Monday, October 3, 2016

Rotavirus makes anti-vaccination mother change her tune

A hallmark of sound thinking is the willingness to change one's mind in the face of new and better information.

Thus the 180-degree reversal by Chicago special-needs teacher Kristen O’Meara, 40, who was a staunch anti-vaccination advocate until she had a frightening wake-up call.

Her entire household with three small children came down with rotavirus, a potentially deadly stomach virus that can be prevented with a vaccine.

Ms. O'Meara's story unfolded in a fascinating article in the New York Post last month, by Jane Ridley, in which a mother tells why she has now had all three kids fully vaccinated.

Her change of heart sparked a series of media reports, including a thorough and thoughtful account in the Huffington Post.

Ms. O'Meara felt so strongly about her conversion the she wrote a heartfelt blog for the website of Voices for Vaccines, a non-profit group that advocates for immunization.

"Then our whole family contracted rotavirus late in the winter," O'Meara wrote. "It was a nightmare. It was horrible to see my daughters hunched over on the toilet, crying from the painful cramping that lasted a week after the acute illness. Once I realized what we all had, and that it could have been prevented with a vaccine, a spark of doubt began to grow."

Photo Courtesy of Voices for Vaccines