Archive

Posts Tagged ‘TdaP vaccine’

10 Things Parents Who Don’t Vaccinate Their Kids Should Know

It’s not uncommon for a parent who has lost a child to a vaccine preventable disease to try to spare other families from the same agonizing heartache. 

In some cases, these children may have suffered with a preventable disease because they were unvaccinated.  This could be the result of parents who did not have access to certain vaccines, parents who willfully refused a particular vaccine, or in the case of Riley Hughes, infants who were too young to be fully vaccinated.

Riley was a healthy baby boy born in Australia on February 13th, 2015.  At three weeks of age he started exhibiting cold-like symptoms with an occasional cough. When he was just 32 days old, Riley passed away in the arms of his parents.  

pertussis112315While in the hospital, Riley was diagnosed with pertussis, also known as whooping cough.  At that time, the U.S., the UK, Belgium and New Zealand, were already advising expectant women to get an adult Tdap vaccine at 28-32 weeks of pregnancy in order to transfer protective antibodies to their unborn babies.  This practice helps protect infants from pertussis at a time when they are most vulnerable to infection and subsequent complications.  It’s also the only way newborns can benefit from some protective antibodies before they are two months of age and begin receiving the first of five doses of DTaP vaccine to become fully vaccinated against pertussis.

Unfortunately, the Australian government hadn’t adopted this practice until shortly after Riley’s death. Since then, Riley’s parents have made it their mission to educate people about the dangers of whooping cough, and promote the need for vaccination so that no other family would have to suffer like they did.

Sadly, there are still some parents who choose not to vaccinate.  In a plea to these parents, Riley’s mom posted the following list of “things to know” on the Light for Riley Facebook page:

 


Ten things I want parents who don’t vaccinate their kids to know:

1. There are no cures for most of the diseases we vaccinate against.

2. Even if you choose not to vaccinate, please, please, please make yourselves aware of the symptoms of these potentially fatal diseases. Infections like meningococcal can kill within 24 hours, and every minute counts.

12244586_1518881475089295_4527321516860468835_o3. If you’re really worried about vaccine “toxins”, you don’t want to see what the toxins from Bordetella Pertussis (the bacteria responsible for whooping cough) can do. Trust me – I watched my newborn son die from it. Read more…

My 16 Year Old Son Has Suffered More Than 7 Weeks With Pertussis

November 10, 2016 Leave a comment
This guest post was written by Carolyn who works as a Home Health Community Nurse and who originally shared her son’s story on the Nurses Who Vaccinate blog to help raise awareness of the symptoms and dangers of pertussis.

istock_adolescent_boys

My son is a healthy 16-year-old, middle linebacker for his Varsity football team.  He jet skis, is an avid boater, plays lacrosse, and enjoys working out, eating healthy and exercising.  I never suspected he would suffer with a vaccine preventable disease.

His cough was mild at first. Not a nagging cough, not a wet cough, just a mild cough. I asked my son if he was feeling well and although he said he was fine, I gave him cough syrup and took his temperature.  It was normal (hint #1) and we both went to sleep, although I did hear him cough occasionally through the night.

This marked the beginning of the longest 7 weeks of our lives.

The occasional cough continued for a week, but then I noticed it was worsening, and it was making him very short of breath. One day he called me from school and asked me to pick him up. I took him to urgent care, where they diagnosed him with bronchitis, gave him amoxicillin, put him on a five-day dose of prednisone and gave him an inhaler.

That night was the beginning of the nightmare.  He coughed so violently that he became short of breath.  He was gasping and choking and even began vomiting (hint #2).  This continued through the next day and night. He was exhausted. I was exhausted. And even though I am a nurse, I felt helpless.

I took him to the local Emergency Department where the pediatric physician prescribed an albuterol nebulizer and a chest X-ray. The chest x-ray came back crystal clear (hint #3).  When I questioned the doctor about the vomiting, they suspected it was due to a gag reflex, but they decided to give him saline for dehydration and take blood and urine samples.

All of his blood work came back fine except for his neutrophils and his monocytes which were only slightly elevated (hint #4). They treated him as a case of atypical pneumonia and put him on a five-day dose of Zithromax and advised us to continue the prednisone until finished.

During the next 10 days, as he completed the medications, my son continued to have these bouts of uncontrollable violent coughing, always resulting in vomiting, choking on phlegm and gasping. He was eating, but also losing weight, and he was in and out of school, often due to being up all night coughing.

One evening he vomited in the basin where I noticed black stringy flecks.  I immediately thought it was blood, but he assured me it was something he had eaten.  The next morning he vomited again, and this time it was phlegm with blackened red strings (hint #5). I put the vomit in a baggie, put him in the car and took him back to the emergency room.

