Growing with Shot of Prevention: A labor of love
Jan 12, 2011
By Christine Vara
It took 280 days. About 40 weeks. Nine months, in other words, for this pregnancy to ultimately deliver. Only this time, I helped to birth a blog – not a baby.
When I was first approached to contribute to Shot of Prevention, I admittedly did not understand the intent of my involvement. After all, I’m not a scientist, a physician, or even a student of public health. So what could I contribute to a blog about immunizations and vaccine preventable diseases?
The answer came in better understanding the purpose of this blog. Various vaccine advocates felt that it was time to launch a blog that would share fact-based information and responsible perspectives regarding immunizations. With so much misinformation being disseminated on the Internet, they hoped to create an online resource for parents seeking reputable information and answers to their immunization questions.
Having fully vaccinated each of my five children, I was approached in hopes that I could help develop a dialogue with other parents and review the wealth of vaccine-related information that bombards us on a constant basis—whether through the news, doctor visits, discussions with other parents or at other blogs.
“We just want you to write from the perspective of a mom – someone who understands the challenge and responsibility of raising healthy children.”
The challenge appeared easy enough. But as I look back over these past 9 months, I realize that I have been growing, changing and preparing for this labor of love.
I’m amazed by the immense amount of science and research that has already been done on immunizations. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting people who care deeply about the health of our children and work hard to ensure good health each day. I’ve also been touched by the misfortunes of those who have battled against disease and the memories of the precious lives lost.
And now here we are.
Just about 40 weeks into this gig, the true labor has set in. This blog has emerged in the online world as a well trafficked platform for the exchange of ideas, drawing an audience from our growing Facebook and Twitter communities, while also drawing the attention of people who adamantly argue against vaccines. And I finally “get it.”
The fact is, I am first and foremost a parent. And perhaps, in reading this blog, other parents will consider the science, the studies, the statistics, the risks, the benefits, the lives lost to vaccine-preventable diseases, as well as the lives undoubtedly saved. My mission here is to present reliable information, as well as my insights, in a morally acceptable way.
Admittedly, neither I nor the other amazing contributors at Shot of Prevention are looking for a fight. We simply try to offer discussion points and allow an open exchange of opinions in response. The true success of this blog will rely on the support of others: the scientists, the doctors, the nurses, the public health advocates and the parents who are all essential to this immunization conversation. It is through their insights, and those that you share with us, that more and more individuals will come to recognize the importance of immunizations.
At Shot of Prevention, our intent has been to generate dialogue and it is clear from the comments posted on this site, as well as on our Facebook page, that we have certainly allowed differences in opinion. However, in beginning this New Year, we wish to address some new resolutions. We have noticed that the majority of our readers have been refraining from commenting. Let me just say, I can certainly understand why. At times, it can be brutally exhausting and frustrating. This is mostly due to a small number of vocal extremists: people who spend countless hours trying to insert their attacks against vaccines and the people who advocate for them. By making personal, often derogatory, remarks on this blog and on our Facebook page, their behavior has soured the room. When people get very emotional, as this topic can be, they forget about common courtesy and assault others behind the veil of their computers.
Personally I believe our readers deserve more.
By modifying our comment policy we hope to bring the conversation back to a reasonable discussion. You can view the new policy here.
It took roughly nine months, but this blog, and my involvement in this important movement, has really just set out to do what has been intended. In recent months, we’ve witnessed the conversation develop immensely and yet Shot of Prevention is still only in its infant stages. We’re so grateful to our readers and we would like to encourage even more participation and continued growth within this online community throughout 2011.
We hope that you will continue to provide us with feedback on how we can better serve you. What topics would you like us to address? What suggestions do you have? We want to hear from you.
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