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Tara was an anti-vaxxer... Until her 7 children came down with whooping cough.

A former anti-vaxxer has written a powerful post about why she changed her mind about immunising her kids – and every parent who’s still ‘on the fence’ needs to read it.

‘It’s hard to know which side of the vaccination debate to believe.’

‘No matter if we vaccinated or not, it’s just a coin toss with horrible risks either way.”

‘It’s not necessary in this day and age.’

If you have heard those arguments against vaccination, and considered them even vaguely valid, you need to talk to Tara Hills.

Related content: Another study has found that there is absolutely no link between autism and vaccines.

Because this Canadian mother used to doubt whether vaccines were safe or necessary herself — and it wasn’t until her own seven children came down with a potentially deadly disease that she dug up the solid answers she needed to make the right decision for her family.

When her kids came down with a dry cough after a games night with some relatives, Ms Hills and her husband Gavin thought nothing of it — but after a week, when the symptoms worsened, Ms Hills sensed it was more than a regular cold. (NB: This is a stock image.)

Writing for Scientific Parent, Ms Hills wrote that while she’d vaccinated the first three of her kids, she stopped their vaccination schedule because she wasn’t sure she could trust medical science.

“Was the medical community just paid-off puppets of a Big Pharma-Government-Media conspiracy? Were these vaccines even necessary in this day and age? Were we unwittingly doing greater harm than help to our beloved children?,” she wrote in the powerful post. “So much smoke must mean a fire so we defaulted to the ‘do nothing and hope nothing bad happens’ position.”

When her kids came down with a dry cough after a games night with some relatives, Ms Hills and her husband Gavin thought nothing of it — but after a week, when the symptoms worsened, Ms Hills sensed it was more than a regular cold.

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“No one had a runny nose or sneezing but they all had the same unproductive cough… My youngest three children were coughing so hard they would gag or vomit. I’d never seen anything like this before,” she said.

“Watching our youngest struggle with this choking cough, bringing up clear, stringy mucus… I snapped into ‘something is WRONG’ mode.”

Ms Hills sat down with her family doctor, who put together a catch-up vaccination schedule for her children. (NB: This is a stock image.)

After a quick Google to research the symptoms, Ms Hills rushed her family to hospital– and, to her horror, discovered that all seven of her kids had whooping cough.

Most frighteningly of all, she learned she may have given it to her sister’s five-month old baby, who is too young to be fully vaccinated and has since started “whooping” herself.

The disease is particularly dangerous for babies less than six months of age, and in Australia recently claimed the life of Baby Riley, whose parents have since launched an appeal to parents to safeguard their children against the deadly disease.

Related content: They lost their baby to a preventable disease. Now Riley’s parents want your help.

Ms Hills, who is now under quarantine while her children begin antibiotics, says the terrifying experience left her gripped with a sense of personal and social responsibility to make fully informed decisions about vaccinations in future.

Baby Riley lost his life to whooping cough. His father posted this sad photo, taken 24 hours before RIley’s death, on social media. (Photo: Facebook)

She sat down with her family doctor, who  put together a catch-up vaccination schedule for her children — and now hopes sharing her experience, although embarrassing and painful, will help others make better decisions.

“No one was more surprised than us to find solid answers that actually laid our fears to rest,” she writes. “(But) I am confident that anyone with questions can find answers.

“I would only advise them to check your biases, sources and calendar: Time waits for no parent.”

We wish Ms Hills’ family a speedy recovery.

Save the Date to Vaccinate is an initiative from NSW Health to remind parents of the importance of on-time vaccinations for children. Visit www.immunisation.health.nsw.gov.au to download the free ‘Save the Date’ phone app.

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