Many Somalis believe that their children’s injuries are related to vaccines.“My perfectly healthy son started having seizures within minutes after his 18-month vaccines,” Abdulkadir Osman Hassan told me in June “and the seizures have never stopped.” Hassan’s boy, now 14, is severely autistic. “I quickly determined I was not alone.”
Somali parents had already started a support group and were sharing with each other the terrible reactions their children were having to vaccines. “We don’t have a word for autism in the Somali language,” explains Hassan, who has an Associate’s Degree in Childhood Development.
“We never saw it in our country. We never heard of it. The adults in our community don’t have it, only our children.”