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Why This Local Mother Says She Will Never Vaccinate Her Children

Atina King says a vaccine made her son extremely sick.
"I wish it was black and white," said Mother, Atina King. "I wish it was you get a vaccine and your child is protected, but that is not always the case." King had her first child, Parker, vaccinated, just like most children. "After the 6-month vaccinations, he got a pretty high fever," she said. "I started researching vaccines and their side effects and in my research I got pretty nervous." After that, King opted out of vaccinating Parker, but when he was two-years-old she decided to get him a vaccine that prevents rotavirus, a virus that can cause diarrhea and dehydration. King was getting ready to have another baby, and didn't want Parker to pass that onto them.

Within a few weeks of the vaccination, though, Parker was having problems. "All of a sudden he would all on the floor screaming in pain," King said. Doctors at Arkansas Children's Hospital diagnosed Parker with intussusception, a condition where a person's bowels start sliding into each other like a telescope. Doctors eventually performed surgery, taking out Parker's appendix and part of his bowel. "At the time we weren't even thinking this could be caused by a vaccine," King said. "It was just some freak accident to us." But now - even though doctors will not confirm it - King is convinced a vaccination is exactly what caused Parker's problems. "They have said it could be but they will not say 'we believe this is the cause,'" King said. "They almost look at me like I am crazy when I even suggest it."

According to the Center's for Disease Control's website some studies done on rotavirus vaccines say they "may possibly cause a small increase in the risk of intussusception. It is possible that an estimated 1 to 3 US infants out of 100,000 might develop intussusception within 7 days of getting their first dose of rotavirus vaccine." It goes on to say, "rotavirus vaccines prevent more than 65,000 hospitalizations from rotavirus illness."

"There is a concept in life of risk management: that you may take a small risk, to get a great gain," said Pediatrician Dr. Mark Lovell. "I think vaccines are one of those places that the risks are tiny the gains are great." Dr Lovell feels strongly about vaccinations for children - just like Atina King - citing personal experiences. "In my generation I had cousins who had polio. Nobody has polio anymore. My mom would say the sickest we ever were was from measles. I have been a pediatrician for 30 years - I have never seen a case of measles."

But doctors in other areas of the US have. The CDC reported from January 1st to April 18th of 2014, the California Department of Public Health saw 58 confirmed measles cases, the most reported for that period since 1995. Some attribute the rise to fewer people choosing to vaccinate their kids.

"Our job as pediatricians is to say 'why are we not doing a good job getting through to people and saying we want you to be immunized?' Because we see all the benefits from it," Dr. Lovell said.

Because of the outbreaks, many parents who choose to not vaccinate say they are getting backlash from other parents and doctors. "People can be really nasty, they almost try to avoid us at times," King said. "I want people to know that parents who do not vaccinate are not following some fad - we are not uneducated." King said that she won't let the negativity stop her from doing what she thinks is best for her children. "As a mother I am thinking the reaction may be rare, but my child has reacted once...if I was to give him the MMR (vaccine) would he have a worse reaction?"
 
Dr. Lovell said that he won't let rare reactions stop him from pushing parents to vaccinate. "From sitting on my side, all I see is positive things," he said.

For more information on vaccines, check out the Centers for Disease Control's website: http://www.cdc.gov/VACCINes/parents/index.html

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