My 3 year old has a severe reaction to vaccinations. What do I do now?

[deleted account] ( 23 moms have responded )

Ok, I have a vaccine spin for you and I do SERIOUSLY need input. When my son was a newborn he had his first set of vaccines. He developed a red rash all over his body that looked like sunburn, fever of 104, crying / shrieking / hyperventilation, vomiting, pulling his own hair....complete nightmare. The symptoms were at their peak for about 24 hours then dwindled down from there. His pediatrician said 'Oh he must have caught a bug, it wasn't the vaccines.' My son was born with a severe cranial deformity and early on we didn't know what all this would entail. We didn't know if he had brain damage, hearing or vision problems, or what else so I decided it would be best to wait on his shots until the head issue was resolved and he was a bit older. This was when all of the autism / vaccine link reports were big in the media and I didn't want to rock the boat, so to speak. All of his cranial issues are now resolved and he is a perfect, happy, healthy 3 year old. So I made the appointment to start his vaccinations with a new pediatrician. I explained to him what had happened before and he assured me that even if it was bc of the vaccinations that he is much bigger now and his body is much better equipped to deal with the insult to his system and that if any problems arise to call him immediately. Fair enough. He seems to listen, understand my concern and take me seriously. He had the shots and within 2 hours he couldn't walk, he was shaking, screaming in pain, vomiting and had a fever of 104. I took him to the emergency room where they said his vitals are stable and all they can really do is give him tylenol suppositories for the fever and pain. He was like this for 2 days and I now have absolutely no doubt that it is in fact the vaccines causing this reaction. What do I do? I can't keep doing this to him! I know he needs to be vaccinated but with a fever that high he could have seizures and God knows what else. I gave him tylenol before the shots and every few hours there after and it would barely even take the edge off, his temp was still over 100. I am terrified at the thought of him getting his next set. Yes, I can cut down the number of shots from 2 at a time to one but I know he'll still get sick. His doctor doesn't seem to have an answer for me, or at least one that I can accept. All he says is that "Kids need to be vaccinated, if you don't vaccinate him you're risking his life. Yes he gets sick but he isn't going to die from it. However he COULD die from the array of diseases he should be vaccinated against. Let's do one at a time."



Jodi - posted on 05/17/2011




Stephanie, your son's reactions to the vaccines is one of the reasons why those who DON'T have a medical reason for not vaccinating should. When most people in the community vaccinate their children, it protects those who can't be vaccinated, because there are not enough unvaccinated people for the disease to take hold (herd immunity). For this reason, theoretically, your son should be protected. The reality is, too many people CHOOSE not to vaccinate, so those who can't vaccinate are not as protected as they should be.

I would also be feeling very reluctant to vaccinate. I think Mary's suggestion of a pediatric allergist is a good one, because if you can work out what is causing the reaction, you may be able to work around it. I think until you find out, you are probably putting him at more risk with the vaccines than you are the diseases they vaccinate, so hold off on any further jabs.

Elfrieda - posted on 05/16/2011




Oh, I'm so sorry to hear what your little boy is going through. :(

My little sister is allergic to most vaccines, too.

The problem is that for some reason there's this huge war between people who are fanatical about getting vaccines and people who are fanatical about avoiding vaccines. Neither side will listen to reason, and they call each other names.

Now the dr thinks you're one of "those moms", the "over-educated, alternative set", as another thread on here was calling them.

I guess the question I have is, is the dr more concerned about the bigger picture, protecting the herd immunity, or is he more concerned about the little picture, your child's health? Because from where I'm sitting, when you weigh the chances, not vaccinating any more makes more sense. If you vaccinate, it's very likely that he's going to get very sick and you don't know what the long-term consequences are of that, but if he catches many of those diseases, he'll get sick, but only a fraction of the people who get the diseases like measles and mumps actually die or have their lives disrupted.

My sister wasn't vaccinated after she was 3 or so, when my mom realized what was causing her illnesses, and she's been fine these last 23 years. We were very careful to protect her from rusty barbed wire fences, etc. (and now I learned that it's not rust that causes tetanus... huh.)

My parents had a lawyer draft a letter that states very clearly that they are not breaking any laws by sending her to school unvaccinated, and they'd send a photocopy to the office whenever a threatening letter came home in her backpack.

When she was 20, she really wanted to go to France as part of her university, but they don't allow visitors who don't have a certain vaccine. Well, she made the choice that she would get that vaccine so that she would be able to go, and so she got it in May, the day after her final exams, then went home to my parents and recovered for a few months, and was okay to go to France in September!

So I guess my point is, you don't have to make the choice between Vaccinate or Die. My sister lives a great life without being vaccinated fully. She doesn't live in fear or anything like that.

Good luck being your baby's advocate.

Mary - posted on 05/16/2011




Stephanie - what about a pediatric allergist? They may have a better idea of precisely what it is on the vaccine that he could be reacting to, as well as a more helpful suggestion than pre-medicating with benadryl.

