Another hurdle that I had to overcome involved the numerous stories that are claimed to be vaccine injuries, spreading across social media and finding their way into my news feed. I needed to understand why these stories seemed so prevalent. The stories appealed to my emotions and seemed so compelling.
It is true that reactions to vaccines are possible, but serious reactions are rare. I began to learn that many of the stories presented as vaccine injuries have more to the story that is often not revealed in a short Facebook post. I realised that the frightening anecdotes I was seeing, even though they seemed to be everywhere, were no reason to doubt the accuracy and results of reputable studies that show vaccines are safe and effective.
During the time I was opposed to vaccines, I don’t think I would have described my views as tightly held beliefs. Because of this, I was really surprised at the difficulty I faced in changing my views on vaccination. Changing my mind and admitting this change to other people were not easy things to do, and this process took place over several months. I’ve now realised that there are some advantages to starting from the point of doubting vaccines. It allows me to better understand friends who are hesitant to vaccinate, and in finding information about vaccines that alleviated my specific fears, the experience has made me even more convinced now of the benefits of vaccines, both to my family and to my community.
I’m grateful to the people who helped me protect myself against misinformation and gave me the facts I needed to keep my family safe. But I can’t do it alone. We all need to get our vaccinations, not just for ourselves but also to protect people who truly can’t be vaccinated. We all need to be in this together.