On Friday morning my 13-month old baby boy Wills had his Prevnar booster vaccine. That afternoon he fussed, and by late evening had a fever of 38.5. On Saturday he stayed pretty much the same, miserable and with a low-grade fever that went up to around 38.7 a little past Midnight. I gave him his last dose of Calpol by then, and by the next day the fever was gone.
I’m always wary after my children have a vaccine. I suppose its because of all the news one hears on television and in the papers, that vaccines like MMR particularly, have been linked to Autism. Its something that parents dread hearing the most, especially after pediatricians (like mine) are staunch defenders of vaccines. It was actually reported in the Huffington Post a few weeks ago that in spite of a federal ruling in the “vaccine court” which showed NO link between MMR and autism, a little boy named Bailey Banks was also awarded nearly a million dollars because the courts found that his brain damage leading to autism was indeed caused by the MMR vaccine. You read horror stories on blogs like this one, called Vaccines Exposed, or even by celebs like Jenny McCarthy:
We believe autism is an environmental illness. Vaccines are not the only environmental trigger, but we do think they play a major role. If we are going to solve this problem and finally start to reverse the rate of autism, we need to consider changing the vaccine schedule, reducing the number of shots given and removing certain ingredients that could be toxic to some children.
I have to say that I agree with the Mc Carthy’s. I think it’s a wonderful thing she did for her son – taking the matter into her own hands, finding a way which incredibly enough helped him recover – whether or not it was truly caused by the vaccine. While I am fortunate that my kids have had minimal reactions to these vaccines I can’t help but worry every time they do go into the doctors office for one. My two older kids are done with theirs at ages 4 and 7 – the DPaT’s and MMR’s and luckily had no reactions other than the occasional low grade fever. But when I also think of the risks of the serious diseases, like the Pneumococcus disease that Prevnar prevents, it is also a terrifying prospect. Here’s one Mom’s opinion on how that nasty bacteria affected her family.
On a more personal note, my aunt, whose daughter had the DPT vaccine in 1984 at 6 months, believed that it triggered her epilepsy – from being a perfectly normal baby, she suffered severe seizures right after the shot and it never really stopped, causing her severe brain damage. Consequently, her sister, my other aunt, refused to vaccinate her 3 children (and one got a mild case of TB).
When our firstborn arrived, my husband and I deliberated whether we should vaccinate our kids, and decided in the end that we would. Like Jenny Mc Carthy says, all children are different and react differently. I think its up to us parents to learn as much as we can about these vaccines routinely given to our kids today so that we can make our own informed decisions.
Photo via Andres Rueda