The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and many other groups have stressed for decades that vaccines are safe and necessary. This hasn’t stopped many from opting out of having their children vaccinated.
Kristen O’Meara, a mother and teacher living outside of Chicago was one of these parents until her three young daughters fell ill with a case of Rotavirus, a contagious virus that can cause gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach and intestines).
After her three children got sick, as well as her and her husband, O’Meara Told ABC News she regretted her position on vaccines.
“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 ABC News.
O’Meara said she chose not to vaccinate based on the results of what she had read about vaccines.
“I put my kids at risk,” she said. “I wish that I had taken more time to research from both sides before my children were born.”
O’Meara has since changed her mind on vaccines and has had all 3 of her children fully vaccinated and up to date on recommended shots. She is now encouraging other parents to do the same.
“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 a study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics last month, the group says the number of parents who are refusing to vaccinate their children appears to be on the rise. According to their research, in 2013, 87 percent of pediatricians surveyed had encountered patients who refused a vaccine for their child, up from 75 percent in 2006.
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