Home > Parent Perspective, Preventable Diseases, Seasonal Flu, Testimonials > Our Life Without Emily: Flu, Fear, Guilt and Regret

Our Life Without Emily: Flu, Fear, Guilt and Regret

By Joe Lastinger, Board Member, Families Fighting Flu

1525360_10151953693783780_1550060010_nMy daughter, Emily, should have started high school this year full of excitement and potential. Her teachers would ask her, “Are you Chris’s little sister?” or “Are you Andrew’s little sister?” In my head I imagine her earning high marks in advanced classes, joining student council, playing volleyball and basketball and having a great group of close friends. Now I realize that it might not have turned out that way. It’s quite possible that Emily would have entered high school at the peak of her teenage rebellion and might not even be on speaking terms with her mom and me. We will never know, because she died suddenly and tragically from influenza when she was only 3½-years-old.

Emily died from influenza in 2004. She died in our bed, in her pajamas, watching cartoons – just hours before we were scheduled to take her back to her pediatrician to have her looked at again.   Doctors have terms to describe how children like Emily can be so sick and not necessarily appear so…it’s called “compensation”. Children, we learned, can sometimes compensate for illness…until they can’t anymore.

If I had to describe how my wife and I thought about influenza – “the flu” – before Emily died from it, I would compare it to lice. I know that seems like a silly comparison, but chances are most parents at one time or another have had the unpleasant experience of dealing with lice. It’s a nuisance, cleaning hair, searching for nits, laundering, etc. You hope that the rest of the family doesn’t get it. You are kind of mad that it happened at all. It messes up your family’s busy schedule. You worry that other parents aren’t being diligent and will end up re-infecting your kids (well, at least we did). Maybe you wonder who started this whole mess to begin with.

But, we couldn’t have been more wrong. Influenza kills tens of thousands of people in the U.S. every year. You don’t have to be old, sick or immune compromised. Influenza kills healthy adults and children (like Emily) every year. We’ve spent the last decade working to reduce the number of kids that die every year from the flu. Much of this work has been through Families Fighting Flu, a non-profit advocacy organization we played a small role in getting started, and some of it has been on our own through state and regional efforts in Texas.

The year 2015 will mark a decade that my wife and I have been working to reduce (eliminate, really) the number of childhood deaths attributed to influenza. Ten years without Emily in our lives. Ten years working to make sure that what happened to us doesn’t happen to other parents.  There have been successes (universal vaccine recommendations) and failures along the way (people still aren’t taking advantage of vaccinations that are widely available). Recently, I’ve been reflecting on what I have learned over that time and thought I would share a few insights.

There is a vast system of public health workers in the U.S. at the state and federal levels.

They work tirelessly to educate and vaccinate people to keep them well. They don’t receive nearly enough credit.

People are often scared of things they shouldn’t be and not scared of things they should be.

Unfortunately, “the flu” falls into the category of things that people should be scared of, but aren’t. Ebola is scary. Cancer is scary. Mythical zombie viruses are scary. But, to so many people, flu is not scary.

Influenza and other vaccine-preventable diseases are a societal problem, not just an individual problem.

When it comes to vaccine-preventable diseases, your choices don’t just affect you. When certain individuals choose to leave themselves open to vaccine-preventable diseases, they can become conduits for some diseases to re-enter, re-infect, spread to even kill. You can’t drive without insurance or make up your own traffic rules. I could give dozens of additional examples. However, we allow people to choose whether or not they will be conduits for certain diseases, because vaccination is optional. As a society we struggle with this because we celebrate personal freedom and rugged individualism.

Flu vaccinations should be renamed.

To most people “vaccination” means “one shot as a child and I never get that disease, ever.” But, flu vaccine is really more of a preventative medication. You have to get a vaccine each year that is tailored to the flu strains that are expected to circulate. A flu shot doesn’t absolutely guarantee that you won’t contract influenza. You might, for example, be infected by a virus that is not covered in that year’s shot.

Joe Lastinger pictured with his daughter Emily.  Her death sparked grief and regret, as well as his determination to prevent other children from losing their lives to influenza.

Joe Lastinger pictured with his daughter Emily. Her death sparked grief and regret, as well as his determination to prevent other children from losing their lives to influenza.

I believe the word “vaccination” creates false expectations that people don’t generally apply to hundreds of other preventative medications. For example, people take medications like statins to lower their cholesterol and their chances of a heart attack. Heart attacks are not always fatal, but they can be. Likewise, influenza vaccinations and medications reduce the chances of contracting influenza. Influenza is not always fatal, but can be. One of the most widespread and erroneous arguments against getting a flu vaccination is that it doesn’t work 100% of the time, so it is not worth it. But people don’t typically think this way about other preventative medications (I know I don’t).

Guilt and regret are hidden forces behind a lot of the good that is done in the world.

It hasn’t gotten easier for my wife and me to share our story, or our failure as parents to adequately protect our daughter from influenza. To publicly bare yourself – to share your mistake and your shame – is difficult. It’s depressing to see children dying each year from influenza and knowing the vast majority of them were not vaccinated. Guilt and regret are constant companions, but can at times serve as motivators to keep working…to keep sharing. As it is true for us, I suspect it is true for others, that many great charitable endeavors are rooted in guilt and regret.

Families Fighting Flu (FFF) is a volunteer-based non-profit advocacy organization made up of families whose children have suffered serious medical complications or died from influenza, as well as other advocates and health care practitioners committed to flu prevention. The families and friends of these children have been left shocked and devastated, but together they find comfort in educating people about the seriousness of influenza and the fact that vaccination can reduce the number of childhood hospitalizations and deaths caused by the flu each year.  

To support Families Fighting Flu, please visit their website, follow them on Facebook and Twitter (@FamFIghtFlu) and make a pledge to get yourself and your family vaccinated each year.  

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  1. Connie Smith
    December 12, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    Sorry to hear about your daughter, it must be the worst thing that can happen to a parent. My story mirrors yours except it was the vaccine that we were only mildly afraid of but now we know vaccines fall into the category of things that people should be scared of, but aren’t. You see my daughter was injured by the h1n1 vaccine in the fall of 2009 and she had just turned 2 years old. She should be a happy, social kid with many friends in the first grade this year, but that isn’t the case. Vaccine’s kill and injure more people then you hear about in the news or that is reported. I compliment you for your diligent effort in sharing your story and helping others, but the flu vaccine is not very effective and not worth the risk of injury in my opinion. I understand why you do what you do and I hope you understand that there is another side and that’s why I have to do what I do. Wishing you and your family the best, God bless.

    Like

  2. December 12, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    Reblogged this on The Polk County Immunization Coalition and commented:
    Take the time to talk to someone you care about to ask if their son or daughter or grandchild or neice or nephew has been been vaccinated against the flu this year.

    Like

  3. lilady
    December 12, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    Mr. and Mrs. Lastinger, I am so sorry for your loss. Your advocacy on behalf of youngsters getting the influenza vaccine before the start of each year’s seasonal influenza season is appreciated.

    Like

  4. lilady
    December 12, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    @ Connie Smith: I’m sorry that your child had a reaction to the H1N1 vaccine and I urge you to file a claim on behalf of your child before the United State Court of Federal Claims (Vaccine Court), so that a determination can be made about the connection between the vaccination and her injury.

    Like

  5. jgc56
    December 12, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    Connie, would you mind telling us what injury your daughter suffered as a consequence of th H1N1 flu vaccine in 2009?

    Like

  6. Amanda Fetaui
    December 13, 2014 at 5:35 am

    My condolences to your family for such a tragic loss. Influenza had hit my youngest son who now 7, at the age of 1.5 months old. He was diagnosed in the ER & discharged despite my pleas to admit because something was seriously wrong! Overnight he worsened & as we rushed back to the ER the next morning, he went into shock upon entering the doors where he was code blued for 5 agonizing minutes where all they could offer was “Sorry they didn’t realize how sick he was & you were right to rush him back”. Anyway, he was in the PICU for 2 months, in isolation, fed via IV fluids & on life support. What I’m trying to say is that, Influenza “Flu” should not be taken lightly. I commend what you are doing to prevent such tragedies to reoccur to someone else! Much prayers towards you all!

    Like

  7. Bee C.
    December 13, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    @Connie Smith Shame on you. Your daughter is still alive. Shame on you. That you think a heartbreaking, unflinchingly honest post like this is the right place to spout your scientifically baseless vaccine conspiracies is absolutely inhuman and inhumane. Where is your heart? What kind of soulless, compassionless human being actually says to another human being, “Sorry your kid died, BUT…”? It’s cruel, and it’s more than a little sick.

    Joe, I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m a healthy adult but I always get a flu shot – so that children like Emily don’t have to die. Please keep up the good work, even in the face of anti-vaxxer rhetoric and disinformation.

    Like

  8. Ron Lechelt
    December 13, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    Eighty years ago a neighbor died with diphtheria long before I became a pediatrician. During my practice I saw children die with measles, polio, pertussis, mumps, Hemophilus influence meningitis, pneumococcal meningitis, as well as various other viral encephalitis, etc illnesses. Now many of these can be prevented with immunizations. Unfortunately there are some rare bad reactions to some immunizations but much less than we had fifty years when we used a stronger–less modified DPT than we use now. We also had occasional bad reactions to small pox and I am glad that we could stop using it. Do not let some of the extreme anti immunization groups who spout lies about them convince you not to immunize your children. I am not against parents telling us about some of the rare complications
    their children have had. However, when some of the pseudo science misinformation is put out as being true we do do a tremendous disservice to all children. Ron Lechelt, MD (retired pediatrician)

    Like

  9. jrhavard@aol.com
    December 13, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    Connie, how dare you hijack this families grief. You are a horrible person!

