By Judy Reiss
In 1966, my first son, Tobi, was born and no one was more thrilled than I was to have such a wonderful baby and to be a mother. However, I really knew very little about how to care for him. He was born at DeGosbriand in Burlington, but I was extremely fortunate to find Dr. Ellerson in Montpelier to be his pediatrician. I firmly believe that without Dr. Ellerson, Tobi would never have grown into the wonderful man he is today! And then, of course, we had two more little girls, and once again, Dr. Ellerson helped to keep them healthy and gave me all the information and tips I needed to raise them. Now, when Dr. Ellerson told me it was time for each and every one of them to get their immunizations, I never thought a thing about it. I had gotten immunized and so had Malcolm, so these important shots were just part of their growing up. They went and got them, of course. Polly bit the good doctor when she got hers but that is another story.
During the early 80’s, we adopted another girl and rounded out our family. And she, too, had her immunizations. Now, all four of my children have grown into healthy and wonderful adults. Each and every one of them has married and has children of their own. I know no one ever thought about immunizations for their children, and three of the four are nurses and one is a physical therapist. All of the Reiss children and grandchildren have been immunized and nary a one has transmitted a dreaded disease to anyone else!
How lucky are we to live in a country that has dedicated itself to ridding the world of terrible diseases? All it takes to keep children safe is getting them the shot they need to stay well.
But someone, somewhere decided that these immunizations were not only unnecessary, but caused Autism or some other childhood disease. This rumor was circulated with no foundation at all. So, young parents with the best intentions, decided not to immunize their children! Can you imagine? What has transpired is that diseases that we thought were gone forever are now back and could cause a real pandemic.
Now, I don’t care if you don’t want to immunize your child or not. That is your right. However, if you decided not to, then you should not be able to send your child to the public school. When I was young and when my children were young that was the law. In order for a child to go to school, they had to have had their shots. No discussion. But now we have parents and people who want it all. They want to make rules for their own children but not accept the rules of law. So somehow this small population got weak politicians to agree to allow them not to immunize and still send their children to the public school!
I believe that you can make the rule for your children, including whether or not to immunize them. But if that is your decision, then you need to home school them and keep the rest of the children safe. There are too many children who have debilitating illnesses that make it impossible for them to get immunized. When a child who is not immunized is allowed to join them in school, the chance of his or her transmitting a fatal illness is just too easy.
So, if you are like me or my adult children and have immunized your children, relax. However, if you are one of those who won’t immunize your child, again it is your right, but keep them home and away from the majority of children in our public schools and places. It is only fair!