Should you vaccinate your child for measles or not? Is this a health decision for you or for all our children? It isn’t always a factor that we have to make a decision that will affect others in the long run. Yet, young parents are faced with this weighty decision today. There are those who are vehemently against vaccination. There are those who are middle ground and then those who don’t question the validity of vaccination at all. I respect all positions for they are all valid on some level.
I lived in the era of widespread epidemics of measles, chicken pox, polio, etc. I remember my grandmother, Anna, who fought polio with my father. He had a limp that affected him the rest of his life. I remember the chicken pox and how devastating it was for peers of my parents who contracted it. Then there was the mumps and the fear of infertility or deafness and that happened too. So I bring to you the experience of living through an era that had just begun to realize the power of controlling these life changing diseases. Everyone in my generation was vaccinated as soon as the vaccine was made available. Having lived through the fear, anxiety and realities of these diseases, young parents felt it imperative to take these vaccinations as a way to protect their children and themselves from the pain of living with the effects and also the fear of losing their child.
Here we are in 2019. We have so much research and many more ways of informing parents to help them make health choices for their children. It must be so difficult. I am relieved that I don’t have to make these decisions. They symbolize the complexity of the young parents’ responsibilities in caring for their beloved children. The decision to vaccinate was actually taken out of our hands when children weren’t allowed to attend school without them. Those days seem to be behind us.
Young parents, you have a grave decision to make. You may feel that it is dangerous to vaccinate your children for measles. However, your decision may affect the health and well-being of the children in your neighborhoods, your communities and your country. This highly contagious disease moves fast and affects most who are exposed. How would you feel if your child got the measles, spread it to with whomever they came in contact? One of those children is now blind, or has skin disease or brain dysfunction at a later age. If men contract it, it can cause sterility. It may cause premature births. Are you prepared for the fallout of not vaccinating your children?
Please just take some time to consider the ramifications of your very important choice not just for you but for all those who may be affected by it. Today’s world is complex …too complex for all of us navigating our individual lives and decisions that affect our physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual well-being. But here we are and hopefully I may have helped to cast some light on this grave decision with which you face.