I Hate Measles


January 25, 2013 BY Dr. Natasha Burgert

2011 saw a dangerous resurgence of measles.

In neighborhoods throughout the world, people were getting sickened by this vaccine-preventable disease. And despite measles being declared eliminated in 2000, the US was no longer being spared.

Kansas City, where I work as a general pediatrician, was one of the 17 communities taking a direct hit. The incredibly contagious virus spread through the city in a haphazard, unpredictable way. Clusters of children were being exposed. Many were infected.

Some of the infected Kansas City children were my patients. They were in my care. These were my kids. And at the time of the virus’ arrival, these babies were all under 12 months. All too young to receive a safe, effective vaccine that could have prevented the illness.
 
The parents of my sick patients stayed awake all night with feverish babies, worrying about a rash that just kept spreading. Some infants suffered from complications and were hospitalized. Meanwhile, I was consumed with disbelief.

How could this be happening in my Kansas City?

The infections were meticulously traced in order to determine the source. My disbelief turned to rage when it became clear these children were infected from a likely vector. A young, unvaccinated person had traveled internationally, had become infected, and brought measles home.

My patients suffered from a vaccine-preventable disease because of someone else’s choice to not vaccinate their child.

The uncomfortable simplicity of this conclusion was haunting. The parents of my sick patients had made the right choice. They had vaccinated according to the recommended CDC/AAP schedule. Meanwhile, I had been on the front lines of vaccine education and awareness, continually partnering with families to protect children. And out of nowhere, measles arrived. It seemed to make a mockery of our efforts.

Measles, literally, came to my backyard.

Months after the successful recovery of my little patients, I was still reminded of my experience with measles. Every vaccine-hesitant parent, every measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, every baby with a rash all brought back a mix of emotions.

In time, however, I was determined that measles would not get the best of me, or my patient families. So, in the summer of 2012, I chose to actively respond to this experience.

For 12 weeks, I told my patient families about Shot@Life. I explained that a $5 donation would allow another child to be protected from measles for life. Just five bucks - and another child would be protected from a vaccine-preventable disease that had made children ill in our own neighborhood. The ihatemeasles project was born.



Throughout the summer, my patient families were overly enthusiastic at the opportunity to help. They proved it by demonstrating outrageous generosity. At the end of 12 weeks, we collected enough money to protect 1,348 children from measles. A grand total of over $6700.

ihatemeasles taught me 3 things:

  1. Many, many parents believe in the amazing protection of vaccines. They actively share the reasons why their own children are vaccinated, and promote that choice to their families and friends. They spend time on Facebook and blogs, correcting misinformation and redirecting to scientific research. They provide resources and tools to vaccine-hesitant friends, encouraging them to make a better decision. They are warriors on the frontlines of playgroups and playgrounds.

  2. Parents understand our global responsibility to protect children against vaccine-preventable disease. In KC, we had a very raw experience with the consequences of a connected, interactive, global community. Our own choices protect our children. In turn, those decisions also help our neighbors, our friends, and our world. Working together to vaccinate the world’s children is a reflection of responsibility, and mutual benefit.

  3. Parents are looking for a way to help. In fact, many families are hungry for a way to provide other children life-saving vaccinations. They want to invest in the health of children all over the world. They want to be able to share the privilege that their own child so easily receives. Maybe part of our job, as vaccine advocates, is simply leading them to that place. 

I am honored to be joining other vaccine advocates at the Shot@Life Champion Summit next month. In D.C, I will meet others who are on the front lines of patient care, social outreach, research, and legislation. We will learn from leaders in vaccine policy and awareness. And will be empowered with ideas for our own communities, and for our Nation’s legislative desks.

Together, we will continue to fight the good fight of vaccine awareness and action. And we will all be more powerful than ever.

