Meet Ellie: An Amazing, Healthy and Joyful Vaccine Free 4 Year Old
Jill and her husband JC live in the suburbs of Georgia. A 43-year-old mom, Jill had her daughter, Ellie, at 39 years of age. She says, “I had a rather uncomplicated pregnancy despite being ‘geriatric’ as they call it. We had some complications in the birthing and had an emergency C-section, but Ellie was born very healthy.”
An amazing and joyful child
“Now Ellie is four years old and has been going to a part-time preschool for two years now. Her teacher recently describes her as ‘sociable, outgoing, a little bit stubborn, and full of joy’ (all good traits!). She’s observant and very self-aware. And she has never been vaccinated!”
“Ellie walked early—by 9 months of age. She loves to dance and make new friends. The type of child who will wave and say ‘hi’ to strangers who are just passing by, she’s definitely not shy! Gregarious is a word that would describe her well. We’ve never had any IQ testing done on her, but we do believe she is very smart, especially in social and emotional skills. She’s well-spoken and very verbal for her age.
Ellie’s overall health
“Our daughter has been extremely healthy for the past four years. She had one short bout of RSV that she picked up at preschool when she was two, and that came along with a slight ear infection. However, in her whole life so far, that’s the most serious illness (which wasn’t even that serious) that she’s had and the only time she’s ever been on an antibiotic. Other than that, she’s only ever had normal coughs and colds, an occasional fever, and a couple of stomach bugs along the way. Ellie’s never been hospitalized. No immune disorders, no behavioral issues, no known allergies of any kind. She’s a happy and healthy child.”
When asked the questions below in a Q& A format, Ellie participated with enthusiasm:
Q: What do you like to do more than anything else and why?
A: Play with my friends and go swimming and go places.
Q: What do you want to do when you grow up and why?
A: I want to be a mommy because mommies are super fun and they do lots of work for their kids.
Q: Do you like going to school? Why or why not?
A: Yes, it’s fun and I have friends there.
Q: How often do you get sick and what is it like when you do get sick?
A: Sometimes I get a tummy ache or I cough like this (fake coughs) and I have to take the cough medicine.
Q: What kind of meals do your parents make for you and do you like it?
A: I like grapes and smoothies.
Our health habits
“Honestly, we do try to eat healthy, but I wouldn’t say that we are the most successful at it! We definitely have room for some improvement there. I do choose organic foods when I can—but am not ultra-strict on it. I breastfed Ellie until she was about 15 months old but other than that, I would say we just mainly rely on our God-given immune systems, regular exercise, and we have been blessed with great health so far.”
Why we decided not to vaccinate
Jill emphasizes: “Thankfully, I had been able to educate myself while I was pregnant about the risks associated with several common vaccines that they give to newborns and infants and so I initially decided to delay giving her anything at all until I felt she was a little older and her body could handle it better.
“However, as time went on and I learned more, I ultimately decided that I didn’t want to give her any of them at all. I have read many books, watched documentaries, read medical journal articles, etc. and I follow multiple sources of information that I deem trustworthy to reach this decision and I stand confident in it.”
If she comes down sick, this is our course of action
When asked what they would do if Ellie comes down with an illness, Jill replied: “It just really depends on the disease. We would consult with physicians and seek the best medical treatment and plan available for her. I really don’t think that there are many diseases she can catch that can’t be treated and overcome.
“For example, I had chickenpox when I was a child and was just fine. I never had the measles, but I think again that it’s not too serious of a disease that she wouldn’t be able to recover from. I feel, overall, the risks of catching a serious or life-threatening ‘vaccine-preventable’ disease are pretty low.”
Addressing the concern about unvaccinated children being a threat to society, Jill answered, “She’s absolutely not a threat. If she were to fall ill with a communicable disease, we would definitely quarantine her and keep her away from others. She is extremely healthy and doesn’t have any diseases that she can spread to anyone else. How can she be a threat or spread something that she doesn’t have?”
Challenges raising a vaccine-free child
“We feel blessed to live in a state that (for the most part) seems to still value personal freedoms and choice in this matter. We’ve also been extremely fortunate to find a local pediatrician who is on board and accepting of our choices. We pray that these things continue, and we fear for times ahead when we may not be as fortunate, since there are many who wish to strip us of our freedoms in this regard.
“We have many friends who feel similarly and who also delay or don’t vaccinate their children. For the ones who have chosen to follow the normal schedule, we either don’t talk about it at all or they know I don’t and just accept it as my choice.
“We’ve have had some pushback along the way from my mother who feels very strongly that vaccines are safe and effective, but she only knows the childhood vaccine schedule for what it was in the early ‘80s. I’ve tried to explain that it’s much different now and I’ve tried to provide her with resources and information with which she can educate herself, but she hasn’t taken the time to read or watch anything that I’ve provided. We currently just agree to disagree on the topic.
“My sister also doesn’t vaccinate her daughter who is almost five, so that also helps that we stand together in our decision. My sister is the one who initially alerted me to some of the dangers and we both started looking into them together.
“We do have a very accepting pediatrician and have done all the regular wellness checks since birth. Ellie attends a private church preschool and hasn’t had any challenges. Her school requires proof of vaccination, but we have a religious exemption.”
Advice to parents and parents-to-be who are on the fence about going vaccine free
“Don’t be fearful or make any decisions based upon fear. If you are on the fence, just take your time and educate yourself until you are comfortable with your own decision.
“Read up on the pros and cons and do a risk-benefit analysis of each individual vaccine that you are considering, one at a time. It’s not an all-or-nothing decision and there’s no rush to decide quickly. You may decide to proceed with one or some of them but forgo others. There’s definitely no harm in deciding to delay them while you learn more.”
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