Former Anti-Vaxxers Talk About Why They Changed Their Minds About That Issue


The debate about whether to vaccinate or not vaccinate has been going on for years at this point.

And, as you know, there are very strong opinions about this on both sides.

But it does seem like a lot of anti-vaxxer people do eventually make their way over to the other side for one reason or another.

Let’s take a look at these stories from AskReddit users who did just that.

1. Young minds.

“I was a teenager and used to believe that if I got sick, my immune system would handle it and make me stronger. Like most youth, I believed I was invulnerable. I figured, thousands of years of ancestors had survived without vaccines, and so could I.

It was years before I realised that before vaccines, people didn’t just “heal the viruses away” – most of them died or were crippled by illness their whole lives.”

2. Reading is good for you!

“Hard to say, but, reading. Honestly.

I was on the elderberry/colloidal silver/whatever natural bullshit flavor of the week in my late teens – early twenties.

Could dig up some obscure study from the 1960s to support it, “well flu shots aren’t 100% effective, what’s the point? Have you see all the people who get sick from it?” etc. etc.

Simply put, I had bad advice from some of my father’s vitamin shop, Libertarian, naturopath, whatever friends.

In grad school I took more statistics classes, keep reading about data analysis, started to learn what significant sample sizes meant, common logical and statistical fallacies and…surprise…most antiscience nonsense doesn’t hold up empirically at all. There’s just no data to support it, and requires torturing of statistics and misrepresentation to defend their case.

Luckily I don’t have some epic story of a family member dying from a preventable disease, but it’s still embarrassing to think back how arrogantly I was convinced I was more clever than the actual doctors and scientists.”

3. Yeah, that’s a good idea.

“I don’t really know why I didn’t like the idea of vaccines but I didn’t until my girlfriend had gotten pregnant and then I stepped on a rusty nail.

Like the only way to stop tetanus is the vaccine.”

4. Listen to grandma.

“Kind of boring, but I have a whack job grandmother who believes in all the pseudoscience health BS. Crystal healing, electromagnetic communications cause cancer, vaccines are bad, eat apricot pits to cure cancer, the whole 9 miles.

When I was a kid she tried to teach me all of this stuff like it was gospel, and I believed her because I was a kid and why would my grandmom be wrong about something?

Unfortunately for her the minute I turned like, 7, I got a huge hyperfixation on biology and quickly learned that all the stuff she spouted was utter bs.

I’m autistic, and I was like the stereotypical autistic kid where they just know a fuckton about one particular subject and devour any kind of learning material related to it they can get their hands on (I’m actually still like that… except now I can get a degree for it).

It was not hard for me to realize that none of the things she believed made any sense, even as a kid.”

5. Crazy ex.

“My ex husband was a very controlling person and did not want our kids to get vaccines. I was always so scared knowing my kids had no protection. One day one of our kids scraped themselves on a fence and the school called me.

I snapped and took them straight to an urgent care for a tetanus shot and just started secretly getting all my kids vaccines. We eventually divorced and now all my kids are fully caught up.”

6. Living the natural life.

“I was a stereotypical, naturalistic vegan type. Didn’t believe in essential oils or crystal healing or anything. Just believed (mistakenly) that you couldn’t beat nature and that vaccines were messing around with my baby’s natural immunity growth.

I believed they were an unnecessary risk. I knew my decision was controversial so I kept it quiet, I wouldn’t have been out campaigning or splashing it all over social media, it was a private decision.

I held off until he was 2. We don’t routinely vaccinate for chickenpox here in the UK so he got it which is expected. However he got a bacterial infection on top and had to spend a night in hospital.

Nothing too traumatic but I realised I didn’t have the balls to play nature vs. medicine anymore.”

7. Radicalism.

“I read an article about a mom who changed her view on vaccinations because of how radical the anti-vax groups were. A lot of them were anti-gay, anti-abortion. And so crazy about all of it. Pro the dumbest shit, like oils. Pushed the agendas of things that were obviously false.

It made her step back and change her entire outlook on the anti-vax movement. I wish I could find this article, it was pretty interesting. Probably on Facebook. But she made great points against them.”

