Unvaccinated parents who intentionally opt to refuse or delay their vaccinations often have a hard time understanding why the rest of us might become a little uneasy of being near or around them. This becomes especially true when we have a new baby in the house, younger kids who aren’t yet fully vaccinated and protected due to their pre-existing health conditions, or anyone with a chronic medical condition who can’t be vaccinated.

Why? Of course, it is because we don’t want them to catch measlespertussis, rubella, or any other vaccine-preventable diseases.

Unvaccinated parents endanger their own children

Parents are responsible for their child’s health and well-being, including protecting them from vaccine-preventable diseases. And since you are often contagious before you show signs and symptoms that lets you know that you are sick, you can very easily spread a disease that you don’t even know you have.

This becomes excessively dangerous when most unvaccinated parents are unaware that they themselves or others around them are the ones actually spreading germs to their newborn. You may look and feel healthy, but infectious diseases don’t just magically appear. It is almost guaranteed, that we catch them from other unvaccinated people who are contagious. Additionally, unvaccinated parents who have skipped or delayed their vaccinations, have a much higher chance of getting and spreading a vaccine-preventable disease than someone who is vaccinated and protected.

If you choose to not get vaccinated and/or vaccinate your children, please  understand the risks and responsibilities, so that you don’t spread a vaccine-preventable disease(s) that you might not even know that you have yet, to others.

Keeping your child alive

Infant and childhood vaccines prevent diseases that can be serious and even deadly. Some examples:

  • Measles can cause brain swelling, which can lead to brain damage or death.
  • Mumps can cause permanent deafness.
  • Meningitis can also lead to permanent deafness, disability, and/or brain damage.
  • Polio can cause permanent paralysis.
  • Seasonal Influenza often cause severe complications in babies and young children, such as febrile seizures, Pneumonia, and even death.

Any child (especially newborns) without exceptions can be exposed to these infections. While avoiding contact with sick people is partially useful, infections like measles can also spread through the air. Your child may come in contact with people – such as their own unvaccinated parents, visiting relatives, neighbours, even healthcare professionals – who are carrying germs, despite their lack of appearance to be visibly ill.

There are no treatments or cures for diseases like measles, mumps and polio. The only proven way to protect your child is by vaccinating them and yourself (and/or other adults that are in contact with them).

Protecting others around you actually benefits yourself

Despite our natural self-centred behavior as humans, it’s actually our civic duty to not cause harm to others in our community. A member(s) of the society who are intentionally causing discomfort and pose threats to others are heavily frowned upon.

As Delaying or refusing some or all vaccines for your child (and yourself) increases the risks for other people, it also puts the lives of your own household members at risk. In conclusion, not acting like a self-absorbed, irresponsible, and ignorant member of the community will actually benefit your own family in the end.

Those most at risk include, but are not limited to:

  • People with weakened immune systems due to other diseases or medications they are taking.
  • People with chronic medical conditions like lung, heart, liver, kidney disease or diabetes.
  • Newborn babies, who are too young to be vaccinated against most diseases.
  • The elderly, who may be at higher risk of complications from diseases.

Communities depend on high immunization rates to keep vaccine-preventable diseases from spreading. When more people are immunized, there is less concern for everyone to be agitated. The more parents that choose to not vaccinate themselves and their children, the greater the risk that infection will spread in the community, and turn into a community-wide or even nation-wide outbreak.

But I have my rights! You can’t tell me what to do! My children, My rules!

The Laws in Indonesia clearly regulates the sanctions for those who are reluctant to, campaigns against, and/or prevents the enforcement and administration of vaccination. The laws governing this motion are as follows:

  • Indonesian Child Protection Laws; year 2002; number 23; article 30,
  • Indonesian Health Regulations; Chapter VII; article 131; verse 3,
  • Indonesian Law on Outbreaks of Infectious Diseases; year 1984; number 4; Chapter VII; article 14, verse 1-3

parents who neglect their obligations, in this case failure to care, nurture, educate, and protect their own children; not encouraging the development of their children according to their abilities, talents, and interests; can either be taken under strict government supervision, penalised by law, revocation of parental rights, or even jailed.

However, if you are still so keen to passionately disregard the law, avoid the use of common-sense at all cost, and still choose to refuse some or all vaccinations for your child, we advise that you follow these steps:

  • If your child is sick and you call or visit a health care provider, immediately tell the office staff and the doctor that your child is not vaccinated (whether for some or all vaccines). These kind and often under-appreciated professionals will consider the possibility that your child has a vaccine-preventable disease. This knowledge of your child’s vaccination history may help them do their jobs, and consider what tests they require to do. If your child has a vaccine-preventable disease, precautions can be taken so that the disease does not spread to others.
  • Always keep vaccine records accessible so that you can report which vaccines your child has received, if any.

Notes for future improvements

Unfortunately however, there still are no strict governmental regulations and legal precedents upon the requirement for adults (especially parents) to keep their vaccinations updated, as to not deliberately or unknowingly harm their own children, and others in their community.

Therefore, since there are currently no legal implications for unvaccinated parents, acquiring or refusing vaccinations for adults are still entirely within the confines of your own decision.