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March 2020

Dear Parent Who Refuses to Immunize Your Children: Are Going to Refuse the COVID-19 Vaccine?

Dear parent who refuses to immunize your children:

None of us are immune to the COVID-19 virus, so it is rapidly spreading through our communities causing unimaginable changes to our lives.  This infectious disease is directly impacting your family.  Neither you nor your children nor their grandparents are immune.  Although your children are not in the age group considered at higher risk for severe illness, their grandma and grandpa are.  So if your children get a fever or cough this week, be sure to keep them away from your parents.  Also, since you are not immune, you can catch COVID-19 from your kids.  When you get infected, you may not feel any symptoms for 2-14 days, but during that time you are infectious and can spread it to other people, like your parents.  So if your children have a fever and cough, you should stay away from your parents for at least 14 days AFTER your children get well.  Your parents at much higher risk of death from COVID-19 as compared to the flu, so please protect them.  And take care to protect yourself, as your risk of dying from COVID-19 death is higher than for your children.  And even though your children have a very low risk of dying from COVID-19, it is not a zero chance.

You can clearly see how devastating this infectious disease is impacting your family and our society. When is it going to stop?

When a child or parent recovers from COVID-19, they will likely have at least temporary immunity to it.  Once 50-80% of us have been infected and gain that immunity, the virus will have difficulty finding a human host to infect.  This is called “herd immunity”.  Herd immunity will result in the death of the COVID-19 epidemic.  It is possible that it will re-emerge later if herd immunity drops down too far.  At this time we don’t know for how long we will individually remain immune to COVID-19 after recovering from it.

But when a vaccine becomes available, we will be able to artificially induce immunity in our children, ourselves and our parents. And if boosters are needed to prevent herd immunity from dropping, we will be able to get booster shots.

One thing for sure is that you don’t ever want to live like this ever again.

But the truth is that this is actually NOT unimaginable. This was once polio. This was once measles. This was once whooping cough. This was once rubella. Haemophilus meningitis. Meningococcal meningitis. Diphtheria. Tetanus. Pneumococcus.

Currently our society is protected against these infectious diseases because we can artificially induce immunity through childhood vaccines. But your children are not protected against them.  And if enough parents refuse to immunize their children, the herd immunity in our society will fall below the level needed to prevent the next infectious disease epidemic.  The next epidemic could be polio, measles or pertussis.  Children and adults can die from diseases we can prevent through vaccinations, in some cases with higher death rates than COVID-19.

So when a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, are you going to refuse to immunize your children?  And are you going to continue to refuse to immunize your children against the other infectious diseases that used to cause epidemics and kill people?  If so, just know that your fears are placing your parents and other children at risk of dying from a preventable disease.