Infectious disease experts want the public to be aware that anti-vaxers are causing a risk to children who are not old enough to be vaccinated, and those who cannot get vaccinations. They have no protection from viruses like measles, otherwise.
That is exactly what happened to 8-month-old Shira Goldschmidt, pictured below. She was taken to a hospital to get treatment so that she could hopefully be cured.
Shira’s mother, Fainy Sukenik, is understandably upset – especially since she made sure her four children were up to date on their vaccinations. Even though she’s doing her part to protect her children and others, those who didn’t do the same caused her youngest child to get measles.
“I’m so angry and so frustrated,” she wrote on Facebook. “you are hurting our kids because of your choice.”
Babies under the age of 1 are unable to get the vaccination. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that the virus is so contagious that if a child under the age of 1 enters a room where someone with measles had been there only two hours prior, they can also get it.
It was back in December when Shira first got sick with a 104-degree fever and a runny nose. When taken to a doctor, her parents were told she would recover soon and that it was just a normal virus.
However, red spots started to appear on her body just a few days later. The tell-tale sign of measles.
Her mother said, “It wasn’t just dots on one part of her body. They were everywhere – inside her mouth, between her fingers, in between her toes. I’m an experienced mother and never, ever have I seen something like this. I was really scared.”
Shira’s condition was so bad that she couldn’t eat or drink, and her breathing had become shallow. She couldn’t even hold her head up properly. Her parents took her to the hospital, where she was given intravenous fluids, and put in isolation.
Shira’s mother wrote on Facebook, “Let’s talk for a moment about freedom of choice for those who believe that vaccinations are Satan and the source of all evil. It should be stated that they have a right to believe in anything they choose, but we should also talk about the price that others pay.”
“Are you ashamed that you don’t vaccinate?”, she continued. “No, you’re not ashamed. So you should wear a sign and let me choose whether my kids will play with your kids.”
She also suggested that people who choose not to vaccinate should hold a big banner that notes they are anti-vaccine, and that they stay in enclosed areas.
Thankfully this story has a happy ending, so far – Shira isn’t quite out of the woods yet since she may still face complications of the measles in later years.
Although the chance is rare, some people develop subacute sclerosing panencephalitis – a deadly brain disorder, 7-10 years after being exposed to measles. “For years I’m not going to be able to rest from this fear,” said her mother.
But as for now, her mother says, “Shira is okay. She is happy, she has started walking.”
As for those who do not agree with her opinion on anti-vaxers, she says, “If they want to pick a fight with me, I am not afraid. I’ve seen in my own home what it means for a baby to have the measles, and the responsibility is on us to make sure this epidemic goes away and this doesn’t happen to another baby.”