Taking It to the Streets
By Cathy Jameson
I was traveling with my family for the Christmas holidays when a sign on the highway took me by surprise. An electronic reader board in South Carolina flashed a message:
973 TRAFFIC-RELATED DEATHS IN 2018
It was sobering to see their statistics. With how many people were on the road that day, I prayed that we would get to our destination safely. We did and enjoyed each other’s company with very grateful hearts.
When we made our way back home a week later, another electronic message greeted us as we crossed into Georgia. Similar, but with a greater number of fatalities posted, I was immediately more aware of how many cars were zooming past ours.
*older photo found on google images
While thinking about how miles we traveled (over 1,000) and how many hours we were on the road (over 20), I am happy we made it home with no incidents. I hoped that others were able to do that as well.
After getting home and catching up on some news, including stories on some of the social media pages that I follow, I saw that Nick Catone recently shared a post on his Facebook page about billboard signs that have gone up in memory of his son, Nicholas. The idea of sharing his son’s story got me thinking about those electronic highway signs we saw last week about traffic fatalities. Imagine if we could generate road signs warning parents to do just a little bit more reading than the might do regarding vaccines. Back when I was a younger mom, I didn’t think to read much at all about vaccines. I knew what my doctor told me, and that was it. I thought that was enough. I can tell you now, as the parent of a vaccine-injured child, that the information I was given was not enough.
I didn’t know that, per the CDC, all vaccines come with risk.
I didn’t know that vaccines, like all pharmaceutical products, could be recalled.
I didn’t know that those who manufacture and administer vaccines have more legal protection should something go wrong than I, the consumer, has.
I didn’t know that when a vaccine injury occurs, I have no recourse to do much about it.
I didn’t know. I just didn’t know.
With how vaccines are pushed so aggressively by those who financially benefit from them, vaccine consumers would be wise to do their own research on the subject. These days, that’s not hard to do! Books, magazines, websites, word of mouth – vaccine information is more readily available now than it even has been. The facts are there. The warnings are there. But getting some people to read that information and understand that they have a choice in the matter can take a little bit of effort. So, why not create some high-visibility signs to share tidbits of important information, like this:
Messages may look cryptic to some, like in that first sign below, but maybe that will entice people, including the Dads, to do a quick internet search. Many Dads have gotten on board (to which I say THANK YOU!) when it comes to making the decision to research vaccines, but for the most part, I hear more stories from the Moms than from the Dads. Since vaccines can be life-altering, and since several options exist – fully vaccinate, partially vaccinate, delay vaccinations, or forgo vaccinations altogether – it’s not a bad idea for both parents to investigate together:
The ingredients, the side effects, the adverse reactions, the laws, and the exemptions – knowing every little thing about vaccines is important. That’s the message I hope one gets after reading the next set of signs:
Since it’s a place where parents are given misinformation about vaccines, parents should be warned that in most of the United States, a child’s education cannot be withheld due to vaccination status. School administration and school staff may neglect to share that fact, so this sign is a reminder that no matter a child’s vaccination status, parents and their children are never to be bullied about vaccines:
Some doctors who take a ‘my way or the highway’ attitude about vaccines make it very difficult for a parent who takes issue with what gets injected into their child’s body. That’s no way to practice medicine. But it happens more often than it should. Parents are tasked with quite a bit already. Their children are precious cargo, both on the road, in the home, and wherever they take them.
With a little bit of time, creativity, and some copy/pasting, it didn’t take long to generate those signs above. Several more could easily be made, but I think these three below are the most important:
Making sure they eat well, sleep well, and get to school on time, it’s a parent’s job to keep their kids healthy and safe. That includes knowing what goes in their body. That includes being able to say no thank you to what they don’t want going into their body as well. As we get ready to begin a new year, many parents still have options when it comes to vaccines. Those options come to light as more parents speak up about their experience or post a short warning. Thankfully those people who are a few paces ahead on their parenting journey don’t mind sharing their story, including mentioning the road blocks they’ve encountered along the way.
Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.