An Ottawa family who used an “alternative” vaccine schedule for some of their children, while others were unvaccinated, has changed their point of view after all seven of their children contracted whooping cough.

In the blog, “The Scientific Parent,” mom Tara Hills wrote on April 8 that all seven of her unvaccinated children had the respiratory infection— and may have given it to her five-month-old niece who is too young to be fully vaccinated.

After a games night at the family home in March, the children came down with a dry cough, which Hill wasn’t concerned about because her brother-in-law, who was at the party, had a cold. A week later, their symptoms worsened. Eventually the three youngest children were coughing so hard they would gag or vomit.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), whooping cough, or pertussis, is highly contagious and, while it resembles an ordinary cold at first, it may eventually turn more serious, particularly in infants.

According to her blog post, the first three children were vaccinated on an alternative schedule and the youngest four were not vaccinated at all.

“We stopped because we were scared and didn’t know who to trust,” Hill wrote. “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? So much smoke must mean a fire so we defaulted to the ‘do nothing and hope nothing bad happens’ position.”

While family and friends tried to persuade them to consider otherwise, Hill believed the risks were too great— for both vaccinating and not vaccinating.

When the Disneyland measles outbreak occurred in March, Hill and her husband decided to look at evidence from both sides. While her many questions were answered by the evidence, she wrote, “But more potent than my questions were my biases. I just didn’t trust civic government, the medical community, the pharmaceutical industry, and people in general.”

Hill’s research, she noted, excluded “all research available from any major, reputable organization.”

About a year ago, the family came close to an outbreak of measles, which made Hill realize how easily her children could spread the disease to her sister’s toddlers or 34-week-old son in the NICU. According to the Ottawa Citizen, the family’s children range in age from 10 months to 10 years old.

“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,” she wrote.

Hill and her family doctor created a catch-up vaccination schedule for the children, which was supposed to start the week after Hill’s 10-month-old son was at the hospital, awaiting confirmation of whooping cough.

“…the irony isn’t lost on me that I’m writing this from quarantine,” Hill wrote.

According to the blog post, the oldest two children were improving while the youngest four were quickly worsening. The children are on antibiotics.

“I am not looking forward to any gloating or shame as this ‘defection’ from the antivaxx camp goes public, but, this isn’t a popularity contest.  Right now my family is living the consequences of misinformation and fear,” she wrote.

“I want them to know that we tried our best to protect our kids when we were afraid of vaccination and we are doing our best now, for everyone’s sake, by getting them up to date,” Hill concluded. “We can’t take it back … but we can learn from this and help others the same way we have been helped.”

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