how about i give you a shot?

17 February 2011

This rant is based on my local health department. I fantasize that health departments in other cities employ more informed citizens but since it is a government entity, I suspect mine is representative of the rest of America. You can see my initial vaccine post here, where I explain why I have created a select/delayed schedule.

Today I took my child to the health department for a single vaccination. One shot. We went there because they are free for children and I do not have health insurance or Medicaid. My pediatrician charges $50 for a vaccination, on top of a visit fee. I explained to the amazing nurse that I am very particular and concerned about my child’s immunizations and that I only came for the DTaP. She was understanding and sweet but since I was alternating from their schedule, she had to get her supervisor’s opinion. Her supervisor was also extremely kind but thought that they needed one more supervisor to weigh in. Awesome, but what are the chances I encounter 3 nice people in one visit?

The chance was zero. The second supervisor walked in with an attitude, ready to argue with me. I did not see this coming and I do not handle confrontation well so I turned red and spend the next 15 minutes trying not to cry in front of this woman, because I was so angry. Highlights:

-She said my child would never get into a daycare and probably not school. I told her that was perfect because I don’t want her in daycare or public school (at least not here and an apology to my local teacher friends [you too, mom]).

-She basically said (not an exact quote) that it was dumb to give my child some vaccines (as opposed to either all or none) because I do not qualify for a religious exemption from the state and therefore, can’t get my child into daycare or school. She is quite wrong about that; you can get an exemption for none or select vaccines. In fact, I have been to that exact same office with a friend who has done partial/delayed vaccinations and had no problem getting the waiver signed. Maybe it’s time for an office-wide memo? Or a fancy lunch that Oscar can pay for with his tax dollars?

-I told her that one of the reasons I do not do all of the vaccines is because they contain cells from aborted babies. She laughed at me and said “where did you read that?” I told her that it was a FACT and they also include fetal monkey, pig, and cow tissue. Now, I am sure they don’t list “dead baby” on the ingredient pamphlet but they are in there. And I feel really awesome that you are administering them and have no idea. Let’s not even start on aluminum.

-I told her that Beau has not had the Hep B vax because that is transmitted sexually. She told me I was wrong and that it was a blood disease. Well, yes. You can also get it from needles (drugs, tattoos, piercings) and being around infected blood but at 18 months, that is not a concern for us and regardless, she should know that it is transmitted sexually.

In the end, Beau got the vaccine. They put a note in her record that I see a pediatrician who is supportive of my choices and that Beau is not one of their patients (you know, we just dropped in for a cup of tea). I was a little disappointed in myself that I let this woman bother me so much and that I was not better prepared. It’s not just the fact that she didn’t understand why I was skipping a lot of Beau’s shots it’s that she thought I was stupid for doing so and it made me so angry that I couldn’t focus. I could never be a defense attorney.

So, I hope this is helpful to someone. I know I wrote in my previous post to not let people intimidate you but I should have added, don’t allow them to make you cry. And if she thinks I’m an idiot, what do I care? This woman was not respectful of my choices and I’m sure if I would have shown up with 6 kids sniffing MSG off of a chicken nugget, chased with shots of formula, but who got all of their shots, she would have been much more impressed with me. I also want to reiterate that the first two nurses were reasonable, amiable, and not judgmental and I know not all employees of this facility are dim.

Photo from flickr via swanksalot

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8 Responses to “how about i give you a shot?”


  1. […] my follow-up post to this (recounting a trip to the health department) here. Posted by brooke rains Filed in Health, Vaccines Tags: alternative schedule, delayed, […]

  2. Kristine Says:

    Brooke, I am really proud of you for sticking to your guns. I surrendered long ago. Don’t let her get you down. In your heart, you believe you are doing right by your child, and that is what matters. I still worry every time Audrey gets one shot or another. There are just too many things that we are “told” to do by the “powers that be” that make me cringe.

  3. Sarah Says:

    I may not share the same vaccination philosophy, but every mother should have the right to do what they think is right for their child. So uncool for her to treat you that way!

  4. abby g Says:

    Beau-mg. I can’t wait for the in-person version Saturday.

  5. Missy Says:

    Good for you! It seems to me like there are A LOT of things in healthcare that doctors/professionals just tell patients to do and people mindlessly do it. Although I don’t have a lot of experience with any of it, I’ve had several friends who have made alternative choices with birth methods, cancer treatment, etc. and they’ve got a lot of grief from doctors about it when their choices are well-researched. I think there’s a lot with western medicine that is just not quite right.

  6. Judy Says:

    Honestly, you should write a letter on the manner in which you were treated. Even if she did not agree with you if you were treated unfairly or even rudely that is unacceptable. Her attitude and opinion could very well sway other parent’s in their decisions. I would do it up big with references and all 🙂 lol

  7. therobynnest Says:

    Uh-huh. And as a defense attorney, I will tell you that when my pedi lost his shit on me and told me to find another doctor, it was all I could do to keep my emotions in tact until I walked out of that room with my baby, but I still fell apart when his nurse asked me what happened. For weeks I would have pretend conversations with myself where I told him just where to shove it because it killed me that I didn’t tell him off for putting me in that position.

    People who are confrontational with mothers that have babies on their hips need a visit from a hit man. You are a strong, smart, well-informed, loving mama and most importantly, YOU ARE RIGHT. I am so proud of you for standing up for what you believe in.

  8. brooke rains Says:

    Thanks, everyone! I know there are good reasons behind many of the things my mom’s and my child’s doctors recommend but it is frustrating when they are not supportive or open to alternative treatments. Especially when what they are doing, like chemo, is not working. And, relating to vaccines, when I have someone say something to me like “I don’t know what’s in them but I know what they prevent.” Every child and situation is different but from my experience, they all get the same treatment.

    And I also keep reliving the incident and wishing I’d said about 500 different things. Thanks for sharing that, Robyn.

    You guys are awesome. Also, they have no category for “biracial,” which I thought was weird, and you can’t select two. So Beau is just “other.”


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