When I was pregnant with Oscar, I read more books than I ever had in a nine month period. Pregnancy was a foreign land and I was at square one with no life experience to rely on. I was starting over. I began reading because I just had to know what each stage would feel like, how my hormones would change and how I would “choose” to give birth. I needed information to understand and relate to my body. In my mind I knew I couldn’t plan everything. But damned if I wasn’t going to try.
Once I exhausted my pregnancy and birth reading list, I moved on to the parenting books. Would we swaddle? Circumcise? Vaccinate? The vaccination debate was a hot topic. There were claims and books and celebrities talking about the evils of vaccination. I did some research, but always knew that we would vaccinate our children.
You see, my grandmother lost 90% of her hearing to Diphtheria and my grandfather almost died of Typhoid Fever. Something as simple as a shot could have changed my grandmother’s life. For children in developing countries, it could save their lives.
Organizations like Shot At Life are working hard to save the lives of children who don’t have the luxury of debating the pros and cons of vaccination.
The number of children dying every year from preventable diseases in developing countries is nearly equivalent to half the children entering kindergarten in the U.S. – shotatlife.org
Vaccines prevent the spread of disease. Period. Medicine isn’t perfect, but every child deserves a chance. If vaccines can give them that chance, then I support them. I understand the parents who have concerns about certain formulas. My support of vaccination does not equal the judgement of those who choose not to vaccinate. It isn’t the choice I would make, but I understand that we all love our children. We all want them to jump and run and play. We long to see them learn to read and maybe even win the spelling bee. We want to rejoice with them on their wedding day and watch them have children of their own.
All parents have dreams for their children, but far too many do not have access to the life-saving vaccinations that many of us take for granted. I can make choices based on my culture and my family, but I can’t look away from those children.
In 2010 the GAVI Alliance, an international vaccine financing partnership, began a program to introduce pneumococcal vaccinations to more than 40 countries by 2015. Once at full capacity, the program could save the lives of three to four million children over the next 10 years. – shotatlife.org
Disease is a real and dangerous adversary but we have the ability to fight some of the deadliest diseases on the most basic level. The solution is too simple to ignore. The cost too great.
Visit Shotatlife.org to learn more about this lifesaving program and how to get involved.
Disclosure: I met with some of the representatives from Shot@Life while attending the Type-A-Parent conference in June. I hope you’ll join me in learning more about this important campaign.
***photo via Shot@Life