Ever wish you had a crystal ball to peer at your future? Non-vaxxing parents, here you go. A private school in Virginia where a host of students have parents who don't believe in vaccinations was forced to close its doors last month.
The problem? An outbreak of a communicable disease easily prevented with a vaccination, naturally. Of the 30 people down with whooping cough at the Blue Mountain School, 23 were students (half the student body), and none had been vaccinated with the DTP DTaP shot that prevents pertussis, the medical term for whooping cough.
This is what happens when children are not vaccinated. It's not a matter of whether they'll get a disease, but when. Go ahead, tell me it's "your child, your choice." Indeed, in Virginia, that's the way the parents have been acting. It was their choice not to vaccinate, and their kids fell ill. They had to deal with the consequences of a week of closed school plus several more weeks of keeping their kids quarantined.
But what about the other people in that building? The seven staff members who fell ill because these parents decided not to vaccinate, who were infected by those kids? What about the other people your kid comes into contact with day to day outside of a school building? The infants who are not yet vaccinated, the immuno-compromised kids and adults for whom a disease like this could be a death sentence, the kids who actually have a legitimate reason not be vaccinated such as an allergy, the kids whose parents are slow vaxxing and haven't yet reached their full immunity, the kids for whom the shots didn't take?
I could go on, but I don't need to. All of those individuals are enough to prove that when it comes to vaccines, parents who say "my child, my choice" are wrong. It's "their child," but it's a choice being made for dozens of other people, including the people they will meet in the future, including classmates who will have to lose educational time because your kid is spreading a disease.
The moral of this story? Make your decision not to vaccinate your child. You're right, it's still your "choice" to do so, but don't pretend that it's only your child it will affect.
Image via @alviseni/Flickr