'Concerned Moms' Out Anti-Vaxxer Neighbor in Bold Open Letter to the Community

Captainflash/iStock

mailbox with mail
Captainflash/iStock

The vaccine debate has long been on every parent's mind, and it's even stronger this year, as measles outbreaks continue to surge in various pockets of the US. But in one Wisconsin neighborhood, a new debate is swirling after an open letter was sent to residents that called out a local anti-vaxxer mom. It's since gone viral on Imgur, where it's sparked some fierce commentary on both sides of the aisle -- from those who feel it went too far and those who believe all bets are off now that we're in the middle of a public health crisis.

  • "Dear Resident," the typed letter begins. "Your neighbor, [redacted] does not believe in vaccinating herself or her family."

    It continues on to explain that failure to vaccinate puts anyone at risk if they are medically fragile, immunocompromised, or out of date on their own vaccinations -- a fact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has strongly warned about.

    "Please use caution when sharing work or personal space with this individual," the letter continues, "eating foods prepared by this individual, or attending gatherings at this individual's house if you or the people important to you fall into medically at-risk categories."

  • Advertisement
  • The letter also details how the unvaccinated pose serious health risks for the young, including infants who cannot be vaccinated until 6 months old.

    "People who are unvaccinated have caused outbreaks in Arkansas, Oregon, Washington, California, New York, North Carolina, Michigan, Virginia, Texas, Kanas, Illinois, Kentucky, Florida, Minnesota, Colorado, and Pennsylvania, with more outbreaks expected," the letter continues. "Nearly all outbreaks of disease were started by unvaccinated individuals, who pass along vaccine-preventable diseases to those without adequate protection."

    It's true. In fact, the outbreaks have become so serious, that in areas such as Rockland, County, New York, where 153 cases of measles have been reported since October, officials went as far as banning unvaccinated children from entering indoor public spaces last week -- and threatening to jail and fine their parents $500 if they are found in violation.

  • "People who don't believe in vaccines often hold other views that are at odds with widely accepted facts related to science and medicine," it says.

    It ends with a strong message of urgency, telling parents to protect themselves and their family "by using caution when interacting with these people," and includes a link to VaccinesWork.org, which provides more up-to-date information on vaccine-preventable deaths.

    It is signed, simply, Concerned Moms of Wisconsin

  • It didn't take long for the note to spark a firestorm in the comments section. (And if you thought these anonymous moms were harsh, just you wait.)

    Many people sided with the letter-writers, with one user saying, "Yes, out them all!"

    Some admitted that although public shaming is usually wrong, in this case, it's warranted because anti-vaxxers "deserve it."

    "The author of this letter is completely correct, has good reason to be concerned, and is also an a**hole," wrote another (hilariously) diplomatic user.

    Other comments quickly turned political.

    "Can we do this with flat-earthers, climate change deniers, and believers in trickle-down economics as well?" wrote another user.

  • Others weren't totally on board, and questioned the letter-writers' methods.

    "I understand 'the goal' of this, but it seems like it could quickly devolve into an unsubstantiated witch-hunt," wrote one user.

    "Anti-vaxxers suck, but I don't like the neighborhood commissar aspect of this," wrote another.

    "I mean, I guarantee the person who wrote it is super overbearing, but I also feel like its a good thing to be informed of this," countered another.

  • And therein lies the rub. How can parents truly protect their children when we're in the middle of a public health crisis that feels out of control?

    The current measles outbreaks cited in the letter is very real and very alarming. The disease, which was officially declared "eradicated" in the US in 2000 is back and thriving because of the decline in MMR vaccinations in various pockets of the country. 

    Health officials seem at odds over how to stop the spreading threat, because vaccines are not mandated by the federal government, and many states offer medical and religious exemptions that are often abused. But because of a growing trend in what's being dubbed "vaccination hesitancy," communities where the vaccination rates are lower than 75 percent are suffering. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) has even stated that the anti-vaccination movement has become one of the biggest global health threats in 2019.

    It's not all just about the threat of measles, either. Public safety officials strongly urge parents to vaccinate their kids for the flu as well -- even in months such as April -- because of the threat the virus poses to the young. According to the CDC, during the 2017-2018 flu season alone, 185 children died as a result of flu-related complications.

    If it feels like it can't happen to you or your child, it can. Just this week, a 2-year-old from St. Louis, Missouri, made headlines after she contracted the flu and it quickly escalated into a rare brain-swelling disease that has left her with a 50-50 change of survival.

    No matter where you stand on the Wisconsin moms letter debate, you have to admit it raises a fair question. Its methods may be a bit extreme, but then again so are the risks many of our children face -- so perhaps the ends justify the means?