Doctor’s sign about vaccinations reminds us that diseases last a lifetime
A doctor’s sign about vaccinations has gone viral because of its powerful message: diseases last a lifetime. In short, vaccinate your kids now or explain to them later why they have a disease that could have been easily prevented. The pro-vaccination message went viral after Sunni Mariah saw the sign posted in her doctor’s office and snapped a photo of it. She shared it on Facebook, where it quickly went viral.
The Colorado woman wrote, “New sign at my Dr’s office is throwing some serious shade.” It reads, “Not vaccinating your kids leaves them vulnerable to disease their whole lives.”
The sign lists all the examples of this happening in life: “When your daughter gets rubella when pregnant, how are you going to explain that you chose to leave her at risk? What will you say when she calls you and tells you she has cervical cancer, because you decided that she wouldn’t need the HPV vaccine? What do you tell your son when he breaks the news to you that he cannot have kids, thanks to the mumps that he got as a teenager? And what do you say when he gives influenza to his grandma? How do you explain that she won’t be coming home from hospital? Not ever.”
The message is pretty short, but man does it drive the point home: vaccinate your kids for their safety and the safety of those around them. The real gut punch comes at the end, though. The sign reads, “Do you tell them that you didn’t think these diseases were that serious? That you thought your organic, home-cooked food was enough to protect them? Do you say sorry?”
Not only is the closing point true, but it’s also a great reminder to parents who don’t vaccinate that their opinions shouldn’t overrule science.
While Mariah saw the sign in her doctor’s office in the U.S. the original message was penned by Dr. Rachel Heap who lives in Australia and is an intensive care specialist, MSN reported. She’s seen countless people die or suffer from diseases that vaccines would have prevented, which is what led her to write what she calls her rant against anti-vaxxers. A nurse in Colorado saw it, printed it out, and hung it up since the entire medical community believes in vaccines and has been fighting with people outside of the medical community who are convinced they know more about science and medicine than trained professionals.
Dr. Heap said she’s motivated by the lives she’s seen disappear because of anti-vaxxers. She calls them her ghosts. When she was working in a kids’ ICU she met two babies who were struggling with whooping cough. One left after six months of intensive care and may have brain damage. “The other one didn’t make it,” she says. “Those are two of my ghosts, but I’ve got countless, endless other ones because people don’t count the adults. The 28-year-old guy who died of late complications of whooping cough. The people who’ve died of influenza – young, healthy people as well as the older and more frail. Name a vaccine-preventable disease, other than polio, and I’ve seen it directly.” Like most doctors, Dr. Heap is painfully aware of how dangerous it is when people aren’t vaccinated. “We look after people dying of influenza. I’ve looked after people with complications of cervical cancer,” she said. “We looked after a guy with mumps.”
But because of the rise of anti-vaxxers, Dr. Heap and doctors all over the world have had to spend a lot of their own time re-educating communities. The issue is so crucial that The American Academy of Pediatrics has to constantly emphasize the need for vaccines. “Vaccines are safe. Vaccines are effective. Vaccines save lives. Vaccines have been part of the fabric of our society for decades and are the most significant medical innovation of our time,” the AAP wrote. “Claims that vaccines are linked to autism, or are unsafe when administered according to the recommended schedule, have been disproven by a robust body of medical literature. Delaying vaccines only leaves a child at risk of disease. Vaccines keep communities healthy, and protect some of the most vulnerable in our society, including the elderly, and children who are too young to be vaccinated or have compromised immune systems.”
Because the anti-vaxxers have grown in size in the last 10 years, Dr. Heap started the Northern Rivers Vaccination Supporters to help parents understand the scientific research that supports vaccines. “Most of the people in the pro-vax field, we do this in our spare time, because we are passionate about protecting the vulnerable,” she said. “How can I not continue this fight?”