But the choice matters more than you may think. As the subject comes up health is often cited as the catalyst for not vaccinating. Obviously, every parent's main job is to, as they are able, secure and maintain the health of their child.
While I'm certainly no expert on vaccinations, children or immunology, I am becoming an expert on the ramifications of the lack of vaccinations. (Spoiler Alert) The way things are going, at some point, with someone you love, you likely will be too.
In my medium sized circle of friends I know;
2 people who have had organ transplants,
6 people who have cancer and are undergoing treatment,
1 who has undergone a bone marrow transplant in the past year.
And one mother who has Lupus who due to meds being used to treat that (at the time, and unbeknownst to us) was immunosuppressed to the level of a bone marrow transplant patient. A fact we discovered only after an infection that would have been an innocuous event in an otherwise healthy person, like me, that literally put her life on the line and has stolen a year + from her life. To be clear, what happened to my Mom had nothing to do with anything avoidable by commonly used vaccinations. ...Which probably begs the question, why they fuck am I yammerin' on about vaccinations?
This time last year Mom was in the ICU for two weeks. Everything humanly possible was done to keep a 'simple' infection from claiming her life by highly trained medical professionals with access to the most current protocols. The fact that in 14 days it was not easily achieved tells ya something about what a dire situation it was. Since then we've done everything possible to avoid bringing in some bug or virus in for a visit. The severity of the nature of being immunosuppressed means that when her husband has a cold he takes up residency upstairs, linens require copious amounts of bleaching and surfaces are wiped down with bleach or medical grade disinfectants. It means that those around her can not take any live virus vaccinations and safely be around her. Encountering someone who has recently had one could prove to be deadly. I, who has always taken a, what doesn't kill me makes me stronger approach to germs, virus and bacteria have even started using the cleansing wipes on grocery store carts. An act that would have been unheard of out of me a year ago.
If it sounds like we're practically on Bubble Boy precautions? (The history of Bubble Boy: the real Bubble Boy and the John Travoltalicious Bubble Boy made for tv movie) It's because we are. This is the first time I've shared much of a glimpse of a private health issue that, until now I've never felt was mine to share. But I'm doing so now to give those who consider refusing vaccinations a decision that solely impacts themselves/minors under their control an idea of the scope of the impact of that decision. You see our community has recently experienced outbreaks of both measles and mumps.
|A new tourism slogan I'm working on...|
mumps is up to 439. So now in 20fucking14 we have to be fearful that some unvaccinated person we randomly encounter is playing host monkey for ol' school diseases that if not for the breech of herd immunology that we're seeing played out as a result of the swelling numbers of those choosing not to vaccinate would be things people were last concerned about when women wearin' lil' white gloves was still a thing.
This, of course is problematic for us. Which makes it a, that sucks for you (us), problem. It does. (Suck) If it doesn't yet suck for you? Congratulations. I'm ecstatic for you (and yours). Sincerely. I am. It's my honest hope for you that cancer, leukemia, need for an organ or bone marrow transplant never land on your doorstep or of someone in your life. But the fact is, that if you've been lucky enough to not be touched (directly, or as in my case, indirectly) by any of these health issues it's an amazingly fortunate anomaly that is almost guaranteed to have changed five years from now.
Most people I know would never dream of havin' a cold and visiting a cancer patient. Because they realize direct consequences of exposure to someone who is hosting an illness to the health compromised person. We don't think of vaccinating as having that exact kind of direct effect to people, but we should. The decision to vaccinate, or not isn't a decision that ends at the end of your fingertips. It's impact quite literally extends to everyone in your community. Today, that puts my Mom at particular peril with more than 780+ carrying mumps and measles around our community. But make no mistake, tomorrow? You'll know someone who 'communicable disease' wouldn't just mean a temp and a few days of feelin' shitty. It's certainly your choice to wait until any of the plethora of communicable diseases which had been at near eradicated levels in our nation, continue to surge to realize how and why herd immunization is such a critical public health issue. Or you can learn from our experience how easily you and yours can find yourselves in these shoes and choose more wisely.
Until you realize that the apex of the mumps outbreak in my area was ground zero'd at The Ohio State University (+ a few other area colleges/universities before it spread in to the community at large). The Ohio State University is a campus comprised of nearly 57,000 students. (OSU has 56,371 more students than the average for all colleges and universities.) ...Many of whom have just left campus to return home to family and friends, all across the nation (world, really). Returning to their favorite people to spread mumps even wider. So, now the lack of vaccination kinda sucks for a much larger swath of Americans. (Of course I mean for the health compromised folks I noted earlier, but also for babies too young to have started vaccinations who represent some of the most medically vulnerable among us.) Particularly, I would imagine, for those who live in the states seeing the highest number of non-vaccination levels:
And this very interesting article: