It takes a village. We all know the saying, and as parents, we know it all too well to be true.
In its usual context, we understand it to mean it takes a village to raise a child. The community we are in provides a safe, nurturing environment for our young to not only grow, but to thrive.
It’s a saying we throw around without much thought or consequence. But, with the growth of the anti-vaccination movement, we need to remember what comes with being a village now more than ever.
To be a village means to provide protection for those who can’t protect themselves. It’s something that goes hand-in-hand with herd immunity- that indirect protection is provided to the non-immune when a large percentage of a population is immune through vaccination.
However, herd immunity can lead to a false sense of security. When we view vaccination rates on a larger scale and see that a vast majority are vaccinated, it can lead to some electing not to vaccinate when otherwise capable – to reap the protections of the herd when they should actually be part of that herd providing the protection.
But with vaccination rates and herd immunity, we need to think much smaller. We need to focus on our communities and our schools- our village. We need to be sure that on that smaller scale, we are still vaccinating at a rate that provides protection for those who can’t protect themselves, like newborns, the elderly, the sick, or the immunosuppressed. To do otherwise is to run the risk of harming our village.
Without a doubt, every parent’s decision whether or not to vaccinate their child comes from love. However, the difference is those who choose to vaccinate not only have love for their child, but for their community. They vaccinate themselves and their children out of care and compassion for others.
After all, it takes a village to raise a child. It takes a village to protect a child. It takes a village to protect those who can’t protect themselves.
It takes a village.