In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccines seem to be on everyone’s minds.
For me, they have a complex history. My mother was an anti-vaxxer. At 12 years old, I watched as my classmates lined up outside the school hall to receive their HPV vaccine. I stayed in the classroom.
My mother refused to sign the permission form the week before. “You’re allergic to vaccines,” she explained. I took this information as gospel. Why would I question my own mother? If anyone ever asked, I would tell them I was allergic. Allergic to what exactly, I wasn’t sure.
Watch: Mamamia talks to Malcolm Turnbull about vaccinations. Post continues below.
Then at 15, I was hospitalised for full body hives that swelled my throat and caused me to black out. I forgot my name and where I was. Swathes of red rashes covered my entire body, prompting my first time in an ambulance.
My mother refused to indulge in any further medical testing.
After the third reaction within months sent me crying into a cold shower in the middle of the night, I begged my mother to take me to an allergist. “Waste of money,” she replied.
The next week, she sent me to see an energy healer. The results were, obviously, inconclusive.