I’m sitting at my desk in the office at work and the discussion at the table turns to vaccinations. One of my colleagues is heading off to India for his holidays and has just had been injected three times as a precaution.
The conversation bends to recollections of our school time vaccinations. One colleague is wary of vaccinations. I briskly point out that the human body hasn’t had the chance to naturally evolve for international travel and with the wide range of things we can catch when we dash from country to country. I’ll take every help medicine can give me.
He nods, and says, “Suppose so.” But he isn’t convinced.
And then he’s says how we have an awful lot of vaccinations before we get a choice in the matter.
This makes me smile. I’ve had a choice in the matter for as long as I’ve had the skills to make the decision. In fact, for every vaccination I can remember.
The father has always been very clear that rules that apply to other people don’t necessarily apply to me. This isn’t because other people don’t have the option to bend rules, it’s because most people don’t consider that they can.
It’s all a matter of choices and consequences.
My Father, who is a great supported of eradicating polio, but has otherwise never told me what to believe about my own vaccinations, consented to me choosing for myself.
In his eyes, I was capable of making decisions about my health by myself. He adamantly refused to make the decision for me.
The Mother’s comment on the matter was, “Speak to your father.”
Which meant I was the only kid in the vaccination line at school whose form wasn’t signed. Instead I had a letter declaring that my father had passed such responsibility on to me – on the one condition that I was appropriately informed of the consequences of my decision before I made it.
Inevitably, I was the last person in the class to be vaccinated, every time. Someone had to discuss the vaccination with me and find me a pen.
I explained this to my colleague. He looked at me as if I was crazy. He asked how a twelve-year-old could make such a decision. This surprised me.
At twelve-years-old, I had no doubt that I could make an educated decision. I read every word on every leaflet and asked questions. At the time I found it all a slight inconvenience; I had to deal with the flustered nurse (always the one in charge). Then there was the problem of explaining to my classmates why my form wasn’t signed. It’s slightly embarrassing having atypical parents. Yet I didn’t doubt that the Father was right.
I’m glad he made me think for myself and recognise that at the end of the day, I’m responsible for me.