Friday, February 20, 2015

Vaccinations in a Different Time

When I married, my mother gave me a file folder of all my "important papers." I skimmed the contents, filed the folder and forgot it. But when the vaccination debate hit the news I remembered those funny little yellow cards she had given me.

My shot records. Now I knew I was never given the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) shot. It was introduced just in time for my kids to be protected. But I was curious about the other diseases I was immune to.

My mother was VERY pro-vaccine. She used to ask me if I had gotten her grandchildren their shots. And then she would tell me the stories about the unvaccinated children she had known and how selfish their parents were. You can be sure she marched us all to the doctor the minute the polio vaccine was available.

I've always wondered if she had just seen too much unpreventable disease while she was growing up or if her fear was passed on to her from her mother. Grandma's mother, Hannah Nelson died of typhus in 1888 when Grandma was only two years old. 

I discovered I had been protected against typhoid, typhus, smallpox, diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus and the flu. I got the full series of the Salk vaccine and then 6 years later, my sisters and I lined up for "Operation Swallow", a community-wide effort to distribute the polio vaccine in Hawaii in 1962. I'm not sure how I missed the shot for the plague. I guess there wasn't much of it in Montana back then.

Thanks Mom. 

And now for a Public Service Announcement. Once is not enough. Check with your doctor, get your boosters and stay healthy.