Kate CP - posted on 05/17/2011




Wow, apparently when I posted something to this earlier it didn't post it. Thanks, COM!

Anywho. I'm VERY pro-vaccine IF your child doesn't have reactions or have a family history of reactions. This is a reason to NOT vaccinate. Find a doctor who will listen to you and I would encourage you to do an alternate schedule or not vaccinate at all any future children. Find a doctor who is going to listen to you and work WITH you, not guilt you into something.

Cristina - posted on 05/17/2011




Just to put it out there: The Vaccine Book by Dr. Sears is an extremely well written unbiased look at each and every vaccine. It includes ingredients and development of the vaccine as well as all possible side effects and weighs (in numbers) the odds of catching the disease vs. risk of side effects (even mild)


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[deleted account]

Thanks everyone for your advice. Right now we're just waiting for the app with the specialist. I'll keep you posted. : )

[deleted account]

This is the reason I do not like the "mixed shots" Even if you cut down to 1 shot per visit, that shot can still contain multiple vaccines. In the US, you can order individual vaccines, which are one vaccine per shot, 1 shot per visit. This is how we did our son, it does take a lot longer, and I think it does cost more, but for us, the peace of mind was worth it. ( I think mixed shots are $120 each in my area, the individuals are $110 each but you have to have more of them, but I don't remember exactly how many individuals there are to each mixed).

Often kids react to the combination of the drugs, more so than the actual drug, so if that is your son's case, splitting the mixed shots could help his reaction tremendously.

Sarah - posted on 05/17/2011




Hey Stephanie, sorry your little boy had such a horrible reaction to his vaccinations. That's so scary. :( I don't have any advice or anything, but please let us know how his appt with the allergist goes. I'm interested to know what he/she says & what kind of alternatives there might be for your son! Good luck. :)

[deleted account]

I have heard that, to not vax future children or to take the same precautions if one has a severe reaction but my daughter is vaccinated and has never had any type of measurable reaction...other than the normal site tenderness and slight irritability. She is older (4) but from what Ive read these reactions seem to be family specific so if one child has it then it's likely all will.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 05/17/2011




Good luck Stephanie, I hope you and the allergist come to some sort of final conclusion about all of this.

[deleted account]

I just got off the phone with my son's pediatrician and he is sending a referral to a pediatric allergist so now we're waiting for that phone call for the appointment and will go from there. Thanks everyone for your advice and help. This is one of those things where you just can't find the 'perfect answer', meaning that no matter what I choose there's still a down side.
Nikki- That's a great idea about the test doses. We do live in a high risk area bc we have so many immigrants from 3rd world countries here and there have been outbreaks of diseases like pertussis and H1N1 and of course chicken pox is common everywhere I think.
That is interesting about the paracetemol / tylenol before a vax. Makes perfect sense really but they still give it here.

Sneaky - posted on 05/17/2011




Nikki, I think it has to do with the amount of immunity - if the fever is suppressed the vaccine is sometimes not sero-converted into enough antibodies to confer protection. . . . .

I have NO idea what to suggest Steph. (Well, except the allergist, but you already know that!). Good on your doctor for being pro-vax, but he isn't the one dying of worry and completely in love with your son. I would definitely be seeking a second, third and fourth opinion before giving any more vaccinations :o(

Nikki - posted on 05/17/2011




Steph that's awful, I agree with Jodi, if every parent vaccinated their children then there would be no issue for the children that are not able to be vaccinated for a valid medical reason.

I like Mary's idea at looking for an allergy specialist, it's probably a good idea to try and identify the exact cause for future reference plus if you know what's causing it you may not have to forgo all the vaccinations.

It is such a hard decision, I am very pro vax but not at the cost of the child's health obviously. Before I first had Isobel vaccinated I had to do a lot of research because Nathan had a near fatal reaction as a baby. His doctor at the time told my mother in law not to vaccinate any further children she had or hubby's children. Now bear in mind this was 35 years ago, even so I was nervous, so I spoke with my doctor who was wonderful and he thankfully did most of the ground work with researching the risk to Issy. We decided on test doses at the emergency department of the hospital of each individual vaccine with a few days in between. Thankfully she hasn't had a reaction to any of them, but the test dose really helped to ease my mind. Maybe that's something you could look into so that you can identify the cause without inflicting too much pain and sickness and then avoid the culprit in the future.

Other than that it's just up to you using your own judgement, which is hard I know. What sort of vaccination rates are in the area where you live? enough to provide a certain amount of coverage? Do you have many vaccine preventable outbreaks or epidemics in your area?

If you decide not to go ahead with the rest of his vaccines I would definitely speak with some kind of natural health advisor to discuss "green vaccines" and natural antioxidants immune defence for diet etc.

