Wedding Etiquette Forum

Etiquette for unvaccinated children?

edited May 2015 in Wedding Etiquette Forum
My FSIL has four unvaccinated kids, and I'm wondering if we have a responsibility to inform any of our guests, and if so, whom?

I talked about it a bit with FI last night, where a few valid points were made.

** we could have a bunch of other unvaccinated guests that we just don't know about! and we clearly aren't going to go around polling people
** school aged children will likely, at one point or another, have unvaccinated classmates and see them almost daily
** FI thinks I'm overthinking this and that really the only people at risk are the other unvaccinated ones. But my side of the family is pretty *ahem* "pro-vaxxer" to put it mildly, and I can imagine people getting annoyed if they found out their little kids were exposed to other unvaccinated children without warning, of course then I revisit my first point in that their kids are inevitably going to be exposed to unvaccinated kids.

Is there etiquette around this? I looked around and couldn't find very much. For the sake of family harmony, I don't feel it's a possibility to exclude her kids.

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Re: Etiquette for unvaccinated children?

  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    I personally would not worry about anyone other then parents with babies too young to be vaccinated.    Or if you knew of someone with a specific health issue and they are not vaccinated themselves.   


    Other then that, by nature of being in public you may come across non-vaccinated people in everyday life.   For example,  most jobs outside of the medical and research fields do not require you being vaccinated. If you are a working adult you might already be unknowing be around someone who is non vaccinated.  You already mentioned kids in school.    






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
    MesmrEwe
  • levioosa said:
    You might find this thread useful:


    Please keep in mind that anyone who is immunocompromised, very young, and very old are at risk for an infection from someone who is not vaccinated.  That is why we have herd immunity.  When people refuse to vaccinate, it takes away the herd immunity from people who either cannot be vaccinated due to reactions, or who are so immunocompromised that they may still get an infection.  Being immunocompromised just doesn't mean "cancer" either, it can mean a whole host of pathologies that may not be physically obvious.  I personally wouldn't invite the unvaccinated kids.  There are consequences to not vaccinating.  Sometimes you don't get invited to places.  And sometimes you die because of a completely preventable disease. 

    I would be furious if I had a child or infant who could not be vaccinated due to an allergy or immunocompromised disease, and there was someone who knowingly was not vaccinated at an event. You'd also think that non-vaxxer parents would have the good sense to keep their kids home if they were sick, but that's not the case either.  I had an mom bring her kid with chicken pox to one of my early parties.  It almost killed one of the Dads there, and the rest of us came down with it.  That was pre-varicella vaccine, but it was a total dick move to bring her kid.  I wish I could say that antivaxxers wouldn't do that, but many of them either think the diseases are "made up" or "not that serious." 

    Etiquette is about doing what will make your guests comfortable.  I don't think FSIL should get a pass, because it's about the comfort of the majority, not her.  I don't think knowingly putting your guests at risk is adhering to etiquette at all. 
    this 150%
    pinupbride6189themuffinman16
  • @lyndausvi that's the conclusion we left the conversation at last night, but since neither one of us really knows anything on the subject I'm on a fact finding mission now. FI said I could ask his sister if she knows the protocol, since they're her kids. I, as politely as I could, pointed out that I wouldn't trust her opinion enough not to get a second opinion anyways.

    @Levioosa that's a useful thread, I am making my way through it, thanks. You're right, FSIL shouldn't get a pass. I knew I wasn't over thinking this...

  • FiancBFiancB MinnesOOOta member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    In a way, I think you could argue that people that don't vax their kids because they're such speshul snowflakes have incredibly bad etiquette- beyond that, since they're risking other people's lives. I also don't really think it's your responsibility. Unfortunately, this is getting to be so common that it's a risk you take anytime you go out in public. I live in a county with some of the worst vax rates in the country. 

    I would give a heads up by word of mouth to anyone for whom it may be a concern- anyone that's immunocompromised, pregnant, babies, etc. I would maybe consider making it sound as though kids aren't really welcome to FSIL. Other than that, you can really only hope for the best. Maybe even make up a story about having some guests there with those concerns so that if her kids are ill, she'll think twice about bringing them. 