    Like

  10. December 14, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    What a terrible thing to go through. My heart goes out to you and your family. The awareness that you bring is inspirational and unfortunately necessary. Keep up the good work and I hope it helps you find peace to inform others of your tragedy.

    Like

  11. December 14, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    @Connie, many children injured by vaccines have other underlying, undiagnosed medical conditions. If your child had not been diagnosed with one prior to vaccination, she may have a condition/syndrome you are not aware of.

    Like

  12. cassie
    December 14, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    @jrhavard…I don’t believe that was Connie’s intentions, although I do not know her and can certainly not speak for her. I feel she was simply trying to show the other side of the coin…we can never have to much information when it comes to the safety and health of our children. When it comes down to it every parent must do their best to make the best decision for their child at any given time. In my humble opinion it is you who should feel shame for your very rude unnecessary post. Both of these parents were very strong to share their very personal tragic experiences. There are always two sides and not always is one right and one wrong!

    Like

  13. Lawrence
    December 14, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    @cassie – it some circumstances, there is no “other side.” In this case, there is a child who tragically died of a disease that most anti-vaccine advocates claim is inconsequential & non-life threatening…on the other side, we have a lot of “stories” with no actual evidence or facts to back them up.

    In this case, it would be “false-balance” to say that Connie’s story has anything in common with the tragic death of this child. So, she does deserve the metaphysical slapdown she received.

    (other examples of false-balance, creationism, flat-earthers & so on.)

    Like

  14. jen
    December 14, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss. I did receive the flu shot and I was diagnosed last week with Influenza A. This is the sickest I have ever been. They say that I would have been worse if I didn’t receive the shot. I understand “compensation”. I think as adults we say to ourselves.. “I’m ok, I’m not that sick” when in fact we really are. I’m sure your daughter was very brave and strong. I can’t imagine how she must have felt. I’m so sorry for your loss… You are doing the right thing in her honor.

    Like

  15. Chris
    December 14, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    cassie: “here are always two sides and not always is one right and one wrong!”

    Then present that other side with actual evidence. Provide the PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers that show any influenza vaccine presently approved for use on American children causes more harm than the actual disease. A disease that has so far killed five kids in the USA, and killed over a hundred during each of the last couple of seasons.

    Like

  16. Chemmomo
    December 14, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    Mr Lastinger and the whole Lastinger family: I am sorry for your loss.

    And thank you for continuing to speak out.

    Like

  17. Chemmomo
    December 14, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    cassie “I feel she was simply trying to show the other side of the coin”

    No.

    For the past dozen years the conversation has been dominated by loudmouths who oppose vaccines, and the success stories brought about by modern medicine have rendered the damages wrought by diseases largely forgotten.

    This – Emily’s story – IS the “other” side.

    Like

  18. August
    December 14, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    I am so sorry for your tragic loss. I and my six children get the flu vaccine every year, despite so many people telling us it is pointless. I always have had them get it and always will, as long as they are under my care.

    Like

  19. December 14, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    Even if the anti-vaccine-ers are wrong, they are not bad people. Please fight them with evidence, not condemnation. I know that can be hard to do, but it’s necessary. Do they argue with lies, or mistaken beliefs? I’m betting it’s the latter. Assuming that is true. I’ve never looked at their arguments much because then I’d be torn and not know what to do. It’s hard enough just knowing that some very sincere people believe it’s risky.

    Like

  20. Chris
    December 14, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    Except, Sandra, one person decided to hijack this thread. That was rather repugnant behavior.

    “I’ve never looked at their arguments much because then I’d be torn and not know what to do.”

    You go where the evidence leads: Vaccine Safety: Examine the Evidence

    And you look at the real effects of the diseases. You can learn from the families like the Lastingers and others who have suffered from the actual pathogens: Vaccine Preventable Disease – The Forgotten Story.

    Like

  21. Chris
    December 14, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    Sandra: “Do they argue with lies, or mistaken beliefs? I’m betting it’s the latter.”

    There was a paper written on that hypothesis: Anti-vaccine activists, Web 2.0, and the postmodern paradigm–an overview of tactics and tropes used online by the anti-vaccination movement..

    Unfortunately only the abstract is available to us lay people, but someone did explain the content: Tactics and tropes of the antivaccine movement.

    Like

  22. December 14, 2014 at 9:43 pm

    So sorry for your loss. My kids and I get our flu shots. I’m sharing this on Facebook to advocate on behalf of your cause.

    Like

  23. December 15, 2014 at 12:46 am

    So sorry. I can’t even imagine the pain. My kids were never immunized against the flu- it was never even offered as an option (I get them all- just got my boys the HPV vaccine.)

    It is so thoughtful of you to take this h Heartbreak and use it to help other parents- you’re so right. We don’t take the flu seriously. Hugs and prayers.

    Like

  24. HeatherVee
    December 15, 2014 at 11:22 am

    I’m so sorry for yor loss. Thanks for sharing your story.

    Like

  25. jgc56
    December 15, 2014 at 11:50 am

    “Even if the anti-vaccine-ers are wrong, they are not bad people.”

    That’s far too blanket a statement, I’m afraid. Many may not be, buut among the most visible anti-vax proponents some are in fact bad people who willfully and repeitively make proven false statements (e.g., that a Biritish court exhonerated Andrew Wakefield, that the NVICP has compensated people for developing autism as a result of vaccination, that no safety studies have ever been done which compare vaccinated to unvaccinated populations, that exposure to thimerosal or aluminum or whatever scary vaccine ingredient is the flavor of the month at levels of exposure acheivable by routine vaccination has been proven to be harmful, etc.) despite having been provided hard evidence demonstrating their claims are false–and for no other purpose than convinincing others to eschew vaccination and leave their children (and others, who for valid medical reasons are not sutiable candidates for immunization) at increased risk of infectious disease..

    Like

  26. Smith Stevenson
    December 15, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    Oh yes, aluminum is wonderful and it is good for you. They should add more into vaccine’s. Those anti-vax cranks don’t know what they are talking about when it comes to aluminum. http://journal.frontiersin.org/Journal/10.3389/fneur.2014.00212/full

    Like

  27. jgc56
    December 15, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    Actually you’re correct, Smith Stevenson: they don’t.

    Certainly the article you linked too provides no evidence that at levels of exposure achievable by routine vaccination aluminum adjuvants are harmful or is causally associated with Alzheimer’s disease (the topic of the article you linked to). As always it’s important to remember the fundamental principle of toxicology: the dose makes the poison.

    To put things in perspective, over the first 6 months of life an infant could be exposed to a maximum of 2.5 mg of aluminum as the result of routine immunizations. During those same 6 months it would be exposed to 10 mgs of aluminum if it were breast feeding. If receiving formula instead we’re talking an exposure of about a 40 mgs of aluminum, and as much as 120 mgs if it’s receiving a soy-based formula.

    Of course, if you can provide actual evidence that at levels of exposure achievable by routine vaccination aluminum is harmful I’ll revise my position.

    So–got any?

    Like

  28. Smith Stevenson
    December 15, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    “the dose makes the poison.”
    Ridiculous, every person is different, and some are sensitive and shouldn’t have any as they cannot deplete toxins, where is your threshold? I bet you don’t even know.
    So I guess a small amount of rat poison won’t hurt you either – correct?

    Like

  29. jgc56
    December 15, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    “Ridiculous, every person is different, and some are sensitive and shouldn’t have any as they cannot deplete toxins, where is your threshold?”

    Well below the exposure level achievable by routine vaccination–the LD50 in rats is 2 grams per kilogram, after all, and antacids like extra strength Gaviscon (which I’ve taken in the past) provide exposures of 160 mgs or more aluminum hydroxide (that’s 64 times the maximum exposure an infant could receive in their first six months of life).

    As for ‘cannot deplete toxins’, are these ‘sensitive individuals’ born without livers, kidneys, etc?

    “So I guess a small amount of rat poison won’t hurt you either – correct?”

    Correct! Sufficiently low doses of rat poison are not toxic.

    Consider warfarin, an anticoagulant introduced in 1948 as a pesticide against rats and mice and subsequently approved in 1954–at appropriate lower dose–for medicinal use in humans, for the treatment of atrial fibrillation, deep venous thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, and to prevent clot formation following the implantaion of artiifical heart valves in humans.

    BTW, I note you still haven’t provided any evidence that at levels of exposure acheivable by routine vaccination aluminum is harmful or causally associated with alzheimer’s disease.

    Like

  30. Lawrence
    December 15, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    @JGC – I also sense an extreme lack of understanding from SS regarding basic chemistry…like not knowing that Al (elemental aluminum) and the aluminum salts used in vaccines are two completely different things.

    I also find it reprehensible for him to post this drivel on a topic related to the flu-related death of a child.

    Like

  31. jgc56
    December 15, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    BTW, Smith, with respect to Exley’s suggestion that aluminum epxosure and alzheimers are causally associated i suggest you consider the following publications

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12222737
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12222737
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1757634/
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2078415/

    none of which find evidence supporting a causal association.

    Like

  32. Smith Stevenson
    December 15, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    Lawrence, you should be upset with your buddy jgc56 since he/she is the one who brought up aluminum in the first place. I believe it is you who has the complete lack of understanding.

    Feel free to take your rat poison every day since it won’t hurt you.

    Like

  33. Smith Stevenson
    December 15, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    Talk about a lack of understanding, you presume to say that if a person has a kidney and a liver that they detox properly? You really don’t know anything about the human body.

    Like

  34. Lawrence
    December 15, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    @SS – please go away & take your anti-vax lies, misrepresentations and misinterpretations elsewhere…..

    To the family of Emily, my sincerest condolences of your loss.

