As much as we’re used to hearing about anti-vaxxers who hold on to their beliefs despite everything that’s thrown at them, there are some who actually change their minds. And that’s why we have to keep fighting the good fight. A mother of seven from Ontario, Canada, abandoned the anti-vaccination movement but her children still got sick.
Image credits: rawstory.com
Tara Hills told CBC News that all of her children, aged 10 and under, started showing symptoms of whooping cough, and they have been advised to take antibiotics and stay inside their home for five days. Her first three children were partially vaccinated, but she decided to stop giving them shots after the fourth one was born because she was suspicious of the medical community. “I just got scared,” she said. “I got spooked. I thought, ‘There’s a lot of smoke, there must be fire.’ We stopped vaccinating.”
But Hills started rethinking her position on vaccinations even before her youngest was diagnosed with whooping cough. She met with her family doctor to put together a “catch-up vaccination schedule” for the kids. “It’s very sobering and it’s very raw because we had just made a more fully informed decision about vaccinations. We had just defected from the anti-vaccination camp,” Hills said. But it was too late. “It’s so ironic and I’m not beating myself up for it. I just hope we can use this very painful experience to encourage other people like us to maybe re-examine the issue.”
During the time her children were sick, Ottawa Public Health confirmed that there were seven reported cases of whooping cough (also called pertussis) in Ottawa, including an infant. Usually, there are about 20 cases in Ottawa every year. “The best way to protect children against pertussis is immunization,” Ottawa Public Health told CBC News. “The pertussis vaccine is part of the routine childhood vaccine schedule, which is given at two months, four months, six months, and 18 months old, at four to six years and again at 14 to 16 years of age.”
Later, Hills started using her family’s experience in attempts to inform other households as well. But as she shared her story, some internet trolls started making memes, targeting Tara. Luckily, others rallied to her support.
Image credits: thescientificparent.org