Vaccines are probably the hottest parenting topic today. Should you? Shouldn’t you? Why? Why not? So many questions and there is no one way to answer them. When I started to have my own children I wasn’t as familiar with the issues in vaccinations as I am now. I had just heard “stuff” about them. So, I did what any other naive parent would do. I went ahead and vaccinated my children.
My oldest son would visit the doctor whenever his milestone visit came up. We would go to the doctor and emerge with a lollipop after his series of vaccines. I really didn’t give vaccines any thought. I mean I would always “watch for a reaction” as you’re always told at the end of the visit, but I never was really worried.
It wasn’t until my experience in clinical research grew that I started to learn more and more about vaccines and their possible harmful effects. Luckily my son did not react to any of the vaccines given to him. Then my daughter came along.
My daughter received her round of vaccines just like my older son. No issues, no problems, right? Well, little did I know I was going to have the scare of my life with regards to vaccines. My daughter went in for a routine vaccination. She was just a few months shy of turning 2 years old by this time. That day she was actually supposed to have two shots, but the doctor ran out of one and so she only got the other (we saw this later as a blessing in disguise). The visit went normal and we went home.
The next day my husband and I went to work and my children went to my mother’s house. I was in a work meeting when I got called out of it to take a phone call from my husband. He told me to call my mother right away because my daughter seemed to be reacting to whatever vaccine she had the day before. Panic set in as I’m standing in the middle of the office at my desk about to cry.
I called my mother and after that I went numb. She told me my daughter had spiked a very high fever (it was at 105 degrees) and she was conscious, but non responsive. My mother had called 911 and an ambulance was there to take her to the emergency room. They needed to ask me which one I preferred. Ummm, the nearest one…I don’t care. I got off the phone and immediately started crying. At work. My colleagues consoled me, telling me it’s okay, and asking if I would like for them to bring me to the hospital.
I was glad for the support, but politely declined, knowing I just need to get out of there as soon as possible. And to top it off, out of all the days my husband’s car was in the shop so now I also needed to go pick him up on the way…..
A million things crossed my mind as we drove to the hospital. Tears streaming down my face. I felt it was the longest ride of my life. We made it to the hospital and finally got to see her. She was better by that time, but still a little out of it. It turns out she had a febrile seizure. They are not harmful, but scary to witness. Thank God my mother is trained in CPR and First Aid and was able to recognize something was wrong. Had my daughter been with anyone else, it might not have been as obvious.
The doctor came in and explained what happened and told us that a febrile seizure isn’t anything to worry about (easy for him to say). I also had to explain which vaccine it was so they had it on record as well.
She recovered fine after that and continued to be a normal little girl. I still did get her vaccinated, but it was a little while longer in between. The one that she had a reaction to, her doctor skipped and she hasn’t gotten it since. Her doctor said if anything she would have put the blame of that reaction on the other drug if she ended up getting both that day.
Seeing I was knee deep into clinical research by this point, I also took it upon myself to report the adverse reaction to the Adverse Event Reporting System. I wanted to make sure this information was officially on record, in addition to the hospital reports.
You would have thought that day was the day I said no to all vaccines for my kids. I know it could have been worse, a lot worse. I also didn’t want to just abandon the vaccination system either. I just didn’t want to make sudden decisions based on my emotions. But, it woke me up. Big time.
I feel if you are doing the “normal”, you have to have some compounding evidence first before going against it, especially when children are involved.
Now, with three kids I still have learned even more about vaccinations. I’ve learned why people choose not to vaccinate and on the other hand I have learned why it still is important to vaccinate. I have even learned that you can partially vaccinate as some may be more necessary than others. There is no right or wrong and each child is different.
My most important lesson learned is to not make the decision based on what other people think and say. Go by the research, the facts, and your own gut feeling. Either side of the fence can come with bad consequences so it is important to go in with as much information as you possibly can.
Resources for You