About this iReport
  • Approved for CNN

  • Click to view LVallejos's profile
    Posted February 4, 2015 by
    Alameda, California
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Your message to parents who don’t vaccinate

    Vaccinations: One Parent to Another


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     LVallejos's son Gabriel is 8 years old and is a heart transplant recipient. He’s on immune suppressing medications because of his heart, and is not able to get the MMR vaccination because his immune system is compromised. “People like Gabriel, and there are hundreds of thousands of them, rely on people that are healthy to keep them safe,” she wrote in her iReport, urging anti-vaccination parents to consider immunizing their children. With the increased cases of measles in her state of California, Vallejos is considering pulling her son school out of public school for his safety. “I’m gravely concerned for my son and the many other children like him who are at risk,” the 36-year-old said. “It would be tragic for a family to lose a member to a preventable disease.”

    Want to learn more about Gabriel's story? Read the full piece on CNN.com
    - Jareen, CNN iReport producer

    Dear Anti-Vaccination Proponents:

    I want to introduce you to someone who is very special to me. His name is Gabriel and he just turned 8 years old. He’s a huge fan of the San Jose Sharks, the Denver Broncos & has a new love for professional wrestling. Gabriel is in second grade, and is a kind, gentle kid. He has a younger sister named Eden that he adores. He has two dogs and he favors the little one, Jubilee. He carries her around like a baby sometimes and whenever he sits down, she curls in his lap or right next to him. I’m telling you about Gabriel because I want you to keep him in mind as I go on.

    Gabriel is my son. He’s also a heart transplant recipient who is on immune suppressing medications that help keep him alive. He is unable to get the MMR vaccine because of his immune compromised status so he is especially vulnerable to the measles outbreak that is happening right now and I want to talk to you about that, one parent to another. I know that most of the time, when you share you anti-vaccination views, you are attacked. At the very least, you feel attacked. It is hard to see another person’s perspective when you are on guard so I hope that you can let your guard down & hear what I’m saying here.

    People like Gabriel, and there are hundreds of thousands of them, rely on people that are healthy to keep them safe. They rely on the healthy people of this world to keep making choices that will help keep them safe…when the measles virus was almost eradicated in the early 2000’s, it was a relief to vulnerable people everywhere. Then, with the anti-vax movement gaining ground, it has become a problem again. Now, in 2015, we are facing an epidemic that can easily be prevented and I am stunned and dismayed.

    Right now, I’m waiting to hear back from Gabriel’s cardiac team to determine whether I should pull him from school & virtually quarantine him to keep him safe. I’m waiting to hear the numbers of the unvaccinated kids in his school so I can assess the level of threat. There is a possibility that I will have to isolate my son, pulling him from everything he cares about, the things he loves, because there is an unseen threat out there that could make him very ill, or even kill him. That also means that as a single parent, my ability to provide for my family will be impacted.

    And this upsets me. See, I get that you fear for your child. You’ve heard the stories of the horrors of vaccination & you believe that somehow big pharma is benefiting from the vaccine industry. You think there is harmful mercury in vaccines (there’s not) and that perhaps there is a link between vaccines and autism (also not true). You are an avid reader of Natural News & think the CDC is misleading all of us. I understand…I don’t trust the government either but I do trust the medical professionals who I’ve handed my son over to many times. I believe that if there was ANYTHING harmful about vaccinations, they would warn me. I believe that most physicians, when they took the Hippocratic oath to “first do no harm”, MEANT it. I believe the science because there have been countless studies done by organizations who have nothing to do with the CDC who have found the same results.

    I understand fearing for your child…Believe me, I do. I handed my son over to a cardiac surgeon when he was 13 days old, knowing that I might never see him again. I’ve literally seen my son’s heart beating in his chest so please know that I get the fear you feel. I agonized over every choice I made, wondering if it was the right thing to do. I’ll never tell you that you’re wrong for what you’ve chosen, even if I disagree with it. What I will ask you to do is consider the implications of your choice for the most vulnerable of our human family…people just like Gabriel. If you choose to not vaccinate your child, and then send them out into public spaces, you are playing Russian Roulette with people who have no choice and minimal defenses against the viruses that your child can be carrying.

    I believe in freedom & that you have a right to choose. I also believe that with freedom, comes equal responsibility. If you choose to exercise your freedom to not vaccinate, please be responsible with your choices & take measures to minimize the spread of disease. Just like you don’t want people forcing you to make choices about your child’s healthcare, I don’t want your choices to either force my family into undesirable positions at best and at worst, to harm or even kill my son.

    Please, one parent to another…let’s keep all our loved ones safe. One death by preventable disease is one too many.
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