Karen ErnstWhen I had my first baby in 2003, I gave little thought to vaccines. I just did them because being sick stinks and because I’d had encounters with now-preventable diseases that ranged from unpleasant to scary. Keeping my new baby from getting sick was a no-brainer. It was still a no-brainer five years later when I took his little brother in to be vaccinated, but that time around I had encounters in real life with vaccine hesitant and vaccine refusing parents who seemed more common than they had ever been.

The difference, it seemed, was not just the internet but social media itself. Fear of immunization spread like a contagion from parent to parent, and I wanted a way to inoculate the entirety of the internet to prevent its further spread. I turned to my local lawmakers, the Minnesota Department of Health, and local immunization organizations wondering what was being done. In turn, they convinced me that I should be one of the people working on solving the vaccine hesitancy problem.

At first, it was hilarious to me. I have no background in science. I am made for being a used-to-be English teacher or Just-a-Mom. I can’t even match my clothing properly, and today I busted my glasses playing basketball with a child (because he was thoroughly trouncing me).

But I did it anyhow. I work in my home state on local vaccine hesitancy issues, and I work across the country on presenting vaccines as the social norm and on peer-to-peer communication about immunization. I am abundantly blessed to do this work, as it means I am able to travel for public speaking engagements and meet some of the most generous people who work to keep our world healthy.

My work means that I curate one blog and bug my blog-owning friends into letting me contribute to another blog. So why this blog? This blog is mine alone–the place where I present my personal opinions bare.

And if the negatives above about me were not enough, here is a more thorough biography:

I am the mother of three boys and the wife of one man. My family and I live in Minnesota, where I try to convince the children that winter is wonderful so that they never move too far away from me. I have a background in English education and a Master’s degree in literature and writing. When people wonder how old I am, I tell them that when I graduated from high school, George Bush was the President. I still read books made out of paper and drive a car with no GPS. I can usually figure out where I am going.

Conflicts of Interest

I have no conflicts of interest to disclose. I do not and have not received compensation or funding from pharmaceutical companies.

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