Parents’ fear of vaccinations nearly killed their son

A message from Lost and Tired: When you read this, please keep in mind that the sole purpose of me reblogging this is to show that the decision to vaccinate your child or not to vaccinate your child is not easy. by any means. This is one family’s story of choosing not to vaccinate and paying a very, very heavy price as a result.

On the flip side, there are families out there that vaccinate their child, in a bid to do the right thing and their child is injured by the vaccine that was supposed to protect them. When you consider the shear amount of people vaccinated each year, vaccine injury is not common but it does happen.

There are risks associated with both choices and it’s so incredibly important that you know the facts when making your decision to vaccinate or not.

My concern for society is that there is so much misinformation online. Some people claim vaccines are 100% safe and that’s simply not true. It’s impossible to know how each individual person will respond to a vaccine. I personally believe that vaccines are overwhelming positive but they do come with risks, no matter how small the risks are, they’re still risks.

There are also people out there that say vaccines are 100% bad and even go so far as to say evil. I think that any rational person would conclude that this is of course untrue. Again, there is a subset of the population that does react very poorly to vaccines and this is usually caused by an unknown genetic vulnerability. Some people are seriously or even fatality injured as a result of this combination. This is a fact.

The hard part comes when parents are trying to absorb all of the information available and make an informed decision about vaccines and their child’s safety.

The story below is one family’s experience after choosing not to vaccinate their child. I’m sure I can find stories about people with seriously injured children as a result of choosing to vaccinate and I wouldn’t hesitate to share that as well.

It’s important to keep these stories in context because when you look at the statistics and actual numbers of people who vaccinate and the people who don’t, you will learn a lot about the consequences of both decision.

Personally, I would never dream of telling you what to do. I will offer one bit of advice and that is you can’t always believe what your read or hear. There are a great many people writing and speaking about vaccines, on both sides of the issues, that are doing so in very irresponsible way. One family’s experience, no matter how tragic or positive is just that, one family’s experience. 

I applaud the Williams honesty and willingness to share their heartbreaking story with the world.

I welcome discussion on this topic but expect everyone treat each other with respect because we all want what’s best for our children.


 

The following post is by Emma Wynne and borrowed from http://www.abc.net.au. All credit goes to her for this article. 

The original can be found here: http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2013/06/06/3776327.htm

Parents’ fear of vaccinations nearly killed their son

Auckland parents Ian and Linda Williams thought they had made an informed choice not to vaccinate their children, but after their son ended up in intensive care with a tetanus infection they realised they had made a terrible mistake.

 

“The mistake that we made was that we underestimated the diseases and we totally over-estimated the adverse reactions”, says father Ian Williams, who is speaking publicly of his family’s ordeal in an effort to warn other parents about the dangers of not immunising their children.

Minor cut, major infection

It started when seven-year-old Alijah got a small cut on the bottom of his foot in December 2012.

“Of course we didn’t think it was too serious, it was just a little cut but a couple of days later he started getting symptoms like a stroke on the side of his face,” Mr Williams says.

“A couple of days later during the night he started to get cramps across his face. His face would contort and he was in a lot of pain.”

After 24 hours in Auckland’s Starship Children’s hospital, the doctors diagnosed Alijah with tetanus, and he was taken to intensive care.

Mr Williams recalls his son’s agony, “It’s a terrible thing… Your whole body arches, your arms go up in the air.”

“It’s like getting cramp but it’s everywhere, across the face as well. They are so tight your jaw locks.”

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Alijah Williams in the intensive care unit in December 2012 (Ian Williams – Supplied)

“The tetanus bacterium makes a toxin that attacks the nerves.”

“It got so bad they put him in an induced coma just to put him out of his misery.”

Ian and his wife were asked to leave the room as doctors cut a hole in Alijah’s throat so a life support tube could be inserted, and Alijah was heavily sedated for the next three weeks to allow his body to heal.

“We felt terrible.”

“He was in such pain due to us and our decision-making process so that’s why we went to the papers in New Zealand – we just wanted to get our experience out there.”

“It was very obvious we had made a mistake.”

Deciding not to vaccinate

As well as Alijah, the Williams have a nine-year-old son and a two-year-old daughter, and Ian Williamson says they did their own research and decided not to vaccinate their children.

“My wife was very against it for her own reasons,” he says.

“I have a science degree and my wife since then has got a science degree as a midwife. I was open to both ideas so I looked into it.

“If you google vaccines you get a lot of pros and a lot of cons, and you start to read all the cons and they start to weigh on you and you start to believe all the things that are said.

“It looks like a fifty-fifty argument.”

Williams says that he was influenced by stories he read on the internet that the MMR (Measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine was linked to children developing autism; that they contain mercury and aluminium and that vaccines are promoted by drug companies purely for profit.

