kids

The picture that dispels a favoured argument of anti-vaxxers.

Camille Echols’ photo of her crying daughter Ashley in hospital has gone viral – and it’s shattered one of the anti-vaxxers’ favourite arguments.

However, it’s made the mum the target of vile abuse from anti-vaxxers, including one who told her that she should have let her daughter die.

Echols, a paediatric registered nurse from Atlanta, Georgia, took the photo of 11-year-old Ashley in the ER last week. Ashley had a kidney transplant when she was two. She hasn’t been able to be fully vaccinated against chickenpox, and she’s highly vulnerable to infectious diseases.

“I’ve seen smart-ass memes saying, ‘Why would my unvaccinated kids be a threat to your vaccinated kids if you’re so sure they work?’” Echols posted on Facebook.

“THIS is why. There are people who cannot have live vaccines, like my daughter.

“She was exposed to a child with chickenpox this weekend and now we are in the ER. She’s getting lab work, injections of immunoglobulin and then we have to wait to see what the infectious disease doctor says.”

Ashley’s hospital treatment is costing $US5000, but it’s still not guaranteed to stop her developing chickenpox.

“That would mean an automatic admission to the hospital for IV antiviral meds,” Echols added. “She could become very, very sick from this.

“Please, if you are someone who believes your child will get autism from vaccines, PLEASE educate yourself. There isn’t a single peer-reviewed study that came to that conclusion. And the people choosing to skip vaccinations put children like my daughter at risk. She has been through SO much already. And this was avoidable.”

Ashley
Camille Echols was the target of vile abuse after posting a photo to Facebook of her daughter sick in hospital. Source: Camille Echols/Facebook.

Echols made her post public after a friend asked if she could share it. Within a matter of hours it had been shared 20,000 times. Anti-vaxxers quickly went on the attack against her, tagging their friends to get them to join in.

Echols tells Mamamia that the comments from anti-vaxxers did get to her a few times, and she made the post private again.

“One person said I am to blame for Ashley’s pain and suffering for getting her a transplant, and that I should have let her die at two.”

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Echols posted an update on Facebook to clarify a few things.

“I never claimed that the child with chickenpox was not vaccinated,” she wrote. “That is irrelevant. The resurgence of chicken pox, whooping cough, measles and other diseases that were nearly eradicated years ago is a direct result of a large percentage of the population deciding not to vaccinate their children without sound research the support that decision.”

Listen: The latest episode of our podcast This Glorious Mess touches on more parenting issues. (Post continues.)

Chickenpox is highly contagious. About 90 per cent of unvaccinated people will catch it if they are exposed to it and have never had it before. Complications can include pneumonia, meningitis and encephalitis.

In Australia, the chickenpox vaccine is part of the national immunisation schedule. Children are immunised against the disease with one dose at the age of 18 months. The vaccine isn’t given to children who are taking high doses of immune-suppressing medication.

Before the chickenpox vaccine program was introduced in Australia, there were approximately 240,000 cases of the disease, 1500 hospitalisations and seven or eight deaths each year.

Echols’ original post has now been shared more than 100,000 times. Yesterday, she posted again on Facebook. This time, the news was better.

Vaccination
Ashley is now doing well, with no signs of illness. Source: Camille Echols/Facebook.

“Just wanted to update everyone that Ashley is doing well. No signs of illness, thank the Lord! Thank you so much for the well wishes and prayers. They are so appreciated!”

Echols tells Mamamia that she’s glad she posted what she did.

“A woman messaged me yesterday and said she was previously anti-vaccine and that this opened her eyes. She’s going to talk to her doctor about slowly catching her kids up. So it was 1000 per cent worth it, if just one person was enlightened to a different perspective.”

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