Kristen O’Meara‘s three children — a 5-year-old and 3-year-old twins — all caught rotavirus around the same time last year. That’s a potentially fatal disease that vaccines usually prevent… but O’Meara had never gotten her kids vaccinated.
She was one of those parents who had a “healthy skepticism” about vaccines, wrongly believing they could cause autism or ADHD, and accepting the theories of the disgraced Andrew Wakefield. She also believed, as many conspiracy theorists do, that she was the smart one for going against the grain. She wasn’t one of those “sheeple” who just accepted what they were told.
But the rotavirus scare changed all that, she told the New York Post:
… I wondered what would happen if I looked for confirmation of the efficiency and safety of vaccination. I read several books by Paul Offit, the co-inventor of a lifesaving rotavirus vaccine — who’s an indispensable purveyor of truth — as well as “The Panic Virus,” a logical, comprehensive argument for vaccines by Seth Mnookin.
In June of last year, I finally let go of so much fear. Armed with a new perspective and tons of information, I switched pediatricians and was able to trust that vaccinating my girls was the right thing to do. With my consent, she put them on an aggressive catch-up schedule. They are now fully vaccinated.
Her girls are doing much better today. O’Meara is sharing her story as much as she can so other parents don’t fall into the same trap she did. She deserves a lot of credit for admitting her mistake publicly and doing all she can to correct it now. Things could have gone much worse.