    How old are the kids? Hopefully she'll get a sitter or whatever anyway. Most people would prefer to go to a wedding kid free. I'd maybe not list the kids' names on the invitations and hope she takes a hint. But I don't think I'd go as far as forbidding them. 
    image
  • APDSS22APDSS22 O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A is OK member
    Fifth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    @lyndausvi that's the conclusion we left the conversation at last night, but since neither one of us really knows anything on the subject I'm on a fact finding mission now. FI said I could ask his sister if she knows the protocol, since they're her kids. I, as politely as I could, pointed out that I wouldn't trust her opinion enough not to get a second opinion anyways.

    @Levioosa that's a useful thread, I am making my way through it, thanks. You're right, FSIL shouldn't get a pass. I knew I wasn't over thinking this...

    Yeah, since her "opinion" has led her to keep her children from receiving vaccines, I would not trust it either.  Obviously, you and your FI have to come to a consensus on whether or not to invite his sister's children.  Inviting them could have negative consequences for other guests.  At the very least, I think you need to tell any guests you know have children too young to be vaccinated or are themselves immunocompromised or otherwise not vaccinated that you will be inviting these unvaccinated children if you do invite them. That way, they can make an informed decision on whether or not to attend or bring their children. 

    It's true that they probably encounter unvaccinated people elsewhere and that's part of the risk of leaving the house or taking their babies out of the house.  Depending on the size of the wedding, 4 unvaccinated children could be a more significant risk than average (there also might be more unvaccinated people, these are just the amount of known risk.)  You don't have to plaster large signs over the front of your venue with the kids' mug shots or make any sort of enclosure for the wedding invites.  Just casually mention it in conversation (if you end up inviting them).
  • I wouldn't invite them. And I would hope it ticked off FSIL enough that she didn't want to spend time with me in the future. Double win.
    whovianstarkpinupbride6189ejpentecostmollybarker11
  • IMO, if you're taking a stand against this then it can't be just about your wedding.   You'd need to put your foot down on this issue in all situations.

    I'm also not a fan of not vaccinating your kids.   My youngest is vaccinated on schedule and is too young to receive the MMR and varicella to name a few.   There are unvaccinated children in our circle of friends and family and it annoys me but I make the choice to go to events where they are invited to attend and choose to keep my baby as close to me as I can.   The older one is now out and about in daycare and in plenty of other social areas (church, shopping, local attractions, etc.).   I think it's very frustrating and I pray that neither of my children are in a situation where they are exposed to those diseases, but I need to teach her to be smart and to prevent the spread of disease.   Otherwise I'd have to keep even my vaccinated family in a bubble too.

    If you're going to be bringing this up for discussion with your FI again, you need to make it not just about the wedding but how you're going to handle her for other events and in your lives.   If you have children will she / her children be allowed around them before they're vaccinated (and keep in mind that you're a year for MMR) or will you welcome her over?   How will you handle events with your IL's where she and the family are invited?

    It sounds like your FI isn't on board with any measures against her and I think you two need to figure out a life plan for this situation.

    If you two decide to invite her with the kids, I'd be honest with your other guests that have young children.
    JerseyBeachGal22lyndausvi[Deleted User]SP29
  • randomsloverandomslove member
    250 Love Its Third Anniversary 100 Comments Name Dropper
    edited May 2015
    I don't think you're over-thinking this. Then again, I'm very pro-vax and wouldn't invite anyone who hasn't been immunized to my wedding because my FMIL, FBIL, FI, one of his aunts, and my own mother and grandmother all have compromised immune systems. They all get vaccines when their individual immune systems allow it, but what if their systems crash around the time of the wedding? I'd be heartbroken if a choice I made sent someone to the ER or worse.

