Abbey Clint, who was raised in an anti-vaccination household, took to Facebook to share why she's all for her kids getting shots.

Maressa Brown
Updated: May 09, 2019
New Africa/Shutterstock

May 9, 2019

A Pennsylvania mom who was raised in an anti-vaccination household is going viral for explaining why her own children are getting their shots. Abbey Clint, 30, had just taken her 7-month-old daughter to get her shots when she decided to take to Facebook to share details of her history, alongside photos of her baby girl being vaccinated and an infographic that points to the lack of scientific evidence linking vaccines and autism, as well as the risks of preventable diseases.

"Madelyn got her shots today," the proud mom wrote. "I grew up unvaccinated before it was cool. I’ve had to catch up on my inoculations with each pregnancy. Glad I didn’t catch measles while pregnant! Glad my babies don’t need to suffer through preventable infectious diseases. Preventative maintenance saves co-pays and saves lives. Proud to vaccinate!"

As a child, Clint was not only unvaccinated but "grew up without a lot of antibiotics, without any Tylenol, pain meds, or anything like that," she told BuzzFeed News. She explained to YourErie.com that she was one of six kids and complications with her mom's third pregnancy and other issues caused Clint's mom to lose "trust in the ways the doctors handled things."

After marriage, Clint intended to raise her children the same way, but kept discussing the issue with those around her, including her mother-in-law who had rubella, which can cause lifelong health problems if a pregnant woman passes it to her child. "What if I caught it? What if my baby caught it in my womb?" she said. "It’s preventable. That’s what’s shocking to me now. I had to step aside from all the emotions. I had to look at the statistics, see which sources I trust, and just be as dispassionate, logical—no matter how heartless it seemed—and weigh my odds."

She also happened to have a pediatrician who answered lots of her questions and who she felt she could trust—a factor she felt was integral to becoming a pro-vaccination mom who now follows the CDC's recommended schedule for vaccines with both her daughters. 

Since Clint shared the post on April 30, it has made national headlines and wracked up over 3.4K reactions, 6.7K comments, and hundreds of shares.

Clint told BuzzFeed News that misinformation on social media both played a part in motivating her to share her story on Facebook. "There’s a lot of anti-vax memes being shared in my personal circles," she told the site. "So I was just throwing out a different side of things, just for the sake of keeping it a conversation and not an echo chamber." 

The reaction to Clint's post on Facebook alone has been astounding. It was shared to anti-vaccine groups and pro-vaccine groups alike. Clint even wrote a follow-up comments on her original post: "Wow who shared my post in your anti-vaxx group? Glad to see you all winning via mob hysteria." and "Anti-vaxxers ONLY: What is your actionable solution that will quell the fears of pro-vaxxers’ (which is that their children and vulnerable might catch infectious diseases from you) while at the same time not force them to change their views that vaccines are harmless or change any other part of their vaccine theory? In other words: A solution that doesn’t require they change their minds (because that’s impossible) but that also doesn’t require you to move to Madagascar or be forced to immunize your kids."

She also asked pro-vaxxers to weigh in with solutions that "will respect the fears of government overreach of anti-vaxxers while at the same time protect the vulnerable pro-vaxxers from catching infectious diseases." 

No matter her own personal stance, it's clear that Clint is a peacemaker. She told BuzzFeed she can see both sides of the issue, noting, "I think there is a lot of fear that is embedded in this whole issue. That goes beyond simply the vaccines themselves."

Chatter around the post is also especially timely, given that the number of measles cases in the U.S. has reached a new high, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reporting that there have been 704 cases reported nationally so far this year.

With hope, voices like Clint's will not only encourage conversation but help spread factual information that begins to turn this unnerving tide.

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