When a parent doesn’t vaccinate their kid, they’re obviously putting their child at risk but a viral post from one mom shows why not vaccinating your kid can also put children with cancer at risk too. Jessica Phillips Lorenz explained that her daughter had cancer and due to chemotherapy and immunotherapy weakening her immune system, she has not been able to receive vaccinations, despite being a year out of treatment.
“She is vulnerable and unprotected and has already been through so much,” Jessica writes for Parents Magazine. “I would love the privilege of choosing to vaccinate her yet we are not afforded that choice. There is currently a measles outbreak where we live, and I can’t help but fear for my daughter’s health once again.”
Jessica, who lives in Brooklyn, explains that people who have received or are receiving treatment cancer are “immune compromised”, which means that they are “more susceptible and more vulnerable to serious infection.” This is especially true of children, leaving Jessica’s daughter at high risk of disease or infection. One of the biggest things that keeps a kid safe in these unfortunate circumstances is “herd immunity.” What exactly does that mean?
“‘Herd immunity’ is when a community prevents the spread of an infectious disease by all receiving vaccinations,” Jessica says.
Basically, the best way to ensure that people who can’t get vaccinated don’t end up with the measles or flu is for anyone who can get vaccinated to do so. Often times, parents who don’t vaccinate their children will argue that it isn’t anyone else’s business but the truth is that a parent’s decision to leave their kid exposed to a wide array of dangerous diseases doesn’t just affect their kid, it affects other people around them.
Jessica admits that before her daughter’s cancer, she never considered vaccinations “part of my social responsibility.” Yes, she vaccinated her kids but didn’t think much about those who did. Now, that’s all changed, as she finds herself in constant anxiety about not just keeping her daughter safe but keeping all kids safe.
“How can I protect my kid?” Jessica asks. “How can I protect yours? When you have a child achieve remission after a stage IV cancer diagnosis you really don’t want them to suffer through another dangerous illness, especially one that can be prevented with the help and support of your own community.”