Pro Vaccination over the phone interview with Laurel
My creative writing teacher stepped forward to give her word on child vaccinations. This is what she had to say.
Natascha: Hello! Today I will be speaking to a teacher and Humboldt County resident. Thank you, Laurel, for agreeing to this discussion with Little Lost Forest. We are happy to bring new moms and anyone interested in children’s vaccinations information that comes from the heart.
Natascha: Can you tell me a little about yourself? Your education and if you have any children.
Laurel: Yes, I can, Natascha. I have a master of art in Literature and a master of art in Teaching and Writing. I have over eight years of experience teaching introductory composition courses at the college level, and I’ve worked with children since I was old enough to be responsible for them. So in early high school, I did volunteer work, and I taught them how to read. I’ve helped them in afterschool programs, I’ve done gear up, which is a college readiness program, so I was like a tutor, a buddy, like the fifth-grade buddy type thing. And I’ve also done volunteer work with literacy programs, games, and programs for kids too. I’ve also been paid to babysit, watch children, and take care of children on professional bases, but I do not have any children of my own.
Natascha: Awesome. Well, it seems like you have a good background concerning child development. What is your stance on child vaccinations?
Laurel: I firmly stand by the position of the scientific and medical community that all children should be vaccinated as early as is safe to do so. I had to be vaccinated to work with children. So anytime I have worked at a public school, I had to get my measles, mumps, rubella vaccine, and thankfully as an adult, they can give it to me all in one shot, so I don’t have to get three separate ones. And I also had to get tested for tuberculosis as well. As an adult, I had to vaccinate, and I also vaccinated my pets because a lot of veterinarian clinics will only let your animals in if they are updated on their vaccinations. Some places will still let you bring them in. Obviously, you need to get them vaccinated. They might not be vaccinated when you bring them in. And I find the experts in virology, vaccination, science, and medicine to be credible. I believe them when they say the stuff that they say. I believe them when they put out vaccination reports and so on.
Natascha: It is common knowledge that some vaccinations may cause dire side effects such as shoulder pain, paralyzation, and allegedly death. Is this worth vaccinating all children?
Laurel: So I am aware of the side effects of having a really big needle shoved in my arm. I’ve experienced vaccination side effects. I’ve experienced very recently, I’ve gotten two COVID vaccinations and a booster, and I got reactions from all three of those shots. The first one, the second one, and third one and almost the exact same reaction to each one but less severe every time, which is what I expected. The number one thing I had was pain at the vaccination site because the needle that they are shoving in my arm is very long and very big and pretty deep into my tissue. So it hurts really bad. And it hurt for about thirty-six hours afterward. The pain was bad enough that I had limited mobility for about thirty-six hours, which sucked. I didn’t enjoy not being able to raise up my arm. But the vaccination clinic also told me all the side effects that I could experience. So part of me wondered if I was hyper-aware of how tired I was and that maybe I was tired because I was really anxious, I’m scared of needles. I don’t like getting shots. So terrified of needles, to the point that I was almost crying and shaking when I got my first one. I hate needles. It’s a phobia. It’s nonscene. I wonder if I was more sensitive to the side effects because I had already been primed to know about them, and it was a placebo effect or something.
I am aware that there are some children and adults who have been vaccinated that experience more serious side effects than mild fatigue or a little bit of a fever or some pain in their arm but I kind of look at vaccinations the same way as I look at any necessary medical procedure, which all of them come with risks. You take a risk every time you walk into a hospital. My friend went to visit his wife during her cancer treatment, and he got a staff infection. As far as he knows, he didn’t touch anything in the hospital beside the chair and his hand. So he was very confused to how he got a staff infection from just walking into a hospital, but that can happen because he was around sick people, so you can get sick. I can get skin cancer if I forget to put on sunscreen, and every time I drive to work, I risk horrible death. So I believe the potential for side effects and death with vaccines are statistically very low, and it is still worth it to vaccinate all children. I had a really long answer to this question. I’m not done yet.
Natascha: Awesome, thank you.
Laurel: We’ve been vaccinating our children for well over one hundred years, yet there has been no evidence of long-term side effects from vaccines being prevalent enough for it to be worth stopping. So there have been lots of other things we have stopped doing because they hurt children like secondhand smoke, putting kinds in the front seat of a car, putting a car seat in the front seat. We stopped doing these things because we knew they weren’t safe, and we stopped doing them a lot quicker than vaccines have been around if that makes sense. Shortly after cars were invented we were like maybe we shouldn’t put babies in the front seat because they can die. But vaccines have been around for a really long time, and we still haven’t found a reason to stop giving vaccines. Even though sometimes people do have allergic reactions.
