Vaccinations prevent people from catching dangerous diseases. Vaccines also can help stop the spread of a disease. There are schools that require students to have their vaccinations before the student can attend school. A mom who was anti-vaccinations has changed her mind after her three children got sick.
Kristen O’Meara has three daughters, all of whom are under the age of seven. She chose not to vaccinate her daughters because she was a big believer in anti-vaccination research. O’Meara said she actively sought out anti-vaccination research and books and presumed that they were accurate.
Anti-vaccination research has been proven flawed. Vaccines do not cause autism. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that vaccines are one of the best ways parents can protect infants, children, and teens from 16 potentially harmful diseases. The World Health Organization has information about the myths about vaccinations – which it counters with facts about vaccinations.
Kristen O’Meara probably didn’t see that information. She said she only read material that cast doubts about the safety and necessity of vaccines. She isn’t the only parent who made that choice. The American Academy of Pediatrics published an article about a study regarding vaccines. In 2013, pediatricians reported that vaccine refusals had increased. In 2006, there was a 75% vaccine refusal rate. In 2013, it rose to an 87% refusal rate.
When Kristen O’Meara had her first child, she found a pediatrician who complied with her wishes not to vaccinate her child. She chose not to vaccinate her twins (who were born two years later). Recently, all three of her children contracted rotavirus. The CDC says that rotavirus is a virus that causes diarrhea, mostly in babies and young children. “The diarrhea can be severe, and lead to dehydration. Vomiting and fever are also common in babies with rotavirus.”
The rotavirus vaccine can prevent babies from catching rotavirus. The CDC recommends that the rotavirus vaccine be given at 2 months of age, a second dose at 4 months of age, and a third dose at 6 months of age (if needed).
As a result of watching her children suffer with rotavirus, Kristen O’Meara changed her mind about vaccines. She found a different doctor who got her children up to date on every vaccination they had missed. Kristen O’Meara said she is sharing her story to help someone else change their mind and get their children vaccinated.
Image by NIAID on Flickr.
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