    Like

  35. Smith Stevenson
    December 15, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    “Consider warfarin, an anticoagulant introduced in 1948 as a pesticide against rats and mice and subsequently approved in 1954–at appropriate lower dose–for medicinal use in humans, for the treatment of atrial fibrillation, deep venous thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, and to prevent clot formation following the implantaion of artiifical heart valves in humans.”

    This proves that it is safe? Not.

    Like

  36. Smith Stevenson
    December 15, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    Again, what does this prove?

    “Well below the exposure level achievable by routine vaccination–the LD50 in rats is 2 grams per kilogram, after all, and antacids like extra strength Gaviscon (which I’ve taken in the past) provide exposures of 160 mgs or more aluminum hydroxide (that’s 64 times the maximum exposure an infant could receive in their first six months of life).”

    Nothing.

    Like

  37. Smith Stevenson
    December 15, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    Lawrence, so I guess you didn’t contribute to the conversation.

    You didn’t say, “@JGC – I also sense an extreme lack of understanding from SS regarding basic chemistry…like not knowing that Al (elemental aluminum) and the aluminum salts used in vaccines are two completely different things.”

    Like

  38. Lawrence
    December 15, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    @SS – just go away:

    There you go.

    Like

  39. December 15, 2014 at 7:13 pm
  40. Smith Stevenson
    December 15, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    Again, I just love the logic of the pro-vaxer.

    This from your Face Book Article.

    “You can control the amount of aluminium you consume or use in skin products to some extent, but it is everywhere in the environment – the air, soil and water – and is largely unavoidable. http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxguides/toxguide-22.pdf
    So, avoiding vaccines is really going to do diddly squat towards avoiding aluminium exposure.”

    Really? Since aluminum is everywhere and unavoidable you should go ahead and take in vaccine’s because you are hosed anyway?

    Like

  41. December 15, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    @SS – you really are that dense, aren’t you?

    Like

  42. Smith Stevenson
    December 15, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    The study is just as bad…

    “The risk to infants posed by the total aluminum exposure received from the entire recommended series of childhood vaccines over the first year of life is extremely low, according to a study by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
    This study is important because it provides additional scientific information confirming that the benefits of aluminum-containing vaccines administered during the first year of life outweigh any theoretical concerns about the potential effect of aluminum on infants.”

    So they looked at the first year, how about the 2nd year, 3rd year, over many, many years?

    This is a good line as well, “the benefits of aluminum-containing vaccines administered during the first year of life outweigh any theoretical concerns about the potential effect of aluminum on infants.”

    The benefits outweigh the theoretical concerns? Good to know,

    Like

  43. Smith Stevenson
    December 15, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    Calling names now? Ouch that hurts.

    Like

  44. jgc56
    December 15, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    ‘This proves that it is safe?”

    It proves that toxicity is a function of dosage–that was the claim you asked me to support, if you’ll recall.

    Sirect challenge,SS:provide credible evidence demonstrating that, at levels of exposure achievable by routine vaccination, aluminum adjuvants are toxic or otherwise harmful.

    Like

  45. Lawrence
    December 15, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    @SS – so you don’t understand basic chemistry & you don’t know the meaning of the term “theoretical” either…..you’re batting one thousand, it seems….

    Like

  46. Smith Stevenson
    December 15, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    ‘jgc56,

    “This proves that it is safe?”

    “It proves that toxicity is a function of dosage–that was the claim you asked me to support, if you’ll recall.”

    So your answer is no, it doesn’t prove it is safe? And as I also said, dosage for one may not be toxic and for another it well may be. Where’s your threshold? One, two, three portions of rat poison a day? 100? When does the rat poison become toxic to you specifically jgc56?

    Like

  47. Smith Stevenson
    December 15, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    lawrence, you are killing me, please stop it, it hurts. Ouch.

    Like

  48. Smith Stevenson
    December 15, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    Direct challenge,jgc56 :provide credible evidence demonstrating that, at levels of exposure achievable by routine vaccination, aluminum adjuvants are NOT toxic to me.

    Like

  49. Larry, pediatrician
    December 15, 2014 at 8:26 pm

    Having spent 50 years practicing pediatrics, starting when there were far fewer immunizations than today and far more serious and fatal infections, I am convinced that we help children much more by immunizing them than we do with most everything else we do. I have seen terrible diseases disappear in my career, and I have seen children terribly damaged by vaccine-preventable infections. My impressions are backed up by solid evidence and by skilled and honorable organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics. The Lastingers are motivated by a terrible loss to spread a crucial message for the sake of others. I do not know about their faith, but mine tells me that some day we will be united with those who have left us, including precious Emily

    Like

  50. jgc56
    December 15, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    “provide credible evidence demonstrating that, at levels of exposure achievable by routine vaccination, aluminum adjuvants are NOT toxic to me.”

    Start with Goldenthal KL, Cavagnaro JA, Alving C, Vogel FR. “Safety Evaluation of Vaccine Adjuvants. NCVDG Working Groups. AIDS Res. Human Retroviruses 1993”,then see the article found at http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/ScienceResearch/ucm284520.htm

    For additional information/detail see the following in Pubmed:

    PMID’s 23335921, 22001122, 7551219, 15479435

    Like

  51. jgc56
    December 15, 2014 at 10:18 pm

    “And as I also said, dosage for one may not be toxic and for another it well may be.”

    You’ve said this, yet, but have offered absolutely no evidence that individual vary sufficiently in their tolerance to aluminum adjuvants that exposure to levels acheivable by routine vaccination are a problem.

    I suggest we continue the conversation at such time as you can provide actual evidence in support of your position. After all, until such a time your entire argument reduces to nothing more than “Ooooh–aluminum! Scary stuff!”

    Like

  52. novalox
    December 16, 2014 at 3:47 am

    @smith stevenson

    [citation needed] for your assertions within 3 post, or we can assume that you are lying and admit that vaccines are safe and effective to use against the flu.

    Also, your postings here are certainly proof that you are very heartless against a family who has lost a daughter to the flu. Your lack of empathy is noted.

    Like

  53. December 16, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss and I thank you for your hard work in trying to combat the flu. I, like you before your daughter had passed, seldom think of the flu as a thing to be scared of. My mind has been changed.

    Like

  54. reissd
    December 18, 2014 at 1:59 am

    What a tragic, sad story. My heart goes to these families, who lost their children to flu. Thank you for working to raise awareness – let’s hope more people act to protect their children against this dangerous disease.

    Like

  55. Isilzha
    December 18, 2014 at 2:15 am

    @Smith Stevenson Actually, plenty of people take “rat poison” every day to keep them alive. It’s an anticoagulant. Of course, it’s dose that makes the poison. When used to treat various conditions a patient has to undergo many blood tests to measure the level of medication.

    Like

  56. Sullivanthepoop
    December 18, 2014 at 9:38 am

    We are not talking about elemental aluminum. We are talking about aluminum salts. Salts are easily cleared by all mammals.

    Like

  57. Emily
    December 18, 2014 at 10:53 am

    Holy fear mongering. Stop this shit.

    Like

  58. Lawrence
    December 18, 2014 at 10:59 am

    @Emily – how inappropriate for you to make that comment. You sound as if you don’t believe that this child died of the flu….

    Like

  59. December 18, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    I am sorry for your loss. It’s odd how our view of the flu is changing. When vaccinations started, for years it was only older people and medical professionals who got them. Then middle aged people. Then kids. I’ve never known anyone to have died from the flu, though a neighbor’s child died of pneumonia back in the ’60s and a classmate died of Reyes’ Syndrome following bronchitis in the ’70s. More recently, a middle-aged friend nearly died from H1N1 and spent nearly 6 weeks in the hospital, but he did achieve a full recovery. Back in the ’80s and ’90s, it never would have occurred to either of us to have had our daughter vaccinated against the flu. We all had the flu from time to time, spent a few days in bed, and got over it. But, times are changing – could the flu be changing too? Causing more fatalities among children?

    Like

  60. Lawrence
    December 18, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    @laurie – here is a good site for your review:

    http://www.flu.gov/pandemic/about/

    True “Pandemic” Flu happens very infrequently (different than seasonal flu, which is a variation of existing virus strains) – with the 1918 Pandemic being the worst that we’ve seen in modern times, but there have been other Pandemic viruses that caused quite a bit of damage and deaths – we don’t really have a sense though, because of the infrequent nature.

    Looking at SARS & Avian Flu, there is a real potential for a serious Pandemic in the future – as these diseases continue to cross-over from other species to ours, it creates a perfect storm of new disease, no immunity, high transmission rates, and high mortality, which, quite frankly, scares the heck out of me.

    One big problem we have, is people moving into areas & interacting with species that rarely had human contact in the past. These diseases and viruses have always been around, but we are now exposing them to large numbers of people in a relatively short period of time. The opportunity for real spillover and serious consequences goes up every year – it will only be a matter of time before sometime really bad rears its ugly head.

    Most people don’t realize that AIDS has been around in human populations since about the 1930s – but that it didn’t really begin to spread until it reached larger population centers both in and outside of Africa – and that it has killed more than 40 million people worldwide….now imagine something as deadly as AIDS / HIV, but that is airborne…..that’s what the next Flu Pandemic could look like – and it could already be worming its way into humans as we speak.

    Like

  61. December 18, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    I am so very sorry for your loss, thankful for your efforts and sorry for any hurtful ignorance you are on the receiving end. You are surely saving lives.

    Like

  62. December 19, 2014 at 12:40 am

    My children tested positive for Influeza A and B and the Dr acted as if they had a cold…SMH

    Like

  63. Linda Turkovich
    December 19, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    “We are not talking about elemental aluminum. We are talking about aluminum salts. Salts are easily cleared by all mammals.”

    It’s not a one size fits all. You can’t make that claim. Every human being is different. Do you know that patients with Alzheimer’s have been found to have 20-30% more aluminum in the their brains after death?

