Ever since the first vaccines – smallpox and rabies vaccines - one of the most serious complications of vaccination has been brain inflammation.1234567 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 pertussis vaccine was given to children in the DPT shot, pediatricians were told: “Do not give more pertussis vaccine to children, who develop seizures within 72 hours of a DPT vaccination.”10111213 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, like the American Academy of Pediatrics, said serious vaccine reactions - like seizures (1 child in 14,000),16 high pitched screaming and collapse/shock (hypotonic hyporesponsive episodes) - weren’t all that important.171819
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.
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 I-phone 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.
1 CDC. Smallpox Vaccinations and Adverse Reactions: Guidance for Clinicians.Postvaccinal Central Nervous System Disease. MMWR Feb. 21, 2003; 52(RR04): 1-28.
2 Fisher BL. Smallpox and Forced Vaccination: What Every American Needs to Know. NVIC 2002.
3 Hemachudha T. Griffin DE et al. Myelin basic protein as an encephalitogen in encephalomyelitis and polyneuritis following rabies vaccination. N Engl J Med 1987; 316(7): 369-374.
4 Miller DL, Ross EM et al.Pertussis Immunization and Serious Acute Neurological Illness in Children. BMJ 1981; 282: 1595-1599.
5 Vaccine Safety Committee, Institute of Medicine. Adverse Events Association with Childhood Vaccines: Evidence Bearing on Causality. Neurologic Disorders. Washington, D.C. The National Academies Press 1994.
6 Institute of Medicine. DPT Vaccine and Chronic Nervous System Dysfunction: A New Analysis. Washington, D.C.The National Academies Press 1994.
7 Tunkel AR, Glaser CA et al. The Management of Encephalitis: Clinical Practice Guidelines by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Clin Infect Dis 2008; 47(3): 303-327.
9 National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Curing Epilepsy: The Promise of Research. National Institutes of Health Dec. 21, 2011.
10 Berg JM. Neurological Complications of Pertussis Immunization. BMJ 1958; 2:24-27.
11 Kulenkampff M, Schwartzman JS, Wilson J. Neurological complications of Pertussis Vaccination. Arch Dis Child1974; 46-49.
12 CDC. Recommendations of the Immunization Practices Advisory Committee (ACIP) Diptheria,Tetanus and Pertussis: Guidelines for Vaccine Prophylaxis and Other Protective Measures. Precautions and Contraindications. MMWRJuly 12, 1985; 34(27): 405-414; 419-426.
13 Stetler HC, Orenstein WA. History of Convulsions and Use of Pertussis Vaccine. J Pediatr 1985; 107(2): 175-179.
14 Evans G. National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act: Revision of the Vaccine Injury Table.Pediatrics 1995; 98(6): 1179-1181.
15 Zimmerman B, Gold R, Lavi S. Adverse effects of immunization: Is prevention possible? Postgrad Med 1987 82(5): 225-229; 232.
16 National Vaccine Program Office, U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services. Safety: Potential Side Effects (DTaP).Vaccines.gov. Aug. 20, 2012.
17 CDC. Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis: Recommendations for Vaccine Use and Other Preventive Measures Recommendations of the Immunization Practices Advisory Committee (ACIP).Precautions (Warnings). MMWR Aug. 8, 1991; 40(RR10): 1-28.
18 CDC. Conditions Commonly Misperceived as Contraindications to Vaccination. July 17, 2012.
19 CDC. Chart of Contraindications and Precautions to Commonly Used Vaccines. July 17, 2012.
20 Stratton K, Ford A, Rusch E, Clayton EW, editors. Adverse Effects of Vaccines: Evidence and Causality.(Evaluating Biological Mechanisms of Adverse Events: Increased Susceptibility). Institute of Medicine Committee to Review Adverse Effects of Vaccines. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press 2011.
21 Fisher BL. The Need for a Study Comparing Health Outcomes of Vaccinated and Unvaccinated Children. Health and Medical Division of NAS (formerly IOM) Committee on the Assessment of Studies of Health Outcomes Related to the Recommended Childhood Vaccination Schedule. Feb. 9, 2012 Meeting.
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