 

POSTED IN: Champions, Parenthood, Partners, Supporters

Comments

Submitted by Rolelr on: April 23, 2014 Let me ask you, who want to be caught by the stupid disease known as measles. It is actually caused by the virus, which spreads across people and places. Once you are caught, you are almost finished. Make sure that you get vaccine at the small age itself. geek toys
Submitted by ilan panosu on: April 23, 2014 In neighborhoods throughout the world, people were getting sickened by this vaccine-preventable disease. And despite measles being declared eliminated in 2000, the US was no longer being spared. ilan panosu
Submitted by william on: April 23, 2014 It eliminates the Direct Payments Program that would have saved us a cool $45 billion, but takes two steps back by introducing costly new programs and doubling down on many existing subsidies. how to build a website
Submitted by buy dofollow blog comments on: April 23, 2014 throughout the world, people were getting sickened by this vaccine-preventable disease. And despite measles being declared eliminated in 2000, the US was no longer being spare buy dofollow blog comments
Submitted by BlackMen on: April 23, 2014 They were in my care. These were my kids. And at the time of the virus’ arrival, these babies were all under 12 months. All too young to receive a safe, effective vaccine that could have prevented the illness. huiles essentielles
Submitted by jimmy on: April 23, 2014 Really impressed! Everything is very open and very clear clarification of issues. It contains truly information. Your website is very beneficial. Thanks for sharing child support lawyer
Submitted by jonesk on: April 22, 2014 Really impressed! Everything is very open and very clear clarification of issues. It contains truly information. Your website is very beneficial. Thanks for sharing. Exhibe Corporation Exhibit Design Process
Submitted by Anonymous on: April 22, 2014 In neighborhoods throughout the world, people were getting sickened by this vaccine-preventable disease. And despite measles being declared eliminated in 2000, the US was no longer being spared. nettoyeur bijoux
Submitted by Anonymous on: April 22, 2014 i want this article to finish my assignment within the faculty, and it has same topic together with your article. Thanks, nice share.JW Marriott Ihilani Photography
Submitted by Anonymous on: April 22, 2014 Many thanks for this brilliant post! Many points have extremely useful. Hopefully you'll continue sharing your knowledge aroundpiscine tubulaire
Submitted by BlackMen on: April 22, 2014 Since 1999, expert Acumen Solutions teams have succeeded in helping clients attain their organizational goals with exceptional service and client-specific solutions latex kledij
Submitted by Click here on: April 22, 2014 And despite measles being declared eliminated in 2000, the US was no longer being spared. Click here
Submitted by Anonymous on: April 22, 2014 Peg, Great post. Given the availability here in the U.S. of social media, we have an excellent opportunity to harness this technology in reaching out to patient advocacy groups and parents to create a "virtual model" of what Honduras has. At its core, it is these personal relationships between community members that has driven its success. home flooring
Submitted by Anonymous on: April 22, 2014 I wana bless you for providing instructive also qualitative substance so frequent. farming
Submitted by jams123 on: April 22, 2014 And out of nowhere, measles arrived. It seemed to make a mockery of our efforts. Dynamiclear review
Submitted by Anonymous on: April 22, 2014 I read few posts on this website and I think that your web blog is real interesting and has got circles of fantastic information Keep up the fantastic work, I read few posts on this website and I think that your web blog is real interesting and has got circles of fantastic information free microsoft points codes
Submitted by Anonymous on: April 22, 2014 I wish to show thanks to you just for bailing me out of this particular trouble.As a result of checking through the the net and meeting techniques that were not productive, I was thinking my life was done. free xbox gold membership
Submitted by Anonymous on: April 22, 2014 Congress behind the invoice here expect the rate would be about the same, with judges arranging digital monitoring for the most risky violators. free gold codes
Submitted by Anonymous on: April 22, 2014 Also great blog here with all of the valuable information you have. Keep up the good work you are doing here. Buy Twitter Followers UK
Submitted by View this site on: April 22, 2014 the US was no longer being spared. View this site

Leave a Comment

 

Nickname
Comment
Enter this word:

In This Section