    Vaccines present a particularly problematic source of toxic metal exposure. Aluminum is the most commonly used vaccine adjuvant and is considered “safe” even though research shows it may induce serious immunological disorders and neurological complications in humans.

    Like

  64. Chris
    December 19, 2014 at 9:48 pm

    Ms. Turkovich: “Do you know that patients with Alzheimer’s have been found to have 20-30% more aluminum in the their brains after death?”

    “even though research shows it may induce serious immunological disorders and neurological complications in humans.”

    Please provide the PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers to support those two statements. Do not include anything by either Tomljenovic or Shaw.

    Like

  65. Lawrence
    December 20, 2014 at 8:11 am

    @Linda – “aluminum” is not the most common vaccine adjuvant…..aluminum salts, on the other hand, are used extensively….see the difference?

    Like

  66. December 20, 2014 at 9:18 pm

    All of you people out there who are against vaccines I do understand your fear; I lived through the polio scare in the 50s and 60s, went to school with people who were handicapped by this horrible disease. My own brother wound up with brain damage from Rubella. Now whooping cough has made a come back and why, because people are not getting vaccinations and unvaccinated people are bringing it in from elsewhere. Mumps are on the uptick for the same reason. Many more people have died from these diseases than those from the vaccinations. I don’t mean to be heartless at all, it is horrible to lose a child or a loved one; It might be your choice not to get them, but you do not have the right to put other people at risk because of your not vaccinating. you put all of your family at risk and anyone who comes into contact with you, 100s of people.

    Like

  67. jgc56
    December 21, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    “Do you know that patients with Alzheimer’s have been found to have 20-30% more aluminum in the their brains after death?”

    Why, no: I don’t know this–and I can’t know this until you provide sufficient credible evidence that this is actually the case.

    On the other hand, I am aware that the current scientific consensus is that aluminum exposure is not causally associated with, nor increase ones risk of developing, Alzheimer’s disease. Instead, “Very low levels of many metals are present in the brain. Aluminium is a toxic metal that is common in our everyday environment. Small amounts of it are found in water and food. Although initial studies linked aluminium toxicity with Alzheimer’s disease, the link has not been proven despite continuing investigation. Importantly, there is no evidence to suggest that aluminium exposure increases your risk of dementia.” (http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/documents_info.php?documentID=102)

    Like

  68. jgc56
    December 22, 2014 at 8:32 am

    Linda, did you know that the apparent increased leves of aluminum found in the brains of some alzheimer’s victims on autopsy appears to be artifact caused by the staining procdures used to prepare the brauns for examination, and that when methids that do not rely on staining to detect aluminum in the nerurofibrillary plaques are used none is detected?Alzheimer’s researchers have known this since 1992 (PMID:1436075)–it’s one of the reasons why the current consensus is that aluminum exposure is not casually associated with increased risk of developing alzheimers.

    Like

  69. Tootsie
    December 22, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    Vickie Jenner:

    You don’t understand our fear? I have a vaccine injured daughter. Does that explain the fear?

    “Now whooping cough has made a comeback and why, because people are not getting vaccinations and unvaccinated people are bringing it in from elsewhere.”

    Unfortunately, the whooping cough come back you are talking about it happening with kids that HAVE been vaccinated, so how can you blame those that are not?

    Like

  70. Chris
    December 22, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    Tootsie: “You don’t understand our fear? I have a vaccine injured daughter. Does that explain the fear?”

    How did your claim with the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program go?

    My oldest was injured by an actual disease, but there is no National Disease Injury Compensation Program.

    “Unfortunately, the whooping cough come back you are talking about it happening with kids that HAVE been vaccinated,”

    Except the percentages of pertussis among the group that is not vaccinated is higher, see:

    Pediatrics. 2009 Jun;123(6):1446-51.
    Parental refusal of pertussis vaccination is associated with an increased risk of pertussis infection in children.

    Am J Epidemiol. 2008 Dec 15;168(12):1389-96. Epub 2008 Oct 15.
    Geographic clustering of nonmedical exemptions to school immunization requirements and associations with geographic clustering of pertussis.

    Some community immunity arithmetic:

    Take 1000 people (ignoring the infants under 2 months who cannot be vaccinated, or babies under a year who can only be partially vaccinated), if 5% refuse vaccines then the numbers are:

    950 vaccinated persons (assuming full schedule)
    50 unvaccinated persons

    The pertussis vaccine is actually only 80% effective at worse, so the numbers are:

    760 protected persons
    190 vaccinated but vulnerable persons
    50 unvaccinated persons

    There is an outbreak and it gets spread to 20% of the population, then:

    760 protected persons without pertussis

    38 vaccinated persons get pertussis
    152 vaccinated person who may still get pertussis

    10 unvaccinated persons get pertussis
    40 unvaccinated persons who may still get pertussis.

    This is how more vaccinated persons get the disease than unvaccinated. Even if the infection rate was at 100%, there would still be more of the vaccinated getting the diseases because there are more of them!

    Like

  71. Tootsie
    December 22, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    That is very lovely math Chris, but here is the fact…..

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/whooping-cough-outbreak-in-montgomery-includes-students-at-seven-public-schools/2014/09/07/adb5c87c-34fb-11e4-9e92-0899b306bbea_story.html

    Every one of those kids were vaccinated.

    So please explain again how the non-vaccinated are to blame?

    Like

  72. Chris
    December 22, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    Newspaper reports are not PubMed indexed studies like I posted. And it was a small outbreak, possibly because the kids did not get the new booster, and because it is not verified data. Also, the only place that claimed all the kids were vaccinated was a camp, not any of the schools.

    Go read the papers I listed.

    Tootsie, how did your NVICP claim go?

    Like

  73. Tootsie
    December 22, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    So please explain again how the non-vaccinated are to blame?

    Like

  74. Tootsie
    December 22, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    In case you have forgotten Chris, here’s what I stated, “Unfortunately, the whooping cough come back you are talking about it happening with kids that HAVE been vaccinated, so how can you blame those that are not?”

    And you disagree with this statement how?

    Like

  75. Tootsie
    December 22, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    Oh, I see you are disputing the facts of the news paper article. So you are saying that not all of the kids were vaccinated? Please provide proof of your claim.

    Like

  76. Chris
    December 22, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    “So you are saying that not all of the kids were vaccinated?”

    How would I know, the data for the schools was not included. Also kids do not just live at camps and schools 24/7, they get to mingle with others in their community. Basically it is insufficient data. Though they did say some may not have had their 7th grade Tdap boosters:

    “The sooner we get on top of these, the better we can limit the spread,” said Ulder Tillman, Montgomery County’s health officer, who urged parents of students starting seventh grade to make sure they have received a Tdap booster, which includes a vaccination against whooping cough. Maryland now requires the booster for all children in public and private schools.

    I can’t say “who is to blame” unless the index case was identified. This is why news stories are not citations. Now if you could drag up the report from that area’s epidemiologist, then we might have some actual data.

    So how did your claim with the NVICP go? And if you have something against the DTaP and Tdap vaccines, how would you propose to prevent pertussis outbreaks in the future. Provide the documentation that you plan has worked in the past.

    Like

  77. Tootsie
    December 22, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    So everything I said was absolutely correct – thank you!

    Like

  78. Tootsie
    December 22, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    Any claims that my family has made is none of your business. But thanks for asking.

    Like

  79. Chris
    December 22, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    “So everything I said was absolutely correct – thank you!”

    Though you do need to fill in the missing data, and provide the report from a public health epidemiologist.. Some quick questions:

    Did every single child in that camp get pertussis? And if not, why?

    Did every single child in the affected schools get pertussis? And if not, why?

    So, you did not file an NVICP claim, or if you did you lost. You see, I can play with missing data too.

    Like

  80. Tootsie
    December 22, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    No I don’t. Why don’t you go back and read what I stated again.

    “Unfortunately, the whooping cough come back you are talking about it happening with kids that HAVE been vaccinated, so how can you blame those that are not?

    None of your extra “data” questions have anything to do with my statement.

    I’m still waiting for you to tell me how you blame the non-vaccinated kids for this outbreak?

    Like

  81. Lawrence
    December 22, 2014 at 7:18 pm

    @Tootsie – please take your drivel elsewhere….this post is about a girl who died of a Vaccine-Preventable disease.

    Go away you Monster.

    Like

  82. Chris
    December 22, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    “I’m still waiting for you to tell me how you blame the non-vaccinated kids for this outbreak?”

    Because you started out with that, and no where did I blame a non-vaccinated child for this outbreak. You are just projecting that on to everyone who posted on this thread before you. We cannot answer that question because we simply do not have the required data, and it was not in the news report.

    Plus I do not believe anyone blamed the non-vaxed in that outbreak because we frankly did not know about it until you posted. It was a “gotcha” question, and all you are doing is trying to people to say something without any actual data. Again the newspaper article did not give the required data.

    Actually, in the larger community the rising of cases is due to lower vaccination rates. This has been shown by these two papers:
    Parental refusal of pertussis vaccination is associated with an increased risk of pertussis infection in children
    and
    Impact of anti-vaccine movements on pertussis control: the untold story

    Also, you made a claim that your child was injured by a vaccine, so it is reasonable to ask how your NVICP claim went. And it is also reasonable to ask you what verifiable citations from reputable researchers show that vaccines are more dangerous than the diseases.

    What is not reasonable is you presuming we are blaming an unvaccinated child for an outbreak we did not know about.

    Like

  83. Tootsie
    December 22, 2014 at 7:24 pm

    I was replying to a post by Vickie Jenner.
    Monster? I have a vaccine injured daughter and I am a Monster?
    You are the one proving to be a Monster.

    Like

  84. Chris
    December 22, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    She made no comment about that particular outbreak. She was going on the data that has been published, and which I linked to in my last comment. Try giving them a read.

