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This Baby Has Whooping Cough, And Her Mother Wants More People To Get Their Vaccines

This Baby Has Whooping Cough, And Her Mother Wants More People To Get Their Vaccines

Written by Tara Culp-Ressler

One Toronto-area mother has taken to Facebook to warn people about the dangerous consequences of skipping out on their recommended vaccines. At the beginning of this month, Meghan Mcnutt-Anderson posted the above photo of her five-week-old daughter, Brielle, on the social media site. Brielle is in the hospital with whooping cough — a preventable disease that can be deadly in very small children.

“This is why you immunize your children!” Mcnutt-Anderson wrote in an angry post that has now been shared over 35,000 times. “We have spent the last 3 days in the hospital at her bedside holding her up and patting her back as she coughs. You see, every time she coughs she stops breathing, turns blue and goes limp. She has too much mucous and her airways are too small to cough it up and they become blocked and we have to manually help her pass it. We will likely be doing this to Brielle for the next 2 weeks at least.”

Babies like Brielle are too young to receive a whooping cough vaccine and are reliant on what’s called herd immunity. If infants come into contact with older individuals who haven’t been vaccinated, they can easily contract the highly contagious bacterial infection.

Over the past several years, North America has been experiencing a dramatic resurgence of whooping cough, a public health issue that’s been directly tied to an increasing number of parents failing to vaccinate their kids. States that allow parents to easily opt their kids out of their recommended shots, like California and Washington, have struggled the most with the spread of this preventable disease.

“If you are considering not immunizing your children, think first about the people you put at risk who CAN’T get the immunization,” Mcnutt-Anderson pointed out in her Facebook post. “If our story makes one parent choose to immunize their children that otherwise wouldn’t have, lives can be saved.”

Mcnutt-Anderson isn’t the only parent trying to spread this message. An Illinois mother whose three sons have a genetic immune system deficiency, and therefore can’t get vaccines themselves, recently published a blog post imploring other parents to help protect them from contracting preventable diseases. Her kids are entirely reliant on herd immunity, and just one unvaccinated classmate could pose a serious threat. “If you are a parent who is vaccine-hesitant or who has chosen not to vaccinate, my plea to you is this: My kids are my heart and soul, just as yours are to you, and I need your help to keep them healthy and safe. I would do the same for you,” she explained.

But it’s already too late for other families, some of whom are now turning their personal tragedies into public health lessons for the broader community. Another mother in Illinois, whose six-day-old infant died from whooping cough two years ago, is currently lobbying the Illinois Department of Health to spread more information about vaccination to prevent other children from dying. And a Massachusetts mother is telling the story of her 9-week-old son’s death to encourage other people to take whooping cough seriously.

In addition to whooping cough, other preventable diseases like measles are also currently making a comeback. The vaccine that prevents measles, mumps, and rubella has been plagued by controversy thanks to the widely debunked theory that it can increase some kids’ risk of autism. Celebrities like Jenny McCarthy and Kristin Cavallari continue to give air time to this dangerous conspiracy theory. Meanwhile, measles outbreaks are worsening across the country, and public health officials are imploring Americans to make sure they’ve gotten all their shots.

This post originally appeared on ThinkProgress

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Photo Credit: Facebook/Meghan McNutt Anderson

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187 comments

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1:46PM PDT on Jul 6, 2014

Until they can sterilize the earth, we need all the help we can get.

12:30PM PDT on Apr 30, 2014

Yes,Yes,Yes we need to get vaccinated. Thank-you for sharing. T.R

2:57PM PDT on Apr 17, 2014

I AGREE WE NEED TO VACCINATE! Thank-you for sharing.T.R. IF WE DIDN'T SO MANY LIVE'S WOULD BE TAKEN!!!!!

2:47PM PDT on Apr 17, 2014

Great idea...

3:38PM PDT on Apr 16, 2014

this story is a great example of public health (vaccinations) as the public good. There would be many more dead if there were no such thing as vaccinations.

6:27AM PDT on Apr 16, 2014

People really should get vaccinated.

2:30AM PDT on Apr 16, 2014

Barbara D. said: "You're not one of the Enlightened Ones, Care2 is not a traitor to the cause, and there is no BigConspiracy."

Sorry but... How do you know? If there is really a global conspiracy (or not), be sure that we (the average populace) will be the very last to know the truth and its consequences. Especially those who are accepting everything the official voice is saying without thinking twice even a single second about the real pros and cons of each solutions. If you have 100% confidence into a trust handling billions of $, you're as much a fool as the most extreme conspiracy theorists. Vaccine debate = paranoids vs. naives.

8:58AM PDT on Apr 15, 2014

People should get vaccinated.

8:35AM PDT on Apr 15, 2014

When I was growing up in the 1940's & 50's , I and almost every other kid I knew had the measles ,mumps chicken pox , and other diseases. Many of these kids had complications that lasted for life. Many got polio , and were disabled and suffered all their lives. Since we have had vaccines for most diseases and polio , we have seen the occurrence of those diseases all but disappear. People have suffered all through history from these diseases , and graveyards are full of children's graves who did not survive their diseases. These people who are so opposed to vaccinations , don't seem to have a clue to what happened in the past.
My children did not have to grow up worrying about all those diseases.
I feel the benefits of vaccinations far outweigh any risks involved. My children or grand children or myself have ever suffered any ill effects from vaccinations.

8:05AM PDT on Apr 15, 2014

Past Member: you would do well to actually read up on vaccination and its benefits: yes there will be occasional issues, which are individually tragic, but what the western world is now seeing, thanks to the paranoid mindsets of people like you and the appalling media promotion of bad science (like Wakefield's criminal actions - done to promote a class action suit for a bunch of greedy lawyers in case you have chosen not to read that far), we are now seeing a resurgence of mumps, measles, whooping cough and a whole host of childhood diseases, as a result of the reduction in herd immunity.

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