A letter to the anti-vaxer

PhotoI have written the letter for this week’s column. Recently, two of my children were diagnosed with a life changing chronic illness, which leaves them vulnerable to infections. My six-year old has already had to have two thirds of his right lung removed due to an infection permanently damaging it. Another infection and he could need a transplant.

So you can understand why this letter is written passionately and honestly…

Dear Anti-Vaxer…

I want a little word in your ear. You see I have two children with chronic illnesses that affect their immune system. One has already lost a lung and I’ll be dammed if any more lobes are going to be chopped out.

I’m usually an advocate for choice. Hugely so. But not when it comes to vaccinating your child. Because, choosing whether to vaccinate or not isn’t only about your child.I understand that maybe you don’t think about other people’s children – why, of course they are not as important as your own – or that through not vaccinating your own child you are putting those other children at risk, maybe even ones who are yet to be born. Safely in the womb of their mother, totally and utterly dependent on her. She can’t control the decisions others make that may out her child at risk. And nor can the man sat in the café behind you undergoing chemotherapy? Or the ??

You see, for me, not vaccinating your children is an incredibly selfish way to cement your opinion on the subject. And whilst we are on that tasty morsel of debate – whether or not you are entitled to an opinion on the matter, I’d say that, unless you have extensively researched both sides of the equation and can back your opinions up with hardcore facts and evidence, then no, you almost certainly are not entitled to an opinion. Not when you are choosing to do something that impacts people who cannot defend themselves against your actions.

Have you asked your child if they’d like to become infertile thanks to mumps? Or lose their hearing because of measles? Didn’t think so. And don’t feed me that line about overmedicating. Do you know that for sure? Or did someone of a similar frame of mind convince you of this. The delight that is confirmation bias at its worst.

And finally, yes it is true that anyone suffering from, or looking after someone, with a compromised immune system will do everything in their power to protect it, of course they will, but sometimes it is simply not enough.

We need your help to stay healthy, and so do your children.

From a Pro-Vaxer.

Don’t agree with me? Then why not write a letter back? Email me at jen.faulkner@bristolwoman.org.uk. I look forward to hearing from you.

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