Mother changes her mind about vaccinations after all seven of her children contract whooping cough

Tara Hills said that her family was 'living the consequence of misinformation and fear'

Jamie Campbell
Monday 13 April 2015 18:27
Tara Hills pictured with her children
Tara Hills pictured with her children

A Canadian mother who stopped her children from undergoing vaccinations changed her mind when all seven of them contracted whooping cough within a week.

Tara Hills, from Kanata, Ontario, said that she and her husband, Gavin, had allowed their first three children to undergo partial vaccination but then stopped because they were worried of a “Big Pharma-Government-Media Conspiracy.”

Earlier this month though all of the couple’s children began suffering from “The kind of cough that stops a parent’s heart,” as Mrs Hills described it to National Post.

Preparing a vaccination against whooping cough

Lab tests confirmed that her children were suffering from whooping cough, also known as pertussis, a highly contagious infection of the respiratory system which leads to severe spells of coughing and mainly affects infants and children between the ages of 11 and 18.

Whooping cough killed up to 10,000 people annually in the US before a vaccine was developed, according to

The introduction of the vaccine has reduced the number of deaths caused to around 30 but, in recent years, as suspicion of vaccines has grown, the number of cases has been on the rise.

The Hills had grown suspicious of the damage that vaccines might inflict on their children. Mrs Hills wrote on her blog, The Scientific Parent: “Were these vaccines even necessary in this day and age? Were we unwittingly doing harm than help to our beloved children? So much smoke must mean a fire so we defaulted to the ‘do no nothing and hope nothing bad happens’ position.”

The couple’s six sons and daughters, who range in age from 10 months to 10 years old, then contracted the infection and have been ordered to remain in quarantine at their house until the infection is no longer contagious, which will take five days.

Mrs Hills said that her two eldest were showing signs of recovery whilst the younger children are still fighting against the illness with the help of antibiotics.

In the blog post, titled “Learning the Hard Way: My Journey from #AntiVaxx to Science”, which has been viewed more than 2 million times, Mrs Hills acknowledged that the position that she found herself in was awkward.

“I am not writing this from quarantine, the irony of which isn’t lost on me.

“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.”

Senator Rand Paul and Governor Chris Christie, two of the frontrunners for the leadership of the American Republican Party recently suggested that they had sympathy for parents that unwilling to vaccinate their children against infectious diseases.

Mr Christie, the governor of New Jersey, said during a visit to Britain that parents “need some measure of choice in the matter.”

Paul was more forthright, saying that “The state doesn’t own your children” and adding that he had spread out the vaccinations of his own children so that they wouldn’t receive too many ay one time.

A so called “anti-vaxxers” movement has grown up in the US in recent years, largely thanks to a widely debunked 1998 report that appeared in the British medical journal The Lancet which suggested that there could be link between MMR vaccinations against measles and the onset of autism in children.

US President Barack Obama stated in February that every child should be protected by vaccinations, a claim back up by Hillary Clinton, who announced that she will running to be Democrat nominee in 2016 yesterday.

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