So after my recent post on our side of the immunization issue (I won’t call it a debate on principle), I was contacted by a couple of local media outlets who wanted to interview me. Well, the subsequent article in The Province newspaper made me angry enough to write a letter to the Editor. They didn’t publish it so I am doing it right here. I suppose there is a small victory – their original title for the article was something along the lines of “Pro-vaxxers vs Anti-vaxxers: the debate rages on.” Give me a freaking break!!!
To the Editor:
“It’s a tough time to be a crunchy mama.” Seriously?? That is how you decided to start an article about the so-called vaccine ‘debate’ (which really shouldn’t be a debate at all)? I’ll tell you which moms are having a tough time: the moms who are sitting by their child’s bedside at BC Children’s Hospital watching them fight for their lives because of organ failure; the moms who are holding their child’s head over the toilet while they vomit continuously from side effects due to chemotherapy; the moms who have to give their child toxic immune-suppression drugs because that’s better than whatever disease or condition has attacked their little bodies. Those are the moms who are having a tough time. And those are the moms who should have a chance to have their voices heard loud and clear. Moms who are choosing to ignore evidence-based science and decades of proven medical research should not.
My daughter Addison was less than four weeks old when she received a heart transplant. She was too young to get immunized for measles, mumps and rubella and will now not ever be able to get vaccinated. MMR is a live vaccine and even that small amount of weakened virus could make her gravely ill. Imagine what could happen to her if she was ever exposed to an infected person. Sadly, the only way Addison will be protected is if everyone else gets vaccinated.
After writing a blog post pleading with parents to get their children immunized, I was interviewed for this article, yet Addison’s voice was relegated to the very end, like an afterthought. If she was supposed to be the poster child for the voice of reason, what does that say about the Province’s opinion of this topic? I was sorely disappointed that this important message was considered minor compared to the plight of the crunchy mamas who feel like they are under attack for espousing rhetoric based upon opinion and innuendo.
The media must step up and shoulder its fair share of blame in the decline of vaccination rates. In an effort to be “politically correct” some outlets seem to have lost the ability to sift through legitimate experts and those who just shout the loudest. It is not our responsibility to give a forum to all opinions, especially those who refute clear evidence-based science. It is our responsibility to be responsible in our coverage, and that includes not legitimizing opinions which are harmful to the public at large.