This Former Anti-Vaccine Mom Is Going Viral For Choosing to Vaccinate Her Kids
"It’s preventable. That’s what’s shocking to me now."
A Pennsylvania mom’s Facebook post about getting her 7-month-old baby vaccinated after years of being anti-vaccination is going viral. The April 30th post, which has more than 3,000 shares, shows Abbey Clint holding her baby, Madelyn, as she gets her shots. And it’s accompanied by an infographic outlining studies that have disproved a supposed link between autism and vaccines, a common belief among anti-vaxxers.
Clint herself was a longtime anti-vaxxer—she even grew up without vaccinations and over-the-counter drugs in her home. But that was before she learned about her mother-in-law’s battle with an infectious disease that made her question everything she knew.
“We grew up without a lot of antibiotics, without any Tylenol, pain meds, or anything like that,” Clint told BuzzFeed News. “To this day my mom’s cupboard at home is full of all-natural supplements, and you cannot find an ibuprofen.”
After complications with her third pregnancy—Clint is one of six—Clint’s mother “lost trust in the ways the doctors handled things,” she told YourErie.com.
Growing up, Clint didn’t question her parents’ views. And before they got married, Clint and her husband decided they would not vaccinate their future children either. After all, she didn’t get vaccinated and she was just fine, so what was the harm?
Then, one day, she found out her mother-in-law had almost died from rubella. The disease has been eliminated in the U.S. since 2004, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urges everyone to get vaccinated to prevent its resurgence, especially if you’re planning on having a baby. If a pregnant woman contracts rubella while pregnant, she can have a miscarriage or her baby could suffer serious birth defects, such as loss of hearing or eyesight, heart problems, intellectual disabilities, and liver or spleen damage.
Clint began to do research, attempting to avoid all of the misinformation out there and trying to remain as objective as possible.
“I had to step aside from all the emotions,” she told BuzzFeed News. “I had to look at the statistics, see which sources I trust, and just be as dispassionate, logical—no matter how heartless it seemed—and weigh my odds.”
She was horrified to realize she could have caught rubella and passed this preventable disease onto her baby while she was pregnant. “What if I caught it?” she told BuzzFeed News. “What if my baby caught it in my womb? It’s preventable. That’s what’s shocking to me now.”
Clint’s post received thousands of comments from both pro- and anti-vaccine groups on Facebook, and part of the reason for all the attention is because the U.S. is currently in the midst of a nationwide measles outbreak. According to the CDC, 764 individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 23 states between January and May 2019—it’s “the greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since 1994 and since measles was declared eliminated in 2000.”
Anyone who gets the measles vaccine only has a three percent chance of becoming infected with the disease, which means that the overwhelming majority of those who contracted it are unvaccinated. In addition to being highly infectious and painful, measles can cause serious complications, like pneumonia (infection of the lungs) and encephalitis (swelling of the brain). These complications are more common in adults over the age of 20 and children under the age of five. “As many as one out of every 20 children with measles gets pneumonia, the most common cause of death from measles in young children,” the CDC reports.
Which is why Clint is so grateful she didn’t contract measles while she was pregnant as a result of her being unvaccinated. “Glad my babies don’t need to suffer through preventable infectious diseases,” she wrote on Facebook. “Preventative maintenance saves co-pays and saves lives. Proud to vaccinate!”
And for more posts from outspoken mothers, check out this mom’s viral response to her teenage daughter inability to handle a robot baby.
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