A Canadian mom of seven admits to using an "alternative" vaccine schedule for some of her children and letting the others go completely unvaccinated, because "we were scared and didn’t know who to trust." That stance changed though after each of her children came down with whooping cough.
"I’m writing this from quarantine, the irony of which isn’t lost on me," Tara Hills of Ottawa, Canada, wrote recently on the Scientific Parent blog. "Emotionally I’m a bit raw. Mentally a bit taxed. Physically I’m fine. All seven of my unvaccinated children have whooping cough, and the kicker is that they may have given it to my five month old niece, too young to be fully vaccinated."
Hills wrote that after years of relatives trying to persuade her and her husband to reconsider and vaccinate their children according to the medically recommended schedule, they agreed to re-evaluate after the measles outbreak at California's Disneyland. But it was too late.
It took the realization that her children could have passed pertussis to her sister's kids, which included an infant, that got Hills to really change her mind.
"When I connected the dates for everyone involved it chilled me to the bone. I looked again at the science and evidence for community immunity and found myself gripped with a very real sense of personal and social responsibility before God and man. The time had come to make a more fully informed decision than we did 6 years ago," Hills wrote in the post titled "Learning the Hard Way." "I sat down with our family doctor and we put together a catch-up vaccination schedule for our children."
"For six years we were frozen in fear from vaccines, and now we are frozen because of the disease," the mom continued in the post later.
Hills said that she wasn't looking forward to the "gloating or shame" that would come admitting that she thinks she was wrong for not vaccinating her children.
"Right now my family is living the consequences of misinformation and fear," she wrote. "I understand that families in our community may be mad at us for putting their kids at risk. I want them to know that we tried our best to protect our kids when we were afraid of vaccination and we are doing our best now, for everyone’s sake, by getting them up to date. We can’t take it back … but we can learn from this and help others the same way we have been helped."
Some governments have started taking action against the anti-vaccine movement. In Australia, the government is instituting a "no jab, no pay" policy for those receiving welfare benefits, the Australian reported, noting that there will be a small number of allowed exceptions.
In the U.S., a bill in California that sought to limit vaccine waivers met strong debate recently. It got to a point that Sen. Richard Pan who initiated the bill had to receive extra security.
Opponents flooded the Capitol to stand up for parental rights, and some images that compared Pan to Adolf Hitler circulated online.
Pan, a Democratic pediatrician from Sacramento, said it's unfortunate that a sub-segment of opponents are engaging in vitriol and intimidation tactics.
Pan said he introduced the measure to limit inoculation waivers after a measles outbreak in December that started at Disneyland and sickened more than 100 people across the U.S. and in Mexico.
(H/T: Daily Mail)
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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