Roald dahl he was one of my favorite childhood writers. Their stories took me to a wonderful world in which witches meet in secret, in which little beings make chocolate and in which girls have the super power to move things with their minds.
Although his children's stories ("Matilda", "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" or "James and the Giant Peach") also have a slightly spooky side, his stories made me imagine, laugh and dream, and maybe that's why I found this message from Roald Dahl so painful. Following the death of her daughter Olivia from measles, she wrote a heartbreaking letter that will make all those who doubt whethervaccinate children.
Among other things, it was the vitality and imagination of his daughter Olivia that inspired Roald Dahl to create those wonderful universes of his stories. Unfortunately, the little girl died at the age of 7 due to encephalitis caused by the measles virus. A few years after his death, in 1988, Roald Dahl reflected his pain in this letter, which was not found until the death of the writer.
Here you can read the letter entitled "Measles: a dangerous disease".
Olivia, my oldest daughter, contracted measles when she was 7 years old. Since the illness was running its normal course, I can remember reading to her stories in bed without feeling particularly alarmed. Then one morning, when she was getting better and better, I was sitting on her bed teaching her to create small animals with colored wires, and when it was her turn to make one I realized that her fingers and her mind were not working at the same time. and I could not do anything.
"Are you okay?" I asked him.
"I'm sleepy," he said.
Within an hour he was unconscious. In 12 hours I was dead.
The measles had turned into something terrible called measles encephalitis and there's nothing the doctors could do to save her. This was 24 years ago, in 1962, but even today if a child with measles were to develop the same fatal reaction as Olivia, there would be nothing doctors could do to help him.
On the other hand, there is something that parents today can do to ensure that this type of tragedy does not happen to their child. They can make sure your child gets the measles vaccine. I couldn't do this for Olivia in 1962, because in those days a reliable measles vaccine had not yet been developed. Today there is a safe and available vaccine for all families and all you have to do is ask your doctor to administer it.
It is not yet fully accepted that measles is a dangerous disease. Believe me, it is. In my opinion parents who refuse to vaccinate their children are putting their lives in danger. In America, where vaccination is mandatory, measles, like chickenpox, is practically eradicated.
Here in Britain, as there are so many parents who refuse to have their children vaccinated out of stubbornness, ignorance or fear, we still have hundreds of thousands of measles cases a year. Of those, more than 10,000 will suffer side effects of some kind. At least 10,000 will develop ear or chest infections. About 20 will die.
WE MUST ASSUME IT.
Every year about 20 children will die in Great Britain from measles.
So what are the risks your kids would face if they get vaccinated?
There are almost none. Listen to this. In a district of approximately 300,000 people, there would only be one child every 250 years who would develop serious side effects from vaccination! That's a one in a million chance. I think your child would be more likely to choke to death on a candy bar than to become seriously ill from the measles vaccine.
So what are you worrying about? It's almost a crime to let your child not get vaccinated.
The best time to vaccinate is at 13 months, but it is never too late. All school-age children who have not yet been vaccinated against measles should beg their parents to get them one as soon as possible.
I happened to dedicate two of my books to Olivia, the first was "James and the Giant Peach". It was still alive. The second was "The Great Good-natured Giant", dedicated to his memory after dying of measles. You will see his name at the beginning of each of these books. And I know how happy I would be if I could only know that his death has served to save a great number of diseases and deaths of other children.
After reading Roald Dahl's message, there are many other reasons that come to mind that invite children to be vaccinated. The decision not to give your child the vaccines established by the vaccination calendar of your country is dangerous or, at least, that is what the World Health Organization thinks, which has cataloged the rejection of vaccines as one of the threats to world health.
These are other reasons why you should vaccinate your children.
1. Because vaccines save lives
Especially in the case of babies, vaccines are vital to prevent them from contracting diseases that their immune system is not yet ready to fight, which can be a danger to their health.
2. So that eradicated diseases do not reappear
Failure to vaccinate children can cause certain diseases that were almost eliminated in certain countries to re-emerge. According to the WHO, measles cases have increased by 30% worldwide.
3. Because vaccines are safe
Teams of professionals exhaustively analyze the preparations that are used in all corners of the world to immunize children. There are very strict protocols that ensure that vaccines are reliable and safe for children.
Despite the cost that vaccines can entail, they are a protection measure both for the child who is vaccinated and for the rest of the people around him.
You can read more articles similar to Roald Dahl's Letter That Those Who Doubt Whether To Vaccinate Children Should Read, in the category of Vaccines on site.