In Harm’s Way: A Bid for Vaccines Gets Personal
Advocacy An Arizona pediatrician fights for the health of his young children.
Last February, the outbreak of measles at Disneyland jeopardized the health of Tim Jacks’ two children — a then 10-month old, too young for his first dose of MMR, and a 3-year old daughter whose immune system was compromised from treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
“Please realize that your child does not live in a bubble,” he wrote in an open letter. “When your child gets sick other children are exposed.”
The message was shared on Facebook over 1.3 million in just two weeks, and Jacks realized he had the chance to start a larger dialogue about vaccines.
Jacks had the opportunity to testify before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee in Washington, D.C. about the dangers of declining immunization rates.
Last year, the U.S. saw its highest number of measles in two decades, with 644 cases tied to 20 separate outbreaks.
Measles is particularly vexing since the airborne virus is contagious before symptoms appear. Complications include hearing loss, pneumonia, swelling of the brain and even death.
“I want to make sure every child is protected,” Jacks concluded. “If people vaccinate, we can prevent this from ever happening again.”