After Jennifer Hibben-White took 15-day-old Griffin to the hospital for a checkup in January, she received an unthinkable call. A public health official informed Hibben-White that her newborn had been exposed to measles, a life-threatening disease, in the Pilkington, Ontario, hospital waiting room.
There are two important facts to remember about this story: A newborn baby like Griffin has an undeveloped immune system. A newborn baby like Griffin also has not been vaccinated yet.
For Hibben-White, this danger hit especially close to home. She had already lost her 5-year-old daughter Olivia when she died in her sleep from an undetected blood infection just three years ago. After Griffin's potential exposure to a vaccine-preventable illness, Hibben-White was irate.
She took to Facebook with a harsh stance against the anti-vaxxers who carelessly refused to protect their children and the children they encounter. She posted, "If you have chosen to not vaccinate yourself or your child, I blame you. I blame you."
"You have stood on the shoulders of our collective protection for too long. From that high height, we have given you the privilege of our protection, for free. And in return, you gave me this week. A week from hell. Wherein I don't know if my baby will develop something that has death as a potential outcome."
The full post can be seen below:
Within just a few days, Hibben-White's post has been shared more than 278,000 times. As Hibben-White told The Star, her rant wasn't intended to blast parents who made a different choice than her. It was intended to open their eyes to the reality, and especially the danger, of their decision.
She said, "My hope behind my post, was that it might change one person's mind (to vaccinate their child). If just one person did that, I would be happy."
This angry mom got her wish. Hibben-White was surprised to find hundreds of messages in her inbox from anti-vaccination parents, saying that her post had changed their mind. One honest rant on Facebook on behalf of a potentially ill newborn turned the tides and convinced parents to vaccinate.
Thankfully, my kids made it through the newborn stage, but I remember that being the scariest time of my life. Hibben-White's post made such a big impact because it highlights what many anti-vaxxers forget as they exercise their freedom of choice: Vulnerable kids who can't be vaccinated, like Griffin, other infants and children undergoing chemotherapy, could pay the price.
Hibben-White will find out if Griffin has measles after a 21-day incubation period. Griffin's doctor says that the odds are in his favor.
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