Day By Day, Shot By Shot
Apr 25, 2011
Every Easter season I imagine how devastating it would be to watch your child suffer and die. While I sat in church yesterday, blessed to be among my family and thankful to the Lord for sacrificing his only son, I couldn’t help but admire a young couple sitting in front of me with a tiny baby boy. He couldn’t have been more than a few weeks old, nestling into his mother’s chest and grinning in his sleep. He was absolutely precious, as every new life is.
As I sat admiring this baby, I couldn’t keep my mind from wondering what would become of this child. I began to think about my experiences with Shot of Prevention over the past year and I prayed he would remain safe and healthy.
The truth is, before I began immersing myself in the world of immunization advocacy, I thought that most of the diseases we immunized against were non-existent thanks to the success of vaccines. I didn’t really think these diseases were still claiming the lives of children, and I only knew one person who had died from a vaccine preventable disease, and it wasn’t a child.
Sadly, I didn’t really consider the risk of disease among children too young to be vaccinated. I didn’t realize that there are people who can’t be vaccinated. And I didn’t fully understand the impact of those who choose not to vaccinate. What’s even worse is that I didn’t know how many people still suffer and die from vaccine preventable diseases.
Day by day, as I continue to learn more about the benefits of immunizations, I also hear more heart-wrenching stories about children – born happy and healthy, like the child I admired in church – who have suffered or died from vaccine preventable diseases. These real-life stories, told by survivors, family members, friends and even health care providers, have the power to touch us, educate us and move us toward action.
Now, thanks to ShotbyShot.org, there is a unique storybank of videos and written accounts from people who have been touched by vaccine-preventable diseases. From whooping cough, to meningitis, to the chicken pox and the flu, these stories remind us that vaccine preventable diseases are still impacting people in our own communities and causing a huge amount of suffering and death.
Today, in honor of National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW), we are launching a new feature in which we will highlight different stories as seen on Shot By Shot. You can also make an impact by sharing these stories with friends and family and encouraging them to do the same. Additionally, if you have had a personal experience with a vaccine preventable disease yourself, we urge you to consider submitting a story of your own. We don’t want others to suffer the way you may have and personal accounts are a powerful and effective way for us to educate others about the importance of prevention and the value of vaccination. For our first video feature, we have chosen to highlight one family’s story of pertussis, which not only illustrates the importance of childhood immunizations, but explains the concept of cocooning infants by keeping adults up to date with their booster shots. By spreading this message we hope to protect the gift of life, which is definitely something to be grateful for.
This guest post was written by Alethea Mshar out of concern for her son Ben. A version of this post originally appeared on her blog Ben’s Writing, Running Mom. Like all parents, my child’s health...
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