Home > Parent Perspective, Preventable Diseases, Testimonials > Brady’s Battle with Pertussis

Brady’s Battle with Pertussis

This post has been updated on January 28, 2018 to include new information about maternal Tdap vaccination.



Pertussis (also known as whooping cough) is a highly contagious respiratory disease that spreads easily from person-to-person through coughing and sneezing.  People of all ages can be affected by pertussis, but it is most dangerous for babies.

Since infants don’t begin receiving their own series of pertussis vaccination (DTaP) until they are two months of age, they remain vulnerable to pertussis at a time when they are also the most fragile, and it is up to us to help protect them.

When adolescents, adults and pregnant women receive their Tdap booster vaccine, they not only help protect themselves, but they also help reduce the spread of the disease to young children.  It’s especially important for expectant women get a Tdap booster during each pregnancy (preferably between the 27th and 36th week) so that they can pass antibodies on to their unborn baby. This provides critical protection against whooping cough until that baby is able to get their own series of whooping cough vaccinations (DTaP) at 2 months of age.  Tdap vaccine also protects mothers during delivery, making them less likely to transmit whooping cough to their newborn, which can easily occur.

In an interview with WWLP News out of Chicopee, MA, Barbara Stechenberg,  Chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Baystate Children’s Hospital, explains

“One of the important things to know is most babies who develop whooping cough get it from an older child or an adult in the family,” said Dr. Stechenberg.

It only takes one tragedy – like that experienced by Jonathan Alcaide and Kathy Riffenburg, who lost their son Brady – to remind us that we can help protect one another from this highly contagious disease.  

Brady was a healthy and happy baby when he was born on November 20, 2011.  As excited as they were about his arrival, they thought they were taking every precaution with their son.  They even insisted that visitors wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before they were permitted to pick him up.

But then in early January, they noticed Brady was coming down with what they assumed was a cold.  When his fever spiked to 104 they brought him to the ER where they completed a multitude of tests.  They finally sent him home, requesting that they keep an eye on the cold.

Kathy kept her friends and family updated on Brady’s condition through her own Facebook posts.

January 9:  I hate when one of my babies are sick.  Brady had to go to the ER on Sat/Sun morning because of a high temp. They ran tests and everything came back negative thank god! Went to his pedi today got more blood work it’s just a cold no medicine thankfully he is fine! Hope my little guy gets better soon 😦

January 11:  Went to the pedi office this morning with my Brady pants.  His breathing was worrying us.  We have to do updraft treatments every few hours and go back for 6 to see the md.  Poor little guy 😦

January 15:  Home.  My sis is here.  Bought us a humidifier for Brady for Christmas. Hopefully it will help with his horrible cough! When will this end its horrible having him so sick 😦

One week later, they were back at the hospital.  While the staff at BayState Medical Center worked diligently to help Brady, his condition fluctuated daily, as observed through Kathy’s continued Facebook updates.

January 16:  Well Brady is being admitted to BMC for his breathing.  We have a room in ICU for babies/

January 17:  Brady is still having a high respiration rate. Not a change. I feel he’s getting worse. 😦 I guess this particular virus this is what we can expect …worse before better.

January 17:   Hhhhhhhh……wish he was better now :_(

January 17  Daddy went home to be with the girls and let them sleep in their own beds. Just me Brady and the Bruins ♥ hopefully we have a quiet night… on a good note his breathing is getting better and he even gave daddy a smile before he left! Keep the prayers coming. They are being heard! High possibility no breathing tube will be needed.

January 17:  Guess who’s awake and feeling a little better ♥

January 17:  A little smile he is saving them all for the nurses little flirt! — with Jonathan Alcaide.

January 18:  Yeah they are going to try to give my little bruiser some food!  When he wakes up I can or Jon whichever is here, a bottle 🙂 Its been well over a day and a half since he’s eaten ♥

January 19:  This has been a long long journey. I don’t ever want to go through this again, and wouldn’t wish this upon my worst enemy. Brady is doing ok. Unfortunately he can’t eat on his own. We have to put the feeding tube back in because oral feeding is too much right now for the little guy 😦

January 20:  Well 2 months ago I had my handsome little boy ♥ and today is day 5 in the pedi ICU, hopefully good news will be coming our way.