    Overall, who you invite is up to you and your FI, but I think you should try to find out as much as you can about risks/benefits and what medical issues your guests (if you're comfortable enough with them-- after all, medical history, to include diseases, is a personal and private affair which many people may find uncomfortable sharing-- especially those against whom a stigma exists, like those with HIV/AIDS) have. If, for instance, one of them has HIV/AIDS, lupus, etc... being exposed to people who have never been vaccinated against measles, chicken pox, or other illnesses could put their lives in jeopardy in the event of a outbreak (like the recent Disneyland measles outbreak). You could also find out how much of a risk it is that your FSIL's children have been exposed to such illnesses, too.

    And if you decide to invite her children, like some above have mentioned, casually mention it to guests if you can.





  • My MOH has an incredibly rare autoimmune disease that requires a ridiculously high dose of prednisone. She has zero immune system, and she didn't get a lot of common childhood vaccines because of it. I would be VERY wary to invite anyone who I knew wasn't vaccinated just because I know how serious of a risk it would be for her. The very old, the very young, cancer patients, people like my MOH, and people with sometimes even with chronic illnesses such as diabetes have a compromised immune system that couldn't fight off a round of the measles. Its worth thinking about, but I would be very quick to say no if the day of the child has viral symptoms, etc. 
    sparklepants41
  • I get your concern. Im all for excluding antivaxxers but were the children directly exposed to any diseases? Dont risk your guests safety. You're covered. There are no rules stating that you must invite children to a wedding with their parent.
  • levioosalevioosa Southern California member
    Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited June 2015
    My MOH has an incredibly rare autoimmune disease that requires a ridiculously high dose of prednisone. She has zero immune system, and she didn't get a lot of common childhood vaccines because of it. I would be VERY wary to invite anyone who I knew wasn't vaccinated just because I know how serious of a risk it would be for her. The very old, the very young, cancer patients, people like my MOH, and people with sometimes even with chronic illnesses such as diabetes have a compromised immune system that couldn't fight off a round of the measles. Its worth thinking about, but I would be very quick to say no if the day of the child has viral symptoms, etc. 
    The thing is, many viruses have a period of time where they are contagious, but the host isn't showing any symptoms yet. For example, the measles virus is contagious four days prior to the host showing any symptoms, and 90% of people in close proximity to that host who are unvaccinated/immunocompromised will contract it.  It's too late by the time the host is showing symptoms.  
    ETA: a very important word


    image
    HeffalumpPrettyGirlLostindianaalumsparklepants41
  • levioosa said:



    My MOH has an incredibly rare autoimmune disease that requires a ridiculously high dose of prednisone. She has zero immune system, and she didn't get a lot of common childhood vaccines because of it. I would be VERY wary to invite anyone who I knew wasn't vaccinated just because I know how serious of a risk it would be for her. The very old, the very young, cancer patients, people like my MOH, and people with sometimes even with chronic illnesses such as diabetes have a compromised immune system that couldn't fight off a round of the measles. Its worth thinking about, but I would be very quick to say no if the day of the child has viral symptoms, etc. 

    The thing is, many viruses have a period of time where they are contagious, but the host isn't showing any symptoms yet. For example, the measles virus is contagious four days prior to the host showing any symptoms, and 90% of people in close proximity to that host who are unvaccinated/immunocompromised will contract it.  It's too late by the time the host is showing symptoms.  
    ETA: a very important word


    And those vaccinated can get diseases too. The flu and pertussis are two big ones that can get you even if you're vaccinated. So it's not as simple as saying vaccinated = safe. And the common cold can be a bitch.

    I'm all about vaccinating but there are flaws with Knottie87702627 #s approach.
    poodledoodleooo
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    banana468 said:
    My MOH has an incredibly rare autoimmune disease that requires a ridiculously high dose of prednisone. She has zero immune system, and she didn't get a lot of common childhood vaccines because of it. I would be VERY wary to invite anyone who I knew wasn't vaccinated just because I know how serious of a risk it would be for her. The very old, the very young, cancer patients, people like my MOH, and people with sometimes even with chronic illnesses such as diabetes have a compromised immune system that couldn't fight off a round of the measles. Its worth thinking about, but I would be very quick to say no if the day of the child has viral symptoms, etc. 
    The thing is, many viruses have a period of time where they are contagious, but the host isn't showing any symptoms yet. For example, the measles virus is contagious four days prior to the host showing any symptoms, and 90% of people in close proximity to that host who are unvaccinated/immunocompromised will contract it.  It's too late by the time the host is showing symptoms.  
    ETA: a very important word
    And those vaccinated can get diseases too. The flu and pertussis are two big ones that can get you even if you're vaccinated. So it's not as simple as saying vaccinated = safe. And the common cold can be a bitch. I'm all about vaccinating but there are flaws with Knottie87702627 #s approach.
    Yeah, I had all my vaccinations and still ended up with whopping cough as an adult.   That was a bitch.

