Stefania Seccia is fired up.
Like, I’ve never seen her this fired up before and I used to work with her in a newsroom – a place where people are constantly fired up.
But this is her son Max we’re talking about.
Max is turning one year old Tuesday and instead of having a big party with all of their friends and family, this Burnaby family has had to quarantine him – all because some parents didn’t get the MMR vaccine for their own children.
Stefania received a call from a nurse on Friday telling her that Max was exposed to measles during a Feb. 1 visit to BC Children’s Hospital.
You’ve likely heard about the recent measles outbreak in Vancouver, which has hit a reported eight cases. Cases have been linked to three unvaccinated children who had travelled to Vietnam and then developed measles symptoms.
Baby Max is especially vulnerable because he was born premature and spent a month in an NICU. This means if he contracts the measles, then he is at a high risk of developing things like encephalitis, seizures or pneumonia. His hearing could also be permanently damaged. The measles can also be fatal for people in this high-risk category.
So, yeah, Stefania is fired up and speaking out so other parents won’t make the same mistake of not vaccinating their children.
“We were really looking forward to Max’s birthday and doing things a normal family does,” said Stefania, who says the days are agonizing watching for symptoms until he has finished the quarantine period. “We’re going to spend his birthday worrying. We have to watch and wait. It’s infuriating. In this day and age, we shouldn’t have to do this.”
It’s all so unnecessary. We used to lionize the medical pioneers who invented these vaccines that have saved millions of lives – now the anti-vaxxer movement are defecating all over their memories.
Stefania says we live in a time when people trust celebrities spreading conspiracy theories more than scientists and the World Health Organization.
The father of the three unvaccinated kids said in an interview that when his children were younger, he was worried vaccines could cause autism. That is baloney, of course – it’s been thoroughly debunked. But facts don’t seem to matter in a time when people are trying to boost their egos by thinking they’re smarter than scientists. You can get the facts here.
“I associate anti-vaxxers with flat-Earthers and climate-change deniers,” Stefania said. “So I’m willing to speak out to counter them.”
There are too many people who don’t realize that not vaccinating their own kids puts them at risk, but also endangers babies like Max – who was scheduled to have his MMR shot this Thursday.
Stefania is hoping people like B.C. Premier John Horgan will hear her family’s story and change policy, implementing some sort of mandatory vaccinations. The provinces of Ontario, New Brunswick and Manitoba make it mandatory for attending public schools. Or course, that just means parents will keep their kids in private schools or will home school them. But at least it’s something.
I’ve met Max. He’s adorable and I will be worrying along with everyone else who knows him.
This has got to stop. People need to wake up. Government needs to make some changes.
This is madness.