As an Ottawa mother of 7 kids, Tara Hills thought what she heard was just another typical cough, but she soon found out she was dealing with something much more serious when they arrived at the emergency room, discovering that her children would have to undergo treatment for whooping cough.
The Hills family used to be against vaccinations – for all the usual debunked reasons – but in a rare case of anti-vaxxers changing their minds when confronted with reality, they were forced to re-examine their belief system and now they’re going public with their story.
From the Ottawa Citizen:
That’s why they arrived at CHEO at 4 a.m. on April 2. It took four days for the lab to confirm whooping cough, and antibiotic treatment began this Tuesday. The parents aren’t sick, but the kids are all confined to their home for five days, at which point Ottawa Public Health says they won’t be contagious.
Tara Hills was stunned. “I thought: Am I actually looking at whooping cough in the face? Could it be possible?”
The disease was one of those historical oddities she never even thought about dealing with, like smallpox or diphtheria.
But she and her husband, Gavin, had chosen not to have their children fully vaccinated — not through strong opposition, but more from uneasiness about the medical system.
Writing in a blog post, Tara spoke candidly about how her anti-vax views were influenced by a distrust of “Big Pharma.”
“We stopped [vaccinating] because we were scared and didn’t know who to trust. Was the medical community just [paid off] puppets of a Big Pharma-Government-Media conspiracy?” she wrote. “Were these vaccines even necessary in this day and age? Were we unwittingly doing greater harm than help to our beloved children? So much smoke must mean a fire so we defaulted to the ‘do nothing and hope nothing bad happens’ position.”
Relatives and friends tried to get them to listen to reason, but it only entrenched the Hills family deeper in their beliefs.
“I said before that the irony isn’t lost on me that I’m writing this from quarantine. For six years we were frozen in fear from vaccines, and now we are frozen because of the disease,” she added.
“When I connected the dates for everyone involved it chilled me to the bone. I looked again at the science and evidence for community immunity and found myself gripped with a very real sense of personal and social responsibility before God and man.”
“I think they’re sort of, maybe, slightly improving,” she said, speaking of her children. “At the very least, they don’t seem worse.”
Although Tara and her husband have been “frazzled and sleepless” as a result of their ordeal, she says “the ship seems to be turning around” in regards to their kids’ sickness.
It may be a small victory, but it’s a victory nonetheless against the anti-science lunacy of the vaccine denier movement.
Watch a report on the story from the CBC in the video below: