One Life is One Too Many

21 Jul

There is not even 30 minutes that go by, where I am not thinking about Evan, my beautiful son who died from bacterial meningitis, a potentially vaccine-preventable disease.  Even in my sleep, I have nightmares, in which Evan is dying, and then I wake up with my heart pounding, because it was not a bad dream, but a horrible reality I live with every day.

Then I think of all of the other families who have lost children to vaccine-preventable diseases, or had their children permanently disabled by the disease.  Then I thank God that now there are meningitis vaccines to prevent meningitis in infants, a very vulnerable population.  My beautiful grandchildren will be protected from the disease that took their uncle, a relative they will never know.

I couldn’t wait to be a mom and just loved my children with all of my heart.  My best memories were of taking both Evan and his brother to basketball, baseball, and soccer – sometimes all three coincided.  It was crazy, but I miss those days so much.

Nothing ever prepares you for the loss of a child, which is the very worst that can happen.  This loss is even made worse when you find out your child didn’t have to die.

Right now the CDC is wrestling with the decision on what to do with newly licensed infant meningitis vaccines.  Are there enough cases to warrant a recommendation?  What is the cost to society?    Is the vaccine safe? 

To those questions, I answer, how many cases do there need to be.  If it’s your child, then that one case is all you can focus on.   Any life saved is worth it. The cost to society – how can you put a worth on a human life?  The government spends millions and millions of dollars on everything from pork barrel spending to other frivolous expenditures.  But the bottom line is, what is more important that our children, the future of our country.   Millions of dollars are spent to extend the life of elderly patients with end-of-life conditions.  Why not spend money on those infants just starting out?    The  last question is if the vaccine safe.  I have confidence that if the FDA recommends a vaccine after it has seen years and years of rigorous testing by the vaccine manufacturer and held to the highest standards by the FDA, then the vaccine is safe.

The CDC has tried to engage the public in discussions about infant meningitis vaccines, with public sessions in New Hampshire, Seattle, Chicago, and next week in Denver.  I can’t say that I have confidence that the average parent was invited to these public sessions.  I know that advocates for the vaccine and anti-vaccine groups were represented.  But the average parent, the parent of an infant whose life could be at stake, where were those parents?

To me, the bottom line is protection of our infant children.  If a vaccine can save even one life, let’s save it.

2 Responses to “One Life is One Too Many”

  1. Larry Navarro July 21, 2011 at 10:00 pm #

    I found your site on Google and read a few of your other entires. Nice Stuff. I’m looking forward to reading more from you.

  2. Janice Flood Nichols July 21, 2011 at 10:57 pm #

    This post says it all. Our society must protect all children from diseases that can be prevented. I look at the cost of a vaccine, even a relatively expensive one, as a very cheap life insurance policy… God bless this mother who has turned her grief into a fight to protect other children!

    Janice Flood Nichols, a polio survivor whose twin died of polio

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