    Like

  85. Tootsie
    December 22, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    chris:

    “Because you started out with that, and no where did I blame a non-vaccinated child for this outbreak. You are just projecting that on to everyone who posted on this thread before you. We cannot answer that question because we simply do not have the required data, and it was not in the news report.”

    My statement had two parts, one stating why I have fear, and two, that you can’t blame the non-vaccinated for the break out.

    Then you came along with very strong words about my post. Now you deny doing any of it?

    My claim about my injured daughter was answering Vickie’s question about why we have fear. That doesn’t mean you need to know any of our personal business. I was asked why I had fear, and I answered it, very simple. Why you think I would give you ( a hater of children) any personal info about my child is really quite astonishing.

    Like

  86. Tootsie
    December 22, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    Chris:

    You are talking our of both sides of your mouth.

    Like

  87. Chris
    December 22, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    “I have a vaccine injured daughter”

    Prove it.

    Like

  88. Tootsie
    December 22, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    Prove you have an injured child!

    Like

  89. Tootsie
    December 22, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    That is why I have fear? Can you think of a better reason???!!!!!!!!!!
    Wake up! Kids are injured by vaccines. You are the MONSTER!!!!!!

    Like

  90. Lawrence
    December 22, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    @Tootsie – stop acting like a child & go home. If you have a daughter as you say, perhaps you should be spending some more time with her.

    I know Emily’s parent would have loved just one more day with their daughter – while yours is still alive.

    Like

  91. Tootsie
    December 22, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    Mine is still alive, oh thank you lawrence. Yeah life is just great for her. You MONSTER!

    Like

  92. Lawrence
    December 22, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    @Tootsie – and I’m sure she loves to you….wow, it amazes me to the depth that these people will demonize their own children, especially in a thread about a child who is no longer with us…..and that her parents would have preferred any other outcome than the one they got.

    You do realize how horrible you look, right Tootsie? Perhaps you should go give your daughter a hug and end your little tirade this evening.

    Emily’s parents would love to give her a hug too – but they can’t.

    Like

  93. Chris
    December 22, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    “Prove you have an injured child!”

    Actually, I do. As do these families:
    Vaccine Preventable Disease – The Forgotten Story

    But the point is that using your one unverifiable anecdote is no substitute for the actual data. The evidence shows that the vaccines are safer than the diseases. As for the subject of this article, influenza has killed eleven children already during this flu season, and there are many more months to go.

    So if you have some actual PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers that show any vaccine on the present American pediatric schedule causes more harm than the actual disease, please share.

    Like

  94. Gray Falcon
    December 22, 2014 at 9:51 pm

    Tootsie, are you aware that people besides yourself have emotions?

    Like

  95. Ron Lechelt
    December 23, 2014 at 12:29 am

    It is hard for me to imagine that this site has degenerated into such a hateful display of people withtheir own agendas trying to put one another down. This certainly does not express any of what should be a loving time of the year as we celebrate Christmas and the love we talk about expressing to one another. Why don’t all of us call a truce and try to understand what we all can do to help protect and love ours and others children. Ron

    Like

  96. Chris
    December 23, 2014 at 12:46 am

    Thank you, Mr. Lechelt. Let us remember the children and how to protect them from diseases. Our local children’s hospital is having a blood drive on Christmas Eve, hubby and I will try to get there to contribute.

    You can also contribute to those who wish to protect children like this:
    http://shop.unicef.org.uk/Shop/Inspired-Gifts.html

    Like

  97. Lindsay
    December 24, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    Thank you, Ron, I agree. It would be good for everyone to work on how to protect children from dangerous and common diseases (meaning not the ones that all children used to get) and also protect them from vaccine damage.

    Like

  98. Chris
    December 25, 2014 at 12:19 am

    Lindsay: “dangerous and common diseases (meaning not the ones that all children used to get)”

    And what are those? Explain how they are more dangerous than influenza, with verifiable documentation.

    “protect them from vaccine damage.”

    Please provide the PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers that any influenza vaccine presently approved for use on children in the USA cause more harm than the disease. A disease that this season has already killed eleven children.

    Like

  99. lilady
    December 27, 2014 at 3:27 am

    Please. Just stop posting your insensitive, cruel comments about your children’s “vaccine injuries” (real or imagined) on this thread, which is about the death of young Emily from influenza and how her parents honor her short life with their advocacy activities.

    Sadly, 4 additional confirmed pediatric deaths caused by seasonal influenza viruses, have been reported by the CDC, for a total of 11 pediatric deaths through December 13, 2014:

    http://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/

    Thank you again Mr. and Mrs. Lastinger for your advocacy on behalf of all children.

    Like

  100. December 28, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    Wow, the antivaxxers decide that this is an appropriate arena for them to spread their misinformation and anecdotal tales about how much “damage” vaccines cause, and as usual, fail to provide anything to support those claims, despite the pushback from people who have science and reality on their side. If you think vaccines are bad news, then go back to the conspiracy sites to whine about them instead of intruding on one family’s grief. Your actions here are vile, to say the least.

    Like

  101. David James
    December 29, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    Edie, I am sure you are for GMO’s too!

    Like

  102. Wendy
    December 29, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    My heart breaks for this family and the death of their beautiful daughter, Emily.
    I do believe in vaccinations, however, as parents, we have to be aware of our family history….our Emily had a severe reaction to her first pertussis vaccine, and we were advised by a highly regarded specialist, and other doctors that she not be given that vaccine ever again.she has had no problems with the other vaccines, now works in health care and gets the flu shot yearly. However, three of my nephews(from two different sisters) also had severe reactions after their first vaccines…. One of whom has been left with complications.
    Again, I am not saying not to vaccinate your children, just be aware that genetics may play a part in reactions to these needles, and inform your health care providers with any family history that appears to be relevant, and watch your children carefully. My other two children have had the pertussis vaccine and were ok. However, Emily will have to make her decision very carefully when she has children. And it may be best for her children to receive all vaccines except for the whooping cough….. There are many ways to protect a child who has not had this vaccine, if they are unable to have it. Yes, there is some risk, but in her case the risk for severe brain/neurological damage outweighed the risk of whooping cough.

    God bless this family for the work they are doing, knowledge is power, and the more informed. We are as parents, the more we can protect our children. Just try not to be so hard on those whom have had to make the difficult decision on wether to give certain vaccines or not, it may be rare, but sometimes bad things can still happen. God bless each of you, and guide you as you raise your children through all the challenges life brings.

    Like

  103. Chris
    December 29, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    Wendy: “.our Emily had a severe reaction to her first pertussis vaccine, and we were advised by a highly regarded specialist, and other doctors that she not be given that vaccine ever again.”

    Thank you for your very thoughtful comment. We were also advised to not give our son the DTP but just the DT because he had a history of neonatal seizures (before he was given any vaccine). Which was tough because our county was having a pertussis outbreak.

    “There are many ways to protect a child who has not had this vaccine, if they are unable to have it.”

    I made sure all of the children he came into contact with were fully vaccinated.

    He finally got a pertussis vaccine with the Tdap when he was in high school. And, of course, the DTaP has replaced the DTP, so that may be an alternative.

    Like

  104. lilady
    December 30, 2014 at 12:01 am

    Wendy, I am unaware of any vaccine which is contraindicated because another member of the family had a bad reaction to that vaccine/or another type of vaccine.

    I suppose some parents who have seen a reaction following a vaccination in one of their children might have some concerns, but there simply are no connections. Your child’s physician is the best resource for you if you have these concerns.

    Like

  105. Wendy
    December 30, 2014 at 9:54 am

    @lilady, not everything is written in stone or recorded, nor can we predict what will happens when one puts anything in their mouth or body. What is safe for some, is not for others. I’m not trying to sway anybody’s opinion, but just shared my own “story”, We were very fortunate, our Emily lived and did not suffer any permenant damage, two of my other nephews were also fortunate, one was not.
    A Tylenol or aspirin can have devastating consequences, yet millions of people use them safely every day.
    You may “suppose”all you want, I know what happened in our family, and we have a history of neurological disorders which only came to light after these events…so some drugs can have serious consequences for our family…. I was one of them…. After being given a certain drug in the hospital I had a series of strokes that required four years of speech therapy to be able to talk, had to relearn to do everything for daily living, and have been left with cognitive problems,short term memory difficulty,and other problems I live with daily….. I am the one in 300,000+ that the drug can affect this way. Not looking for any sympathy, I have a wonderful life…. My only point in writing the first post was to say that vaccines are extremely important, I think the work this family is doing to educate parents is very important,and to relive the death of their Emily to help others become aware is wonderful.
    However, we all need to be aware that things can go wrong, even when we do the “right”things as parents.
    Again, know your child, your family history and go to the doctor or doctors as many times as you have to ,if you suspect something isn’t right with your child.

    Like

  106. Corey
    December 31, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    lilady, one can have genetic testing done to reveal susceptibility, often times family members do have the same genetic make-up in the same areas. The MTHRFR mutation is a perfect example.

    Like

  107. Chris
    December 31, 2014 at 9:28 pm

    Corey: “lilady, one can have genetic testing done to reveal susceptibility,”

    Citation needed. Please provide the study that shows they can reveal this susceptibility to vaccine reactions, that is not related to Dravat Syndrome.

    Actually, when Wendy’s daughter has children she will be an adult and make that decision herself. Hopefully while consulting with her children’s physician.

    By the way, this article is about the influenza, a disease that this season has now killed at least fifteen children. Think about it: fifteen more sad stories like Emily. Fifteen more families going through a very horrible type of grief. How many more will there be at the end of this flu season?

