Managing Editor's Note: The headline is mine and mine alone. Angela had a really nice, respectful headline ready to go. Just thought you should know. Same for that photo, from www.tmz.com. All my idea. KS
By Angela Warner
I saw your interview with Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America on April 22, 2009, and your Public Service Announcement HERE where you speak of children contracting pertussis from their parents, and strongly encourage parents to get vaccinated against pertussis. While I appreciate your efforts to raise awareness about pertussis and the fact that it is a nasty disease, I don’t appreciate the fact that you give medical advice and promote the DTaP vaccine as being an “easy simple thing to do”.
All vaccines given at any age have risks associated with them, and the safest and smartest recommendation that should be made is that before anyone makes the decision to receive this (or any) vaccine is for them to have their titers checked. Of course, this is the last thing that a vaccine manufacturer would suggest in a public service announcement promoting a vaccine. Doing so would cut into their bottom line.
In the year 2005, my then, family of five, all contracted pertussis. Ironically, my younger son (who got it first) caught it at a pediatrician’s office where we had taken him for a referral to have him evaluated for autism. He was later diagnosed with autism, which I know was caused by vaccinations. All of my children were vaccinated against pertussis. In fact my younger son had received his fourth dose of DTaP just a year before, and was not due for his fifth dose for another year and a half. Vaccines are not the answer to preventing all diseases, and they don’t always work.
Over the next few weeks my daughter, who was 18 months old at the time came down with symptoms along with the rest of us. I got in touch with the county health department knowing at that point that our doctor was worthless, and based on symptomatology of the classic cases all the kids had, and the symptoms my husband and I had, we were all confirmed by the county public health nurse as having pertussis. During this time my daughter was seen at the same clinic (by a different doctor at my request), and she was diagnosed with pneumonia and a bi-lateral ear infection, which are common secondary infections of pertussis.
During this same time frame, one of my close girlfriend’s children came down with the cold symptoms, and then her son was having the coughing spasms, and then vomiting. Her oldest is the same age as my oldest, and her youngest two weeks younger than my oldest daughter. They were both up to date on their vaccines as well. My friend immediately called her pediatrician upon me relaying this information to her, and her pediatrician said bring them in, and immediately put both her kids on the appropriate antibiotics. Neither of them went on to have the serious complications my kids did due to the ignorance of their own doctor. I am confident due to reporting guidelines (both at the time and current), that her children were reported to the County Health Department as probable pertussis cases. I am also sure that our family was not included in the numbers as no pertussis cases confirmed by the Public Health Nurse (at that time) were included in the numbers.
I know the doctor we saw had never seen a case of whooping cough because several weeks into the situation, I asked him directly. When he didn’t respond, I told him his silence spoke volumes. I proceeded to inform him that his mismanagement of my children’s illness bordered on malpractice, and that he was fired. I then hung up on him.
Nathan’s cough lasted for about 5 months, and the damage done to his lungs by this doctors inability to recognize this disease and lack of appropriate treatment and antibiotic prescription in a timely manner, was so severe, that anytime he would get the slightest cold for the next year and a half, the cough would return for weeks. Ironically, his immune system was so skewed by this vaccine and the illness, coupled with the damage to his immune system from all the other vaccines he received leading to an autism diagnosis, Nathan shows no immunity to pertussis
Here are the FACTS as they relate to the state of Washington, and specifically Clark County, regarding pertussis during the “outbreak of 2005”:
In 2005 Clark County Washington had, 61 cases of pertussis, 47 confirmed, and 14 probable. Data is not available for one case per the request that I put in.
Clark County Response to my request:
“Of the 60 cases for which data is available, 20 were adequately vaccinated, 37 were not adequately vaccinated, and for 3 the vaccination status was not known. Data is not available for 1 case.”
“Those that were adequately vaccinated had at least the primary 4 shot series of vaccination and any additional boosters based on their age.”
“Those that were not adequately vaccinated were defined as a child to young to have completed the series, a case exception, or case no update on vaccination boosters as set forth by the CDC Immunization Schedule at HERE“
From a “Publication from the Washington State Department of Health” regarding the vaccination schedule, which will explain adequately vaccinated versus inadequately vaccinated (specific to DTaP):
“Your baby should have a total of five immunizations, one at each of these ages.”
As far as your claim that moms give pertussis to their babies? I beg to differ.
For Clark County Washington (2005):
“Age Range: 0-8 Confirmed 37 Probable 4
9-17 Confirmed 9 Probable 6
18 + Confirmed 1 Probable 3
Protective Status [refer to above]:
Not Protected Confirmed 31 Probable 6
Protected Confirmed 14 Probable 6
Unknown Confirmed 2 Probable 1
Now granted, I know this information is for my county only during 2005, but this is the year every one makes such a fuss about because there was a large outbreak that year. To state that pertussis is most often spread by parents is misleading. According to information HERE HERE only one third of pertussis cases can be traced to the child’s mother. That being said, I am left asking the question of who the mother came into contact with who gave it to her? My first thought would be from a child who had the cold symptoms who possibly had his or her hands all over the grocery cart handle’s, because that child’s mother was thinking it was only a cold when she took her child to the store…
Again, please refer to the above information, and realize that my husband and I caught it from our child.
Your campaign is to end the sounds of whooping cough. As an educated mom who was formerly a veterinary technician, and later a pre-midwifery student (an autism diagnosis brought that career to a screeching halt); pertussis is a cross-species disease which affects dogs in the form of kennel cough, and as such, the sounds of whooping cough will never end, no matter how much we vaccinate.
We have seen an astronomical rise in so many different diseases, in the name of eradicating other diseases, which given proper supportive and judicious care typically have a very low risk of long term consequences to one’s health. The same, miserably for so many, can not be said for many different diseases we’ve seen the astronomical rise in, and the consequences to one’s health.
When it comes to taking a vaccine, one needs to use the same caution when making this decision as they would any other medication that has the ability to alter one’s health. Doctor’s hand out medication and vaccination as if they are candy – meaning they are the end all be all to good health, which is simply not true, and they do so because they get kickbacks from pharmaceutical companies. Medicine’s can kill; look at Vioxx, and how many other’s that have been pulled from the market. Why would we think any different about a vaccine that is injected into our body?
In closing, I have to say that honestly while I am not very familiar with your work, I will certainly not seek to learn any more about it, or listen to your music. Your PSA is sponsored by Sanofi Pasteur, and I wonder how much of a kick back you’re getting? The March of Dimes??? While some life improving work has come from this organization, they just slipped a few rungs down on my ladder of respect as well.
Thank you for your time, and if you would like to discuss this further or read the report that I received from my county to see for yourself, you can reach me at autismrr at gmail dot com.
Angela Warner - Air Force spouse and mom to four, two recovering/recovered from autism, three who were vaccine injured, and mom to three who survived pertussis in spite of their ignorant doctor.