Thursday 18 October 2018

'There is no safe alternative' - Irish doctor on make-up artist Kat Von D's decision not to vaccinate her baby

Kat Von D
Kat Von D

Rachel Farrell

Popular American makeup and tattoo artist Kat Von D faced backlash online last month when she announced she wouldn't vaccinate her future child.

Von D, who is currently expecting her first child with husband and musician Rafael Reyes, took to Instagram to share her unconventional plans for her new baby.

She explained that vaccinating her child would conflict with her vegan lifestyle.

"I 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," she said in a post.

Stock Image
Stock Image

"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."

The makeup artist acknowledged that her choice goes against "the majority" but explained that negative criticisms wouldn't change her mind.

"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 to 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."

Members of the public and health experts have since slammed Von D's decision, with many of the comments regarding the decision as "irresponsible". 

British beauty expert Caroline Hirons posted a response to Von D's decision, sharing a harrowing story about her own son's experience with the mumps.

"When our son was rushed to the emergency room last summer in a convoy of two ambulances and four paramedics, he had a raging fever and was hallucinating. He couldn’t see us when we were leaning over him. He felt his body shutting down. 

"He spent a week quarantined in the critical care unit - in the dark, because the crushing migraine he had for three weeks would not leave, even with morphine. His fever took a week to come down within normal range, even with the best of modern medicine available. At the time he was a 23-year-old man, fitter than most, who played football for approximately four hours a day. Mumps felled him. 

"Without intensive medical intervention he would not be here. Now imagine he was a baby. Or someone with a compromised immune system. When I see people like Kat Von D using their platform to promote raising her unborn child ‘without vaccinations’, I want her and the drones of ill-advised people underneath to see and know that this is the reality of ‘benign diseases’. 

"You have the absolute unbelievable arrogance of a ‘choice’, because the rest of us responsible people/parents DID vaccinate. These diseases were almost gone, now they are back because some people think they know better than all the scientists, physicians and specialists in modern science."

Head of immunisation at the HSE, Dr Brenda Corcoran, told Independent.ie that while many parents like to research vaccinations, using veganism as a reason not to vaccinate is something they haven't heard a lot.

"All the vaccines that are used in Ireland all over the world are licensed, they're proven to be safe and effective. I've never heard of any issues in terms of it conflicting with a vegan lifestyle," Dr Corcoran told Independent.ie.

"I think parents when they choose to vaccinate or not need to get information from reputable sources- talk to your own doctor or nurse. They will give you accurate information.

"In Ireland, children are offered protection against 13 diseases, many of which are life threatening. These diseases can be very serious and the best way to prevent them is through vaccination."

While traditional vaccination isn't mandatory for children in Ireland, Dr Corcoran explained that homeopathic or "natural immunisation" may not be effective alternatives.

"There is no equally safe alternative, vaccines are the best health prevention. No parent wants to see their child unwell.

"I would personally strongly urge every parent to talk to their own GP if they have any queries, or check out reliable sources like the HSE's immunisation page for more information."

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