Meet the ICTC Advocacy Chair- Elena Greer
By: Elena Greer, ICTC Advocacy Chair
I first became aware of the unfortunate fact that some people were avoiding vaccines when I was pregnant with my twins. There was a good chance they would be premature, and my doctor warned me how vulnerable they would be if they were exposed to whooping cough, which was just on the rise at the time. It’s often a deadly disease to babies, so we had to make sure that everyone who would come in contact with them was up-to-date.
A couple of years later, when the boys were in preschool, a child there did come down with whooping cough. I couldn’t help but think about what could have happened if this had occurred when the twins were infants and my daughter was in preschool. What if she had carried the disease into our household, right to her baby brothers?
That’s the important thing about vaccines. We’re not just protecting ourselves and our children. We’re caring for each other by protecting the most vulnerable people in our community. It’s what I told my daughter when it was time for her HPV shots; she doesn’t like shots any more than the next person, but she bravely agreed that it was the right thing to do.
But now as vaccines have become commonplace and we no longer really witness the ravages of preventable diseases, we have people who are trumpeting “choice” and who are so very misinformed about what the miracle of science has actually achieved. Parents who trusted their doctors are now hesitant. “Hot spots” of unimmunized populations are beginning to pop up across the United States and one of them is right here in North Texas.
That’s why I joined Immunization Collaboration of Tarrant County as the Advocacy Committee Chair. I don’t want to see families devastated by preventable diseases. As the chair, I would like to lead the committee in a two-pronged approach. I want to reach out to vaccine hesitant parents and counter the dangerously misleading information they may have heard, and I want to work hand in hand with Immunize Texas, the advocacy arm of the Texas Immunization Partnership during 2019’s Texas Legislative session.
Let’s protect ourselves and each other from diseases that no one should have to get. If you are interested in joining the committee, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org