctor Andrew Wakefield published a paper in medical journal The Lancet suggesting a link between the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine and childhood developmental delays, but no other researchers have been able to replicate his findings. Wakefield’s paper — based on just 12 subjects — was rescinded by the journal in 2010, and he was barred from practicing medicine in the U.K. after the General Medical Council charged him with dishonesty and abusing developmentally challenged children.