To vaccinate or not to vaccinate: As most parents well know, the war rages on, with emotions running high on both sides. The anti-vaccination movement is not supported by scientific data, but it continues to gain steam based on those who still falsely claim links to autism.
The link between the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine and autism has been refuted by multiple scientific studies — but a lot of parents still refuse to accept the results of these studies.
What is clear and proven beyond a shadow of a doubt? Unvaccinated kids put immunocompromised children who can't get vaccines at serious risk.
One pediatric nurse, Camille Echols, is deeply worried for her daughter, who was likely exposed to chicken pox via an unvaccinated child and had to be rushed to the emergency room. Echols' daughter — an organ transplant recipient — cannot receive live vaccines that prevent illnesses like chicken pox.
Echols vented on Facebook about her concerns in a post that has since gone viral.
"I've been relatively quiet on social media about the 'Anti-vax' movement. I've seen smart-ass memes saying 'why would my unvaccinated kids be a threat to your vaccinated kids if you're so sure they work?' THIS is why. There are people who cannot have live vaccines, like my daughter, who had a kidney transplant when she was 2 years old. She got one varicella vaccine but couldn't get the second because she was immunosuppressed and instead of developing immunity, she would have contracted the virus.'
Echols continued, "The resurgence of chicken pox, whooping cough, measles and other diseases that were nearly eradicated years ago is a direct result of a large percentage of the population deciding not to vaccinate their children without sound research [to] support that decision."
Her response to those who still refuse to vaccinate their kids? "As for those telling me to 'educate myself,' I am a pediatric RN with over 10 years' experience in transplant and chronic illness populations. I have had extensive education regarding vaccinations. I would not post about something I was ignorant about...Those saying 'it's just chicken pox, she won't die,' please educate yourselves on transplant recipients. There are millions of people waiting for life saving organs. With those numbers, the odds are good that someone in your life has been affected by organ failure."
Echols' daughter is now in the ER, receiving injections of immunoglobulin and getting lab work. The family is working with an infectious disease specialist, and her daughter will have to be watched closely for three weeks (the incubation period of chickenpox is 7 to 21 days). If her daughter worsens, she'll need to receive IV antiviral meds in the hospital and could become gravely ill.
Echols' final plea to those who hesitate to vaccinate their children is this:
"Please, if you are someone who believes your child will get autism from vaccines, PLEASE educate yourself. There isn't a single peer-reviewed study that came to that conclusion. And the people choosing to skip vaccinations put children like my daughter at risk. She has been through SO much already. And this was avoidable."
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