“There are a number of myths out there, and it’s really easy to get sucked in.”

“As soon as they said it was tetanus my other two kids were vaccinated the very next day, against all childhood diseases.”

Speaking out

The Williams’ also took the unusual step of going public about what had happened to Alijah.

Ian Williams says he wants to help other parents who he thinks may be as overwhelmed as he was by the conflicting information about vaccines that is published online.

“No one wants to hurt their kids; we didn’t want to hurt our kid of course.

“The main research that you should do as a parent when you’re looking at vaccination, the easiest and the clearest thing you could do would be to survey doctors and ask them if they are pro or anti vaccines.

“What you will find is that almost all of them are. Then ask yourself the question, why is that?

“Once you see one of these diseases, they are terrible. Children die from these diseases.”

“The mistake that we made was that we underestimated the diseases and we totally over-estimated the adverse reactions [to vaccines]”

Huge response

Despite the often highly-charged and polarised debate around childhood immunisations, Ian Williams says he’s been happy to speak out and that the response to Alijah’s story has been very positive.

“We’ve had a very big reaction in New Zealand. Alijah was on the front page of two of our biggest papers and doctors have been putting up his picture in their rooms and say families have been coming in and getting their kids vaccinated.

“There has actually been a small percentage increase in New Zealand’s vaccination rates [since the story was published in January].

“That’s why we did it. I’m happy to be the poster boy for vaccination.”

Six months on, Alijah is recovering well.

“After three weeks in intensive care he gradually came out of it,” Williams says.

“They gave him less and less drugs and his nerves started to heal.”

When he came out of his heavy sedation, Alijah had to learn to walk and eat again.

“He’s fine now and all you can see now is some scarring on his throat from the tracheotomy, he’ll probably have that his whole life.

“It’s a small price to pay. Ten percent of all people with tetanus die.”

What is tetanus?

Tetanus is caused by bacteria which are present in soils, dust and manure. The bacteria can enter the body through a wound which may be as small as a pin prick. Tetanus cannot be passed from person to person.

Tetanus is a potentially fatal disease which attacks the nervous system. It causes muscle spasms first felt in the neck and jaw muscles. Tetanus can lead to breathing difficulties, painful convulsions and abnormal heart rhythms.

Because of the effective immunisation, tetanus is now rare in Australia, but it still occurs in adults who have never been immunised against the disease or who have not had their booster vaccines.

Tetanus vaccines are offered to free infants at 2, 4 and 6 months of age, and again at age 4 years of age and in year 8 of secondary school.

Source: WA Health Department

 

 

 

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Lauren at the VEC

For information about the science of vaccines, check the web site and publications of the Vaccine Education Center at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: http://www.vaccine.chop.edu and http://www.vaccine.chop.edu/parents. The informational sheet known as Vaccine Ingredients: What You Should Know addresses the concerns mentioned by the previous commentor: http://bit.ly/VaccineIngredients_english

Mandy West

OH MY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mandy West

OH MY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Having grown up with a mentor who was a polio survivor (and her twisted body was a constant reminder of it) I have always looked carefully at vaccines as a boon but also something to research. We were going to delay the vaccines for my youngest, but after he had a horrible case of RSV (no vaccine for that, I’m afraid) we did a staggered schedule but kept on time since he got sick enough that he is considered immune-comprimsed until he’s 4. The thing is, no one has the entire picture and we cannot judge the ‘other side’ because none of us are right or wrong. I feel so badly for this family…. after nearly losing my son to RSV I found out that, had I been more educated, we might have saved him (and ourselves) from that nightmare…. but we have to let go of that guilt and certainly the blame and make sure that we all are able to make educated decisions. Hindsight is 20/20, but we can’t change the past, only learn from it. <3

Having grown up with a mentor who was a polio survivor (and her twisted body was a constant reminder of it) I have always looked carefully at vaccines as a boon but also something to research. We were going to delay the vaccines for my youngest, but after he had a horrible case of RSV (no vaccine for that, I’m afraid) we did a staggered schedule but kept on time since he got sick enough that he is considered immune-comprimsed until he’s 4. The thing is, no one has the entire picture and we cannot judge the ‘other side’ because none of us are right or wrong. I feel so badly for this family…. after nearly losing my son to RSV I found out that, had I been more educated, we might have saved him (and ourselves) from that nightmare…. but we have to let go of that guilt and certainly the blame and make sure that we all are able to make educated decisions. Hindsight is 20/20, but we can’t change the past, only learn from it. <3

Kathy Brower

Who is dr Gerry? The vast majority of informed and educate parents that do not vaccinate or selectively vaccinate did this well before Jenny was so outspoken about her experiences. I no longer vaccinate my children or myself and base absolutely none of my decisions on Jenny McCarthy. I am not anti-vaccinate, however.

