Mom Slams Anti-Vaxxers for Putting Her Daughter's Life in Danger

Camille Echols/Facebook

If there's one thing parents can't seem to get on the same page about, it's vaccines. Some are 100 percent pro-vaccine, others believe in a delayed vaccination schedule, and some even believe vaccines are downright dangerous. But, despite our personal feelings about vaccines, our immunization status is something that affects every single other person around us. That's why Camille Echols, a registered nurse and mom, just issued a plea to anti-vaxxers after her immunosuppressed daughter was hospitalized following an exposure to the chicken pox.


"I've been relatively quiet on social media about the 'Anti-vax' movement," Echols writes in her post. "I've seen smart-ass memes saying, 'Why would my unvaccinated kids be a threat to your vaccinated kids if you're so sure they work?' THIS is why. There are people who cannot have live vaccines, like my daughter, who had a kidney transplant when she was 2 years old."

Camille Echols/Facebook

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As the mom mentions in her post, her daughter had a kidney transplant when she was 2 years old. Later on, the little girl got one varicella (or, chicken pox) vaccine -- but she couldn't get the other dose because she is immunosupressed. "Instead of developing immunity, she would've contracted the virus," Echols adds.

Chicken pox is highly infectious, but thanks to the vaccine, it's also become increasingly rare. According to the Centers for Disease Control, cases of the chicken pox declined 79 percent between 2000 and 2010, and more than 3.5 million cases of chicken pox, 9,000 hospitalizations, and 100 deaths are prevented by the vaccine each year. But somehow, Echols's daughter was exposed to the illness last weekend, which jump-started a major medical emergency. Echols explains:

"She's getting labwork, injections of synthetic immunoglobulin and then we have to wait to see what the infectious disease doctor says. The incubation period of chicken pox is 7-21 days. So even with all we are doing, she could still become sick in the next 3 weeks. And that would mean an automatic admission to the hospital for IV antiviral meds. She could become very, very sick from this."

Camille Echols/Facebook

Because of the dangerous position her daughter is in, Echols is asking other parents to "PLEASE educate yourself" about the importance of vaccines.

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Since Echols's post went up, it's been shared over 101,000 times and sparked an intense debate. Hundreds of people are applauding the mom for her strong call to action. But, because vaccines are such a hot topic, people have also come out to criticize Echols and tell her that what's happening to her daughter is no big deal.

"Vaccinations are destroying the immune systems of our youth...and they are causing WAY more direct and future damage than these mild childhood illnesses ever could," one commenter wrote.

But the thing is, chicken pox isn't harmless. Pre-vaccine, as many as 150 people died every year from the chicken pox, while others faced complications like bacterial infections, blood stream infections, and even swelling of the brain. And the risks of so-called "mild childhood illnesses" are even greater for someone like Echols's daughter, who is a transplant recipient and already has a compromised immune system.

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People like Echols's daughter rely on herd immunity: When more of the population is vaccinated, it's harder for the diseases they're vaccinated against to spread. But, as the debate over vaccination heats up and fewer people opt for vaccines, preventable illnesses like the measles, mumps, and chicken pox are making a resurgence. And for infants too young to be vaccinated, the elderly, cancer patients, transplant recipients like Echols's daughter, and anyone else with a compromised immune system, it's a major health crisis.

Obviously, no one can force parents to vaccinate their children. But it's important to realize that the decision to skip vaccines affects more than just one person. As she writes in her post, "...The people choosing to skip vaccinations put children like my daughter at risk. She has been through SO much already. And this was avoidable."

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