    Like

  108. Lawrence
    December 31, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    @Chris – even one is too many….

    Like

  109. Chris
    December 31, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    Lawrence, so true.

    Like

  110. Shelby
    December 31, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss. My boys & I get vaccinated every year. Both of my boys suffer from seasonal allergies & my youngest who is 5, has bronchial asthma. When he gets sick, he gets really sick and his immune system is susceptible to anything. I do everything in my power to keep them healthy. My you find peace in the work you do for your Emily. Thank you for sharing.

    Like

  111. January 2, 2015 at 7:43 am

    Shelby – has it occurred to you that vaccinations are the most likely cause of your boys’ allergies and your boy’s bronchial asthma? Vaccines don’t prevent, but promote ill-health which is what they are designed, promoted and administered for.

    Like

  112. Lawrence
    January 2, 2015 at 8:05 am

    @Erwin – actually no, since there is no scientific evidence to show any link between asthma and vaccines, other than vaccines help prevent illnesses that can cause serious problems for asthmatics.

    Like

  113. Meg
    January 2, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    Tootsie- vaccines such as whooping cough “take” for most people, but they don’t work on everyone. Because it works for most people, the more people who have the vaccination the more protected the group is because there are fewer sick people in the group to pass on the illness. It’s called “herd immunity.” Babies die every year from whooping cough, but I haven’t seen any evidence that babies have died from the vaccine. Until people can provide actual evidence that their children were vaccine injured, I am going to go with the side that can prove that vaccines work for most people, most of the time.

    Like

  114. Lawrence
    January 2, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    @meg – ditto.

    Like

  115. Sara
    January 2, 2015 at 7:05 pm

    Mr. & Mrs. Lastinger, I can’t express how sorry I am for the loss of your precious Emily. I can’t applaud you both enough for your commitment to flu prevention and using your tragedy as a way to teach others. You are truly inspiring. My whole family gets the flu vaccine every year. I even get them while pregnant. My own two boys have autism and it bothers me when people claim that vaccinations cause this disorder. Your story not only breaks my hear but reminds me why I vaccinated in the first place and why I will continue to have my children vaccinated from the flu every year. Thank you and God Bless your whole family.

    Like

  116. PPen
    January 2, 2015 at 11:52 pm

    I am always more irritated than informed when I read strings of bickering posts like these. I would like to comment though.

    First, I would like to say that I could not fathom the amount of pain suffered by this family and many others that have lost a child to any tragedy and I hope that I never have to feel that level of pain and grief.

    Second, this family, like so many others, are trying to create a forum where information is shared, discussed and put out there to the general public so that with more information available, people can make informed decisions. This message focuses on a death related to influenza and how it affected this family; while sharing information they have found beneficial in their quest to prevent this from happening to another child or family. Nothing else.

    Awareness of any situation that can lead to a tragic or unexpected outcome is one of the best ways to affect change. That being said, every illness and every treatment has risks, benefits, and the unknown or unexpected outcome associated with them. To honor this family’s effort to increase awareness in the face of their own personal tragedy, I feel that a less heated discussion of the pros and cons (based on facts and not only personal experiences or beliefs) would best serve the public at large and allow credible information to be presented and accepted for either those for or against vaccination(s) for influenza. Remember that is what this family is trying to do here by sharing their story-prevent a tragedy for another family.

    As far as I know, there is still an Amendment in this country that allows an individual the right to free speech; unfortunately, some people use that right to spout off rhetoric, and cause division and strife rather than promote a healthy discussion or debate.
    Name calling, bickering and “high-jacking” a discussion to force a personal belief onto another makes it really difficult for me to accept that the information being presenting as legitimate or even helpful (and it could be, but my perception is already negatively colored by the nature of the presentation).

    By the way, I am a medical professional as is my oldest sister; she and I have opposite beliefs when it comes to the vaccination debate. Both of us have made informed decisions either for or against vaccinations and all of our children have grown to be healthy young adults. Were some of our kids negatively affected by a reaction to a vaccination, possibly but never proven as such. Could other people have been negatively affected by the sick children that were not vaccinated had they become ill with a disease that they could have been vaccinated for, possibly, but luckily none of them contracted any of those illnesses.

    My point? Decisions are best made when people are informed by receiving positive and negative (pros/cons, for/against,etc.) information about any situation, medication, treatment or illness.

    Play nice in the sandbox…it’s something we all should have learned as children.

    Like

  117. Kristin
    January 3, 2015 at 10:21 am

    Thank you PPen, my sentiments, exactly! As a thought about Pertusis, there has also been some new realizations that the vaccine isn’t necessarily as long lasting as originally believed. As a result, the CDC has been studying it’s effectiveness. I was re-vaccinated in my last pregnancy to ensure that I and the baby had antibodies to protect us. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/adults/rec-vac/pregnant/whooping-cough/vacc-effectiveness.html To the Author, my condolences to you on the loss of your sweet daughter.

    Like

  118. Amy in Georgia
    January 3, 2015 at 11:33 am

    Thanks to this family for sharing their story. I will share my own. Last winter my 12 year old son was sent home from school because he was coughing and the teacher suspected whooping cough. Cheers to the school for watching this carefully. I was surprised – his vaccines were up to date. We went to the doctor who said “let’s test him but I am confident he doesn’t have whooping cough.” I questioned the confidence. He said “the kids who are vaccinated but getting whopping cough are overdue for their update or nearly due. Your son has already received his update. He doesn’t have it.” The doctor was right. It was just a very bad cough. With this experience I read the article Tootsie provided in the Washington Post as evidence that kids who were vaccinated still get it . The article said “Montgomery health officials confirmed last week that all of the campers who developed whooping cough were vaccinated against it. That they fell ill anyway is likely a reflection of the WANING OF PROTECTIONS from previous immunizations, which means students in school with those who were infected could still be at risk.” Since “waning” is one of those word we rarely hear, I’ll remind you that is means gradually decreasing. So this is just what my doctor told me.

    The message I got from him is keep current on whooping cough or maybe even get it a little early. My son was fine because he was current. I choose to vaccinate to protect my children and other people’s children. It isn’t just a personal decision. It is a social decision. Many thanks to those who make the same choice and help keep our child death rates so much lower than many parts of the world.

    Like

  119. Lawrence
    January 3, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    @ppen – unfortunately, the anti-vax crowd isn’t interested in an open and honest debate. They don’t rely on science, they rely strictly on emotions and creating an emotional appeal against vaccines, despite the overwhelming evidence that vaccines are safe, effective and much, much better than the diseases they prevent.

    It hurts me greatly that children are suffering and in some cases dying because of the falsehoods spread by those with anti-vaccine beliefs.

    Like

  120. Mary monistere
    January 3, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    You should all reread these comments and be ashamed of yourselves.

    Like

  121. January 4, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    I agree with Mary monistere…..you all hijacked this sincere man’s post with your own agenda, and were definitely judgemental and non-caring toward his loss. He feels he has a purpose, and will work to accomplish it. Either join him by reposting, or not, but do NOT allow yourself to be so insensitive and shallow that you must debate this issue in a hateful manner, assuring everyone that you, and you alone, are in the “right!” How callous!

    Like

  122. lilady
    January 4, 2015 at 6:23 pm

    Mary monistere and Brenda Fouty: I suggest you reread the comments posted here to see exactly who hijacked the thread, by posting comments which were off-topic, insensitive and cruel.

    Mr. Lastinger a parent who has lost a beloved child to a vaccine-preventable-disease opened up his heart to share the indescribable grief about his loss….and his advocacy which honors his beloved child. This, IMO, is not the thread where parents discuss real (or imagined), side effects which they claim their children experienced.

    Like

  123. Penny
    January 4, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    I think the rude comments on Connie were unnecessary. Just as this man has every right to be an advocate for vaccinations with his story, she has that same right for anti-vaccinations with her story. Vaccinations are NOT MADE like in earlier days !!!! The Pharmaceutical Companies are not letting people in on the fillers and addictives that are being used in injections now days !!!!!! Be educated people in both ways !!!!

    Like

  124. lilady
    January 4, 2015 at 9:04 pm

    Penny, you’re not going to hijack this thread with that blatantly cruel, insensitive remark and your pseudoscience. I’ve commented on another thread on Shot of Prevention and I suggest you reply to my questions about your pseudoscience on that thread, here:

    https://shotofprevention.com/2014/12/31/shot-of-preventions-year-in-review-most-popular-posts-from-2014/

    Like

  125. Charbswims
  126. Lawrence
    January 5, 2015 at 5:57 am

    @Charbswims – you do know the difference between “incidence” and “mortality” right? Because the “author” of that piece you cite doesn’t seem to.

    It also is inappropriate to post such drivel on an article about a young girl who died of the Flu.

    Like

  127. Tarra
    January 5, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    My heart breaks for your loss. I applaud you and your wife for being brave enough to share your story in the hopes of saving other children.

    My son on that same year was hospitalized with the flu at the age of 18 months. He was in the icu for 5 days but did recover. It was touch and go for awhile.
    Before my experience, I also viewed the flu as a nuisance and not life threatening but I learned how quickly that can change.

    I am sure through your story you have encouraged many to vaccinate and in turn saved lives, Thank you!

    Like

  128. Sandi
    January 6, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    Why does it have to be “pro-vac” and “anti-vac”? There is a broader spectrum than that. Educate yourself to the best of your ability and make your own decisions. It is terrible that sometimes we have to live with tragedies that come from our decisions but that does not mean everyone should automatically jump on the same bandwagon.Some people vaccinate and some people don’t. It is tragic either way when a child dies or is injured from whatever decision their parents have made; however, it is counterproductive to call names when you don’t agree with the other person’s decision. My heart goes out to anyone who has lost a child, under any circumstances, and I’m pretty sure everyone has their own grieving process…this family has chosen to honor their child by educating others in something they feel is important.

    Like

  129. Lawrence
    January 6, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    @Sandi – it is “anti-vax” precisely for the reason that those individuals believe (falsely) that vaccines are the root of all evil.

