Saturday, January 31, 2015

It's Not OK


No matter what your views on vaccines are, it's not ok to shame parents for the death of their child from a vaccine preventable illness.

It's not ok to shame the parent if they vaccinated their child and their child contracted the illness anyway and died. 

It's not ok to shame the parent if they didn't vaccinate their child and the child died.

It's just not ok.

It's not ok, even if in the first case the parents' research showed vaccines to be safe and effective. Even if they failed to have a blood test done to make sure the child conferred immunity from the vaccine - not every child does. Even if the parents gave the child the illness because they didn't choose to make sure of their immunity either. Even if the parents were never told that their child might not become immune to the disease after vaccination. 

It's not ok, even if in the second case the parents' research showed that the risks of giving the vaccine to their child outweighed the risk of getting the illness. Even if the child wouldn't have an anaphylactic reaction to the vaccine, as can happen with some children. Even if the child's immune system wouldn't have overreacted making the child very ill, as has happened with many children and adults alike after receiving a vaccination. Even if doctors warned them that not getting the vaccine could be dangerous.

It's also not ok to shame a parent who vaccinated their child for the child's death due to the vaccine. 

Even if the doctors warned that getting the vaccine could be dangerous. Even if the doctors stayed silent about the risks of vaccination. Even if the parents failed to read the vaccine insert, as they should with anything they would have injected into their child. 

It's not ok because people on all sides of the vaccine debate have science to back them up, along with some fear, and usually lots of questions about the what ifs of vaccinating or not vaccinating. I say all sides, because there are many. There are those who cannot receive vaccines due to illness, medication, or allergic reactions to vaccine contents; or because some families have health histories that make even the most vaccine-promoting doctors question whether it's the right thing for that family; because some families are adamantly for vaccination and find they cannot proceed with vaccination for their child due to a bad reaction to the vaccine, or are adamantly against vaccines and find themselves needing to make the choice to do so because of their child's particular situation. There are parents who blindly get their children vaccinated, without studying the risks vs. benefits and parents who blindly deny vaccines without research. There are parents who don't know that some vaccines shed, and they are putting others at risk for days or weeks after their child is vaccinated and there are parents who don't realize their non-vaccinated child has come into contact with an illness and accidentally spread it. 


It is ok to show compassion for a family whose child has died or had serious complications due to a vaccine preventable illness or due to getting a vaccine. It is ok to mourn with them.It's ok to love them.  It's even ok to forgive them. 

Wouldn't this world be a better place if instead of placing blame and arguing, we wrap all of these families in love and forgiveness and realize that we are all doing what we think is best for our families? 

But...but.... you say. 

But love. If a child has died, no matter the reason, it is a time for compassion. It's as simple as that. 

Anything less than love is not ok. 


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