I love this meme so much. Many people do not realize how their decision to not vaccinate may impact those who have no choice but to remain unvaccinated. In fact, through a multitude of conversations and readings, I have found many people assume the only illness that could weaken an immune system in such a way that an individual could actually die from easily prevented (through vaccination) diseases is HIV/AIDS. Thousands upon thousands of people in our country live with a form of primary immunodeficiency. Primary immunodeficiency means the body lacks or is deficient in the part of the immune system that fights bacteria, which also means the body cannot produce antibodies to an illness or vaccination.
Simply put…if YOU came down with strep throat, your body would rally a defense, you would fight it, get better, and then, say, a week later you were near someone else who had strep, your body would recognize it and you would not get it again because you now have antibodies against it.
My kids get strep throat, take weeks of antibiotics, miss weeks of school, finally get better, encounter someone else with strep, get it again, and again, and again, and again. This goes for anything…..stomach flu, influenza, upper respiratory infections. Every illness they struggle through weakens the body further, leaving them vulnerable to any bacteria or virus out there.
Now imagine what could happen to them if they caught….chicken pox. Measles. Mumps. Polio. Whooping cough. We could be talking about lung collapse. Sepsis. Death.
Now, I’ve heard the old argument, “I had measles back before there were vaccinations, and I was perfectly fine.”
Whoop-de-do for you. You were fortunate to be born with a healthy immune system. Not every one is. Luck of the draw, buddy. You can’t assume that because you were fine, everyone else would be fine, too.
And I’ve heard it stated, “I don’t care about anyone else. I only care about me and my family and I don’t want to vaccinate.”
Isn’t it great you get that choice? Wow. Some of us don’t get a choice. But hey, very thoughtful of you to risk the lives of others because you are selfish. Bet you are raising some nice kids over there. Obviously, the only lives that matter are the ones under your roof.
But we all share a planet. We should try to help each other. Can you really sleep well at night knowing you may have caused the death of someone else’s child? A child whose parents love them just as much as you love your children?
Our family and other families like ours rely on the “herd immunity”…..that other people are vaccinated and thus form a protective circle around the people who can’t be. The more people that choose to not vaccinate, the more people with primary immunodeficiency seriously affected by that choice.
There is no cure for immunodeficiency. The only treatment is a monthly or weekly infusion of a plasma by-product called IVIG. IVIG contains the antibodies from thousands of donations of blood and plasma, boiled down and put into one little bottle. This infusion gives my kids a sort of “temporary immune system” that lasts a few weeks, until we have to do it again.
Hypothetically, if this trend to not vaccinate continues, there could come a day when there aren’t enough antibodies in the pool of donated blood and plasma to create the IVIG that we rely on for survival.
There is no other treatment for primary immunodeficiency.
There is no cure.
If such a day ever came……….what would we do?
Families like mine don’t get a choice.
But YOU do.
What will you choose?