I took my two month-old in for his shots today and I nearly cried. OK, I know that’s not surprising news for anyone. I don’t know anyone who looks forward to taking their babies in for shots. At least I didn’t think I did. That changed last weekend, and that’s the real reason I almost cried today.
Last weekend I was lucky enough to attend the EVO Conference, where I learned about the United Nation’s Foundation, Shot@Life campaign. This organization works to bring vaccines to developing countries in an effort to end childhood deaths due to preventable diseases. Diseases that take a child’s life every 20 seconds. That’s 1.5 million children every year.
Vaccinations can be a hot topic here in America. That’s because we have the luxury of choice. In too many parts of this world, parents don’t get the opportunity to make that choice. And their children are dying.
I’ve heard stories of mothers’ whose hearts “break into little pieces” when their children die of these preventable diseases, and my heart breaks right along with them. But perhaps the most haunting story is that of the doctor in Sudan who reported that many mothers there no longer cry when their babies die. It’s something they’ve come to expect. They expect their children to die from diseases I hardly give a second thought to, simply because of where I live and my access to healthcare.
That’s the real reason my eyes welled up today. Because I finally realized there were mothers around the world who would walk miles to get these shots for their children. If only they had the access. That’s where Shot@Life comes in.
Shot@Life is working to bring awareness and funding to the issue of vaccine-preventable disease and the children whose lives are being cut painfully short. Here’s a short video they shared at the conference (I almost cried then too. C’mon, I just had a baby — I’m allowed to be a hormonal mess.) :
It takes only $20 to give one of these children a lifetime of immunizations. To give them a fair shot at life.
So how can you help?
Go to the Shot@Life website. Learn more about their program. Add your voice. Make a donation. Better yet, involve your kids like these moms did and make a donation together.
You can even make a donation using someone else’s money. That doesn’t sound right, does it? Well, as a part of Shot@Life’s Blogust campaign, committed donors will make a $20 donation for every original comment made during the blog relay. You can get all the details here. Essentially, you read, you comment, and a donation will be made that will save a child’s life.
Let’s come together to make a difference. Let’s give mothers and fathers the choices we take for granted. Let’s give children a shot at life.
Have you actually taken time to research what else is in these “life-saving” vaccines?? Formaldehyde, aluminum, and other harmful products….. I encourage new parents to educate themselves on the vaccines (not just the diseases they are suppose to prevent) before you inject your kids with this stuff!
I think the point here is these children are exposed to so many diseases that NOT getting a vaccine is far worse getting them. Quite simply they will and do die. You can’t avoid the diseases when they are all around you.
I do understand concerns about the harmful products, but it is funny that a lot of people don’t really think about those “harmful products” when their children drink sodas, eat treats or foods that stay fresh for 2-3 years (really! what’s in it)???!!! Or when we use cleaning supplies and insecticides around the house and yard. Children are exposed to all kinds of harmful products, at least vaccines can prevent lethal diseases. It is personal choice for everyone, but some parents might change their opinions if they meet a child who got permanent disability after going through an illness that could had been prevented. Encourage new parents to educate themselves on the diseases that the vaccines prevent not only on what is in the vaccine. Look at both sides. I ask myself what would I chose: to vaccinate my child for example for whooping cough 9 (that we’ve had outbreaks of) or to try and ease my child’s struggle through uncontrolled coughing, not being able to take a deep breath and fever??
How about the parents who’s children die from getting the vaccine? I’m sure you would argue that there is no proof. If there isn’t then why is there a Vaccine Damage Compensation? Why has autism spectrum disorders increased 300 percent over the past 100 years?
Yes, I know we are talking about children in third world countries that are surrounded by diseases. We used to be surrounded by disease too until we got better sanitation and food for the hungry. Why can’t money be spend on helping the people get those things? Those children need food and clean water more desperately.
It’s so true that there are many, many challenges facing the children in these countries. My hope is that each person will take action and contribute to whichever cause resonates with them so that together we can truly make a difference.
