The new playdate question: “Is your child vaxxed?”

By  | February 23, 2015 |  Comments | Filed under: News Commentary

It appears I unwittingly moved to ground zero for measles. According to the L.A. Times I’m in a pocket where the measles vaccination rate is on par with Sudan. Yay.

My kids are lucky enough to be in schools where the vaccination rate achieves herd immunity, but how safe is that herd when two preschools at the highest risk for an outbreak are just across the street? We may not share bricks and mortar, but we share playgrounds. We share the sidewalks going about our daily business. We share the same grocery store carts, after school ice cream spots, play places, hair salons, shoe stores, occasionally impromptu lawn sprinkler parties and a little thing called air.

We’re not buried under the snow like the rest of the country. (My condolences to the northeast, but I’d rather have snow than measles.) No, the people of L.A. are are out. Breathing on each other. Where does that leave me?

Wary of birthday party invitations.

Not having play dates.

Studying the skin of every child we brush against.

Wait, why should I be the one afraid of public spaces? It should be the unvaxxed hiding in their caves (where they can be free! Freedom! America!) instead of me, a person who has taken the steps to protect myself and others. My baby just happens to be too young for the booster.

I wonder if the parents at the schools across the street even know how low the vacation rate is where they send their children every day? Say a family has an infant at home and a three-year-old who isn’t old enough to get the MMR booster (the measles vaccine is a two-step deal: given once at the child’s first birthday and again at age four) – that family is at risk in a school lacking herd immunity. Do they realize the ten or fifteen kids who have opted out “for personal reasons” i.e. they saw a junk science movie, are putting all the families at school at risk for a potentially fatal disease? Maybe those 10 or 15 kids ought to exercise their freedoms alone. I’m certainly not inviting them to our birthday parties.

Vaccines do not cause autism, but guess what a case of measles can cause – besides death. Brain damage. It floors me that the same crowd who is so concerned about (the zero risk of) autism so flippantly welcomes the chance for their child to be left with a learning disability, hearing loss or blindness after contracting measles. Their answer to this of course is that they have access to the best healthcare and so if their child does get sick, they will be okay by the grace of modern medicine. IRONY. IT HURTS.

You know what? Measles is just another example of the rich not giving a jeff about the other 99%.

If a rich L.A. kid gets measles, they’re not going to lay in a grass hut in the middle of the Sudan. They’re not going to some janky hospital that would have to life flight a skinned knee. No. The rich anti-vaxxers will treat their measles by driving their Porsche Cayennes straight to Ceders Sinai where Beyonce rented a private birthing wing.

Is merely surviving good enough? The truth is measles encephalitis can set in on a patient who seems out of the woods. Is fighting measles and coming away with “just” blindness good enough? Is taking your chances and dodging the measles by the grace of luck “good enough” parenting?

No.

The only thing good enough is doing every thing you can to protect your child. Some are calling the decision not to vax child abuse. Others are calling for lawsuits. THE REST OF US HAVE HAD ENOUGH.

“Is your child vaccinated against measles?” is the new “is there a gun in the house?”

Parents, let’s ask if the house is vaccinated before we enter. Let’s ask other parents if their child is vaccinated (assuming they are able) before play dates and birthday parties and before holding elevators and sharing swings. Let’s ask about a school’s vaccination rate before we pay the tuition (even at the worst schools, 50% of the kids are still vaxxed – that’s a lot of money walking away, administrators). Logic doesn’t work so maybe social isolation will.

Have fun being the only one at your party, anti-vaxxers!

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Not vaxxed? NO CAKE FOR YOU.

 

 

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