Open Letter 2
Credit: Edited - https://www.flickr.com/photos/christines/311584619/

It Takes a Village to Raise a Child

Dear Anti-Vaccinators,

This is my open letter to you, the parents who are exercising their right to not vaccinate their children.  We’ve most likely never met, and probably never will, but we do have something in common; we both love our children.  

I’m going to start off by assuming you are making your decision to not vaccinate your children based on a lack of proper education on the topic or maybe you were lead down the wrong path by somebody you trusted and that you aren’t attempting to be malicious.  Regardless of your intent, you are contributing to the downfall of a system that has nearly eradicated a number of potentially fatal diseases. Without this system in place, these diseases will have the opportunity to resurface.  By not vaccinating your children, you are putting the rest of our children at risk for serious diseases that can result in death. 

That is right... death.

Due to ignorance, and lack of vaccination, Measles has started to make resurgence.  Between 2000 and 2013 there was only one year where there were more than 200 cases of Measles in the United States.  In 2014 there were over 600. In the first 37 days of 2015 there have already been 121 cases. This means we are amidst an outbreak; if this pace continues we are trending towards nearly 1200 cases in 2015 alone. 

Measles

Measles is dangerous.  Period.  

This outbreak is no joke.  The complications from measles can be catastrophic.

For some children, measles can lead to:

  • Pneumonia (a serious lung infection)
  • Lifelong brain damage
  • Deafness
  • Death

Pretty serious business right?

Further reading on Measles: http://jid.oxfordjournals.org/content/189/Supplement_1/S4.full

So why am I so worried if I vaccinate my own children?

For the first 12-15 months of our children’s lives, they depend on us, as a village to protect them from Measles since they are not yet old enough to be vaccinated.  The difference between your unvaccinated child and mine is that you are doing so intentionally; taking advantage of our hard work as a village. My child is waiting his turn to step up, get his vaccine and keep this disease at bay.

Still don’t understand the risk? Let me paint you a picture. 

Heaven forbid this Measles outbreak continues and your unvaccinated child contracts the disease; surely after reading the consequences of Measles above you will take him to the doctor.

Now, on this day when you take your child to the doctor or hospital, I also happen to be there with my seven month old son.  On this day, your choice to not vaccinate your child affects me, and any other family that happens to be in that room with a child under a year old. You are now exposing my son to measles; putting his life at risk, and under no circumstance will I tolerate this.

This is the point where your ignorance has opened the flood gates for this disease to resurface and kill thousands of innocent babies who are too young to be protected.  If you thought you were under the microscope now for being an anti-vaxxer, wait until you become the reason for death. 

That death will be on you.

But wait, don’t vaccinations lead to Autism?

Quite frankly I’m sick of hearing ignorant arguments about vaccines causing Autism. Simply put, Autism is not caused by vaccination. Thanks to popular media led by Jenny McCarthy, and one fraudulent study that has since been retracted, many impressionable people have been brain washed into thinking there is some sort of link between vaccines and Autism.

There has been plenty of research published in reputable scientific journals showing this to be untrue. As mentioned above, the one study most people reference has been deemed fraudulent and as a result has been retracted.

If you are so inclined you can read the study that created the initial controversy here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673697110960

Also, here is the entire history behind the MMR Vaccine and Autism controversy listed  above:  

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MMR_vaccine_controversy

Helpful Studies

Here are just a few studies from peer reviewed scientific journals that state no connection can be found between vaccines and autism:

http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/48/4/456.full

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0749379703001132

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10810731003780714?journalCode=uhcm20#preview 

Google is not always your friend

If you are already jumping down to the comments to weigh in, do me a favour and spare me the anecdotal evidence you found on Google provided by lay people in an uncontrolled environment.  Correlation does not equal causation and anecdotal evidence proves nothing.  Just because something exists on the Internet DOES NOT MAKE IT CORRECT.  Just like in real life, having the loudest voice, does NOT make somebody right.  

In case I didn’t get through to you above, I’ll sum things up for you one more time. 

Contrary to your (self centred) belief, your right to not vaccinate your children affects more than just you and your family; it affects everybody in the village.  As a community we had nearly driven measles into the history books prior to the anti-vaccination movement. 

I will personally vaccinate my son to protect himself from disease as well as protect your family. By not vaccinating your children, you are not only taking advantage of me, but every other person in your community who has taken the steps to protect us.  You are contributing to the sabotage of decades of work we've put into the health of our community.

This isn't an opinion, this isn't a myth, this is the TRUTH.

Stop being a leech.

Educate yourself, protect your children, protect my children and be part of the village.

Help me put an end to the anti-vaccination movement and share this with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.

By: @RyeMcKenzie