    My mom has RA and her meds really lower her immune system, so she has to be careful.   She was  had to go to the ER today for a cough.  A cough for her is worse then a cough for me.

    Just because you are not vaccinated doesn't mean you are carrying every disease waiting to get everyone else sick.  Just because you are vaccinated doesn't mean you are completely immune from getting sick.   The vaccinated guy with cold can easily pass on something to my mom.

    I feel like it's a case by case thing for me.  I would let my mom know about the unvaccinated kids, but unless they were recently exposed to something I doubt it would cause her to be concerned.







    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
    MesmrEwePrettyGirlLost
  • I don't think you are overthinking.  And, if you plan to have kids in the future then its a conversation you are going to have to have with SIL anyway.  She needs to be aware that she or her germy kids are a danger that you won't expose your future kids, or your friends kids to.  I see a long future of events I would not invite them to.
    [Deleted User]
  • mikenbergermikenberger In a f'n cornfield member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    Yeah, that thread was mine. And let me tell you, it sucked. But the family of the small children I was concerned about was extremely grateful I had let them know ahead of time and decided, in the end, not to come to my wedding. 

    In the future, I will be far more ahead of the game in this case. 

    image
    HeffalumpFiancBMadHops21
  • This is kind of tough...because really, other than close family members like your SIL, you have no earthly idea if your other guests are or are not vaccinated.  You could be inviting 50% unvaccinated people for all you know.  And most adults who were fully vaccinated as children don't bother getting their regular boosters, which basically makes them unvaccinated as well.  So it seems kind of sad to exclude your nieces and nephews from your wedding just because their mother doesn't agree with simple science and facts.

     

    That said, if you decide to include them, i would absolutely warn anyone coming who you knew is immunocompromised, or pregnant, or bringing a child under the age of 2.  And then i would decide if now is the time to draw a line with your SIL.  If you ever want to have your own children, it's going to be a pretty tough conversation to tell your in-laws that you refuse to have your kids in the same room as their cousins until they are 2 years old (i believe that's the normal age that vaccines are complete).  There's no way if my SIL didn't vaccinate i'd let my kids be around hers at least until my kids were fully vaccinated.

     

    Assuming this is your FI's family, i would strongly suggest you let HIM have this conversation, not you.  otherwise you'll have your in-laws thinking you're some crazy B who refuses to be around them (when in reality, they are far crazier than you are).

  • LD1970 said:
    Those kids wouldn't be invited. Not to my wedding, not to my house, not anywhere where they'd come in contact with anyone else I know.
    This. 

    I wouldn't invite those kids, period. You don't always know who's struggling with immunity (some people are private w/ health issues), so you can't necessarily warn everyone who might be affected. 

    Sorrynotsorry, but your FSIL has made a choice not to vaccinate. That choice means that her kids aren't invited everywhere. 
    *********************************************************************************

    image
    randomslove
  • MadHops21MadHops21 Buried in blankets member
    Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 500 Comments First Answer
    This is so tough, too. My nephew had Leukemia, and he finished his chemo and just completed the 100 days after his stem cell transplant to see if he would get the graft vs host disease. It's looking promising now, but all his shots are gone now and he lost his immunity. The next 5 years is watching to see if the cancer comes back, and he's slowly getting his immune system back.

