January 29, 2019
The organizers of the Grand Canyon University TEDx event asked me to share my story about vaccinations. It was an amazing experience, and I was honored and humbled to be given the opportunity to share my message on the TEDx stage.
In addition to explaining why I left vaccine-hesitancy behind, and now advocate for immunizations, I explored the critical need for people to depolarize the vaccine debate by communicating with kindness. When we approach the discussion this way, it is easier to be objective as we examine vaccine risk and benefit and take into account the severe and even deadly impact preventable infectious disease still has throughout the world today.
Thanks for all the love and support!
With the dangerous measles outbreak that started in Washington state in 2019, I’ve been answering more questions about measles than usual, and have updated this post with important facts about measles and vaccines.
In the US, before the measles vaccine was introduced in 1963, there were 4 million measles cases with 48,000 hospitalizations and 500 deaths in the US every year.
Measles was declared completely eliminated in the US in 2000, however, because enough parents have opted out of vaccinating their children with the MMR vaccine, there have since been several outbreaks across the nation.
Outbreaks like what we are seeing in Washington are a direct result of parents choosing not to vaccinate their children. We know that at least 31 cases of the measles in Washington occurred in unvaccinated individuals, mostly children. We also know that 7.9% of school children were exempted from getting vaccines in Clark County, Washington.
Measles can be deadly, especially to individuals who are immune compromised. To this day, it still kills 100,000 people a year worldwide, most of whom are children under the age of 5. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the horrible mathematics of measles looks like this: One in every 20 children with measles gets pneumonia; one in 1,000 will develop encephalitis (swelling of the brain); one or two in 1,000 children will die.
As you saw in the above video, I was once vaccine-hesitant, but I have seen what an important tool vaccines are for preventing the spread of disease and saving lives. I have since given vaccines to thousands of patients.
The MMR vaccine is recommended at 12 months of age and again at 4-6 years of age. If your child wasn’t vaccinated on that timeline, it’s not too late to make an appointment with your pediatric care provider to get the MMR vaccine for your child.
You can learn more about the 2019 measles outbreak here.
Author: Dani Stringer, MSN, CPNP, PMHS – founder of KidNurse and MomNurse Academy