by Patsy Stinchfield, MS, RN, CPNP, Infectious Disease Nurse Practitioner

I’m in the phase of my life where I am attending lots of wedding celebrations of young family members and friends’ children. For me, it is one of life’s most joyous occasions to see a young couple in love turning a page and beginning a new chapter of their life together.

I like to reflect on each individual in the new union and how their lives have brought them to this great moment. I then wonder about what their future holds as I hope and pray for health and happiness in their shared journey. Patsy_S

I realize I am likely the only person in the room reflecting on this, but in the quiet moments of the ceremony and during the wild, celebratory reception dancing, I look around and feel happy and thankful for the value of vaccines. It is a view of the world I have developed through many intense experiences.

In those happy moments, I see healthy people, fully vaccinated, not struck by illness or impairments from vaccine preventable diseases. I see wise choices including health-promoting preventive measures that carried them to this monumental day. I also hope for their future that they continue on the path of protecting themselves and their family.

I have gained a deep respect, appreciation, and value for vaccines and the benefits they provide in life by working in Pediatric Infectious Disease for nearly 30 years.

I have seen families experience the opposite of the joy of a wedding day and hope this fate for no one. I remember the children who won’t have the joyful wedding day and have learned to “see” the value of vaccines in everyday life.

Whether it is the joy of a wedding day, the laughter of a “girls’ weekend”, the celebrations of victory in sports, or the beauty in appreciating the arts, SEE the value of vaccines as you fully enjoy those happy, healthy moments.

Without vaccines, they may not be possible. I will always value vaccines.