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Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health


Keywords: pneumonia, vaccine

By Dr. Kate O'Brien

Being a doctor doesn’t necessarily make being a mom to a sick baby any easier. Like every mother, I’ve spent my share of sleepless nights tending to my kids sick with a cold, or diarrhea, or an earache, but those episodes are just a distant blur for me. Not so the time my son had pneumonia.

It was his first Christmas and we were both really sick with a respiratory illness that I’m sure was the flu. I kept telling myself we would both feel better soon. But we didn’t. In fact, Jack got worse. By evening and into the night, with more rapid breathing and some tugging of his chest with each breath, there was no question we needed to get him medical care. These were signs that something was very wrong.
An x-ray confirmed that Jack had pneumonia. My heart sank. I was supposed to have gotten him vaccinated against the flu weeks earlier, but I put it off. As a pediatrician and vaccinologist, I knew that vaccine could have protected him from pneumonia. As a parent, I should have never have been “too busy” to get him vaccinated. Thankfully with proper treatment, Jack quickly recovered. I knew we were lucky but also knew there were hundreds of thousands of children each year who are not. Read the full blog at Million Moms Challenge.

Posted by Kelly Healy