January 21:  My shift back at the hospital with the baby ♥ just wish we were out of here and home snuggling watching the snow fall as a whole family 😦

January 21: It’s hard when you see everyone coming and going from this unit, seems everyone but Brady is getting better 😦 When will it end? Just want to bring my son home.

So tired and exhausted hopefully some good news tomorrow.

January 22:  Don’t want to jinx but Mr Brady pants is being weaned off his oxygen flow. Dr. Duda the respiratory md says he sounds and looks great and we soon can start the feedings back up 🙂 Keeping positive my little guy will be out soon.

January 23:  Brady is still doing the same. They finally after 8 days started him on antibiotics. They think its whooping cough. The min we can leave is 5 days! This is the worst experience I ever had to go through 😦 So thankful to have Jon. We are side by side holding each other’s hand balancing this and the girls. Boy, after this we need a vacation.

January 23:  So now they have to place a breathing tube 😦 keep praying for my baby ♥

January 24They are switching out the ventilator because his body wasn’t responding like they wanted it to;  his carbon dioxide level was on the high side.  Now they are starting him on heliox system…my poor baby just looks so still.  I can’t wait till this crap is done and over with.  😦

January 26:  Just to let everyone know Brady’s status is not getting better not worse but we have a team of attendings that are going to be taking on his case with the md that he has had…they are assessing him now and going to brainstorm on what is going to happen next. Just want my baby back 😦 Healthy.

At this point there was little that Brady’s parents could do but hope and pray that their precious boy would get better.  However, Brady’s condition grew desperate and on Juanuary 27th, Brady was transferred to Children’s Hospital in Boston.  He passed away the next day, just barely 2 months old.

January 27:  We are now at Boston’s Children Hospital. Brady is in critical condition. His heart stopped and they had to give him compressions…we are waiting to see him. They put him on a heart and lung bypass machine. They are worried about brain injury; please pray he will be a healthy boy playing baseball someday. I will try to update as much as I can.

January 28: Brady Robert Alcaide 11/20/11~1/28/12 May the angels carry him home ♥

Kathy and Jon were stunned by what had happened.  Their once healthy son had succumbed to a fast-moving, fatal disease and it wasn’t until after Brady was gone that they received confirmation that the diagnosis was pertussis.   As Kathy explains,

“People don’t think much about diseases like whooping cough these days.  I never would have imagined that this could happen.”


Now Kathy and Jon are determined to educate everyone about the importance of adult Tdap boosters and the more recent recommendations for maternal Tdap vaccine that weren’t in place before they lost their son.  To help prevent this sort of tragedy from happening to other families, they have become regional advocates for Every Child By Two/Vaccinate Your Family and have started a Facebook page called “Brady’s Cause” where they’re asking people to pledge to get vaccinated.

You can take the vaccination pledge on “Brady’s Cause” Facebook page here.

Let’s let Kathy and Jon know how much we appreciate them sharing Brady’s story.  We are grateful to all our family advocates who continue to spread the word about the importance of adult and maternal Tdap boosters. Together we can hep protect babies from pertussis.

  1. Emily
    April 25, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    Oh my god. My heart goes out to that family. My family has had our boosters, because of stories like this.


  2. grandma barb
    April 25, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    my whole heart goes out to this family…as my family went thru the same living hell in jan 2010–loosing our precious granddaughter callie grace to pertussis—-my daughter and son in law have spoken out in newspapers, radio,television—everywhere they could and continue to do so to educate the world about the TDAP—–i just dont know why this isnt avaviable info at EVERY dr office out there!!!!!


  3. April 25, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    As adults, there are so many ways we can work together to protect newborns from vaccine-preventable-diseases. By talking to our family and friends, and sharing heart-wrenching stories such as Brady’s, we help to educate and highlight the importance of adult-boosters and maintaining up-to-date with immunizations. Thank you Kathy and Jon for sharing your story and making it your mission to prevent future avoidable deaths.


