Hooray! Little Boy got his first MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) shot!
In fact, he got four shots today. Besides the MMR, he received his first varicella (chickenpox) immunization, his fourth and final vaccine against pneumococcal meningitis, and his first of two flu shots this season (the first year kids get their flu shots, they need two doses). His poor legs were festooned with superhero Band-Aids.
From my perspective, vaccines are one of humanity’s greatest achievements. I will never have to watch my child struggle to breathe as he fights whooping cough. Never have to fear the coming of summer for its threat of polio. Never have to remember what diphtheria is or how to spell it. I’ll never even have to get a smallpox vaccine, because it worked so well in previous generations.
The MMR gives me particular relief, because it means I can stop worrying about measles. Little Boy has never been in any but the most remote danger of catching measles, but last winter’s Disneyland outbreak spread a little too close for comfort. Measles is extremely contagious—more contagious than Ebola—and you can pass it on before you even know you’re sick. When you’re the parent of a small baby, it’s scary, even though the flu is a much bigger risk from a numbers standpoint.
In conclusion: Hooray!