Then the other thing is that I have never heard that vaccines could cause full-body permanent paralysis, for instance. I can’t find anything from the scientific community that I trust that tells me that vaccines could cause full-body permanent paralysis. But what I did find was that some vaccines, particularly the swine flu vaccine, can cause people to develop Guillain-barre syndrome, which is temporary facial paralysis. I actually had a student from China who experienced this. They came to visit. They had to get vaccinated for something, and they had temporary facial paralysis for about three weeks. So half of their face did not function. However, in the country where he comes from, it’s actually very common knowledge that vaccines can cause this, but nobody knows why. Nobody knows why the flu vaccine, in particular, can cause GBS (Guillain-barre syndrome.) Thankfully it’s one in every million people, he just got super unlucky, and it went away. As far as I know, I haven’t spoken to him in a couple of years, but as far as I know, he was fine after that, and he went home. I saw posts from him on social media, and it didn’t look like his face was partially paralyzed anymore. So I never heard of anybody getting full-body permanent paralysis from a vaccination. I can’t find anything that says that that has happened. I wasn’t sure about that one.
I have seen statistics showing allergic reactions to vaccinations and, of course, arm pain which I think is normal when you get a needle in your arm. I’ve seen statistics that children who get vaccinated for diseases tend not to die from those diseases later. If you get vaccinated for measles, you don’t get measles. If you get vaccinated for mumps and rubella, TB, and polio, all that stuff, you’re probably not going to get those diseases later, so those are the statistics I’ve seen, and I found very promising.
Natascha: Awesome, that was great information.
Laurel: Thank you.
Natascha: Is the health of the community more important than the health of these individual children that suffer side effects?
Laurel: Yes, the reason I think that is because these children are actually a part of that community. They may be individual children, but they are a part of the larger community of children. Why should one kid that is immunocompromised be basically forced into house arrest because some parents do not want to vaccinate their children and also want the opportunity to send those children to a public school? And I’m fully aware that we can not permanently protect immunocompromised children from- anything really. There is no guarantee. And a lot of immunocompromised children-you know get sick even with vaccinated children. I’m perfectly aware that vaccination is not the only way to protect immunocompromised children. But it is a way to protect them, and currently, during COVID 19, if we’re just talking about the current vaccination debate, there are plenty of immunocompromised kids that can not go back to school because their classmates, their parents will not vaccinate them for COVID 19. Now we’re educating another generation of kids that vaccines are something to be afraid of. I feel really, really bad for those immunocompromised kids and adults stuck in an internal limbo. There are hundreds and thousands of these kids, and they’re stuck at home. They’re not going back to school. I feel that parents who don’t vaccinate are not really talking about those kids when talking about the kids that are at risk.
Natascha: I appreciate you touching on current affairs. How can we protect kids that have bad reactions to vaccines?
Laurel: I would fund a science behind vaccines, and I would also put out good information about vaccines rather than misinformation about vaccines like vaccines cause autism. That is misinformation. Illinformed parents are going to use that to make their decision. If we continue to treat vaccines, in certain parts of the community, like the boogie man, like something to be scared of, we’re not going to get the funding in the future to enable people to develop vaccines that are full proof. We’ve already seen vaccinations that are dangerous. Vaccines did use to contain mercury, and that was something that a lot of people talked about. Oh, vaccines have mercury in them. They haven’t had mercury in them since the 70s or 80s. We figured out this is bad, took it out, and replaced it with something that is not harmful. In the past, we have seen if we flood vaccine development with the funding, they are going to produce something that is more viable, and better for people than if they are underfunded and constantly having to combat misinformation. If they have to expand resources to combat misinformation, they are not spending those resources developing better vaccines.
Natascha: Do you feel that forcing vaccines were taking away a person’s freedom of choice?
Laurel: So this question really interested me because we do not force anyone to vaccinate their children. I think in New York, the laws may be more strict, and I think there are more laws in California than in other states. Unless you want to send your child to public school, they do not actually have to vaccinate their kids. If they want to send their kids to a charter school or a private school, most of those places don’t have a vaccination requirement because they are owned by a private group. So they do not have to follow the same rules as public schools do. It’s not so much that they are being forced to. It’s that certain privileges, like public school, they don’t have access to those if they choose not to vaccinate their children. I think that that is a separate argument that we can get into if you want. I just want to be clear that no one is coming to people’s houses, taking their children, and forcefully vaccinating them. There is no max vaccination program at schools where children are being forced to be vaccinated. You have to take your kids to a doctor to get that child vaccinated. So no one is being forced to be vaccinated.
That being said, not being able to send your child to public schools, some people may see that as forcing them, if they can’t afford to send them to a private school for instance, and I completely understand that perspective, it could feel like your being forced at that point, but it is technically not, it’s also- I’m just seeing my other notes here. What if the kid wants to be vaccinated? This has happened at my husband’s school. There are several kids at his middle school that said, ‘I want to get the COVID vaccine, but my parents won’t let me because they think that vaccines cause autism.’ What is that kid supposed to do? To me, at that point, it is no longer about the safety of the child, and it is now about the parent’s political opinions or ideology. If the kid is crying and desperate and the parent is still saying no, are they really listening to their kid at that point?
