For the Love of Rhett: Will One Innocent Voice Makes A Difference

The picture is grim. The measles virus is having a heyday. Why not? The country is divided. The issue whether to vaccinate or not to vaccinate had been hanging over the head of every Americans like the sword of Damocles.

That’s what we call in plain English , united we stand divided we fall. Everyone that matters had their say already. Meanwhile the measles virus is spreading more and claiming additional victims every day.

Another voice has come out from the wilderness made of cements and concretes, this time a very tiny voice, from a 7 year old boy. What did this little boy said that caught the attention of the entire country? Will his innocent voice unite the country and heal the wound of animosity between the pro and anti vaccination group.  At least the event has received a lot of mileage from media, but will it help his cause? At least the school board where he’s studying listened to him and we hope there will more outpouring of support from other sources.

The grade one pupil Rhett Krawitt made a speech early this week at a Reed Union school board meeting Tiburon, Calif. The school board was preparing to vote whether to support the exemption ban that would remove the philosophical exemption long held by the state.

The first grader had been battling leukemia himself and is not healthy enough to get vaccinated.

During the meeting, Rhet went to the podium and spoke on the microphone. He was reading from a written speech which his father has helped him prepare.

“My name is Rhett and I give a damn,” he said to a cheering crowd, according to KGO-TV. “Soon we will say, ‘Gone with the measles.’”

The board voted 4-to-1 on Tuesday to support the legislation. It was proposed by state senators  in California who want to scrap the “personal beliefs” exemption that allows parents to choose not to vaccinate their public school children for non-medical reasons. All states allow medical exemptions for legitimate issues, such as anaphylactic allergic response, a life-threatening allergic response. Twenty states let parents opt-out for philosophical reasons, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

(After that the vote was taken. The school board was almost unanimous in their vote 4-1 to support the legislation by state senators in California who favors in scrapping the “personal beliefs” exemption. This will allow parents to choose not to have their children vaccinated for non-medical reason.

All states allow exemptions for medical purposes such as when there’s a prophylactic reaction, which is a life threatening condition. Only twenty states allow parents to refuse having their children vaccinated for personal reasons.

But many consider non-medical vaccine exemptions unsound because they create risk for people who cannot be immunized — babies who are too young, children who have not finished their boosters, women who are pregnant and others, like Rhett, whose immune systems are too weak.

“As a pediatrician I have personally witnessed children suffering lifelong injury or death from vaccine-preventable infection,” California state Sen. Richard Pan (D), who co-wrote the proposed legislation, said in a statement.

Rhett having completed his chemotherapy one year ago, will meet with his doctors to determine whether his health has improved to the point to be vaccinated.

“For three-and-a-half years, I took chemo to get the bad guys out,” Rhett told the school board, ABC News reported. “Now I can say, ‘Gone with the cancer.’”

Rhett’s father explained that Rhett is fighting for everybody and not only for himself.

“The importance of vaccinations is about the expectant mothers and babies under the age one and hundreds of children who are at risk for getting these disease that don’t even need to be here,” Carl Krawitt told ABC News. “It’s really around making sure that we have public health policy that protects everyone in our community.”

“Herd immunity is real science. It keeps our children from getting sick,” he told KPIX5-TV.




  1. Tee says

    Good article.
    I’ll disagree that the “country is divided.” That implies 50/50.
    The anti-vaxxers make up a very, very small percentage. They are emotional thinking radicals who choose belief over fact in much the way the religious, anti-climate change and extreme conservatives do.
    In those other issues what they believe is irrelevant UNTIL it impacts everyone else who ends up paying for their foolishness. In this case, society already is paying.

  2. AnneS says

    I disagree with Tee, I think we are split down the middle now, 50/50. There are too many parents that went along with the recommendation and saw their children harmed from vaccines. Instead of cleaning up the process to look into the problems, they spent the next decade and a half obfuscating. People demand safety, and instead get mandates. Very dirty politics.

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