  4. April 25, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    Poor baby, and poor family. 😦
    Since we’re speculating, it’s just as easy to guess that a vaccinated individual passed pertussis on to this baby. The vaccine is not known to prevent transmission. Also, since U.S. hospitals have such high mortality rates, it can also be speculated that the baby’s medical care was lacking, or even detrimental. Other factors can influence disease risk in a baby, such as breastfeeding (or lack thereof), and family history of immune dysfunction.


  5. Chris
    April 25, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    Since we’re speculating, it’s just as easy to guess that a vaccinated individual passed pertussis on to this baby. The vaccine is not known to prevent transmission.

    Citation needed.

    breastfeeding (or lack thereof), and family history of immune dysfunction.

    Citation needed.

    The citation should be the title, journal and dates of the PubMed indexed papers, and not a website selling a book.


  6. Kim
    April 25, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    I am so heartbroken for this family. No one should lose a child, especially to a preventable disease. I made sure anyone holding my newborn was vaccinated because this can happen and no one should have to go through that. Thank you for sharing your story, it made me cry. He was a beautiful boy. Hopefully this will save another babies life by showing the importance of vaccines for children and adults. My heart goes out to your family.


  7. Kathryn
    April 25, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    I just wanted to add, there is no family history of immune dysfunction in mine nor Jon’s family. Also I did breast feed please strike that from your argument. Thank you


  8. April 25, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    Reblogged this on kathrynriff and commented:
    Our story


  9. Chris
    April 25, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    Kathryn, my deepest sympathies for you loss.

    I also find the accusation of not breastfeeding to be despicable. While breastfeeding is helpful, it does not prevent most diseases. My fully breastfed daughter still got chicken pox when she was six months old.

    It is just one of the “blame the victim not the disease” tactics I have encountered after my son had seizures on his second day of life (sorry, “researchvaccines”, it was over twenty years ago, so no vaccine was involved). Usually by folks who are making a stab in the dark without any knowing us or what we had been through. They seriously have no idea that they are acting cruel and heartless.


  10. April 25, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    Chris :
    Kathryn, my deepest sympathies for you loss.
    I also find the accusation of not breastfeeding to be despicable.

    No accusation whatsoever.

    While breastfeeding is helpful, it does not prevent most diseases. My fully breastfed daughter still got chicken pox when she was six months old.

    Way to downplay the benefits of breastfeeding using anecdotal evidence.

    It is just one of the “blame the victim not the disease” tactics I have encountered after my son had seizures on his second day of life (sorry, “researchvaccines”, it was over twenty years ago, so no vaccine was involved). Usually by folks who are making a stab in the dark without any knowing us or what we had been through. They seriously have no idea that they are acting cruel and heartless.

    It is similarly cruel to blame unvaccinated individuals, when without clinical evidence, it is impossible to know which individuals are immune and which are not.


  11. April 25, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    Kathryn :
    I just wanted to add, there is no family history of immune dysfunction in mine nor Jon’s family. Also I did breast feed please strike that from your argument. Thank you

    I did not argue that you did not breastfeed, only that there are other factors to consider which were left out. So sorry for the loss of your little one.


  12. Chris
    April 25, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    Again, please provide citations for your statements, as I asked.

    And the article was not about unvaccinated individuals, but those whose immunity had lapsed. It happens with most bacterial vaccines, like pertussis. Even after getting pertussis and feeling like you are coughing a lung up for three months, you can still lose immunity in just four years:

    Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2005 May;24(5 Suppl):S58-61.
    Duration of immunity against pertussis after natural infection or vaccination.

    This article is a reminder that adults need to get a Tdap booster, especially if they will be around babies. It is not a vehicle for you to sell a book, by authors who do not seem to be medically qualified.


  13. Leslie Greenwood
    April 25, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    As the Immunization Coordinator at our Public Health Department it makes me very sad to read your story. By sharing it you are helping other parents see why it is so very important to immunize their children and themselves to avoid what happened to your family! Thanks for your courage.



