Grace: For kids with cancer, other families’ vaccination choices can mean ‘life or death’
By Erin Grace / World-Herald columnist | Posted 17 hours ago
Sammy is 7 and has spent half his life battling something called neuroblastoma. He’s had so many chemotherapy treatments that his mother has lost count. The treatments have knocked out his immune system, making Sammy at risk for an old-fashioned disease that has resurfaced — measles.
Sammy is too sick to get a second measles shot. The first vaccine he got, at 12 months, is no longer good after all the chemo.
So Sammy, who has beautiful blue-gray eyes like his mom and an affinity for the iPad like just about every other child, is a human sponge for germs. A cold can be serious. The measles could be a killer.
So Sammy’s health, fragile as it is, depends on the health of the rest of us — the herd.
If the herd stays vaccinated, then infants and the weak among us have a much better chance of staying measles-free.
“It only takes one time to be exposed,” Erin Nahorny said at Children’s, where Sammy was receiving a blood transfusion. “It’s like life or death to us.”
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