Vaccinate or die

Kirjoittaja on New Yorkissa varttunut ja Helsingissä naisistunut copywriter.

Dear Lissu,

When I was a kid, we all got whooping cough, mumps, German measles and, of course, measles and chicken pox. I didn’t enjoy having any of them. I never had polio, but I knew people who did.  The summertime was a time of fear because of polio.  We weren’t allowed to do things like swim in public places.  Summertime crowds were off limits.

Whooping cough was awful.  I was five and I thought I was going to choke to death from it.  Actually, I think some kids do.  I definitely remember measles, lying in a dark room (it did something to your eyes if you didn’t) very, very sick. I have totally blocked out what I did in that dark room for a few days.  Chances are I made my mother crazy providing me with ice cream or other culinary delights.  Remember, we had no TV, no iPad, no Kindle. So being sick really sucked.

Then, a miracle happened. And that miracle came in the form of tiny syringes with long needles at the end of them. Kind of like when the Baby Jesus appears on a piece of toast or something.

Little kids started to go and get vaccinated.  Not exactly most kids’ idea of a good time, but parents were overjoyed at the prospect of being able to protect their children.  Everyone got vaccinated.  Kids couldn’t go to school without vaccinations.  And nobody ever had to lie in that dark room or die from measles and its complications, or choke from whooping cough. A true miracle.

Fast forward to today. To some of the kids and grandkids of those parents who cried with joy when those vaccinations first became available. To those parents who believe that they’re smarter than all those pediatricians and know more than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To the damn fools who believe that vaccinations will put their children at risk.

Right now there are at least 79 kids lying in dark rooms all over the (mostly western) United States, sick from a measles epidemic that began at Disneyland (more like Miseryland). Most of those kids have their parents to thank for that. And so do the people caught the disease even though they were vaccinated. It’s rare, but yes, you can potentially contract a disease like measles even if you’ve been vaccinated.

I’m not even going to go into the arguments against vaccinations because there just aren’t any. Period.

And today I heard that a baby in Finland died from whooping cough. Sadly, that child was too young for the vaccination and couldn’t be saved. Others can be. There are far fewer idiots in Finland than there are here in the U.S. Hopefully that means fewer Finnish anti-vaxxers too.

Stay away from Disneyland.

Love, Mom