Mother-of-three who previously refused to vaccinate her children soon changed her views after all her kids fell ill with rotavirus.
Kristen O’Meara, a teacher from Chicago, has three children under seven and previously refused to have them vaccinated.
“I scoured everything I could possibly find about why vaccines might be harmful. I became pretty convinced,” Ms O’Meara told Good Morning America.
That changed when all three of her children caught rotavirus, which causes acute stomach distress.
“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 said.
“I put my kids at risk. I wish that I had taken more time to research from both sides before my children were born.”
Now her five-year-old and three-year-old twins are fully up-to-date with their vaccines after a series of catch up treatments.
Ms O’Meara wants to share her story with the world and encourage other anti-vaxxers to vaccinate their children.
“I’m here because I wanted to share my personal story … and if it does help someone change their mind, then that’s great,” she said.
In Australia the Rotavirus vaccination is only recommended for children up to 6 months of age. The first dose of vaccine is recommended to be given with your child’s 2 month old vaccines and it is most important that the vaccine is given on time.
This story comes just days after Aussie mum issues warning over shopping trolleys when her son was diagnosed him with adenovirus, rotavirus, salmonella and meningitis.
Rotavirus is the most common cause of severe gastroenteritis in infants and young children in Australia and worldwide.
The severity of the illness ranges from mild, watery diarrhoea of limited duration to severe, dehydrating diarrhoea with vomiting, fever and shock. Rotavirus infections are often more severe than other causes of diarrhoea, are more likely to be associated with dehydration and are more likely to require treatment in hospital.
Prior to the introduction of rotavirus vaccination in Australia, almost every child was infected with rotavirus by the age of 5 years, and there was approximately 10,000 hospitalisations due to rotavirus in children less than 5 years of age each year. In addition to hospitalised children, an estimated 115,000 children under 5 years of age visited a GP, and 22,000 children required an emergency department visit. On average, there was one childhood death from rotavirus each year.
Children can be infected with rotavirus several times during their lives, and without vaccination almost every child will suffer from at least one infection by the age of 3 years. The disease is easily spread from one child to the next. Confirmation of rotavirus infection can only be made by laboratory testing of faecal specimens.
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