Ex Anti-Vaxxer: All 7 of My Kids Got Whooping Cough

Tara Hills tells her story in attempt to reach others like her
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 16, 2015 11:06 AM CDT
Ex Anti-Vaxxer: All 7 of My Kids Got Whooping Cough
A man gets his Tdap shot from pediatric nurse practitioner Jenny Lu, right, in Tustin, Calif., in this photo taken Thursday, Aug. 18, 2011.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Tara Hills used to be anti-vaccination, but a nearby measles outbreak changed her mind and convinced her to get her seven kids, all of whom were under-vaccinated or completely unvaccinated, up to date. The Canadian mom set up a schedule with their family doctor ... but just days before they went in to start it, all seven of her children came down with whooping cough. "The irony isn’t lost on me that I’m writing this from quarantine," she says on a Scientific Parent blog post telling her story. "For six years we were frozen in fear from vaccines, and now we are frozen because of the disease." The post has gone viral since she wrote it last week, and ABC News talks to experts who say it could convince other anti-vaxxers to change their position.

"In effect [it's a] mom to mom conversation. She’s really talking to other moms here," says one doctor. As for Hills, she wrote a Q&A update yesterday, and she says her kids are "on the mend." She told the Washington Post this week that anti-vaxxers "can be reached if people use the right approach." "Many people that are provaccine can vent their anger and fear by taking a mocking, angry, sometimes bullying stance with parents that have questions about vaccines," she writes. "This approach only made me more defensive and less inclined to even consider re-examining my position." Some of the reaction to her blog doesn't exactly take that tack. Sample line from a Wonkette post: "Hooray, she figured out that maybe there’s more to science than just groupthink and the profit motive, and Hills began to be persuaded that the anti-vaxxers weren’t Galileo being persecuted by the church; they were just a bunch of cranks." (More whooping cough stories.)

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