    He's been in high spirits for a (just turned) 5 year old with cancer. I'm almost positive he will be coming to the wedding next year but will be kept on close watch. My family is all about vaccines, but who knows about 2nd cousins and friends and their dates. The herd immunity is only as strong as the amount of people that are vaccinated. If I knew someone wasn't vaccinated, they will not be invited to the wedding. Thankfully, close families are, but my nephew takes priority over adult friends who don't believe in vaccines. 
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
    Funny Awkward animated GIF
    randomslovePrettyGirlLost
  • I personally would not invite these children. It would be easy to identify the old and very young who need to be warned, but you don't know the health realities of other guests who may have immune issues that could make them vulnerable. 

    I would talk further with your FI. The safety of your guests is extremely important. 
    image
  • Thanks everyone! This has definitely been helpful in where to draw the line.

    If this were a guest on my side, then the decision would be easier, but I'm not in a place to unilaterally decide they won't be allowed to come. Whatever decision is made I will need his support. Is this a hill to die on? I hope not.

    As for people expressing concern for future children and future in-law harmony is thankfully not a huge issue for us. One anti-vaxxer issue at a time. Sigh.

  • PrettyGirlLostPrettyGirlLost A Land Filled with Unicorns and Cat Hair member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    levioosa said:
    My MOH has an incredibly rare autoimmune disease that requires a ridiculously high dose of prednisone. She has zero immune system, and she didn't get a lot of common childhood vaccines because of it. I would be VERY wary to invite anyone who I knew wasn't vaccinated just because I know how serious of a risk it would be for her. The very old, the very young, cancer patients, people like my MOH, and people with sometimes even with chronic illnesses such as diabetes have a compromised immune system that couldn't fight off a round of the measles. Its worth thinking about, but I would be very quick to say no if the day of the child has viral symptoms, etc. 
    The thing is, many viruses have a period of time where they are contagious, but the host isn't showing any symptoms yet. For example, the measles virus is contagious four days prior to the host showing any symptoms, and 90% of people in close proximity to that host who are unvaccinated/immunocompromised will contract it.  It's too late by the time the host is showing symptoms.  
    ETA: a very important word
    Yep, this is by design.  Viruses/bacteria are smart.

    They couldn't spread themselves if they were only contagious when their hosts were actually symptomatic. . . which would then lead everyone around them to avoid the host so they didn't get sick themselves.
    Jen4948 said:

    In my family there are plenty of people with compromised immunity systems, so inviting unvaccinated persons just isn't an option-even if they are other family members.

    I think that your FSIL needs to live with the consequences of her choice not to vaccinate her kids.  I wouldn't invite the kids.  And if she kicks up drama, I'd tell her, "I'm sorry, but I can't risk my other guests getting sick because of how you choose to parent your children."

    This.  These people- antivaxxers*- need to start understanding that their inaction has consequences, and the rest of us don't have to be supportive of their, frankly, stupidity*.  We don't all believe in the woo.

    *N.B- I'm referring specifically who willfully choose to ignore established science because they choose to buy into Jenny McCarthyism, wacko extreme ant-government nonsense, and unsafe religious believes.  I'm not referring to people who choose to vaccinate their children on a modified schedule as approve by their doctors.

    "Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends time and space."


    randomslovelevioosa
  • levioosa said:
    My MOH has an incredibly rare autoimmune disease that requires a ridiculously high dose of prednisone. She has zero immune system, and she didn't get a lot of common childhood vaccines because of it. I would be VERY wary to invite anyone who I knew wasn't vaccinated just because I know how serious of a risk it would be for her. The very old, the very young, cancer patients, people like my MOH, and people with sometimes even with chronic illnesses such as diabetes have a compromised immune system that couldn't fight off a round of the measles. Its worth thinking about, but I would be very quick to say no if the day of the child has viral symptoms, etc. 
    The thing is, many viruses have a period of time where they are contagious, but the host isn't showing any symptoms yet. For example, the measles virus is contagious four days prior to the host showing any symptoms, and 90% of people in close proximity to that host who are unvaccinated/immunocompromised will contract it.  It's too late by the time the host is showing symptoms.  
    ETA: a very important word
    Yep, this is by design.  Viruses/bacteria are smart.