8. Feeling kind of dumb about it.

“I wasn’t really an antivaxxer by today’s standard and definition, but back then I did question the validity of it. I used to wear my tinfoil hat back in the Facebook days and delved into some wacko shit like the usual Illuminati, lizard people, hollow moon and other shit.

I guess after I grew apart from my friends who were also into all that I gradually came back to reality and realized how dumb it all is.”

9. The result of anxiety.

“I realized my reasons to anti-vax were actually rooted in anxiety (result of childhood trauma) and not because I was against vaccinating. The process started a little over a year ago, I just had my 3rd, and I was homeschooling my eldest (kindergarten).

The initial push to dealing with it was the regret of not being able to enroll my eldest in public school, and my newborn being at risk by having unvaccinated siblings. I took a hard look at my choices and why I hadn’t vaccinated my first 2, and every last one was because of fear and guilt. I found a rock star pediatrician who didn’t once judge me, and got all my kids caught up.

I have 3 fantastic kids that are now fully vaccinated, and I am successfully on the road to recovery so I can be the best person I can be for my kids. They deserve it!”

10. Hit the wall.

“Well, after years of deluding myself into the belief that vaccines were evil, I finally hit the wall. I learned more about vaccines and why they were really necessary.

I think it was my fear of the unknown that prevented me from seeing that science saves lives. I had a really good teacher in that regard and it ended up being a pretty great time in my life.

I mean, on top of realizing that shots weren’t bad things, I started getting an allowance and my 10th birthday party was fucking lit.”

11. A bunch of propaganda.

“I was caught into the antivax propaganda after my younger sister was said to have autism.

Reddit helped me change my mind, with People providing evidence of antivax’s stupidity.”

12. Stop listening to your parents.

“I grew past the age of 12 and realised how stupid my parents have been.”

13. Maybe they’re not out to get you…

“I had a phase in my early 20’s where I hopped on the alternative-everyone wants to secretly poison you train.

Mostly because of some people that influenced me that time and it’s fascinating how easy you can slip into that mindset mostly because it is indeed partly true, like big pharma or other mostly money-motivated people/companies do actually do a lot of shit that is not helping people but quite the opposite but it’s not like single doctors or scientist want that, they mostly want facts and the truth and for people to gain knowledge.

An education with simple medical basics quickly made it clear to me that a lot of anti-vax and all the other shit people believe is either total nonsense or only a small part of the truth that ignored anything else from a medical standpoint.

There is a reason why there are rules in place to determine if a study can be taken as meaningful because if you only know part of the truth it’s easy to mistake plain coincidence or correlation for causation.

But I think with these hardcore conspiracy-theorist it has nothing to do with facts or truth it’s about their mindset that anybody is out to get them, they are basically a constant victim to their own mentality.”

14. Mom was wrong.

“I grew up and realized my mom was wrong thanks to my now husband convincing me. I got many vaccines in college and I’m doing just fine.

My mom gave us some vaccines like the tetanus vac, but that’s about it.”

15. Learned your lessons.

“My now wife was an anti-vaxer. I generally go with what she says most of the time because I cannot be bothered to argue. However, when we were discussing getting married and having kids I was surprised at how strongly I felt about.

I was prepared to walk away from the love of my life rather than not vaccinate . I gave all of the reasons (I’m from a third world country and she is European. I have seen too much shit from a lack of vaccination program to sit on the fence on this).

She came around. When our first was born he was quite ill. I don’t think we were in danger of losing him but just that tiny bit of danger reiterated the point of protecting them and others from illnesses. My wife is now more on top of the vaccination dates for our kids than I am.

A friend of hers had a baby recently and expressed some anti vaccination sentiments. My wife calmly told her that not only would she be putting her own kids in danger but that she would be weaponising her child against others.

Quite a turnaround.”

Wow. These people were pretty honest about why they changed their minds about this issue.

How about you?

Did you used to be an anti-vaxxer and now you believe it’s the right thing?

Talk to us in the comments, we’d love to hear from you!