Vaccinate your kids – or keep them home

One night I received a recorded message from my sons’ principal. He called to inform parents that a student at their high school had TB and – that’s all I heard.

Like any sleep-deprived mom about ten minutes late for happy hour, I immediately shrieked, dropped the phone, and went online for answers. If I had paid attention to the call, I would have learned that this kid is a former student and only came into direct contact with a few people who had already been contacted for testing. My two sons were fine.

This is what happens when parents freak out and stop listening.

Which brings me to the recent ongoing outbreak of measles, thanks in part to uninformed, shrieking anti-vaccine moms.

You know the type. They wear Croc’s with long skirts and smell like sandalwood. Or Tea Party tshirts and smell like shit.

And they are endangering the lives of millions of people.

I’m all for parental choice, and moms everywhere are entitled to act insane – as long as it doesn’t harm anyone else.

Sure, sing along with The Wiggles.

Rock that nose ring.

Read The Bible.

Watch The View.

But when you decide to follow junk science and opt-out of the immunization schedule recommended by pediatricians, you put other children and adults at risk. And that’s not okay. Numerous studies have shown that vaccines are safe and aren’t causing autism. Quite the opposite, really. Vaccines are helpful, what with eradicating disease and all.

Yet many parents are still not vaccinating their kids.

According to the LA Times, “The U.S. experienced a record number of measles cases last year, with 644 infections reported from 27 states.” By January, a Disneyland case resulted in almost 90 infections this year.

These numbers need to stop going up.

In many states, school districts have their hands tied. They must allow unvaccinated children to enroll in schools because of a 1971 rule that says parents can choose not to vaccinate for “religious reasons.” This is a broad definition and I spoke with many people at the Department of Health who said it was a simple process for a parent to gain exemption and officials are not to question them about it.

Parents get the exemption and enroll their kids in school with ours.

The only group of people who can change this ridiculous rule are legislators. If they removed this rule, schools wouldn’t have to accept unvaccinated kids. This would compel most parents to vaccinate their children.

Or keep them at home.

Removing the rule would prevent what is shaping up to be a genuine health care crisis in this country. So that’s where we come in – because legislators work for us, the people. And when we care enough about a particular issue, we can compel them to act in our best interest.

Why should we care?

Is your child undergoing cancer treatment or any other serious medical condition that keeps him from being vaccinated? Being around unvaccinated kids puts him in danger.

Are you one of the 3% who received a vaccination but you don’t produce enough antibodies, or you do but not the kind that latch on to the virus and kill it?  Chances are, you won’t know this until it’s too late. You are in danger.

Is your baby too young to get vaccinated? Infants have a 90% risk of infection. They are in danger.

Are you a pregnant woman? You are in danger.

Are you elderly? In. Danger.

Do you love and care for any of the above? Then get on it.

The state has a compelling interest in protecting its residents from harm. Reach out to lawmakers who are instrumental in helping advance the cause of healthy children.

Call your senator and representative.

Lawmakers must take up this cause and protect their constituents. If parents want to ignore the advice of doctors and medical professionals, that’s fine. They shouldn’t be allowed to come near my children and endanger our most vulnerable citizens.

Keep them out of our schools.