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I want to tell you about the children that are impacted by those who choose not to vaccinate—children like my 4 year old grandson who has leukemia. His chemotherapy treatment will last 3 ½ years, and by the end, it will wipe out any immunity he had received from vaccinations. He is also immuno-compromised during this time.

We recently learned that he would not be able to attend preschool because there were too many unvaccinated children at the school! It just wasn’t safe for him–contracting measles or flu could kill him. My grandson has already dealt with more than any child should and now, because of the choices of those in his community, he is unable to just be a kid and go to preschool. Meanwhile, unvaccinated children go through life enjoying the benefit of herd immunity provided by those who have done the responsible thing and vaccinated their children.

Many parents are making decisions based on a discredited study that autism and the MMR vaccine are linked. Others are suspicious of industry and the government, and listen to Hollywood celebrities with no scientific background or education. There are a number of other reasons why parents choose not to vaccinate. Unfortunately, these parents think their decision only affects their child, but they are wrong. Their failure to immunize their children affects my grandson and others like him: those too young to be immunized, and the elderly. 

Chris McCann is a mother and grandmother living in Connecticut.

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