To Vaccinate or Not?

I am an authority on vaccinations, not by education but by on-the-job training. My wife and I are the parents of a rubella (German measles) baby, born fifty-four years ago. We still feel the effects, and life hasn’t been easy.

I also come at this issue from a Christian ethical point of view. I live by “situation ethics,” whose foundation stone is agape, the highest form of love. One standard is to make all loving decisions based on the largest number of people affected.

In the 1960s we were living in France, where I was working on my doctorate. Annie was in the first trimester of her pregnancy with our second child. Something was wrong, but no doctor could explain it, so we moved back to the United States to seek medical care.

Unbeknown to anyone, an international rubella epidemic was happening, and Annie had been exposed.

Our daughter joined the world in January 1965. She entered with red dots all over her shriveled body, a mature cataract on her right eye, and a heart murmur. Within the next year, we discovered that she was profoundly deaf and epileptic and had mild cerebral palsy.

After her full diagnosis, we decided it was imperative that I resign my prestigious job on Maui and move to a lesser position in the church on Oahu so she could get special schooling in Honolulu.

When she was ten years old, we knew we had to leave the Islands for better educational opportunities. So in 1975, with no job, house, or security, our family moved to California.

I could go on for pages about how our rubella child has changed our lives. Although she is independent and lives in Seattle, she has a post-rubella syndrome causing deep depression and its side effects.

When we hear of parents who refuse to vaccinate their children, it drives us crazy. We know they have no idea of the damage they could be causing to their child, as well as the world around them.

I compare them to a terrorist who goes into a crowed stadium with a machine gun and randomly shoots at all. Some people are murdered, others are wounded, and thousands are adversely affected for the rest of their lives.

Not vaccinating a child makes him or her that machine gun walking around adversely affecting hundreds of others because of ignorance and selfishness.

Annie and I wonder if such negligent parents have any idea of all the carnage they could be causing?

My ethical system also faults such parents for refusing to do the most loving thing for all the rest of us: vaccinate.

Do you know anyone who refuses to vaccinate their child? Share this with them.

Photo by Military Health, CC BY 2.0

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