I am not going to give you a lecture about why you should give your child the MMR vaccination. I am not going to tell you about measles, mumps and rubella. I am not going to preach about herd immunity; nor am I going to shout about the ridiculous and disproved link to autism. Today I am going to tell you a story…
Once upon a time there was a brave paramedic ambulance driver. This ambulance driver spent every day of his life saving other people’s lives. This man drove carefully and quickly to ensure people got to hospital in emergency situations. This man cared for people and administered emergency and life saving treatments in pressured situations. This man might even have come to your house to help you, your child or your partner.
Then one day this ambulance driver felt a bit unwell. He had a bad cold, he thought. The doctor thought it was probably a chest infection. Then he felt worse. He went to the doctors’ again. This time he struggled to walk up the slope as his breathing was so laboured. His wife waited outside in the car. She heard a siren. Not unusual in London. The siren was an ambulance. The ambulance was for her husband. He had collapsed in the doctors’ before he could tell anyone she was outside. No one came to get her.
The ambulance driver had caught measles. He had probably caught it from a patient he had carried in the ambulance. All his previous patients had to be contacted. All the ambulances in the fleet had to be decontaminated. All the other paramedics in his team had to be checked.
He was in intensive care for a day, in isolation for 7 days. At one point he was given 24 hours to live. His wife was in isolation at home for a month. She could not leave her house or see her parents, for whom she is a carer. Nor could she see her husband.
He didn’t die, but he has been left without a sense of smell and with severely deteriorated eyesight. Both may never come back. He has viral fatigue which means he may not be able to work for months or longer.
This is a true story. The ambulance driver’s wife is a friend of mine. So, just remember when you are deciding whether or not get your child vaccinated: you are not only risking a childhood illness, you are saving things up for their future. They could be the person in the ambulance who gave the paramedic measles. They could be the paramedic. Measles is a very dangerous disease. We need to keep up the country’s immunity and not get complacent because the diseases had been almost irradiated.