How your “choice” not to immunise could kill

This post was co-authored by Riley, who is currently undergoing chemotherapy for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Imagine you’re 18 years old. You’ve just finished school, and have plans to travel abroad with friends and begin university. And then one fateful day, you get diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Cancer. Your plans are derailed, studies delayed, and due to treatment you can’t even work. The whole world begins to fall apart as you lose your independence and have to rely on the help of family members to look after you, and help with simple everyday tasks like driving to hospital.

And you might think something like driving to hospital is trivial, but it’s another story when you’re on three different types of anti-nausea drugs to deal with the side effects of chemotherapy. Not to mention the cognitive effects of the chemo’ itself.

Between the long sessions of chemotherapy, you can at least get out of the house and away from the hospital. Visit friends, do fun stuff, right? Except you can’t. Chemo’ has immunocompromised you. Your immune memory is lost, and for much of the time you are so low on the white blood cells that fight infection that a simple cold could be catastrophic.

The worst part is, you don’t know what you’re immune to anymore. Tetanus, rubella and HPV. Which vaccinations are still effective? What about measles?

Measles. Which we have the means to all but eradicate, if everyone is vaccinated.

Measles. Which is making a comeback.

Because people are “choosing” not to vaccinate their kids.

Because they have “done their research”.

“Research” that has found a thousand scaremongering sites about autism and vaccine side effects, and inexplicably none about how measles can kill.

Measles. Can. Kill.

It can kill their unvaccinated child. But that’s their “choice” (would it be their kids’ choice, I wonder?).

But it’s not your choice. To deal with chemo, and a thousand bizarre side effects. To deal with the isolation and the fear. Now you’re trapped in your home, by those people who have “done their research” – and decided that their unfounded fear of autism is more important than your life.

Your choice not to vaccinate can kill. What kind of choice is that?