Heather@Creative Family Moments says
I think we as Americans often forget what life was like before vaccines. Many parents here can choose to go without vaccines because so many have gotten the vaccine and the likelihood their child will get a life-threatening (and preventable) disease is now slim. I wish that for other countries. It starts by making them affordable and available. Thanks for sharing about this program.
I wish that for them as well, Heather. Thank you for your response.
Dr. Oz said that he did not allow his children to take these vaccines.
Lela & S- While I certainly support informed consent and parent choice, I do have to correct the record in that Dr. Oz has recently made statements supporting vaccines. http://health.heraldtribune.com/2012/06/05/dr-oz-dont-fear-childhood-vaccinations/ As I stated in the post, my focus with this article is not necessarily about vaccines in the US as we have the luxury of choice –the matter constitutes a completely different discussion– but about the children in developing countries who do not have the access, are not given a choice, and who are dying in astonishing numbers from diseases which, while rare here, are rampant there.
Audrey Hedrick says
I would call Dr. OZ a very very irresponsible Doctor.
Susan Case says
Having suffered through measles, mumps and chicken pox, I recommend the vaccines. My friend was in excruciating pain with shingles and I have now had that vaccine which is recommended to those over 60. Having said that, I do recommend that premies (I had one) be treated differently and with a lower dose – and only one vaccine at a time – due to lower body weight. I wish I would have known this (and the doctors – this was 21 years ago) because I wonder if her seizure disorder and autistic tendencies stem from the immunizations – or her prematurity – or the long labor – or my being 40 when I had her. I still don’t know.
Wow! How the little things we take for granted is a life changing and life saving issues for children.
Anna Watson says
Measles reduced in the developing world by 50% when the diagnosis was changed from DR diagnosis to testing samples to confirm cases. GPs were over diagnosing measles by 50% . A further 23% were reduced by the introduction of vit A supplements (see the WHO) so reduction due to vaccines is not all it seems. I have a friend who has worked in Africa for 22 years and he says that the health workers and NGO are seeing children become very sick with the vaccines and they give antibiotics at the same time in the hope of counter acting the negative reactions… this is terrible practice as several months should be left between antibiotics and vaccines ideally. And unwell children should not be vaccinated at all as ADRs are mostly seen in children who are already unwell.
And take Polio – the BBC reported great successes last month with near eradication of polio yet many peds working in the hospitals reported that IFP (vaccine induced paralysis) is 20 times higher and twice as deadly since the polio program!
Vaccines have not been tested on premmies and never with benign placebos – always other vaccines. Measles reduced by over 95% in the developed world BEFORE the vaccine due to water, sanitation and nutrition – wonder if the same would be far better for the developed world?
It seems as though you reacted emotionally to the suffering in Africa without due consideration to vaccination.
Presently I have 5 children… the first 3 we vaccinated on schedule… then I got a little “freaked out” and didn’t want my next two kiddos to get all the vaccinations or at least not on schedule… but we were planning on moving overseas, so I KNEW they had to get them. We finally caught them up using Dr. Sears’ The Vaccine Book which is a great, balanced book. It informed me of the ingredients in different brands… which brands were perhaps safer than others, and it also helped with planning out the combination of shots to prevent “overload” of the bad stuff.
BUT now that we live overseas in a third world country, we can see how incredibly wonderful vaccines are even though there may be some harmful side effects. I in NO WAY want to downplay the damage that some people may have experienced from them, but this post is correct in stating how so many children overseas are dying because of a lack of immunizations. It is sad. =0(
I am now expecting another child. He will be vaccinated. It may not be according to the US schedule… but he will get his vaccines. Life here is too fragile. I hope this post will help vaccinate these children overseas. We do have a wonderful freedom of choice in the US. We should help others eventually get to that point. The first pediatrician we had with our first three had been around a LONG time. When I first asked her about what she thought about vaccines, she said she had been around since before there were vaccines. She did not deny that vaccines these days may cause harm, but she said the harm that the diseases caused before the vaccines existed was much worse.
Melinda- Thank you for sharing your story. It’s a great example that these decisions are very personal and unique.
If the developing world are so keen to be vaccinated, why were they vaccinating at gunpoint in Malawi? Far more important that money is spent on fresh water, sanitation and better nutrition IMO.
