About 10 years ago, I went to a talk by a doctor who specialized in vaccine research. At the pizza gathering afterwards, while I was sitting next to him, I told him how my mom who’d had Rubella at the age of 3 always made sure we got our vaccines. That’s when he told me how scientists have linked a virus in the Rubella family to Type I diabetes.
This hit me like a ton of bricks. You see, seven years after my mom had Rubella, she was diagnosed as a Type I diabetic. I lost my mom to complications of her diabetes when I was 13 years old. She was 43.
My own experience makes me wonder how many children will end up being COVID orphans. Many may not be immediately, but due to the well-documented, lasting effects of COVID on heart, lungs, kidneys, liver etc. A coworker’s brother with COVID got well enough to be discharged from the hospital only to die of a heart attack a day later.
My childhood ended at 13; the MMR vaccine didn’t exist when my mom had Rubella. I just can’t help thinking about all those kids out there whose childhoods are also ending; only this time the vaccine is here.
So many children are and will be growing up knowing that being right was more important to their parent(s) than being there. We’re going to be dealing with the legacy being left to this next generation for decades to come.
When it comes to these anti-vaxxers right now, I’m struggling. I find myself alternating between rage and tears. I’m heartbroken over the children in pediatric ICU units. It’s hard not to despair sometimes.
But these kids need us – all of us! They’re going to need folks who do care about something besides themselves to show them that things can be better. We’ve got a lot of work to do. No one has the luxury of despair. We’ve got to do our part for our families, our neighbors, our communities, our countries, and our planet. We’ve got to roll up our sleeves and get busy!