Mom's Sobering Video Shows The Reality Of Caring For An Infant With Whooping Cough

by Maria Guido
Originally Published: 

An Australian mother shared a video of her four-month-old struggling to breathe through a pertussis-induced coughing fit, in the hopes that actually seeing a child suffer through whooping cough would convince parents to vaccinate themselves and their children.

Rebecca Harreman shared the video of her son, taken 23 days after his cough started. Her son is four months old, and had his first dose of the whooping cough (pertussis) vaccine — but the first dose is not enough to completely immunize a child against the disease. Hence, the importance of herd immunity, to give children the time to receive all of their immunizations without fear of being exposed to the disease in the meantime. Harreman made this video, hoping to show just how terrifying it is to care for a newborn with whooping cough.

Harreman says,

So for those of you sitting on the fence on whether to vaccinate yourself and your kids or not… maybe this video will convince you.
This is a GOOD coughing fit in a 4 month old with Pertussis, or Whooping Cough – 23 days after his cough started which is when it’s supposed to be getting past the bad stage. It lasts for up to 100 days, but a simple cold I passed onto him that I caught from being with him in hospital is making him relapse again frown emoticon
Now when I say this is good… I mean that’s absolutely nothing. Not even long enough to be called a coughing fit. Nothing compared to watching him turn blue from coughing for so long and so much he can’t take a single breath…

So many anti-vaxx arguments are made in a vacuum: those who protest the “safety” of vaccines have never been in a situation where they had to deal with the deadly diseases vaccines prevent. Those who refuse to vaccinate their children against whooping cough have probably never witnessed a newborn struggling to breathe because of it.

Anti-vaxxers also reap the benefit of herd immunity, while simultaneously chipping away at it by refusing to vaccinate their own children. Herd immunity is s a form of immunity that occurs when a large portion of the population is vaccinated, thus providing a measure of protection for those who are not vaccinated due to age or medical conditions that do not allow it.

“Imagine that in a tiny newborn baby. Can you imagine?!” Harreman says, about watching her child struggle to breathe. “The doctors said he has his age and size and his first vaccination on his side to be able to fight this because there is no real way to treat it – you can only try and get some oxygen in them – that is if they breathe it in… and they have to do that all on their own.”

“I don’t care whether you want to try and prove to me that vaccinations and herd immunities don’t work… You know why? Because at least at the end of the day I tried to do something to prevent this and not sit there and say “oh well, vaccinations don’t work so I’ll just sit here and do nothing” Harreman says regarding her decision to vaccinate her child. “Doing nothing goes against every cell in my body as a mother. Doing nothing is just wrong.”

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