A mother who decided not to have her daughters vaccinated because she believed in anti-vaccine propaganda had a rude awakening when all three of her little girls fell ill with a nasty case of rotavirus, which causes acute stomach distress and is potentially fatal.
Kristen O’Meara told NBC News: “It was awful, and it didn’t have to happen, because I could have had them vaccinated. I felt guilty. I felt really guilty.” O’Meara and her husband also also caught the virus and the family was sick for weeks.
Via Yahoo News:
A teacher living outside Chicago, she added that she had “scoured everything” about why vaccines might be harmful and had become “pretty convinced.” She chose not to vaccinate based on the results of her research but had read only material that cast doubt.
“I put my kids at risk,” she said. “I wish that I had taken more time to research from both sides before my children were born.”
Her three children — all under the age of 7 — are now fully vaccinated, after an aggressive regimen to bring them up to date on recommended shots.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends vaccinations for practically every child, but in a study published last month the group says the number of parents who are refusing to vaccinate their children appears to be on the rise. In 2013, 87 percent of pediatricians surveyed had encountered patients who refused a vaccine for their child, up from 75 percent in 2006, according to their research
Among the most common reasons cited by parents for their refusal to vaccinate their children was their belief that vaccinations are unnecessary, the report said. Parents also cited a purported link between vaccinations and autism — a link that has been repeatedly disproved because the research it was based on was proved fraudulent.
Public health groups such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization have stressed for decades that vaccines are safe and necessary, yet many parents are still opting out of having their children vaccinated.
O’Meara is now a true believer who strongly encourages other parents to have their children vaccinated.
“I’m here because I wanted to share my personal story … and if it does help someone change their mind, then that’s great,” she said.