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To be, or not to be…Vaccinated?

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Vax

 

My scientific knowledge is rudimentary. I am no doctor. I do not even work in the medical community. I am simply a mother who loves her child.

My daughter contracted the Varicella virus from the MMRV vaccine. She broke out into a rash that mimicked a cross between shingles and chicken pox.

Coincidentally her rash started to break out a few weeks after we visited Disneyland last December, the same time the first infected person with measles visited the theme park.

I never thought I would see the day where I would be undeniably thankful she was diagnosed with shingles.

Since the outbreak of measles, the vaccination debate has once again become a hot topic in our country and beyond.

I do not believe that ‘anti-vaxxers’ love their children any less than parents who choose to vaccinate their children. As a parent myself I understand the unconditional love that I have for my child that could neither be illustrated nor expressed in words.

A parent’s desire to question everything and anything when it comes to their children’s safety and health is completely intelligible. In a world where we have constant options and freedom to do what we feel is right for our children, I am nowhere near surprised to hear a parents choice to change or halt their child’s vaccination schedule.

I consider myself a pretty open minded individual. I am accepting of all religion affiliations, political beliefs, genders, etc. However my decision to vaccinate my child has and will not wane. Yes, she has had a negative reaction to her vaccines. Yes, I understand there are chemicals in the vaccines. Yes, there are risks.

As a single mother raising a child, I am more than aware that it is my sole responsibility to protect her, but it is also my moral obligation as a citizen to help protect my sisters unborn child, my unvaccinated 16 month old nephew, my father who has a weakened immune system, and everyone else living in my community.

I understand the risk involved with a vaccine but I also know the risk if I don’t vaccinate my child.

Vaccines were created as a preventative measure against diseases (that means a disease broke out and affected enough of the public that it required a vaccine to help eradicate it.)

There are many reasons why people are living longer, in part because of massive improvements in hygiene, but also due to preventative care.

There was a time when disease ran rapid throughout our country.

Diseases that could conquer lives and wipe out communities.

These viruses that we are vaccinating against are not prejudiced. It does not matter your gender, the color of your skin, or the amount of money you have.

Once a single person becomes infected, it is hard to contain – which is why the incident at Disneyland is terrifying.

Many of us live in places that are densely populated. The issue is the incubation period.

Once infected, an individual could get on any mode of public transportation and expose not only healthy individuals but also individuals with weakened immune systems.

Normally those who are at risk of catching the disease such as unborn fetuses, infants, individuals with weakened immune systems, and anyone who falls into a category who cannot receive immunizations are protected thanks to herd immunity.

Herd immunity essentially means that if a grand portion of a population are adequately vaccinated again infectious diseases then their immunity helps protect and serve as the immunity to those unable to be immunized.

Community_Immunity

Herd Immunity Diagram

 Unfortunately, this will fail if too many people are not vaccinated.

It makes a lot of sense by thinking in simple terms. The higher the percentage of vaccinated individuals, the less likely an infectious disease can run rampant. When said percentage declines, the likelihood of the disease resurfacing increases.

Vaccination efficacy in our country has worked quite well, almost too well. Well enough that we have simply forgotten (or even worse) never witnessed what an infectious disease such as measles could do.

Our country is filled with pseudoscientific fads about the latest diet pill and the juice cleanse that will make you drop 10 pounds within a day. It is no wonder people buy into anything that they read.

I completely and utterly support anyone’s decision to buy organic, try the ‘ombre-hair’ style, or go gluten-free. Those decisions do not directly affect me.

However any decision that one chooses that could affect the greater community is a concern of mine.

Where does the fear lie in a child receiving a vaccine?

If the answer is autism, I hope one day that parent does not have to look back in hindsight, when their vision is 20/20, and wish they chose the vaccine.

As a parent, making the right decision for your child is no easy feat. Every action has a reaction. Fortunately we live in a society that makes freedoms so readily available that we tend to forget how awful life could truly be if a catastrophic outbreak took place (anyone remember polio?).

History tends to repeat itself and I would bet a pretty lofty amount that if a virus resurfaces with a trajectory to harm, it does not matter what your beliefs are.

At the end of the day when all is said and done, no parent wants to believe that their child could get sick from these diseases that were quite simply vanished years ago.

Whether you decide to get your child vaccinated or not, it is completely dependent on you.

Although, I encourage you to do your research, weigh the risks and benefits, and not buy in to the latest trend or fad.

From one parent to many it is my duty to protect my child so that she can protect your children.

Our children’s health is a priceless commodity that should never be taken for granted and thus be forever protected.

 

~ Christina Villalobos

 


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