UPDATE: On Tuesday, Feb. 17 (the 21-day mark after being exposed), Hibben-White's husband told CTV News the children had not shown any symptoms of the disease.
With increasing media attention being paid to the spread of measles in North America, personal stories are emphasizing the reasons why people need to vaccinate their children.
With at least seven cases in Toronto, the largest city in Canada, and the first one being reported in Manitoba on Monday, concern is being raised that the so-called "herd immunity" that can protect children too young to get the MMR vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella is at risk.
In a heartbreaking note on Facebook Monday, Jennifer-Hibben White, a Pickering, Ont., mom of two young children, explained that her 15-day-old son, Griffin, was potentially exposed to the virus in a doctor's waiting room. She was notified by York Region Public Health.
"I was advised to not be around small children. If I worked in such an environment I would be written off work. I do work in such an environment; my home," she writes.
She goes on to say that while she understands why someone would want to go to the doctor when sick, but if that person is unvaccinated, they've put fragile and wholly innocent lives at risk:
"If you have chosen to not vaccinate yourself or your child, I blame you.
I blame you.
You have stood on the shoulders of our collective protection for too long. From that high height, we have given you the PRIVILEGE of our protection, for free. And in return, you gave me this week. A week from hell. Wherein I don’t know if my BABY will develop something that has DEATH as a potential outcome.
She comes to the subject from a tragically familiar place — their family lost a daughter, Olivia, at the age of five and a half to a bacterial infection in her blood, reported the Toronto Star.
"[You] would be the first to line up if you had an inkling of what the death of a child feels like. You would be crawling through the streets on your hands and knees, begging, BEGGING to get that vaccine into your precious babies because that is what I would have done, if I could, to save my daughter," reads the post.
Hibbens-White's anger and her facts about vaccines go a long way toward expressing the rage that's pervaded so many arguments and conversations with those in the anti-vaccine movement over the past few years, as she knocks down the entirely unfounded link between vaccines and autism, as well as other reasons parents claim they won't vaccinate their children.
"You think you are protecting [your children] by letting them eat their shovel full of dirt and reducing antibiotics and eating organic? You aren’t. As an unvaccinated person you are only protected by our good graces. WE LET YOU BE SO PRIVILEGED thanks to our willingness to vaccinate ourselves and our children," she writes.
UPDATE: As the Toronto Star reports, the man who was diagnosed with measles and visited a doctor's office was vaccinated. “[Vaccines] are the best protection against measles. It’s only a very small fraction of people who don’t respond (to the vaccine),” Dr. Lilian Yuan, associate medical officer of health, told the publication.
Read Hibben-White's post in full on Facebook here.
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