Parents

Heartbreaking Video Of Baby With Whooping Cough Has Strong Message About Vaccinations

"Doing nothing is just wrong."
11/17/2015 10:44am ET

An Australian mom has issued a powerful statement about vaccinations with a heartbreaking video of her baby.

Mom Rebecca Harreman posted a video on Facebook that shows her 4-month-old son Austin suffering from pertussis, aka whooping cough.

Okay so I know I said I'd let the hate go. But I'm tired. Damn tired. I've been on duty for over 3 weeks having to wake...

Posted by Rebecca Harreman on Friday, November 13, 2015

"I've been on duty for over three weeks having to wake every single time my baby boy coughs for fear he will stop breathing. Every. Single. Time. I cannot and will not pass that duty to anyone else, because I just can't sleep," Harreman writes in the video caption.

"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," she adds.

In the video, Austin helplessly coughs, and the sight and sound of the sick baby are truly heartbreaking. Harreman notes that her son had been coughing for 23 days when she took the video and that what we see would be categorized as a "good" coughing fit for a baby with pertussis. In fact, she adds, this coughing fit is "nothing compared to watching him turn blue from coughing for so long and so much he can't take a single breath."

"Imagine that in a tiny newborn baby. Can you imagine?!" the mom added, explaining that, according to her doctor, her son's "age and size and his first vaccination" help his prospects for recovery.

"I don't care whether you want to try and prove to me that vaccinations and herd immunities don't work," Harreman continued. "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'... because doing nothing goes against every cell in my body as a mother. Doing nothing is just wrong."

The mom concludes with a call to others to share her video and "spread some awareness... not nonsense."

Harreman's video post has been shared over 16,000 times, and the view count exceeds 670,000.

In a follow-up Facebook post, the mom reported that her inbox has been inundated with disparaging messages from anti-vaxxers. "I didn't intend to offend anyone in particular with my views. Because they are just that -- MY views," she wrote.

"But since some anti-vaxxers seem to feel they can share and say anything they want, even if it is unreliable, and I'm not allowed to have my say or share my own personal experience... well then I say bring it!" she continued. "No more turning a blind eye and not sharing opinions for fear it will upset someone else. It's called freedom of speech. If they can say what they want, then so can I... and one would think you wouldn't want to upset a mumma bear when her baby is hurting bad."

Though childhood vaccination rates in Australia are over 90 percent, the government announced back in April that it would implement stricter policies in 2016, cutting welfare benefits for parents who don't vaccinate their kids. Social Services Minister Scott Morrison also declared an end to religious exemptions from vaccinations.

On November 16, Harreman added that her son is back in the hospital, and she's opted to make her Facebook page private so as to "concentrate on my family, my son and his health."

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