Parent urges others to get kids vaccinated during pandemic

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Child immunizations are down 15.3% since this time last year largely due to the stay-at-home order. That’s why one Michigan mother wants to encourage other parents to still get their children vaccinated, because if not, the result can be deadly.

“When we lost her, we just couldn’t believe that it happened,” said Veronica Valentine McNally.

McNally and her husband Sean know firsthand the pain of losing a child. Their daughter Francesca passed away in 2012 at only 3 months old due to whooping cough, only nine days after first showing symptoms.

“My husband and I decided that when we lost her, we would work really hard to educate the public about vaccine preventable diseases,” said McNally.

With it being National Infant Immunization Week, McNally wants to shine a light on the issue. As the world strives to find a vaccine for the coronavirus, she says it’s a good time to bring the topic up.

“I think right now is the best time to talk about this because we’re seeing the importance of vaccines and hoping that this eventually, COVID-19 will become a vaccine-preventable disease,” said McNally.

McNally founded the I Vaccinate campaign with the state health department to help other parents as studies show only 58% of Michigan toddlers are up to date on recommended vaccinations.

“The thing about these vaccine preventable diseases is that they are real, and they can kill, and we want to make sure that parents understand that they have an opportunity to make sure their children are up to date,” said McNally.

She believes by continuing to share her story, it will keep her daughter’s memory alive.

“We talk about her every day,” said McNally. “We celebrate her every day and our children understand what she was here to do, and that was really to be able to save other children.”

If you would like to learn more about vaccine recommendations from state health officials, click here