Don’t worry, holiday gift shoppers. We’re here to help you out once again with the most challenging people-who-have-everything on your list, because there’s a pretty decent chance they don’t have all the latest goodies on the vaccine scene. Whether your loved one needs a gentle reminder to get that disease-preventing shot, or is a bona fide vaccine nerd who just can’t get enough immunization loot, we’ve got something tempting to suggest:
-- Baby Nantsy Nerlie is an offbeat purple baby doll that comes complete with a full set of baby paraphernalia – including an all-important vaccination certificate. Way to start out life the right way! A separate but related item provides a vaccine kit, too.
-- On a more serious note, Texas’ own vaccine hero Dr. Peter Hotez just published an important book on vaccination, “Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel's Autism: My Journey as a Vaccine Scientist, Pediatrician, and Autism Dad.” Hotez, a researcher on vaccines for tropical diseases, is in the best possible position to understand the myth about vaccines and autism because he is both a researcher on vaccines for tropical diseases and, as the title says, the father of a daughter with autism. The Amazon description of his book says in part: “Hotez draws on his experiences as a pediatrician, vaccine scientist, and father of an autistic child. Outlining the arguments on both sides of the debate, he examines the science that refutes the concerns of the anti-vaccine movement, debunks current conspiracy theories alleging a cover-up by the CDC, and critiques the scientific community's failure to effectively communicate the facts about vaccines and autism to the general public, all while sharing his very personal story of raising a now-adult daughter with autism.”
-- The whole family can join in on putting together the story – and the picture – of Edward Jenner, developer of the smallpox vaccine, with this 252-piece jigsaw puzzle showing the historic figure at work. It’s a great opportunity to tell children the remarkable story of the first modern vaccine. Jenner is credited with saving some 500 million lives with his discovery, making him one of the greatest heroes of history.
-- Ever want to snuggle with a warm, fuzzy disease? This is your chance to do it safely, with the Giant Microbes Vaccine Pack, three cuddly stuffed microbes in one package.
-- Each year, we hunt for the best of the vaccine T-shirts so that you can emblazon yourself with a variety of clever pro-immunization memes. This year's pro-science T-shirt begins, "Earth is not flat. Vaccines work. We've been to the moon. Chemtrails aren't a thing...." Get yourself read by others in line at the supermarket, and get some chuckles.
-- Here's a cheap date. Experiences rather than objects are in vogue as gifts. For a romantic evening, turn the lamps low, light a few candles, pour a couple of glasses of bubbly and snuggle on the sofa with your sweetie and a laptop to view the terrific PBS documentary, "Vaccines -- Calling the Shots," which can be watched online any time you choose. "Examine the science behind vaccinations, the return of preventable diseases, and the risks of opting out," the subtitle reads, and especially considering the big outbreak of measles in New York State recently, the message is well taken. Spring for a bag of microwave popcorn to share during the flick and you've got it made.
-- 'Tis the season -- the flu season, as well as the greeting card season. Bored with cards showing evergreen trees and polar bears? This year, send your holiday greetings with seasonal cards that have something memorable to say: a reminder to your loved ones to get their flu shots. That way, you're really wishing them a healthy New Year!