Why the issue of vaccinations hits us close to home – his name is Ollie
We’ve shared some news stories about the impact of not vaccinating children on our Facebook page and have been surprised at the numbers of people who not only want to defend their decisions to not vaccinate and insist it’s their “right,” but share information suggesting that vaccinating is more dangerous than not vaccinating.
There are six of us who work hard to keep this group going and several of us moderate the page. Of the six of us, one is a doctor and two are nurses. We believe in the medical science that has proven vaccinating children has helped suppress childhood illnesses that are highly contagious and at one time put children everywhere at risk. When people dispute the science, we think about those in our lives who are at risk when others don’t vaccinate, including Ollie.
Meaghan, one of our nurses, is Ollie’s mother. When Ollie was born we were all enjoying regular updates as she shared pictures of her beautiful baby. Then suddenly her social media presence seemed to go silent.
Eventually we learned that they were living every parents’ nightmare. Something was wrong with their baby. She and her husband had taken him to the hospital and ended up at Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH), there was a time when they were worried he wouldn’t survive. They moved into Ronald MacDonald House and we shared their story here, as we wanted to help raise money since neither were working, not wanting to leave Ollie. Ollies Odyssey – The Search For A Donor is a Facebook page they started to chronicle their journey and eventually to help support awareness of the importance of organ donation (Ollie ultimately had a liver transplant) and to support their participation in fundraisers for BCH.
Meaghan agreed to share about how the decisions of parents not to vaccinate their children can impact others and puts her son Ollie’s life at risk.
The following is written by Ollie’s mom, Meaghan Mort:
Boston Health Officials Warn Of Measles Exposure After Confirmed Case
Measles outbreak on bus traveling from Boston to N.H.
These are the headlines of nightmares for our family.
Just shy of a month ago our 2 year old son was hospitalized for fever, lethargy, and rashes to his face and chest. Initially we thought sepsis. It turns out his white blood cell count was very high, indicating infection. He wasn’t eating or drinking much at all. Normally he is an independent, rowdy two year old with a craving for fish sticks and veggie straws.
We spent just over 24 hours at Boston Children’s Hospital and left with a slightly lower white blood cell count and an easing up of symptoms.
Our son was born with a rare metabolic disorder that necessitated a liver transplant at just under one year old. Because of this, he is on immunoseppressants and anti-rejection medications, and will be for the rest of his life. He cannot get any live vaccines, which means no Rota, no Varicella, no Intranasal Flu, and no MMR. That one night was due to what his transplant team at Boston Children’s are referring to as a “common cold”. A common cold for a post-transplant child means a potentially serious illness, probable hospitalization, and the potential for complications with the organ transplantation.
We ask what the vaccination rates are for any daycare facility we may be thinking of using, because our boy is at risk of serious illness and medical complications due to his immunocompromised status.
So while you refer to vaccination as “your choice as a parent” it isn’t, really. It is part of a social contract we all enter into when we interact with one another that keeps most of us safe, healthy and free from preventable, communicable diseases. We, as a family, depend on the community we live to develop herd immunity to protect those of us who cannot protect ourselves from things like measles.
We call our teams at BCH to ask about any increased risk of illness from those who CHOOSE to not vaccinate their children or themselves. It is one of the ultimate acts of arrogance and selfishness to opt out of something that has been proven beneficial for DECADES, by a PLURALITY of studies conducted by people who spend their lives researching these topics.
Please, vaccinate your children. Your community is depending on you to do it, and we are depending on you to help keep our son safe, and ALIVE.
(If you see errors or omissions please contact CapeCodWomenforChange@gmail.com)
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