I have also lived through Measles, mumps, rubella and chicken pox, as did all the children I knew growing up. I was happy to have time off school and suffered no ill effects and neither did anybody I know!! My son’s friend on the other hand, had to be admitted to hospital following his MMR with such a bad case of measles that he was put on life support. Thankfully he pulled through but his mother will not allow him to be jabbed again!
This is very close to my heart. And you are SO right. I was born in Brasil and it was a requirement in order for me to come to this country to get specific vaccinations before moving here (to prevent wide spread of foreign diseases). I know of so many countries that mothers would across rivers, go up mountain even barefoot to get a vaccine that could save their child’s life. I’m very blessed to live in this amazing country and be able to have the easily accessible “choice” to vaccinate my children. Thank you for posting, and I will share your blog post with all that I know!!!
Thank you for sharing your experience, Bianca.
The Orchard says
Thank you for having the courage to write about such a controversial subject! I am happy that we also have the luxury of choice in Canada, too. I am going to the take a look at the web site to see what else I can do.
Thank you, Tricia!
I’m from these third world countries and honestly, lack of sanitation – running clean water, toilets and malnutrition struck me more than lack of vaccines – which only people who could afford to pay for could have. Yes, science has come a long way and medical interventions are life-saving, but rather than push drugs that life can carry on without, I’d love to see a push on the things taken for granted but without which life is almost impossible without. Then if diseases are still rampant, offer vaccines. The lack of clean water is a lot more critical at this point – IMHO.
It’s true they need all these things, Jac. And I applaud those working to bring it to them. I’d love for you to share any resources you’re aware of for people to contribute to sanitation and nutrition efforts as well.
My grandmother had whopping cough as a child. It ruptured her belly button, which later in her life required surgery. My mother had the mumps as a small child and lost her hearing in one ear. She was sickly until adulthood. It was before vaccination. We chose to vaccinate after a long and informed talk with our pediatrician. Maybe it isn’t for everyone, but there has to be tolerance for both sides. What may be right for one, isn’t always true for the next. Choice is a beautiful thing, just like the country that allows us that freedom. Love one another and be patient and non-judging when someone chooses differently than you. I truly hope that shot@life gives hope and life to many.
Well said! Thanks for your input.
Yes, we are fortunate to have these life-saving vaccines. I had them and I enthusiastically gave them to my child. Yes, we have the luxury of choosing whether to vaccinate. What we don’t have, however, without a fight from our doctor, is choosing when and in what combinations vaccines are given to our children. We start too early and combine too many vaccines. Most kids can take it. The parents of those children are usually the naysayers about the dangers. Other kids can’t take it, however. They are often children whose immune systems have been compromised by eczema flare-ups or other health problems. Yet we vaccinate them “on schedule” anyway. Yes, they are a lifesaver for majority, but unfortunately that comes at the expense of the minority.
VERY, VERY well said Jac!!!! Couldn’t agree more. You know exactly what is going on as you have lived it.
I’m seeing WAY to many blogs over the past 5 years with to much information that is flat out not well researched and people just “doing” what their doctors and pedi. tell them to do. These are our children and as “SLIM” as you feel it might be that a child is injured due to vaccines … let me ask you this.. What if it was your child? I am a follower of Jesus and from what I know issues like vaccines and weather you choose to vaccinate is not a biblical issue.
“I’m from these third world countries and honestly, lack of sanitation – running clean water, toilets and malnutrition struck me more than lack of vaccines – which only people who could afford to pay for could have. Yes, science has come a long way and medical interventions are life-saving, but rather than push drugs that life can carry on without, I’d love to see a push on the things taken for granted but without which life is almost impossible without. Then if diseases are still rampant, offer vaccines. The lack of clean water is a lot more critical at this point – IMHO.
Lets get to the real issue why disease is so rapid in third world countries. Lack of medical care, very, very poor nutrition and filthy conditions. I’ve come across many of these discussions and sadly many people are not educated enough about disease, child hood illnesses, vaccines to really give any grounded and solid information on vaccinations.