To me, it’s kind of like smoking. I can choose to smoke, but I do not get to make that choice for other people. I do not get to smoke in a house. I do not get to smoke in a public building. I do not get to smoke within one hundred feet of a public building because I don’t get to make healthy choices for other people. It’s like why I have to wear a seatbelt, it’s like why I can’t drive while drinking, why I can’t drive while using my cellphone. Because I’m making a healthy choice to risk people’s lives, and the law doesn’t think that I should be able to do that.
Natascha: I’m glad you touched on the children’s freedom of choice as well. In my case, my son had four vaccinations at a month old, and at the follow-up appointments, more vaccinations were prescribed. Do you feel that it is necessary to vaccinate a newborn child and why?
Laurel: So my answer to this is twofold, but it is quicker than the other ones, I think. Yes, it is good. Number one, science has proven with their statics, with research that early vaccination is best. It protects your child from measles, mumps, rubella, tuberculosis, and all those types of things. Part of the reason that a kid is getting so many shoots is that the doctors are being responsible and not just doing what they do with adults, which is giving them a huge dose of vaccines all at once. They are trying to space them out a little bit. They don’t want to overwhelm the baby’s immune system. I think that it is important for kids to get vaccinated early, and I think it is important for people’s doctors to communicate to them what is happening. I think sometimes that doesn’t happen. I feel like American doctors are notoriously for having really bad bedside manners. For me, when I go to the doctor, sometimes they will just do stuff without really telling me what they are doing, and it makes me really nervous. Like, don’t touch me without telling me why you’re touching me. So I think better communication is part of this too. Like kids should be vaccinated early, but parents should be 100% informed about why it is happening.
Vaccinations eliminate horrible diseases that will absolutely kill or mane children. They are proven to eradicate diseases over time. Polio is not a thing anymore. It was killing thousands of kids every single year and it is solely because of vaccination, solely because of it. You had to vaccinate them as infants or they would get polio. Like you couldn’t wait, because your kid would die. I think people forget that. I’m talking to you about polio and people are like ‘polio vaccines’? Yeah, that’s how we completely irradicated it.
Natascha: Do you think we can open up our school to vaccinated and unvaccinated children?
Laurel: No! Because we already did that, and it caused a big measles outbreak in cities across the United States. I think it was in the early 2000s that there was a giant measles outbreak in New York because a couple of kids at a couple of schools were not vaccinated, and part of the reasons to develop vaccines are highly contagious diseases. We don’t develop vaccines for diseases that are not highly contagious because, for one, we want to focus our vaccines on diseases that cause death, permanent damage, and things like that. Also, on diseases that are highly contagious because were trying to irradicate them. We’re trying to get rid of them or stop them from producing variants. So a highly contagious disease like measles produces variants of itself faster than a less contagious disease. It has more opportunities to mutate and evolve, basically. Which is one of the ways that we can study evolution is by looking at diseases and how quickly they change because they are spreading across the population. So every time we have mixed non-vaccinated and vaccinated children in groups together, someone got sick, someone got sick and spread it around to other people. Usually, it is all the unvaccinated kids getting sick, but something the vaccinated kids get sick too because some diseases are extremely contagious, and even being vaccinated against them is not 100% that you will never ever get it. It just decreases your chances by a huge order of magnitude.
Natascha: Knowing that some kids have these severe reactions to vaccines, how do you feel prioritizing the lives of children without reactions and accepting the severe consequences of those with reactions for the “greater good?”
Laurel: Very good. I feel really good about it because- it sound’s so cold when I say that- but these children are all part of the community. Kids that have adverse reactions to vaccines are part of the community of children who need to get vaccinated. I am a person that believes in the collective over the individual. Certainly, if I had a child of my own, I would have a very different reaction to someone saying, ‘I don’t care if your kid gets sick. Get them vaccinated.’ I might have a different reaction to that. That being said, all of those parents also have children. They don’t want their kid to get sick either, and it seems strange to me to prioritize one child over another child in this specific instance. It seems very odd to me. I don’t see what that would be a thing. Why would anyone do that? Why anyone would do that. Some kids are allergic to peanuts. You take peanuts out of schools. No problem. I don’t think people really complained about that. You can’t have peanut butter at school because you don’t want the children to have a severe reaction. Some parents let their parents drink or smoke marijuana at a very young age, even though we know it’s harmful. Parents make decisions all the time that are harmful to their kids. Parents make decisions that are healthy for their kids. I don’t know how vaccines are in this special case, why parents’ choice is more important than science, and what’s true about vaccines. I also don’t understand why the other children’s health and safety are being deprioritized over a few parents who don’t want to vaccinate their kids. At that point, it becomes a selfish decision that is more about ideology and political beliefs rather than the safety of that person’s child. It’s hard for me because I don’t understand how someone can look at all this evidence that vaccines are really, really beneficial and easily one of the best inventions of modern society, next to soap and indoor plumbing, so we stop shitting in our drinking water.