His sample tested positive for blood and so they gave him several nebulizer treatments, upped his prednisone, repeated the chest x-ray (which again came back clear), prescribed the inhaler every four hours and released him.  With the increased prednisone, the cough did slow down a bit, but he still was vomiting phlegm and gasping, so I made a follow-up appointment with his physician where they did a thorough exam and diagnosed him with pertussis.

Pertussis? Really?  How did my healthy kid get whooping cough? I was diligent in getting him vaccinated.  How did three different doctors miss this?

Read more…

5 Ways to Keep Your College-Bound Student Healthy

August 10, 2016 4 comments

Preparing a kid for college is akin to preparing for their arrival at birth.  There are so many details to think about, choices to consider and preparations to be made that it’s easy to become completely overwhelmed.  As parents, we want nothing more than to ensure that our children are well prepared – both physically and emotionally – for all the challenges they are about to face.

DSC_9531While it’s natural to focus on the dorm items your child might need, parents should also help prepare their teen for the responsibilities they will have in managing their own health. Once they move into that dorm, you will no longer be there to fill their prescriptions, fetch their medicine, make their doctor’s appointments, or otherwise ensure they are getting the medical attention they need.  It will be up to them to maintain a healthy diet, get adequate rest, and protect themselves from the dangers of alcohol, drugs and unwanted or unsafe sex.  They will need to know when to seek professional medical attention if they should get sick, injured or find themselves struggling with mental or physical needs.

Before your child heads off to college, here are five things you can do to help them stay healthy:

1.) Get your child a physical exam.  

When kids are young, parents are accustomed to bringing them in for well-visits.  However, it’s not uncommon for kids to miss yearly check-ups in lieu of sports physicals and sick visits.  Before your child heads to campus, make sure to schedule a comprehensive health exam.  The conversation your child has with the doctor should help prepare them to manage their current health conditions while away at school (such as any known allergies, specialist appointments and regular medications) while also opening the discussion to the dangers of stress, poor diet, inadequate sleep, binge drinking, drug experimentation and unsafe sex.  If their provider fails to cover these issues completely, it’s important that parents weigh in on these concerns as well.  You can let your child know that while you trust them to make responsible decisions, you are always available for advice and support.

2.) Get all the recommended vaccines, not just those required by the school.  

For many students, college can be a time of significant stress.  Students don’t always eat a healthy diet or get the proper rest. They live in close quarters and have a tendency to share cups and eating utensils.  At some point your child may travel, or engage with fellow students and faculty members who have traveled, to areas where diseases are more prevalent.  And studies show that college students are more likely to engage in risky behavior. All these conditions make students more susceptible to illness.  It is also what contributes to the chances of outbreaks occurring on collegiStock_000078067721_Double.jpge campuses.

Making sure your child is up-to-date on all the recommended vaccines, not just those required by the school, can help them avoid dangerous and sometimes even deadly illnesses.  While there are several immunizations that are recommended for college-age students, each state and college may have different admission requirements.

To best protect your college-bound student from preventable diseases, parents should consider the following vaccines for students before they arrive on campus: Read more…

Barbara Loe Fisher is Right. She’s Also To Blame.

March 3, 2016 18 comments

Barbara Loe Fisher may be right about one thing.

We need a better Tdap vaccine to prevent pertussis (also known as whooping cough).

However, her opposition to legislation in Indiana that would require hospital employees be up-to-date on Tdap, flu and MMR vaccines is unsupported.  Fisher has publicly defended her position in a FOX28 news clip when she states that Tdap vaccines should not be mandated because they don’t work. However, this is an example of what’s known as a nirvana fallacy.

VYF_FB01Tdap vaccines do work. Maybe not 100% of the time, but that doesn’t mean they don’t work. 

In fact, data shows that pertussis vaccines protect about 7 out of 10 people who receive them.  That’s enough for the World Health Organization to justify using it across the globe to help prevent pertussis, as well as diphtheria and tetanus. Sorry Barb, but in lieu of a better option to prevent a highly infectious and sometimes deadly  disease such as pertussis, the Tdap vaccine is the best defense we have.  It’s certainly better than the 0 out of 10 people who are protected by avoiding vaccination all together.

Interestingly enough, what Fisher avoids admitting is that her opposition to the whole cell pertussis vaccination (DTP) is why we are in the situation we are in today.  Back in the 80’s, Fisher led the charge against the whole cell pertussis vaccine, claiming it had too many adverse events. This prompted the development of a more purified (acellular) pertussis vaccine (DTaP).  By 1997, a newly licensed DTaP vaccine was being recommended by the ACIP in place of the DTP vaccine for the full 5-dose pediatric schedule.  While the new vaccine appeared less likely to provoke adverse events, studies have since shown that it has not been as effective in providing lasting immunity.

