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Preventing What’s Possible

Guest post by Heather Carlsen

As parents, we all want to do the best we can by our kids. We want to minimize the amount we screw them up. However, I think we can all readily admit that screwing our kids up is just part of the game, the nature of the beast. I am a mother of an 11-year-old boy, with blue hair who loves acting and video games. I am the mother of a 4-year-old girl whose favorite pastime is fighting imaginary zombies, dressed as a princess while covered in marker tattoos (thanks, Moana!). And, I am a new mom to a just-barely 2-month-old girl who is still mostly un-screwed up. Except for one thing: She hates people touching her feet. Now, I get that it is a fairly normal thing to not like. In this case, though, it is way more nurture than nature. Read more


Immunology 101 Series: The Return of the Mumps

By Aimee Pugh-Bernard, PhD

In the eleventh installment of the Immunology 101 Series, Aimee will explain the basics of the infectious disease mumps and the science behind the vaccines available for mumps.
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Confronting Polio: An Interview with Former Lt. Governor Barbara O’Brien

In this post, we share notes from our conversation with former Colorado Lt. Governor Barbara O’Brien as she recounted her family’s experience with a vaccine-preventable disease that plagued our nation not long ago. Read more

Support Your Herd: Growing a grassroots vaccine advocacy and education movement in Boulder

By Karli Carston

As a kid, I took vaccines for granted. Shots were something that was mildly unpleasant but necessary.

Then I grew up and became a mom.

I followed the car seat recommendations. I followed recommendations for breastfeeding and starting solid foods. I understood the relative risks and benefits of vaccines and followed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) schedule for both my kids. I assumed pretty much everyone else did the same.

It wasn’t until a couple of years ago when I moved to Boulder, Colo. to start a new job when my bubble burst. A local education news outlet, Chalkbeat Colorado, had calculated the proportion of students in each public school who were fully vaccinated and published the rates for parents like myself to see, and the information was both surprising and disheartening. A well-regarded charter school recommended to us by friends and neighbors had a 50 percent vaccination rate. Our local elementary school was much better at 85 percent but still fell far short of what is necessary for herd immunity. Not everyone accepts that the health benefits of vaccines outweigh the minuscule risks?!, I thought. How could this be? But the data were there in black and white.
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