An Australian doctor has gone viral for her message on viruses. Two years ago Dr. Rachel Heap, of the Northern Rivers Vaccination Supporters (NRVS) in New South Wales, posted a rant on her organization’s Facebook page about the importance of vaccinating children which then turned into a meme. Well, that meme now graces the wall of a Colorado doctor’s office and thanks to patient Sunni Mariah, Dr. Heap’s words have spread around the internet like wild-fire.
It all started when Mariah noticed a sign in her doctor’s office with the headline, “Not vaccinating your kids leaves them vulnerable to disease their whole lives.” The sign continued with a series of tough questions such as:
“What do you tell your son when he breaks the news to you that he cannot have kids, thanks to the mumps that he got as a teenager?” Mariah snapped a photo of the sign for Facebook, captioning it as “some serious shade” towards anti-vaxxers and the post took off, racking up 4.8k comments and 191k shares on Facebook.
Dr. Heap says she was “frustrated and emotional” when she wrote the post, but still gave the doctor’s office permission to hang the print. With a growing number of anti-vaccine supporters, Dr. Heap and NRVS fight misinformation and misunderstanding of vaccines in their community as well as encourage a dialogue. With over 20 years as a doctor, ten years in intensive care across rural Australian areas and six months in the kids Intensive Care (PICU), she’s had her fair share of experiences with vaccine preventable diseases.
“It was whilst working in kids ICU that I first heard of the ‘anti-vaccination movement’ and saw directly the impact their misinformation had,” Dr. Heap told Bored Panda;
“On my first day at work, I looked after a baby with pertussis (whooping cough). They survived, but spent nearly 6 months of their life in ICU. The second baby I saw with pertussis did not make it.” She says these patients and their families are “her ghosts,” and drive her to do what she does.
Since the post went viral, Dr. Heap said she and Mariah have been keeping in contact. “No way were we expecting this – I wrote those words 2 years ago – who could possibly have thought that two years later I would be on international news sites and shared by George Takei?”
Scroll down below to read the full sign from Dr. Heap and share your thoughts on the topic! (Facebook cover image: Theerawan Bangpran)