Friday, January 16, 2015


This article. All of it. Read it.
A one year-old just died. Paramedics were called but he was gone by the time they got there,” the resident spoke softly, obviously affected by the news. “What happened?” I asked. She told me that the child had been seen in the ER two days earlier, was diagnosed with measles and sent home. My heart sank. I had sent home a one year-old child with measles two days earlier. Was this the same child? It was. He had looked so good two days earlier, responsive, alert and in no distress. The careful follow up instructions that were given were not followed and the child developed complications and arrested. I will never forget how I felt when he died.

My mother is a survivor of the last major outbreak of Polio in the United States, so this is kind of a personal issue for me.


  1. I found the the Making Light post "Why We Immunize" from a few years back to be very helpful in explaining vaccines and why they're necessary. I found the headstones of young children from a New England cemetery particularly effective.

    Also in the comments, there's a discussion of the tuberculosis vaccine (BCG) and why it's not generally administered in the US.

    There is also much discussion of shingles (the vaccine for it was apparently brand new that year). Since I've run into people who thought that shingles was "adult chickenpox," having an explanation of what it really is is useful. Short form: Chickenpox and shingles are caused by a herpes virus. Herpes viruses don't go away completely; they hibernate and pop up again later. The way the chickenpox/shingles virus hides means that the disease caused by the initial infection and the disease caused by the virus re-emerging are different enough to get different names.

  2. During my religious years, end time hyseria and fear of the NWO, I postponed vaccines for some of my children. They are all caught up now, but looking back, I do see how risky that decision was.


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