When my daughter, Bailey, was six weeks old she was potentially exposed to pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, via an unvaccinated student. Another parent’s philosophical beliefs put my baby in grave danger.

My mother, a vaccinated educator, had been in close contact with a student and found out the following day – after cuddling her grandbaby – that the student had pertussis. The doctors we consulted took the potential exposure incredibly seriously, instructing my mother to quarantine herself until we could confirm she had not contracted the disease. We were also instructed to monitor Bailey closely for any signs of whooping cough.

The CDC recommends a series of immunizations against pertussis beginning at two months old. My husband and I are firm believers in vaccines, yet Bailey was simply too young at the time.

Whooping cough can be fatal in infants. As we celebrate Bailey’s birthday this month, I know we were fortunate that she did not contract pertussis six years ago. This nightmarish incident made it clear to me that vaccines are a matter of public health and we owe it to our children and educators to keep our public schools safe. The simple fact is that another parent’s decision not to vaccinate their child could have killed mine.

I will vote “No” on 1 to uphold the law.

Ann Cole


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