(CBS SF) — A Canadian woman refused to vaccinate her children and resisted the urging of relatives to reconsider her anti-vax stance has now charged her tune now that all seven of her unvaccinated children developed whooping cough.
Writing for the blog The Scientific Parent, Ottawa resident Tara Hills said her biases against children’s vaccinations were that she “just didn’t trust civic government, the medical community, the pharmaceutical industry, and people in general.”
Hills said she and her husband originally began vaccinating their first three children on an alternative schedule but the youngest four were not vaccinated at all.
We stopped because we were scared and didn’t know who to trust. Was the medical community just paid off puppets of a Big Pharma-Government-Media conspiracy? Were these vaccines even necessary in this day and age? Were we unwittingly doing greater harm than help to our beloved children? So much smoke must mean a fire so we defaulted to the ‘do nothing and hope nothing bad happens’ position.
Hills said the Disneyland measles outbreak made her and her husband begin to reconsider and look again at the scientific evidence – eventually beginning a catch-up vaccination schedule.
Unfortunately, it was too late and all seven their children developed the highly-contagioius pertussis, landing the family in quarantine and saddling the children – the youngest 10 months old – with the brutal coughing and wheezing characterizing the respiratory infection.
Before a vaccine was developed in the 1940s, whooping cough killed 5-10,000 people in the U.S. each year.
Hills said her children are now recovering with the help of antibiotics and said the experience left her emotionally raw and mentally taxed.
I am not looking forward to any gloating or shame as this ‘defection’ from the antivaxx camp goes public, but, this isn’t a popularity contest. Right now my family is living the consequences of misinformation and fear. 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. .
In a follow-up post, Hills responded to some of the flood of comments and questions from her original posts, and offered her many regrets about the entire affair.
We can only say that we are truly sorry for the unintentional but real impacts to everyone involved. We hope that sharing our personal story will be some token of reconciliation. We took the personal risk of going public because we knew that others like us might be willing to re-evaluate the topic sooner than we did if more people used a better approach. We understand the anger and fear. And we know that the more we communicate constructively, the more we can work together to help people make sound decisions for their family and community. .