    They couldn't spread themselves if they were only contagious when their hosts were actually symptomatic. . . which would then lead everyone around them to avoid the host so they didn't get sick themselves.
    Jen4948 said:

    In my family there are plenty of people with compromised immunity systems, so inviting unvaccinated persons just isn't an option-even if they are other family members.

    I think that your FSIL needs to live with the consequences of her choice not to vaccinate her kids.  I wouldn't invite the kids.  And if she kicks up drama, I'd tell her, "I'm sorry, but I can't risk my other guests getting sick because of how you choose to parent your children."

    This.  These people- antivaxxers*- need to start understanding that their inaction has consequences, and the rest of us don't have to be supportive of their, frankly, stupidity*.  We don't all believe in the woo.

    *N.B- I'm referring specifically who willfully choose to ignore established science because they choose to buy into Jenny McCarthyism, wacko extreme ant-government nonsense, and unsafe religious believes.  I'm not referring to people who choose to vaccinate their children on a modified schedule as approve by their doctors.
    _____________________________________________

    The bolded is interesting. If I am remembering correctly, there is zero scientific backup for modified schedules, and quite a bit of scientific evidence that the practice tends (in a population) to end up in kids missing vaxs and being at risk. Why do you make an exception for modified schedulers, and not for antivaxxers? Seems like the same level of woo to me, but maybe I am behind the times on that research.

    randomslove
  • RezIpsa said:
     
    The bolded is interesting. If I am remembering correctly, there is zero scientific backup for modified schedules, and quite a bit of scientific evidence that the practice tends (in a population) to end up in kids missing vaxs and being at risk. Why do you make an exception for modified schedulers, and not for antivaxxers? Seems like the same level of woo to me, but maybe I am behind the times on that research.


    *****boxes?******

     

    There is no scientific evidence for this...from discussions with the pediatrician we selected, he said basically they will agree to a modified schedule ONLY if the child will still receive all of the vaccinations by the time they are 24 months (which is the same as the regular schedule).  Basically, they just add appointments and spread them out a bit.  And he also said the only reason they agreed to do this is to get more parents to vaccinate.  He was like "if you coming in a few extra times makes you more likely to vaccinate, we'll allow it."

     

    Basically they'll allow it just as a way to get the borderline-vaccine-crazy people to agree to vaccines.  And the kids are still fully vaccinated on the same schedule - by the time they're 2 - but they just don't get as many vaccines on the same day/in the same month as the normal schedule suggests. 


    PrettyGirlLost
  • delujm0 said:
    RezIpsa said:
     
    The bolded is interesting. If I am remembering correctly, there is zero scientific backup for modified schedules, and quite a bit of scientific evidence that the practice tends (in a population) to end up in kids missing vaxs and being at risk. Why do you make an exception for modified schedulers, and not for antivaxxers? Seems like the same level of woo to me, but maybe I am behind the times on that research.


    *****boxes?******

     

    There is no scientific evidence for this...from discussions with the pediatrician we selected, he said basically they will agree to a modified schedule ONLY if the child will still receive all of the vaccinations by the time they are 24 months (which is the same as the regular schedule).  Basically, they just add appointments and spread them out a bit.  And he also said the only reason they agreed to do this is to get more parents to vaccinate.  He was like "if you coming in a few extra times makes you more likely to vaccinate, we'll allow it."

     

    Basically they'll allow it just as a way to get the borderline-vaccine-crazy people to agree to vaccines.  And the kids are still fully vaccinated on the same schedule - by the time they're 2 - but they just don't get as many vaccines on the same day/in the same month as the normal schedule suggests. 

    __________________________

    Yeah, that's what I thought. A follow up study (which I will try to find) came to the conclusion that all those extra appointments just increased the probability that someone would miss one, be late, etc. and we end up with more unvaccinated kids.

    I kind of think pandering to people this way gives more ammo to those who don't get the science. It becomes "If vaccines are so safe, why is everyone doing a modified schedule?" when there just isn't any basis for the conclusion. It's totally laudable that doctors will do whatever they have to to get people to vax their kids, it just seems like it fosters additional suspicion.

    PrettyGirlLostSP29
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