  14. Lara Lohne
    April 26, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    To Kathy and Jon,

    My heart goes out to you. I don’t know what it’s like to lose a child, but it’s heartbreaking to watch them suffer and be unable to do anything to help them. I applaud you for turning your personal loss and tragedy into motivation to help others who may not understand how devastating these diseases really can be, not only to the one who suffers with them, but to those who can only watch what they have to go through while fighting it and hoping and praying they can win, which doesn’t always happen.

    One person dying from a disease that can easily be prevented is too many deaths from vaccine preventable disease. Nobody should have to suffer through an illness, it doesn’t make anyone stronger, case and point, the permanent damage done to my lungs when I suffered through pertussis in high school. My ambitions of becoming an Olympic swimmer were destroyed with one disease. The best I can do now is make sure my children don’t have to suffer through it, that is why all my children are fully vaccinated and I hope they will continue to get their boosters as they become adults and take responsibility for their own health.


  15. Chris
    April 26, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    Which you need to support with verifiable scientific documentation. Perhaps something like this.


  16. Quokka
    April 26, 2012 at 11:50 pm

    Researchvaccines – wrong time wrong place


  17. jj
    April 27, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    my heart goes out to this poor family! I used to work in inner city family shelters and saw several cases in little ones who thankfully survived. I then ended up with pertussis while 36 weeks pregnant and am so thankful I knew to ask about it. Having seen it I was petrified at the thought of passing it on to my newborn! I am glad treatment was available but I wish that the vaccine had been more readily available as it was not funded well when it initially came out. Thank heavens it is more well paid and available now! Blessings to your sweet family.


  18. Kelly
    April 28, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    There is a new vaccine for those older than 7, called the Tdap. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/who/teens/vaccines/tdap.html

    Suzanne Humphries article on vitamin C treatment of pertussis was debunked here: https://shotofprevention.com/2011/12/13/the-battle-against-whooping-cough-continues/#comment-5923

    Pertudoron 1 and 2 are not only completely ineffective but contain 10% belladonna, which is toxic. http ://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atropa_belladonna

    You shun vaccines because you *think* vaccines contain toxic ingredients but you promote a herbal remedy that *does* contain a toxic ingredient. What is wrong with you, cia?

    Again, stop spreading misinformation. If we followed your misguided advice, more babies would suffer like Brady did. You should be ashamed of yourself for disrespecting this baby’s death to spread your lies.


  19. Snoozie
    April 28, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    Cia, usually your posts are merely terribly misinformed, but this one is cruel and a prime example of Dunning-Kruger. It is with stunning arrogance that you read this post trying to decide what this mother and the doctors caring for her children did wrong.

    Kathryn, a few comments above yours, stated that she did breastfeed her new baby. Unfortunately, as wonderful as breastfeeding is, it is not enough. Suzanne Humphrie’s vitamin C protocol is derived from her own wishful thinking and a single study from 1937 which was thoroughly disproven long ago. Vitamin C would not have helped little Brady. Your hypothesis about holding a child upright during coughing fits is also unsubstantiated and unhelpful.

    Kathryn provides the world a great service in memory of her child by reminding parents and all who are in contact with young children to obtain a Tdap vaccine. Vaccinated individuals are 23 times less likely than unvaccinated individuals (http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/123/6/1446), and those without pertussis are less likely to pass it on to others.

    Rather than second-guessing Kathryn’s care of Brady and her trust in his doctors, you should be grateful that she has found a way to help others through her own tragedy.


  20. Chris
    April 28, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    Scopie’s Law:

    In any discussion involving science or medicine, citing Whale.to as a credible source loses you the argument immediately …and gets you laughed out of the room.


  21. Lawrence
    April 28, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    @cia – whale.to huh? You must also believe in Chemtrails, Morgellon nanobots, FEMA camps, and AIDS denial as well…..not exactly the place to pick up rational or logical information on anything….


  22. April 28, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    “Citation needed.

    The citation should be the title, journal and dates of the PubMed indexed papers, and not a website selling a book.”

    Allow me, from my recent article on ‘Why So Many Pertussis Outbreaks?’

    In a 2009 study that appeared in Pediatrics, researchers found that “vaccine refusers had a 23-fold increased risk for pertussis when compared with vaccine acceptors, and 11% of pertussis cases in the entire study population were attributed to vaccine refusal.”

