On the List

Our littlest one, Wiglet, had her regular check-up with the Consultatie Bureau, the Dutch version of the Health and Human Services Department. Though, to make that comparison is quite a stretch. I will spare you the details, but in The Netherlands, all children (and parents) receive free check-ups, vision & hearing screenings, vaccinations (and advice on things like nutrition and developmental stages), etc. They do not say it outright, but they are also screening for child abuse. They definitely follow a checklist and script, but all and all, I am grateful for their services.

Our family records indicate that I am American. They have begun insisting that Wiglet has a measles vaccination before we next visit the U.S. That means they recommend we not visit the U.S. for the next six months, until she gets her MMR vaccination at 14 months of age.

I never thought the U.S. would be on the CDC list of countries requiring vaccinations. When I travelled throughout Asia and the Middle East, I had to get a variety of vaccinations before my travel. I had to take malaria pills in Cambodia. I took Cipro to Egypt. I always thought of the vaccinations as a price to pay for traveling to less fortunate countries. I thought they were needed to go to exotic, underprivileged countries in which the government and infrastructure are broken.

Then I heard that the measles broke out in Disneyland. Frankly, it shocked me. I did not think it would get that bad. I thought people would come to their senses before that happened. I know the reasons why people refuse to get their children vaccinated. I seriously considered it myself with our oldest, but, thank goodness, by then the findings linking vaccinations to autism had been debunked. I watched Jenny McCarthy on “Oprah”. I believed her.

I understand why parents did not want to risk the vaccination. Parents want to do the best they know how to protect their children. They are looking for the silver bullet to prevent their child’s suffering. I get it. But now we have better information. Unfortunately, it is not as easy as avoiding a shot.

Honestly, I do not want to wade into the debate. I just want to come home this summer so my kids can hang out with our friends and family.

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