Awake at 4 a.m. as usual; going through the daily press releases and media forums on meningitis and other vaccine preventable diseases, holding my breath, knowing that once again I will read about a child dying from a horrible disease that was vaccine preventable, I came across several articles on the documentary film “Invisible Threat.” As a mother whose only child died from a vaccine preventable form of meningococcal meningitis and a mom who was featured in the film for that reason, I have to say, I am disappointed and even shocked that anyone or group would take offense or worse “go after” as we say in Texas, the high school students, who made the film in such vicious ways.
We as Americans are always concerned and vocal about freedom of the press in our country but sometimes it seems, we are only for it, if we totally agree with it and it supports our views.
A few years ago, I was approached by student film makers. They stated they wanted to make a fair and unbiased film about vaccine preventable diseases and vaccines.
I believe when the public has an opportunity to see the film, they will see the film did just that. A few of them even stated, they were not sure what they personally thought about vaccines themselves.
Of course, I jumped at the chance to share my precious Ryan’s story and by doing so hopefully; once again, I could prevent other families from dealing with what all of us at Angels deal with everyday.
Of course, I believe in vaccines because a vaccine could have saved my son’s life. I have seen time after time that a vaccine could have prevented horrible debilitation and death from preventable diseases.
However we must focus on the real issue addressed in these daily articles around a movement slandering and trying to prohibit the film from being shown.
Trust me, when I say there are many films and materials out there that I wish weren’t, not only on this but many issues. However I also believe we have to step outside that small, sometime even selfish world we create for ourselves and we have to respect and protect everyone’s right to voice their opinions.
I believe, that for the first time, in this never ending vaccine controversy, this film has given the opportunity for real open discussion from both sides.
As I was allowed to watched the finished product, even though a strong vaccine advocate for obvious reasons, I was compelled to listen to all parents and experts on both sides featured in the film. I personally understood the concerns of both sides of the issue. I felt the pain and confusion of the parents and I was reminded of my own feeling of horrible preventable loss once again.
I thought to myself these kids really did an excellent job. Maybe for the first time, because of it, we can actually get real dialogues going on this important issue.
With the outbreaks of diseases such as meningitis, measles, mumps, influenza, pertussis and even polio like syndrome across our country and serious outbreaks of polio and deadly diseases in other parts of the world, which we so often hear are only a plane ride away, we must all strive to make sure accurate information is given to parents about these deadly diseases and the vaccines to prevent them so parents can make informed and educated decisions. We want do that by name calling and false accusations. We want do that by trusting just anything we read on the Internet . We will do that by making sure we all strive to communicate with each other and seek out fact based information on the diseases and the vaccines which prevent them. I know from personal experience sitting down with parents who were vaccine hesitant/resistant and having actual, open, non intimidating discussions, just parent to parent, great truth was revealed and confusion deleted.
There is a quote that says, “The truth shall set you free.” Gloria Steinem a feminist activist said, “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” Think about that for awhile!
Because I have spent the last almost 17 years seeking the truth about why Ryan died, I found that the truth is vaccines are the most safe and effective way to prevent deadly vaccine preventable disease.
If I had known what I know now about meningococcal meningitis and the vaccine that could have prevented it, I would still have my precious boy with me.
Visit http://www.CDC.gov for the most updated information on vaccine preventable diseases and the vaccines to prevent them.