    I have no problem calling them that & a great number of them wear the name as a bad.

    I prefer “pro-science, pro-reality & pro-logic and rationality” instead of pro-vax, however.

    Like

  130. Sandi
    January 6, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    regardless of what one calls ones self or prefers to be called, let’s just say we are all in agreement that it is a tragedy when a child dies for any reason. I am sick of people always looking for ways in which to feel superior.

    Like

  131. Lawrence
    January 6, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    @Sandi – exactly, the way that the typical anti-vax individual throws out their “my kids have never been vaxed & never been sick, blah, blah, blah – it is horrid the way they play the blame game…..

    In this case, a child died of a vaccine-preventable disease, is isn’t a forum to discuss mythical anti-vaccine beliefs.

    Like

  132. January 7, 2015 at 12:02 am

    Thank you for sharing. I am actually very pro vaccine, but to be honest, I sort of looked at the flu in the way that you described. My daughter is 2. I had not planned on vaccinating her for the flu, but I think I will now. I’m so sorry for your loss, and thank you for sharing it may have saved my daughter.

    Like

  133. Kelly
    January 7, 2015 at 4:08 am

    I cannot even imagine a life without my children. That plus watching your children be injured by what everyone has told you is safe and effective have got to be the absolute worst things in the entire world. This thread is horrendous, and by some morbid fascination of how individual people, acting as anonymous entities, can hate each other so violently, I read the whole darn thing. I think you are all missing a HUGE point: everybody dies. And what we are trying to do as a civilization is to keep ourselves and our children alive and healthy for as long as we can. That is what the parents of little Emily are doing, and that is what the parents of the vax injured kids are doing. Genius is realizing how to merge disparate ideas together, see that they are both currently valid and coexist, and then create a unity between them. There are a lot of non-geniuses on this thread. What I really didn’t see discussed anywhere (between the name calling) was how to bolster children’s immune systems regardless of vax or not. Cut the processed food & sugar. Go organic. Look into things that strengthen the immune system before flus go around: like chiropractic, nourishing herbs, allergy reduction, etc. There are A LOT of different ways to heal and remain healthy; allopathic medicine is just one of them. And Tootsie, I applaud you for remaining so nice to all these people who were just vile – I apologize for them.

    Like

  134. lilady
    January 7, 2015 at 4:43 am

    “… This thread is horrendous, and by some morbid fascination of how individual people, acting as anonymous entities, can hate each other so violently, I read the whole darn thing. I think you are all missing a HUGE point: everybody dies….”

    Kelly, is that the way you extend sympathy to a parent whose beloved child died from influenza?

    Yes, we will all die sometime but it is tragic to lose a child from a vaccine-preventable-disease.

    Are you prescribing some crank advice including “chiropractic, nourishing herbs, allergy reductions” (whatever that is), in lieu of getting a seasonal influenza vaccine “to boost the immune system”?

    None of your “advice” has been proven scientifically to “boost the immune system” and chiropractors can only offer temporary relief from lower back pain. Any chiropractor or any other quack practitioner/snake oil salesman who claims they can boost your immune system is a liar.

    Like

  135. Lawrence
    January 7, 2015 at 6:24 am

    @Kelly – my oldest got the flu when he was two months old, still breast-feeding, and it was a horrendous experience….and you feel helpless as a parent, since at that age, there is little you can do but hope that the little one gets better on his own.

    We were lucky, there are a number of other parents – each and every year, that are not.

    Vaccines are safe, effective, and protect not only the individual, but those around that individual – even one child dying of a vaccine preventable disease is too many.

    Like

  136. Lawrence
    January 7, 2015 at 6:27 am

    And Kelly – there is so scientific evidence that any of the “natural” things you mention do a darned thing to either prevent or treat the Flu…..and promoting that, as opposed to encouraging the use of modern medicine is extremely dangerous and puts peoples’ lives at risk – including children.

    Like

  137. jgc56
    January 7, 2015 at 10:34 am

    I know I’m coming to this late, but I have two crtical questions to ask tootsie regarding “I have a vaccine injured daughter. Does that explain the fear?”

    1: what injury did your daughter sustain? Be specific.

    2: How has it been factually established her injury was caused by the vaccine she received? Again, be specific.

    Like

  138. jgc56
    January 7, 2015 at 10:38 am

    “Vaccines don’t prevent, but promote ill-health which is what they are designed, promoted and administered for.”

    Citatins truly, mady, desparately needed, Erwin.

    Like

  139. jgc56
    January 7, 2015 at 10:43 am

    “That plus watching your children be injured by what everyone has told you is safe and effective have got to be the absolute worst things in the entire world. ”

    Kelly, if what “everyone has told you is safe and effective” refers to vaccine, I’ll again have to ask what injuries those children were seen to experience and how it was factually established that those injuries were actually caused by vaccines.

    Like

  140. jgc56
    January 7, 2015 at 10:48 am

    oh, and kelly?

    What evidence demonstrates that cutting processed food & sugar from one’s diet significantly reduces the likelihood one will contract an infectious disease if exposed?

    What evidence demonstratres going organic significantly reduces the likelihood one will contract an infectious disease if exposed?

    What exactly does “strengthen the immune system” translate to, physiologically? What evidence demonstrates nourishing herbs, allergy reduction, etc., results in such strengthening?

    Like

  141. Gray Falcon
    January 7, 2015 at 11:29 am

    It is worth remembering that the American Indians didn’t eat processed food and sugar, ate quite nutritious food, and were nearly wiped out by what are now vaccine-preventable diseases.

    Like

  142. Deanna
    January 7, 2015 at 6:15 pm

    This post is not the place for you to bicker back and forth about what you do or do not believe in regards to vaccines. This man Isn’t looking for your opinions or beliefs, he’s simply sharing his story in hopes of preventing someone else from witnessing this heartbreak.

    For what it’s worth, we’ve had our flu shots. We haven’t had any adverse reactions and we haven’t had the flu, but we aren’t living in a world where we don’t think we could get it. Strains mutate, some people catch it. There are people who, for whatever reason, can’t get the vaccine. Everyone needs to safeguard themselves and their families.

    Like

  143. Christle
    January 8, 2015 at 2:42 am

    Im sorry for your loss of your young daughter. I,myself, have a 9 year old daughter and a 11 yr old son. Neither one of my kids get the flu shots because their Dr. has noted that when they did receive them, they both wound up sicker and in the hospital. They haven’t received one in years and luckily they haven’t had the flu either. Some people can’t take the flu shots like my children and some people can and it will save some lives. The last year my son took it, he wound up in the hospital with the swine flu and pneumonia. Every ones system is different tho. Don’t criticize one person on their opinion because it’s different then yours. God bless you and your family!!!

    Like

  144. jgc56
    January 8, 2015 at 10:48 am

    “Don’t criticize one person on their opinion because it’s different then yours.”

    I’m not seeing this done here, however. Instead, I’m seeing stated positions criticised because 1) those holding them are either unable or unwilling to offer evidence in support of their validity while simultaenously discounting or ignoring very large bodies of evidence demonstrating they are highly unlikely to be true. (Consider, for example, Erwin’s statement that “Vaccines don’t prevent, but promote ill-health which is what they are designed, promoted and administered for”.)

    Like

  145. lilady
    January 8, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    There would be no need for commenters to criticize opposing viewpoints, if those with those opposing viewpoints would refrain from discussing their unscientific opinions on a thread where the majority of commenters are honoring the memory of a little girl, who died from a vaccine-preventable-disease.

    – This is a pro vaccine and pro science blog

    – The Lastinger family is mourning their child

    – The Lastinger family has decided to become advocates for other children

    Commenters who tepidly acknowledge the Lastingers’ grief over their loss, then launch into anecdotal stories about the supposed effects of vaccines that they supposedly witnessed, are cruel, thoughtless, unwarranted and are agenda-driven.

    If you really absolutely, positively, must post your anecdotal stories, choose another thread or choose another blog.

    Like

  146. Lola
    January 8, 2015 at 11:27 pm

    @ Connie Smith: Thank you for sharing your story which reflects the feelings of many and in no way deserves the hate filled comments of those who happen to disagree with you. @ the Lastinger family: Sorry for the loss of your daughter. I can’t imagine anything worse than losing a child. I think its great that you are trying to help others. The great thing about freedom is we can choose to make decisions for ourselves and our families and whether those decisions are “good” or “bad” they are still ours to make.

    Like

  147. Gray Falcon
    January 8, 2015 at 11:37 pm

    Lola: Are you aware that the flu is contagious? If your child doesn’t have a flu shot, gets the flu, and spreads it to an elderly woman, would you consider yourself responsible? Your decisions do not just affect you alone.

    Like

  148. Jay
    January 9, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    Gray, and if I don’t want to give my kid a flu shot for fear of injury, but I do because of your pressures, and then my child gets injured, how would you feel? Do you think I could live with that? Would you care? Would you be responsible? Better to let each person make their own decisions for their own families without BS from you.

    Like

  149. Gray Falcon
    January 9, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    Jay, my hypothetical scenario is vastly more likely than yours. Let me remind you that you are posting on an article about a child who died from the flu. Think about that for a second.

    Like

  150. jgc56
    January 9, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    I don’t see how, as long as gray or whoever didn’t misrepresent the relative risks associated with vaccination versus remaining vulnerable to infection, they or you should feel anything other than empathy for the child’s suffering. He would have urged you to, and and ypi would have elected to, pursue the course of action that offered that child the greatest likelihood of avoiding injury altogether.

    Like

  151. Jay
    January 9, 2015 at 3:53 pm

    Really jgc56? Please read Gray’s comment again.

    “If your child doesn’t have a flu shot, gets the flu, and spreads it to an elderly woman, would you consider yourself responsible? Your decisions do not just affect you alone.”

