As has been in the news recently, Kat Von D, tattoo artist and woman with a really fantastic makeup line (I’m still mourning the discontinuation of her old concealer) has announced that she’s not vaccinating. Maestro, the instagram post please?
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I knew the minute we announced our pregnancy that we would be bombarded with unsolicited advice. Some good and some questionable – unsolicited none the less. I also was prepared for the backlash and criticism we would get if we decided to be open about our personal approach to our pregnancy. My own Father flipped out on me when I told him we decided to ditch our doctor and go with a midwife instead. If you don’t know what it’s like have people around you think you are ridiculous, try being openly vegan. And, if you don’t know what it’s like to have the entire world openly criticize, judge, throw uninformed opinions, and curse you – try being an openly pregnant vegan on Instagram, having a natural, drug-free home birth in water with a midwife and doula, who has the intention of raising a vegan child, without vaccinations. My point being: I already know what it’s like to make life choices that are not the same as the majority. So your negative comments are not going influence my choices – actual research and educating myself will – which i am diligently doing. This is my body. This is our child. And this is our pregnancy journey. Feel free to follow me on here if you like what I’m about – whether it’s tattooing, lipstick, Animal Rights, sobriety, feminism, ridiculous gothiness, black flower gardening, cats, or my adorable husband. But if you don’t dig a certain something about what I post, i kindly ask that you press the unfollow button and move the fuck on. So before anyone of you feel inspired to tell me how to do this, I would appreciate you keeping your unsolicited criticism to yourself. More importantly, for those who have amazing positive energy to send my way, I will gladly and graciously receive it with love! X
Then she announced that she’s in the category that I call “not an anti-vaxxer but.” This is a category of anti-vaxxer that doesn’t declare all vaccines to be bad and doesn’t declare that they don’t work. Then they question the components of the vaccines and promotes ideas from a few misconstrued reports that make vaccines sound much more dangerous than they are. Coming from someone with an instagram reach of 6.7 million people nearly guaranteeing that when she says something controversial there will be articles covering the false balance that ‘maybe vaccines are bad,’ this is dangerous. People who may not have questioned vaccine ingredients tumble down the rabbit hole of bullshit information that’s entirely too prevalent. It’s happened before when people who weren’t famous for their medical expertise trumpeted the line of “we just want safe vaccines.” (Side note, at the moment, not sure which former Singled Out host sucks more really, Chris Hardwick or Jenny McCarthy).
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My husband @prayers and I are NOT anti-vaxxers. We are not against vaccines. Just because we have hesitancies and valid concerns about injecting our baby with specific chemicals and toxins does not mean we are anti anything. As a soon-to-be-parent [and especially as a first-time-mom] I do feel it my responsibility to have questions, and to listen to my motherly instinct to question things, and do my research. What we have found is that sometimes it isn’t always so black and white. While we believe medications, including vaccines, are not all bad – we also can’t dismiss the fact that some may not be good for everyone. There are plenty of studies that show some vaccinations can work wonders. And there are also studies that show some people [including mothers, and babies] may be more susceptible to vaccine injuries more than others. It’s unfair for anyone to expect me [or any parent] to take the word of the pharmaceutical companies who have much to gain from and industry worth billions without question – and then have to dismiss any concerns of my own. Our personal medical records are no one’s business, and why we would feel it important for us to explore all our options when it comes to vaccinating our child, is also no one’s business – regardless of what I post on Instagram. So, perhaps before any of you feel inspired to harass us, spew hatred, or send ill-will our way, I hope you would try and understand that this is our first child together, and we are simply just trying our best. Lastly, I don’t plan on continuing this topic, and have no interest in fighting anyone. As much as I hate doing this, I will be turning off the comments on this post – and I think you would too, if you were constantly receiving death wishes onto your unborn child. I am sending extra love to everyone today. X
Dunno Kat, when you said in your earlier instagram post that you’re planning to raise your kids “without vaccinations,” that sounds pretty damn anti-vax. And let’s be honest, you knew there was a heaping dose of cognitive dissonance (that’s a fancy pants way of saying ‘hypocrite,’ booboo) when you said you were worried about “injecting specific chemicals and toxins.”
Despite what the most organicky mommy blog on the planet tells you, the chemicals in vaccines are far more rigorously tested than the ink you’ve injected into anyone’s epidermis. Clarifying for the cheap seats, no matter how carefully your tattoo artist has picked out quality inks or told you they’re “natural” pigments or how clean the shop is, that ink is not all that well regulated, and in some cases neither are the shops. Furthermore, you want a heaping dose of irony in case you had a second meter to drop an anvil on? Some tattoo dyes contain mercury. Fucking. Mercury. You know, the chemical in vaccines that anti-vaxxers keep claiming causes autism (note: it totally doesn’t)? Maybe that’s why Kat was intentionally vague when she said “specific chemicals.” Was she talking about the dihydrogen monoxide in the vaccine?
However, with vaccines, every component has been tested and proven to be safe over the long haul. Vaccines go through a more rigorous process than other pharmaceuticals in post-market monitoring via the Vaccine Safety Datalink, a program in use for several decades to track any adverse reactions. I don’t know how many scientific reports Kat has read, but I offer her the results of the monitoring here to see for herself that, indeed, vaccines have been tested and shown to be safe. I’m waiting on the paperwork showing that the chemicals and toxins she injects into people are safe. I won’t hold my breath.
I say this not to rag on tattoos. I’m moderately covered in them, most tattoo shops are clean, incidence of adverse reaction to ink is low, and Kat is a very talented tattoo artist who I’m sure runs a safe shop.
Don’t you dare deny your child immunity from deadly illnesses on the basis of ‘injecting certain chemicals’ -tested chemicals- when the only reason that you have a voice to reach nearly seven million people on your instagram account is because you inject certain chemicals -untested- into people. One of these is life-saving, one of these is fun, stop deliberately obfuscating this when it’s convenient for you.
Lastly, it’s disturbing to me that, as Kat reported, people are wishing death on someone’s child because they’re opting not to vaccinate. If we’re trying to promote vaccines, I would hope we’re wishing a long, disease free life upon people, as miserable as that can be sometimes (wub a lub a dub dub). It’s hard to find success in changing peoples’ minds on a lot of things in science (including climate change, GMOs, vaccines, and even the shape of the goddamn planet). Though I’m a snarky pain in the ass, I do this because I want people to have accurate health information, and I’ve yet to see wishing harm upon someone turn them into someone who’s willing to listen.
Kat, I sincerely hope you’re listening.
PS. As a parting word to Kat if somehow this manages to come across your computer screen, I would love it if you changed your mind entirely. But if you don’t, there are a few vaccines you should strongly consider, especially ones that protect from diseases that affect your infant’s very tiny, very vulnerable lungs.