Whooping Cough And Vaccinations In Canada - What About Baby Isabelle?

Whooping Cough Vaccinations In Canada
22 June 2016

All moms share ultimately one underlying concern - We all want our kids to be healthy. This is one thing that we moms can all agree with! The one thing we can't all agree on is whether or not to immunize our own children.

Those who choose not to vaccinate their children seem to feel comfortable taking the chance that their own children will be safe from diseases that could be prevented from immunization, largely due to the immunization of the other children (sometimes called the 'herd immunity.')

This was not true in the case of Annie Mae Braiden in Victoria, B.C., whose baby daughter Isabelle was hospitalised with whopping cough, otherwise known as pertussis, over a month ago. Her daughter is expected to remain hospitalized for possibly up to 2 more months as a result of her pertussis. Her baby was too young to be immunized yet.

Isabelle's mother, Braiden, is unhappy and wrote a Facebook post about it that has been shared thousands of times over now - she believes it is a mother's choice whether or not to immunize your own child.

What she is opposed to however, is when mothers tell her that they are choosing not to vaccinate their kids because it doesn't hurt anyone but their own kids .

Pertussis is highly contagious through air transmission and we are seeing more (previously eradicated) diseases making a comeback, since choosing to not vaccinate their children has become more common for some parents in Canada.

One problem with pertussis, though, is that it is usually benign in adults and thus, does not even get diagnosed.

So what can we do? According to the McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, recommendations are:

  • Have all infants fully vaccinated with DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis) and do not delay vaccination, as infants remain at risk for longer periods of time..
  • All adults, in particular those who have contacts with young children, should get a Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) booster. It's for kids 11-12 years old; everyone who has contact with pregnant women or infants; women of child-bearing age, before or immediately after pregnancy; and everyone 64 or older who has not had a booster within the past 10 years.

It's possible that baby Isabelle may not have contracted the disease from an unvaccinated child, (and perhaps caught it from a benign adult carrier of pertussis), but whatever the cause, Isabelle's chances of having been exposed to the virus that cause pertussis would have been minimized if all parents chose to vaccinate their children.

Feel free to comment below on what you would do if your child was hospitalized with pertussis. Would you encourage awareness or change? Are you immunized against pertussis yourself?

TOPICS:   Parenting   Babies


  • Krw

    I think you mean herd immunity, not herd mentality. 

  • Eryn

    Krw, you are absolutely right! I've heard both phrases in regards to this topic, but the best terminology is definitely 'herd immunity.' I agree with you, and have thus edited it. Thanks for your feedback!

  • Joanna M.

    My daughter is immune-compromised and cannot receive live vaccines such as MMR and chickenpox. Also, the vaccinations she does have are not always as effective. If she were to become sick with one of these, she is at high risk for complications and death. We rely on herd immunity to protect her. Thank you for sharing this awareness on your page!

  • duchess989

    As a doctor of Microbiology and Immunology, this isn't even a question for me. Of course you should get vaccinated. I've read the concerns that people bring up against vaccinations and they are uneducated in their responses. It's funny how people seem to forget how debilitating and deadly certain diseases can be. If you can get vaccinated, do so. It helps to protect you and the people around you from serious illnesses. In my opinion, they should be mandatory.

    In the case of pertussis, the child probably contracted the bacteria infection from an adult. The DPT vaccine is given to infants and adolescents, but those over 18 who haven't had a booster and are in contact with children, should get vaccinated. 

    • sue1907

      And how many 18/19 year olds+ then are running around but this age group is NOT about to get boosters, right?  Same as chicken pox vaccine, teens need a booster, so won't we have a bunch of teens technically needing a booster, but not getting it?

      • duchess989

        I think the boosters are something that should be discussed more in the media, so that it becomes more common knowledge. So, at 20 or 25 years of age, you go in and get your vaccines updated (usually people travel abroad around that age too, so it's a good time to get any other vaccinations done).

        I remember there was a mumps outbreak during my undergraduate education, and they offered free MMR boosters on campus, but under normal circumstances, most people wouldn't bother. Those that work outside (even just gardening) or in construction, should get the DPT booster to avoid tetanus infections. But you know how people are, I can't even convince my mom to get the booster.

        I think if people take the time to read quality information, they would realize that vaccinations are a good thing. I'm not interested in going back in time when most people are dead by 40, and parents hope that 2 out of the dozen kids they had survived. It's awful just to see the one little girl in the above post hospitalized. This is 2016, and we have access to huge amounts of information, so lets make smart and educated decisions too.

  • amberg

    This frustrates me a lot! People seem to have a lack of understanding the severity of these diseases and what can happen if there child contracts one of them. I feel like the mentality is that "it won't happen to my" kid, news flash, it can and does happen. As a mother who has buried a child ( Not due to lack of vaccinations ) I can say that guess what it can happen to you Kids die and it's an unfortunate reality of life so why on earth would you want to contribute to the chances of having to bury a child by not vaccinating? I guarantee you it is not an experience you want in life, nor do you want to be the cause of another mother experiencing this due to a child who is A. to young to be vaccinated or B. has a compromised immune system and cannot be vaccinated. In my opinion Anti- vaxers are a selfish bunch who have obviously not thought thru the real consequences and seem to live in an alternate reality of Unicorns Rainbows and Butterflies were nothing can touch them or their children.

    P.S. before anyone says that vaccines can lead to children having autism, that was debunked long ago ( http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/concerns/autism.html ) and the dr. who wrote the paper Dr. Andrew Wakefield lost his medical licence do to the dishonesty and irresponsibility of publishing the misleading paper ( http://healthland.time.com/2010/05/24/doctor-behind-vaccine-autism-link-loses-license/ )

  • scientist

    Its not just about autism its about causing cancer and autoimmune disorders and more, what about the babies who are vaccine damadged, the answer is it is a choice whether to have a medical intervention or not, of which no drug, or surgery is without side effects

    • ad_chimp

      Hey "doctor", do you have ANY evidence to back up those claims? Any studies, any research at all?? Because the study that most people used to quote was discredited a long time ago, as was commented above. It's people like you, who irresponsibly spread this type of misinformation, that are responsible for things like what happened to this poor little baby Isabelle.

    • ad_chimp

      Hey "scientist", do you have ANY evidence to back up those claims? Any studies, any research at all?? Because the study that most people used to quote was discredited a long time ago, as was commented above. It's people like you, who irresponsibly spread this type of misinformation, that are responsible for things like what happened to this poor little baby Isabelle.

    • duchess989

      As an actual doctor and scientist, the "scientist" who posted above knows nothing. Autism has been found to develop in utero, cancer is caused by genetics and/or environmental factors, and autoimmune diseases develop for a multitude of reasons. 

      There are a handful of individuals that have adverse reactions to vaccines. This is no different than someone having a serious side effect to Advil, birth control pills, etc.

      PubMed or Google Scholar are excellent search databases for scientific literature. It's a bit tricky to interpret a research article, but if you find someone with a BSc. or a health-related education, they might be able to help you out.

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