June 4, 2019

Dear anti-vaxxers.

You're doing it wrong.

Source is somewhere on Facebook

Measles is entirely preventable. It wasn't until people started believing that they and their Facebook-derived knowledge and their essential oils knew better that this all got out of control.

A few weeks ago, Pittsburgh news outlets put out a list of places where you may or may not have been exposed to measles. Obviously, we had been to a place on that list on the same day of the potential exposure.

The first measles case noted in Pittsburgh was an adult, traveling outside of the country, and since they were unvaccinated, they brought it back with them. This exposure was a foreign family, traveling here, visiting relatives.

This was incredibly unsettling as you can imagine it would be.

Wells was over 2 months away from his MMR vaccine and infants under 1 are the most susceptible, along with the immunosuppressed. Apparently, babies wait for a year to get the MMR shot because mothers are given it during pregnancy in the U.S. and the antibodies carry over to the baby and those antibodies stick around for months and months. Therefore, babies do have a limited amount of protection and can't get the vaccine until those antibodies fully wear off.

I would assume that a foreign family with the means to travel to the U.S. to visit family members on a vacation would have the means to procure a vaccine. People in the other parts of the world just don't think about vaccinations the same way we do (i.e. we supposedly are supposed to know better), so it was likely never on their radar. So, I mean, they kind of suck too but we are supposed to know better.

Let me be clear: in the United States we vaccinate our dogs. Our dogs. It's usually illegal if you don't. To think that people who have no notice/care/investment in vaccinations in their own countries can easily bring communicable diseases here is pretty outrageous.

For example, one of the locations for risk to exposure in this case: The Pittsburgh International Airport. Just that. If you were at the airport before a certain time on a certain day, you could've been exposed. Great, right?

All of that to say...if you are in the west and you are actively choosing not to get vaccinated because you prefer essential oils to antibiotics or because "my kids never get sick!" or something like that, I'm betting that you yourself are vaccinated because your parents were thinking human beings and you had the privilege of being born in the U.S. and you took that for granted. This also goes back to what I said weeks ago: if you think it's so great to not be vaccinated, move to a country where vaccinations aren't offered.

The anti-vaxxers in the U.S. weren't actually a part of my problem in this instance but they are a contributing part to an ongoing mentality. If this idea that we don't need vaccinations keeps up, everyone who is not vaccinated will get sick.

When we found out of the potential exposure, we were already on, what would be, day 8 of the incubation period. I will say that we became experts in measles overnight: Scott reading everything he could find and me checking on the baby for signs of a fever every 30 minutes.

If he had picked up the virus, a fever would show on days 10-12 and a rash would appear a few days after that. But, before the fever, white spots would show up in his mouth and he'd lose his appetite.

We were kind of banking on the fact that, because he's a baby, the symptoms would present quickly. He had no symptoms and nothing wrong at all so I never would've worried if I hadn't seen the story of the exposure risk.

To go along with all of this, we had a weekend trip, a trip to Chicago, and a new baby joining my brother's family to think about. We'd have had to not see our families for Mother's Day weekend, cancel a work trip to Chicago for Scott (a BIG DEAL, plus we'd lose my plane fare), and our baby/pet sitters would've had to reconfigure their schedule because they'd had been planning to stay at our house for a week. Plus, there would be no meeting of my new niece for the foreseeable future, until we knew none of us were carrying the virus.

Not to mention the fact that they often admit babies into the hospital for measles. I didn't even know what hospital to call or go to. It's not like you can just pick up an antibiotic at Walgreens after a phone call to the doctor.

So, it was a very long week. In the end, he was fine. The point is that these are problems and concerns that scientists and doctors worked very hard for us not to have to worry about anymore.

Think about all the benefits afforded to us by modern society.

"I'm not going to use a phone. I'll mail you a letter instead."
"I'm not going to use running water. I'll haul buckets from the river."
"I'm not going to use electricity. Candles!"

That is the comparison.

"I'm not going to prevent my family from contracting a serious communicable disease by giving them a vaccine."

Imagine if people 200 years ago had had the option of being able to remain healthy in the event of a disease outbreak? They'd think we were fools for sure if we turned that down.


  1. straight up, people who dont vaccinate (themselves/their kids) due to those dumb conspiracy theories are idiots. end of story.

  2. PREACCHHHHH.... It's getting a little out of hand now.
    I saw this all the time - I dont take the flu shot - FOR ME - because to me, its still a guessing game. You never know how "effective" its going to be - but vaccines that are tried & true in preventing? YES!! & I can make my own decisions - kids can't. That's what's sad to me. Our world is in for a backlash of health with this.

  3. *a thousand clapping emojis*

  4. The airport one wasnt in March was it?

  5. My experience with developing nations is that vaccines tend to be pushed MORE, and there's more of them, not less. However, of course, the world has changed a lot in the past 30-40 years, so many adults from developing nations didn't receive vaccines as kids and probably never thought about getting them as adults. Being born here, Cyrus has had to get a number of vaccines that nobody gets in America. I once made a pro-vaccine comment on a friend's blog--stating how living in a developing nation where diseases like TB and measles and Japanese Encephalitis and etc. are concerns makes me even more thankful for vaccines. And I got a response from a random stranger that the TB vaccine is WAY WORSE than actual Tuberculosis. Like, really? Do you even know anyone who has had Tuberculosis? Because last year my friend (also American, so was never vaccinated for TB) was hospitalized for weeks for Tuberculosis Meningitis, other people had to take care of her nine month old and two year old for all those weeks, and even after finally being released, had to take the really hardcore TB meds for months throughout recovery. "Not bad at all"
    My friend's baby born the same month as Cyrus had measles at about 6 months old and weathered it fine, but that would have terrified me. I do think parents here aren't quite as scared of measles as it still is "common" compared to the USA.
    I do wish doctors would be a little more proactive with helping parents know how to deal with vaccine reactions/side effects--if they were, then parents might feel a little safer about vaccines. They did tell us when to expect a fever with the MMR shot, but only said use Tylenol, don't use anything else, not Ibuprofen (Docs here do not like Ibuprofen...that's okay, I got my stash from the USA). I was not prepared for the 105+ fever that Cyrus spiked for over 24 hours...on Tylenol, alternating with Ibuprofen, keeping him naked in a cool shower, wet cloths on his body. It was NOT fun. I feel like the fact that doctors don't even bother telling you what can happen or what to do to help make sure the fever doesn't get too high and cause negative effects is what ends up embittering some parents against vaccines.

  6. Could not agree more. Gracie's pediatrician gave her the second MMR shot a year early due to the outbreak, and I was so grateful. She would up with a massively swollen arm and rash for nearly a week, but it was worth it to know she's protected.

  7. I'm in complete agreement. The whole thing irritates me.


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