Vaccines are magic. Illnesses that decimated human populations for generations are prevented with a quick insertion of a needle an injection of deactivated pathogens. On top of the protection from the disease itself, some vaccines have benefits like cancer avoidance and lower rates of ear infections. Vaccines are the greatest triumph in modern medicine. I’ve studied them extensively for years, and I’m thrilled to be a public health practitioner.
It is important to me to vaccinate in order to safeguard my family from preventable illnesses and protect the public by contributing to herd immunity. Not everyone is as lucky as my family – none of us are immunocompromised. We can receive vaccines that others cannot, and by doing so, we protect them from disease. My husband and I recently had a son. I received the Tdap vaccine in my third trimester, but I knew he was still at risk for whooping cough, which cause infant deaths in Indiana every year. Therefore, no one was allowed to visit our home until he was three months old, unless they’d had a pertussis booster within the last five years. This meant that he was protected by herd immunity and I had one less worry. Since he won’t be six months old until mid-November, we will follow a similar protocol for the flu vaccine. We won’t be attending Thanksgiving unless he is properly cocooned.
The most important part of my position is educating about and investigating vaccine-preventable diseases. I am privy to frightening statistics that embolden my support of vaccines daily. I deal with anti-vaccination sentiments that usually stem from internet misinformation, and the conversations always involve factual education, even if the outcome is undecided. I use my personal reasoning for vaccination to demonstrate their immense value. I received the HPV vaccine when I was fifteen years old. I developed cervical dysplasia when I was twenty, but thanks to the vaccine, it did not progress to cancer. I have asthma, so the influenza and pneumococcal vaccines are particularly important for me since I have a predisposition for lung issues. I’m incredibly thankful I live in a place where these preventative measures are readily available, and I will continue to vaccinate and advocate for these modern miracles.
For more information about vaccine advocacy, contact Hoosiers Vaccinate.