Health

Mom Posts on Facebook About the Importance of Vaccines

One mother's Facebook post about her hospitalized 10-week-old daughter has gone viral as a potent illustration of the importance of vaccinations in the face of a resistent minority of anti-vaxxers.

Canadian resident Annie Mae Braiden took to the social media platform to post heartbreaking pictures of her daughter, Isabelle, as a warning to parents to vaccinate their children.

The post has been shared more than 35,000 times.

"So I wasn't going to do this, but I think people need to see what not vaccinating their kids [does] to the OTHER kids, like my 6 week old daughter. Isabelle has been in the PEDS ICU since she was 6 weeks old (now 10 weeks) with whooping cough. She was on a ventilator for 3 weeks and CPAP for 3 days (she was the lucky baby, the other ones have been ventilated for months) and we're still facing another 2 months in the hospital."

Braiden describes the pain that has afflicted her daughter since she was six weeks old.

"She has to learn how to eat all over again, she's going through major withdrawals from the morphine and sedative she was on when she was ventilated, do you know how hard it is to watch your 10 week old go through withdrawals??!! We were hours away from losing her, the nurse picked her up and ran her down the hall to the ICU to get her ventilated because we were losing her."

Braiden also addresses the argument that vaccines are harmful.

"What you do with your kids is your choice but do not tell me that not vaccinating your kids isn't hurting anyone but your own kids, Isabelle is proof that it harms the other little babies who aren't yet old enough to get their vaccines. My son is vaccinated to protect himself and the other kids he's around. It never crossed my mind to not vaccinate, I want to protect my children and other children."

Braiden appeals to mothers and fathers everywhere to do their duty and get their children vaccinated.

"Please vaccinate your kids, it's not fair that my little girl is in the PICU coughing and not being able to breath from a disease that shouldn't be around in this day [and] age"

The debate over vaccinations is heated, though research overwhelmingly finds that they are safe and effective.

The United States does not mandate vaccinations, but each state requires certain vaccinations for children before they are allowed to enter pubic schools. Research substantiates the health benefits of vaccines, pointing out their role in all but eradicating such once-common illnesses as whooping cough, smallpox and polio.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush talked last year about the importance of parents getting their children vaccinated.

“Parents ought to make sure their children are vaccinated. Do we need to get into any detail on that?” Bush said in a speech before the Detroit Economic Club, according to The Huffington Post. “Parents have a responsibility to make sure their children are protected. Over and out.”

There is a small but vocal and persistent group of anti-vaxxers, parents and a handful of physicians, who lean on discredited theories that vaccines cause more harm than good and who push back against public health officials, researchers, physicians, and the majority of health care professionals who say that vaccines are necessary to protect public health.