Also my doctor and this vaccine research person I spoke with from the government said that the new recommendation is not to give children paracetamol before a vaccine. There was a really valid scientific reason but for the life of me I can't remember it right now.

Let me know how you go

Sal - posted on 05/17/2011




i am pro vax, and in my own child have decided to do them even though she had a mild reaction (nothing in camparison to you little one) and can't say enough that children like your little boy who has a serious reaction are the very reason why everyone else has to ge them do, to not only preotect that child but the little ones who can't, ..
i would still consider it my self and try and work out a program with the drs, (like doing an allergy test and looking at different brands etc spreading out the vacc, or he might only react to one vacc and can have the rest), but fully understand why you would not want to...i don;t like my kids having temps at all, but like the dr said it might be the lesser of 2 evils, our weekend paper featured a story on babies that dies from whooping cough who caught it from un vaccinated older children and that alone is enough to make me try and find a way, but as i said children who can't vacc (and i can see how you would feel that with your little boy) are a HUGE reason why the rest of us should..
and if for the autism spectrum thing it has been proven over and over again that it isn't linked to the vacc. so i doubt that should play a part in this thread

Becky - posted on 05/16/2011




I'm very pro-vax, but I don't think I'd be getting my child any more vaccinations after reactions like that, especially when they happened twice. I'd be worried that they would have a more severe reaction the next time. And I agree, definitely do the allergist, if he's allergic to something in the vaccines, you want to know because he could be exposed to it elsewhere as well.

Amy - posted on 05/16/2011




First, let me say I am not against all vaccines. But my son had a reaction and is now on the Autistic Spectrum AND has mental retardation. There are many websites for you to check out. is a good one. All parents should educate themselves on the pros and cons of each and every vaccine.

Cristina - posted on 05/16/2011




Generally, the recommendations are to halt vaccinations on a child who has a severe reaction but they are usually talking about seizures or swelling of the brain/tissue etc... Things that are life threatening not 'just' excruciatingly painful.

I would have serious difficulty getting my daughter any vaccines after those types of side effects.

I would definitely want to talk to some kind of specialist. I'm not sure what kind of specialist that would be maybe a Pediatric Infectious Disease specialist. Someone with more real knowledge of vaccines. And determine the best course of action.

Katherine - posted on 05/16/2011




Oh my gosh! If my child were having that kind of reaction I wouldn't vax either. I would definitely find another way. Maybe it's what the vax is encased in? I agree with finding an allergist, obviously the poor thing is allergic to something. Either that or his little body just can't handle them. I wouldn't stand for the answer your doctor is giving you...sorry not good enough. Sounds like a child who was told he couldn't watch TV or something, "But I wanna mom!"

[deleted account]

Oh yeah I forgot to say that I did give him benadryl, too. Thanks Mary, an allergist is a great idea and I'll look into getting an appointment. Are there vaccine alternatives? I've heard of 'green vaccines' but don't really know anything about them.

Elfrieda, I think the doctor is of the mindset that this is something we HAVE to do one way or the other. I feel like he's saying that the vaccines wont kill him and he's only sick for a few days so just do it. I understand him but I am this child's mother and I can't bring myself to make my ki 'take one for the team'. I can't take him to do something that will hurt him so badly. I know he needs to be vaccinated but at this cost? There has to be another way!
That's wonderful about your sister! : )

[deleted account]

Thanks, yeah it's hard to not know what to do. I'm the mom AND a nurse, I'm supposed to know it all lol.

At first I was alternating with Ibuprofen but it seemed to make him vomit more so I stuck with Tylenol, since neither were really taking the fever down to an acceptable level.

I don't really know if it's all vaccines or just one out of this specific set. Instead of the standard 4 shots he had 2 so at least that narrows it down. Now *when/if* I take him to have the other 2 if he doesn't react we can narrow it down to possibly being the MMR. It's just so freaking stressful to have to do this to him. Then there's the fear of what if something worse happens next time, what if it's more than a fever and pain, what if he has a seizure, etc.

I am looking for a doctor who specializes in vaccine reactions and injuries to see what we can do or how to handle this. The problem so far is that the ads for these docs are represented by lawyers who are handling law suits for kids who've been injured and that's not what I need. I'm not trying to sue anyone, I just need for my kid not to suffer! I have to have another opinion before we move forward with it. I wouldn't be doing right by my son to follow the word of one doctor with as serious as this is.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 05/16/2011




First off, I am so sorry about all of this. What a difficult situation you are in.

Secondly, in my personal experience, Ibuprofen takes fevers down much faster than Tylenol, and when you are giving both, you can alternate every 4 hours...with doctor approval.

I think reducing the vaxes to 1 per visit would be essential. Is it ALL vaxes that do this to him? Or are you not sure if it is one specific one??? Kinda hard to tell if they get more than 1 at a time.

I would also get a second opinion from another pediatrician before administering any further vaxes PERIOD!

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