A mother from Brisbane, Australia, posted a video of her 4-month-old son suffering from pertussis (whooping cough) on Facebook. The 27-second video of the infant coughing, struggling for air and crying went viral, garnering more than 2.1 million views on Facebook in less than a week and receiving international media coverage. Rebecca Harreman used the Facebook post to voice her desperation and to plead for parents to vaccinate their children against pertussis. According to Harreman, her son, Austin, had been dealing with the disease for 23 days when she wrote the post:
“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 up 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. 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.”
Harreman added that the video showed a “good” coughing fit and that they had dealt with much worse episodes throughout the illness. In fact, her son was hospitalized again three days after she posted the video.