Community Conversations

Did you vaccinate your children? Why or why not?


We asked the following question on this week: Did you vaccinate your children? Why or why not? Thanks for all of your responses. Below are some of your comments, some of which were edited for length and clarity. Learn more about the Public Insight Network at, and check back next week for another conversation.

“When my daughter was born, she spent 10 days in the NICU. Obviously, I was very protective of her and after having experienced the trauma of having a gravely ill infant, I questioned her pediatrician about the wisdom of vaccinations. I was afraid of the side effects and what I had read about the growing trend of not vaccinating children. He said to me, ‘Yes, there was the possibility, one in a million, of a problem with the vaccination but that statistic doesn’t mean a thing when your child contracts the illness and your child is the one child who doesn’t survive the disease (chicken pox, measles, etc.).’ Shortly thereafter, I read of a family who had a play date with children who had not been vaccinated (that had not been disclosed to the visiting family). One of the older children had been exposed to measles and while there were no symptoms, exposed an infant to the disease. Infants cannot be vaccinated against measles. Unfortunately, the infant died from the measles because of the other family’s decision not to vaccinate. That story sealed my decision to have my child vaccinated. I did not want to risk her health nor did I want to be responsible for causing someone else’s child to contract a preventable disease that could result in that child’s death.”

Petra Burns, Cutler Bay


“Not yet. My wife and I will have to look carefully into this matter and consider the best option for our 11-year-old boy. My perception is that “big pharma” places it priority on its pockets, not its consumers. The government is inept to say the least. We are left with the recommendations of a small, independent scientific community that may have a genuine interest in the well-being of the population.”

Carlos Reyes, Miami


“They could not attend school if I did not, and I wanted to protect them — and other people — from disease. In addition, the autism study had been debunked 20 years ago at least.”

Merry Bodner, Miami


“It’s the prudent thing to do. Childhood diseases create very high fevers and many other severe complications. I had many of them as a child, and I wanted to spare my kids from that experience.”

Robert Black, South Miami


“As a healthcare provider I understand the importance of vaccinations and the reasons for their need in our society today. Prior to vaccinations, polio was rampant. Children were left with paralysis for life. Their lives were never the same again. Measles, mumps, chickenpox and smallpox are but a few of the necessary vaccines to keep a society free from needless diseases; which can affect so many. I believe that all parents have the right to make choices, however I also believe that public schools need to require complete vaccination records prior to entering kindergarten. It is not fair to subject the many for the erroneous beliefs of a few. I realize that it is very difficult to change people’s minds when there is so much hype about the possibility of autism and other disease processes. The record and the research have proven these fears to be unwarranted.”

Carol Montiel, Miami


“We vaccinated our three children just as it was done to us in our earlier years. It is a responsibility as a parent to protect our children not only from exposure to these childhood diseases, but to ensure that if contracted, they will not be as severe.”

Gary Cardenas, Unincorporated Miami-Dade


“Vaccinations were developed to protect us. I didn’t fear or question whether there was a potential harm. The benefits far outweighed the risks. Today, I think they have done such a good job at wiping out the targeted diseases, and as such, they are not taken as seriously as needed. The recent measles outbreak is a reminder that there are serious consequences.”

Robin Stilwell, Miami


“My children were born in the early 90s and at the time there were no common discussions about not vaccinating. It was a given that children should receive full protection from all diseases. I remember having mumps when I was young and I was very happy that my children were able to get protection from it as well as other diseases.”

Donna Ragland-Greene, Hollywood


“For public safety and because the benefits far outweigh the risks. Vaccination is regulation for the safety of all us (the public) at large. Those who choose not to vaccinate their children still use our public school, parks, malls, etc. This is a no brainer.”

GinaMarie Darbouze, Miami