Last week I was stopped at a red light and noticed a protest happening to the right of me.  It was 20-30 people with signs in the air chanting, “Stop Mandatory Vaccination”.

I am a firm believer in freedom of choice, but I am curious if some of these people who are so passionately fighting for their choice to not vaccinate themselves/their families are some of the same vaccine critics that looked down and judged anti-vaxxers pre-Covid.  I’m curious because I am one of those anti-vaxxers. 

I didn’t wake up one day and suddenly distrust immunizations. It happened over time, step by step down a path paved with good intentions until I got to a point where I was so sure that immunizations were dangerous that I was willing to say I had a religious objection to them. 

It all began when my son was 6, after a very scary reaction to the flu vaccine.  It was a few weeks after getting my son the vaccine that he started to act differently.  He didn’t want to eat, denying all seven of his chosen foods.  He was dropping weight at lightning speed.  He started to lose his speech and picked-up Autistic traits that had never presented themselves before: lining up all things in a row, flapping, rocking, and behavioral aggression.  I was losing my son, and it was the most terrifying experience of my life.  I hired feeding specialists, speech therapists, and ridiculously expensive doctors that for some reason didn’t take insurance.  I didn’t care.  I would drain my savings if it meant saving my son.  This team of experts made me map out what transpired in our lives during this time, and the only outlier in our very regimented lives was the vaccine. 

What I learned during that time, was not all children react to vaccines the same way.  Those children with sensitive systems have an adverse reaction to the chemicals in the vaccines.  Specifically for autistics, the damage comes from neurotoxic materials found sometimes in vaccines. Thimerosal is the most widely discussed since it contains mercury.  And many of these metals (like mercury and aluminum) within these vaccines can cause the regression I was experiencing with my son. 

It wasn’t until I brought my son to a homeopath that detoxed him of the unnecessary metals in his system that many of the challenges he was having dissipated.  I was forever thankful, and now am a serious believer in homeopathy.  It’s how I choose to treat all things, if and when I can.

As my son was on the mend, I then jumped through hoops to get a religious exemption, so I wouldn’t have to continue getting my son vaccinated for school.  Which if you know me, I am pretty agnostic when it comes to religion, so this next step was both comical and challenging, to say the least.  Once I received the religious exemption, I spoke to my son’s pediatrician, who was so incredibly understanding of my choice.  She never once judged or scolded me about why vaccinations are a must.  However, others surely did.  And what’s interesting was I wasn’t even public about it.  It would come up in school settings, and side conversations where the critic reared their ugly head. 

Then a few years later came the NY mandate that enforced all children to be vaccinated in order to attend public school.  I was devastated, scared, and really furious that as a parent, I didn’t have the right to choose what was best for my son. 

Fast-forward to this protest I was witnessing at the traffic light.  All of these people felt the same exact way.  They were upset that the government was forcing them to get vaccinated against their will.  I assume some of these people were scared about the repercussions the vaccine may have on systems, and then others just don’t like to be told what to do.  Whatever their choice might be, I understand their fury. I understand their worry.  But what I am most curious about is if they were always anti-vax? Or perhaps some were in fact the people who pointed fingers at the original anti-vaxxers calling them selfish, wack-jobs who rejected science and believed in ridiculous conspiracies. 

I definitely don’t judge these people for not getting vaccinated. How could I? But what I truly wonder is if these new anti-vaxxers’ lips and lives preach two different messages.

I’m just curious.

Janis Gaudelli is The Founder of The Daily Feels. She started this passion project to reveal the magic behind storytelling, and how truth-based narratives bring people together in the most heart-warming of ways. Fascinated by soul, depth, intellect, raw truths and rebellion with a cause. Often captivated by the awe of nature: star gazing, moon manifesting, sunset chasing, waves crashing, crickets singing. Fiercely curious about the inner-workings of the human psyche… she professionally studies human behavior for a living. Forever proud and grateful for being a mom to the force that fuels her life: her 10 year-old son, and greatest professor, Kellan.

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