(Updated at 11:20 a.m. Friday) Capitol Hill residents Peter and Katy Keesey were talking with friends about six months ago about a couple of controversial issues.
“We were laughing about how some people don’t accept climate change. Then we continued the conversation by saying how silly it was that some parents don’t vaccinate their kids,” Peter Keesey said.
“Things got very quiet,” he said.
After being surprised by the number of “very educated people” who rejected vaccinations, the Keeseys created a pro-vaccine campaign to distribute stickers that read “I was vaccinated today,” for children, and “My kid was vaccinated today,” for parents.
The Keeseys — who have an 18-month-old son and another baby on the way — said they took inspiration for the “pro-vax” sticker campaign from the “I voted today” stickers handed out at the polls.
“We’re trying to find a positive way to promote vaccinations and sound science,” Peter Keesey said. “Kids love stickers, so it’s a win-win.”
The Keeseys launched a Kickstarter campaign earlier this month to distribute 50,000 stickers to pediatricians’ offices across the country. Supporters are giving them their pediatricians’ addresses, then the Keeseys send the doctors the stickers and a letter explaining what to do with them. Supporters can sign their names to the letters or anonymously request that doctors hand them out. The Keeseys will share the sticker templates with doctors so they can print them, too.
The handful of doctors they’ve spoken with so far have been supportive of the plan, said Peter Keesey, who is a federal employee.
“We’re generally finding that pediatricians are pretty excited about this,” he said.
The couple, who moved to the Hill about six years ago, is also having totebags printed with the slogan Give Our Kids a Shot.
“It’s an easy way to show you made a correct decision for your family,” said Katy Keesey, who works as a human relations consultant.
The Kickstarter with a $10,000 goal had raised $1,785 as of 4 p.m. Thursday. All funds go toward the production of stickers and totebags, the Keeseys said.
Members of the anti-vaccine movement link vaccines to autism and cite a 1998 study that has since been discredited, The New York Times reported.
Two cases of measles have been diagnosed in the District this year. The D.C. Department of Health recommends that children receive all recommended vaccinations to avoid preventable diseases.
“For measles, and for all other vaccine-preventable illnesses – we want to make sure our community is protected,” health director LaQuandra S. Nesbitt told The Washington Post.
Images courtesy of Katy and Peter Keesey