    In another article, “Geographic Clustering of Nonmedical Exemptions to School Immunization Requirements and Associations With Geographic Clustering of Pertussis,” researchers found that “geographic pockets of vaccine refusal are associated with the risk of pertussis outbreaks in the whole community.”

    And the CDC states that children who had never received any doses of DTaP (unvaccinated children) face odds of having whooping cough at least eight times higher than children who received all five doses.


    No, it doesn’t prove that a vaccinated child or teen whose immunity had waned wasn’t the source of the infection, but it certainly makes it a little more than a guess that an unvaccinated child was involved somewhere.


  23. April 28, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    “But it should still be remembered that the pertussis vaccine is not very effective, and that most of those who get the disease have been appropriately vaccinated, but can still transmit the disease to others. ”

    Actually, the long term effectiveness of the DTaP vaccine is now thought to be about 71 to 78%. While certainly not as good as the measles vaccine, that hardly means that “it is not very effective.”

    It is also important to note that the high rates seen in 2010 in California are still well below the rates that were seen in the prevaccination era, when the attack rate of pertussis in the United States was as high as 157 per 100,000 people, with about 200,000 cases a year.

    “92% of those who got pertussis in California two years ago had been appropriately vaccinated.”

    Do you have a source for that statistic? The data that the state health department is putting out still lists a lot of the people as having an ‘unknown’ vaccination history, which makes calculating real attack rates of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated individuals difficult.


  24. Chris
    April 29, 2012 at 2:17 am

    And the thing one needs to learn from this story and the scientific literature is that there needs to be better herd immunity from pertussis. Yes, we know that it is not as effective as other vaccines and that the immunity wanes (it also wanes even if you get the actual disease).

    This a a reminder that each young child should get vaccinated with the full series of DTaP vaccines, and that adolescents and adults need the Tdap booster.


  25. cia parker
    April 29, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    But a lot of people do not become immune even if the pertussis vaccine has been given very recently. My daughter had had the DTaP at 2, 4, and 6 months, caught pertussis at nine months, and gave it to me. It may be that a lot of people don’t acquire immunity to pertussis no matter how often they get the vaccine. And I assume that it is still considered dangerous to give the pertussis vaccine to kids between seven and twelve, or they would already be giving it to them.


  26. Kelly
    April 29, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    cia’s argument is based on the nirvana fallacy. She is arguing that because not everyone becomes immune from the disease, then the vaccine is useless and nobody should be vaccinated. She is also factually wrong. A lot of people do become immune, only a few do not.

    As I already linked, there is a new vaccine and no, it is not dangerous.



  27. Chris
    April 29, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    Ms. Parker:

    My daughter had had the DTaP at 2, 4, and 6 months, caught pertussis at nine months, and gave it to me.

    She did not have the full series, which is the fourth dose at about fifteen months. It would have been better if you had had the Tdap, along with all the other adults in your family.

    And I assume that it is still considered dangerous to give the pertussis vaccine to kids between seven and twelve,

    There is a Tdap booster on the schedule between the age of four to six. The schedule for ages seven through eighteen shows that a DTaP can be given as a catchup vaccine. So you assume wrong.


  28. Bobbijo williams
    April 30, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    Babies are not fully protected until one year of age it takes the 4 dose series for full protection which is why it is important for any adult who is going t be around a child to be current on their vaccinations!! CIA you should really use more credible resources. Like any medicine or vaccine the protection acquired far outways thelimited side effects that most don’t even experience. I believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinion but come with a reputable argument and honestly take the argument elsewhere. These comments should be to let these parents know we are thinking of them. To Brady’s parents I work for a pediatrician and my heart goes out to you, I respect very much your willingness to turn your personal tragedy into education for others. May god bless you and your family 😉


  29. cia parker
    April 30, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    This was a study published in American Society for Microbiology in December 2000. It found that in the six adults of the study, the pertussis vaccine did nothing to help them kill the pertussis bacteria, and in some it had a negative effect. Since the vaccine is in itself dangerous, it’s important to learn the reasons that argue for its ineffectiveness, because, obviously, if it’s not even effective, why take the risk of its side effects?.

