Kristen O’Meara had researched the potential harms of vaccines and decided not to vaccinate her three daughters, one 5-year-old and 3-year-old twins. Then her entire family got rotavirus, including O’Meara and her husband. The illness can cause severe diarrhea and lead to dehydration, and O’Meara said they were sick for weeks.
She admitted that she put her children’s health at risk. “It was awful and it didn’t have to happen because I could have had them vaccinated. I felt guilty, I felt really guilty,” she told Good Morning America.
Her daughters are now fully vaccinated after an “aggressive” schedule to bring them up to date — a decision she said cost her some friendships. A recent study found that 87 percent of pediatricians have encountered parents who refuse vaccines.
“I wish that I had taken more time to research both sides,” O’Meara said. Or, you know, you could trust your doctors. But overall it’s a good thing that she’s speaking up. “I wanted to share my personal story, and if it does help someone change their mind, then that’s great.” If anti-vaxxers aren’t concerned about risking the health of others, reminders that their own well-being could suffer are more than welcome.