How someone can look at all that evidence and say that I still don’t want to vaccinate my kid because it makes me feel icky. I do not understand that. I’ve talked to parents that don’t vaccinate their kids. My husband works with a lot of kids who are not vaccinated for COVID specifically, and they talk about how much they regret giving their kids a vaccination even though their kid is fine. What is happening here? To me, it says I don’t care about my kids, and it’s about ownership over my kid’s body and me telling my kid what to do and being able to spread my ideology about rather than caring about my kid’s health. Part of why I think this is that fewer than one in one hundred thousand children have an adverse reaction to vaccines, and even fewer than one or one half have died as a result of vaccines.
Natascha: The last question on here, do you think vaccine companies should be sued directly for injuries and lawsuits rather than the National Vaccine Injury Compensation program? Will this leave them more responsible for these injuries and force immediate revision and change?
Laurel: So before you sent me these interview questions, I had never heard of the National Vaccine Injury Compensation program. Part of the reason I’ve never heard of it before. I must have because I’ve looked into vaccines a lot for the last couple of years because I have students that are concerned about it, and I want to be able to swage their worries and be intelligent about it and not just go, ‘just do it!’ I want to give them real reasons. Treat them like the adults that they are, but it is really weird to me that a pharmaceutical company right now is actually profiting on vaccines because historically, that’s not a thing. Vaccines, especially the polio vaccines, were made freely available to everybody. Measles, mumps, rubella, and tuberculosis are freely available to everyone. You don’t have to pay to get those vaccines. It’s super bizarre to me that there is a pharmaceutical company trying to profit from vaccines, number one. Number two, if a company develops a drug or a vaccine, whatever, and then that- not a vaccine, a drug; if a pharmaceutical company develops a drug, medicine and that medicine is found to cause harm to a statistically significant group of people, this can’t just be someone with an adverse side effect, you can’t control for every variable, they sue that pharmaceutical company, of course, they do. They are the ones responsible. We are a very litigious country. I find it bizarre that people didn’t sue pharmaceutical companies for developing medicines. So if they develop a vaccine that is unsafe and they don’t make it freely available, then sue the fuck out of that pharmaceutical company, absolutely. If they want to profit from something that is hurting people, they need to be held accountable for that. On the other hand, it sounds that the title of that company, National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, the title of that- and I have no idea- sounds like it was created in response to a specific incident for some reason to me. It has such a specific title. So I would like to look more into that program, but just on the surface level, you should sue the company that made the vaccine if they are trying to profit off it. If it’s free and freely available, then the need to be a program they can sue, that can compensate because the company is no longer trying to profit off of it. Does that make sense?
Laurel: I know I asked you. It doesn’t matter if it makes sense or not. It’s an interview. I’m just supposed to answer questions. It would be really bizarre if no one was sued in America for having an adverse reaction. That would shock me.
Natasha: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Laurel: Vaccines do not cause autism. There are zero links between vaccines to autism. There is one study. The person who did the quote-on-quote study has been thoroughly debunked by the scientific community. They are no longer allowed to practice science. Anyone who participated in that study is no longer allowed to practice science anymore. This man openly tortured children to conduct his study—tortured autistic children in order to get the reactions he wanted from them. I kept them awake, wouldn’t allow them to eat, and over-exercise them. I think a couple of these kids got dunked in water too. Just keeping them awake is bad enough because kids need their sleep. Their parents participated in this because they thought it was for the good of science. So science can be used to do really evil things, but it is still important to recognize that there are people out there that are trying to do good and trying to do the right thing. And those are the people that debunked that study, that isn’t even a study, and the people who have to continue to debunk it because people continue to refer to it. Like there are multiples of those. There is not. There is one study that supposedly linked vaccines to autism, and it was a fake study. It wasn’t real. It was so thoroughly debunked now it makes me sad that people are still looking at it. I feel bad for these parents too! It must be very scary to be doing something that everyone is telling them is a good idea and to just be terrified that something bad might happen to their kid. I feel bad. I feel really bad.
Natascha: Thank you, Laurel, for joining us today. Your voice will be heard. I appreciate you so much.
Laurel: (laughing) Make sure you disclose that you are my student.
End of Session
Now, that was someone full of knowledge and information. I will be continuing with one last interview with a Reggae musician in San Diego who feels strongly against vaccinations and I will also follow up with essays submitted from those who did not want to speak. Thank you for coming to Little Lost Forest to answer those vaccination questions!