A mother is reminding people to vaccinate their children after her cancer-stricken daughter caught measles

Sean Gallup/Staff/Getty ImagedsVaccinating children can prevent the spread of measles, polio, and other potentially deadly diseases, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Last week, Nicole Stellon O’Donnell took to Twitter to remind followers of the importance of vaccines after her cancer-stricken daughter contracted measles.

In her thread, O’Donnell explained that her daughter could not get vaccinated herself because chemotherapy left her with a weakened immune system. She also wrote that her daughter’s exam room needed a “terminal cleaning,” which interfered with other cancer outpatients’ treatments. O’Donnell also mentioned other potential risks of not vaccinating children, like other immuno-compromised children needing painful shots to bring up their white blood cell counts.

O’Donnell’s thread illustrated what can happen when people skip out on vaccinations

Vaccinating children with healthy immune systems prevents situations like the one O’Donnell’s daughter went through, since these vaccines stop the spread of measles, polio, and other potentially deadly diseases, according to the Mayo Clinic. These vaccines become especially important for children who cannot be vaccinated due to compromised immune systems or allergies to components of the vaccine, according to the Centres for Disease Control (CDC).


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Vaccines contain dead or weakened strains of the respective disease each vaccine protects against, according to Nemours, a nonprofit children’s health system. When a person is vaccinated, the body creates antibodies that protect against the strain, so if a live version were to enter the body, a person would be better prepared to fight off the contracted disease. Currently, the CDC recommends the measles vaccine for children 12 months and older.

Besides providing protection for yourself, vaccines can protect an entire community thanks to a concept known as “herd immunity,” which means the more people who get vaccinated, the less likely a disease is to spread, according to the US Department of Health & Human Services (HHS). When herd immunity is put into effect, even those who are unable to get vaccines will have a lower chance of getting a life-threatening illness. Staying on top of your vaccinations has far-reaching benefits for immuno-compromised people, whether it’s a person with HIV/AIDS, type 1 diabetes, or cancer like O’Donnell’s daughter.

O’Donnell did not immediately reply to INSIDER’s request for comment.

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