I remember how I felt about vaccines prior to becoming a mother. They were effective. They were needed. They saved lives. However, my thinking changed the first time I stared at my newborn son seconds after birth, and the reports of the possibility of a link between autism and vaccines and the higher rate in males vs females really challenged my thinking. I ran to the bookstore buying all of Dr. Sears' books, scoured the Internet for information, and joined forums where it was cool to be a home birthing, baby wearing, baby led weaning, crunchy, baby food making, raw milk drinking and cloth diapering momma. I suddenly felt like the worst mother in the world, and all my sense about science left as the prolactin levels rose.
I declined hepatitis B vaccine for my infant. Hell, he was not a IV drug user and wasn't having sex yet.
Over time, he is finally up-to-date, and my daughter received all as scheduled (though I did delay hepatitis B with her as well until she reached three months, I believe. I have definitely been more laid back this time. And I have also seen the stories of the prevalence of diseases previously almost eradicated making a huge comeback. Unfortunately herd immunity is only good if all subscribe. Sporadic cases are becoming more normal... and with that deaths.
Last month, Washington state had 640 confirmed cases of whooping cough (or pertussis) compared to only 94 in the same period last year.
The connection between autism and vaccines have never been confirmed. I cannot think of anything more responsible as a parent than getting your kids vaccinated. I guess you can say my thinking was challenged, but I have reached full circle.