About Vaccine Safety:
From one mom to another

Everly Macario, ScD, MS, MEd
Mother of Simon Sparrow (11/2/02—4/17/04)
Parent, Public Health Researcher, and Writer

Oct 22, 2008
What is every parent’s worst nightmare? The death of their child. Well, I experienced that nightmare and it’s a nightmare that never ends. When I am at a music concert with my other son, my heart aches, “Oh, Simon should be here to enjoy this.” When I am at a kids’ soccer game I think about how Simon would have been a marvelous athlete given his “bruiser” built. This year my son Simon would have turned 6. I wonder about whether he would still have reddish curls (my husband had carrot red hair as a child and I have very curly hair … Simon got a bit of both of us). I wonder how he would be doing at school when I attend my daughter’s parent-teacher conference. I wonder how Simon would get along with my two other children. I wonder if Simon would have been musical, funny, serious, talkative, quiet, easy going, or sensitive. I wonder what his favorite foods would have been (boy, was he a hearty eater at 1 ½ years of age!). I feel sad that the world lost the opportunity to be graced by Simon’s potential contributions to it.

My healthy son Simon died on April 17, 2004 at age 1 ½ years because an infection ravished his body and took him in less than 24 hours. When he died, my once beautiful son was super bloated, covered with purple scabs, and had coagulated blood tears falling from his eyes. He contracted an antibiotic-resistant bacteria called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. There is no vaccine for this super bug. They’re working on one though. And, believe me, if there had been a vaccine for MRSA, I would not have hesitated to immunize all my children against this horrific disease.

Before Simon died I thought that infectious diseases were a thing of the past. We didn’t need to worry about measles, whooping cough, and polio, for example—those diseases were gone, out of our reality. Losing my son made me appreciate the profound and habitual pain and grief families a half of a century ago experienced, utilizing the strategy of deliberately having many children assuming that some of them would die as way to counteract this guaranteed fate.

How complacent we have become. We have the tools—vaccines—to prevent devastating consequences of disease including death and yet some incorrectly believe that because we don’t see people with vaccine-preventable diseases in our daily lives that these diseases have been eradicated. Vaccines truly have been victims of their own success. To continue to keep these diseases at bay, we need to continue to immunize our children.

I choose to vaccinate my children because I am so grateful that medicine and science have discovered these almost miraculous prevention measures and because I am privileged enough to live in the United States of America where this resource even exists.

I wish nature were designed such that it would be impossible for children to die before their parents. Children do die however. And, the chances of their dying are higher when you don’t vaccinate them.

Everly Macario
Mother of Simon Sparrow (11/2/02—4/17/04)

Everly Macario is a mother who lost her son to an antibiotic-resistant Staph bacterium. She has a doctorate in public health and focuses her work on communicating ways to stay healthy. Prevention is her mantra. She lives in Chicago with her two children.

Everly’s recommended reads:

The Needle and the Studies Done
Debates over vaccine safety are murky enough to confuse the medical experts. How’s a parent supposed to sort it all out?
By Sari Weston
Brain,Child Spring 2008 issue

Autism's False Prophets:
Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure
Paul A. Offit, M.D.
Published by Columbia University Press
Pub Date: September, 2008
Cloth, 296 pages, 12 illus.
ISBN: 978-0-231-14636-4

What Every Parent Should Know About Vaccines
Paul A. Offit, MD
Louis M. Bell, MD

1998  Macmillan, NY, NY

Vaccinating Your Child
Questions & Answers
For the concerned parent
Sharon G. Humiston, MD, MPH
Cynthia Good

2000 Peachtree Publishers

Do Vaccines Cause Autism, Asthma, Diabetes?
Martin Myers, M.D and Diego Pineda, M.S.

Voodoo Science: The Road From Foolishness to Fraud
Robert Park
2000 Oxford Press