A young teen has been praised for standing up to her anti-vaxxer mum and getting a school sanctioned vaccination jab.
The anti-vaccination movement has been giving doctors and health experts headaches for a few years now, but recent glamorisation of alternative ‘anti-vax mums and dads’ – along with the heady mass of misinformation online – has seen a surge in public debate about vaccinations.
Disclaimer: Needles and modern medicine might give you the ‘ick’ but you can bet your bottom dollar tuberculosis is worse.
So, when one young girl was listed among fellow students in line to get a routine vaccination at school – or face suspension for failing to show up – she bravely went against the wishes of her anti-vax mum to, you know, avoid potentially fatal illness.
The story was told on an ‘Am I The Asshole’ (AITA) Reddit thread.
14-year-old Beth from Canada told users she had missed four important vaccines thanks to her mum’s views.
She went on:
I’m a freshman in high school, and my mom never let [me] get my vaccines in grade seven, which caused me to be suspended in grade seven and eight.
This year, the kids who hadn’t gotten them were called down to get them, and I had missed four very important vaccines. I got them, and I was given a note to show my mom what I had gotten.
When I told my mom, she got mad because I didn’t ask her.
In the interests of fairness far outweighing the expectations for a child, Beth went on to give her mother’s perspective.
Her ill-informed mother apparently said ‘it was wrong and awful’ because ‘the vaccines cause problems and diseases’.
Tragically, Beth said she used to believe this false information ‘for a long time’ as she ‘was raised to believe’ her mother’s incorrect opinion.
She added she can ‘see how messed up that is’ now she’s older.
Obviously a point of contention in the household, Beth added:
She [her mother] went on about how she was going sue my school for giving me vaccines and she was calling the cops. When I got home she yelled at me for having them done.
I calmly tried to tell her they were important to my health, which prompted her to take my phone and say I’m not allowed to make that decision for her. I didn’t want to be suspended again for not having the vaccines done.
… Or, presumably, feed into the anti-vax movement which has been dubbed one of the biggest threats to global health in 2019.
A World Health Organization report explains:
Vaccination is one of the most cost-effective ways of avoiding disease – it currently prevents 2-3 million deaths a year, and a further 1.5 million could be avoided if global coverage of vaccinations improved.
Measles, for example, has seen a 30 per cent increase in cases globally. The reasons for this rise are complex, and not all of these cases are due to vaccine hesitancy.
However, some countries that were close to eliminating the disease have seen a resurgence.
There you have it. Vaccinate your children, for Pete’s sake.
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A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you’ve never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.