With the recent outbreak of a few measles cases, which apparently disseminated from the Disneyland theme park, the airwaves are alive and buzzing with concerns about childhood immunizations. Many politicians and physicians are weighing in on the side of forced immunizations in the name of public safety. I for one, am not.

I practice family medicine and encourage immunizations every day.  Whether it’s childhood diseases or adults concerned with influenza, I am all for them.  Why get a disease if you can immunize yourself against it? And, I am not one who believes that every child is at an increased risk for autism or an autism spectrum disorder if they receive vaccinations.

BUT, I still believe in parental rights.  And I believe that those rights are so important that they need to be upheld even if they come at the risk of increased death.  I am fully aware that a parent’s choice to not immunize their children may lead to an increased risk of childhood diseases that only my older colleagues in medicine have seen and I have only had or heard of.

Like most people my age (59), I had the measles, mumps, chickenpox, influenza, and God only knows what else. And like most children, I survived without a problem.  However, some of my colleagues have seen horrible sequela of these diseases (and others that have been eradicated) either in the United States 50 years ago or in the Third World countries today. I am glad I have not.

Still, I am not willing to put my freedom to choose in the hands of big government or even my personal physician.  Disseminate information?  Yes.  Encourage immunizations?  Yes.  Forced immunizations?  No!