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Just a few years ago, I was opposed to vaccines. I felt that the risks of measles were being exaggerated. I refused to get my tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis booster when my doctor offered it, and I declined the flu shot every year.

The measles outbreak underway in Clark County, Wash., and the cases that have been reported in nine other states this year are a reminder of just how far my views have shifted.

What changed my mind? It was finding a group of people who were strongly in favor of vaccines and willing to discuss the topic with me. They were able to correct all the misinformation I had heard and respond to my concerns with credible research and other helpful information.

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 realized that the frightening anecdotes I was seeing were no reason to doubt the accuracy and results of reputable studies that show vaccines are safe and effective.

I'm grateful to the people who gave me the facts I needed to keep my family safe. 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.

Editorial on 02/12/2019

Print Headline: Rethinking vaccines

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