    Characterization of Bactericidal Immune Responses following Vaccination with Acellular Pertussis Vaccines in Adults

    1. Christine L. Weingart1,†,
    2. Wendy A. Keitel2,
    3. Kathryn M. Edwards3 and
    4. Alison A. Weiss1,*

    + Author Affiliations

    Department of Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry, and Microbiology, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio1;
    Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas2; and
    Department of Pediatrics, Division of Infectious Diseases, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee3


    Sera from six adults, collected before and after acellular pertussis vaccination, and from a placebo control were examined for the ability to elicit two bactericidal immune defenses, (i) antibody-dependent complement-mediated bacterial lysis and (ii) opsonization and phagocytosis by human neutrophils. The samples were chosen based on low preimmunization titers and strong postimmunization responses to various combinations of vaccine antigens. All but two prevaccination samples demonstrated activity indicative of complement-mediated lysis. Preimmunization activity could have been due to prior infection or childhood immunization. Immunization did not result in improved bactericidal activity for any of the individuals, and in two cases immunization caused a statistically significant decrease in complement-mediated lysis. Similarly, opsonization with the postimmunization sera failed to enhance attachment or phagocytosis of bacteria by neutrophils, and one postimmunization sample with a strong response to filamentous hemagglutinin caused an inhibition of phagocytosis that was statistically significant compared to that observed for the no-serum control. In summary, booster immunization of adults with acellular pertussis vaccines was not found to increase bactericidal activity over preimmunization levels. Identifying ways to promote bactericidal immune responses might improve the efficacy of acellular pertussis vaccines.


  30. Chris
    April 30, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    That is some serious cherry picking. And you are still playing the Nirvana Fallacy. These show that it is complicated (more recent and larger sample size):
    Antibody responses to pertussis toxin display different kinetics after clinical Bordetella pertussis infection than after vaccination with an acellular pertussis vaccine
    Acellular Pertussis Vaccines and Complement Killing of Bordetella pertussis

    Checking PubMed for adult pertussis vaccination papers brings up lots of active research. Yes, it is recognized that it is not a perfect vaccine, but there is some immunity, and it is complicated. It is better than not vaccinating, something you seem to be advocating.

    Seriously, Ms. Parker, what do you have against increasing herd immunity against pertussis? Do you have a better solution for protecting infants from pertussis?


  31. Kelly
    April 30, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    Nice cherry-picking, cia.

    First of all, the vaccine is not “dangerous” and it is not “ineffective”.

    From the introduction of the study you cited, “These vaccines are highly effective at preventing the severe manifestations of pertussis but are less effective at preventing bacterial colonization”.

    However, let’s look at a bigger, more recent study: http://cvi.asm.org/content/18/8/1269.full

    cia caught lying about how the vaccine is “dangerous”.

    The vaccine was well tolerated with no serious adverse events.

    cia caught lying about the effectiveness of the vaccine in promoting phagocytosis

    This is one of a few studies that document increased vaccine-induced OPA against pertussis in human sera after revaccination with an acellular pertussis vaccine.

    cia caught lying about the effectiveness of the vaccine in promoting complement killing

    In addition to OPA, the direct complement killing of the bacteria also may play a role. We have preliminary data showing that prebooster serum with low antibody levels lacks bactericidal activity, whereas after the booster a severalfold increase in bactericidal titer is obtained.


  32. cia parker
    May 6, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    From utoronto.ca:
    With an improved vaccine that provides long lasting immunity and that can be given to adults, pertussis could eventually be eradicated. Currently the protection conferred by the whole cell vaccine is incomplete without booster protection at 15-18 months and 5 years of age. Because reactions are thought to be more severe in older children and adults, current whole cell pertussis vaccines are not recommended for anyone older than 7 years. Due to the longer lasting protection with the acellular vaccines, eventually physicians may be able to eliminate one dose in infancy and perhaps the dose currently given in the second year of life. A fourth dose could be given at school entry and a fifth dose about 10 years later. There are clinical trials currently in progress assessing the safety and efficacy of acellular vaccines among adults.

