By Dawn Crawford
I’m the perfect candidate to be a vaccine-hesitant mom. I do some serious, deep online research before I buy anything. I go to WebMD with every weird ache or set of combined symptoms. I read…a lot. I read opinions, I read reviews, I read social media comments. I believe in the scientific method – isolate variables and test for results.
But I’m not a vaccine-hesitant mom because I met people who cared. I met people who care about kids enough to go to battle for childhood vaccines every day. I met people who had the knowledge and information to sooth my concerns.
In 2008, I was hired as the new Communications Manager at the Colorado Children Immunization Coalition and started my path to become a vaccine warrior. I was on the front lines working to inform parents about the power of vaccines. I was a trusted companion to help parents through a sometimes tough and scary decision to vaccinate their child.
Since then I’ve crafted immunization messaging and created campaigns for public health nonprofits across the country. I know my vaccine science. I’m a true believer.
But it wasn’t until I had my own baby in 2012 that I fully realized just how much trust goes into the decision to vaccinate your baby. They are so perfect when they come into the world. A little squished maybe, but perfect. The thought of bringing any harm is tough. The thought of trusting the science and the knowledge is tough. I found myself thinking, “Jeez, I hope the science is right.”
A parent’s decision about vaccines should never be taken lightly. It’s a personal decision to do what is best for your child. As a vaccine-proud parent, we need to share our trust in vaccines early and often. We need to make sure we have the “vaccine talk” with our pregnant friends and be open to all concerns. We need to ask our parents and other caretakers if they are fully vaccinated. We all need to celebrate parents for posting Instagram photos of their just vaccinated kiddo.
There are a lot of great resources to help inform yourself about the power of vaccines. Make sure to check out these great nonprofit campaigns:
- Immunity Community – http://www.vaxnorthwest.org/about-vaccines–2
- Protect Me with 3 – HPV Vaccination Information – https://www.whyimmunize.org/HPV-vaccine-resources
- Immunize For Good – http://www.immunizeforgood.com/
- The Immunization Partnership! http://www.immunizeUSA.org/resources
Vaccination isn’t a clear choice for all parents. Parents are searching for the best thing to do for their child. Sharing your trust and knowledge in vaccines will help others make a decision.
Now, I’m going to go hug my fully vaccinated 19-month old because I know I made a great decision to protect her the best way I can.
Dawn is an independent consultant with BC/DC Ideas. She has served in various communications leadership roles for the Colorado Children’s Immunization Coalition, Exempla Healthcare and the Kempe Foundation.