Wednesday, March 06, 2019

To vaccinate or not—guest blogger Mick

We (the Bruces) lost a son, Patrick Howard, in the 1964 measles epidemic—2,100 babies died, and 20,000 were born with congenital rubella syndrome. Mick’s son was born in 1979, his wife had immunity but the children at the day care did not.

“The vaccination debate seems to have created some friction. I am - as I am sure is obvious - not at all in favor of the anti-vax view. It is not hypothetical for me.

In early 1979 my wife and I lived in Copenhagen. Nancy was in the early stage of pregnancy - unknown to us there was a German measles outbreak where we lived. Our elder son attended a kindergarten/pre school and Nancy would go there to pick him up. Nancy had German measles as a child so, of course, it never occurred to us that a problem could occur. It turned out that several children in that daycare did get German Measles - they were unvaccinated - and our unborn child was affected.

Our son, Sean, was born deaf-blind and with a small host of other issues. He was in NICU for 6 weeks, severely underweight when born, heart issues etc.

As he and we grew up together we learned a lot about vaccination and about Congenital Rubella Syndrome.

Sean grew up, at one point we were asked to host a meeting in our home for Children's Hospital for incoming residents/fellows so they could actually come into contact with a CRS adult - because the condition, thanks to vaccination programs is almost unknown now.

Sean will be forty this year. He still lives with us - I have attached a picture my wife took of Sean and myself walking one of our dogs on the dirt road where we live.

We have a lot of fun and Sean has done a lot of travelling a lot of adjusting to new places and he swims incredibly well.

I am writing this not because I want to make this debate mawkish. I am writing it it because I want people to understand that the risks involved in not vaccinating are NOT hypothetical. They are real.”


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