This Is What It's Like To Be An Unvaccinated Child

Illustration for article titled This Is What It's Like To Be An Unvaccinated Child

Vaccines save lives and prevent untold amounts of suffering. It's that simple. And yet, still, many parents refuse to vaccinate their children. But what's it like to be a child who isn't vaccinated? Today, some people who missed out on childhood vaccinations tell us exactly.


After reading this letter Roald Dahl wrote after the death of his daughter Olivia from the measles in 1962 (just before the release of the vaccine) some commenters shared their stories about also having contracted the measles and some of the other highly-preventable diseases that can be avoided through vaccination.

Despite recent outbreaks of illnesses like measles and pertussis, many of these illnesses have been successfully controlled by vaccination for so long that often people have little experience in just how serious and long-ranging the symptoms of these disease actually are. These stories remind us.


I was a cold war baby, and had the childhood diseases. I had measles *everywhere* including lesions under my finger and toe nails, my buttcrack and inside my mouth. My mom kept me in a dark room because of the risk of eye damage. When I had whooping cough, it turned into rheumatic fever, giving me both a heart condition and serious lung issues - I get a chest cold, it rolls into pneumonia because of the scarring in my lungs prevent them from clearing the mucus properly. I have no idea how much lifespan the heart damage has lost for me.

Vaccinate your kids. If I had my way, it would be a chargeable offense not to get your kid vaccinated barring specifically and ONLY allergy issues.


I had a cousin who was brain damaged by measles as a toddler in the early 1970s and died in her teens in the mid-1980s from an embolism I believe was related. People lately seem to think measles is like the chicken pox. It's not.


I'm a rubella baby. Massive congenital heart defect, for which I had surgery at the ripe old age of two. I can't ever get life insurance now.

Top image: Typhoid vaccinations in Texas, 1943, John Vachon for the United States Farm Security Administration



My grandmother came from a giant Irish family, fourteen kids in all. Only three made it to adulthood because of measles, polio or influenza.

Vaccinate your fucking children.