My son was barely five weeks old when we took him to a daytime holiday party. I spent most of the party on the couch with him asleep on my chest, the way I spent so many gatherings in those first months, so when Spouse brought the Cheetos over I got into them pretty hard. I was wrist deep in the bowl when a friend came over.
“Don’t eat those,” she said. “That one had the flu yesterday and his saliva is all over all the snack foods.” She gestured at the kid with his hand in his mouth. My kid spent the first week of his life in the Intermediate Nursery at BC Women’s. I was not impressed.
Children are disgusting and too many of their parents don’t have any sense.
That is what bothers me about the anti-vaccination movement. Little Kaedynne or Jaxxxon or whatever doesn’t know any better, yet adults, who choose not to vaccinate their germ balls, are sending them out among babies, sick kids, pregnant women, and the elderly, who should be able to conduct their daily affairs with the reasonable expectation that they won’t get measles or shingles or polio. Sixty women and newborns were exposed to measles at Abbotsford Regional Hospital just a couple of weeks ago, likely because someone brought their little disease vector to visit a neonate without even thinking about the potential consequences.
Since my own disgusting kid started daycare last year, he’s had roughly 8,000 colds. Spouse and I each have autoimmune diseases (rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 diabetes) because we suck at life, so we get even sicker than he does. As a result, we stay home a lot. Two good friends had babies this past year; I didn’t get to see them until the snot ran dry at home, and one of them was two months old by the time we were well enough to visit; no one wants to expose a new baby to surprise germs whose origins are uncertain.
It can take 10 to 12 days after being exposed to measles before you develop any symptoms. If some kid wasn’t vaccinated but sat beside someone sick on the bus or got coughed on by some other kid at school or at the park or at the mall, he could be harbouring the disease right now.
Does that sound like irrational paranoia? How about the paranoia that vaccines are all a Big Pharma conspiracy? It’s a bit the same except, in my extreme, some non-vaccinated kid gives a leukemia patient the measles. The truth is that the cost of the vaccine pales in comparison to the cost of the disease; there is far more to be made treating the illness than preventing it.
We’ve given too much currency to anti-vax rhetoric; once Andrew Wakefield was exposed as a fraud and was stripped of his credentials we should have moved on. But we entertain the idea that everything is debatable, that every topic is an issue with two sides, and that there must be a counter-argument, even when there isn’t one.
t’s like one side is saying, “you have to wash your hands before dinner” and the other side is all “eff you, you’re not my dad.”
And how did Jenny McCarthy come to be the leader of this insane movement? Why do we dismiss so many women’s ideas, especially pretty women’s ideas, but take up arms against science for this woman’s? Despite any evidence to support her claims – and, in fact, in spite of an avalanche of evidence to refute them – this woman has earned our attention, and, by extension, a degree of legitimacy.
McCarthy is dangerous, but she’s telling people what they want to hear. Our comfort means more to us than facts, which are often cold and unfriendly. I don’t know why anyone would take advice from someone who on the one hand thinks that vaccines contain neurotoxins that poison children (they don’t) but on the other hand is excited about shooting neurotoxins into her own face.
I don’t know why anyone would take health advice from anyone who isn’t a medical professional.
We live in a society where you can believe any silly thing you want to, and as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone then you can carry on as you like. But this not-vaccinating thing isn’t harmless. Babies die. Sick kids get sicker. Pregnant women miscarry.
Do whatever you want! Don’t believe in science if it scares you! In general, I don’t care what anyone else does, as long as they’re not putting anyone in danger. The minute you do put someone else at risk though, you are liable. Morally, definitely, and hopefully one day financially as well.
Vaccines aren’t a choice, or a conspiracy. They are medicines designed to protect public health and to prevent individuals from getting sick and/or dying from preventable diseases. Herd immunity is all of our responsibility.
Polio still exists; it’s just an airplane-ride away. We have a vaccine that can prevent some very deadly forms of cancer, but parents are refusing to give it to their daughters (whole other rant for a different post, perhaps). Rampant misinformation and fear-mongering is everywhere, from grammatically incorrect Facebook rants to the pages of our newspapers to our daytime television shows.
In order to protect my and my family’s health, I want disclosure when someone doesn’t vaccinate their kid so I can decide whether or not I want my kid to interact with him. I want to assess the risk myself. As someone with a lethargic and misguided immune system, I tend to err on the side of caution when it comes to other peoples’ sicknesses and my own health. I tend to err on the side of bitchcakes when it comes to my kid’s.
These outbreaks aren’t accidental; they are caused by negligence. Whether or not to vaccinate your children is not a debate; it’s an issue of right versus wrong.
Emily Wight is a writer, editor and web communications specialist. She writes about food at Well fed, flat broke, and is THAT Mom on UrbanMoms.ca. She occasionally rants over at Regressive Parenting. She has a toddler and a cat and her apartment has not been clean in two years.