Vaccines and Allergies

Vaccines and Allergies

My son Bradley has an autoimmune disorder and my oldest son Luke has a neurological disorder. How do we deal with vaccines?  I believe that some vaccines are crucial, but we need to be careful, especially with sensitive children.  If your child has allergies, a neurological disorder or an autoimmune disorder, read this....

Here's some valuable information about the Pertussis vaccine from the National Vaccine Information Center (nvic.org):

A Personal or Family History of Severe Allergies and Autoimmune Disorders - A healthy, mature immune system requires an equal balance of cellular (Th1 - innate) and humoral (Th2 - learned) immune system responses to prevent inflammatory responses from remaining unresolved and causing chronic illness. A disruption in immune function can lead to chronic inflammation and development of allergy or autoimmune disorders.

Vaccination does not exactly mimic the natural infection process and often by-passes cellular immunity in favor of humoral immunity (measured by antibodies in the blood). There have been persistent reports that some individuals may be at risk for developing autoimmune disorders after vaccination.

In than 60 years of scientific literature reporting complications of pertussis vaccine, there have been reports by some researchers that a history of severe allergies or autoimmune disorders in a child or his family (eczema, asthma, hay fever, milk allergy) may predispose a child to reacting to the pertussis vaccine. In England in past decades, a personal or family history of allergies was considered a contraindication.

Dow Chemical Company’s DPT product insert in the 1960s stated "fractional doses are recommended in infants with cerebral injury, asthma, a strong family history of allergy …"

In 1961, Hopper found that in a group of babies who reacted strongly to the pertussis vaccine, there was twice as much eczema, asthma, hay fever, and allergic skin rashes in the child, his brothers and sisters, parents, and grandparents as there was in a control group of the same size.

In 1969, Hannik found a positive family history of allergies in a significant proportion of infants who reacted with high-pitched screaming, shock and convulsions.

In 2000, a study comparing the health of vaccinated and unvaccinated children between 1988 and 1994 found that a child who received DPT or tetanus vaccination was 50 percent more likely to experience severe allergic reactions, more than 80 percent more likely to experience sinusitis, and twice as likely to experience asthma as those who were not vaccinated. The conclusion of the authors was that “asthma and other allergic hypersensitivity reactions and related symptoms may be causes, in part, by the delayed effects of DTP or tetanus vaccination.”

A healthy, mature immune system requires an equal balance of cellular (inate) and humoral (learned) immune system responses so that inflammatory responses do not remain unresolved and cause chronic illness. A disruption in immune function can lead to development of allergy and autoimmune disorders. Vaccination does not exactly mimic the natural infection process and often by-passes cellular immunity in favor of humoral immunity. There have been persistent reports of development of autoimmune disorders and allergy after vaccination, including pertussis vaccination.

Milk Allergy (Casein Intolerance) – 1982 and 1985, studies identified genetic susceptibility to pertussis vaccine induces encephalopathy involving genes of the major histocompatibility complex correlating to genetic regulation of antibody responses to bovine serum albumin (a cow’s milk protein).

A personal or family history of allergies, particularly milk (casein) allergy, may be one high risk factor for reacting to pertussis vaccine. There were many cases of pertussis vaccine injury documented in the 1985 book DPT: A Shot in the Dark of children, who had milk allergy before or developed milk allergy after suffering a serious DPT vaccine reaction. Casein is a protein in milk and symptoms of milk allergy include frequent spitting up of milk after bottle or breast feeding; projectile vomiting of milk; frequent diarrhea; constipation; gas and abdominal pain; persistent crying after feedings (colic); eczema or recurrent skin rashes.

Children with casein allergy are often also allergic to foods containing gluten, which is a protein in wheat and other kinds of grains. The genes for both casein and gluten intolerance are inherited and symptoms can be mild or severe. Severe gluten intolerance is diagnosed as celiac disease, which can cause loss of weight and failure to thrive; gas and stomach pain; diarrhea/constipation; anemia; mouth ulcers; extreme fatigue (especially after eating gluten containing foods); and behavior disorders. If left undiagnosed without dietary elimination of foods containing gluten, celiac disease can lead to malnourishment and retarded growth in children; irritability; depression; seizures; permanent brain and immune system disorders or even death.

