When discussing human nature, you don't have to think too long before you get to the subject of terrible decision making. We all make mistakes; it's what makes us human. Some of us, however, make far more mistakes than the rest of us.
Case in point, we're about to look at some of the finest examples of people with terrible lapses in logic who, thankfully, saw the flaws in their ways and turned a new leaf.
But we're not talking about flat-earthers, we're not talking about people who believe that the government is using the exhaust from airplanes to control the weather, we're not talking about people who believe that 9/11 was inside job. No, we're talking about anti-vaxxers.
Anti-vaxxers are often the punching bag for any number of groups, but not without good reason. It seems that any time some kind of health epidemic spreads across the developed world, you can trace it back to the one kid whose mom read on a blog that vaccines lead to autism or even death. They'll cite the same disproven theory published by a now-disgraced quack who knows better than, you know, actual medical professionals who have studied the effects of any number of vaccines over the course of their medical career.
But I digress.
Like I was saying, anti-vaxxers are often the butt of dozens of jokes on a daily basis, but you never read too much about the people who saw the wrong in their ways and decided to turn a new leaf and accept the fact that vaccinations were created to actually help society.
An AskReddit thread recently sought out those people and asked former anti-vaxxers to share how and why they changed their minds on the subject.
Let's take a look at some of the most enlightening responses found within that thread.
"Former anti-vaxxer here. When my son was 11, the school strongly encouraged me to get my son medication for ADHD. I decided to take their advice (advice I had been ignoring for years).
In less than three weeks, he was out of the resource room and back in regular classes. Until then, he had special education. I felt such guilt and regret that I denied him a normal life due to being ignorant.
That summer, I got him all caught up on his vaccines as well - I wasn't going to play with his health and assume I know more than actual doctors.
I have loosened up about so many things: high fructose corn syrup, sodium lauryl sulfates, and even non-organic food. It was such a full-time job trying to be a 'pure' person. It has a lot to do with my own beliefs and I've gotten help and support and am really embarrassed about that part of my life."
While sometimes it's the parents who have a remarkable change, other times it's the children themselves that take matters into their own hands, as seen in several replies, including this response from outcastbirds:
"I was raised by anti-vaxxers (one parent was anti for religious reasons, the other was into alternative medicine and thought it should be a choice). The point that convinced me was herd immunity and framing it as my responsibility to be vaccinated in order to help protect those who couldn't. I never thought vaccines caused autism, most of the anti-vaxxers I know don't, so the science supporting that was inappreciable.
Slightly off topic, I'm not actually vaccinated, yet. Due to my upbringing, I know zilch about finding and going to the doctor or the health care system. I've seen a doctor only a handful of times that I remember, and, apart from physicals in high school, I haven't been in over a decade and a half. I recently got a position at my job with health insurance, so I'm looking into finding a general practitioner and making regular appointments and other... doctor type stuff."
"I wasn't vaccinated until I was 12 or 13. I think my parents were afraid of the supposed 'risks,' as well as coming from a political background that doesn't like government-mandated things. Thankfully they eventually got us all vaccinated once my oldest sibling went to college (where vaccines were mandatory).
I changed my mind on vaccines once I got my biology degree and saw 1) that the MMR/autism study was completely false and 2) how immunology saves lives. I'll definitely vaccinate my kids someday, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little worried about side effects. But, I'd rather have an adverse reaction than a deadly but preventable disease."
"I wish this happened more. My mom is a hardcore anti-vaxxer. I got myself vaccinated secretly when I was 16 and legally allowed to. She cried when I eventually told her when I was 20.
It infuriates me to no end and it's always a fight when vaccines come up so we just don't talk about them.
She thinks that the doctor who caused the whole autism correlation thing wasn't actually a fraud and was stripped of his medical license to silence him. Also, she just has a massive distrust of the whole medical field. She thinks chemicals are bad for you no matter what they are. (I know everything is made of chemicals, she doesn't agree). She only trusts 'natural' things."
"I was an anti-vaxxer due to a reaction I had to a vaccine. After my second pertussis injection I wound up with a 105 fever and was hospitalized. At that point forward, I stopped getting vaccines.
At that age, I was pretty much done anyways (early teen). When I read into herd immunity and started seeing a revival of mumps and whooping cough, I sucked it up and went to get my last one of the group.
By this time, it was all wrapped into the tetanus shot, so I got that done. It was never about thinking vaccinations were bad, but about a reaction I personally had that I didn't want repeated.
In the end, it is very unlikely I would die but as an immune and vaccinated person, I was not going to perpetuate the spread of preventable diseases. I can take that risk for the good of humanity as a whole."
And we'll end this with those final words by m4dch3mist, because, in the end, sometimes it's better to put your personal beliefs aside if it means protecting the rest of us, and our children, from diseases that should have been eradicated in the 20th Century, if not earlier.
"In the end, it is very unlikely I would die but as an immune and vaccinated person, I was not going to perpetuate the spread of preventable diseases. I can take that risk for the good of humanity as a whole."
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