    There is no reason to believe that the acellular pertussis vaccine is safer than the whole cell vaccine, it appears to cause fewer mild reactions but just as many severe ones. This information above from Canada, including that people over seven shouldn’t get the pertussis vaccine, is what was broadcast here when my daughter was little, about ten years ago, before the Tdap was released and promoted. Did they really suddenly figure out how to make it safe to give those older than twelve in 2005, or did they just think they’d see how far they could get in pushing it and denying the subsequent vaccine injury? The part about long-lasting immunity in the quote above has obviously proven to have been mistaken, though I’m sure those who wrote the article were sincere in believing that what they wrote was true.


  33. Kelly
    May 6, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    First of all, perhaps you could provide the complete citation so we could see this quote in context? When was it written and by whom? Nevertheless, there are some obvious mistakes in your interpretation.

    current whole cell pertussis vaccines are not recommended for anyone older than 7 years

    Tdap is an acelluar vaccine, cia. The recommendations for the vaccine are here: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/publicat/cig-gci/p04-pert-coqu-eng.php (Canada) and http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/ACIP-list.htm#tdap (US)

    There is no reason to believe that the acellular pertussis vaccine is safer than the whole cell vaccine, it appears to cause fewer mild reactions but just as many severe ones.

    Citation needed. The sources above disagree with your assessment.

    Did they really suddenly figure out how to make it safe to give those older than twelve in 2005, or did they just think they’d see how far they could get in pushing it and denying the subsequent vaccine injury?

    Yes. The vaccine was reformulated to minimize the reactions and still provide protection. The vaccine would undergo clinical trials for safety where vaccine injury was recorded and reported. This information is in the package insert as it is needed for licensing.

    With an improved vaccine that provides long lasting immunity and that can be given to adults, pertussis could eventually be eradicated.

    How has this been proven to be mistaken, cia? Researchers are still working on improvements to a pertussis vaccine. Acknowledgements of weaknesses of the current vaccine does not mean that the current vaccine is useless. Vaccinating with an imperfect vaccine is still better than not vaccinating at all.


  34. lilady
    May 7, 2012 at 2:34 am

    What a beautiful baby boy…and what a senseless loss of this sweet innocent child. Thanks to Kathy and Jonathan for sharing your story with us.

    There are recent recommendations from the ACIP and the CDC for the use of Tdap vaccine as a one-time booster for pregnant women, their partners, close household members, caregivers and hospital staff:


    “Guidance for Use

    Maternal vaccination. ACIP recommends that women’s health-care personnel implement a Tdap vaccination program for pregnant women who previously have not received Tdap. Health-care personnel should administer Tdap during pregnancy, preferably during the third or late second trimester (after 20 weeks’ gestation). If not administered during pregnancy, Tdap should be administered immediately postpartum.

    Cocooning. ACIP recommends that adolescents and adults (e.g., parents, siblings, grandparents, child-care providers, and health-care personnel) who have or anticipate having close contact with an infant aged <12 months should receive a single dose of Tdap to protect against pertussis if they have not previously received Tdap. Ideally, these adolescents and adults should receive Tdap at least 2 weeks before beginning close contact with the infant."

    The AAP as well, is about to issue a report about "cocooning" of young infants by providing Tdap vaccines to pregnant women, their partners, close household members and caregivers to decrease the chance of newborns and infants under one year of age, getting infected with pertussis.

    I worked as a public health nurse and investigated cases/outbreaks of pertussis and I recall the death of a young infant from pertussis. Case surveillance and testing of close household contacts revealed that an adult within the household infected the baby.


  35. cia parker
    May 7, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    Have you guys read about this court case in Italy in March? Judge Lucio Ardigo pronounced that it was beyond question that the MMR vaccine given to an Italian child whose name has not been disclosed on 26 March 2004 caused his autism, the first symptoms appearing the same day as the vaccination. The Health Department was ordered to pay all legal expenses (25,000 euros), and judgment for a monetary payment was made in favor of the child’s family, in the Tribunale di Rimini 15 March 2012. I’m sure glad I just said no to the MMR for my daughter, I’m sure her autism (from the hep-B and pertussis vaccines) would be much worse now if I had allowed it.


