Kat Von D and her new husband, Leafar Seyer, recently announced they were expecting their first child together. With her announcement also came news that she won't be vaccinating her baby boy once he arrives. She took to Instagram on June 7 to let the world know they won't be listening to the "unsolicited" parenting advice they've been getting from the public.
Her post reads:
"If you don't know what it's like have people around you think you are ridiculous, try being openly vegan. And, if you don't know what it's like to have the entire world openly criticize, judge, throw uninformed opinions, and curse you - try being an openly pregnant vegan on Instagram, having a natural, drug-free home birth in water with a midwife and doula, who has the intention of raising a vegan child, without vaccinations...
... My point being: I already know what it's like to make life choices that are not the same as the majority. So your negative comments are not going influence my choices - actual research and educating myself will - which i am diligently doing.
This is my body. This is our child. And this is our pregnancy journey."
Many critics argue that being vegan and anti-vaccine don't go hand-in-hand. Von D defended herself in comments, saying that she and her husband have several reasons for this decision -- One being they've established, through much research, that vaccines are pushed "by an industry whose interest is not the well-being of mankind" and aren't really safe.
However, a crowd of doctors, researchers, and other medical professionals argue that vaccines aren't even much of a profitable industry and this anti-stance not only puts Von D's child but additionally other children with compromised immune systems at a health risk.
Recent Measles outbreaks at Disneyland in California and Portland, Oregon also prove that these dangerous diseases still do exist. Most have been eliminated from the U.S. thanks to routine childhood vaccinations. However, as we see more people steering away from vaccinations the CDC has expressed concerns for these infectious diseases coming back as a result of increased travel outside of the U.S.
But in an attempt to play devil's advocate here, I can't help but ask...
Could she be onto something?
Could the makeup genius be hitting a real issue? I decided to do my own investigation.
Throughout my research, I found that complications due to vaccines are, in fact, relatively common -- though usually minor. In addition, it's recorded that a small minority of patients fall sick or experience serious side effects as a result of a vaccine each year.
According to the National Health Service (NHS) of the UK, common vaccine side effects include mild fever, shivering, fatigue, headache, muscle and joint pain. Side effects listed as more severe include anaphylactic shock (which could be fatal), and with MMR specifically, side effects lasting two to three weeks after the injection could mean serious complications and lasting effects on the child. This probed me to look for more information regarding common, "required," vaccines for children and their common side effects. The results I found were a bit unsettling.
If these side effects are found in "healthy" children, I couldn't help but wonder: what if a child already has a compromised immune system that hasn't been detected yet? Are they at an even higher risk to experience these negative effects?
Historically, the public has given doctors and those in the medical field much authority over what's deemed "safe" for a child or individual. However, throughout the years a number of cases have surfaced linking vaccines to permanent and debilitating injuries.
Keep in mind I'm not advocating for an anti-vaccine approach. However, I do think Von D's stance could have a solid ground to stand on and the debate should spark revisions to our current vaccination process'. If side effects are a concern, I believe continuous research should be done to improve existing vaccines and even make improvements. There is no doubt that vaccines have saved the public from a widespread of diseases, including measles, smallpox and more.
Ultimately, you should always do your own research
The 2016 measles outbreak proved that deadly illnesses still do exist and choosing to not get certain vaccinations could be life-threatening, and even deadly. However, I do believe an important takeaway we should be getting from Von D's unwavering opinions on the matter is that we should always do our own research.