Many mothers whose kids died of flu have been attacked relentlessly by anti-vaxxer trolls.
Serese Marotta and her husband got their flu shots and also vaccinated their two children. However, the shot they received did not stop the H1N1 flu pandemic. In October 2009, her son Joseph died of the flu.
She didn’t want to let his son’s death be in vain, so she decided to be involved in Families Fighting Flu, an organization dedicated to promoting life-saving vaccination.
Serese also hoped that sharing her story could help other families from going through the pain that her child’s death had brought to her family.
Unfortunately, her Facebook post was inundated with hateful comments from anti-vaxxers. But she found out that this was a common experience for families like hers.
Doctors and public health officials are certain that the flu shot is safe and the best shot people have at protecting our children against the life-threatening virus.
But as of last year, 29% of people in the United States believe getting their children vaccinated is not ‘very important.’
Serene said: “Before his death, I was just going along and doing what I thought was appropriate to protect myself and my family.
“I was an environmental scientist, taking my children to pediatricians for well-visits, so if my pediatrician said it’s time to do this vaccination, I did it. I know the science, I know that vaccines save lives.”
Serese understands that her son’s case is ‘complicated’ as the H1N1 pandemic caught the world off guard. She wanted to mark Joseph’s death with a Facebook Live video for his ‘angelversary.’
She said: “It was a very personal day for me, and I was sharing how important it is to be vaccinated. But the response was an attack on me. It was shocking.”
She added: “Many of the families that are part of this organization and others have, at various times over the years, been confronted with people who oppose vaccines, and a lot of what we’ve directly experienced has come over social media channels.”
Jill Promoli, a mother from Canada, also experienced the same thing.
Her son, Jude, died at the age of two. Jill had no idea he had the flu as he had had his flu shot.
But it was confirmed that influenza B, which is responsible for 80,000 deaths in the U.S. during 2016-2017 pandemic, killed her son.
Jill then became an advocate and rallied for vaccination to save children.
However, her social media posts about her son and the importance of getting vaccinations were flooded with hateful comments.
One person even said that Jude deserved to die while others denied his existence.
“The first time it made me feel really sick because I couldn’t fathom how anybody could even come up with such a terrible claim,” she told CNN.
Anti-vaxxer trolls cursed her, calling the mother the worst names. “It caught me off guard in its cruelty. What kind of a person does this?”
She added: “I just want to be respectful and share my story. I’m not sharing this to try to scare you. I want my story to be your lesson.
“We have nothing to win. Our children are no longer here and we cannot change that. But, hopefully, by bravely continuing to do what we can, maybe we can convince one person to go get vaccinated and therefore save a life.”
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