She says she was drawn into a ‘herd’ mentality and felt superior to other parents
Kristen O’Meara thought she knew the truth about vaccines. The mother of three children had been a big believer in the anti-vaccination movement but has dramatically changed her views after seeing her kids get sick with the rotavirus.
"It was awful, and it didn't have to happen, because I could have had them vaccinated. I felt guilty. I felt really guilty," O’Mera, a special needs teacher, said in an interview with ABC News. "I'm here because I wanted to share my personal story ... and if it does help someone change their mind, then that's great.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently revealed that there has been an alarming rise in the number of parents who are refusing to have their children vaccinated and none of it is based on actual science. The numbers are so bad, that 61 percent of doctors who participated in the survey said they eventually had to turn away patients who refused to get their children vaccinated.
The number of parents refusing to get their children vaccinated had risen/Creative Commons)
In a separate interview with the New York Post, O’Meara said it was the “herd mentality” of hanging out with other parents who shared her vaccination skepticism that made it easy to ignore the advice of most medical doctors. “I got absorbed in the anti-vax culture and secretly thought of myself as being superior to others,” she told the Post. “Parents who vaccinated didn’t have my special investigative skills. As far as I was concerned, they didn’t stop to question and were just sheep following the herd.”
The 40-year-old Chicago mother admits that she spent a lot of time researching anti-vaccination conspiracy theories. Even time that she eventually convinced herself that they were true and that not having her young kids, all reportedly under the 7-years-old, would be the best thing for their health. I put my kids at risk," she told ABC. "I wish that I had taken more time to research from both sides before my children were born."