Pertussis vaccine has been documented to cause high fever; severe local reactions at the site of the injection; high pitched screaming and uncontrollable crying; collapse/shock (hypotonic/hyporesponsive episode); lethargy (excessive sleepiness); convulsions with or without fever; and brain inflammation (encephalopathy).

Following are descriptions of more serious vaccine reactions symptoms in the words of parents:

  • Collapse/Shock: “She turned white with a blue tinge around her mouth and went completely limp.”
  • Convulsion: “Her eyes twitched, her chin trembled, her body went rigid and then would shake.”
  • Behavior Changes “She won’t sleep or eat. She throws herself down and screams for no reason. She was sweet and happy and is now out of control. She changed into a totally different child.”
  • High Fever: “His temperature was 105 degrees. I had to put cool towels on him to bring the fever down.”
  • Injection Site: “There was a big, hot swollen lump at the site of the shot that stayed for weeks.”
  • High Pitched Screaming: “It was a pain cry, a shrill scream and lasted for hours and nothing would help.”
  • Excessive Sleepiness: “He passed out and we couldn’t wake him to feed or do anything for over 12 hours.”
  • Brain Inflammation: “He just laid in his crib with his eyes wide open, then would arch his back and scream and go unconscious. Now he has seizures.”
  • Regression“My 18 month old son stopped talking and walking after those shots. He developed severe allergies, constant diarrhea, ear infections and was sick all the time.”
  • Other Descriptions of Complications: 
    • Allergic hypersensitive reactions occur within minutes or hours of vaccination and may include hives, sudden swelling of the mouth or throat, difficulty breathing, hypertension and shock.
    • Thrombocytopenia and Hemolytic Anemia are two blood disorders which have been reported to rarely follow pertussis vaccine containing shots. Thrombocytopenia means a reduced number of platelets circulating in the blood and can cause "purpura" (blotchy red patches on the child’s body caused by the thinned blood seeping into the tissues beneath the skin).
    • Diabetes and Hypoglycemia – The body’s glucose (sugar) metabolism is regulated by insulin which is secreted by the pancreas. Researchers have detected increased insulin production in infants injected with pertussis vaccine.
    • In 1970, Pittman stated "the infant whose blood sugar level is influenced by food intake may be especially vulnerable to vaccine-induced hypoglycemia should a feeding be missed because of a feverish reaction following vaccinations."
    • Hannik and Cohen in 1978 concluded, "infants who show serious reactions following pertussis vaccination suffer from failure to maintain glucose homeostasis."
    • A 1982 study detailed the role the DPT vaccine played in causing diabetes in a 16-month old girl who was genetically predisposed to diabetes and who suffered from a viral infection that attacked her pancreas.

Family History of Convulsions or Neurological Disease – For most of the time that pertussis vaccine has been used, a personal history of convulsions or neurological disease has been listed as an absolute contraindication or serious precaution. In the past, some European countries have exercised caution and contraindicated pertussis vaccination if a member of the child’s immediate family (brother, sister, mother or father) has a history of convulsions or neurological disease.

The product information circular accompanying DPT vaccine manufactured by Lederle Laboratories in 1985 stated, "Routine immunization with this product should not be attempted if the child has a personal or family history of central nervous system disease or convulsions."

The product information circular accompanying DPT vaccine manufactured by Connaught Laboratories in 1989 stated, "Use of this product is also contraindicated if the child has a personal or family history of a seizure disorder.”

In 1975, a World Health Organization-sponsored international meeting of pertussis vaccine experts recommended that "children from families with a history of neurological disorders should not be vaccinated."

In 1977, the Department of Health and Social Security in England stated that children should not be given pertussis vaccine if they have a "family history of epilepsy or other diseases of the central nervous system.”

In a 1987 recommendation published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the CDC stated "recent studies suggest that infants and children with a history of convulsions in the first degree family members (i.e. siblings and parents have a 3.2 fold increase risk for neurologic eventscompared with those without such histories (CDC, unpublished data)." The CDC went on to recommend, however, that these children should still receive pertussis vaccine.

For more information check out nvic.org