How do you cope when a child you care about is not vaccinated?
My daughter’s best friend has tight white-blonde ringlets that all the pre-school girls stroke in envy.
She has the nature of an affectionate kitten; playful and yet slightly mischievous.
She makes my daughter burst out in peals of laughter and watching them together makes anyone smile.
There is nothing quite like a childhood friend is there? Especially the ones that last forever .
Except I don’t want this friendship to last forever.In fact I am not sure I want them to be friends at all.
I secretly wish that my daughter’s best friend, whose mother is kind and gentle and whose father is always friendly, would get up and move away.
My daughter would be sad if that happened. But at least she would be safe.
My daughter’s best friend is unvaccinated. Her parents are secret anti-vaxxers. They hid the fact that neither my daughter’s friend or her older sister, aged 8, are unvaccinated. And together those two delightful children, aged just four-and-a-half and eight, make me very uneasy.
Researchers tell us that five out of six parents of unvaccinated children actually believe in vaccination. The biggest barriers to immunisation are time and location – families with poor access to health services, and children living in a large household. Parents are often just forgetful.
My daughter’s friend’s family does NOT fall into this category.
Her parents are cut and dried anti-vaxxers.
The type who cannot be swayed from their dangerous beliefs.
The problem is that they don’t tell people – it’s a dirty little secret that only came out when their children got excluded from school due to an outbreak of whooping cough.
The father of the older sister actually complained to the school principal that his daughter had been sent home, as he wanted his kids to catch it.
They wanted whooping cough.
When I asked them why, they began to regale me with fairytales they believed as fact. When I tried to engage in reality, they shut me down and stopped any further conversations.
You do it your way we will do it ours they told me.
We are hurting anyone.
You might ask why I care when my children are up to date with their vaccinations? Shouldn’t I be placing my faith in herd immunity?
Well I do, but as we well know vaccination isn’t perfect – the vaccine itself is only 80 – 98% effective depending on the individual vaccine.
But also, we all need herd immunity – those high community levels of vaccination to protect those that can’t be vaccinated – in choosing to disregard it the family of this little girl show contempt society, for their friends and neighbours.