The anti-vaccination movement is dangerous not only to the children who don't receive their disease immunity, but also to medically vulnerable individuals who once benefitted from the "herd immunization" of the population.
For instance, mother Nicole Stellon O'Donnell recently wrote a Twitter thread showing what happened when her daughter, who can't receive immunizations due to her cancer treatments, encountered the child of an anti-vaxxer in a supermarket.
O'Donnell shared a terrifying story of what happens when anti-vaxxers insist keeping their children untreated will keep them healthy.
Dear parents of children who do not have cancer: a casual measles exposure in a grocery store caused the following… https://t.co/JLVWyLmGaa— Nicole Stellon O’Donnell (@Nicole Stellon O’Donnell)1542787457.0
1: My daughter was quarantined for one month. It's enough to be bald and chemo stricken at 8, but add being unable to leave the house.— Nicole Stellon O’Donnell (@Nicole Stellon O’Donnell)1542787516.0
Not only did the anti-vaxxer's child contract measles, exposure to the disease made an even larger impact on O'Donnell's child, who was already vulnerable.
2: When we arrived at ped/onc they had to cancel appointments and shut down the infusion room while they sorted out… https://t.co/aUgqDfjBbF— Nicole Stellon O’Donnell (@Nicole Stellon O’Donnell)1542787609.0
3: The exam room we were in had to be shut down and given a "terminal cleaning," disrupting the ped/onc department'… https://t.co/j0akWx2NCk— Nicole Stellon O’Donnell (@Nicole Stellon O’Donnell)1542787669.0
4: On the flight home she had to wear a mask. This may not seem like a big deal, but imagine being eight, bald, ske… https://t.co/6wWqNOEGRN— Nicole Stellon O’Donnell (@Nicole Stellon O’Donnell)1542787738.0
The tiny supermarket interaction turned into a months-long nightmare.
5: There was a possibility that other children could have been required to have shots of Neulasta to boost their wh… https://t.co/dOu8wCeb66— Nicole Stellon O’Donnell (@Nicole Stellon O’Donnell)1542787906.0
6: Our oncology team spent much time working with state epidemiologists to decide what to do. Both for our child an… https://t.co/1OPmSOSq3R— Nicole Stellon O’Donnell (@Nicole Stellon O’Donnell)1542788037.0
We were lucky it was summer. She didn't have to miss school. She had missed three months while we lived 350 miles a… https://t.co/Ex9XUIGBAK— Nicole Stellon O’Donnell (@Nicole Stellon O’Donnell)1542788212.0
Ultimately, O'Donnell's daughter's story could have been a lot worse.
But even with everything ending up ok, it was a terrible ordeal.
Please #vaccinate your kids. Please get your #flushot. It's an act of compassion for the many children who need her… https://t.co/viCZCHVoGd— Nicole Stellon O’Donnell (@Nicole Stellon O’Donnell)1542788653.0
On Twitter, many others shared similar situations they'd been in.
@SteamLaundry @ParentingPatch This is so true. When there was a Whooping Cough outbreak in California a few years a… https://t.co/IY4GwfUlSA— Elizabeth Wallace (@Elizabeth Wallace)1542996643.0
@SteamLaundry As a mom to 2 dx with autism, we are all vaxxed and would do it again. Autism is far better than dead… https://t.co/jULc5bbrlW— D James (@D James)1543096218.0
Vaccinations aren't just for the people who receive them—they protect the very young and very old, who are most endangered by diseases.
@SteamLaundry My mother got chickenpox from an antivaxxers child who came into her shop sick. Mum was immunocomprom… https://t.co/kpQzychShm— Alix Dolstra (@Alix Dolstra)1543104316.0
@SteamLaundry In our case it was a kid with Chickenpox who came to the room where my daughter and 4 others were wai… https://t.co/1liK804EV5— IrishWasp (@IrishWasp)1542946033.0
What's more, there is absolutely no credible evidence that links vaccinations to autism.
O'Donnell was also thrilled to see her thread retweeted by none other than Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling!
Dear @jk_rowling Thank you for sharing our story. My daughter wants me to tell you her @MakeAWish trip was to the W… https://t.co/BAFbuFIuOB— Nicole Stellon O’Donnell (@Nicole Stellon O’Donnell)1543208533.0
According to the World Health Organization and CDC, all children who are able should receive their vaccinations.
Parents who deny their children safety from these once-thwarted diseases are not only putting them in danger, but putting the other families in danger as well.