By Barbara Loe Fisher
Ever since the first vaccines – smallpox and rabies vaccines – one of the most serious complications of vaccination has been brain inflammation.1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 Brain inflammation can cause convulsions, also known as seizures.8 Continuing seizures can permanently damage the brain over time.9
In fact, for the first 40 years that the pertussis vaccine was given to children in the DPT shot, pediatricians were told: "Do not give any more pertussis vaccines to children who develop seizures within 72 hours of a DPT vaccination."10, 11,12, 13 Convulsions were an absolute contraindication to more DPT shots, especially if they occurred without a fever.
Protecting Children Vulnerable to Vaccine Reactions
But that changed after Congress passed a 1986 law shielding doctors and vaccine manufacturers from vaccine injury lawsuits.14 Once pediatricians were protected from lawsuits,15 public health officials and medical trade associations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, said serious vaccine reactions – such as seizures (1 child in 14,000),16 high-pitched screaming and collapse/shock (hypotonic hyporesponsive episodes) – weren't all that important.17, 18, 19
So today, it is really up to parents to find a doctor they can trust, who will take the precautionary approach to giving more vaccines in the face of previous vaccine reactions, like seizures, especially if the child has symptoms of brain injury.
On NVIC's Vaccine Freedom Wall at NVIC.org, mothers are posting descriptions of how they have been threatened and punished with dismissal from pediatric practices when they try to protect their children from vaccine reactions.
Here is one Mom's story:
"After receiving her first vaccines, including DPT, my daughter began to have violent seizures, which continued but lessened over the next year. On many occasions, pediatricians have attempted to bully me into allowing more vaccinations for her. Telling them about her seizures, I refuse and tell each of them 'unless you will personally guarantee, in writing, that there will be no adverse reactions so I can sue you if there are, then I won't do it.' Not a single doctor has taken me up on my offer," she said.
"My daughter is now diagnosed with autism. After we moved, we had to get another doctor and, after a year when I wouldn't change my mind about more vaccines, he told me he wouldn't be our doctor anymore. I went to another doctor, who wouldn't even take us into his practice. We finally found someone who understands. She is an awesome pediatrician! So something good came of it in the end," she said.
The Precautionary Approach: Children Are Not All the Same
There are enlightened pediatricians, who do take the precautionary approach to vaccination because they care about preventing vaccine reactions, injuries and deaths. They want to be partners with parents in making personalized health care decisions for children because they know that children are not all the same20 and that some children are not able to handle the process of vaccination.21
Please don't be afraid to stand up for your human right to protect your child from harm. Especially if your child has already experienced a vaccine reaction, search until you find a compassionate pediatrician or family practice doctor who will work with you to make the best health care decisions for your child.
It's your health, your family, your choice.
CA Bill to Restrict Personal Belief Exemption Passes
On Aug. 27 an amended California bill (AB2109) to restrict a parent's ability to obtain a personal belief exemption to vaccination for their child to attend school, passed the Assembly by a vote of 49 to 24. The bill will force parents filing a non-medical exemption to pay for an appointment with a medical doctor or state-designated medical worker and ask for a signature that permits the parent to obtain an exemption for religious, conscientious or philosophical beliefs.
School Nurses, Not Pharmacists Can Sign the Form
The bill was vigorously debated on the Senate floor on Aug. 24 after an amendment had been added to allow school nurses to sign the personal belief exemption form but denied pharmacists the right to sign the form due to opposition from the bill's sponsor, pediatrician Richard Pan, M.D. (D-Sacramento). There are fewer than 2500 nurses working in California's 10,000 schools but there are more than 300,000 pharmacists working in local drug stores.
Contact Governor Jerry Brown and Make Your Voice Heard
If Governor Jerry Brown signs AB2109 into law, it will take effect on Jan. 1, 2014. If you want to tell Governor Brown what you think about AB2109, sign up for NVIC's Advocacy Portal and be put in touch with him with the touch of your iPhone screen or click of a computer mouse.
Watch the Aug. 24 Senate floor debate on AB2109 here. (scroll in to 4 hours, 20 minutes, 27 seconds)
Read the text of A2109 here.