A mother in Pickering, Ont., received a terrifying phone call on Monday. York Region Public Health called Jennifer Hibben-White to inform her that she and her son, Griffin, who was only 15 days old at the time, may have been exposed to the measles virus during an appointment at her doctor's office late last month.
Griffin is too young to have received the vaccine. Now the two of them and Hibben-White's three-year-old daughter, who has only had the first dose of the measles vaccine, are living in isolation at home for the next week.
"And I'm angry," Hibben-White wrote in a Facebook post that had been shared more than 200,000 times by Wednesday afternoon. "Angry as hell."
In the post, she explains that she does not blame the person who may have exposed them to the virus. That person was sick and went to the doctor; Hibben-White said she would probably have done the same thing.
"If you have chosen to not vaccinate yourself or your child, I blame you," she writes. "You have stood on the shoulders of our collective protection for too long. From that high height, we have given you the PRIVILEGE of our protection, for free. And in return, you gave me this week. A week from hell. Wherein I don't know if my BABY will develop something that has DEATH as a potential outcome."
There are six confirmed cases of measles in Toronto at the moment, two in children and four in adults.
In a heartbreaking disclosure, Hibben-White talks about losing a child.
"You know what vaccines protect your children from?" she asks anti-vaxxers. "Pain. Suffering. Irreparable harm. Death. And you would be the first to line up if you had an inkling of what the death of a child feels like. You would be crawling through the streets on your hands and knees, begging, BEGGING to get that vaccine into your precious babies because that is what I would have done, if I could, to save my daughter."
There was no vaccination that could have saved her daughter, who died of septicemia. There is one that could save her son's life, but as Hibben-White's post makes clear, that life and the lives of others may depend on people who choose unsupported beliefs over science.