Erin Fielding wrote the following stereotypical exchange; with some embellishments from me. I have to share it because it's right on point. We've all been there...
The World: "You're an anti-vaxxer now?" *stifles an eyeroll*
Me: "Yeah, you could say that." *preparing A-game*
World: "So, don't you worry about your child getting sick from vaccine preventable diseases?"
Me: "No, not really. I actually have less fear of many of those illnesses now that I've done so much research."
World: *stifles chuckle* "But, what about polio?"
Me: "Polio is asymptomatic in 95% of cases. When symptoms do present, they're usually mild and flu-like." *offers official government reference*
World: "But, we don't see iron lungs anymore because of vaccines." *provides some random "science blogs" piece they had saved*
Me: *sighs slightly* "We don't see iron lungs anymore for the same reason we don't see computers that are large enough to take up an entire room. Technology has come a long way." *provides evidence that the CDC changed the definition of "polio" to suit their own interests*
World: "Well... even if the risk of getting something serious is small, don't you want to protect your child with vaccines just in case?" *mumbles something from straight off a highway billboard.*
Me: "I do want to protect my child, and that is one reason I say no to vaccines. Because in my own extensive cost-benefit analysis, the chances of my child being harmed from vaccines is greater than the chances of my child being harmed from one of those illnesses."
World: "But, the chances of vaccine injury is extremely low. Like, one-in-a-million."
Me: *Shows VAERS, Vaccine Court stats, and #hearthiswell testimonies compared to deadly disease rates in developed countries.*
World: "Well, but it's not just about your child. It is your responsibility to vaccinate your child to protect immune-compromised people through herd immunity."
Me: "First and foremost, my responsibility is to my child. I will not set my child on fire to keep someone else warm. What parent would knowingly risk their child's life for the sake of the herd? Would you? My child is not a human shield.
Secondly, herd immunity is a myth. We do not have vaccine induced herd immunity and never have."
World: *scoffs* "You're crazy."
Me: *talks for 20 minutes about Dr. Andrew Hedrich in the 1930's and the history of the herd immunity theory.*
World: "Ok, but don't you think vaccines are a victim of their own success? They eradicated polio and other diseases, so you probably just haven't seen them thanks to vaccines."
Me: "Correlation does not equal causation. The history of vaccines is more complex than that, and I no longer believe that vaccines can take the credit for eradicating any diseases. We have never had widespread vaccination for scarlet fever or typhoid, yet, they are no longer a threat. Amazing what sanitation can do. Polio has also not been eradicated. I may not have lived through the "polio" era, but I am living in a time with a different kind of epidemic. My child's generation is the first to have a life expectancy that is less than that of their parents. People are sicker than ever with autoimmune diseases, deadly allergies, neurological problems, and cancer. We can not cling to a controversial problem of the past to make crucial decisions for today. We have to do something about the problems we are currently faced with, and giving more vaccines is not an acceptable solution."
World: *clears throat* "So do the ingredients in vaccines scare you?"
Me: *controls urge to stare irritatingly* "Yes."
World: "You know there's formaldehyde in pears, right? And mercury in tuna?" *sits back smugly*
Me: "When's the last time you puréed a pear and some tuna, then injected it intramuscularly? We have a digestive system for a reason, and the mucosal tissue is one of the most important components of the human immune system. I don't think bypassing those functions is without consequence. Ingestion and injection are not the same thing. It's the same reason you can drink snake venom, but being bitten in the leg with the same venom can kill you."
World: "But too bad for you, the science is all settled and doctors and scientists all agree that vaccines are necessary."
Me: "Science is never settled. As history has shown, science can be dangerously wrong. It can also be heavily influenced by financial interests. And doctors and scientists do not all agree about vaccines. There are many doctors, nurses, immunologists, and researchers who are aware of the shortcomings of vaccines. And if we want to really discuss vaccine science, we need to demand that there be more of it, because vaccine science is severely lacking. It is the tobacco science of our time. The current vaccine schedule (which has more than tripled since vaccine manufacturers became protected from liability) has never been tested for safety. There hasn't been a randomized double blind placebo controlled study comparing the outcomes of the vaccinated vs. unvaccinated. Vaccines are the epitome of quackery." *piles a heap of peer reviewed vaccine literature, every package insert, and a stack of other scientific literature on the table.* "This will back that statement."
Me: "Thanks for the talk. Please let me know if I can answer any more of your questions, and feel free to take this. I've made copies."