Protecting the Unprotected
Nov 03, 2009

By Brendalee Flint
When my daughter was just 15 months old, she contracted Haemophilus Influenzae type B (Hib).  She was fully vaccinated, ate well and got exposed to a bunch of your every day germs thanks to her brothers, yet there we were, sitting in the hospital, not sure if our baby was going to make it through the night.  Julieanna endured several seizures, brain surgery to remove a mass of fluid, sleepless nights in intensive care and endless days attached to a ventilator.  When she was finally released from the hospital, she had to re-learn all of her motor skills: she couldn’t even eat on her own.  How could this have happened?
We did the right thing in getting Julieanna vaccinated, but at the time, little did we know that she had an immune disorder that made those vaccines useless.  We were suddenly placed at the mercy of the “herd” as some scientists call it.  If our family or neighbors fail to get immunized, our daughter‘s life could be put in jeopardy yet again.
Now with the arrival of H1N1, I have to be even more careful.  Each time I take Julieanna to the grocery store, I have to wonder if the cashier who just sneezed on my change is carrying the flu.  When a friend comes to visit, I have to wonder if they’ve been exposed.  
My daughter can’t be vaccinated against H1N1, but yours can.  Please, vaccinate yourself and your family against H1N1.  Julieanna counts on you to help stop the spread of this disease.
Editor’s Note:  Brendalee Flint is a working mother of four in Minnesota. Brendalee Flint’s daughter, Julieanna Metcalf, contracted a rare, life-threatening infectious disease called Hib disease. Since then, Brendalee has been telling her story, in the hopes that it will educate people about the importance of vaccination, especially against Hib.
Brendalee and Julieanna’s story can be found on the Vaccinate Your Baby web site .  We hope you’ll take a moment to read about the very real impact vaccine-preventable diseases still have on our children and loved ones.

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