  36. lilady
    May 7, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    CIA Parker: Do you read Italian? Perhaps you would like to offer a translation of the decision that you cite from a civil court in Italy.

    BTW CIA, that decision…along with a “rough translation” of that decision was discussed yesterday on a science blog:


    You will note in the “rough translation” that the judge in Italy used some unsavory studies including the study conducted by Andrew Wakefield…which was retracted by Lancet and, which resulted in Wakefield losing his medical license in the U.K.


  37. May 14, 2013 at 10:11 am

    I love what you guys are usually up too. Such clever work and coverage!
    Keep up the wonderful works guys I’ve you guys to my blogroll.


  38. August 5, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    Hello! Would you mind if I share your blog with my twitter group? There’s a lot of people that I think would really appreciate your content. Please let me know. Cheers|


  39. NK
    November 27, 2013 at 6:48 am

    I used to think anti vaxxers were just misguided. After reading what Ms. Parker has had the gall to say here, I’m changing my analysis to reprehensible. Just appalled.
    So sorry for your loss, this is a wonderful thing for you to do.


  40. Luci
    January 30, 2014 at 6:01 am

    That is absolutely harrowing. My sympathies to this poor family.


  41. Sandra
    January 30, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    Why didn’t the doctors test Brady sooner to see if his severe cough was pertussis? Why wait until the very end? Did he catch it at the doctor’s office? Was high-dose vitamin C used to treat him? It has often been the only effective treatment, as cough suppressants are both dangerous to use for pertussis, as you don’t want the mucus to pool in the lungs, but rather to be coughed out. Antibiotics do nothing to help the patient, as the damage from the toxin has already been done, the cilia in the airways broken off, and the illness must run its course. Babies must be held upright through all coughing fits, to help them cough up the mucus. It was certainly a tragic death, but I’m not sure that promoting an often completely ineffective vaccine which only gives, when it works at all, short-lived immunity, reduced by almost 50% every year post-vax, and often causing many dangerous reactions and autoimmune conditions. is the best idea.


  42. Lawrence
    January 30, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    @Sandra – 1) please show where high-dose Vitamin C has been clinically-proven to help

    2) If people had been vaccinated, there is a good chance the baby wouldn’t have gotten Pertussis in the first place

    3) Even if the vaccine is not as effective as we would like, it is still better than nothing – especially given that the safety profile is excellent

    (and oh yes, please post actual proof or evidence that the vaccine has been linked to “dangerous reactions and autoimmune conditions.”


  43. NK
    January 30, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    Sandra what a delightful person you are.
    “It was certainly a tragic death, but….”
    Nice qualifier lady.
    Typical anti vaxxer, all words, no morals, and definitely no compassion.
    Thanks for the timely reminder of the sheer nastiness of your people.


  44. Lawrence
    January 31, 2014 at 6:30 am

    @NK – I do find their tendency to “blame the victim” to be entirely reprehensible.


  45. dingo199
    January 31, 2014 at 7:38 am

    I am sure Sandra is just a fly-by sock puppet and won’t bother dropping in to respond to any comments, but in case people don’t appreciate the underlying message she is trying to push, this analogy is apt:

    Car accident; Child did not have protection of seatbelt/baby seat and was flung through windshield and tragically dies as a result.
    Sandra: “Why blame the lack of seatbelt for the death? Don’t you know seat belts might harm some kids? And that as seat belts age, they sometimes don’t work as well as they might? And why didn’t the firstaiders administer high dose Vitamin C to the baby at the scene, since other medical interventions don’t work?


  1. May 3, 2012 at 12:52 pm
  2. August 29, 2012 at 3:11 pm
  3. September 6, 2012 at 11:06 am
  4. October 12, 2012 at 9:03 am
  5. January 28, 2013 at 12:34 pm
  6. January 28, 2014 at 12:51 pm
  7. January 28, 2014 at 3:56 pm
  8. August 5, 2018 at 12:09 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.