The truth is, Fisher has never really been interested in making vaccines safer.  She co-founded the National Vaccine Information Center in 1982 to help organize a movement of vaccine refusal and oppose any public policy that endorses the use of vaccines.

Unfortunately, while we are stuck with a less than ideal vaccine, children like Callie Van Tornhout are dying from pertussis infection.

People of all ages can be affected by pertussis. However, it is most dangerous for babies, as they are at particularly high risk of severe complications, hospitalization and death.  About half of babies younger than one year who get the disease need care in the hospital, and 1 out of 100 babies who get treatment in the hospital die.  Most unvaccinated children who are living with an infected family member will contract pertussis themselves.  There is no real cure for pertussis, only treatments that help address the symptoms.

Families_callie_van_tornhoutIn the case of Callie Van Tornhout, detailed in the FOX28 news clip out of Indiana, transmission of pertussis from a hospital employee to a vulnerable newborn too young for vaccination proved to be deadly.  Callie was only 38 days old and had never been anywhere besides her family home and the hospital. This is why Callie’s mom Katie Van Tornhout is speaking out in support of the proposed Indiana bill (SB 162).

Katie, like the many others who support this bill, believes that hospital employees who have direct contact with patients should take reasonable precautions in order to protect themselves and their patients from preventable diseases like pertussis.  That means they should be up-to-date on ACIP recommended vaccines such as Tdap, flu and MMR, that are proven to be safe and effective.

Katie explains, ”If you’re taking care of my child in the hospital and you’re not vaccinated, then what good is that? You’re putting that baby in danger.  You’re putting everyone in danger.”

Read more…

Timehop Brings Back Pertussis Memories Too Painful to Forget

January 28, 2015 2 comments

When the Timehop app was introduced to Facebook not everyone was thrilled.  While most people loved being reminded of photos and updates shared on Facebook in years past, others complained that there were some events they would prefer not to be reminded of;  the loss of a job, the details of a difficult divorce, or the pain of losing someone we love.

PertussisAlmost three years ago, shortly after Jonathan and Kathryn lost their infant son Brady to pertussis, they reached out to Every Child By Two and expressed an interest in advocating for pertussis vaccinations.  They hoped that by sharing their son’s story they could help educate people on the dangers of pertussis and the importance of vaccination, especially in preventing exposure among children, like Brady, who are too young to be vaccinated themselves.

Being tasked to help them write their story was a challenge.  How could I ever hope to do it justice?

Then it occurred to me… Kathryn had been recording Brady’s story all along as she continuously updated her friends and family of his condition on Facebook.  I read her posts and could immediately empathize with the emotional roller coaster they were on.  The hope.  The fear.  The unimaginable sorrow of watching their beautiful baby suffer, and ultimately lose his life as a result of a preventable disease.  

Brady’s story was originally shared here on Shot of Prevention.  We then worked to also get it posted to a site called Shot By Shot, which serves as a virtual library of personal stories of vaccine preventable diseases.  From there, Brady’s story went viral.

Today we honor all our Every Child By Two parent advocates who continue to help us raise pertussis vaccine awareness.  This day not only marks Brady’s third angel-versary,  but also the fifth angel-versary of Carter Dube, and later this week the fifth angel-versary of Callie Van Tornhout.

While Timehop may be reminding you of a fun winter outing, a delicious dinner shared among friends, or an exciting new promotion, Brady’s mom Kathryn has been using Timehop with Facebook to remind us of how precious life is.  Brady may not be here with us physically, but his battle was not entirely lost.  Brady continues to fight today, as his family and friends share his story, in hopes that no more children are lost to pertussis.

💕 my bubba it was the calm before the storm 

󾬏 my bubba it was the calm before the storm 󾍄

Ugh I hate this disease!! No family should have to endure this pain vaccination is so important

Ugh I hate this disease!! No family should have to endure this pain 󾍄 vaccination is so important

Kathryn Riffenburg

18 hrs · Timehop · 

Our life turned upside down. I remember the ambulance ride and the rushing of the doctors when we reached Boston. We felt like we were dropped in the middle of a tornado everything happening so fast. We entered Boston with our son and left without him. I will also stand by what I advocate. Vaccines are important and save lives. Too many like Brady die because someone chooses not to vaccinate, and he was too young to receive his vaccines.

 — feeling heartbroken.

Our life turned upside down. I remember the ambulance ride and the rushing of the doctors when we reached Boston. We felt like we were dropped in the middle of a tornado everything happening so fast. We entered Boston with our son and left without him. I will also stand by what I advocate vaccines are important and save lives. Too many like Brady die because someone chooses not to vaccinate, and he was too young to receive his vaccines.

