Kristen O’Meara, a special education teacher living in the Chicago suburbs, had decided to not have her children immunized when they were young. According to a study from the American Academy of Pediatrics published in August, there is a rising trend of parents who refuse to get their kids vaccinated.
But recently, her three daughters, all under seven years old, caught rotavirus, a preventable illness which causes dehydration, diarrhea, and vomiting. She and her husband also got sick, according to ABC News.
O’Meara had fallen victim to anti-vaccination research, which goes against recommendations that immunizations are safe from the American Academy of Pediatrics, World Health Organization, and U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. She was a firm believer that vaccinations were unnecessary and could cause unwanted side-effects, such as autism.
In an interview with ABC, O’Meara said of her family contracting rotavirus suddenly, “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 admitted her mistake and spoke out to warn other anti-vaxxer parents about the risks of passing up immunizations for their infants and small children. She said retrospectively, “I put my kids at risk. I wish that I had taken more time to research from both sides before my children were born.”
Searching the Internet for what might be bad for you will only yield equally biased results. When making decisions regarding something as important as your children’s health, “both sides,” as O’Meara later realized, should be taken into consideration when browsing the web for the facts.
Banner photo credit: Twitter, @PloudNews