Monday, May 23, 2011

Whooping Cough

Some might be put off by what I am about to post. But I am at the end of my tether. I have no patience left, I have no tolerance left. I have no more polite "ah, yes, it's all a parent's choice, innit?" benign smiles left.
A serious Whooping Cough epidemic rages and I have a three month old baby. A baby who has only been eligible for one Pertussis vaccine so far. He isnt due for his next one until June 21st. Let me tell, you, I am crossing off the days until then. He isnt fully protected from Pertussis until he is six months old. How horrible and wrong that I am wishing away my baby's youth, I am pushing and hoping for the day that he is six months old and can receive his Pertussis booster because of misinformation, lack of education and unfounded fears regarding vaccines. I cant enjoy this beautiful period, I live in fear that he will contract Whooping Cough and I am desperate for him to be older so he can be safely immunised.
I fear every time I take Jack to school. I tense up every time I hear someone cough. Am I paranoid? Am I overreacting? Maybe. I take precautions to protect Archie. I limit my social life to keep him indoors. When forced to go out, he stays in the pram with a cover over the top.
Recently, Archie was in hospital with Bronchiolitis. He currently suffers a post viral cough. Here is what I do: I document the time of every cough and the number of coughs per coughing episode. I have had him swabbed for Pertussis, just in case what I think is a post viral cough is actually the start of this insidious disease. I have a script for prophylactic antibiotics on standby, just in case. I stupidly google the stories of Carter Dube and Dana McCafferey, newborn victims of Pertussis, to see if Archie is exhibiting any symptoms that those babies began with at the start of their illness.

If you are a parent who has lost a child, you may understand my anxiety. Going to extreme lengths to protect your other children from a potentially life threatening illness may not be unreasonable. Others may think I'm a lunatic. Or overprotective. Thank God I have never watched my baby cough for one minute straight, experience apnea, cyanosis and I never want to. Tragically, as vaccination rates drop, chances that more and more newborns will contract Whooping Cough rises.

Here I go:
If you dont vaccinate, you are responsible for the decrease in herd immunity. The prevalence of vaccine preventable diseases increases and this is on your heads and your heads alone.
It is your fault that parents with new babies fear going out in public. It is your fault that social lives are stunted, anxiety is increasing and babies are getting sick.
Prepare to be ostracized as disease rates increase.
By all means, do your research. Anti vaxxers bleat that they've done their "research." Unfortunately, their "research" is not evidence or science-based. It more often than not comes from dubious, unsubtantiated sources such as Natural News and Dr Tenpenny, two of the most dangerous and frighteningly diabolical sites for vaccine information. People who trust these sites lack critical thinking skills and even basic intelligence. Offensive, perhaps, but I firmly believe it. Google is not a research tool.

Please get your Pertussis booster. Many dont realise that this immunity wanes after ten years. Anyone in contact with a new baby needs this booster if they havent had one in the last 3-5 years, to be safe. Our family is completely up to date. It is the best gift we could give Archie. Dont be worried about "toxins". None are are dangerous as the Bordetella Pertussis toxin, that causes the coughing episodes may leave babies not only breathless but without oxygen. Infants are also at high risk for secondary bacterial pneumonia. They are also at risk for neurologic complications such as seizures and encephalopathy as a result of hypoxia from coughing or possibly from the bacterial toxins.

Get your booster. Immunise your kids. If you dont, you are a fool.


  1. Well said, Steph. With our next bub due in three months, I have pretty much said there will be a no visit policy unless the person is vaccinated or has had a booster (in the case of adults). Most of us had our booster shots when Angus was born, but some in my family didn't. I just don't think they realised how serious this was, but I have been drumming it in to them again of late. This is just too risky to be messing around with.

  2. I can totally understand, our baby isn't even due until September but about a month ago I put a status update saying that if you wish to see or hold my child before she can be immunised for whooping cough I will need to know that you have been immunised.

    My husband was furious and said that I had been scare-monged by the e-mail I received about the dangers of a new born contracting whooping cough - and that there is nothing you could do to prevent your baby from getting it until a certain age.

    I don't care, my baby... my choice!

  3. Tee hee! You go you good thing! I'm so glad that you've found your strentgh and conviction again Steph. A couple of months ago I think this could've been a very different "I don't mean to offend anyone, please forgive me fence-sitters" kind of blog. I much prefer the no-holds-barred don't f*ck with me approach. It suits you :)

  4. P.S We're all up to date too. I made sure all the grandparents had their boosters before Cailin was born and I'll be encouraging others this time around as well.