Kathryn Riffenburg

6 hrs · Timehop · 

This was my last update of Brady’s health. It was the worst pain to endure. Kissing your baby on the forehead and saying goodbye for the last time is something a parent should never have to do. These communicable diseases are nothing to take lightly. They take babies from there parents, siblings and families. The best line of protection we as parents can give to your own baby as well as other babies like Brady, is vaccination. Another parent should not be planning their child’s funeral because of these diseases. Or anything for that matter. Please light a candle for our bubba and tell his story to at least one other person today 💕

 — feeling emotional.

This was my last update of Brady's health. It was the worst pain to endure.  Kissing your baby on the forehead and saying goodbye for the last time is something a parent should never have to do.  These communicable diseases are nothing to take lightly. They take babies from there parents, siblings and families. The best line of protection we as parents can give to your own baby as well as other babies like Brady, is vaccination. Another parent should not be planning their child's funeral because of these diseases. Or anything for that matter. Please light a candle for our bubba and tell his story to at least one other person today 󾬏

We thank Kathryn for allowing us to share her personal posts, and we continue to thank all the strong and courageous parents who continue to share their personal sorrows in a public way in hopes of a better tomorrow.

A Standing Order of Pertussis Vaccine in Hospitals Boosts Protection

March 6, 2014 2 comments
Gabrielle "Brie" Romaguera, born January 13, 2003.  Passed away as a result of pertussis infection on March 6, 2003.

Gabrielle “Brie” Romaguera was born January 13, 2003 and passed away on March 6, 2003 at 52 days old as a result of a pertussis infection.

There is at least one family who is mourning today.  Eleven years ago they lost their daughter Brie  She was just 52 days old.  Sadly she succumbed to a disease called pertussis, also known as whooping cough, which they knew little about at the time.

Since Brie’s death we’ve learned that changes made to improve the safety of the pertussis vaccine may have resulted in a vaccine that is not as effective.  In the 1990’s the U.S.switched from whole-cell pertussis vaccine (DTP) to combined acelluar pertussis (DTaP) vaccine.  A study in the June 2013 issue of Pediatrics looked at individuals born between 1994 and 1999 who received four pertussis-containing vaccines.  The authors compared two groups during a 2009 and 2010 pertussis outbreak, some who received the older vaccine and some who received the newer DTaP.  They discovered that those who received the newer vaccine had a six times higher risk of contracting pertussis due to waning immunity compared to those who received the older vaccine.

While vaccines are a very effective way at preventing disease, they’re not perfect. Pertussis vaccines typically offer high levels of protection within the first 2 years of getting vaccinated, but then protection decreases over time.   In the case of pertussis, this also occurs with natural infection, meaning that even if you contract pertussis you do not retain any lifelong immunity and it’s possible to be infected again.

In general, DTaP vaccines are 80-90% effective in children with the highest protection following the fifth dose when 9 out of 10 kids are still fully protected.  In each year following the last dose there appears to be a modest decrease in effectiveness.  Still, five years after the last dose 7 out of 10 kids are still fully protected and the other 3 are partially protected.  So how long has it been since some adults have been vaccinated?  How much immunity do you suppose they have? Read more…

The Pertussis Outbreak and the Impact of Vaccination

August 6, 2012 391 comments

There has been a great deal of coverage regarding the current pertussis outbreaks we are seeing all across the country. In the past few weeks we have seen countless articles which have attempted to explain the challenges that may be contributing to these outbreaks. The issues are pretty diverse and include such concerns as the effectiveness of the current vaccine, waning immunity among the vaccinated which suggests a need for booster shots, as well as the concern that infants are most susceptible before they have received their full five dose series of the vaccine.

Unfortunately, for every article that attempts to explain the multiple challenges we face in trying to reduce the transmission of pertussis, there are some people who continue to suggest things that are simply inaccurate. They often claim that people are actually contracting the disease from the vaccine, or that the rise in pertussis cases is a result of vaccine shedding. Essentially this means that they believe that the people who are getting vaccinated are actually responsible for spreading the disease.

It can be upsetting and frightening for parents to hear this – which is exactly why vaccine critics repeat this misinformation every opportunity they get.

Well, thanks to this recent blog post from Just The Vax, parents no longer have to wonder. After reading this simple explination, they will understand – with 100% certainty – that the vaccine could not possibly cause a case of pertussis.

Containing pertussis is certainly a challenge, but the fact of the matter is that if we want to contain this highly contagious disease, then vaccination is the best chance we have. Just read these stories from parents whose children never had the chance. Then perhaps we can remember who we are helping to protect when we, as adults, receive our Tdap boosters.