He got a call from the hospital where his 2-year-old daughter Maggie just finished a round of chemotherapy telling him that Maggie and her 10-month-old brother Eli were exposed to measles, he told the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, which convened today to discuss the re-emergence of vaccine-preventable diseases.
The chemotherapy rendered Maggie's immune system unable to fight the virus even with the first dose of the MMR vaccine, and Eli is too young to get the vaccine, he said.
So Jacks wrote a letter to the parents in the hospital who didn't vaccinate their children and exposed Maggie and Eli to the measles, and he said the letter has been shared 1.3 million times.
"I assume you love your child just like I love mine," he wrote to those anonymous parents. "I assume that you are trying to make good choices regarding their care. Please realize that your child does not live in a bubble. When your child gets sick, other children are exposed. My children. Why would you knowingly expose anyone to your sick unvaccinated child after recently visiting Disneyland? That was a bone-headed move."
He urged Congress to promote the importance and safety of vaccinations.
"This issue is close to my heart as a father and pediatrician," Jacks concluded. "With your help, we can put an end to vaccine-preventable illnesses and protect the innocent. We can protect our children."