Kathy Brower

Who is dr Gerry? The vast majority of informed and educate parents that do not vaccinate or selectively vaccinate did this well before Jenny was so outspoken about her experiences. I no longer vaccinate my children or myself and base absolutely none of my decisions on Jenny McCarthy. I am not anti-vaccinate, however.

truly sad,i vaccinate,and yes 2 of mine are allergic to some components,we work around it,but i will not let my kids get ill beyond saving just because of my fears…..i will not be the reason my child gets a cut and ends up like that because it was preventable. look at who is paying.

truly sad,i vaccinate,and yes 2 of mine are allergic to some components,we work around it,but i will not let my kids get ill beyond saving just because of my fears…..i will not be the reason my child gets a cut and ends up like that because it was preventable. look at who is paying.

Stefanie Sacks

It make me angry that people got so stupid about giving vac over nonsences stared by Jenny McCarthy an that dr Gerry an children are paying for it

Stefanie Sacks

It make me angry that people got so stupid about giving vac over nonsences stared by Jenny McCarthy an that dr Gerry an children are paying for it

Mandy West

OH MY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Having grown up with a mentor who was a polio survivor (and her twisted body was a constant reminder of it) I have always looked carefully at vaccines as a boon but also something to research. We were going to delay the vaccines for my youngest, but after he had a horrible case of RSV (no vaccine for that, I’m afraid) we did a staggered schedule but kept on time since he got sick enough that he is considered immune-comprimsed until he’s 4. The thing is, no one has the entire picture and we cannot judge the ‘other side’ because none of us are right or wrong. I feel so badly for this family…. after nearly losing my son to RSV I found out that, had I been more educated, we might have saved him (and ourselves) from that nightmare…. but we have to let go of that guilt and certainly the blame and make sure that we all are able to make educated decisions. Hindsight is 20/20, but we can’t change the past, only learn from it. <3

Kathy Brower

Who is dr Gerry? The vast majority of informed and educate parents that do not vaccinate or selectively vaccinate did this well before Jenny was so outspoken about her experiences. I no longer vaccinate my children or myself and base absolutely none of my decisions on Jenny McCarthy. I am not anti-vaccinate, however.

truly sad,i vaccinate,and yes 2 of mine are allergic to some components,we work around it,but i will not let my kids get ill beyond saving just because of my fears…..i will not be the reason my child gets a cut and ends up like that because it was preventable. look at who is paying.

Stefanie Sacks

It make me angry that people got so stupid about giving vac over nonsences stared by Jenny McCarthy an that dr Gerry an children are paying for it

Catalytic

I have 5 kiddos, ranging from 21 to 3.  My oldest 4 (21, 19, 15, 14) were all vaccinated on time.  I didn’t know of the vaccine debate with the oldest two, but with the advent of the Internet, I did know about it for my 15 and 14 yr olds.  I read and read, and then decided I was more scared of the diseases than possible reactions.  By the time my little guy was born, though…there were SO many vaccines, and it concerned me.  I believe in vaccines, and I know they aren’t a 100% guarantee, but I do want my kids vaccinated.  I don’t, however, like HOW MANY vaccines are given together, so my little guy’s pediatrician and I talked about it.  He shared my concern about too many at once, so we worked out a delayed schedule…we used whooping cough as our focal point to get those in ASAP, because it was going around our area at the time.  3 years old now, B needs one more shot to be “up to date” on his vaccines.  One thing I also declined was any vaccines at birth (they wanted to give a HepA, I believe it was).  We waited until 2 months to start them.  I applaud this family for sharing their story, I think many who decide not to vaccinate their kids don’t bother to research the diseases and the damage/death from them.  They simply don’t do it because it’s the “crunchy” faddish thing to do today 🙁

jjean3940

As with many medical issues, there is middle ground here right?  It would be irresponsible to just take your kid in and say let em have it without doing some research.  It would also be irresponsible to withhold potentially lifesaving vaccines from your child.  What a tough choice to make for any parent, and I think those in the medical field are at a particular disadvantage- too much knowledge can be a bad thing.  There are preservative free vaccines, there is altered timing of vaccines.  I think these are very valid options, and for some, even that is not necessary.  This is such a sad story, just makes you want to throw your arms and legs around your kid and not let go.  I think that further research into the gene I mentioned the other day (MTHFR- or as many autism parents call it…..well you can figure it out haha).  Even if this gene is found to have the link many think it has to impaired toxin removal, I think it is crucial to vaccinate, but if necessary give more divided doses.  This is not due to the amount of vaccine, but due to the preservatives.

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