It’s a debate that simply won’t go away, no matter how many times it’s brought up with different opinions and views: vaccinations. While many parents believe it’s their decision on whether or not they should vaccinate their children, one pediatrician’s sign about the hotly debated topic has gone viral because of its powerful message.
The sign was created by Northern Rivers Vaccination Supporters, an advocacy group in Australia concerned about vaccination rates. It was taken by social media user Sunni Mariah, who saw it at her children’s pediatrician’s office. In a caption for the post, Sunni wrote, “New sign at my Dr’s office is throwing some serious shade.”
The sign reads, “When your daughter gets rubella when pregnant, how are you going to explain that you chose to leave her at risk? What will you say when she calls you and tells you she has cervical cancer, because you decided that she wouldn’t need the HPV vaccine? What do you tell your son when he breaks the news to you that he cannot have kids, thanks to the mumps that he got as a teenager? And what do you say when he gives influenza to his grandma? How do you explain that she won’t be coming home from hospital? Not ever.”
According to Scary Mommy, what Mariah didn’t know was that the words on the sign had been written by a doctor from Australia, Rachel Heap. She is an intensive care specialist who works in the Northern Rivers region. Apparently, she often likes to politely and respectfully inform “professional anti-vaxxers” just how misinformed they are about the topic, in her opinion.
Despite scientific consensus that recommended vaccines are safe and effective, many health experts and professionals such as Dr. Heap believe that unsubstantiated scares regarding their safety still occur. This results in outbreaks and deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases. With that being said, another issue brought up by anti-vaxxers is whether mandatory vaccination policies violate civil liberties or religious principals in many part of the world.
Still, many people like Dr. Heap believe that it’s best to lay the facts out there, even if it might not be what every patient wants to hear. After all, a physician's primary responsibility is to provide expert guidance on patient health.The CDC reports that vaccines save hundreds of thousands of lives every year. As a matter of fact, vaccines given to infants and young children over the past two decades will prevent 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths over the course of their lifetimes. Critics though debate that vaccines can cause autism, there isn’t enough substantial evidence and that vaccines have become enormously profitable.