    The point is if shouldn’t bully somebody into getting a vaccine based on hypothetical scenarios and public put-downs, because if you do and somebody caves in and goes against what they really want to do and something bad happens, that isn’t good for anybody.

    Gray, just stop putting down people and belittling them for making their own decisions. While you may not agree, it is their right, so stop trying to humiliate them.

    Like

  152. Gray Falcon
    January 9, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    Jay, if someone beat you senseless, they would technically be making their own decisions. If you want freedom, you had best be free to take the consequences.

    Like

  153. Lawrence
    January 9, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    @Jay – showing people the real cost of avoiding vaccinations isn’t bullying. You are posting on an article detailing the death of the child from a vaccine-preventable disease.

    The science and evidence shows that the Flu vaccine is one of, if not the safest vaccine on the market today (and that’s saying something, given how safe vaccines are in general).

    The only ones here scaremongering are those that utilize false beliefs in vaccine injuries (that they occur more frequently than we know that they do – which is very, very rarely).

    Like

  154. jgc56
    January 9, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    Yes, jay: really.

    I’ll note also I haven’t seen gray or (anyone else) attempt to bully anyone into vaccinating their children

    Like

  155. Chris
    January 9, 2015 at 11:50 pm

    I just want to know the relative risk. As of today twenty six children have died from influenza this season. The last two years had over a hundred pediatric influenza deaths each. The last three years there have more than three hundred families who have gone through the heartbreak experienced by Emily’s family.

    I only want someone who tells us that vaccines are dangerous to prove it with real evidence. So please, provide the PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers to show any influenza vaccine approved for children in the USA is more dangerous than the disease. A disease that kills kids.

    Like

  156. Cynthia
    January 10, 2015 at 4:24 pm

    Connie,
    my third child was injured by the rotavirus vaccine (my first two had no problem with it) we got a lawyer and filed a claim and tried to have our pediatrician testify to the injury – our pediatrician was advised (threatened) NOT to testify on our behalf and our case was thrown out. There is no way an average middle class family can take on a huge monster of these pharmaceutical / drug and vaccine manufactures. There’s just no way.
    I’m so sad for the parents of Emily – we can’t understand why some children survive, others don’t and some are injured more from the medicines … We’re human – we can’t control every outcome and we can’t see our futures.
    Job 1:21 ‘Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return : the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD’

    Like

  157. reissd
    January 10, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    One of the purposes of NVICP is that you, the parent, won’t have to take on the vaccine manufacturers. I don’t know anything about your case, of course, though I’m sorry to hear your child suffered. But part of the reason of its existence is to make it easier for petitioners to get compensated.

    It’s true we do not always know why some children have complications from the diseases – just like we do not know who will be the very rare child who suffers a vaccine injury – but we do no that vaccines can prevent the diseases or reduce the complications – and while not 100% safe, problems from them are very, very rare.

    Like

  158. lilady
    January 10, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    Cynthia:

    What was the nature of your child’s injury from a rotavirus vaccine?

    Which of the three rotavirus vaccines caused your child’s injury?

    Was your child hospitalized for this injury?

    Which court/where did you file your claim?

    Who threatened your pediatrician?

    Like

  159. Lawrence
    January 10, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    Looks like Ms. Parker is back, spreading more lies.

    Like

  160. lilady
    January 10, 2015 at 5:50 pm

    Professor Parker has three children?

    Like

  161. Lawrence
    January 10, 2015 at 9:06 pm

    Perhaps “Cynthia” was a giveaway or just a coincidence….

    Like

  162. lilady
    January 10, 2015 at 9:29 pm

    Lawrence, it doesn’t seem to matter, because Cynthia is a drive-by poster. 🙂

    Like

  163. wzrd1
    January 12, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    The terrible thing about disease and children is twofold.
    On one hand, children don’t have a great deal of reserves available to handle injury or illness.
    On the other hand, children are wonderful at compensating for an illness or injury, right until their sparse reserves are exhausted. Then, the child’s vitals crash.
    Frequently, with little to no warning. As in, for little warning, “Mommy, I feel funny”, then crash.

    During my parents lifetimes, we went from it being a customary thing to lose a child to communicable disease to it being highly unusual for a family to lose a child at all. It’s impacted us culturally in a few ways.
    Children are first and foremost, their health and safety our highest priority, even for strangers, for even a stranger will help a child in trouble. That was so before, but it’s even a greater drive today, due to the overwhelming majority of children surviving their childhood.
    That change has altered dynamics within ourselves and our culture. Today, “Bad things don’t happen to children”, when they do, it makes all distraught. A child dying today will frequently end a marriage, in my parents time, that was not so, as the loss of a child was not unusual. Smallpox was still pandemic, polio as well, measles, german measles, mumps, influenza, meningitis and more. My father lost a sister to meningitis. My mother lost a father to tuberculosis, but was fortunate to not lose brothers or sisters in her youth.
    Today, there are three areas in a hospital that eats nurses alive. Pediatric burn unit, NICU an PICU. For, “Bad things don’t happen to children, that’s the third world where that happens”.

    Let’s circle back to influenza. Some mistakenly claim that “I have a strong immune system, it won’t effect me that bad”. Wrong. The stronger the immune system, the worse one can become with a virulent influenza infection. The body uses various cell signalling chemicals, when suffering from an infection, cytokines are important. Cytokines are inflammatory signal chemicals that tell the body that there is an infection present in a particular area or areas. Amongst other things, it signals white blood cells to come to that location and destroy infected cells, foreign cells, etc. With a virulent influenza infection, instead of the normal signalling creating inflammation and white cell response, the signals increase and the body can’t “cancel” the response. Now, the area is flooded with white blood cells, inflammation, body cells are being killed in wholesale numbers. Annoying if it’s your pinky, bad if it’s your brain, heart or lungs. Then, those organs can’t function. Of importance here is, the lungs fill with white blood cells and some fluid, preventing the exchange of CO2 for O2. Lung cells are being destroyed as well, increasing cytokine signalling and increasing fluid leakage into the lungs. Eventually, if the storm isn’t checked, the patient dies.
    The stronger the immune system, the stronger the response in such cases. That is what killed so many in the 1918 influenza pandemic! The elderly didn’t suffer as much as the young and healthiest of the population.
    It was bad enough that our cemeteries record the severity of the pandemic. I know of three cemeteries that have football field sized “Potters field” unmarked graves from the 1918 pandemic. There are more, I’ve only viewed three. That is a *lot* of deaths!

    So, we now arrive at the influenza vaccine.
    Not the most terribly effective vaccine around, but some protection beats no protection. Just as a seat belt isn’t as good as a seat belt and airbag, but that seat belt will at least keep me in the car during a rollover, rather than getting ejected and the car rolling over me.
    Side effects? Sure, sometimes people might get a low grade fever, though some even get that fever when injected with water, the body is weird sometimes. Some might get stiff in the region where the injection is given, which isn’t that uncommon for any injection and especially with vaccines. You *are* trying to provoke an immune response!
    Allergies aren’t highly common, but do occur. Allergies to pretty much anything can happen, people can even have allergic reactions to heat and cold. I’m not downplaying allergies, just mentioning that they’re far from uncommon for one to be allergic to *something*. Anaphalaxis (*really bad* allergic reaction that frequently results in hospitalization) is rare, but can occur.
    Guillain–Barré syndrome isn’t unknown, but extraordinarily rare. One can also suffer from that with pretty much any infection, especially viral infections.
    I will speak anecdotally, briefly. I’m infamous for having a fever and malaise event after receiving vaccines, typically within hours of receiving my vaccines in the military. Notable is, the military does not administer one, two or a few at once, they give a *lot* of vaccines at one go. I typically fell rather poorly and run a fever for the day. The next day, I’m treating the handful of men who then have a similar reaction, which is more usual. I’ve never had that reaction with an influenza vaccine.
    I’ve also had an H1N1 influenza infection. It took more than six months for myself and my wife to become reasonably functional again, it’s *that* bad. The word indescribable comes to mind for the suffering from that infection. This, from someone with a rather generous vocabulary.
    Today, I’m considering making a “Kick me, hard” sign. Didn’t get my influenza shot at my last doctor’s appointment, completely forgot. Thought about going to the pharmacy, but Christmas made me broke. Then, the car crapped out.
    Now, I’m looking at thousands of cases around me and the knowledge that the bloody thing takes two weeks to “kick in”.

    So, who am I?
    I’m an old Special Forces medic whose greatest joy in life was establishing village clinics where such did not exist previously. I’ve been in the middle of measles epidemics, polio epidemics, simultaneous measles and polio epidemics and saw far too many tiny graves being dug. I and my team negotiated with many village elders and religious leaders to overcome fears that were promulgated that we were trying to poison their children. I’m now retired and grateful for it, lugging all that gear is really bad on the knees and back over the course of years.
    During those epidemics and even when we ran clinics without an epidemic being present, all of us saw our children and for me later, my grandchildren in those small faces coming in for treatment. You can guess what we saw when we saw a grave being dug while the child was still “circling the drain”. Occasionally, we won through and the grave was filled in empty.

    For the author of this fine article, I offer my profound thanks. I’m certain that some lives have been saved by the hard learned lessons experienced.

    Like

  164. Ron Lechelt
    January 12, 2015 at 10:52 pm

    Wzrd1 certainly speaks from experience as do we pediatricians who practiced before we had the many good effective immunizations we have now. I saw children die with various types of meningitis as well as with measles, mumps encephalitis, and even chicken pox, etc. also many with significant brain damage In some who did survive . Ron Lechelt. Message is get those immunizations!! Sent from my iPad

    >

    Like

  1. December 31, 2014 at 7:00 am
  2. December 3, 2016 at 10:19 am

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