Click here for more opinions
Please immunize your kids - Comments (2) View Comments
Melanie Brubaker Mazur - 1/30/2009
I received that call from the preschool last Friday that no parent wants to receive. One of my youngest son’s little buddies had whooping cough.
“Was that kid immunized?” was my first growling question.
“Yes, he is,” the friendly preschool assistant replied.
So that cooled my jets. Like the other cases that have occurred in La Plata County, primarily among 4 to 6 year olds, this boy had been immunized. But immunization isn’t a guarantee against pertussis, and my son is not old enough to receive the fifth shot in the diptheria, pertussis tetanus vaccination.
I talked to Joe Fowler, a nurse and epidemiologist at San Juan Basin Health Department, to do an interview for an article. He said because the kids who have pertussis were immunized, it hasn’t been too serious. But pertussis is a serious infection, he said, particularly for young children and infants, and he urged as many people as possible to get vaccinated.
Whooping cough is an infection that starts out like a cold, but the coughing persists, and soon kids are coughing so much, they make a “whoop” sound, hence the name. Another friend of mine thinks one of her daughters might have caught it, and she said the coughing hits hard and quick. The little girl goes in and out of the preschool to pick up her big brother. She’s had some shots, but is not hold enough to get the full series.
You have to be near someone with the infection within three feet and have them cough or sneeze to get whooping cough.
Because my son was friends with the boy at preschool, it was likely that had occurred, so our pediatrician started Lance on antibiotics immediately to try to ward off the illness. Knock wood, he isn’t sick, so we hope that worked.
On Tuesday, I went to get my immunization at the library in Bayfield. It took about 10 minutes, and the needle was a little prick that barely hurt.
That didn’t stop me from teasing one of my son’s friends.
“The needle’s this long!” I crowed, spreading my arms wide. “And it’s rusty and dirty!”
His mom thanked me for my consideration.
But even he agreed the shot wasn’t bad.
More than 200 people showed up — more than a pertussis vaccination clinic held in Durango earlier after the cases showed up there.
That just proves the Pine River Valley’s natural superiority in protecting our kids, I thought smugly.
So please, please, check your kid’s vaccination records and make sure they’re caught up. Getting the fifth pertussis shot as soon as your child turns four would really help protect against this type of outbreak, Fowler said.
I know there’s lots of information out there about the dangers of immunizations. Very little of it is medically proven. Parents need to weigh risks, and the risk of whooping cough, when it’s right in our community, is higher than a possible reaction to vaccinations. And when parents choose not to vaccinate their children, they put smaller kids and infants who haven’t been able to get all of their shots at risk.
I was pleased to see lots of parents, kids, and teachers at the vaccination clinic. But now that cases have been reported in Bayfield, it’s probably a matter of time before it appears in the elementary school.
Please get your kids’ shots today.