Mom Posts About Anti-Vax Dangers After Daughter Ends Up In ER With Exposure To Chicken Pox

by Meredith Bland
Originally Published: 
Images via Facebook

Daughter could not get vaccinated due to a kidney transplant at 2

It’s been proven — proven, we say — that the anti-vaccine movement is wrong in their assertion that vaccines can cause autism and other illnesses. They’re just wrong. Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong. But that doesn’t stop a small but vocal group from choosing not to vaccinate their children anyway, which can have serious consequences for other children. The mother of one of those “other children” posted about it on Facebook after her daughter was exposed to chicken pox and had to be taken to the emergency room.

In a Facebook post that has now gone viral, Camille Echols wrote about her recent experience with her daughter, who had a kidney transplant at the age of two and therefore was not able to be vaccinated against chicken pox.

In her post, Echols wrote that though she hadn’t spoken out in the vaccine debate before, she now felt compelled to after hearing too many anti-vaccination believers say things like, “Why would my unvaccinated kids be a threat to your vaccinated kids if you’re so sure they work?” Her daughter is an example of why vaccines are important for everybody.

When she was two-years-old, Echols’ daughter had a kidney transplant. According to Echols, she got the first varicella (chickenpox) vaccine but couldn’t get the second “because she was immunosuppressed and instead of developing immunity, she would have contracted the virus.” Unfortunately, Echols’ daughter (who is now older) was exposed to a child with chicken pox two weekends ago. What this meant for her — a child who cannot receive live vaccines — was a trip to the emergency room.

“She’s getting lab work, injections of immunoglobulin and then we have to wait to see what the infectious disease doctor says,” wrote Echols. “The incubation period of chickenpox is 7-21 days. So even with all we are doing, she could still become sick in the next 3 weeks. And that would mean an automatic admission to the hospital for IV antiviral meds. She could become very, very sick from this.”

Choosing not to vaccinate a child because, despite what every reputable scientist has said, you still think you know better, could cost someone else’s child their life. As in Echols’ example, children who receive organ transplants are not allowed to get live vaccines like measles, mumps, rubella, and the chicken pox vaccine, making them more vulnerable to contracting those diseases and suffering complications if they do. According to an article in the American Journal of Transplantation, “Transplant candidates and recipients are at increased risk of infectious complications of vaccine-preventable diseases.” The article also states that health care workers, family members, and even pets should be fully immunized before having contact with a transplant recipient. An article in Clinical Infectious Diseases makes clear why this is so important: “The immunosuppression necessary to prevent rejection enhances the severity of many infectious diseases and may potentially attenuate the response to vaccines designed to prevent disease.”

This exposure is indeed a risk to Echols’ daughter and is an excellent example of why people should consider the effect not vaccinating their children may have on others. Of course, since the internet’s got to internet, many people responded to Echols’ post — which came complete with pictures of her terrified daughter in the emergency room — with criticism. Echols edited her original post to respond to “the recurring questions,” which included why she took her daughter to the ER instead of making a doctor’s appointment and whether bloodwork was drawn prior to her receiving doses of immunoglobin because oh my God internet you’re the effing worst.

The anti-vax movement made an appearance, of course, and told Echols’ she needed to “educate herself.” Echols replied: “I am a pediatric RN with over 10 years’ experience in transplant and chronic illness populations. I have had extensive education regarding vaccinations.” So maybe shove that infectious disease in your pipe and smoke it.

She also got sensitive and caring commenters who told her “it’s just chicken pox, she won’t die.” Thanks again, Dr. Internet. Except that’s just not true. According to a study published in the Clinical Kidney Journal, “Chickenpox…which is a benign disease with a largely stable course among the general population, can have severe outcomes for immunocompromised patients, accounting for almost 90% with significant morbidity and mortality in…infected patients.”

But no, I’m sure you’re the one who’s right, Sharon.

Think about what the overwhelming majority of the world is telling you about vaccinations and get your kids their shots. Or maybe listen to Camille Echols, who closed her post with: “the people choosing to skip vaccinations put children like my daughter at risk. She has been through SO much already. And this was avoidable.”

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