Dear Everyone on the Planet Ever,
I am a first time mother who like many others, is too often driven by emotion rather than logic. The reality is I hate giving my daughter vaccines. With any injection she is required to suffer through, she stares into my soul with her how-could-you-do-this-to-me brokenhearted tears.
Every new milestone, action or behavior is both wonderful and strange. I fear everything.
Having said this, I understand that every parent wants to weigh all of the risks involved in vaccination.
I managed to bite my tongue for a little over two weeks. And a lifetime.
But after learning that some parents are hosting “measles parties”, promptly following the measles hysteria, I finally felt the need to SCREAM AND SHOUT about the importance of vaccinations, more specifically the MMR vaccine.
You see, I am a first time mom. But I’m also a scientist with a Ph.D. in Biomedical Research.
So I will start by boring you with a few facts:
- As many as 1 out of every 20 children with measles gets pneumonia, the most common cause of death from measles in young children.
- About 1 child out of every 1,000 who contracts measles will develop encephalitis (swelling of the brain) that can lead to convulsions and can leave the child deaf or mentally retarded.
- For every 1,000 children who get measles, 1 or 2 will die from it.
And I will proceed by telling you a lil story:
Two weeks ago my 17 month- old daughter broke out in a nasty rash from head to toe. Said rash arrived with a fever and a super fun ear infection.
We also live in Orange County, a.k.a. home to the renewed patient zero of Disneyland measle-infection.
Naturally, we ran our daughter through a battery of tests. One throat swab, multiple blood draws, and one traumatized toddler later, we were still in a panic for our family.
Now would be a great time to mention that by “family” I am referring to my daughter, husband and unborn 8-week-old baby.
Another FUN FACT: According to the CDC, measles may cause pregnant woman to give birth prematurely, or have a low-birth-weight baby.
After taking turns staying home for a week with my husband, and keeping my daughter in utter quarantine (SIDENOTE: you should try this if you are lacking cardio or would like to exercise your sanity), we found out she did not have measles and that her vaccine did effectively give her immunity.
Why was this a relief to us? For one, we could climb out of our plastic bubble. Secondly, the vaccine the FDA and CDC claims to be 95% effective proved to be so for my daughter.
But most importantly: my lovely daughter spent no time putting any other children near her at risk. Particularly, the most vulnerable population: the infants who are less than one-year-old and have not been cleared to receive the MMR vaccine.
What do I take away from this experience? Mainly: rage. I am fucking furious; outraged at asshole parents who don’t vaccinate their children and allow this preventable disease to spread potentially to my vaccinated-yet still mildly at risk– child and worse, to my unborn baby.
Out in the wacky world of internet bullshit lives a cesspool of misguided/falsified/glorified information available on the side effects/dangers/fears of vaccines. Because I am a scientist, ironically, friends share this information with me.
Recently, I was sent an article by a reporter dubbed “the health ranger” and another from sketchy website claiming that an Italian court ruled that vaccines caused autism in a young boy.
First of all, I beg everyone that sees articles written by “naturalmomshatevaccines”, or “the health ranger” to really read the articles critically. Just…please. What I do know is that a lot of anti-vaccinators do a lot of “research” (ahem, anecdotal reading!) and are seemingly well-spoken about “the dangers”, however, they share no credible sources linking back to their “facts”. Here’s a rule: if your University English professor would scoff at you citing the website you are sourcing information from, it’s likely not credible enough as the basis for your decision-making.
Look for sources. Look for scientific evidence. Check to see who funded their “studies”. Then, if you can’t see how similar these articles are to conspiracy theories, neither I nor a lobotomy can help you.
If and when the courts can determine that vaccines cause autism, us scientists will recheck our premises. But until then, I will cite scientific studies and the research of the authorities who are entrusted with our children’s health and well-being. I will scrutinize. I will research. But I will not wear a tinfoil hat. Nor will I believe that Big Pharma is out to peg my children with autism.
And so I implore you: vaccinate your child. Do it for him or her. Do it for the preggos in your life. Do it for the immune-compromised children. Do it for the children in your kid’s daycare center. And for fuck’s sake if you don’t, STAY OFF THE MATTERHORN and don’t send me links from crazycrunchdreadmom.org.blogspot. No matter what you think, I promise you, it’s bullshit.
Dr. Mommypower Von Realtalk.